Tag Archive: gaz brookfield


davesharpIt’s always nice to start the column with a bit of a bang, especially when the bang in question relates to a local lad made good. Tonight Gaz Brookfield returns to The Victoria, this time without the full band but with trusty sidekick Jake Martin in tow. A sort of folk-punk Robin to his acoustic guitar wielding Batman. Expect all usual mix of wit and wisdom, riotousness and reflection from both chaps and probably a bit of mixing and matching along the way. Opening the show is an acoustic set from Raze*Rebuild who prove that even their skyscaping and glorious songs can be stripped back into sleeker and more considered forms if the need arises.

The Beehive also has old friends returning to them, in their case Built For Comfort, a band who will transport you to a back street blues bar in an alternate America where Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans exist in close proximity and whose signature sounds they play perfect tribute to.

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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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14354920_10153788188541466_8361563475397586241_nTo say that Gaz Brookfield has remained a fiercely independent musician, DIY stalwart and cottage industry enterprise is like saying that he is partial to the odd tattoo or used to have a bit of a thing for cider. Gigs are booked without agents, he chauffeurs himself around aided only by his own assigned RAC man and albums are recorded largely under his own multi-instrumental steam. But there comes a point where it is time to up the game, head into the realms of bigger and slicker production, aim for a fuller sound, work with a band. What is a West Country Boy to do?

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10350429_860852760613038_2339669657931546296_nYou often hear of young bands trying to get that mythical “record label interest,” find a manager, getting “discovered” or making music that is “radio ready” or “on trend.” They are probably throwing these terms around sat in the snug bar of the Kebab and Calculator after their third gig in as many months in their college hall. This isn’t the seventies, those days are gone and it basically comes down to two things. Write great songs and play them to as many people as you can. One person who is proof that this strategy works can be found at The Victoria tonight.

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12771521_505280549673444_5585277270321832928_oMaking ends meet as a musician is tough enough at the best of times, especially when trying to keep a full band on the road, it is the reason that so many musicians opt for solo gigs either alongside or instead of band careers. But what if you want to really challenge yourself? Well, you could try organising a 10-day tour around the country with an orchestra made up of players who just turn up on the night. Every night the band will be different and comprised of an ever-changing set of instruments and players who are new to the songs. Seems a ridiculous idea? I agree but it is what Shaun Buswell and Erik Nyberg have set themselves to do and you can catch the Swindon leg of the tour at The Arts Centre tonight.

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1484719_657356970970012_2094066391_nIt’s been a while since this town has been able to wax lyrical about one of its own making good on the national musical stage. Obviously XTC spring to mind and Gilbert O’Sullivan for those with long enough memories and some of you might recall Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto who has gone on to work with the great and good of America’s alternative scene. But it is not by any means an easy or particularly long list to compile. But, if pushed to predict a future addition to such a list I would probably nominate the man you can be found at The Victoria tonight.

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10550149_579920588783850_7595782547218567099_oI would say that quality over quantity is the best way to describe this weeks offerings, either that or venues are being less than forward in advertising their musical wares, but let’s not get me started on that one again.

The first Thursday of the month at The Victoria is the spiritual home of Songs of Praise and ten years down the line and that night is still delivering the goods; original music for the more musically broad-minded amongst you and tonight those goods take the form of 3 very original alt-rock bands. If last decade’s alt-rock was defined by the frankly appalling Limp Bizkit or worse the corporate, grunge by numbers of Puddle of Mudd, then the current grassroots movement is more than redressing the balance and you can catch the best of them tonight.

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251026_474397722648292_1275993545_nRock fans should be fairly happy this week with a higher than average quota of gigs coming from their favoured genres, but that is not to say that between the louder and more shouty selections there aren’t a few other styles being well represented and at least one iconic act crossing the parish boundary as well.

 

We The Deceiver lay generically midway between Post-Hardcore and Djent (which I have to admit I thought was a small town in Tunisia, but which is actually a gnarly, muted, low-end guitar driven style) so expect their set at The Victoria tonight to be filled with thunderous grooves, intense riffs and bombastic beats. Local support comes in the form of Roads To Nowhere, a similarly uncompromising onslaught of extreme and brutal sounds.

 

As if to balance the extremes of that gig, Keith Thompson plays The Beehive in solo mode. Rootsy, southern fried blues blending effortlessly with more homegrown influences to great effect.

 

Friday at Riffs Bar sees rock on the menu, this time from Clay Gods, a band who weave dark atmospherics, gritty grooves and lyrics equally at home delivering rock standard street sleaze as they are thought-provoking philosophizing. Joining them on the bill is The Dirty Smooth, who write tunes hard enough for the boys to rock out to, but sweet enough for the girls to dance to, and the blues fuelled alt-rock of Four Dead Crows.

 

More solid rocking options can be found at The Rolleston as Hot Flex deliver classic heavy rock and metal covers and the mercurial Bruise make a welcome return to The Beehive. Imagine the song writing sensibilities of Joni Mitchell, the dynamics and production values of Genesis and the epic pop of The Eurythmics and you only start to get a feel for what this amazing duo have to offer.

 

A Songs of Praise occasional Friday show is also to be found at The Victoria where White Lilac headline. They may look familiar, having evolved from Faye Rogers and her band but the sound is a whole quantum leap into new musical territory. The pastoral folksiness has been swapped for chiming guitars, brooding cello, distant crashing percussion, sonorous saxophones and a whole wash of gothic beauty and post punk edginess. It’s a musical transformation that you need to hear…and indeed see, to believe. Joining them is the sweeping dynamic soundscape of Familiars (pictured), a more chilled, piano driven White Lies perhaps and the shoegaze referencing but up to the moment indie of Coco Esq.

 

Saturday sees the icon I mentioned hit the stage as multi-million selling recording artist and award-winning actress, Barbara Dickson plays The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Beans on Toast may be seen to be an icon to some, albeit in a more niche and under-the-counter-culture sort of way. He brings his incisive and hung-over musical take on modern life to The Victoria before heading off to the States to play with Irish punk-folk exiles Flogging Molly. He brings with him someone you will all by now be familiar with (if not why not?) Gaz Brookfield, our very own slice of poor boy makes good and purveyor of charismatic, heartfelt and infectious songs. Ben Wiltshire and Sophie Brown get the night started.

 

Explosive, raucous, boozy, sweary and unpredictable music can be found at The Rolleston as The Hamsters From Hell celebrate their 30th Birthday Bash, probably not what your significant other had in mind as an option for St Valentines Day, but certainly a real test of a relationship. Support comes from 2 Sick Monkeys.

 

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions hosted by Mr Love and Justice are now being held at The Central Library and this month they have a couple of very special acts for you. Local roots collective S’Go mix up folk, blues and country styles with more eclectic gypsy jaunts, shanty shindigs, café jazz and everything in between. Also appearing are Lightgarden a band whose celtic jigs and eastern vocal tones are a beautiful mix of orient and occident.

 

Finally, The Roaring Donkeys Wednesday offer to break up the working week comes with a stripped back show from Kitchen Sink Dramas; poignant social comment meets infectious musicianship, wit and wisdom all in one place.