Tag Archive: jim johnston


11870933_488084031366179_9122912349955513731_nAll I seem to be reading this week is that it is twenty years since the epic battle for chart supremacy between Blur and Oasis, a battle that had people recording the heady days of the The Beatles and The Stones rivalry. If you took the pitting of the two bands at face value it looked like a bitter battle between working class upstarts from the north and art college hipsters from the South. The reality is that it evolved from a drunken pub strategy meeting between the relevant label bosses at Creation and Food Records but will forever go down in history as an epic replay of that 60’s rivalry that also never really existed. But that’s the power of PR for you and a mythical, class led, musical dust up sells more papers than the minutes of an inspired business meeting. Maybe I should start a rumour saying Nudybronque hate Super Squarecloud and see if that helps sell more tickets and albums.

One show that is really going to sell itself, if people know what is good for them, is the one found tonight at The Victoria. It may be three out of town acts but each one could take the headline slot. Top of the pile in this instance is Echo Boom Generation (pictured), a band who represent where rock music is going at the moment. Big, classic rock swagger meets grunge riffs, a vibrant energy and forward looking attitude proving that the rock is in safe hands. Fellow Londoners, Gelato, open the night with their punked up indie/stoner rock vibe and sandwiched between is Bristol’s Flowerpot, a band who hark back to the days of the Riot Grrrl movement whilst blurring the grunge, rock and indie boundaries. Any rock fans not checking this out will have their membership cards cancelled.

Something much mellower can be found at The Beehive in the form of U&I, which sees Hip Route main man Jim Blair join forces with vocalist Raye Leonard for a night of folk and rootsy covers and originals.

Things take a turn for the surreal at The Victoria on Friday as Nudybronque bring their rock extravaganza Graffiti and Her Friends: Against The Never Ending Sadness to their hometown. If you thought they did a neat line in bizarre before, this is the band taken to the extremes of its strangeness. Having gone down a storm at Larmer Tree festival and with Flashfires and Plummie Racket also on the bill, this may just be the weirdest show you will catch for a long time. It may also be the most brilliant.

Also ticking the strange box, Oui Legionnaires bring the punky, angular indie that they describe as Yelpcore to The Locomotive as support to Strength in Blunders, a band who manage to blend punk riffs with New Wave accessibility and an edgy, threatening vibe that makes them sound like they where hanging around New York’s Lower East Side in 1979.

Out at Riffs Bar bands of a more folky nature gather as a tribute to Terry Hunt and to raise money for The Prospect Hospice. Grubby Jack provide a mix of celtic and Appalachian style tunes armed with fast fiddle breaks and hypnotic banjo, Southern Harmony mix folk and Americana and Ali Finneran recalls the folk revival movement of the 60’s.

Other options are The Teddy White Band playing blues, beat and R’n’B at The Beehive, searing blues rock from Lewis Creaven at The Rolleston and three decades of indie-rock with Vive Versa at The Castle.

Fans of original music should be heading down to The Locomotive on Saturday for a night with Hip Route and Friends. A whole night of music from a band with a great reputation for raw and bluesy slide guitar and funky grooves with the addition of The Barefoot Horns, tabla drums, beatbox and possibly much more.

Elsewhere music follows more tried and tested lines with 80’s revivalists Syntronix playing the best of synth-pop and new romantic, underground pop and chart hits at The Victoria, classic and contemporary covers from all genres from The Hyperbolics at The Queens Tap and iconic rock and metal standards at The Rolleston courtesy of Shepherds Pie.

The final mention is Jim Johnston at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Trading in albums which combine psychedelia and post-punk experimentations, with fractious guitar lines and a bluesy undercurrent it will be interesting to see how that translates to a solo show.

Jim Johnston hits town

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Library - 25Isn’t science great? I was reading a report in New Made-up Scientist recently that Zoologists have discovered that the mental powers of Slipknot fans are far greater than previously imagined. In a series of experiments conducted in a research facility in Hogwash, Colorado involving dozens of Slipknot fans, bearded scientists found that many were able to count to 20, had the potential to perform simple sums and even had a basic vocabulary consisting of a handful of words such as “Slipknot” and “Rule.” Professor Dan Geek who led the team said “ This evidence of intelligence has taken us by surprise and is causing us to rethink what we know about these particular primates.” In a prepared statement Slipknot said, “This proves what we always said, our fans ain’t stupid. They know a whole bunch of stuff, y’know, like stuff and stuff like that”

Thankfully your faith in intelligent music can be restored by a visit to Riffs Bar tonight. If you thought Red Jasper had been consigned to local music mythology, you will be pleased to know that they are back out as a gigging band delivering their trade mark symphonic rock meets folk blend that puts them somewhere between classic era Jethro Tull and early Marillion and with Bristol prog stalwarts Crimson Sky supporting, this is a brilliant line up.

More rootsy sounds can be found at The Victoria with the funky lap-blues of Jim “Hiproute” Blair and the shamanistic folk and emotive bluesy vibes that make up Stone Donkey Pilots. The Beehive, meanwhile, will be grooving to the gypsy-jazz swing of Ruba Tempo.

Friday is a big night out at Riffs Bar as Beauty with a Purpose (and not a Porpoise as it said in one listing!), a longstanding and immensely important global children’s charity, have lined up a host of fund raising great acts including Ethemia, Echo, Benji Clements and Aiden Moore. Great cause. Great music.

The Beehive opts for laid back music from  Stressechoes a band described as “a triumph of heart-on-sleeve storytelling supported by beautiful, understated music” and with the simple musical lines of Juey also on the bill it will be a cracking gig. The delectable R’n’B sounds of The Teddy White Band can be found at The Royal Oak.

If you want a fuller band experience, then there are a number of options. Nudybronque play Riffs Bar as headliners for the Secret Chord’s latest show, underground, post punk, inspired pop, melody and memorable tunes, they may have evolved but they haven’t lost the glint in the eye and tongue in cheek drive that keeps them self-deprecating, grounded and a joy to watch. Also on the bill is Jim Johnston, currently operating as a two-piece but still running a great line in brittle, fractious guitar lines and dark yet bluesy undercurrents. New chaps on the block Devotion get the night underway.

Missin’ Rosie are at The Manor and The Corsairs grace the New Inn but if punk is more your thing then the Victoria tonight provides the first of two shows that should tick your musical boxes. The UK Subs now enter their eighth decade (probably not true) as leading lights of the punk scene and they bring with them the Dropkick Murphy’s inspired Criminal Mind and Proud City Fathers. The other gig in this pairing comes with Charred Hearts playing The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon show may have now relocated to The Central Library but they haven’t lost their ear for good music. This time it is the turn of the luscious Latin Jazz of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, the romantic nature of Jess Vincent and as always hosted by Mr Love and Justice.

Other options for the day of rest come with the effortless, vibrant blues of Retramantic who play 20 at the Kings in Wood Street and the Sax fronted trad jazz of The Don Franks Duo at Baker Street.

Playing the week out, on Tuesday at Baker Street, it’s jazz from virtuoso guitarist Esmond Selwyn and the organ lead brilliance from The John-Paul Gard Trio and Wednesday at The Running Horse acoustic treats come in the shape of Pete Taylor and The Right Hooks.