Tag Archive: jenna witts


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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307317_10151453105276140_1745376414_nI think that it is time for a musical revolution. Who’s with me? Looking at the ever shortening list of live music available to watch in recent weeks, I am increasingly worried by the amount of young, original bands getting their music out to audiences in the form of live shows.  Musical change is built on revolutionary acts, from rock ‘n’ roll to punk to hip-hop to grunge to rave and beyond, but it seems to me that we have settled into a complacent groove of late, both on the local scene and the wider world beyond it. Maybe there are revolutionary acts being performed and I just don’t know about it, after all why would you invite an aging hippy to the party to hang around like someone’s dad waiting to give them a lift home.  Maybe the revolution has taken new forms and accesses its audience through streaming shows, free downloads and house parties, rather than the more traditional outlets. I don’t need to be invited to the revolution; I just pray that it is taking place somewhere. I lived through a few musical watersheds, it was amazing, everyone else deserves to as well.

So, enough rose-tinted retrospection from me and on with the week ahead.  Tonight Songs of Praise at The Victoria brings back into town one of the bands that have proved to be a bit of a success story over the last few years. Black Hats blend a modish, agit-punk drive with infectious hooks and crunching great choruses, imagine The Jam embracing the scope of modern technology and you are in the ballpark. Support comes from Devotion, a great writhing mass of post punk and shoegazy riffs, dream pop visions and the sort of indie music that sounds like it was made floating through space.

Ethereality of another type can be found in the guise of Jenna Witts at The Beehive, an acoustic artist who evokes pop and folk tradition in equal measure and whose maturity in song writing and pin-drop voice will astound you.

Friday brings us the stalwarts of the scene. Firstly The Teddy White Band play The Rolleston, mixing up good time rock ‘n’ roll, blues, swing and boogie from times past all glued together with honey-dripping saxophone. At The Beehive, The Blue Trees head far more down home with a weave of sounds that evoke the quiet bayous, the desert highways and the smell of Mint Julep being served on the porch. Sort of the sound of a Southern States roadhouse meets a Harper Lee novel….Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

The Victoria will be playing hosts to “top cover band” Penfold who do a neat line in classic standards both past and present.

As we roll into Saturday the offerings become more tribute and cover driven. The first is catered for at The Victoria with Oasish and Stereotonics doing their bit to ensure Britpop-ery isn’t forgotten and Bad Obsession at The Rolleston pay tribute to some of the less obvious songs of the classic rock and metal genre. One original reprieve comes in the shape of a nice big slab of alt-rock in the shape of Armchair Committee, Base 11 and Boss Cloth at Riffs Bar playing for those awfully nice chaps at Secret Chord Records.

Talk In Code (pictured) has come a long way in recent years. Having left their original “dad Rock” sound behind them. …their words not mine, they are now an of the moment rush of screaming guitars and pulsating synths. In the past Talk In Code used to be written off as the music that your dad might listen too. Now however they are the CD that your sharp-dressed, musically savvy, effortlessly cool, big brother refuses to lend you. Catch them with A Way With Words and Daniel James at The Victoria on Sunday.

Culture Vultures will be interested to know that The Swindon Recital Series at The Art Centre brings the oboe and piano talents of Nicholas Daniel and Paul Turner together to play selected pieces from French composers such as Saint-Saens, Debussy and many others.

Finally, Wednesday brings us to The Roaring Donkey and the acoustic skills of Aidan Moore whose mellow yet genre hopping style will find that he appeals to a wide range of punters.  Whilst you are there you really should pick up a copy of his recent album, So Far, So Good, it’s a cracker.

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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?)