Tag Archive: drew bryant


the-quireboys-2016Well, we haven’t quite succumbed to the enforced jollification and festive template of the coming season quite yet so before the Christmas jumper brigade and the once a year drinkers from the office temporarily take over proceedings, here’s a few safe musical havens before the coming tinsel and singalong deluge.

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Tony Wright (6)Another busy week ahead in the music venues and pubs of this fair town, so without further ado…

Plenty to choose from for the fans of original music tonight, the biggest name being Tony Wright who comes to Level III courtesy of those awfully nice people at Sheer Music. You will know Tony as the frontman with Terrorvision and he is joined on this leg of his UK acoustic tour by former Black Spiders main man, Pete Spiby and a solo slice of HipRoute.

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40922994_1038122389702686_5504215381138472960_oSome weeks this town is blessed with big name acts travelling through the parish boundaries, other times there are a few new and interesting options passing through from further afield and sometimes we are find wonderful blasts from the past in our midsts. This week though is mainly a real celebration of the bands that keep the local circuit alive. You will know most of the names, you have probably seen many before but as a show case of just how vibrant the local scene is and just how many great home grown bands we have, this week acts as the perfect showcase.

I say mainly as tonight offers a few options from across the county line and the most unusual of them can be found at The Victoria. Siblings of Us (pictured) are a band undergoing a transformation moving from the most mercurial and jagged two-piece synth wave band topped off with Bee Gee-esque vocals into the most mercurial and jagged three-piece electro-rock band…with Bee Gee-esque vocals. Reventure and Xadium also bring new ideas to the rock format.

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23737694_1197292103706164_1036619967639662373_o-1If the term Folk-Punk implies a blend of deftly wrought tunes and vibrant energy, old school charm and a rabble-rousing soul, then Davey Malone could indeed be the poster boy for such a movement. Temporarily ditching his band,The Longtails, and heading out on his first solo tour he comes to The Victoria tonight armed with comedic and cautionary takes, poignant political and thought provoking prose, charisma and rough hewn elegance.

At The Beehive you will find the beat and boogie, rhythm and musical rhyme of The Teddy White Band who plunder the back catalogue of underground classics, revive and rejuvenate a host of songs you had almost forgotten about from a time when music mattered more than record sales and people were, quite frankly, much better dressed.

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rollyAfter a few years of residency at Old Towns Roaring Donkey pub, our regular Wednesday night acoustic session (now under the stewardship of Jamie Hawkins) is on the move. 

Following a sudden decision by the venues landlord to cancel all live music with immediate effect the sessions have all moved to their new home with just the one booking becoming a casualty. So, starting next Wednesday with Drew Bryant you can now get your fix of acoustic song-smithery down on Commercial Road at The Rolleston Arms. We would like to extend a huge amount of thanks to landlord Paul and his team for stepping up so quickly and getting it all sorted so swiftly.

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741242_664074006964975_1369003998_oOkay, it isn’t exactly local but Charlton Park does have an SN postcode so I guess it is okay to remind you that WOMAD kicks off today. You may not have heard of many of the acts or even be able to pronounce some of them but if ever there was a celebration of culturally diverse and globally reaching music then this is it. Whether you have a hankering for Kurdish folk or British hip-hop, New Orleans brass or Malian vocal groups, transcendental raga or gypsy jive, it is all here and more besides. In the grand scheme of things, it is right on your doorstep, which means you can just pop down for the day or do the full-on festival experience with the minimal of travelling.

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10850275_1508642422743307_3346557062355699842_nTomorrow is one of those days that resonate throughout history. On May 8th, 70 years ago, the world woke up to a Europe finally at peace after the ravages of war. Sixteen years before that The St Valentines Day Massacre made world headlines and more latterly, completing the cycle of world shaking deeds, in 1972, Ian “H” Watkins of Steps infamy was born, so it is obviously a date which is tied in with important historical events. Also tomorrow we will wake up to learn the fate of the next five years in the running of this country. But tonight we party. Thankfully, this weekend whether celebrating the result or drowning your sorrows there is no shortage of great sounds to do it to.

 

Those opting for a bit of a shindig should look no further than The Victoria tonight as Bite The Buffalo bring their “stomping, coffin blues” to town and show just why recent years have seen them play such festivals as SXSW and supports to none other than Robert Plant. Fresh out of the box, 2 piece The Harlers continue to re-connect with dirty blues-rock memories and openers The Johnstown Flood add grunge and warped guitars to the blues template.

 

At The Wheatsheaf, Darren Hodge deals in a gentler but no less mesmerising take on the same genre; an ear for tradition and some outstanding finger-picking dexterity are the order of the day and he is joined by the loved-up folk harmonies of Ethemia plus the elemental imagery and sounds of Drew Bryant. Sitting between the two, a funky blend of acoustic and gritty blues is Jim Blair who can be found at The Beehive.

 

And if Thursday had a heavy blues undercurrent, Friday takes a folkier stance. Firstly at The Beehive with Calico Jack (pictured), a band whose distinctive canal boat-folk blends gypsy jive, carnival chaos and shanty shenanigans to create twisted fairy tales and worlds of dark enchantment. For a punkier take on the genre, Mick O’Toole can be found at The Rolleston. Theirs is a howling banshee of a show in the tradition of Flogging Molly or Greenland Whalefishers, so if the idea of a sonic wall of aggressive accordion, mutilating mandolin lines and belligerent banjo forming the front line of a folk-punk onslaught sounds like your cup of cider, then this is the show for you.

 

At The Victoria, Buswell’s brand of indie-pop meets chamber folk will be providing the venue with sweeping majestic sounds not to mention some logistical headaches as the orchestral wing of this band often pushes the stage set up into double figures. Support comes from the lush dynamics and dark atmospherics of White Lilac and opening the show is the man known as Last Box of Sparklers and his hushed and fleeting, Nordic indie sounds. Incendiary blues-rock classics are delivered with spellbinding dexterity at The Queens Tap courtesy of The Lewis Creaven Band.

 

As usual, Saturday is the bastion of nostalgia, reminisence and the tried and tested (all of which could actually be names of cover bands themselves) but that doesn’t mean that they rock any less. In fact, out at Riffs Bar, the hardest partying band in town take the stage. Enjoy their set of rock, pop and indie classics, just don’t try matching them drink for drink at the bar afterwards.

 

Also rocking out like a good ‘un, The Sex Pissed Dolls, pun their way into level 3 to deliver a set of rock, ska and punk standards and at The Brookhouse Farm (moved from The Woodlands Edge) it’s the last chance to catch The Beat Holes before they return home to Italy. Imagine if The Beatles had formed out of the punk melting pot of 1976’s London squat scene and also liked to listen to heavy metal. Intrigued? Check them out, they are brilliant.

 

Other options are 1000 Planets punk, goth and alternative sounds at The Rolleston, power-pop, mod and soul from Peloton at The Swiss Chalet and vintage classic rock from Mid-Life Crisis at The Queens Tap.

 

There is just enough room to mention Peter Jagger and his political tinged folk songs at The Beehive on Sunday afternoon and David Marx’s poetic and poignant music at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

10527280_10152330974168207_4463687671351127442_nThere is quite a bit to get through this week so I will just get right to it without the usual pre-amble.

 

Starting, as usual, at The Victoria tonight, and a great alt-rock line up that marks the welcome return of SkyBurnsRed. A band known for their ability to mix heavy guitar lines and pounding backbeats with the deftness of classical strings and subtle dynamics, this much acclaimed quartet make a worthy headline. Joining them are the richly textured mix of math rock meets grunge meets melody of Dead Royalties and the dark and heavy psychedelic trip that is Black Elephant.

 

If you prefer your music aged to perfection then you may want to catch Kent DuChaine at The Beehive. Authentic delta blues, channelling the long forgotten ghosts of the genre and played on a 1934 National steel guitar, you can almost smell the mint julep and hear the screen door slamming!

 

If you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary on Friday then you should check out the Swindon Young Singer/Songwriter Showcase being held at Commonweal School, a chance to support the budding talent of the future.

 

All sorts of groovy is taking place elsewhere. At The Rolleston you can indulge in your love of all things vintage reggae, rocksteady and sixties ska with The Erin Bardwell Collective and if you haven’t secured yourself a copy of their excellent new album, Our Time, then this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Dancing shoes will also be required if you venture up to The Victoria as Felix and The Funk will be setting out a musical stall of funk, soul, pop, dance and disco floor fillers. The Swiss Chalet offer something a bit more leftfield, psychobilly to be exact, a soundclash of rockabilly and punk, ska and old school rock and roll, courtesy of The Corsairs. A different kind of footwear is required if you go to The MECA as they are running their ever popular roller disco.

 

Saturday has a couple of nice selections for those of a heavy rock persuasion, one of which, Soulmover, is a brand new outfit who aim to meld the inherent weirdness of Zappa, the soulful undercurrent of Cream and the drive and delivery of Led Zeppelin. They can be found out at Riffs Bar. At Level 3 more familiar sounds can be found as Dirty/DC play tribute to the seminal Aussie rockers AC/DC. Punk and new wave sounds are also being paid homage to firstly at The Victoria with Absolute Blondie and also at The Swiss Chalet as Distant Echo revive the greatness of The Jam.

 

Other offerings are The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s who will be spinning iconic ska and reggae tunes at The Beehive and The Teddy White Band at The Rolleston. This long established and ever evolving quintet play upbeat r’n’b, blues, beat and boogie from the 40’s to the 60’s fronted by a brilliant vocal contrast between Anish’s soaring clarity and Pete’s Waitsian, demonic deliveries. Highly recommended.

 

The Castle provides the setting for a rare outing by Black Cat, a band that even I, as someone who writes about music on a daily basis have trouble trying to describe succinctly, but who may just be Swindon’s answer to The Fall. …or possibly Black Lace! You will just have to go along and make your own mind up.

 

With the return of The Shudders (pictured) frontman from his global travels, the band are back out in gigging mode and you can find them playing The Beehive, a venue that they almost destroyed as the final act of last years Swindon Shuffle Festival, at the Sunday afternoon session. Blending lo-fi indie, country and rock into very melodic and instantly accessible creations plus some seriously good vocal harmonies and infectious grooves, this will be the perfect way to round off the weekend.

 

And, very briefly, two more for you diary. On Monday you will find the much-lauded Rumours of Fleetwood Mac at The Wyvern Theatre and on Wednesday Drew Bryant brings his elemental pop folk to The Roaring Donkey.

10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nWith the exception of Tibetan Jazz aficionados and fans of the burgeoning Polynesian trip-hop scene, most musical tastes will be catered for this week. Variety, as they say is the spice of life and this weeks musical offerings prove to be a particularly fine condiment of existence.

 

Acoustic buffs should head to The Victoria tonight for a rather special triptych of players, headed by Darren Eeddens, a bluegrass and honky-tonk folkster as at home on the banjo as he is the guitar. A story telling troubadour in the truest sense, he describes himself as an old soul with the imagination of a child. Local support comes in the form of the elemental sounds of Drew Bryant and the atmospheric endeavours of Andrew Burke.

 

The newly revamped Beehive will be echoing to the sounds of Built For Comfort who channel the sound and the vibe of a late night, smoky, back room Chicago blues club.

 

And Friday, it would seem, is the new Saturday judging by the amount of gigs you have to choose from, a myriad of styles and genres running from the sublime to the ridiculous. Representing the sublime is Faye Rogers at Riffs Bar. Hers is a sound that has grown gracefully from an innocent, “girl with guitar” solo spot to a band that soundscape around the tunes with shimmering guitar riffs, sensuous cello washes and less is more beats. Joining her is Antoine Architeuthis who mixes Celtic jauntiness with sweeping English pastoral folk sounds and just a splash of eastern spiritualism to weave an exotic musical tapestry.

 

Representing the ridiculous (only joking chaps) is The Hamsters from Hell, rhythm and booze experts whose talents at wrapping a risqué lyric around a grinding r ‘n’b groove is exceeded only by the speed at which they can run up an impressive bar tab. Catch them at The Queens Tap.

 

It’s folk Jim, but not as we know it. Actually it’s The Model Folk. Forget finger in the ear, bearded, jumper wearing folk police who still harbour a grudge over Dylan going electric, this is Balkan inspired, punked up gypsy folk with a fixation for railways, soviet farming machinery and 1930s drag queens…apparently. Catch them at The Beehive not least because they use the word rumbustious in their band biog’ and you have to admire a band who keep such words in circulation.

 

Level 3 continues in its mission to throw off the gothic imagery and nu-metal fixations of the past (I can see the music forums ablaze already over such a comment) and embrace a broader musical sensibility by hosting a night of reggae. Empower the Gambia, a charity that aims to improve conditions in rural Gambia brings you cool reggae sounds from Bobo Blackstar and The Tribe.

 

Something more familiar can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac (I’ll let you work out what they are all about) and at The Rolleston where The Dark Eyes will be playing covers through the ages from the sixties to the present.

 

In a change from their usual Thursday slot, those awfully nice people at Songs of Praise have a Saturday show at The Victoria. The top slot is taken by Colour the Atlas (pictured) a band whose chilled, cinematic and atmospheric brand of trip-pop (if such a term is allowed) has seen them lauded by critics and touring with the likes of Newton Faulkner. Check out their brilliant new single “That Sound” now and then watch them live, right on your doorstep. Also clutching a new release is Alex Rainsford, who creates a sound that embraces the drive of rock and the dexterity of folk and throws in soaring vocals and heartfelt sentiments. And opening the night is Charlie Bath a singer-songwriter who needs no introduction to the discerning local music fan. If a crystal clear yet warm vocal, emotive lyrics and wonderfully crafted songs are your sort of thing, then make sure you get to this gig on time.

 

If you are after something more visceral, then The Rolleston may have the answers, as The Keith Thompson Band will be firing off salvos on incendiary blues-rock in the style of Moore and Gallagher.

 

And finally the Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive has what can be best described as “3 in the morning, porch blues” courtesy of David Bristow.