Tag Archive: flashfires


11870933_488084031366179_9122912349955513731_nAll I seem to be reading this week is that it is twenty years since the epic battle for chart supremacy between Blur and Oasis, a battle that had people recording the heady days of the The Beatles and The Stones rivalry. If you took the pitting of the two bands at face value it looked like a bitter battle between working class upstarts from the north and art college hipsters from the South. The reality is that it evolved from a drunken pub strategy meeting between the relevant label bosses at Creation and Food Records but will forever go down in history as an epic replay of that 60’s rivalry that also never really existed. But that’s the power of PR for you and a mythical, class led, musical dust up sells more papers than the minutes of an inspired business meeting. Maybe I should start a rumour saying Nudybronque hate Super Squarecloud and see if that helps sell more tickets and albums.

One show that is really going to sell itself, if people know what is good for them, is the one found tonight at The Victoria. It may be three out of town acts but each one could take the headline slot. Top of the pile in this instance is Echo Boom Generation (pictured), a band who represent where rock music is going at the moment. Big, classic rock swagger meets grunge riffs, a vibrant energy and forward looking attitude proving that the rock is in safe hands. Fellow Londoners, Gelato, open the night with their punked up indie/stoner rock vibe and sandwiched between is Bristol’s Flowerpot, a band who hark back to the days of the Riot Grrrl movement whilst blurring the grunge, rock and indie boundaries. Any rock fans not checking this out will have their membership cards cancelled.

Something much mellower can be found at The Beehive in the form of U&I, which sees Hip Route main man Jim Blair join forces with vocalist Raye Leonard for a night of folk and rootsy covers and originals.

Things take a turn for the surreal at The Victoria on Friday as Nudybronque bring their rock extravaganza Graffiti and Her Friends: Against The Never Ending Sadness to their hometown. If you thought they did a neat line in bizarre before, this is the band taken to the extremes of its strangeness. Having gone down a storm at Larmer Tree festival and with Flashfires and Plummie Racket also on the bill, this may just be the weirdest show you will catch for a long time. It may also be the most brilliant.

Also ticking the strange box, Oui Legionnaires bring the punky, angular indie that they describe as Yelpcore to The Locomotive as support to Strength in Blunders, a band who manage to blend punk riffs with New Wave accessibility and an edgy, threatening vibe that makes them sound like they where hanging around New York’s Lower East Side in 1979.

Out at Riffs Bar bands of a more folky nature gather as a tribute to Terry Hunt and to raise money for The Prospect Hospice. Grubby Jack provide a mix of celtic and Appalachian style tunes armed with fast fiddle breaks and hypnotic banjo, Southern Harmony mix folk and Americana and Ali Finneran recalls the folk revival movement of the 60’s.

Other options are The Teddy White Band playing blues, beat and R’n’B at The Beehive, searing blues rock from Lewis Creaven at The Rolleston and three decades of indie-rock with Vive Versa at The Castle.

Fans of original music should be heading down to The Locomotive on Saturday for a night with Hip Route and Friends. A whole night of music from a band with a great reputation for raw and bluesy slide guitar and funky grooves with the addition of The Barefoot Horns, tabla drums, beatbox and possibly much more.

Elsewhere music follows more tried and tested lines with 80’s revivalists Syntronix playing the best of synth-pop and new romantic, underground pop and chart hits at The Victoria, classic and contemporary covers from all genres from The Hyperbolics at The Queens Tap and iconic rock and metal standards at The Rolleston courtesy of Shepherds Pie.

The final mention is Jim Johnston at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Trading in albums which combine psychedelia and post-punk experimentations, with fractious guitar lines and a bluesy undercurrent it will be interesting to see how that translates to a solo show.

425603_10100168477043011_9295930_nThere has been a bit of a discussion in the on-line comments sections about how easy this article is to understand and extract the necessary information. One side of the argument is that the actual content is difficult to fathom out from my description and prose, opinion and attempted humour, that it would be better if the article was just an embellished list of pertinent information more akin to a listing than an article. My defence is that this column attempts to make the prospect of local live an exciting one through vividly painting what the bands are all about through prosaic description. Whilst I don’t profess to be a new Lester Bangs or Paul Morley, neither would I want this column to read like a telephone directory and hence the poetic license to colour what is effectively a musical menu. I also think that by suggesting that the average reader couldn’t follow my literary twists and turns is to actually undermine their intelligence. That’s my defence and I’m sticking to it.

 

To someone so engrossed in promoting live music performance, the idea of DJ nights might seem anathema to me. But when the DJ in question is one who still scours bargain bins and backstreet music shops to find the right hip-hop, soul, funk and rock vinyl to mix live then you know you are dealing with something above the normal club DJ spinning the same old sounds. DJ Format brings his dance floor filling skills to The Victoria tonight.

 

Friday runs from the sublime to the ridiculous. The Sublime coming in the guise of Tennessee jazz-bluesman Mark Merriman at The Beehive, back in the country on a short tour of the area. At the other extreme we have a certain X-rated act whose naughty name I can’t really mention here but who is known for toilet humour, self-deprecation, smut and catchy pop-melodies. Not for the faint hearted, easily offended or completely sober. All will make sense if you head to The Rolleston.

 

Between those extremes, Riffs Bar offer the not inconsiderable talents of roots musician and slide guitarist Kevin Brown, a man who learnt his trade from none other than Son House and is held in acclaim by the likes of Mark Knopfler. The Victoria has hi-energy neo-rockabilly with Rockabilly Rumble an authentic three-piece rockabilly outfit that does just what it says on the tin.

 

Those who like a slice of nostalgia have a choice of two tribute acts. The sounds of Johnny Cash can be heard at Level 3 whilst The Arts Centre is the place to be to re-live the majesty of Phil Lynott and the gang with Limehouse Lizzy.

 

And if you like your rock music then I should mention an event taking place in Trowbridge on Saturday. I know it’s a bit off of the radar for a local gig guide but with a heavy involvement from Swindon bands Trowbridge’s Rock Diabetes Metal Festival is worth a mention. Alongside headliners Diamond Head and Skreamer (who recently played Level 3) you can find the town represented by All Ears Avow, Harmony Disorder and Burnthru as well as Kodiak Jack and Flashfires who have both played Songs of Praise nights in the recent past.

 

But there is plenty of rock in town if you wish to support the local venues. At The Rolleston, Snatch It Back will be playing psychedelic blues rock, reminiscent of The Groundhogs of whom drummer Ken Pustelnik was a member and at The Victoria, Rorke’s Drift cover classic rock such as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Aerosmith.

 

Another US musician back in the area to tour their latest album is Courtney Yasmineh (pictured) and her band who between them channel the feisty female fronted glory days of Patti Smith, Sheryl Crowe and Blondie; rock chick meets country troubadour meets pop accessibility. Catch her at The Beehive. If your thing is more of an eighties synth vibe, then head out to Riffs Bar where Syntronix will act as a time machine back to the age of jumpsuits, headbands, ironic mullets and jacket suits with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, Miami Vice style.

 

And a couple of mellowing choices to end on. Sunday sees the Indian beats and pastoral acoustic guitar of Skins and Strings at The Beehive and on Wednesday you can catch classical meets Latin guitar maestros Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at the Roaring Donkey.

1526996_516022715159615_454140894_nI’m not one for hero worship, not in music at any rate. Musicians are just normal people – gifted, imaginative, talented, some times even genius but human none the less. The one exception I do make is for a man born this day in 1952 and who made his music under the name Joe Strummer. As a member of The Clash he helped defined not only what punk music could be but also what it could evolve into once the revolution had run it’s short course. As a member of The Mescaleros he mixed rockabilly, punk, ska and world music flavours to great effect but it is his humanity that I find myself drawn to. Even at the height of his fame, he epitomised the man in the street and seemed genuinely concerned about civil rights, the environment and encouraging new musical growth which still continues via his legacy, Strummerville. You can keep your musical genius; give me the flawed but charismatic anarchist any day.

 

Okay, I may be biased about Songs of Praise nights at The Victoria, but I will say that tonight’s show is the first of a run of gigs that is bringing in some great out of town acts, mainly because they booked every local act they know to put The Shuffle together. That said, having seen the diary, fans of original music are in for a real treat and for a short while at least Thursday is the new Saturday. Tonight for example you can catch Dirty 6 at their first Swindon show, an upbeat and infectious outfit who effortlessly weave a wide range of music genres into a tapestry of unique, swirling, danceable indie anthems. Taking the middle slot is Basingstoke quintet Flashfire (pictured)s who have recently recorded their debut album in California with Brian Wheat of Tesla. But this is no MTV rock outfit, all I will say is be sure to wear your dancing trousers you are going to need them. Opening up are new kids on the local block Sahara Heights.

 

Out at Riffs Bar is a musical tribute to one of the stalwarts of the folk and acoustic scene Terry Hunt who sadly passed away in June. Helping to remembering him on what would have been his 65th birthday will be Ells and The Southern Wild, Corky, Dylan Q. his regular musical partner J.C. Leonard, Sean and Daryl from Bateleurs and a headline slot from Missin’ Rosie.

 

Friday sees a Swindon ex-pat return to play his first ever hometown gig since leaving these shores over 30 years ago. Jittery Jack brings his brand of 50’s soaked rockabilly to The Victoria with support from home-grown rock ‘n’ roll sensations Josie and The Outlaw.

 

At The Rolleston the “head boy of the new blues breed” according to Classic Rock Magazine, will be channelling the feel and vibe of the likes of Robin Trower, Buddy Guy and Rory Gallagher. So catch Laurence Jones in full band mode before he is whisked off to superstardom.

 

Meanwhile, out at Riffs Bar the man with the iron tonsils, Steve Grimmett is having a birthday bash. Normally found fronting Grim Reaper, Steve will be fronting his other band, Soundbites and treating you all to a nice slice of classic rock covers. Support comes from far too young and far too talented metallers Twisted State of Mind.

 

Saturday is the day of rock…it’s official. Classic rock covers from Broken Image at the Swiss Chalet on Saturday covering everything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden and Dio whilst at The Rolleston Priest Unleashed will be covering everything from Judas Priest to…well, that’s it really. For something a bit different, but admittedly not terribly different, you can catch a tribute to The Doors at The Victoria.

 

On Sunday at The Rolleston you can catch The Great Nothing playing retro to contemporary rock covers. (Anyone see a theme developing here?) If you are looking for something original musically, then head for The Big Sunday Funday at Riffs Bar in conjunction with Swindon 105.5 community radio station. Along with stalls, a barbeque and lots of stuff for the kids you can catch music from Jimmy Moore, Charlie Anne Bradfield and those Latino Jazz men Gilmore and Jaz. But it’s not just original acoustic music as you get a second chance to catch Soundbites play classic rock standards and Riffs Travelling Dance Band cover the glam, funk and disco hits of yesteryear.

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