Tag Archive: funk’damentals (the)


149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

Library - 77As is the cyclical nature of local music, we seem to be at a bit of a low ebb at the moment. Economical considerations have seen various established support mechanisms disappear, from festivals to radio to venues. But what can you do about it? Well, everything. We have been here many times before and as the musical vehicles that we have taken for granted no longer provide that safety net then it is time for the grassroots of the music scene to take up the slack. In a past time it would have been called the punk ethic, the D.I.Y approach, maybe it is a time to return to such a way of working.

So what can you do to make things happen on your music scene, and remember it is you scene, it doesn’t belong to the bands, the venues, the promoters, it belongs to everyone. Firstly, you can set up your own gigs, have a word with venues and arrange to use one of the quieter nights in the week to put a show on or even put on a gig in an unusual place, a youth centre, a back garden or even your own basement.

Technology means that it is reasonably easy to produce your own podcasts broadcasting local bands or fanzines that advertise the underground scene I propose. As the total antithesis of spoon-fed, couch potato media and the commercial world of cash flows that venues have to operate in, I’m sure it appeals to a certain type of (slightly anarchic) creative mind. The question is, do you have the will and energy to make it happen or are you going to just bemoan the loss of your scene. It’s up to you.

Whilst you are thinking about that, here are a few gigs you might want to go to.  Tonight at The Victoria, auralcandy and friends are at The Victoria. Those purveyors of pick and mix, guerrillas of genre and lyrical libertines, auralcandy (a band so poor that they can’t even afford a capital letter) are joined by Minnie Birch and David Bowmer. Minnie describes her style as “dreary folk pop music” though this is music that has enabled her to open for the likes of Joan Armatrading so I suspect a certain amount of self-deprecation is at work. Dave Bowmer plays a strange device called a Chapman Stick and through this, live looping and percussion from David Holmes they create wonderful dance driven surf soundtracks. Intriguing!

Anglo-Swedish blues maestro, Krissy Matthews just goes from strength to strength. Having played festivals the length and breadth of Europe and in places as iconic as The 100 Club and The Cavern, the fact that you can get to watch him for free at The Beehive is a chance not to be passed up.

Friday is the busy one this week but with a wide range of genres up for grabs there is something for everyone. In the name of balance I should mention that the human six-pack, Peter Andre, is at the Oasis playing a selection of his hit! X-Factor fabrication The Risk and Sam Gray support. (Can you tell I typed that through gritted teeth?)

If you do want a proper live experience that is all about the dance floor groove then a better option is The Funk’daMentals at The Victoria an awesome and accomplished band playing the funkiest tunes from James Brown to Jamiroquai and from Rose Royce to The Sugarhill Gang.

In the worthy causes department, The Furnace are hosting The Empower and Swindon Street Pastors Charity Gig. Music comes in the form of The Graham Mack Rock Band, Starlight City, plus Gambian drummers and acoustic sets. Meanwhile returning after more than a week away, Josie and The Outlaw will be treating The Rolleston to their trademark rockabilly, R’n’B and old school rock and roll.

Forget The Black Keys, The White Stripes and The Kills, the only two-piece band that matters are in town on Saturday. If drum and bass driven punk, shouty vocals delivering lyrics that wander between poignant and just plain dumb are your thing, then get up to The Victoria for 2 Sick Monkeys (pictured), the best thing to come out of Wootton Bassett since the 55A bus service. Headlining are The Nomarks – maximum ska!

Ending, as we often do, at The Running Horse on Wednesday and I highly recommend you check out the reflective, dark and bittersweet melodies of Ells Ponting and the raw, funky acoustic blues of Jim Blair, a real mid-week oasis of talent.