Tag Archive: eye for an eye


lord_bishop_rocks_carlisle_01_313x470As Harold Wilson once said, “ A week is a long time in local music, ” well, something like that. Anyway, after a few weeks of being hard pushed to find much to talk about on the gigging front, this week is an embarrassment of riches and so without further….

 

So starting in our usual departure point on this rollercoaster of what’s-on-ness, The Victoria, tonight has it’s second show commemorating Tom Humber’s all too young passing a year ago, with the hard and heavy sounds of In The Absence of Light and Eye For An Eye. Those looking for a more rootsy fix would do well to head for The Beehive and this month’s Acoustic Buzz. Hosted and featuring a solo set from Blind River Scare’s Tim Manning, this month’s bill also sees the bluesy folk of Tamsin Quin plus Boss Caine, a man who looks like a Bowery street busker and has a sound and style reminiscent of Tom Waits. Nice!

 

Staying with roots, on Friday you can catch two of the best of that genre at The Rolleston as Hip Route bring their energetic and emotive acoustic-blues groove, slide guitars and beatific beats to bear on the audience. Support comes from Sam Green who even without his Midnight Heist cohorts is a musical force to be reckoned with. Riffs Bar Acoustic Session features a triptych of folk artists…for those that didn’t go to Sunday school that means three. The “Dude Where’s Your Car Tour” is a package of young singer-songwriters from the Midlands and comprises of David Young (no, not that one, a different one,) Dan Salt and the wonderfully named Brains For Breakfast.

 

The Automaniacs are at The Beehive; expect psychedelic instrumentals mixed with proggy structures, old school rock’n’roll, atmospherics and electronic washes or just imagine the sort of sounds that might come from a haunted music shop in the early hours.

 

For those who fancy crossing the parish boundaries and heading out into the sticks, as a teaser for The Big Gig later in the year, you can catch a bunch of bands at The Crown in Broad Hinton, namely The AK-Poets, (or catch them again at The Royal Oak on Saturday) Charlie Ann, Full On and Nick Felix.  Party band Interlight will be providing covers and humorous banter at The Victoria.

 

Saturday see’s one of the busiest nights musically around town I have seen for a while, nothing at all to do with venues booking bands merely as pre-football party acts whilst balding forty something’s in ill fitting sports regalia explain loudly to each other why their team selection would be much better. No, I’m sure the bands have been book purely on their own musical merits.

 

Original Brit-Punks, The Members bring “the sound of the suburbs” to The Victoria, mixing explosive first wave punk, pop melodies and reggae vibes. I’m sure the fact that their show is scheduled to finish at 10.30, just as the football starts is pure co-incidence. More heavy sounds can be had at Riffs Bar as Lord Bishop Rocks (pictured) swaggers into town. Beatle-esque melodies, Sabbath’s musical weight and the funk of James Brown are moulded into what the band themselves title Sex Rock. Superb Support comes in the form of Burnthru and Mascot.

 

Proving that it is not all about numbers, Level 3 have a show entitled Two Piece Suit: 2 acts each made up of two musicians. The Sea mix the sass of T-Rex with the swagger and industrial riffing of The MC5 whilst 2 Sick Monkeys play incendiary punk with humour and dexterity. Meanwhile in The Rolleston next-door The Imperial G-Men use rock and roll, jump and give to excite their crowd.

 

Something less raucous comes courtesy of The GW’s regular acoustic night, this time featuring sets from All Ears Avow, who’s normal modus operandi is trying to inflict structural damage via white hot metal onslaughts, Emi McDade whose delicate piano creations I have previously championed in these pages, as well as The Philly Wood Band, Tyler Harvey, Jack Summers and another outing for Hip Route. Covers are provided Peloton at The Royal Oak and The Hyperbolics at The Queens Tap.

 

If you need something that afternoon to get your music juices running then a perfect aperitif is watching David Marx play the café at The Old Town Gardens.

 

And briefly, The Academy of Music and Sound are running two nights of music at Level 3 on Tuesday and Wednesday to raise money for the Prospect Hospice.

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426615_307388412659174_1530646521_nA bit of a Curates Egg for seekers of original music this week and those not familiar with Victorian satire should Google the phrase immediately. If, however, you are one of those people that are content to hear music with an already existing pedigree, then you will have a field day. But, tonight at least, there is something truly original on offer. Songs of Praise at The Victoria is always striving to bring in bands that tick boxes to do with boundary pushing attitudes, uniqueness and fresh sounds and tonight they have excelled themselves.

 

Nudybronque is a band that have built up quite a reputation over the last few years, evolving from a perfectly pleasant punk-pop four-piece to a truly mesmerising experimental indie band and the release of their latest e.p. Moondog merely confirmed them to be a band writing some of the best tunes in their field today. Tonight they are joined by Port Erin, another band who have striven to push the boundaries of their own musical development, these days plying a musical trade of space and atmospherics, subtle dynamics and an almost jazz inflected quality. Opening the show is Oui Legionnaires, a band that almost defies generic pigeonholing instead preferring to invent their own terms such as puzzle-pop and yelpcore. No idea what that means? No, me neither, may it’s best you check them out.

 

Something far more describable is at The Beehive in the guise of Robert Brown, a troubadour whose style falls on the less fey side of Nick Drake and the sweeter edge of Jimmy Page.

 

The big event for Friday is the Ocelot Magazines Eighth Birthday bash at The Victoria. Being a publication with strong connections to the local music scene, you can imagine that they are able to pull in the best bands around and this line-up is a bit of a corker. Headlining is the newly re-emerged Racket, now fully embracing their brit-pop leanings and elevated to a five piece but with all the live swagger and attitude that you associate with the band of old. Vienna Ditto offers a contrasting sheen of wild-eyed rockabilly riffs and sparse, atmospheric electronica whilst looking like collaboration between a mad scientist and a jazz chantress. Boss Cloth brings the noise, as it were, a heavy yet melodic wave of grunged rock riffs and drum dynamics. Opening the night will be Chip Daddy (pictured) a man as well known for his outrageous off stage stunts as he is for his onstage rap parody.

 

Rumbustious…that’s a good word isn’t it? Rumbustious music can be found at The Beehive courtesy of M.O.D. who play Balkan inspired folk using everything from washboards to double bass, harmoniums to clarinets and will be playing songs from last years wonderfully titled Travelling at The Speed of Cattle. If something smoother is called for, Benji Clements will be playing in full band mode at The Royal Oak and the ska and reggae creations of SN Dubstation can be found at The Liquor Lounge.

 

Other options are the rock, blues and swing standards of The Teddy White Band at The Rolleston and classic covers from Switch at The New Inn.

 

On Saturday, Level 3 features a night of music in memory of DJ, radio presenter and all round good egg, Tom Humber who sadly passed away a year ago. As a devoted rock and metal fan he would certainly have approved of the bands paying tribute; melodic trash metallers In The Absence of Light, heavy biker-rock with a dash of Southern charm from Eye For and Eye and Dodging the Bullet playing iconic rock covers. Meanwhile next door at The Rolleston Metal Gods cover similar musical ground and the music of Paul Rogers of Free and Bad Company fame, is being re-visited at The Victoria.

 

Reggae music is being celebrated by The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive and more pop and rock standards can be had from In It For The Money who re-launch the band at Riffs Bar and Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Session re-locate to the bandstand in Old Town Gardens and from 5pm you can have fun in the sun (you never know) with acoustic music from Blake, Rob Beckinsale and as ever your hosts, Mr Love and Justice.

Final mention of the week goes to those dapper acoustic Latin-jazzmen, Gilmore’n’Jaz who play the Roaring Donkey on Wednesday and whom I can’t recommend highly enough.

Library - 99There was an interesting debate on line the other day, mainly from a promoters point of view and centred around the age old problem of getting people out to watch live music. I have written about it extensively elsewhere but it is worth just recapping on the main thrust of the arguments here. One side seemed to want to lay the blame of poor attendances at the feet of the punter in a fairly sanctimonious line that went something like “ we are putting these gigs on for you and you are not attending them, therefore you are failing as a music fan” The usual clichés, use it or lose it statements and the one-upmanship of who’s most passionate about music followed in its usual dreary inevitability.

 

I see the scenario the other way around. The public know what they want and if promoters and venues are suffering from ill attended gigs, maybe their “product” and a gig is just as much a product as Tesco sausages, just isn’t that appealing. In short maybe they are just booking the wrong bands; wrong as in over played, limited appeal or just plain boring. Last week in particular showed that if you tap into the right vibe people will respond and bands such as Young Kato, Portia Conn, Old Colours, Spyglass, SkyBurnsRed and even old faithfuls like The Hamsters from Hell played to decent crowds. It can be done, but if people aren’t turning up to your shows, maybe the answer to the problem lies closer to home than you think.

 

Right, I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested enough and come to the conclusion that these are the gigs that you might like to go to. In the name of fairness and to avoid the usual backlash, I must point out that other gigs are available and door prices can go up as well as down.

 

Interesting proposition in the top bar of The Victoria tonight, Normally to be found performing with Toupe, Grant Sharkey is a brilliant mix of upright bass, live humour, improvised lyrics and audience participation all of which makes for a brilliant live experience.

 

Friday seems to be the night when it’s all happening, starting in Old Town and working our way down the hill it goes like this. The Arts Centre has the legendary Colin Blunstone, a name associated with bands such as Argent and The Alan Parsons Project but most famous for being a member of The Zombies and co-writing the hit She’s Not There.

 

Round the corner at The Victoria, after too long away from the scene, The Shudders (pictured) are back spearheading a cracking night. Not only do you get their lo-fi, folk-pop, Americana shennanighins, but you also have Alex Taylor who channels the ethereal acoustic vibe of the likes of Damien Rice and John Martyn, plus the funkier, rootsy acoustica of The Right Hooks.

 

By the time you get down to The Beehive, something very interesting and unexpected is afoot. Whilst certain venues at the more boisterous end of town have been hosting various X-Factor contestants, here you will find Dorka Shodeinde, who was well placed in the Hungarian version of the contest performing with her guitarist Roland Polyak, the result is something altogether more soulful and palatable. If you want to play the nostalgia card, The Rolleston plays host to The Nomarks who are keeping the sound of the late seventies two-tone/ska revival alive and kicking.

 

Although Swindon is never short of metal bands, Riffs Bar has taken the interesting slant of getting some of the top bands of the genre, namely Eye For An Eye, From Ruin and Mortdelamer to play acoustic versions of their songs. Also note that this is Mortdelamer’s last ever gig, so I think it is only fitting that all you metallers support this and give them a great send off.

 

On Saturday at the same venue you can catch John Coghlan’s Quo, touring as a warm up before the much talked about classic line up Status Quo reunion. Not normally one to tout the tribute set but as it’s Transmission, who recreate the glorious sounds of Joy Division, I can’t not give it a quick mention. That’s at The Victoria and support is a Killing Joke set from 1000 Planets. If country music is your thing then you need to be at the Arts Centre for the iconic Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys.

 

And finally we jump to Wednesday when you have the options of a Bluegrass jam session at Riffs Bar or some wonderful joyous and sweeping acoustic folk from Antoine Architeuthis at The Running Horse. Support comes from Alice Offley, genre-hopping pianist who is  equally at home knocking out brash pop, delicate other worldly dreamscapes and everything in between.

And now the News. In light of recent events I now find my position as writer of Sounds Around Town no longer tenable and have therefore decided that the only proper course of action is to step aside and spend more time with my record collection and re-runs of Time Team. As a replacement I have appointed myself to the position of Acting Dave Franklin as an interim solution until the matter is resolved. So as to avoid any lengthy negotiations I have also asked the paper to consider me for a £450,000 golden handshake but have, as of yet, received no reply. Apparently questions have been raised in the House about the situation, not my house, you understand, someone else’s house, but the windows were shut and I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

 

So on with the show. It’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight again the tables and subdued lighting is out to welcome the dulcet tones of Emily and The Dogs. Mixing jazz, folk and rock and coming off somewhere between Polly Harvey and Ani Di Franco, this trio of highly experienced musicians are something a bit special. A slight change to the plans sees historically aware, baroque-pop stalwarts Mr Love and Justice take the middle spot with Nick Felix opening up the evening. Meanwhile jazz is on the menu at The Beehive with the guitar and vocal combo Ruba Tempo.

 

Friday night is all about the Children in Need show out at Riffs Bar. Burnthru bring their rock hybrid – part metal, part sleaze, part grunge to the party and joining them are The Dark Sinatra’s, a band whose ability to mix groove driven bass lines, rocked out jazz junkie drum fills and Byzantine heavy guitar work into something dark, experimental yet accessible and danceable is unprecedented.  Scud Penguin and 5 Lives Left are also helping this most worthy cause.

 

Over at The Furnace it’s all about old school rock. Out of the flatlands of the windswept east, otherwise known as Lincolnshire, come Nightvision, blistering classic rock, razor wire riffs and thunderous rhythms will be the order of the day. Dead By Friday? and Wreckoning provide more of the same, but if you like your rock a bit more Sunset Strip, a bit more sleaze-boogie and street-smart, then make sure you catch Rough Cut.

 

In a week with an already heavy rock bias, then The Victoria will provide a roots music oasis on Saturday night. The funky grooves and lap guitar blues of Hip Route are the musical destination of the evening but first you will have to negotiate a wonderful journey through soulful acoustic jazz vibes of The Andy Grant Trio and the smorgasbord of southern sounds that tumble from Pignose (pictured).

 

The Royal Oak plays host to The Erin Bardwell Collective, old school ska, reggae and rocksteady all go into the mix and whilst you are there make sure you pick up a copy of their cracking new album, Bringing The Hope.

 

Back into the maelstrom of the heavy sounds that are dominating this week and a perfect pairing washes up at The Furnace. Both Godsized and Eye For An Eye revel in thunderous riffs and colossal beats without losing their ear for melody. The result is a biker metal mix of the best of old school British such as Sabbath and the southern swagger and groove of ZZ Top turned up to eleven. From Ruin play the role of the perfect opening act.

 

The 12 Bar also get in on the act as Newquay hardcore outfit, Envy The Fallen play a tribute set to Australian metalcore band, Parkway Drive. More metal is also forthcoming from Make No Mistake and the modest Dissolute who’s website states that they are “way ahead of their time in terms of talent.”

 

Sunday afternoon is a bit more chilled out. When they cried Go West! one native of Tulsa, Oklahoma came east, and you can hear the anglicised, alt-country and Costello-esque delivery of Bob Collum at The Beehive for the  afternoon session. Alternately you can head for the Arts Centre and another outing for the west-coast jangle meets West Country lore of Mr Love and Justice. They are joined by Albion, a folk duo in the Greenwich Village coffee shop style.

 

Wednesday evening has it’s usual musical barrier against mid week boredom. Missin’ Rosie deliver rocked out Celtic folk at The Running Horse, a wonderfully charismatic and joyously upbeat support comes courtesy of The Real Raj. There is a Bluegrass jam over at Riffs Bar or you can catch the new line up of The Blue Trees at The Victoria.

Anyone still doling out those worn and weary phrases to the effect that nothing ever happens in Swindon obviously weren’t out and about last night. Having cut down the three potential gigs I wanted to be at to a more manageable two, apologies to Talk In Code, I hope it went well for you, there was still a mid evening sprint between gigs to make things work. Add to that Riffstock raging away just outside these parish borders and you can see that the old “nothing ever happens” and “no decent bands” clichés lie dead in the water. Still, such phrases are normally turned out by people that haven’t bought an album since The Strokes first hit the ground running and were staying in to watch Celebrity Shoe Size or whatever cutting edge tele-visual feast was on offer last night.

First stop was the Out of Towners gig at the 12 Bar, timing it just right to catch The Peasant’s King. Listening to their music last week when I wrote them up for the local gig guide, something about them immediately had me hooked, live they  managed to get even further under my skin. I have always been drawn to bands that have a strong sense of history, Blyth Power, New Model Army, The Men They Couldn’t Hang were all defining influences on my musical tastes and what I saw in those bands years ago also managed to run through The Peasant’s King music. More than that another band seemed to loom large over their tunes. Big Country! Probably not the coolest of references these days but for me it was there, something in the lyrics, the phrasing, the subject matter, the song structures, the well thought out dynamics and on occasion some of the guitar work, okay maybe more The Skids than Big Country but very Stuart Adamson none the less. Kingdom and Promised Land are great tunes. They may be a band marching to a socio-historical military beat that is slightly out of step with the cool, fashionista dictates of the new super-model army, but then all my favourite bands always were. Certainly a band I will be checking out in more detail.

Time restraints and obligations meant that I had to dash before seeing any of Peyote, The Fixed and The Doll Rats (thus missing them twice within walking distance in the same number of weeks), I do hope that the night filled up a bit from the small audience at the start of the night, shows like this are the heart of grass roots music growth, introducing new bands to different audiences and vice versa.

So to the Furnace and Eye For An Eye in a rare hometown gig. Now back down to a three piece, though having lost none of their ferocity because of it, this band are all about one aim – to rock like a bastard! And they do just that. Mixing southern grooves with full on metal punch, the result is a band that are seemingly built for the world of big stages and stadium audiences and I have no doubt that day will come. Most metal bands, particularly on the local scene, seem to leave me cold these days. Amongst all the screamo-incoherence, the unnecessarily over the top ego-shreddery and the style over substance nature, it’s refreshing to experience a band in that broad genre that has actually remembered that songs are also known as “tunes” for a reason. They need melody, choruses, riffs, hooks…whatever it may be that you use to engage the audience. Eye For an Eye has such things in bucket loads. No matter how claustrophobically big, how dark and heavy, how threatening their delivery becomes, there is always a hypnotic, inescapable groove underlying what they do. And that is what makes them quite simply one of the best hard rock bands of the moment.