Tag Archive: felix and the funk


thumbnailIf you were thinking that it is around this time of year that the live gigging circuit goes a bit quiet as bands prepare for the hectic run of Christmas bookings then one look at the list below will show you just how wrong such thoughts are. And it isn’t just the local set out in force either.

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members_sheffieldTonight, The Beehive will be offering you something a bit different, Gratuitous sax in the shape of The Delta West Sax Quartet. (You will have to wait until next week for the follow-up pun, senseless violins, or at least The Model Folk’s epic man-sized violin as they would have it.) Classical, jazz and all sorts of popular reinterpretations rendered unto 4 saxophones. That should make an interesting change of pace.

On Friday The Castle is the location for a bit of a celebration as Swindon Viewpoint throws a party to celebrate its 45th Anniversary. This ever growing media archive and the UK’s longest running community TV service invites you to groove, drink and be merry with them to some typically left-field musical selections. Grasslands brings a bag of green fingered folktronica, Flour Babies an intricate weave of mercurial art-indie-prog-alternative-avant garde and Raze*Rebuild offer a raft of sky-scraping Americana. The night is rounded off with Sex Jazz and their groove heavy alternative vibes and general madness.

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30762906_2098286093774535_3079476132299407360_oSo, we have spent weeks waiting for this news to become a reality. We’ve all deliberated, cogitated and digested, and finally we have arrived. Friday night sees the re-opening of The Rolleston. In the first of two nights of music to usher in the new era, Innes Sibun will be taking time out from the European summer festival circuit to bring his new incendiary, electric blues outfit, The Malone Sibun Band (pictured) to play this opening event.

Also putting a bluesy twist on a range of well known classics and pre-loved songs,  all genres from funk to rock to reggae and of course blues itself, The Blind Lemon Blues Band can be found at The Queen’s Tap. If you want something seriously funky then Felix and The Funk, the clue is in the name can be found at Swiss Chalet with a plethora of dance, soul, disco, pop and funk. It looks like serious groove is back on the menu.

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1472801_551493731605357_193622463_nWith the May Day bank holiday looming on the horizon it means that the coming long weekend packs even more live music options and so without further ado, let’s dive straight in.

Tonight, as is usual, tips the balance towards the original artist with stalwarts Hip Route to be found at The Tuppenny in Old Town. For those unaware of the band, and I can’t image I am talking to many people, this three-piece are purveyors of funky-blues delivered via a killer rhythm section, some deft and dexterous slide guitar-work and a whiskey soaked vocal straight out of an East Nashville juke joint. A hip operation if ever there was one.

At The Victoria you will find something a bit more weird but no less wonderful. All three acts, Dinner The Band, Ravetank and Spring-Heeled Lettuce, come from the musical fringes, one where wonky, lo-fi acoustica, punk’s DIY ethic and a complete disregard for following fashion are the order of the day.

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27503378_1049985821809631_747397107544723842_o.jpgIt’s a controversial issue for sure and at the risk of sounding like one of these music snobs that you always hear about, I am going to raise the point anyway. You could consider covers and tributes as the mass entertainment of the live gigging circuit and original music as the way to ensure that things keep moving forward. Both are required. The former largely keeps venues and music pubs in business these days, the latter feeds into the wider music system and bigger, further flung venues to keep musical evolution a going concern. I only mention this because this week I have been unable to find many original gigs to fill this column and that does beg the question that without that input of new creativity what does the future look like? Is new music taking place outside the traditional live venue circuit? Are we locked into a rose-tinted era of comfort and familiarity? Where will new music come from if not the small, grassroots venues? Enough speculation, on to business.

Blues is on the menu at The Beehive tonight as Built For Comfort offer up the sound of traditional Chicago blues with a few detours through the Memphis and New Orleans scene, expect sultry guitars, organ flourishes (steady) and some solid grooving music. Also following a traditional route but this time down an English folk pathway Splat The Rat take rustic songs from the days of yore and update them for the modern audience at The Victoria.

The one totally original show I could find this week takes place at The Tuppenny and features the welcome return of Phil Cooper (pictured) as he promotes his most excellent and highly recommended new album Thoughts and Observations. He blends the likes of Crowded House and David Gray’s deft pop through his own enlightening songs. Also on the bill is Sarah C. Ryan and her own take on folk and roots infused guitar pop.

Friday sees two helpings of old-school rock for your enjoyment. Firstly at The Victoria Rorke’s Drift and Black Rose line up a set of iconic numbers from the halcyon days of the genre delivered with all the power and the glory of those original bands. Those of a less nervous disposition might wish to head over to The Swiss Chalet for a slice of The Chaos Brothers. They aim to “play the Three Chords of Freedom to an unsuspecting and largely uncaring world” but the reality is that they generally play punk, rock, glam and metal to a rowdy and drunken gathering.

If something smoother and more considered is required then The Soul Man at The Grove’s Company Inn is the gig for you, especially if the golden age of soul, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, The Drifters and the like is your cup of honeyed sonic tea. The Ultimate Band bring the wide appeal of the function band and a diverse and infectious mix of music to The Queen’s Tap whilst Monkey Dolls at The Castle play songs which you probably know but are less likely to hear from your average cover band.

Nuttyness pay tribute to Camden Town’s finest skanking, 2-tone revivalists, Madness, at The Victoria on Saturday so expect a night of ska-pop fun and frolics and all the hits and iconic songs that you know and love. Also playing some groovesome and accessible tunes is Felix and the Funk who will be filling the Haydon Wick Club with all the iconic sonic moments from funk (natch) pop, soul, reggae, dance and disco. Rugs will be cut, wigs will be flipped and dance floors filled.

Funk and rock pair up at The Queen’s Tap as Patsy Gamble and Wishbone Ash’s Muddy Manninen mix up groove, blues, funk, rock and soul into covers and originals at The Queen’s Tap as they lead Hipkiss through their musical moves, Penfold break out the party tunes at The Castle and Stripped take things down a notch or two with acoustic renditions of all your favourites at The Manor.

The Coleview Community Centre starts two days of music with Locarno Beat’s 60’s hits package followed by Get Carter’s pop rock and indie covers on Sunday. Also on Sunday The Revolvers will be bringing a touch of ska to The Duke of Edinburgh.

26805351_1804865899523931_4455629295024373349_nBefore we get into the meat/quorn of the column this week, just a reminder that if you are not seeing your venues gigs here it probably isn’t because the author “only writes about his mates bands” but more likely that you need to keep your website up to date or better still ahead of the chronological curve. If you are updating your listing or events page whilst the band in question is setting up for the sound check, I think it is safe to say that it isn’t going to be that effective. If I, someone whose job it is to trawl the internet, can’t find your gig, it is likely that few other people are seeing it either. Maybe it isn’t that people aren’t consciously not supporting your gigs, maybe they just didn’t know that they were happening in the first place. These, however,  are the gigs I did manage to track down.

Something a bit special can be found at The Tuppenny tonight in the guise of Stereocilia. John Scott, the man behind the music, uses guitar, live looping techniques and analog synths to create dense and rich cinematic soundscapes and beguiling drone art attacks. Support comes from the always compelling Grasslands and his equally unusual musical blends.

The Teddy White Band can be found at The Beehive  for another round of their trademark selection of blues and boogy from a bygone age, long forgotten gems and underground classics. Germany’s Rooftop Sailors bring their classic infused slabs of alt-rock to The Victoria as the UK leg of their Dead Water tour hits town. Support comes from The Stolen Jam Band, who play a mix of alt-rock and pop-punk originals and covers.

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So with all of the Christmas cheer and New Year’s shenanigans finally behind us we can now concentrate on the job at hand, namely grooving your socks off and watching live music. Obviously by now you have probably have heard the terrible news that The Rolleston and Level III are to close before the month is out. Obviously we have been hear before and hopefully a solution will be worked out that keeps it as a music venue, but it does just under line what a tough time music venues and pubs in general are having, I know it is a cliche but the adage “use it or lose it” has never seemed more apt. No matter how arty and forward thinking the music might be, how cutting edge the promoters ethos, how trail blazing the venue, gigs only happen because the venue sells booze, its as simple as that. But buy a CD on the way out as well!

And talking of cutting edge, The Victoria has a something which can only be described as weird and wonderful, and I mean that in the best of ways. Now, I’ve been writing about avant-garde and original music for half a lifetime but even I don’t know what to expect from a band who describe themselves as sounding like “Mercury Rev fighting with Neil Young. Intrigued? Well check out the headliners High Climbers. Flour Babies use swirly synths and choppy guitars to reference glorious post-punkery and opening the night is the mercurial and fairly tale music of Indoor Goblin.

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19143181_1006331876069956_5134772044657416393_oWe’ve had the first snow, a lot of people have their decorations up and there is even a bottle of Amaretto on the drinks shelf but of course it isn’t really Christmas until you have watched Alan Rickman plummet from the top of the Nakatomi Plaza! And the musical offerings also reflect this transitional period, not quite swamped with office soirees where people called Brian from Human Resources take it upon themselves to enforce the fun, not quite into the realm of wall to wall cheesy Christmas songs but certainly at a point where the musical options are more about the tried and tested than the unknown and cutting edge…material wise anyway.

Of course there are always some exceptions and one is the chance to catch the last local Hip Route show of the year at The Beehive. Funky blues, pulsing and soulful grooves, dexterous slide guitar and a sassy vocal growl…what more do you need? Not much but if you feel the answer is a cool folk-pop support act then Sarah Ryan has that covered. If that isn’t your thing then Lewis Leighton will be breaking out everything from Sinead O’Connor to Green Day, Springsteen to Rhianna at The Groves Company Inn.

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14237531_1240827289282248_7951811395618466435_nI occasionally get people asking why I don’t mention gigs going on in this bar or that venue. Well, it isn’t through lack of trying. Obviously I can only collate what information is available on line (I can’t wander around every pub in town hunting for event posters or knowledgeable bar staff) and about a week ahead of the event (believe it or not this isn’t just thrown together at the last minute.)

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13054996_823594491078335_3518252429045520504_oThursday continues to be the night for new, original music and it doesn’t get more original than the offering at The Beehive tonight. Paddy Steer is an enigma, a juxtaposition of seemingly conflicting interests and challenging ideas, angular electronics blended with lo-fi, futuristic soul, trance-dance meanderings and swirling vocal washes. You could call it world music, but just not this world.

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