Tag Archive: hot flex


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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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.

10568792_671452159600192_7578462626234394886_nIn an effort to keep this column hip and groovy I have adopted a new tactic. I could have grown a beard that makes me look like an American Backwoodsman, bought some plaid shirts and started drinking espresso out of a jam jar but that wouldn’t make much difference in the medium of print. Instead I thought I would get on board with the parlance of a Buzzfeed type article to really show that I’m down with the kids. (Do people still say that?) So….

 

This music journalist sat down to write a gig guide and what happened next will blow your mind. No? How about…Here’s 11 gigs that only real music fans will attend. Or, When I saw what this guy had written I cried. Nah, it’s not really me, is it? What about, get off your sofa, turn that TV off and go and support some real live music before I send a cultural hit squad round to sort you out! That’s more my style.

 

And for all of you concerned that the rotation of the same few bands around town is getting a bit predictable, Riffs Bar have a real treat for you tonight. All the way from San Diego, Black Market III mix soulful blues with red hot Americana, Clash style street punk with old school rock ‘n’ roll and are touted as a real “one to watch” band on the international circuit. Support comes from the doom-rock and art-punk experimentation of Sea Mammal and the soaring, grunge-scapes of D.I.R.T.E.

 

 

More hard, electric blues can be found at The Victoria in the shape of John Fairhurst whose band freely mix music traditions from the Mississippi shoreline to The Ganges Delta with bottle neck blues and psychedelia sitting cheek by jowl with Indian Raga and exotic eastern flavours. Think Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits jamming in a Kolkata teashop. Also on the bill are Cook and The Case and personally it has been amazing to watch them evolve through solo singer-songwriter and chilled indie folk genres into a band of unbelievable dynamic shifts and extremes of light and shade. Their music is both reckless and refined but always beautiful. At The Beehive you can catch the Afro-pop and roots sounds of Two Man Ting.

 

By Friday original music gets harder to track down but you can catch Tin Spirits at The Victoria who channel the sound of 70’s progressive rock with their current writing but often treat the audience to some of guitarist Dave Gregory’s XTC back-catalogue. Support comes from Steve Grimmett’s fundraising, classic rock side project Sound Bites.

 

Tributes can be found aplenty going into the weekend, Beatles fans should head for The Rolleston whilst next-door in Level 3 Jilted Generation return to evoke the glory days of The Prodigy. On Saturday you can catch the music of The Stranglers at The Victoria and Iron Maiden at The Rolleston whilst out at Riffs Bar Hot Flex play a range of classic rock covers with support from rock parody outfit Vinyl Matt.

 

A nice slice of punk history rolls into Level 3 on Saturday as ex-Adverts front man TV Smith (pictured) joins the bill for this years Mick Love Memorial Gig. Since the demise of The Adverts, Smith has carved out a highly respected solo career as well as touring with Amen and Die Toten Hosen, anyone who has heard of either of those bands needs to catch him live. The night opens with the Nu-wave, Bowery street punk from Strength in Blunders and goes out with a bang from Charred Hearts, over thirty years in and still fighting the punk wars on their own terms.

 

Sunday has some great acoustic offerings. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre Café features Light Falls Forward a band whose EP Sleeptalkin’ I can honestly say is one of the most gorgeous new musical offerings I have heard in a while. They manage to capture a very emotive vocal sound and layer it over a cinematic soundscape that combines a lush ambience with enough drive to keep it in the realms of reflective and dreamlike rather than melancholy. The equally elegant Faye Rogers and your hosts Mr Love and Justice are also to be found there.

thI know I bang on about gig information being a bit thin on the ground, especially for those not trained in the art of covert music research and stealth operations to locate said gigs but I have just thought of the real advantage to the people of Swindon to spreading the information. If I have plenty of gigs to write about then you don’t have to suffer my ponderous and tangential (not to mention overly verbose) introductions. Luckily for you, dear reader, this is one of those weeks, so on with the show.

 

Fans of folk and Americana have only one gig to concern themselves with tonight, Songs of Praise at The Victoria which sees the timely return of one of their most popular bookings, Case Hardin’(pictured). This is a band that channels the eloquence of Steve Earle, wistful emotion of Ryan Adams and travels the bleak hinterland of Springsteen’s Nebraska without once sounding like a tribute or a pastiche to the genre. After nearly destroying The Beehive as the final act of this years Shuffle, The Shudders join the bill for their unique blend of energetic indie-country and opening up is Songs of Praise favourite, sweet and soulful acoustic troubadour, Tamsin Quin.

 

Riffs Bar meanwhile has John Fogerty sideman Bob Malone. L.A. based Bob (that’s Los Angeles not Long Ashton) plays a high-energy blues, roots and rock hybrid mixed in with more than a dash of New Orleans R&B. Anglo-Swedish alternative acoustic trio, We Ghosts, will be filling The (newly refurbished) Beehive with their glorious harmonies and their wondrous weave of jazz, blues, folk and pop.

 

Friday is a mixture of rock and acoustic and you will find a bit of both in Bren Haze who is playing Riffs Acoustic Session. Once known for being the man behind the hi-octane, razor-wire riffs of The Unforeseen, Bren now does a neat line in dexterous, acoustic charm with just a hint of his former sound lurking in the background. The other acoustic offerings are The Regent Acoustic Circus, which features Joely and Wilmor, Tom McCarthy and your regular host, Nick Felix and Teddy White at The Beehive.

 

The rock element comes into play with Hot Flex who trade in metal and rock covers at The Rolleston and a tribute to Bon Jovi at The Victoria.

 

Possibly slightly outside the remit of the column but worth a mention on the basis that gig goers buy records, I want to just give a quick shoutout to The CD and Record fair taking place Saturday afternoon at the Central Community Centre in Emlyn Square. There, I did.

 

There is only room to touch briefly on the big event for Saturday, yes, The Reggae Garden is back at The Old Town Bowl. A huge line up of live music and DJ’s in the reggae, roots, dub and lovers rock genres, a wide range of soul food, BBQ and Caribbean cuisine plus children’s activities will make for a great day out. Check out their website for full details.

 

If you wish to continue the flavour of the day, catch The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s spinning the same vibe at The Beehive that evening. Elsewhere Syntronix take a wander through the eighties pop archive at The Victoria and Innes Sibun returns to The Rolleston for some blues standards and originals. Fans of the likes of Rory Gallagher will find a lot to like in his music. Next door, Level 3 wanders into new territory (for a club still very much associated with rock and metal) and hosts Felix and The Funk for a night of dance, disco, funk and frolics. Viva La Difference!

 

Sunday afternoon and S’Go, which derives from the ancient Icelandic word Skoe, (okay it doesn’t, but it sounds plausible) are a multi-instrumental group who play a set of original and covers, genre hopping through folk, blues, gypsy, country and more besides.

 

At The Victoria two rock leviathans hove into view. Obzidian play a brand of progressive thrash metal and they are joined by Shadows of Serenity who music trivia buffs should note contains ex-members of Sienna, Battlewitch and Traitor Born.

 

Finally, One last slice of acoustica can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday in the guise of Drew Bryant.

1185071_656401631049473_470672266_nA New Year, a new start. Time to select a blank canvas and start sketching a fresh picture or more relevant to this column, pick up a new instrument and play a new tune. T.S. Elliot put it well when thinking of New Year and fresh starts when he so eloquently said,

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice”

 

But then on the same subject of celebrating the start of a new year, Paris Hilton slightly less eloquently said,

 

“ I get half a million just to show up at parties. My life is, like, really really fun”

 

Which to me says something about how society is spiraling out of control.

 

So, in this quieter time of the year there is room to stop and reflect on what you want from the local music scene this year. It has been a time of belt tightening and cut backs, musical austerity if you like but that is not to say that we can’t do something about that. Austerity is about money, supporting music…or any art form is not, it’s about cutting your coat according to your cloth as they say. If you can’t get gigs in the few venues left operating, put your own on in alternative locations, play cafes, basements, churches, parks, house parties or art spaces. You might even consider hitting the streets and busking! Old School. Music must find a way.This year is going to be about thinking outside the box as the music scene takes the time it needs to get back on it’s feet. But remember, wherever the gig takes place, it still needs to be supported, so lets have none of the old excuses. If you are feed up by music being represented by a twerking twerp like Ms Cyrus, Nickleback (probably the worst Pearl Jam tribute band in the world) or anything that is the product of a TV show, from X-Factor to Glee, then get involved with grass roots music, whilst there is something still to get involved with.

 

Right, it may be a quiet week, but there are still a few choice cuts to be dined on. At The Victoria tonight, Secret Chord Records have a showcase of just some of the acts that they have handpicked to work with throughout the coming year, so the quality control has been done for you. Headline are the band who’s recent album seems to be as popular in Japan and New York as it is in Swindon, Super Squarecloud (pictured). A wonderful alchemizing of skewed pop, mathy interludes, time signatures that have more to do with quantum physics than music, the result is some of the most original sounds you will hear in ages. Support comes from Bristolians, Armchair Committee a band who combine the howling blues riffs of the Jack White school of cool with monumental stoner riffs and a impressively joyous noise. Opening the night Faye Rogers delicate folk palette is very much the calm before the storm.

 

Friday is the night for acoustic music, The Victoria has  Pirate Joe, a wonderful collection of improvisation, looping effects, comedy and multi-instrumentation. Support comes from the brilliant Jimmy Moore, the enigmatic Zackie Chan plus local stalwarts Hiproute.

 

At Riff’s Bar the first of the new Acoustic Sessions kicks off with Darren Hodge, who I can find almost no information about on the internet and Adam Sweet who plays bluesy acoustic rock.

 

For something a bit more rock and roll, now re-patriated with the land of his birth, David Marx brings his AK-Poets back to The Rolleston, a riot of raucous riffs and manic melodies…not to be missed.

 

Saturday sees the welcome return of Iron Hearse to The Victoria, a wonderful mix of kick-ass rock, doom infused anthems and old school metal. Warming up the crowd for them are Hot Flex and a bag of suitable covers.

 

 

And finally The Rolleston features one of the youngest and most talented electric bluesmen on the circuit, Laurence Jones who takes influence from legends such as Albert Collins and Tony McPhee. This is a player who is keeping the genre alive and fresh and marching into the 21st Century.

 

So there we go, welcome to 2014.