Tag Archive: heriot


12801474_967430416685843_7496377762084199365_nMusic has long been used as the focus of events seeking to raise money and awareness for good causes. Tonight at The Victoria you can experience that altruistic nature as a whole bunch of familiar faces line up in support of Alan McGee’s brilliant Musicians Against Homelessness project. Echoing his same maverick spirit the bands playing represent the more challenging, creative and leftfield end of the spectrum. Anyone who saw Tripdress’s last outing at this very venue, probably 8 years ago, (tempus does indeed fugit) will be aware just how great their urban-boogie-blues fusion is, those who missed it should rectify that immediately…you never know when this very occasional band will be back.

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12771521_505280549673444_5585277270321832928_oSome weeks I get to wax lyrical about bands with weird names that most of you have never heard of, from far flung realms and exotic sounding places that your average reality TV star or Republican party nominee couldn’t point to on a map. This week, however, it is much more about the home team as many of the gigs slots feature frequently returning and popular bands. In other words, tried and tested, solid, dependable bookings. And why not?

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10527329_675300369218513_2277650497184696053_nLast week found me in my usual haunts for two radically different shows. Wednesday, as usual, was all about the acoustic session at The Roaring Donkey and this week it was the turn of Sue Hart, a Salisbury based Americana songwriter to entertain the small, attentive and gradually increasing number punters. Aided and abetted by “a mildly disgruntled man” whose real name was Pete on bass the duo treated the room to not only lessons in song writing, dexterous musicianship and vocal harmonising, but also the less tangible and often overlooked traits – charisma, audience engagement and the ability to take your music seriously whilst finding humour in the whole process of making music for a living. They were gracious and wonderful company and they perfectly epitomised those wonderful anecdotes that you only get from working with musicians. Not only is Pete’s “day job” working as Chrissie Hynde’s lighting guy, Sue also revealed in the wonderfully titled song, “ You Were A Lying, Drunken Bum, But I Got To See The Mountains” how she took a road trip across America and “accidently” got married. You just don’t get stories like that hanging around with four guys who working in Nationwide during the day and try to sound like Green Day in the evenings.

 

The following evening revolved around a trip to The Victoria, a place I watch a lot of bands but not normally ones as hard and heavy as the ones on offer that night. Arriving late I missed Eden Falls but did manage to catch a bit of Heriot who mixed howling vocals and heavy riffs with doomy interludes and atmospheric asides, interesting but the main thrust of their sound wasn’t one that spoke to me.

 

Although the intensity and sheer raw brutality of Screamo style metal isn’t really my thing, I think if you are going to watch any genre that falls largely outside your comfort zone then pick the best band of that genre. Headliners Sleep Inertia certainly seem the best of their peer group. Four–fifths born from the ashes of The Dead Lay Waiting they have deliberately pushed their new sound towards a more mature target audience. The result is a brutal, near apocalyptic, onslaught of high-octane riffs, pulsing bass runs, crashing back beats and primordial vocals, and for all its overwhelming attack of sight and sound, you can’t help but get carried away by its sheer force. Not the sort of thing you are going to use as the sound track to a Sunday fine dining experience, but in the right context an unforgettable experience.

(first published at Swindon Link)

941709_451444478279664_612130979_nIt’s pretty much slim pickings gig wise around the town this week and no, that isn’t a sneaky reference to the Blazing Saddles and Dr Strangelove actor with a similar sounding name. A seasonal lull in proceedings is to be expected at this time of year, but if you are a venue, promoter and band and want to ensure a mention in this column then you only have to send me a message, I’m easy enough to find on the supermation info-highway thingy.

 

So starting with a bang at The Victoria, tonight there is a line up heavy enough to satisfy even the most extreme noise merchants. Leading the way is Sleep Inertia, the band that rose from the ashes of The Dead Lay Waiting, so expect the same uncompromising onslaught but one catering for a slightly more mature target audience than before. They are joined by two other local acts, the hardcore brutality of Heriot and the solid, metal shenanigans of Eden Falls.

 

Meanwhile, The Roughnecks can be found at The Beehive; fans of old school, gritty, rhythm and blues should do themselves a favour and check them out.

 

Friday can only offer a look back at some of the great music of yesteryear. At The Victoria you can catch The Teddy White Band playing the best in beat, retro rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues, whilst at The Rolleston, The Corduroy Kings cover music written between the sixties and the present day in the rock, blues, R’n’B, soul and funk categories. Over at The Fox and Hounds in Hayden Wick, function band Echo will be entertaining the crowd with a repertoire so broad there is no point even trying to nail it down. The best way to approach the gig is with an open mind, just go along and see what you get given.

 

Saturday also has its fair share of the tried and tested. At The Rolleston, Alter Ego will be offering up classic rock and soulful blues and at The Swiss Chalet, Mojo will be playing music from The 50’s to the present day.

 

And just as I was giving up on the notion that there may be something original going on, Riffs Bar come to the rescue with the launch show for Red Jasper’s (pictured)latest album, The Great and Secret Show, not only their 6th album but their first release in 17 years. Red Jasper blend British folk rock with a harder, neo-progressive rock edge, those that revel in the seventies output of Jethro Tull or Fish era Marillion may find a lot here that they like.

 

And finally something else to satisfy fans of original music can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Usually found fronting Blind River Scare, Tim Manning is a regular face in Swindon also due to the monthly Acoustic Buzz sessions he hosts at The Beehive. As a solo act his songs lose none of their craftsmanship and subtleties, a wonderful blend of Celtic folk and southern Americana traditions.

 

I shall probably get crucified for saying this but to all the venues and promoters who play it safe by continuously booking the same cover bands, I know there is a certain financial security to be had through this route, but do you not ever feel that there is more to life than comfort zones? Imagine in years to come being able to say to yourself, that the band that have just sold out an arena tour in under an hour used to play in your venue, wouldn’t it be satisfying to able to say that you helped them get where they are today. Wouldn’t that be something?

10712899_10152416753527406_7198576379845939303_nOh, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids, they say. But Halloween seems to have turned into a national holiday for people who thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a documentary and who take quizzes on Facebook with titles like “How long would you survive a zombie invasion?” Also prepare yourself for a barrage of lazy journalism resorting to clichéd words such a boo-tiful and spooktacular. The tail end of the week is also an opportunity for on-line slacktavists to trot out their well-worn cliché about Guy Fawkes being the “only person to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Yes, that’s what the world needs, more religiously motivated terrorists in the pay of shadowy organisations. That said the offshoot of all this warped celebration is that there is a lot of live music to go with it.

 

Starting at The Beehive for a change, tonight the regular Acoustic Buzz night features Lucky Strikes frontman Matthew Boulter, whose solo work has been described as ““Introspective, gentle, tinged with darkness and a sorrowful undertow.” Sounds good to me. Also on the bill are the equally brilliant Paul McClure and your regular host Tim Manning of Blind River Scare.

 

The Victoria opts for the harder rock of All Ears Avow, a band who manages to infuse alternative rock with a certain pop sensibility to produce a sound that both big and commercial. They are joined by With Ghosts, Elasea and Heriot.

 

The big Halloween show is at The Victoria on Friday with a “Bands and Burlesque” special. Not only music from suitably named, psychobilly genre benders Cowboy and The Corpse but also exotic and sensual dance routines. Jokes about pumpkins made at your own risk. If something more raucous is required for your festivities The Hamsters From Hell at Rolleston offer riotous rhythm and boozy blues for your delectation. Meanwhile downstairs at Level 3, Emily’s Pole Fitness has a very unique Halloween show for you.

 

The Acoustic Session out at Riffs Bar is taken by Rob Richings this week, with the maximum added value of it being a full band show (pictured) and at The Beehive, The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning classic ska and reggae tunes.

 

Saturday gets a bit obsessed with the tried and tested but it’s all about supply and demand and what Swindon seems to demand looks a lot like this. In a clever play on words, The Four Fighters will be paying tribute to the band fronted by the universally accepted nicest man in rock music today, Dave Grohl, and they can be found at The Victoria. Riffs Bar holds its festive bash to the indie-party sounds of covers band Penfold with everything from “The Arctic Monkey’s to The Zutons” apparently.

 

Young and dynamic classic rock is on the menu at The Rolleston with Bad Obsession and tunes that run from “Aerosmith to Zeppelin”….and does anyone else see an alphabetized marketing theme developing here? More heavy rock covers can be found at The Ashford Road Club courtesy of Shepherds Pie who declare that they play “everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top”….see, there it is again. Finally Operation 77 will be at The Swiss Chalet with a range of covers covering punk, post-punk, ska and mod genres. They didn’t offer a neat alphabetized sound bite. Level 3 has a night that is 100% Drum and Bass for those that want to carry the party on into the night.

 

Music obsessives might wish to know that during the day at the Central Community Centre there will be a Record and CD Fair so all you audiophiles (that is a real word, I checked) start saving your money.

 

A second chance to see The Hamsters From Hell comes on Sunday at The White Hart in Wroughton. One of the reasons for mentioning this is that the pub has just changed hands and it would be in every live music fans interest to support the gig and prove to the new owners that live music is worth hosting and, more importantly from a business point of view, a lucrative income for the pub. Use it or lose it as they say.

 

Last mention of the week is for D’Bize at The Beehive also on Sunday, the best of the old Irish tradition with a young beating heart, sounds like a great way to enjoy a pint and let the roast dinner slowly digest.