Tag Archive: jamie r hawkins


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14449011_673379056164128_4679448363774001003_nThis week we head into the Christmas party zone, and thankfully it isn’t tinselled up to the max but more takes the form of some choice musical gatherings to celebrate and see the year out with.

At The Victoria, Songs of Praise, has their last big show for a while as they head towards a year of much reduced bookings. Before that happens though they have lined up a great night of old school rock, sleazy grooves and boogie beats to put this year’s activities to bed.

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nick-harper-press-photo-08mOne of the biggest names to hit town in a while, especially if you have a penchant for the singer-songwriter format, can be found in one of the smallest local venues tonight. At Baila Coffee and Vinyl you will find Nick Harper,(pictured) a festival favourite with a string of fantastic albums under his belt and who is able to do things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja. Support comes from Burbank and I would suggest that you buy a ticket on-line rather than take your chances on being able to get in.

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11102962_929269977124189_2726214974406720768_nWhen I first started writing this more exclusive gig guide, I pessimistically thought that it would be a quick write up every week. At the time original bands seemed a very small chunk of the available gigs and where as the more inclusive and all encompassing guide that I write for the “paper that shall not be named” runs to a small essay these days, this seemed a breeze to put together.

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12711199_1028505133857289_4581950497514981152_oMany people think that Swindon is a bit of a back water when it comes to culture, particularly music, and that the only time you really hear much about the town on TV is when some witty, pre-scripted comedian uses it as a punch-line on Mock The Week to our aesthetic detriment. But, if you look at the listings carefully you will notice 3 international bands playing gigs this week plus the Swindon Shuffle starts its smaller fringe events as a precursor to its tenth year celebrating local, original music. That doesn’t sound like a back water to me.

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12718143_1717934718490238_6474201312669645735_nAs we start seeing that strange yellow glowing thing in the sky again and notice the rain getting slightly warmer, it is time to turn our thoughts towards the festival season and as always the first of the local crop can be found in the form of Riffstock. The annual Riff’s Bar music festival starts tomorrow with a punky night including One Chord Wonders and 2 Sick Monkeys plus genre defying sets from Wes Bull and Martyrials. Saturday takes a more eclectic approach with alt-rockers A Way With Words, metallers Fist Full of Foozy and the art-punk riot that is Sea Mammal. Sunday is a more family friendly affair with The Shudders bringing their alt-country groove and the debut outing for Mo’eep. Obviously that is just the tip of the iceberg and you should check the venue’s website for a full listing.

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10712773_10152293780256876_355188488816819957_nI think we have pretty much everything covered this week generically speaking, everything from solo roots players to big ska-dance ensembles, from old school bar bands to forward thinking musical fusions. I can’t see any cause for complaint unless you are into Tibetan free jazz or a fan of the Inuit hip-hop scene, but you can’t have everything. After all where would you put it? Anyway, on with the task at hand.

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12279087_999483660093982_8296826872183162800_nOh the irony! We have spent the last month mourning the loss of singular and creative musical types, lauded for ignoring the rules and forging ahead on their own terms, creating new and exciting music along the way. After my usual wander through the websites and listings of local venues, I have to report that I can find very little in the way of the new and the original being offered up in live form this week. I know I bang on about uniqueness more often than is good for my blood pressure and I know I may be in the minority and whilst comfort zones and nostalgia trips are fine you just need to take them to their logical conclusion to see a stunted and bleak future for music. Just my opinion, take it or leave.

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12049112_10153218800902075_4286407036404387466_nI’ve been noticing something recently regarding a strange relationship between the ages of musicians and their audience. In the cover and tribute world the ages of both are largely across the spectrum, as you would imagine but with original bands it is a different story. Whilst a great deal of new, original music is made by people under 30, the age of the audience is much higher. It seems that original, grassroots music is no longer an attraction to formative gig-goers, preferring rather to spend a weeks wages on bands that have already broken, are playing venues the size of a small planet and that the media says it is okay to like. Far be it from me to tell people what gigs to go to (although that is sort of my brief, I guess) but it is a worrying trend. Once us oldies have taken to our retirement homes to discuss the glory days of Sonic Youth and reassess the influence of The Fall, who will be ensuring that this vital breeding ground remains a viable first rung of the ladder? It’s a sobering thought.

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