Tag Archive: hello lazarus


1455048_10151626389261362_1814659028_nSo here we are again, at the tail end of another year and time maybe to pause and reflect on the year gone. Whilst everyone was distracted by footage of Miley “so thin and yet so thick” Cyrus twerking in the most indecorous fashion in a bid to be controversial and the circus show line up that is X Factor looking more tired and unconvincing than ever, what was actually going on in the trenches, the local musical grassroots. Well, with the 12 Bar standing boarded up like a silent epitaph to a more productive time and the MECA echoing to the sound of roller skates and baying fans of pugilism, things might seem at a low musical ebb.  Even many of the pubs have decided to bite the bullet and call time on their musical activities. Add to that promoters and even new bands seem to be thin on the ground and things might seem in a bit of a slump.

 

To take a tongue in cheek reference from that source of all knowledge, Spinal Tap, maybe the appeal of live music is not on the wane, just becoming more selective. That said, The Rolleston, Riffs Bar, The Beehive and The Victoria still manage to cater to a wide range of music fans, The Shuffle made it to its seventh year and managed to be more diverse than ever, incorporating poetry, art and dance as well as music. We also had events such as SN1 Fest, which managed to incorporate The Underground Orchestra into a wide range of local music. Plus the likes of The Stratton Stroll, Oxjam and a number of gigs now taking place at Basement 73 and things are looking pretty positive. Musically Swindon has always punched above it’s weight, maybe it is just that things have spiralled down that you can gauge how lucky we have been in the past and lets face it, in the cyclical nature of things…will be again.

 

So in the meantime, what can you do to see the old year out in style? Well, lots of things actually. Tonight, for example, is the last Songs of Praise of the year at The Victoria. Continuing with their mission (currently 7 years in) to line up the best of out of town bands alongside the cream of the local scene, tonight’s line up is indeed a bit special. Hello Lazarus (pictured) play indie music that is both heavy and melodic, intricate and driven, elegant, eloquent and inspiring.  Also if you think all Christmas covers are naff, check out their version of A Spaceman Came Travelling. Awesome! That should tick a few boxes with the musical cognoscente.  Support comes from another Bristol based outfit, Dead Royalties, who manage to fuse a Seattle sound with Brit Punk overtones and some lovely mathy interludes and opening up are local big and clever alt-rock quartet, All Ears Avow.

 

Those up for a bit of local nostalgia can catch up with the latest musical exploits of local R’n’B stalwarts Cartoon Heroes at the Beehive.

 

Despite being a little disparaging about The MECA in the intro, the big show of the week is to be found inside their hallowed walls, no less, in the shape of The Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert on Friday. For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team who are committed to preserving a public record of our creative achievements. The music and arts scene has benefited from their work in particular, as gigs, festivals and events have been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet; establishing a fantastic and unique record of the musical and creative history of the town. This gig is a chance to give something back as they both showcase some great bands and raise much need funds to continue their mission.  Music comes in the form of Teddy White’s good time boogie, swing and R’n’B, the delicate soundscapes of Colour The Atlas, the effervescent Nudybroque, old school reggae and rocksteady from The Erin Bardwell Collective, AJ Live with both a full band and a very special guest and Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits. Bobby the Persuader will be spinning additional fab and groovy waxings between bands.

 

The Victoria, meanwhile, will be reveling in the sounds of the eighties with Syntronix. Although my eighties was more about the sounds of New Model Army and The Icicle Works whilst probably wearing a “Coal not Dole” or possibly a Pendragon T-shirt, here you can expect something a lot more palatable to the mainstream ear such as Nik Kershaw and Erasure.

 

Rock fans should head out to Riffs Bar for a bit of Grohl induced action with top tribute band, The Faux Fighters.

 

Saturday sees a second chance for you to catch a bit of reggae as the regular Reggae Club Night bring you the best of sixties ska, 70’s dub, 80’s Dancehall and up to the present day at The Victoria. Bring your dancing trousers this one will be busy. The Rolleston should also be a bit of a packed affair as electric blues guitar wizard, Innes Sibun, makes a welcome return to the venue.

 

And even as we enter the cheesy disco period there are still some great live bands to be found. Sunday at The Beehive is Missin’ Rosie’s Christmas shindig…pumped up Celtic rock, traditional folk sounds and a good reason to throw your beer around and dance like a loon as any I can think of.  Monday finds Port Erin at The Victoria, a band that really does defy musical convention and seem to follow a rulebook that they have written themselves. In the support slot is The Clementine’s, a band risen from the eclectic, humourous and inventive ashes of Crash and The Bandicoots. New name, new songs and hopefully the same blatant disregard for the tried and tested way of doing things. Good to have you back.

 

And finally if you haven’t found yourself at a Cheesy Disco type event so far then Christmas Eve at the Victoria is the place to be, but if a party covers band is more your thing, The Tin Shack Band at The Rolleston is well worth checking out.

 

So there we have it, have a great Christmas, party hard and remember to drink irresponsibly if at all possible.

 

Thank you to Gig Monkey, that erstwhile scribbler at The Ocelot for a lovely write up from the last Songs of Praise show at The Victoria. Find his words of wonder here.

Laid low by a mystery bug over the weekend I found myself lifeless, crashed on the sofa and in my less than lucid state, watching Britain’s Got Pop Factor, or whatever the current re-hashing of Opportunity Knocks is called. Whilst the acts themselves left little impression, I seem to have picked up one of the most annoying habits of the modern TV age……The Unnecessary Dramatic Pause. You know, when they pause for no reason before delivering their verdict, to heighten the tension and/or lengthen the show. I have been trying to shake it off but will apologise in advance if it creeps into this weeks run down. Right……on with the column. (Sorry.)

Tonight at The Victoria is a show for all the fans of upbeat and intricate indie with the return to Songs of Praise of Bristol’s Hello Lazarus. Merging pop-punk, indie and math elements, they are seen by many as a worthy successor to Biffy Clyro and with support from Russian Blue, which contains ex-members of Sailors, and Lucy T it’s sure to be a night of great music. For those after something funky, bluesy, laidback and groovy, then Hiproute are just the band you are looking for and they can be found down at The Beehive.

One band that I have been meaning to catch for ages  is……(tension, tension, tension) …..False Gods, so I shall probably be making my way up to The Victoria again on Friday. False Gods exist in a swirling generic whirlpool fed in equal measure by torrents of punk, indie, rock and grunge, the fact that they have more than a hint of early Manics about them is just an added bonus. Support comes from the euphoric dance fuelled rock aficionados, Atari Pilot and the eclectic Oscillator.

For the big, and slightly risqué, rock show, then it’s over to Riffs Bar for New York’s infamous Lord Bishop Rocks. If groove driven, funked out, sleazy and suggestive, rock and roll is your sort of thing then arrange an audience with the big man.

More sedate sounds wait for you at The Beehive. If you remember Ross Darby from his occasional solo shows some years ago, you may be interested to know that he is now out and about with a full line up. The Fallows are a great sounding band that manages to fuse quintessential English folk, Celtic fringe vim and Appalachian vigour. Nice. Meanwhile at The Arts Centre, Buddy Whittington will be putting on a show of contemporary blues and showing why he was named as one of Guitarist Magazines top 100 unsung heroes.

Saturday has much on offer in the way of original music.  At The 12 Bar, The Racket continues to spread their beautiful cacophony, imagine grunge mugging Britpop in a back alley, whilst Madchester holds its coat. (Don’t worry; I don’t really know what that means either). Something truly unique takes place out at Riffs Bar as Jenny Haan and Dave Pushon play chilled and re-interpreted versions of songs by the band that made them famous in the seventies, Babe Ruth.

Great guitar work is two-fold; you can either go for white-hot blues from Lewis Creavan at The Rolleston or folk legend Martin Simpson at The Arts Centre. Nostalgia trippers and alt-scene freaks will be heading down to The Furnace for a tribute to it’s former days as the infamous Level 3 and a chance to recapture their youth, or more simply put, hip music and hip dancing probably resulting in hip replacements. I can hear the opening bars of a certain Soul Asylum song even as I type. Is this going to be a winner…… a million percent yes!

The big gig for Sunday is rapper Example at The Oasis and at the time of writing this, tickets are still available.

As usual Baker Street has the Jazz fans interests at heart, this Tuesday with The Alexander Hawkins Quartet whose improvisational leader manages to evoke past masters such as Theolonius Monk as easily as he beats a path into a jazz future horizon.

On Wednesday, A&T Live bring their eclectic funky, brassy, hip-rock, jazzbeat sounds to The Victoria but the one I’m excited about takes place at The Running Horse. Up from the south coast are two songwriter guitarists I got acquainted with last year. Amongst Nick Tann’s (pictured) vast and versatile vocal range, elements of Colin Verncombe, Chris Difford and many others are hinted at, whilst The Real Raj has a hushed majesty that immediately conjures thoughts of John Martyn.

Is this a great week for music?……it’s a yes from me.

So once we get the psychedelic madness of Three Minute Tease out of the way tomorrow, the next show is very much a forward looking affair. Green Man favourites, Hello Lazarus will be coming up from Bristol in support of their recent eponymous e.p. bit’s of which can be heard here and a review of which is here. If you like your indie rocked up, intricate and memorable, then this is a band for you.

Joining them  in their second Songs of Praise show, is Russian Blue, carrying on the tradition of Sailors, which this band evolved from, of hypnotic structures and mathy goodness and opening the night are Hamphire alternative band Lucy T who sound like this.