Tag Archive: ethemia


13442180_888099744649311_3475199604914760277_nIt’s very encouraging to see the run of bigger acts coming through this parish continuing. And if last weeks offerings were acts that have already made a name for themselves, tonight at Level III you can catch a band still riding a fast, upward trajectory.

Lake Komo (pictured) mixes dynamic indie-pop with melodic rock, is soulful, commercial and yet will appeal to those who don’t wander the mainstream paths. Gorgeous, soaring sonics mix effortlessly with chilled pop grooves to create music which wanders the same pastoral paths as Bon Iver, only with a bit more musical meat on the bone. The support slot sees two of the best local indie bands line up to get the night underway in the form of Yves and Misfires.

Continue reading

12036375_10153815269151844_8481686961822498734_n

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.

10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nAnd so the “Kanye at Glastonbury” debate trundles on with an army of armchair Foo Fighters fans getting outraged on our behalf and trying to find ever more convoluted reasons to justify the fact that they simply don’t like his music. So? Maybe they are forgetting what a festival, especially one the size of Glastonbury (no Glasto…never Glasto!) is all about. Take a road trip to the heart of the West Country, be part of a temporary city of music fans, meet some interesting people, have a drink, get a bit …err…merry (that’s code by the way but this is a family paper,) take in some Cuban Jazz, a 1940’s Swing Band or a Canadian comedian (aren’t they all these days?) head out to the fringe events and learn to juggle. The options are endless. With literally 1000’s of acts to choose from why worry about one act, on one day, on one stage! That said, I stopped going when people in designer wellies from Kent began putting picket fences around their camping area to demarcate their own suburban plot from their neighbours.

 

And our own music week kicks off in fairly eclectic style as well. Level 3 has a wonderful slice of alt-rock spearheaded by Maidenheads Hindsights, a melodic, riff driven, energetic young band and the more abrasive growl of Hereford’s Richa. Slightly at odds with the headline sound, the more wistful indie-folk of Bad News (no, not that one…a different one) play the middle slot and local bands Dreamcatcher and Sahara Heights add an element of moody indie and shimmering shoegaze to the night.

 

At The Victoria Talk In Code will be throwing stadium tunes, euphoric vibes, accessible dance-rock and a spade load of pop sensibility into the mix to deliver their trade mark cross genre fusions. They are joined by the similarly anthemic Echotape and the pop rock of The Fuse.

Meanwhile at The Beehive, The Sitting Tenants offer up English garage band psychedelia, power-pop and modish rock.

 

On Friday, again Level 3 provides the big draw of the night. The Green Gig is a fundraiser on behalf of the Swindon Green Party, but politics aside it’s a fantastic line up. The Headliners, Kid Calico and the Astral Ponies are a supergroup with ex-members from Belarus, Good Things Happen in Bad Towns and Sunday Dogs, to name a few and a neat line in Americana, music hall and raggle-taggle folk. Joining them, conjuring reflective dreamscapes and indie, pastoral sweetness is Colour the Atlas (pictured). Ian Doeser and Neil Mercer get the night underway.

 

After that original music gets a bit harder to find, though fans of classic rock and metal covers will find a lot that they like from either Kok Rok at The Rolleston and Shepherds Pie at The Victoria. All styles, eras and genres can be found at The Liden Arms courtesy of Penfold.

 

Similarly, Saturday continues to cater for the denim-jacketed brigade with more classic rock covers from Broken Image at The Swiss Chalet. If you are fans of rock and rolls most successful survivors, then The Victoria is the place to be for The Rollin’ Clones.

 

Barrelhouse will be playing vintage blues with a hard edge that takes in Chicago’s heritage and the sound of the early English blues-rock movement at The Rolleston and Riffs Bar is the place to be for something with more of a bucolic vibe to it. Rob Richings deals in vocal harmony driven folk that uses indie and pop borrowings to keep it fresh and contemporary. Joining him is Ethemia, a duo renowned for the timeless quality and sensitivity of their songs and the inspirational Leon Daye. Getting the night underway The Southern Harmony, a band featuring three ex-members of Bateleurs, will be playing their debut show.

 

Jim Reynolds takes the afternoon slot at The Beehive on Sunday, filling the room with music that taps into everything from blues to ragtime, music hall to folk.

 

If something a bit more energetic is your sort of thing then The Victoria that evening is the place to be. Stillbust give a new twist to the hardcore genre and Foxpunch blend gritty punk, ska and a thrashier edge into what they adequately describe as speed grunge. Opening that show are Strength In Blunders.

 

And finally, Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you can catch the wonderfully upbeat and infectiously soulful acoustica of The Real Raj.

 

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186Our rather silly Christmas show for your delectation and bemusement.

This week we we feature chainsaws, stunt nuns, naked alligator wrestling we have an interview with an educated turkey, a nuclear powered jukebox, and a live link up with the Rev. Cuthbert Botticough. Music from AK Poets, Bateleurs, Nudy Bronque, David Celia, George Wilding, Port Erin, Ethemia, The Automaniacs, Josie and the Outlaw and Ells and the Southern Wild,

Click Here

 

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186This week we interview Olly Ward who will be playing Blackadder at the Arts Centre. Music from: Ethemia, The Computers, The Fixed, We Ghosts, SoulSmith, British Harlem, Andy Partridge/Peter Blegvad/Stu Rowe, WalkerBroad, Matthew Caron, The Playmakers, Hip Route.

 

Listen here

1482760_10152470476699251_1199696131_nGuess what folks? I’m back. Did you miss me? No? You fickle bunch, a new, younger writer comes along and you forget all about me, typical. I can’t say that I’m not hurt but will attempt to work through my pain by jumping straight into what is happening this week on the music front.

 

Of course the big event coming up is that evergreen explosion of music and good vibes that goes by the name of Riffstock. Yes, those lovely folks at Riffs Bar will be filling the bank holiday weekend with the best local talent beginning on Friday with the regular acoustic slot. It will be an open mic. session as usual but with some special guest slots from the hirsute Shaun Buswell, the blonde bombshell that is Bren Haze and other big names on the local acoustic scene.

 

Saturday is the start of two days of full band music, A Way With Words and Rocket Box cover the rockier end of the spectrum neatly, and there is shimmering lo-hi indie from Sahara Heights, pop-punk from Starlight City plus the classic ska and reggae sound of The Nomarks.

 

The following day again covers a lot of musical bases, from the pastoral acoustica of Rumour Shed and the harmonious Americana of The Shudders to the drum’n’bass punk of 2 Sick Monkeys stopping off at all points in between. Points as diverse as the mad scientist of indie-pop, Nudybronque,(pictured) high-octane ska from The Interceptors and the emotive psychedelia of Sister Morphine. The Monday afternoon is “Kiddstock” a kids and family day. There is a plethora of great music, more than I have room to cover here so check out their website for full details.

 

And if you decided not to join in the fun over at Riffs Bar then here are some other serving suggestions for you. Tonight punk fans will want to be at The Victoria for covers and originals with a first wave Brit-punk feel from Useless eaters and 50 Shades of Punk. If the idea of a psychobilly/R’n’B band is more your musical poison then The Beehive is the place to be to catch TNT, a band made up of ex-members of Screaming Lord Sutch and The Meteors as well as current members of Josie and The Outlaw.

 

Fans of tributes are in luck on Friday as Kins of Leon play the music of those pesky Followill siblings at The Victoria and Metalhead re-run the best bits of the metal and hard rock genre at The New Inn. If however you want something original then get yourselves to The Castle for some big riffing, infectious rock with 8 Minutes Later plus post punk informed Indie from King in Mirrors.

 

So what would happen if The Dixie Chicks and The Pogues joined forces? Well, visually it would look pretty weird but musically it would probably sound a lot like Flash Harry. These stalwarts of the Bristol scene liberally plunder the best bits of Celtic folk, new-country, blues-rock, Cajun and gypsy jazz to create outstanding and original songs. Catch them at The Rolleston. Stiff competition comes from The Beehive as The Eddy Allen Trio take an improvisational jam attitude and bend everything from folk to reggae, flamenco to rock, afro-beat, Celtic and a lot more to their will with stunning results.

 

Saturday, as is the norm, is mainly about tried and tested sounds, Peleton play covers from across the modern musical eras at The Victoria and The Rolleston plays host to Powerslaves, an Iron Maiden tribute no less. Original music can be found at The Regent in the guise of Ethemia, so if meaningful and optimistic lyrics, lush harmonies, exquisite guitar work and humorous rambling interludes are your thing, then that is the place to be.

 

SN Dubstation blend dub (naturally), reggae, hip-hop, pop and ska together into wonderful new shapes at The Victoria on Sunday whilst at the Beehive Charlie-Ann offers up some acoustic treats.

 

The final mention of the week is Louise Parker who is at Baker Street on Tuesday. Playing this show as a quartet, Louise has been lauded by critics (including the late great Humphrey Lyttleton…and if Humph’ says it’s good then you know it is) as the new, great voice in British jazz combining elements of funk, gospel and scat styles. Just what the jazz doctor ordered!

 

 

1380243_520908807997447_1788925937_nI have been getting quite a lot of feedback on this column of late, which is only fair; people should have an opinion on my opinion, a right to respond. One person accused me of being a failed musician…the standard go to of the creative to the critic but as I pointed out, when all is added up, I have made far more money over the years playing music than scribbling about it, so that line of argument more likely makes me a failed journalist. I was also accused of having the audacity of expressing an opinion, even a positive one, but I guess if you stick your head above the parapet, people will take pot shots. I just want to point out that, yes, obviously this is just one persons opinion (so just assume that I have written “In My Humble Opinion” at the end of every paragraph) but remember it is only and opinion and it’s only music; this isn’t meant to be a solution for uniting the middle east, a Shakespearean sonnet or The Gettysburg Address…it’s just music journalism. Discuss…

 

Whilst you are mulling that over you might like to be aware that one of my favourite popular beat combo’s is to be found at The Beehive tonight, Three Minute Tease.  Anton Barbeau not only has made a career releasing albums that sound like the acid fuelled memories of Syd Barrett as interpreted by Julian Cope, he does so alongside a rhythm section who have long been at the forefront of underground pop music via bands such as The Soft Boys, Robyn Hitchcock’s Egyptians, Squeeze and more. So expect sweet psychedelics, trippy, retro pop, space rock or even spaced rock—all packaged with wit and humour in a rich, high gloss coating.

 

For something slightly less crazy, old time Chicago blues comes courtesy of Built For Comfort at The Victoria.

 

Friday has a mix of originals and standards (see, you have even got me bowing down to The Music Police’s Trading Standards Department and calling covers by a much more user friendly name.) The latter comes with good time swing, rhythm and blues from The Teddy White Band at The Beehive and Going Underground keeping the sounds of new wave, post-punk, mod and ska alive at The Victoria. With the former you have two ends of the roots spectrum on offer. For the delicate sound of the deep south mixed with Celtic and more pastoral folk sounds then The Black Feathers (pictured) at Riff’s Bar is the place to be but if you fancy the more raucous end of things then Missin’ Rosie will be hammering home punked up booze soaked folk at The Rolleston.

The tributes keep coming on Saturday as Wizards of Oz play the music of The Black Country’s Prince of Darkness at The Rolleston and over at Riff’s Bar Johnny Warman’s Magic Bus plays a Mods and Rockers showcase highlighting the music of the mid and late sixties such as The Beatles and The Stones, The Kinks, The Animals and as this year is the 50th anniversary of the formation of The Who, expect their music to feature heavily as well.

 

For original acoustic music then head to The GW Hotel for a night featuring Nick Felix, Matt Mordak, Josh Heather, Aiden Moore, Frankie Scott, Welsh Chris and the charmingly named Douche Bags.

 

 

Sunday’s show at The Victoria is by way of a fond farewell. For the last couple of years Old Colours have blazed a musical trail of cinematic soundscapes and shimmering folk-pop but have sadly decided to call it a day. This show will be your last chance to see them and with the dreamy folk-tronica of Henry Green and the sweeping resonance of Familiars building the night, it will definitely be one to remember.

 

If something more relaxed is your cup of chai tea then the ever-popular Lazy Sunday Afternoon earlier in the day at The Art Centre Café might be the answer. Alongside the usual hosts of Mr. Love and Justice, this session features the warm, loved up acoustica of Ethemia and the eclectic and compelling song crafting of Talis Kimberley.

 

As Monday is St Patrick’s Day, The Beehive have a night of celebration which will feature such diverse elements as Swindon Samba, Jim Blair, Les Bicyclettes, Craig Huchesson and even an Irish Disco…so, hands up for a few Frank and Walters classic tunes…just me then.

10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.

4594960091_299x196I have to start this week with an apology. A couple of weeks ago I used this column to try to make a point about the amount of easily available gig information when trying to compile a guide such as this. Although the nature of the comments were intended to be tongue in cheek hyperbole, exaggeration used to make a point, it has been pointed out to me that I may have pitched the article slightly unfairly. In the case of Baker Street I agree that my comments were inaccurate and any lack of information in this column regarding gigs taking place at the venue is a failing on my part and not the venue itself or the promoter who arranges those shows. I therefore apologise for the comments made and any upset they have caused to those involved with these bookings. Right humble pie eaten, down to business.

 

At The Victoria tonight is a band whose return seems to have created a bit of a buzz around the online hangouts of the discerning music fan. The headline act at tonight’s Songs of Praise show features Case Hardin, a brilliant Americana five piece that match the emotive song writing of Springsteen with the alt-country authenticity of Whiskeytown. Support comes from the wonderfully atmospheric, delicate tones of Rumour Shed and emerging new band Timid Deer open the night with their timeless folk sound.

 

Other rootsy offerings are also available in the shape of Hiproute who bring their fired up and funked out, acoustic blues to The Beehive. However if rock is more your thing then you may wish to head out to Riffs Bar for some high octane rock and low-fi punk with Shock Hazard and Diagonal People respectively.

 

The big name for Friday is The Brompton Mix (pictured) , a melting pot of classic 60’s melodies, punk spirit, Weller-esque style, a dash of early Oasis and a whole bunch of stage presence and charisma. They are at The Victoria. For something more tripped out and leftfield, head to The Beehive where you will be treated to the psychedelic blues, progressive song structures, old school rock and roll grooves, modern sampling, spoken word and manic shoegazy guitar wig outs of The Automaniacs. What’s not to like?

 

The Rolleston has The Pre-Fab four…a tribute to the Beatles, obviously, and out at Riffs Bar, the Acoustic Sessions feature the warm folk sounds of Ethemia with support from Rob Richings.

If you are looking for original music on Saturday then it is back to Riffs Bar with Talk in Code’s blend of stadium synth and anthemic guitar sounds, dance grooves and pop sensibility. They are joined by the low sung Americana of Newquay Times, the brash alt-rock of Away With Words and the acoustic duo, The Consuelas. They all play in aid of Animal Asia charity.

 

Elsewhere it is tributes to Green Day at The Victoria, Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston and at The Swiss Chalet Broken Image play a selection of iconic classic rock numbers.

 

With the day of rest, that’s Sunday to you and me, comes some more relaxing musical moments. The Lazy Sunday afternoon at The Arts Centre, the regular fixture curated by Mr. Love and Justice, is host to two great players. Ed Hanfrey, once of the ubiquitous Lavington Bound, is now ploughing a very traditional folk furrow of storytelling lyrics and shanty stylings, whilst Tamsin Quin plays a more contemporary folk music often with a bluesy edge. Your hosts for the session offer their usual mix of social comment and slick pop folk.

 

Culture vultures should note that on Tuesday, Baker Street open their doors to Balanca Quintet, a Latin Jazz outfit of some renown led multi lingual singer and percussionist, Cathy Jones. The band also features the talents of tenor saxophonist Kevin Figes, best know for his work with big band Resonation.

 

The week rounds off with two options on acoustic music on Wednesday with Dick Cadbury appearing at The Roaring Donkey and The Crown offering Charlie Anne and Ben Cipolla.