Tag Archive: from dusk till dawn


524197_10150691403541517_1939880277_nThey say that variety is the spice of life and writing this week’s column has brought up a couple of thoughts relating to that. The first musing I will bring up straight away and is on the subject of gig line-ups. Question: Is it best, when putting a show together, to take the line of generic harmony, in other words to chose a series of acts of a similar style so that the whole bill appeals to fans of one genre of music, or is a more eclectic approach useful in that it the bill as a whole appeals to a wider musical outlook. There probably is no simple answer, but I do know that tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria definitely falls into the latter category as their offering takes in everything from indie to pop to voodoo blues.

Theo Altieri sums up everything that is of the moment in music. His clean-limbed, indie-pop tunes, sit easily on the listener, are vibrant, fresh and punchy and as such he makes a worthy headliner for the show. Vienna Ditto (pictured) is a whole different bluesy, retro-electro can of worms. Looking like an alliance between a lounge jazz diva and a mad professor and sounding like the deal the devil would have struck with Robert Johnson had he been into homebuilt electronica and Twin Peaks, they are as strange as they are brilliant. New Indie kids on the block, The Primaveras open the night.

And if that doesn’t cover enough musical bases, then maybe The Open Secrets brand of modern country meets old time mountain music at The Beehive is to your liking.

Friday takes more of a soul and blues journey, initially at least. The Soul Strutters at The Rolleston do pretty much what it says on the tin as they select the best of the golden era of funk, soul, disco and rare groove. Made up of consummate musicians with a musical pedigree second to none, this is the tightest and funkiest band you will experience for a long time. Riffs Bar is the setting for the launch of a new blues band. Featuring a few familiar faces and leaning heavily towards a Joe Bonamassa feel, Sloe Train are one for blues enthusiasts to keep an eye out for.

If covers are more your idea of a musical night out then you have to options of acoustic pop and rock at The Castle with Stripped or an altogether wilder experience with Toxic at The Victoria.

Looking for something all together more hard and heavy? Look no further than Level 3 and Essenone’s regular night. Kremated lead the charge with their collision of thrash metal, punk and hardcore, imagine Venom’s tour bus crashing into an Exploited gig and you have some sort of starting point. Joining them are Sumer who sound like Tool re-writing Ok Computer plus high-octane metal-heads From Dusk Till Dawn and Powercake.

And this brings me on to my second point regarding the condiment of existence (spice of life…gedit?) and that of clashing shows. For whilst The Victoria hosts The Big 4, a tribute act specialising in the music of stalwarts of thrash metal – Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, The Rolleston has opted for Shepherds Pie who offer a wider selection of music from loosely the same territory. So effectively over just two days, there are three shows, which are aimed at the same audience. Surely that just divides the fans who probably can’t afford to go to every show and who certainly can’t be in two places at once. Just saying.

More rock, indie and funk covers are to be had at The Swiss Chalet with The Shadow Monkeys and up at The Castle, The Hamsters From Hell will be treating (?) the punters to some blustery, raucous and sweary r’n’b as only they can.

That wonderful monthly fixture, Lazy Sunday Afternoon is at The Central Library and as well as featuring your hosts, Mr Love and Justice and their blend of West Coast meets West Kennett folk-pop, has the velvet tones of Emily Davis and the celtic, folk, American, southern harmony infusions of The Black Feathers.

And finally Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey is a showcase of young singer-songwriters. Headlining is George Wilding whose songs encompass Nick Drake, David Bowie, Dickensian vaudeville and Lewis Carroll. Also on the bill are Rhys Bury and Matthew Bryant.

1486548_715081301878014_2123166531_nThere has been much discussion of late on the local music forums and social networking outlets about the nature and future of Swindon’s music scene. Much was said about how and where you put gigs on, the genres and geographic origin of the bands, the promotions and prejudices of the people organising these gigs and even the perceived cliquey nature of it all. I see supporting local music as like being in a union. Whilst there are officials and people who do the admin and organising, the union is the sum total of everyone. And if everyone got involved a bit more then maybe they would feel more included and their voice would be heard and collectively they could help make a difference.

 

So how can you get involved? The obvious one is to go to a show, gigs only work if they have a crowd of punters. If there are no shows around that you like the look of why not talk to a band and a venue about putting something on that is more to your tastes. Or help promote what is already taking place. If people using Facebook spent as much time sharing gig info with their friends as they did sharing pictures of their lunch, their cat, random political ideas and people falling over then more people would know about what great gigs we have going on. One thing that also gets overlooked is buying merchandise, for the cost of a pint or two a CD or a tee-shirt sale might make all the difference to the bands running cost for that night. The bottom line is get involved. And here are some things to get involved in.

 

Tonight, the first day of The Beehive reopening is marked by the regular Acoustic Buzz sessions, hosted by Blind River Scares main man Tim Manning. Along with Tim’ wonderful blend of hillbilly highway meets swaggering folk you can catch the southern fried sounds of The Rosellys and the “popgrass” styling of acoustic duo Peeky Blinders. If you prefer to make your own music then why not grab your guitar, bass, violin, kazoo, spoons (other cutlery if you prefer) or what ever instrument you play and head up to The Victoria for their jam night.

 

Friday is all about big guitars, big beats and driving rhythms. Firstly a mix of original cider swilling, folk punk and Celtic bar room classics can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of Mick O’Toole (pictured), a band who look like a wonderful cross between a Brendan Behan convention and the grounds men of Downton Abbey. Sort of retro-folk chic! Wyvern Theatre is responsible for what seems like the weekly appearance in the parish of Boot Led Zeppelin. Not further description needed. And if you want to revel in a mix tape approach to the most enduring songs of the metal and classic rock genres then it’s Metalhead at The Victoria for you.

 

A few big events roll into view on Saturday. Sticking with the louder end of things for the moment, Level 3 is the scene of Dredded Vyrus Promotions Hardcore and Metal Night. Headliners, Vaults, offer incendiary riffs and an avalanche of backbeats…hardcore at its most uncompromising. Whilst Vicious Cycle offer a similar experience, the band that really caught my ear were From Dusk Till Dawn who manage to mix a bruising brutality with a wonderful ear for melody, roaring guttural, gutter vocals with soaring, clean deliveries and big choruses. Nice. Opening the night are Bear Hunt, blistering melodies, great dynamics and probably the most pained vocals you have ever heard.

During the daytime there is an open air event at Wharf Green raising awareness for local charities and featuring music by The Damned and The Dirty, Ataraxis Vibration, All Ears Avow, Jimmy Moore and others.

 

The other big event and I’m guessing one with not too much of a crossover of fans from that previously mentioned is The Erin Bardwell Collective CD Launch at The Victoria. Another slice of reggae, ska and rocksteady with an old school feel, great harmonies, positive messages, porkpie hats and exquisite song writing from the best on the circuit. Support comes from the ska/dance fusion of SN Dubstation and Pete Murphy spinning the tunes.

 

More old school vibes, this time of a rock and roll nature as 50’s revivalists Josie and The Outlaw play The Rolleston.

 

Final mention of the week goes to Billy Bingham who can be found replete with ballads and tattoos, torch songs and guyliner at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.