Tag Archive: josh kumra


10644504_849034398474545_1266507282074302395_nIt might seem that the world has gone to hell in a hand basket this week, or worse…Hull, but at least you have a whole raft of great, original live music to console yourselves with. And as always Thursday does the perfect job of easing you into the weekend with more than its fair share of the gigs.

 

Thursday

Josh Kumra @ The Victoria

It’s great to see Josh back with a hometown show. It’s been an interesting journey for him from accessible Americana-indie influenced local shows to managing to get a foot in the bigger leagues, releasing an album and even finding himself sat at the top of the charts with a co-written song. With all that behind him it is easy to see why his stock has risen so much since those early days when I used to see him playing in the back room of pubs to a handful of people. His songs are great and his voice is surprisingly mature so it is bound to be a great show.

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13346778_10153427066772127_7056879790797654139_nObviously I am writing this in advance of the US election result but I’m sure by now there has been a tsunami of debate, opinion and analysis not to mention disappointment/anger/relief (delete as applicable) banded around. One man who has a fantastic way of taking political themes, wrapping them up in bundles of thought provoking satire and delivering them as song-bites can be found at Baila Coffee and Vinyl.

Having set himself the task of making 40 records over 20 years, armed only with his trusty upright bass, Grant Sharkey (pictured) brings a bag of social commentary, wit, wisdom, his eighth album and his secret bread recipe to Swindon. It is very likely he will have an opinion or two about the presidential election too. Support comes from the always-excellent Emily Jane Sheppard.

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10978528_10206449370499975_5340061803394851914_n-1Worthy causes and great music go hand in hand on 16th May in the shape of Moonfest, an evening of music being held at The Moonrakers in Cricklade Road. About 260,000 people in the UK suffer from Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, half of which are diagnosed before they are 29 and teenage sufferers are also common. Even though money may be scarce at the moment, £10 will get you into a great event that is raising much needed money for this charity. But it isn’t just a feeling of having done the right thing that you will gain from the night; you also get to experience 6 top musical acts.

What better booking to headline this night than local boy made good, Josh Kumra? After breaking out of the local circuit he made a name for himself in London and found himself one half of the number one single Don’t Go, with rapper Wretch 32. Likened to a young Ray Lamontagne or Ben Harper he is worth your entrance fee alone.

Joining him are White Lilac who reference the likes of Joy Division and The Cocteau Twins to create wonderful atmospherics and shimmering soundscapes and Zero Return who give a contemporary twist to classic rock.

The Summits, Oscillator and Natures can also be found doing their bit, so why don’t you do yours too, all you have to do is turn up, have a drink and take in some of the best acts on the local, and not so local, scene.

1175726_493302250752192_659770799_nIt’s always reassuring when I do the research for this article (okay, it may seem as if it’s hastily written on the back of a beer mat at a gig, but there is an element of research) and it is obvious that there are more gigs taking place than space will allow. That has got to be the sign of a healthy scene….or an overtly verbose writer, or both! So straight down to business.

So, tonight at The Victoria, Songs of Praise brings you a lovely slice of alternative rock, headed up by that eight legged, orchestral grunge machine, SkyBurnsRed. Buzz-saw guitars and whiskey cracked vocals mix with sweeping classical lines and heavy beats to bring you one of the most original rock bands on the local circuit. Support comes from Dead Royalties (pictured), old hands in a new musical vehicle, natural successors to the Sub-Pop legacy and who have the ability to hammer home their music like a smack in the face from Cobain’s beaten up Jaguar guitar. Armchair Committee are the perfect band to kick the night off.

Something altogether more classy this way comes, well it does if you are in The Beehive tonight, as Ruba Tempo return with their elegant and soulful , late night jazz sounds.

Chuck Berry may have famously got his kicks on Route 66, well, the younger element can get theirs this Friday on the B4534, or more accurately at Riffs Bar as Teenage Kicks brings together the best of the emerging local talent. This show will feature I Am The Sea, Out of Time, Who Cares? Emily Jones and headlining the ethereal voice and delicate musical creations of Faye Rogers. And apparently it is Pirate Music night, though I’m not sure if that means you have to dress like Jack Sparrow or that bloke who sold me a bootleg Stone Roses DVD last week.

Also with quite a piratey feel to them, Missin’ Rosie will be filling The Beehive with punked up Celtic anthems, wonky sea shanties and all manner of mayhem and shenanigans, image The Pogues on speed and you get the picture.

All manner of rock covers can be found at The Rolleston with Angel Up Front, now with a new singer and at The Victoria it’s time to put on the distress flares, tank tops, glam accoutrements and go “crazee” as Slyde Alive relive the heady days of Slade.

Saturday brings you one of the last outdoor gatherings on the local calendar as The Running Horse bring a whole heap of their favourite acts for The Acoustic Garden. Not only is it the best of the local selection but top names such as Rachel Austin and Josh Kumra will feature. Just pray for good weather.

Two breaking bands can be found at The Victoria that evening. Stylish, anthemic indie comes courtesy of British Harlem and opening up is the heady mix of floaty, cinematic,  dream pop and occasional rock urgency that is Old Colours, in many ways a Warpaint for the English market. It’s also a line up that sums up neatly where the contemporary music scene is heading.

It’s maximum electric blues at The Rolleston with Innes Sibun and nostalgia trippers are catered for with The Illegal Eagles at The Wyvern Theatre and Chris  “ Handbags and Gladrags” Farlowe at The Arts Centre.

Two Sunday afternoon options look like this. David Bristow plays relaxed, old school blues at The Beehive and the Lazy Sunday Afternoon show at The Arts Centre sees hosts Mr Love and Justice joined by Alice Offley and Jane Allison.

Monday sees some great ska driven, pop rock hit The Victoria as Robbie Sea’s short tour stops off to deliver a lesson in how to make music that is both cool and accessible, that will drive both a cult following and radio play. A great trick if you can pull it off, and he does.

The battle for Wednesday’s music punters takes place in the usual venues and pits The Teddy White Band at the Roaring Donkey with The Black Feathers at The Running Horse.

By the way, my records show that this is the 200th time you have had to suffer my inane ramblings and weird recommendations via this column. Doesn’t time fly when your having…deadlines!

Library - 47The weather may not be reflecting the fact but with three festival gatherings taking place in town in the coming week, to quote Fountains of Wayne – it must be summer. Yes, the rain will be getting slightly warmer, the hail marginally softer, there will be far fewer half dead umbrellas littering the streets and maybe you will be able to use those sunglasses you optimistically bought two months ago, just maybe.

 

Taking these main events in isolation from the rest of the gigging week, it goes a bit like this. The biggest event of the weekend is Riffstock, over at Riffs Bar, (naturally) which features ska, pop, and Indie on Friday and a more family orientated bill on Monday. The two days between are all about rock and metal inside the venue with an acoustic stage outside, best to check the venues website for the full listing.

 

Of a more acoustic, folk and rootsy nature is the Sunbeat Festival at The Sun Inn at Coate Water aptly on Sunday. Again check online for full details but highlights for me are the evocative voice and piano of Louise Latham, the joyous vibe of The Real Raj, the ethereal Faye Rogers and festival favourites Bateleurs.

 

The third and by far the weirdest of the three is the Duck Race which takes place by The Running Horse on Monday and to help celebrate this quirky event the venue’s garden will be filled with great music from the likes of Ethemia, Benji Clements, Josie and The Outlaw, The Blue Trees and Nick Felix.

 

Right, now with the big stuff covered, this is what the rest of the week looks like. Tonight, after what seems like a long time absent from the parish, Talk In Code bring their vibrant, dance rock to The Victoria. Once musically written off as Dad Rock, now they are more like the CD that your musical savvy big brother refuses to lend you. Support is from Jimmy Moore and Marky Thatcher. The Beehive revels in Funke and The Two Tone Baby, a one-man operation that is based around loop-induced, psychedelic blues.

 

Rock and Metal fans not content with the raft of box ticking acts to be found at Riffstock over the weekend can start a day early by heading over there tonight for a six band line up. Headliner, Girls That Scream, is a collision of dance beats and white hot metal riffs and AshestoAngels are a riot of dark energy, glorious synth washes, aggression and melody. Also make sure you catch I’m Designer a band that play with sound in such a way that I can only describe them as indescribable.

 

On Friday, Shaun Buswell is at The Victoria talking about his recent 121212 Challenge, there will be music from a small version of the band and probably slides, flip charts and pointy sticks. All sounds very Dave Gorman to me. If that’s not your sort of thing, maybe a trip to The Beehive instead for Port Erin, a band that deconstruct rock music and blend it with jazz, funk and chilled late night vibes.

 

Original music is hard to find on Saturday but if you aim to watch The Four Fighters at The Victoria you will get to see the soaring, Muse-esque creations of False Gods. Sunday on the other hand is rammed with options.

 

The big draw is going to be at The Oasis when Jahmene Douglas and Josh Kumra return home to headline a Best of Swindon show. For my money, however, the more interesting acts are further down the bill (nothing personal Josh but I really liked Kicaberry!) in the shape of the wonderfully considered and spacey music of Colour The Atlas and Theo Altieri.

 

Elsewhere you can find acoustic, jazz-folk courtesy of Cindy Stratton and Marius Frank at The Beehive, dance floor classics at The Victoria with The Funk’daMentals and piano led, jazz standards at Baker Street from The Alex Steele Trio.

 

More jazz, again at Baker Street with saxophonist Dom Franks on Tuesday but a trip to the Art Centre will reward you with an acoustic show by folk legends Fairport Convention. (pictured)

 

Wednesday is all about rounding off a busy week at The Running Horse with another outing for the soulful and atmospheric Benji Clements and the ubiquitous rising star Charlie-Anne Bradfield.

Library - 53So here we are, last column of the year and for obvious reasons not a lot of original music about as venues err on the side of the festive favourites, the cheesy music and the fun time bands to accompany their Christmas parties, and that’s as it should be. But I would like to use the extra space to say a few thanks and have a look back over the year.

 

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my efforts to try and bring worthy, interesting and breaking bands to your attention, I know it really comes down to my, often strange, personal taste but hopefully you have checked out some of them and hopefully discovered some great new music along the way.

 

Although it has been a difficult year, especially with the news that The Big Arts Day will be no more plus the loss of the brilliant BBC Wiltshire Introducing show, not to mention the 12 Bar closing, I still think there is a lot to be proud of regarding local music. This year musicians from this area could be found supporting The Levellers and Newton Faulkner and following in the footsteps of Josh Kumra, Gabrielle Aplin (pictured), made it to the top of the charts. The Shuffle came back bigger and better this year with more venues and bands being involved, Summer Breeze managed to attract artists of the calibre of K T Tunstall and in general there are more original bands of a higher quality than ever before just waiting to burst out of the area and start making a name for themselves.

 

All sounds pretty good to me but of course these successes can only happen if there is the support from the public, so remember to get out there, keep the venues in business and thereby keep the bands in work so they can entertain, develop their live skills, evolve and reach fruition. If between all the partying, boozing, food and general shennanighins there is time to catch a band, then maybe one of these will suffice.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is The Songs of Praise/Green Man Music Christmas show. For their 25th and final show of the year they bring together two bands synonymous with their brand name, Nudybronque and SkyBurnsRed, bands that have had a brilliant year, are hallmarked by super charged live shows and neither have any understanding of grammatical spacing in their names.

 

Friday’s options have a bit of a retro feel to them. If ska is your thing then head along to the Beehive for the Nomarks in all their two-tone glory, probably just the tonic(s) you are after (geddit?) to dance away all the food and drink you have consummed this week. Also with influences rooted back in an earlier time, The Corsairs play The Rolleston. Now in their twentieth year they mix up rockabilly, punk and ska to create a unique psychobilly sound.

 

Saturday is all about the contemporary sound of rock and roll. Having caught Natural Tendency last time they played The Rolleston, I can tell you that they are well worth turning off the TV and missing out on The Only Way is Runcorn or Jeremy Spake: The Missing Years or what ever z-list celebrity dross is being offered up in the name of mainstream entertainment. This is a band that runs emotionally charged rock headlong into ambient keyboard washes and waves of frenzied synth grooves. It’s the future sound of rock music.

 

Meanwhile downstairs in The Furnace, South West Hardcore present their Dolls and Gangsters party with hardcore/metal onslaughts from The Hotel Ambush and Beyond Hurt, but make sure you catch openers Firefalldown who mix compelling punk aggression with accessible skater melodies and grooves that funk up and rock out in equal measure. Whichever of those two gigs you go to stick around afterwards for the Nightshift club night – industrial, darkwave, electronica, goth and more from the usual suspects.

 

On Sunday, again at The Rolleston you can catch a stripped back session from retro-rockers Josie and The Outlaw and after that it is all about the mayhem and madness of New Years Eve. As my distant relative, Benjamin Franklin so wisely put it “ Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – can’t say fairer than that.

 

So that’s another year done, have a great time over the festivities and I’ll see you at a gig somewhere soon, I’ll be the one leaning on the bar clutching a handful of Antwerp scene experimental rock demos and trying to argue that The Icicle Works were the greatest pop band ever to anyone who will listen. Have a blast out there.

Library - 36As De La Soul observed, three is a magic number. Sadly at the moment it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good thing. After reporting that the 12 Bar has closed and The Big Arts Day has been cancelled, I now have a third, and probably the most momentous, piece of bad news. As of next week the Thursday evening “Introducing” session on BBC Wiltshire radio will cease to exist. The show is to be replaced by a regional version that will cover new and original music across 5 counties from its Bristol studio, a move that can only mean that even if there is no bias, each county will have a fifth of the coverage under the new regime.

Will and Marie (plus Emily, Sam and probably a few people I never met) have done a brilliant job giving this county’s bands a foot in the door and the chance to have their music broadcast to a wider audience. It is exposure of this sort that has helped local acts, Josh Kumra and more recently Gabby Aplin make it all the way to the hallowed number one spot. So I’m sure everyone will join me in saying thank you for all your hard work, your wit and wisdom, your insight and enthusiasm and shame on the powers that be for yet another nail in the coffin of the current music scene. And, as if in mourning, original music is fairly hard to find this week. Hard but not impossible.

Tonight, psytrance tribe Zetan Spore descend on The Beehive in a riot of euphoric trance techno, strobe lights and hypnotic beats that comes across as some sort of religious devotion to the god of technology, or the last party before the end of the world. Which as we all know happens a couple of days later, so you might as well get your dancing trousers on and join in.

Friday’s big name is none other than punk survivors, Vice Squad at The Furnace. These days they walk a path that meanders between old school punk and a more metal approach but still deliver it with finesse and conviction and if you want to know the secret to staying young, well in the case of iconic front woman and one time poster girl of trash punk, Beki Bondage, it appears that the answer is to grab a guitar, a pair of sledgehammer boots and a free wheeling punk spirit and Bob is indeed your mothers brother! Support comes from Menace.

Similar nostalgic vibes can be found at The Victoria with the celebration of all things eighties that is Syntronix. Well, not all things, I bet they don’t play any New Model Army! But rest assured all the more obvious stuff will get a look in.

If you fancy a bit of fired up Celtic folk with all the whistles and bells…. well, whistles anyway, then Missin’ Rosie are at The Beehive. The Levellers on speed? A west country Flogging Molly? The Pogues rocking out? Take your pick but you get the idea. If it’s just something a bit more familiar that you are after then you might want to head over to The Swiss Chalet for some pop and rock covers from Audio Asylum.

The Furnace comes up trumps again on Saturday when Devil Sold His Soul headline. Mixing atmospheric washes, slabs of progressive metal and a singer who sounds like he has only moments left to live, it’s easy to see why this band have built up such a reputation as one to watch. TRC add some out and out hardcore into the night’s proceedings and Burials and The Argent Dawn kick it all off.

The hilariously named S-Hit 5 (see what they did there?) play everything “from The Stones to Steppenwolf” …not the widest of selections then, at Riffs Bar and if you have a hankering for some reggae then head for the Vic for the regular Reggae Club night and some early reggae, ska and rocksteady courtesy of the Queen of Music, DJ Amma.

Sunday is an all-together more chilled affair. Mr Love and Justice host their regular Lazy Sunday Afternoon show at The Arts Centre where they are joined by folk stalwarts, The Bateleurs, Swindon Scratch Choir and new young duo, The Illustrations. That evening the maestro of lap guitar playing, Jim Blair, will be treating The Rolleston to his trademark funky blues style.

And finally just to end right back where we started. If you wish to have a bit of a celebration with the BBC Introducing team and thank them for all their hard work, listen to Will’s jokes and generally get a bit squiffy, then the place and time is The Victoria on Wednesday and it will also include music from Dadaist-disco mavericks, Super Squarecloud, Middlenamekill and Henry Green.