Tag Archive: john coghlans quo


John-PeelIt isn’t too much of an exaggeration to say that John Peel shaped contemporary music broadcasting in a way that few others ever did. Through radical programing, a truly eclectic musical taste and by championing bands that would otherwise have remained unknown, he single-handed created the template for music radio, as we know it today. The reason I mention this is that Saturday marks 10 years since his passing and I for one salute you sir. You were a lighthouse in an ocean of music mediocrity. More of that later in the article.

 

And having mentioned the great man, tonight has a suitable eclectic and musically left of centre feel to it. At Riffs Bar, Lifesigns will be reminding us that progressive rock isn’t the indulgent and retro minded genre that some would have us believe. Quintessentially English soundscapes are constructed from the usual prog. pallet but brought bang up to date with slices of melodic rock and pop and a very accessible nature.

 

Songs of Praise at The Victoria is by way of an album launch this time, as Port Erin unveil their latest release, Floating Above the City. Taking the experimental, space rock elements of their earlier days and mixing it with the ambient, jazz infused vibes of more recent days has produced an album that is both imaginative and exploratory yet tuneful and, dare I say it, commercially viable. Support comes from the sonorous and somnolent acoustic dreamscapes of Andrew Burke.

 

The Beehive is the place to be to catch the mercurial mix of underground pop, psychedelia, wit and wisdom of Anton Barbeau.

 

Acoustic music is high on the menu for Friday. Child of Imber is a duo that mixes delicate acoustica, soaring vocals and thoughtful lyrics and they can be found at Riffs Bar for the regular acoustic session. For a high-energy take on the genre then you should definitely catch Sam Green and The Midnight Heist at The Victoria. Theirs is a blend of blues from the Old South and the more pastoral sounds of an English folk dance and the result is the best freewheeling, roots-rock party you have ever been to. Support comes from psych-pop trio Emperor Yes and the twin guitar dexterity of Bren Haze.

 

Rock fans also have a lot to shout about. If original music is your preference then Level 3 is the place to be as A Way With Words, DIRTE, In Bloom and Over to You offer a heady mix of alt-rock, punk, metal and grunge, a theme that will be continued by the Reboot club night that follows it. Meanwhile upstairs at The Rolleston, Metalhead will be playing classic rock and metal covers through the ages.

 

As mentioned in the introduction, Saturday marks the 10 year passing of Our Lord John Peel and in his honour The Victoria have a night dedicated to the man himself with suitably challenging and offbeat acts. There will be fast, furious punk with sweary between song humour delivered in machine gun salvos from 2 Sick Monkeys. The (Legendary?) Chaos Brothers will provide abrasive punk and sleaze rock in the style in which it was originally intended. Coasters are all about the contemporary sound of acoustic music with a punk end drive and Ian Doeser does what he does best, abusing guitar and audience in equal measure. I think John would find it all rather amusing.

 

But there is another famous John in town as well. John Coghlan is best known as being the drummer with Status Quo and he brings his current band to Riffs Bar. But this is no tribute band but a set that mixes the bands big numbers, lost classics and songs never performed before played in the style of the 70’s heyday by the man who was the bands engine room. If anyone is entitled to reappraise those songs I reckon he is.

 

There is also a bit of a blast from the past at The Rolleston with The Wirebirds. Although predominantly a blues band they add in rock, west coast psychedelia and even more contemporary sounds and add to that the remarkable vocals of one time Babe Ruth vocalist, Jenny Haan, and you have something pretty special.

 

Final mentions go to Bob Bowles who plies his trademark blues at The Beehive on Sunday and a rare outing for The Chalice Folk Band who can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

Library - 99There was an interesting debate on line the other day, mainly from a promoters point of view and centred around the age old problem of getting people out to watch live music. I have written about it extensively elsewhere but it is worth just recapping on the main thrust of the arguments here. One side seemed to want to lay the blame of poor attendances at the feet of the punter in a fairly sanctimonious line that went something like “ we are putting these gigs on for you and you are not attending them, therefore you are failing as a music fan” The usual clichés, use it or lose it statements and the one-upmanship of who’s most passionate about music followed in its usual dreary inevitability.

 

I see the scenario the other way around. The public know what they want and if promoters and venues are suffering from ill attended gigs, maybe their “product” and a gig is just as much a product as Tesco sausages, just isn’t that appealing. In short maybe they are just booking the wrong bands; wrong as in over played, limited appeal or just plain boring. Last week in particular showed that if you tap into the right vibe people will respond and bands such as Young Kato, Portia Conn, Old Colours, Spyglass, SkyBurnsRed and even old faithfuls like The Hamsters from Hell played to decent crowds. It can be done, but if people aren’t turning up to your shows, maybe the answer to the problem lies closer to home than you think.

 

Right, I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested enough and come to the conclusion that these are the gigs that you might like to go to. In the name of fairness and to avoid the usual backlash, I must point out that other gigs are available and door prices can go up as well as down.

 

Interesting proposition in the top bar of The Victoria tonight, Normally to be found performing with Toupe, Grant Sharkey is a brilliant mix of upright bass, live humour, improvised lyrics and audience participation all of which makes for a brilliant live experience.

 

Friday seems to be the night when it’s all happening, starting in Old Town and working our way down the hill it goes like this. The Arts Centre has the legendary Colin Blunstone, a name associated with bands such as Argent and The Alan Parsons Project but most famous for being a member of The Zombies and co-writing the hit She’s Not There.

 

Round the corner at The Victoria, after too long away from the scene, The Shudders (pictured) are back spearheading a cracking night. Not only do you get their lo-fi, folk-pop, Americana shennanighins, but you also have Alex Taylor who channels the ethereal acoustic vibe of the likes of Damien Rice and John Martyn, plus the funkier, rootsy acoustica of The Right Hooks.

 

By the time you get down to The Beehive, something very interesting and unexpected is afoot. Whilst certain venues at the more boisterous end of town have been hosting various X-Factor contestants, here you will find Dorka Shodeinde, who was well placed in the Hungarian version of the contest performing with her guitarist Roland Polyak, the result is something altogether more soulful and palatable. If you want to play the nostalgia card, The Rolleston plays host to The Nomarks who are keeping the sound of the late seventies two-tone/ska revival alive and kicking.

 

Although Swindon is never short of metal bands, Riffs Bar has taken the interesting slant of getting some of the top bands of the genre, namely Eye For An Eye, From Ruin and Mortdelamer to play acoustic versions of their songs. Also note that this is Mortdelamer’s last ever gig, so I think it is only fitting that all you metallers support this and give them a great send off.

 

On Saturday at the same venue you can catch John Coghlan’s Quo, touring as a warm up before the much talked about classic line up Status Quo reunion. Not normally one to tout the tribute set but as it’s Transmission, who recreate the glorious sounds of Joy Division, I can’t not give it a quick mention. That’s at The Victoria and support is a Killing Joke set from 1000 Planets. If country music is your thing then you need to be at the Arts Centre for the iconic Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys.

 

And finally we jump to Wednesday when you have the options of a Bluegrass jam session at Riffs Bar or some wonderful joyous and sweeping acoustic folk from Antoine Architeuthis at The Running Horse. Support comes from Alice Offley, genre-hopping pianist who is  equally at home knocking out brash pop, delicate other worldly dreamscapes and everything in between.

It sometimes seems that these days there are as many sub-genres of rock music as there are bands themselves, as a music writer it takes a lot of keeping up with. To know your Gypsy Punk from your Krautrock, your Doom Metal from your Shoegaze or your Riot Grrrl from your Neo-Prog requires no small amount of homework. Tonight’s Songs of Praise show at The Victoria, however, can be summed up very simply, old school rock and roll, a trio of bands that both kick arse and cut the mustard. White Knuckle Bride revel in the sort of street rock that you associated with The Sunset Strip of the mid 80’s, big riffs, big choruses and a live performance charged with aggression and attitude. They are aided and abetted by current tour buddies, Burnthru and coming down from Derby to join them are sleaze merchants Bury the Ladybird (pictured). Rock and Roll it would seem is back on the menu.

 

If that doesn’t take your fancy then maybe some tongue in cheek country and/or western, for The Badass Cowboys play both types, might appeal. This ever-popular band will be at The Beehive and rather than try to describe the band I will let their album titles speak for themselves. Take Me Home Randy Rhodes; Born in the KFC and the truly inspired Portaloo Sunset, I think you get the idea of what they are about.

 

Friday can be summed up in the phrase “ from the sublime to the ridiculous.” For the sublime you should head up to the Arts Centre where violinist Miranda Dale and pianist Paul Turner will be performing not only that most quintessentially English piece, Vaughn Williams The Lark Ascending, but also music by this country’s other big names, Walton, Britten and of course Elgar.

 

At the other end of the spectrum we find ourselves back at The Beehive for Bill Smarme – king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades, building contractor…apparently.

 

On a more even keel, The Victoria has a cracking line up featuring three of the bands to watch at the moment. The Icarus Youth do a neat line in alchemizing rock, urban and alternative sounds into a slick and quite brilliant final product and if bands such as The Post War Years or Two Door Cinema Club are your thing, then this is the place to be. But as if that wasn’t enough The Blood Choir bring their atmospheric and bleak soundscapes to life and the cinematic folk meets indie pop of Old Colours kicks the night off. Now that is one hell of a line up.

 

The big event for Saturday takes place at The Running Horse where they have gathered together their favourite acts from the past sessions to create The Acoustic Garden Festival, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. There are far too many bands to mention them all but with Faye Rogers, Alice Offley, Bateleurs, Coach and Billyjon on the bill, you can get an idea of the pedigree involved here.

 

Rock fans are going to be like kids in a sweet shop, as they have to choose between, original Status Quo drummer, John Coghlan at Riffs Bar, tributes to Muse and Iron Maiden at The Victoria and The Furnace respectively and some good old R’n’B at The Rolleston with Dickie Reed.

 

The Sabbath kicks up a couple of more chilled options. The aptly named Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre is hosted by Mr Love and Justice, probably one of the most popular bands of the thriving “historical, socio-political, agri-folk, jangle- pop” scene. They are joined by the Jansch-esque Tim Graham and the soothing and ethereal tones of one of my favourite bands of the moment, Rumour Shed.

 

Other laidback serving suggestions are available at The Beehive under the enigmatic title of Incarnations of Matilda. Presumably this will be not only the usual Matilda display of harmony driven blends of folky piano jazz, but after a quick game of musical chairs will feature songs by Emily Sykes and Friends also. Two bands for the price of one, what a bargain.