Tag Archive: empire


12961464_980606442020246_937699355755527568_nNow that the clamour of the Shuffle has died down, the rattle of charity buckets has faded and the smell of spilt booze and sweat has been washed out of your favourite gig trousers, it is time to get back into the day-to-day mode of gig going. Happily, Thursday provides a couple of real crackers to let us down gently, starting with something pretty unique tonight at The Victoria.

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1622127_840966529263202_504818935_nWhat have the following acts got in common. Empire, Oliver Wilde, She Makes War, Black Hats, The James Warner Prophecy, Vienna Ditto, Cursor Major, Bridie Jackson and the Arbour…. Give up? Well, they are all bands that you could have seen at Songs of Praise for free that have gone on to achieve national radio play, tour with name bands or receive decent coverage in the music media. If you feel like you have missed out on some great music..and you did then you have the chance to make up for it by catching this show.

On tour from Idaho, The Very Most play Camera Obscure/Beach Boys inspired indie and are in the country touring towards the end of July.

Listen to Wond’ring 

Joining them for the full tour are Glasgow dream-poppers The Yakuri Cable who sound like this…

Listen to Adventures in 1986

And joining them for the Swindon show are our own King in Mirrors who anyone with any discerning tatse on the local scene must be aware of.

Listen to Little Voices

So if Indie, post punk or underground pop is your sort of thing then this time you can get ahead of the curve and catch these bands at a free gig, something that you won’t be able to do for long.

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Library - 23After the doom and gloom of recent events surrounding venue closures, it’s good to see that the town can still put a full event diary in front of its discerning gig going public. Maybe it’s the fact that the rain has got slightly warmer and the Met Office is predicting another half our of sunshine sometime in late August, but what ever the reason there is plenty to choose from this week.

We start with a change in the previously advertised schedule. Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight was to feature one of the most popular bands on their roster, The James Warner Prophecies, but sadly their travel plans for some European festival dates mean that they are no longer available. But fear not, their replacement comes in the shape of False Gods who alchemize elements of Muse and The Manics to make their music an intriguing proposition. Headliners Empire manage to blend pop melody into hard and angular rock deliveries and opening the night is Babies vs. Rabies, who are like nothing you have experienced before, unless you have come across music that is in turn hypnotic, oppressive, violent, atmospheric, brutal and car crash beautiful, sort of like a cross between an art-punk band and a napalm strike. Or a concerto for guitar and hand grenade!

The Hive has similarly original music on offer in the form of The Blue Trees, a stripped back, lo-fi, roots rock sound that will appeal to fans of The Black Keys, the Black Crows and even some bands with other colours in their title.

True legends can be found at The Wyvern Theatre when Colin Blunstone and virtuoso organist Rod Argent lead The Zombies through all the classics. Fifty years on and the band still sound amazing. Those with more of a jazz leaning might wish to head for the Arts Centre as The Bateman Brothers, aided by a host of famous friends, pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Staying at The Arts Centre for Friday and it’s the welcome return of Lotte Mullan; story telling, contemporary folk and famous for her “inside the music business blog.” Musically think Laura Marling meets Loretta Lynn, but her stories make her more like the Bridget Jones of the music industry. More folk can be found at The Beehive with Bateleurs, this time a sort of trans-Atlantic blend that makes you think that if Dylan had not been born alongside Highway 61 but had embraced the A1 in the same mythical fashion, these songs might have been the result.

Two big events happening on Saturday, firstly the Fieldview Festival Launch show at The Victoria. Fieldview is one of the success stories of the local festival scene and their launch show will give you a taste of the event to come, a host of acts to catch including the channeling of the spirits of long forgotten delta bluesmen by Sam Green and The Midnight Heist and the Cameron Brothers (the people who brought you Old School Tie) current brilliant musical vehicle, Weatherstorms.

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Refuge gig at the Museum and Art Gallery where a combination of some stunning music, a very worthy cause and a wonderfully intimate setting made for an unforgettable night out. Following last years success, this years event, to raise money for Swindon Women’s Aid, will take place at Christ Church, Old Town and features the harmonious arrangements and velvet vocals of Emily Barker and Red Clay Halo (pictured), the mathy-acoustic intricacies of Jen Olive, the emotionally rich and beautifully economical songs of Colour The Atlas and the pin drop talents of Faye Rogers. I can’t recommend this show highly enough.

The place to be on Monday is in the garden of The Running Horse as their Acoustic Garden show is an all day celebration of the brilliant music they host their through out the year. This cast of thousands, okay, cast of many, includes Gilmore n’ Jaz, Louise Latham, Alice Offley, Benji Clements and Ethemia. And that’s not the half of it, so get down there for more music than you can shake a shaky thing at.

On Tuesday, drummer Dave Betts brings his Latin Jazz Quartet to Baker Street; so put your dancing shoes on and revel in this wonderful jazz, funk and Latin fusion driven by by Dave’s kit and congas, timbales and tablas. Very exotic!

As the same old arguments of “have guitar bands had their day” and “is electronic music the way forward” continue to be discussed in the dark corners of venues and around the water coolers of music magazines publishers, it is worth noting that whilst it is an interesting argument, it makes no account for the rise of a new musical passion. The ukulele! Not only are so many indie/folk cross over bands taking to the instrument like a sacked girl band singer to a premiership footballer, but we have also witnessed the emergence of the first ever ukulele super group and you can catch them at The Beehive tonight.

 

The Rinky Dinks (pictured) are wall-to-wall brilliance. Taking songs of all genres, from every decade of contemporary music and giving them a uke-over the result is as side-splitting as it is unique and until you have heard Led Zeppelin rendered unto the ukulele, you haven’t heard anything.

 

If that doesn’t quite tick enough boxes for you, there are a couple of other chilled out serving suggestions for you to consider. Riffs Bar has “Folk in The Bar” hosted by local duo, Albion, a night that endeavours to capture the spirit of the Greenwich Village folk revival movement of the 60’s. At the Victoria, Songs of Praise has moved into the top bar for a more laid back show, Nick Tann and The Real Raj are solo performers as well as a duo whose mix and match style takes in everything from folk- pop, Americana and soaring acoustica to John Martyn style ballads. Forget Wacky Wednesday welcome to Tremendous Thursday. Okay, maybe not.

 

A worthy collection of local bands is to be found over at Riffs Bar on Friday, with The Rackets’ chaotic yet mesmerising gutter indie leading the way. SkyBurnsRed will be bringing a taste of violin driven alt-rock, The Porn Issue help funk the place up and Empire will be the opening salvo.

 

Teddy White will be teaching the Rolleston a thing or two about the meaning of the letters R and B, whilst down at the 12 Bar is one of the strangest line ups I have seen in a while. Not that there is anything wrong with the bands, it’s just I never thought I’d ever see all these on the same bill. Between Dead By Friday? The Fixed, Not George and Charlie Anne you have old school dynamic rock, slick, staccato indie, anthemic acoustic and an ethereal voiced solo singer. If you look up eclectic in the dictionary it actually has a picture of the flyer for this show.

 

Metallica fans will want to be at The Victoria, ‘nuff said, and if you are still up for some after hours music The Nightshift at The Furnace will be playing Industrial, Darkwave and Electronica into the wee small hours.

 

 

Saturday is it’s usual bastion of tributes and covers. Shepherds Pie at The Victoria are a tribute to every air guitar anthem ever written and at The 12 Bar The Useless Eaters are a tribute to the sound of the early punk movement, though original music can be found with support bands The Porn Issue (they get around don’t they) and the new wave punktronica of Last Exit Saints.

 

Doors tribute bands are ensuring the survival of the old bus analogy with The Strange Doors at Riffs Bar and The Floydian Doors at The Rolleston, although to be fair with the latter band you do get 2 tributes acts for the price of one.

 

It’s all about the blues at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon session, with The Sons of The Delta. Both electric and acoustic blues, Americana and roots vibes or as one wise soul put it…Raw, righteous, the real Delta deal. More great music can be found at The Rolleston that evening with Irish pop-folkstress Polly Barrett who has more than a touch of Cara Dillon about her, which is obviously a very good thing indeed.

 

The Running Horse, as usual, provides the mid week Euterpean oasis to rejuvenate and revive you from the slog of the real world, this week with the soulful world music vibes of Coach and the dulcet tones of Rhiannon Elliot.