Tag Archive: hamsters from hell


January’s Musical Musings

73320216_3227727390587092_1165816366524006400_nIt’s odd writing a What’s On guide for January this in early December (such is the nature of the deadlines and stuff) but I guess it is the closest I will ever get to time travel. So by the time you read this the floor will be covered in Christmas Tree needles, there will only be a quart of turkey curry still to get through and we will have already had to endure enough jokes about 2020 vision and the like from tabloid headline writers to last a lunchtime.You can always distract yourself from such niggles by checking out some live music, which is, understandably, a bit thin on the ground but what there is is certainly worth the effort.

It may be a new decade but some things never change and if you head to The Rolleston on 11th for a slice of Hamsters From Hell there are plenty of guarantees. On the one hand there will be blue humour, swearing, toilet references and the sort of raw R&B that can strip wall paper. On the other hand there will be a surprisingly fine plethora of musicians (looks are deceiving) a wonderfully raucous night out to be had and …well, the sort of raw R&B that can strip wall paper.

At the same venue on 17th Innes Sibun will be delivering his trademark blend of searing rock and roll and soulful blues. There is a reason why none other than Classic Rock magazine dubbed him “The best kept secret in British blues, “ pop along and find out why.

Rock is also on tap at the Victoria on 23rd as Scarlet Rebels and Revival Black bring their Rising Tour to town. They may sound like a couple of pints from the more expensive end of a craft ale bar but the former infuse Therapy? style punch with the suppleness of Muse and the latter have one foot firmly in the classic 70’s rock sound…which is why they get to call none other than Whitesnake tour buddies!

On 23rd The Tuppenny gets back in business with a wonderful double header. Both Phil Cooper and Jamie R. Hawkins (pictured) channel classic acoustic sounds, from James Taylor to Crowded House. Whilst they are often found on stage with Tamsin Quin, this is a chance to remind yourself what fantastic players and songwriters each of them is in his own right.

If something more weighty is to your taste then Bots at The Victoria on the very same evening offer some jaunty indie tempered with some solid rock riffs. A newish local band, so go along and support your scene why don’t you?

And moving along into February, Still Marillion return to Level III on the first of the month. Okay, I don’t normally talk about tributes in this column but I spent my formative years watching the real deal and still have a soft spot for their proggy ways.

Finally on 6th Feb head along to The Tuppenny for a stripped back take on Raze*Rebuild’s usually soaring punky Americana. They say that the true test of whether a  song is any good is if it sounds okay on an acoustic guitar. Let’s find out shall we? Support comes from the ubiquitous Charlie Miles and a musical cohort who go by the name of New Bedlam Asylum…which sounds perfectly ambient and reserved…dontcha think?

the-quireboys-2016Well, we haven’t quite succumbed to the enforced jollification and festive template of the coming season quite yet so before the Christmas jumper brigade and the once a year drinkers from the office temporarily take over proceedings, here’s a few safe musical havens before the coming tinsel and singalong deluge.

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10697395_839039612784945_1481683335433694579_oNot the busiest of weeks for live music coming up but with the summer finally kicking in, I guess barbecues and pub gardens, days out in exotic places, festivals and nights camped under the stars are preferable to being shut in a loud, dark, beer sodden room with dozens of other sweaty people. Live music is okay with that. Live music understands. Live music is patient. Live music will be here waiting when you are ready to come back inside.

That said there is a triptych of great, original offerings to entice you in happening around Old Town tonight and at The Victoria you will find those perennial musical mind-benders, Sex Jazz and their insect fixated, bass heavy, Zappa-infused, psychedelic-punk. Joining them is Cracked Machine, purveyors of intense, droning, proggy soundscapes and RRS a one man band of glitchy, lo-hi weirdness.

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706278_10151048704753039_833851308_oThe big noise this week, quite literally in this case, has to be that it is Easter Bank Holiday which mean’s that it is time for this years VicFest. As always this celebration of local and regional, cutting edge original music takes place over four generically themed sessions and tonight The Victoria presents a wonderful array of young and happening Indie bands.

Getrz lead the charge with their brand of high octane and deftly delivered wide screen indie, Sweet Tooth head up from Bristol to deliver some eclectic and wonderfully soulful indie-pop and We Are Parkas are a trashy take on the Manchester sound. Opening the night is the sweet sound of The Basement Club.

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26170782_914630398738455_5843566105616402098_o 2Sadly it is time to morn the passing of another musical great. Mark E. Smith, the glorious leader of The Fall may not have had the mainstream success that other recently departed icons were known for, but he was an icon nonetheless. An icon of otherness, of belligerence, of the anti and the other, of subversion, things which are by and large missing from todays music. He walked a line between the brilliant and the bizarre, shows were as likely to be terrible as transcendental, lyrics were confrontational and strangely poetic and gigs were your own little secret. He could have steered the band towards stadium success but instead preferred to play above pubs in Bethnal Green or decrepit ex-discotheques in Wythenshawe! Wether you got him or not, loved him or loathed him we can all guarantee that the world will be a less interesting and more conformist place without him. Anyway…to horse, well, musically speaking.

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19143181_1006331876069956_5134772044657416393_oWe’ve had the first snow, a lot of people have their decorations up and there is even a bottle of Amaretto on the drinks shelf but of course it isn’t really Christmas until you have watched Alan Rickman plummet from the top of the Nakatomi Plaza! And the musical offerings also reflect this transitional period, not quite swamped with office soirees where people called Brian from Human Resources take it upon themselves to enforce the fun, not quite into the realm of wall to wall cheesy Christmas songs but certainly at a point where the musical options are more about the tried and tested than the unknown and cutting edge…material wise anyway.

Of course there are always some exceptions and one is the chance to catch the last local Hip Route show of the year at The Beehive. Funky blues, pulsing and soulful grooves, dexterous slide guitar and a sassy vocal growl…what more do you need? Not much but if you feel the answer is a cool folk-pop support act then Sarah Ryan has that covered. If that isn’t your thing then Lewis Leighton will be breaking out everything from Sinead O’Connor to Green Day, Springsteen to Rhianna at The Groves Company Inn.

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16388253_10154974567949233_4158277289166669615_nContinuing this new all-inclusive approach to the town’s music events, this week we pretty much have it all covered. We have originals, tributes, covers, acts from afar, perennial local favourites, rare reunions, DJ’s, jams, slams and karaoke…running the musical gamut from A to…well at least L or M! Not bad for a town that’s usual claim to fame is as the butt of a joke on a re-run of Have I Got News For You. Anyway…to horse…

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13054996_823594491078335_3518252429045520504_oThursday continues to be the night for new, original music and it doesn’t get more original than the offering at The Beehive tonight. Paddy Steer is an enigma, a juxtaposition of seemingly conflicting interests and challenging ideas, angular electronics blended with lo-fi, futuristic soul, trance-dance meanderings and swirling vocal washes. You could call it world music, but just not this world.

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14714917_824267610943051_5388684584880545879_oIt’s all a bit quite out there this week. But then, as we step over the line into the last month of the year, I guess everyone is saving themselves for a sprint finish. Think of this as the deep breath before the plunge (spot the quote and win a…well, nothing actually) the calm before the storm, the storm that will bring enforced wackiness from work colleagues, amateur drinking on a wanton scale and endless covers of Merry Xmas Everybody. Still, all is not lost just yet and there are a few cool live bands to catch before we all sell our soul to Santa.

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166902_250056101706651_204372703_nOkay, we are over the line, there is no stopping now. Welcome to December. From here on in things will slowly descend into the dreaded realm of the enforced wackiness of office parties, of trying to look enthusiastic through karaoke dross, of consumerism and excess. But let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of someone whose work is an inspiration to millions and who we celebrate in song at this special time. Yes, 25th December is of course the birthday of Shane McGowan and we should remember this fact whenever we attempt the dual vocal part of Fairytale of New York.

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