Tag Archive: innes sibun


30762906_2098286093774535_3079476132299407360_oSo, we have spent weeks waiting for this news to become a reality. We’ve all deliberated, cogitated and digested, and finally we have arrived. Friday night sees the re-opening of The Rolleston. In the first of two nights of music to usher in the new era, Innes Sibun will be taking time out from the European summer festival circuit to bring his new incendiary, electric blues outfit, The Malone Sibun Band (pictured) to play this opening event.

Also putting a bluesy twist on a range of well known classics and pre-loved songs,  all genres from funk to rock to reggae and of course blues itself, The Blind Lemon Blues Band can be found at The Queen’s Tap. If you want something seriously funky then Felix and The Funk, the clue is in the name can be found at Swiss Chalet with a plethora of dance, soul, disco, pop and funk. It looks like serious groove is back on the menu.

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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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1012956_904802992877241_2155179617826228911_nWe need to talk about Kanye. Now I’m not saying that he is personally responsible for a decline musical creativity but he certainly is a symptom of the way the modern music industry works. If the benchmark for “creative genius” (his own words) is an autotuned, vocoder drenched, bad karaoke routine set to samples and a brief duet with Lee Nelson, then is it any wonder that truly original music is currently playing a back foot, defensive stroke? If this is what it takes to be one of the biggest, and biggest selling, acts on the planet then it makes you worry for the integrity of music in the near future. Doesn’t it?

However you could argue that the root of new musical developments comes from revolution against the mainstream. Folk music, jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, hip-hop, all began as the sound track to musical (and often social) revolution, so maybe future musicologists will thank Kanye for being the catalyst for change, though not in the way the self appointed musical messiah would have hoped.

But enough of the ivory tower endof the industry, what about the grassroots? Well, we are on much safer territory at The Victoria tonight when SNDubstation break out their infectious dub, reggae, and ska and fuse them into a highly energetic live show. Support comes from Conway, a band coming from similar genre-stock, so get your dancing trousers dusted off and start the weekend in style.

The big news for Friday is the launch of a new venue. The Locomotive in Fleet Street is opening its doors once more, this time as a dedicated music venue and making sure this first night goes with a bang, Interlight, one of the best cover bands on the circuit, will be providing some choice musical cuts to get the party rolling.

The Victoria will also be providing something a bit special as The Tribe (pictured) launch their new e.p. The Rise of The Tribe. Having caught their launch gig at the end of last year I can honestly say that what they do is second to none as a live experience. A solid reggae and funk core overlaid with hip-hop and dance grooves, soulful vocals and staccato rap deliveries. Add Melbourne based rapper, Lotek, into the equation and you have a gig hipper than a bearded guy with a lumberjack shirt and fedora drinking espresso from a jam jar whilst writing a food blog.

The rest of Friday takes a more cautious creative line with Bootleg Floyd over at Riffs Bar playing songs from Animals, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here and The Killertones providing a tribute to the best of the ska and 2-Tone genres at The Swiss Chalet. For a more genre-hopping, chronologically fluid experience you have Hyperbolics at The Castle and The Great Nothing at The Rolleston.

Saturday’s original offerings cater for the rock crowd – The Damned and The Dirty and The Starkers at The Victoria offering classic and grunge centred songs respectively and At The Rolleston, Innes Sibun’s high-octane electric blues make a welcome return. Below at Level 3 you get the best of both worlds with Transmission, a tribute to the bleak but beautiful soundscapes of Joy Division with support from nu-gazers Sahara Heights whilst Distant Echoes remind us of The Jam’s past glories at The Swiss Chalet.

The second night of The Locomotive’s opening weekend plays host to Alter Chaos who pick out the best music from the last 40 years of rock to entertain you and if something of a more Caribbean origin is to your taste then the Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive will be just what you are looking for.

Final mentions of the week are for Ray Jones at The Castle on Sunday and at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday Jack Moore performs a frenetic acoustic set, which references everything from Gogol Bordello to Queens of The Stone Age.

11046864_1103279833031869_8996770204076538641_nI was reading yet another online article about how “Guitar Music is Dead” (again!) and whilst it made some interesting points, such as how the live music market is shored up with heritage acts and the rise of The Dark Lord Cowell is cited as being responsible for a large amount of the nails in its coffin, I think that they are missing a very big point. All these debates, along with the “rock is dead, “ dance is dead” ones are playing into the hands of those pigeon-holers, the label-ists, people who need to line up behind media defined genres.

We may be living in days when the charts are just a maths exercise for the music industry and radio 1 just caters for 9 year olds but why not just revel in the cacophony and musical gene-splicing of the post-genre world. Does it really matter if music is made on a guitar, synth, Jews-harp or banjolele? That it is Tibetan jazz, Icelandic dubstep or Tuareg blues? Enjoy the fractious, splintered nature of the modern musical landscape, support and explore the new and creative, and most of all, don’t be tribal or self-conscious in your quest. Here endeth the lesson!

And if you are looking for something to shake up any tired perceptions of what music is, then a trip to The Beehive tonight might be the answer. Zetan Spore creates music that warps full on psytrance, driving psychedelia, searing guitars and tribal beats into waves of euphoric energy and alien dance music. Try finding a label for that one. Some easier tags can be placed on the music at The Victoria with the brilliant power-pop-punk of Brawlers currently touring their debut album “ Romantic Errors of Our Youth,” they are joined by Max Raptor and Brazilian stoner-punks Water Rats.

On Friday, The Rolleston plays host to The Killertones who pay tribute to the songs of the ska two-tone revival years and at Riffs Bar a wider range of styles and time frames can be appreciated with Vice Versa but it is at The Victoria that something pretty unique takes place. On paper The Courtesans could seem to be just another rock band playing on the sexuality of the all female line up. What they actually are is a musical blend of trippy doom-pop, gothic overtones, anthemic rock deliveries and an image that lives up to their name; dark, sensual, enticing, dangerous and alluring, but never blatant. Not just your run of the mill rock band.

Shocks of Might has its regular night at The Victoria on Saturday and fans of ska and rocksteady will not want to miss this one. Intensified act as a bastion of authenticity for the Jamaican sounds they work with, not in an anti-progress sort of way but just so that the pure roots of the genre are available for fans to revel in. Joining them are local stalwarts The Erin Bardwell Collective who take a similar approach to the genre.

At The Castle, Coasters offer up a fantastic mix of punk, rock and Americana all blended into hi-octane yet perfectly formed songs, think of an M4 corridor Gaslight Anthem and you get the idea. Innes Sibun treats The Rolleston to some incendiary electric blues that rocks, boogies and soothes the audience in equal measure and at The Wheatsheaf in Old Town, Poplar Jake and The Electric Delta Revue take a more old-school slant on the genre, stripped back slide guitar that takes you right back to the banks of The Mississippi.

Rock fans are well catered for as the weekend comes to an end. On Sunday Patriot Rebel bring the alt-rock noise to The Victoria, but it is support Eva Plays Dead that I am most excited about. Having witnessed them when they were still called Bury The Ladybird I can assure you that fans of big, classic rock riffs, driving punk energy and an attitude fuelled stage swagger are in for a treat. 24 hours on at the same venue, Decade promise a no less impressive pop punk show aided by Scouts and All Ears Avow.

Something truly unique can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with Grant Sharkey (pictured). His act is a blend of humorous songs, surreal stand up interludes, up-right bass experimentation and leftfield social commentary. Try finding a genre to fit that into?

4180_79993902739_2766341_nI have to start this column by way of an apology. Last week there was some confusion as I omitted to mention the actual venue for the Tom Hingley gig and it seemed to have suggested that it might have been taking place at a different location. I was alerted to this mistake early last Thursday when the distant, yet audible, clamour of keyboard warriors (none of whom actually went to the gig, presumably) rushing to be the first to comment online could be heard and a distant glow of their eyes lighting up made for an unusually bright morning. Obviously I apologise for any confusion caused, but here are a few phrases that might help next time. “Everybody makes mistakes,” “ It’s no good crying over spilt milk” and “It’s just a gig guide people, not a proposition from Socrates.”

 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. The Victoria begins a run of wonderful diversity tonight with a headline show from Delta Sleep. Complex layers of guitar driven melody, fluid and hypnotic bass lines, jazz tinged percussion and left field electronica are the order of the day. Support comes from two stalwarts of the local alt-rock scene, All Ears Avow and The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and pondered that big question, are we alone in the universe? I would suggest that you are looking in the wrong place and that answers are more likely to be found in The Beehive as the Zetan Spore mother ship docks there tonight. Communicating through the medium of industrial strength psy-trance, euphoric, psychedelic waves of energy and trippy tribal beats – is this proof of alien life? Who cares, just dance.

 

The big one for Friday can be found at Level 3 as South West Indie Music present a fist full of young acts for your delectation. Sahara Heights have already made quite a name for themselves with their shimmering psychedelia and chiming shoegazey meanderings but this is a show that promises headline quality acts all night. Coco-esq skirt around similar territory but are anchored to a more conventional indie delivery and The Primeveras aim straight for underground pop cult status. Yves manage to harness that timeless alt-pop jangle that has fuelled everything from The Byrds to The Paisley Underground movement to current bands such as Desperate Journalist ad Field Mouse and they do it so well. Opening the night is Josh Wolfsohn who does a neat line in accessible and witty acoustic indie-pop.

 

The second Victoria offering of the week comes in the shape of Songs of Praise first ever, monthly Friday show. This step up to hopefully a wider platform sees the welcome return of puzzle-pop wizards Super Squarecloud who showcase some of their new material. They are joined by garage-electronica, post-punkers Candy Darling – if anyone is old enough to remember Suicide then you might want to check them out and the band name is an obvious reference to another seminal New York band. Opening the night are dream pop soundscapers Wasuremono. Indie rock covers are one the menu at The Rolleston with Vice Versa.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I prefer original bands to tributes, but I have made a few detours into their world in the past. Three of their ilk have left me nostalgic for my early musical education, The Dayglo Pirates (Jethro Tull,) Limehouse Lizzy (Thin Lizzy) and Saturday night’s headliners at The Victoria, Still Marillion. Not only do you get a set of Fish-era songs delivered to perfection, this show will also feature the complete Fugazi album, which I have just realised is about 6 weeks short of its 31th anniversary. Blimey, how to feel old. This is an absolute must for fans of not only the neo-progressive movement which spawned the band, but I urge all those with discerning taste to check it out.

 

High octane, electric blues doesn’t come much more authentic than Innes Sibun (pictured), not only a powerhouse guitarist with a great band behind him but a voice that seems to channel the heartache and anguish that blues was born from. Fans of Rory Gallagher in particular should make this Rolleston show.

 

In the “if you like that, you’ll like this” department multi-award winning mainstays of the British Blues scene Joel Fisk and Jon Amor (The Hoax) play a stripped back mix of their own songs and standards at The Beehive on Sunday Afternoon.

 

The week rounds off with be-hatted, Latin-jazz aficionados, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

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.

1970727_759281224090815_510702344_nI was presented with the perfect analogy the other day of why if you go to a gig you should support the whole evening. Obviously courtesy and support for grassroots music should be enough but whilst running the merchandise stand at a recent gig, this wonderful bit of karma unfolded. The first band had just finished, lets call them Band X, and a punter came over to the desk to check out the CD’s on offer, picking up one by the band who had just left the stage. “Did you see the opening act?” I enquired. “ No, I was in the upstairs bar, I don’t bother with support acts, I’m only here to see Band X” It came as a bit of a blow then when I informed him that whilst he was up in the top bar he had totally missed the band he had travelled, all the way from Birmingham as it happened, to see. Why he had assumed that Band X were headlining is anybody’s guess, he was even drinking in a bar with posters advertising the nights running order. So the obvious moral of the story is support all the bands on the bill, not only are you sure not to miss the act you have come to see, you may just pick up some new music as well. And so endeth todays lesson.

It’s a bit of a quiet week on the live music front, but there are a few gems to be found if you know where to look and tonight at The Victoria is the ideal place to start. Californian legends Ugly Duckling blend a range of urban sounds, 80’s hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz with humour and a feel-good factor that has found them acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. Also on the bill are Lusty and Swindon’s own DJ/producer Para.

The American invasion continues down at The Rolleston as “ Glam Rock survivor” Adam Bomb (pictured) plays the last date of his European tour there. Adam has a CV that reads like a who’s who of rock royalty, having worked with everyone from Hanoi Rocks and Motorhead to The Wildhearts, John Paul Jones and even reggae giants Steel Pulse. His is a show that reminds you of what rock and roll is all about, razor wire riffs, attitude soaked stage presence, and his trademark love of pyrotechnics. Support comes Rocket Box and Nick Felix.

Jazz, folk and blues meet head on at The Beehive in the music of Portsmouth duo Walker Broad, which I thought was a pun (walk abroad?) until I realised that it is actually the surnames of the players. Expect Latin infuse foot tappers, jazz folk ballads and a few pure blues numbers.

Friday’s acoustic offering at Riffs Bar features a couple of tried and tested local acts in the shape of Ian O’Regan and Drew Bryant.  The former is a dexterous bluesman, whilst the later is an old school folk troubadour with a wonderful Donovan-esque vibe to his songs. Something heavier this way comes…well to The Rolleston at least, as new (ish) kids on the rock block, Broken Image, serves up a generous helping of classic rock covers.

Riffs Bar on Saturday offers something rather tasty, well if you like your prog rock that is. And why wouldn’t you when you have Credo on the bill? Not only are they a brilliant neo-progressive rock band, it is front man Marks birthday and so a whole bunch of genre stalwarts have rallied to the cause. Andy Sears, one time frontman with Twelfth Night will be there as will Comedy of Errors, neatly described in one review as Floyd meets Muse in The Court of The Gentle Giant (unpick the references from that.) Ex – Tinyfish chaps Robert Ramsey and Simon Godfrey are along for the ride, as are Also Eden’s Rich Harding and Simon Rogers. In short it is a showcase of almost everyone who matters in the contemporary progressive rock world.

Other options are blistering electric blues-rock at The Rolleston with Innes Sibun or a whole range of genres and eras covered by party band Switch at The Royal Oak.

Tuesday sees former Mike and The Mechanics and Ace frontman, Paul Carrack grace the stage of the Wyvern Theatre and The Roaring Donkey sees the week out on Wednesday with the liquid gold vocal talents of Sophia Bovell.

Library - 131

I read with some amusement today that “Nasty” Nigel Lythgoe has come out of retirement to host a new show. In keeping with the current trend of making everything into reality TV, he travelled to Birmingham with the Archbishop of Canterbury and famous born again Catholic Tony Blair to judge Popestars, a competition designed to decide the next pontiff. Thousands of hopefuls queued at the door, including Fiona Brat-Actress whose experience extends to having appeared in Cliff Richards Mistletoe and Wine video. The audition tasks will include singing Ave Maria, Tarmac Kissing and Meeting Bono and pretending to know who he is. One hopeful, Derek Cleanliness, 89 from Rugby, has already caught the judges eye, “He’s definitely got the look we are after” said Lythgoe, “It’s a sad fact that in the cut throat world of the Vatican, image does matter”

Still, enough pontificating and on with the show. Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight features a mix of both old, new, local and from further afield.  The Starkers are a collision of grungy density and Libertines-esque melodies, whilst up from London, Hitchcock Blonde take the form of an explosive, raging alt-rock beast, laced with accessible melodies that both kick arse and cut the mustard. Opening the night, The King in Mirrors are a new band made up of familiar faces and if you get their titular reference then their rough and ready, post-punk, underground pop will be right up your street.  By contrast you can catch the superb acoustic folk guitar and sun kissed vocals of the far too young to be this talented, Jenna Witts.

Loads happening on Friday, The Furnace being a great place to spend it with a wonderful line up of younger indie types. Chaps of the moment Nudybronque headline, a band on a wonderful trajectory that has so far taken them from innocent, speed-freak pop to bittersweet, underground indie and are poised for a future that looks even more beguiling. Support comes from The Two’n’ Eights, The Racket and The Rhubarbs.

Whatflag at The Beehive are a fascinating world rock, jazz band with its roots in Gaza and Tel Aviv and a drive to break down borders and unite communities through their music. The Victoria goes for a night of acoustic acts. These days despite rubbing shoulders with the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army, which in my world is about as good as it gets, Gaz Brookfield still finds time to play his old haunts and his mix of wit and wisdom set to infectious tunes is not to be missed. Support comes from alternative folk duo, Julesbury, musical magpie Jimmy Moore and the soulful stylings of Benji Clements.

Blues fans have a hard choice to make, torn between Larry Miller at The Arts Centre and Innes Sibun at The Rolleston.

The big one for Saturday is at The Furnace with top tribute The Faux Fighters. Personally I have never really seen the reason that Grohl and the gang are held in such high regard, after all if Sean Moore had jumped ship from The Manics in 1995 and returned with an inoffensive, mainstream version of the same, would anyone have batted an eyelid? Still if The Foo Fighters are your thing, this is the place to be. Other things that might take your interest are The Nomarks playing ska at The Castle and 1000 Planets doing choice cuts of classic rock, industrial, goth and punk at The Rolleston.

Some lovely acoustic comes your way on Sunday. In the afternoon you can catch Beehive favourite Juey and her gentle blends of folk, country, bluegrass and Cajun, after which heading up to The Rolleston will enable you to revel in Rumours of Spring who bring a vast array of instruments to bear on a set forged from rock, blues and folk.

The Running Horse on Wednesday has two amazing acts for you. Louise Latham (pictured) combines honest, heart on the sleeve emotions with room silencing vocal delivery that resonates with beauty and wistful reflectivity. The other half of the bill (that really should be considered as a double headline show) is The Black Feathers, an acoustic duo that combine English folk, Celtic traditions and Americana into what is almost this country’s answer to The Civil Wars.

Also on Wednesday, Teenage Kicks takes us out in fine styles at The Furnace with a riot of indie and alt-rock with The Fixed, City Lights, The Eberdeens and Written in Words (errr….as opposed to?)

Library - 39Reviewed by PfalzDxii

I have been saddened by the news of the closure of both The Grapes & The Falcon. In recent years I have seen two of my favourite bands playing in them. I saw Kolakoca a few times in The Grapes, and Moon Medicine in The Falcon. I jotted down a few memories at the time for my own amusement. Reading them again brings back wonderful images of sights and sounds. Both these bands are exceptional, each in their own way. If you see a concert of theirs looming, do not hesitate, just attend!

 

olaKoca ~ Saturday 20th November 2010 ~ “The Grapes Hotel”

A few hours ago I saw the group KolaKoca, again!!! I’m in the middle of a run of nightshifts. I am very grateful that I was able to swop for a dayshift. I love Kolakoca. I’ve mentioned them before, but I can’t get enough. Last night though… WOW… They went to another level. Most of the songs were old favourites, but better. They are one of my all time favourite bands. LIVE THOUGH ~ Ahhhhhhhhhh. Superb. New endings to familiar songs, that have been reworked with thought and care and love. Everyone playing beautifully, and totally together, as a band should. Ray and daughter Nova sang their hearts out. The new ending to “Who’s That Old Man?” was breathtaking. Ray talking his woes (as Mr Discontented), whilst Nova’s voice soared with such perfect pitch and volume, as to amaze!! As the song came to its conclusion, Bill, the lead guitarist, simply applauded them. It was as if he had never heard it before. Indeed, he hadn’t. He’d missed one rehearsal, and he’d never heard it sung like that before. This ended the first set. During the break, Nova signed my copy of their five track “demo” CD. Ray and the others had all signed it on a previous gig. Just as they were about to start the second set, an elderly couple walked in. They came through the outer door, turned right into the pool room complete with players playing, and Kolakoca about to start. They walked up to the bar and just as the chap was about to order, Kolakoca struck their first chord and were off. So were the couple. They spun on their heels and without a word, walked out again. As Nova hadn’t yet started singing, she witnessed this. She punched the air and silently shouted, “YES”, in triumph. She has a wonderful smile!

For a long time, “The Serpent” has been sung as the final number (excluding encores). This is possibly Ray’s masterpiece. I first heard it when he performed it solo, some thirty years ago. Now though, it has the full and incredible KolaKoca band treatment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nova singing so utterly superbly as she did last night. Everyone played magnificently. Ray put in everything he had. The evening had started at 9pm. They finished at midnight, having had only the one break. They looked tired but jubilant. The audience did shout and cheer. The audience, so small, so close, actually cheered. This included myself. I didn’t plan to. I didn’t mean to. I’d been rocking myself along with the music, as I do when I’m enjoying myself, and I actually shouted. Mmmmmm, must keep an eye on that. Most unbecoming in one as unsociable as I. I felt truly happy for the first time in weeks. Standing so close to such wonderful musicians is a pleasure and a privilege. Many many thanks, for a wonderful evening!!!

Moon Medicine ~ 2nd July 2011 ~ “The Falcon”

June became July and a new music venue opened in Swindon. Opened with the very very best pure rock band, I know!! Today though was carnival day in my village. I attend during the day, but leave before the bands and the fireworks. I was going to the launch of Swindon’s newest music venue. This was in the Falcon, an old small pub in a residential area. The group I went to see is the one that I have described previously as coming from the twilight zone. This is “Moon Medicine”. Colin Radbourne, lead guitar. Jon Buckett, bass guitar. Lee Moulding, drums. I had never been in the Falcon, and on entering saw how small it was. On the left was a pool table, and on the right, the bar.

 

Straight ahead was the back door which was open as it was still hot. I could hear a band doing their sound check, so walked straight through. I met the members of “Moon Medicine” who said that there was another band on first. The music venue is an old garage without windows. Where the car entrance had been, a small extension for a stage had been built. Each time anyone went through the only side door, a member of staff quickly closed the door, presumably to keep the sound level down. There were about two hard backed chairs on either side of the room. I quickly took the last one towards the back of the room. It was hot in there, with laser light darting around. The first band was blues/rock, but today I just wanted pure unadulterated ROCK. Both guitarists stay relatively stationary throughout the performance. They are however, playing their hearts out. Lee on drums is a marvel. The music is loud, but I’m at the back. In front of me are people standing, but I’m happy. A lot of the time I keep my eyes closed. This is pure music, pure sound. There were a few moments that were musical perfection. At the height of one, I felt a hot tear form at the corner of my eye, and roll down my cheek. I had been transfixed and transformed. Even they had not done that to me before! When I opened my eyes, I was quite surprised that I was in an old garage surrounded by people all standing. It had been a truly moving experience.

Colin had kept a close eye on the time, this being the first gig at this event. He stopped dead on 11pm. The very time the fireworks were going off a few miles away in my village. Everyone went outside, it was now dark. I felt exhausted, let alone them. Both Lee and Jon asked me if I had enjoyed it, and had it all sounded alright? Did they not have any idea of what they had achieved? There had been moments of oneness, a harmony you cannot believe possible unless you have heard it. A kind of magic. I was so glad I was there. “Moon Medicine” have returned once more to the twilight zone. I have said this before, but listen closely. Catch them if you can…

As I was leaving Jon came up to me and asked “Will you be at the “White Hart” tomorrow?”. I asked why and he replied “Innes Sibun is playing, and I’m in the band playing keyboards”. The White Hart is a thatched pub in my village, and the start point for many of the carnival floats. Was that only this very afternoon? Yes, said Jon, we’re using it as a warm up before a few gigs in Poland next week.

Last week I was revelling in the fact that there were so many gigs taking place that there just wasn’t enough room to mention them all, this week however the news is not so good. Less than a year after it re-opened under new management, The 12 Bar has shut its doors and is up for sale. Yes, this has happened before but it is my understanding that it is not just the business that is for sale but the building as a whole with no stipulation that it has to remain a music venue. This is a sharp reminder that supporting live music and the venues that host it takes more than re-posting a few Facebook banners signalling your disapproval of Simon Cowell but requires you to actually go along to the gigs, pay money and help ensure the bands get paid and rebooked and the venues thrive. As the cliché says, use it or lose it. Maybe live music ends not with a bang but a whimper!

On a more positive note, there is still some good music to be had around the town, starting tonight at The Beehive. Hiproute take various strands of roots music, from funky blues, southern boogie, outlaw country and even a dash of Memphis soul and weave them together via mesmerising lap acoustic playing into one of the best party-stomp soundtracks you are ever going to need.

The Victoria is also playing the acoustic card, but to a very different end. Dan Brown, who normally fronts Pirate Radiohead, (when he is not writing novels about albino monk assassins) will be reworking the intricacies of Radiohead classic songs for a solo acoustic performance. Intriguing!

On Friday, The MECA is the host for Indigo Pop’s Fresh Friday, an under 18’s club night featuring DJ Scott Kirby, X-Ploit winner Flow In Motion and a host of other top names. Conversely and definitely not for the under 18’s, The Rolleston sees the return of …well even the name is too coarse to be put into print here. Lets just say that he is the finest purveyor of lowbrow comedy and gutter lyricism and he makes support band 2 Sick Monkeys seem like a tea party on the vicarage lawn by comparison. Check the venue website for more specific information.

A safer option can be found at The Beehive in the form of M.O.D. Folky frolics, gypsy jazz jives, klezmerical meanderings and a host of other styles go into this rootsy-world melting pot. On reflection, probably not really a safer option, just mad in a different, less sweary sort of way.

To celebrate the fact that it is the end of November, Riffs Bar are throwing their Riffmass Lights Switch on Party. Then again they were playing Fairytale of New York in the supermarket the other night so I suppose I should just give in and go with the flow. Expect the best in funk from The Funk’daMentals, Glam and Disco from the in house Riffs Travelling Dance Band and rock covers from Dark Fire.

If you are looking for a dose of rock then head to The Furnace on Saturday for three bands that will provide just the fix you need. It seems that in the last year Broken Daylight seem to have come out of retirement, which can only be a good thing. Brash, loud and in your face, but that’s enough about Jamie, it’s good to have them back treading the boards once more. Support comes from IX, a band who sculpt epic and cinematic slow-burning instrumental workouts and the night gets going with the prog-metal gloriousness of Mortdelamer.  When you have a band as great as that first on the bill, you know it is going to be a special evening.

Meanwhile, next door in The Rolleston, Innes Sibun will be enthralling the crowds with his passionate, hi-energy, electric blues.

Sunday sees one band I have been looking forward too all year to return to The Victoria. Dan Baird, one time front man of rock legends, The Georgia Satellites, brings his current musical vehicle Homemade Sin, back to the UK. Comprising of two original Satellites and long term Jason and The Scorchers guitarist Warner Hodges, this band is southern rock and roll royalty. Highly recommended.

Finally on Wednesday, The Running Horse features Sloe Jam, a bluesy acoustic duo equally at home with the tender ballad as they are at kicking out the ….err.. Jams. Support comes from Benji Clements who deftly blends the most soulful vocals with classic songs reworked into his own style, extremely clever mash-ups as well as his own tunes.