Tag Archive: hotel ambush (the)


Library - 53So here we are, last column of the year and for obvious reasons not a lot of original music about as venues err on the side of the festive favourites, the cheesy music and the fun time bands to accompany their Christmas parties, and that’s as it should be. But I would like to use the extra space to say a few thanks and have a look back over the year.

 

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my efforts to try and bring worthy, interesting and breaking bands to your attention, I know it really comes down to my, often strange, personal taste but hopefully you have checked out some of them and hopefully discovered some great new music along the way.

 

Although it has been a difficult year, especially with the news that The Big Arts Day will be no more plus the loss of the brilliant BBC Wiltshire Introducing show, not to mention the 12 Bar closing, I still think there is a lot to be proud of regarding local music. This year musicians from this area could be found supporting The Levellers and Newton Faulkner and following in the footsteps of Josh Kumra, Gabrielle Aplin (pictured), made it to the top of the charts. The Shuffle came back bigger and better this year with more venues and bands being involved, Summer Breeze managed to attract artists of the calibre of K T Tunstall and in general there are more original bands of a higher quality than ever before just waiting to burst out of the area and start making a name for themselves.

 

All sounds pretty good to me but of course these successes can only happen if there is the support from the public, so remember to get out there, keep the venues in business and thereby keep the bands in work so they can entertain, develop their live skills, evolve and reach fruition. If between all the partying, boozing, food and general shennanighins there is time to catch a band, then maybe one of these will suffice.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is The Songs of Praise/Green Man Music Christmas show. For their 25th and final show of the year they bring together two bands synonymous with their brand name, Nudybronque and SkyBurnsRed, bands that have had a brilliant year, are hallmarked by super charged live shows and neither have any understanding of grammatical spacing in their names.

 

Friday’s options have a bit of a retro feel to them. If ska is your thing then head along to the Beehive for the Nomarks in all their two-tone glory, probably just the tonic(s) you are after (geddit?) to dance away all the food and drink you have consummed this week. Also with influences rooted back in an earlier time, The Corsairs play The Rolleston. Now in their twentieth year they mix up rockabilly, punk and ska to create a unique psychobilly sound.

 

Saturday is all about the contemporary sound of rock and roll. Having caught Natural Tendency last time they played The Rolleston, I can tell you that they are well worth turning off the TV and missing out on The Only Way is Runcorn or Jeremy Spake: The Missing Years or what ever z-list celebrity dross is being offered up in the name of mainstream entertainment. This is a band that runs emotionally charged rock headlong into ambient keyboard washes and waves of frenzied synth grooves. It’s the future sound of rock music.

 

Meanwhile downstairs in The Furnace, South West Hardcore present their Dolls and Gangsters party with hardcore/metal onslaughts from The Hotel Ambush and Beyond Hurt, but make sure you catch openers Firefalldown who mix compelling punk aggression with accessible skater melodies and grooves that funk up and rock out in equal measure. Whichever of those two gigs you go to stick around afterwards for the Nightshift club night – industrial, darkwave, electronica, goth and more from the usual suspects.

 

On Sunday, again at The Rolleston you can catch a stripped back session from retro-rockers Josie and The Outlaw and after that it is all about the mayhem and madness of New Years Eve. As my distant relative, Benjamin Franklin so wisely put it “ Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – can’t say fairer than that.

 

So that’s another year done, have a great time over the festivities and I’ll see you at a gig somewhere soon, I’ll be the one leaning on the bar clutching a handful of Antwerp scene experimental rock demos and trying to argue that The Icicle Works were the greatest pop band ever to anyone who will listen. Have a blast out there.

It’s that time of year again, the time to eat, drink and be scary, yes, Halloween is upon us. It’s a confusing time really; we spend all year telling kids not to take sweets from strangers and then for one night a year actively encourage them to go out begging for treats. How odd. Sadly the age-old traditions of guising and party games have been replaced by the veiled threats of trick or treating. But if you want to avoid yet another corporate Americanisation of our heritage the solution is easy. Instead of being besieged in your own home as hordes of pre-teen terrors demand sweets with menaces, just head off out to the sanctuary of a gig, this week there is no shortage of them.

Tonight for instance we have a cornucopia of acoustic acts for you delectation, or otherwise put…. there are shed loads of acts to watch. The usual Songs of Praise night at The Victoria sees the welcome return of Charlie Bath, think Dallas Green meets Carole King, aided an abetted by her regular City Marshall collaborator, Simon Law. Up from Cardiff is minimalist troubadour Joshua Caole, who ploughs a furrow that runs from contemporaries like Ryan Adams past Gram Parsons and Hank Williams right back to the sounds of the Jim Crow South of post Civil War emancipation. Opening up the night is romantic balladeer Billyjon.

The Rolleston plays host to three acts that graced the stages of this years Swindon Shuffle Festival. Anyone who missed Antonio Lulic then should catch him tonight. Sounding like a solo Brian Fallon or even Bruce Springsteen, only from England’s fashionably impoverished North-East, this is an artist who has the songs, the stage presence, the banter and the charisma, it is only a matter of time before he is being hunted down by the industry bigwigs, trust me. Support comes from Racket front man Plummie and the musical ethereality of Faye Rogers.

For something completely different, Three Minute Tease rock back up at The Beehive. Backed by the rhythm section that made The Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock’s Egyptians the icons of underground music, psychedelic pop warrior Anton Barbeau’s brings the soundtrack to his crazy world back into town. Think Cope, Partridge and Barrett and you get the idea.

Apart from the macabre, carnivalesque, gypsy folk of Buffo’s Wake at The Beehive on Friday, everything else gets a bit loud and shouty, that’s a good thing right? At the Rolleston, Control The Storm (pictured) will be delivering atmospheric, dynamic, melodic metal where their concentration on song crafting doesn’t come at the expense of power and aggression. Support band, Endeavour go for the more frantic technicalities of progressive metal.

Over at Riffs Bar and there are more big and Byzantine sounds courtesy of Acts of Brutality, the oddly named A Fist Full of Foozy, Back Pocket Prophet and Harmony Disorder. What normally happens is the line up changes drastically by the time this goes to print and all the new bands on the bill moan at me for getting the facts wrong, so check the website every fifteen minutes for updates.

You can round your evening off with The Nightshift at The Furnace, where DJ Dust and Tom Himself will be spinning Industrial, Goth, Electronica, Darkwave and other strangeness, so it will probably look like the nightclub scene in Blade II!

On Saturday The Victoria has quite a line up. Headlining, Josie and The Outlaw are all about the 50’s rock and role vibes, whilst The Racket bring their usual blend of wonderfully punked out indie chaos to the stage. With the big sound of SkyBurnsRed and the strange quantum-glock and even stranger time changes of Super Squarecloud, it’s a brilliantly eclectic mix.

Elsewhere it is all about the Halloween party proper. The 12 Bar is being taken over by South West Hardcore with a Pirate vs. Ninja theme and music from Under Godless Skies, Kill The Conversation, Deliverance and Without Consequence. The Furnace, meanwhile, has gone for a Burlesque Metal night with music from In The Absence of Light and The Hotel Ambush.

I urge you all to be at The Beehive on Sunday afternoon for a band that I can’t recommend enough, Port Erin – imagine if Radiohead toyed with jazz and folk as well the usual rock dynamics – these guys are just great. Also falling into the highly recommended category is the show at The Victoria later that same day. Alice Offley launches her latest album spearheading a night of wonderful harmonies and delicate sounds from Jazz Morley and The Black Feathers.

As the week peters out there is still some great music to be had. On Tuesday it comes in the form of Canada’s blues icon Frank Cosentino with support from The Graveltones and The Peace Pirates at The 12 Bar and on Wednesday it’s Teenage Kicks Halloween Party at The Furnace with Roads to Nowhere and Days of Juno.

It seems like this is the week to be out on the town if you are a fan of the heavier end of the music spectrum. So without even stopping to have a dig at even a single cover band, (which I was again this week accused of belittling in a rather bizarre confrontation in Co-op, of all places!) it’s eyes down for a full house.Starting as we mean to go on, Riffs Bar is hosting another heat of it’s Bloodstock Battle of The Bands tonight which sees Without Consequence, Acts of Brutality and Brink of Reason all fighting it out for places in the semi final.The 12 Bar also chips in its fair share tonight, headlining are Bristol band, The Chimerical, who manage to mix the accessibility of Britpop with the sucker punch of grunge. A band who I can’t recommend highly enough, SkyBurnsRed, take the middle slot, blending alt-rock power with eastern rhythms and wonderful violin washes and kicking off are IX, all cinematic metal and industrial soundscapes; imagine Trent Reznor writing songs for Opeth.It’s all about bands and burlesque at The Victoria, the music this time coming in the shape of rockabilly outfit, Josie and The Outlaw, and if Celtic fringed folk-rock is more your thing then get down the Beehive for a bit of Missin’ Rosie.

Friday at The Victoria is all about the most contemporary of sounds. The Icarus Youth will be bringing their brilliant weave of rock, urban and alternative sounds, always a brilliant live experience, supporting is a familiar face launching a new musical vehicle. After 7 years fronting the eight legged rave that was Old School Tie, James Cameron wastes no time in unleashing Weather Storms on the world, a blend of dub, electronic, garage and epic post rock.

It’s all about the old school punk at Riffs Bar with Useless Eaters and a welcome return to these parts for Nobodys Heroes who between them deliver the sound and the spirit of the first generation punk movement.

Okay, now two quick questions. Anyone remember Toploader? Anyone able to name anything other than “that damned song?” Thought not. Well, they are at The MECA, but for my money it’s worth getting there early to catch support band A&T, an eclectic firestorm of hip-hop, funk and rock.

Staying at The MECA for Saturday and it’s your chance to indulge yourself in a bit of New Wave of British Heavy Metal with ODS – Oliver/Dawson Saxon, supported by the biggest band ever to come out of Whitley Bay, Tygers of Pan Tang. Patched denim jacket? Check! Ammo belt? Check! Whiff of Patchouli Oil and Old Holborn? Check! Ahh…those were the days. If you can’t afford the real thing Metalhead at The Rolleston (again!) come a close second.

Things get really heavy down at The 12 Bar with South-West Hardcore’s regular outing catering for all things musical aggressive with The Hotel Ambush, The Argent Dawn, Moments Before Oblivion and Go Out With a Bang. In strict competition for a slice of the same audience, The Furnace takes a more pop-punk, but nevertheless feisty tack with ScreamDontWhisper! Third Place Victory, Boy Set Sail and Sell Your Sky.

Something a bit different can be found in the form of The Reggae Riddim Club at The Victoria.

And after all that loud and shouty stuff, Sunday will seem like an oasis of tranquillity. The Beehive’s afternoon slot is filed with local swing blues stalwarts, The Teddy White Band and The Arts Centre’s regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show features the historically aware, pop-folk residents Mr Love and Justice and guests Daniel James plus Americana meets Old World folk from Bateleurs.

And if that is your sort of thing, cap it off with a trip to The Rolleston that evening to catch the infectious, virtuosic and foot-stompingly upbeat, Grubby Jack.

The week rounds off on Wednesday with two options. Theo Altieri and Ian Payne play the Running Horse session whilst at The Victoria, Sierra Hurtt and her band alchemize everything from chilled folk to blues and from cool Latin to jazz to sultry soul and come off like a less ethereal and more worldly-wise Sade.