Tag Archive: from ruin


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.