Tag Archive: jamie thyer


166902_250056101706651_204372703_nOkay, we are over the line, there is no stopping now. Welcome to December. From here on in things will slowly descend into the dreaded realm of the enforced wackiness of office parties, of trying to look enthusiastic through karaoke dross, of consumerism and excess. But let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of someone whose work is an inspiration to millions and who we celebrate in song at this special time. Yes, 25th December is of course the birthday of Shane McGowan and we should remember this fact whenever we attempt the dual vocal part of Fairytale of New York.

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600x600In an effort to keep up with the mainstream side of the music industry I tentatively watched the BRITs last week. I know that I’m far from the target audience but dear me what a disaster. Firstly, how can James Corden, a man who could teach Robbie Williams a thing or two about being smug, be the best presenter available? Not only did he look so far out of his depth, his interviews came across like a petulant college kid talking to inarticulate show-offs against the background chatter of an audience too busy taking “selfies” to pay attention. And why was Ellie Goulding singing backwards…in Finnish? The most edgy thing to happen was Alex Turner dropping the microphone, a feat that twitter users seemed to find on par with Keith Moon blowing up his drum kit (and himself and Pete Townsend) at their US TV debut. How times have changed.

This was, however, balanced by the watching of the BBC folk awards later that night, a genre inhabited by rugged, real ale drinking blokey blokes and flame haired Celtic beauties. Throw in Mark Radcliffe hosting, some virtuosic live music and a general feeling of celebration, decorum and mutual support and you actually got to see what an award ceremony should be about.

And if you are looking for something cool as folk, then The Victoria tonight is the place, as Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra blend the genre with gypsy jazz, Cajun, ragtime and country roots. Support is from the ever popular Missin’ Rosie…heads down, no nonsense, mindless folk music! And if you want a more Euro-centric take on the genre then The John Langan Band (pictured) at The Beehive provides the answer – high energy, extravagant and slightly unhinged acoustic playing of a joyous mix of polka, klezmer and Celtic folk traditions.

If you fancy making your own music then pop along to The Patriots Arms in Chiseldon for an open mic. night hosted by Jimmy and Aidan Moore (no relation.)

Friday delivers more of the tried and tested rather than the boundary pushing but you won’t find a better classic rock cover band around than Bad Obsession who play The Rolleston. Tributes are also on the cards with the music of ZZ Top at The Victoria and Boot Led Zeppelin at Riffs Bar delivering an acoustic take on the legendary band.

If you didn’t catch them at their open mic. earlier in the week and you want more of Moore and Moore (no relation) then they are part of a fundraising evening at The GW on Saturday which also features the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and the sweet moreish sounds of Remedy. Need I say more?

If high energy music is your preference then catch guitarist Jamie Thyer as he leads his Worried Men through R’n’B standards at The Rolleston on Saturday whilst at The Castle, it’s time to grab your Crombie and pork pie hat for The Nomarks and their ska and reggae originals.  You could even combine this with the short walk down to The Beehive where the Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning similar genres.

The Victoria has Syntronix, a tribute to eighties synth pop and at the other end of the scale it’s all about bringing Pearl Jam back to life Riffs Bar. Support to that comes from a re-union show from Tiryth, a metal band who must have been away from the scene for a decade at least.

Proving that Sunday doesn’t have to be the day of rest, more heavy music is to be had from two South Wales post-hardcore bands When We Were Wolves and Set To Break at The Victoria.  Not your thing? Why not head to The White Hart for a slick slice of soul grooves and funky R’n’B with Otis Mack and The Tubby Bluesters maybe after catching the 3am porch blues picking of David Bristow at The Beehive afternoon session.

Baker Streets regular Tuesday jazz offering comes in the form Portuguese guitarist Miguel Martins who delivers a neat line in contemporary playing mixed with a more traditional jazz legacy. For this show the regular quartet is augmented by renowned tenor sax player Brandon Allen.

Final acoustic offerings on Wednesday come in the form of Drew Bryant at The Roaring Donkey and bluesman Ian O’Regan and Darren Hodge at The Crown, the latter who you may also have spotted on the aforementioned BBC folk awards.

Seamlessly full circle or what?

1238974_708248452536051_260016646_nAs the last of the Halloween greasepaint has been scrubbed from the costume that you need to return to the shop; the final whiff of bonfire smoke and the cordite of smoldering fireworks have been blown away on autumnal gusts and those once a year “I’m so much more pagan than thou” types have ceased posting their burning martyr updates to their fellow Buffy fans on the various anti-social networks to which they belong, we can finally put such things behind us and get on with the task at hand. Supporting live music. There are not so many opportunities to do so this week as I would like to be able to report, but it seems to be a week of quality not quantity so pick a show and get behind the live music scene.

 

The cream of the acoustic crop is in town tonight at Songs of Praise at The Victoria as local lad made good, Gaz Brookfield aided and abetted by his violining sidekick, Ben Wain,    spearhead the best of the regional and national circuit. Hard work is really paying off for Gaz and supports to the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army are finally pushing him into the spotlight of the acoustic – new folk – crusty – festival circuit…call it what you will, so catch him before he is whisked away to bigger things. Support comes from the looping acoustica and Buckley-esque tones of Alex Taylor, Joe McCorriston all the way down from Morecombe and wise words and romantic ballads from the enigmatic Stead to start things off.

 

Something a bit more rooted in rock and roll is to be found at The Beehive as Josie and The Outlaw dig up some old school grooves and rockabilly backbeats to kick the weekend off early.

 

More contemporary sounds can be found at Riffs Bar on Friday as The Secret Chord brings in some amazing bands from around the south for your delectation. Kernow’s finest, Even Nine (pictured) make a welcome return to headline the night, a slicker, more energetic band you couldn’t wish for, delivering music that is stuck between a rock and a ….well, wonderfully melodic and totally infectious place, as the saying goes. Alt-rockers A Way With Words provide the local interest and Dorset four-piece Patchwork Native kick the night off.

 

At The Rolleston, meanwhile, there will be original music blended from the building blocks of mod style lines, power-pop drive and psychedelic wigouts courtesy of The Sitting Tenants. Super!

 

Saturday night is the traditional slot for the big tributes, not normally my thing but you could do a lot worse than Still Marillion, a tribute to one of my favourite neo-prog bands from back in the day. If you want to re-live the Fish era years, that heady blend of poetics and passion, technical ability and emotive songlines, then this is the show for you. Support comes from original progressive rockers Spiral Key, so real value for money all round.

 

Riffs Bar is offering a night of Burlesque accompanied by music from Ghost Trail and at The Rolleston it’s The Worried Men. Although the event page for this show describes the band as “Chance of Rain 11C” they would be better described as the last word in fired up, white hot, electric r’n’b. Jamie Thyer leads a band that are in the same mold as The Hamsters, not as well known as the likes of Gary Moore, George Thorogood or ZZ Top, but every bit as good.

 

Sunday afternoon at The Beehive is a elemental blend of dark ballads, protest songs, slow airs, jigs and reels, courtesy of Tattie Jam who reinterpret songs from the Scottish folk tradition and give it all a fun and contemporary twist.

 

Final offering of the week is to be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Plummie Racket picks up his acoustic guitar to entertain with his gritty tales of urban life.

 

Just the two puns this week, must be losing my touch!

311557_10150922275243207_1996043764_nAs most of you will be aware by now, the shock news of the last week is that Basement 73, the newly re-vamped, re-named, re-launched Furnace, has closed and the future of The Rolleston pub above it is still very uncertain. Whilst I can’t speak about the specifics of what brought this about, as I just don’t know the facts, I can make this very general statement. Any club, pub or music venue only exists by selling drinks and only thrives by doing so in large numbers. That obviously requires punters turning up to gigs. So every time you have taken the option of Saturday night TV or said “I’ll catch them next time” was actually a metaphorical brick knocked out of the support structure of local music, i.e. the venues themselves.  So now we find ourselves with no medium capacity venue at all in town, so for all those first album bands, rising stars and next big things, it’s a trip to Oxford, Bristol or further afield for you all.
 
That said, if you venture up to The Victoria tonight, you will be able to see a band who may very well soon be found filed under “next big thing” The Lovers. Four seasoned musical veterans of the female persuasion join forces to make enchanting and sophisticated, indie pop, drenched in sumptuous harmonies. Support comes from the alt-country and rock blends of The Blue Trees plus the welcome return of Mel Hughes to the live arena.
 
Something decidedly different is to be found at The Beehive. Alan Clayson, devoid of his usual musical backing, The Argonauts (gedit?) puts on a show of Chanson, a  lyrical French song form and something that fits neatly with his recent authorship of a Jacques Brel biography. Whilst Time Out thought his performance was one of “cult status”, The Independent had to admit, “it is difficult to explain to the uninitiated what to expect.” Make of that what you will.
 
Two big names arrive on Friday, those pioneers of dub, reggae and folk fusion, Dreadzone, are at The Victoria, if you haven’t already got a ticket or know someone you can mug to get one, then best opt for the second option as the show has sold out. The second option is to be found at Riffs Bar in the form of Soft Ground. Who? I hear you cry. Well they are only the current musical vehicle for organist Verden Allen of Mott The Hopple fame. But more than that the band also features former Tigertailz drummer Matthew Blakout and Jamie Thyer, normally found leading The Worried Men.
 
Staying with Riffs Bar and Saturday sees another Secret Chord gig, this time featuring The Shudders pictured) in the headline spot. This eight legged groove machine mix up alt-country, lo-fi pop, folk and rock into the perfect party soundtrack. In support you will find the wonderfully subtle playing and hushed vocal tones of Rumour Shed and opening up is Stead, a London based troubadour of the old tradition whose songs are filled with an understated intensity and musical economy.
 
 The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive will be filled with the sound of vintage acoustic music and echoes of The Great American Songbook. Lisa Wiship and Andy Mathewson specialise in pre-war blues and ragtime, pop along for your own musical time machine.
 
Fans of jazz will want to get a good seat at Baker Street on Tuesday as The Craig Milverton Trio set out their musical stall. Craig is one of the countries top jazz pianists, often rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paul Jones and Scott Hamilton and he even played with Van Morrison and Buddy Guy…not a bad pedigree you have to admit.
 
And finally we come to our usual jumping off point, The Running Horse on Wednesday which features Drew Bryant and Michael Hennessy.