Tag Archive: keith thompson


10553415_268441576675504_9081060970114757321_nOkay, he may not be a living legend as such, but he will certainly do until one comes along. Edward Felix Tudor Pole (pictured) may sound like a villain from the first series of Blackadder (the one that never gets the TV re-runs) but has had a long career as an actor and TV presenter. But it was as lead hooligan of the ragged punk gang Tenpole Tudor that he is best known. Tonight at The Victoria you can catch the man himself. Punk was an attitude not a form of music and it is an attitude he still operates with as his swaggering rock and roll, unpredictability, powerful performance and sheer energy will attest to. Support comes from that sweary, lairy punk two-piece, 2 Sick Monkeys.

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11244578_1668237160071991_5434254339853004958_nSo there is good news and bad news. I was just reading about a new national radio station, Radio X, which is being launched dedicated to new music and particularly guitar-based bands. Great, but surely there has to be a catch. Of course there is and that catch is that spearheading the programing will be not only Vernon “absolutely amazing” Kaye but also Chris “let’s just talk about me rather than play any music “ Moyles. So if you like the idea of twenty-minute ramblings about his celebrity mates at an award show before the indulgence is broken by the latest attempt by Kasabian to sound like a Primal Scream studio outtake, then this is the station for you.

But if you really are looking for emerging, guitar-based bands then look no further than The Victoria tonight as Yves play with Coco Esq in support. Both bands represent the frontline of a current local creative upsurge plying a trade in tight and melodic indie and proving that the future of local music and hopefully beyond, is in safe hands.

The Beehive plays host to one of its regular favourites. Whilst normally fronting his own eponymous blues-rock band, Keith Thompson as a solo act is just as impressive, the stripped back, raw and honest sound making for a vary intimate connection between player and audience.

And talking of blues, Friday sees the first outing for Level 3 Live, a regular blues night and this inaugural session features the man who none other than Alexis Korner described as “ The best white blues harmonica player in the world, ” Rod Garfield and his band. High praise indeed. Blues is also on the cards at The Beehive, this time with Bob “famous in Swindon” Bowles, a soulful voice, effortlessly slick, bluesy tunes and a bagful of great songs.

Although mainly a venue for cover bands The Castle occasionally takes a punt on trying originals and you can’t get much more original than Kid Calico and The Astral Ponies. Variously described as a “Mercurial and biscuit obsessed blend of lilting, music hall Americana and psychedelia” and “If I’d kidnapped Radiohead or the Floyd & forced them to work as a mid-west American Circus band during the 1970’s, they’d sound just like this.” I’ll just leave it at that then.

For those who already know what they like, there is a wide range of more familiar options available. Classic punk from the iconic to the underground can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of The Useless Eaters, Dire Streets at Riffs Bar who pay tribute to Mark Knopfler and his band who helped launch the CD/MTV age, as well as Peloton playing mod, soul and power pop at The Victoria. At The Locomotive, Don’t Speak cover pop and rock but seem to have a very select ear for music, so expect The House Martins, The Beautiful South and Natalie Imbruglia in place of some of the more usual selections.

The big event for the weekend can be found at The Old Town Bowl on Saturday in the form of this year’s Reggae Garden. Top names such as Channel One Soundsystem, 10 piece nu-wave roots/reggae band Roots Ambassadors, Dubwiser and The Tribe provide the music plus there will also be stalls and soul food all combining to make this the party of the year. If you want that party to continue into the evening then re-locate to The Victoria for the official after party with Jah Jah Sounds and guests spinning reggae, dub, lovers rock, ska, rocksteady and everything in between.

Continuing it’s mission to bring new and original bands to an area infused with nightclub culture and more mainstream tastes, The Locomotive really pushes the boat out with IDestroy (pictured), a Bristol all girl three piece who reference Riot Grrrl, grunge, garage rock and straight out rock ‘n’ roll and who are gearing up to support ex-The Runaways singer Cherie Currie shortly. Support comes from the no less uncompromising Molotov Sexbomb a band that is in many ways their male equivalent.

If you fancy some dirty, sweary R’n’B then a trip out to The Globe in Highworth will deliver just that in a Hamsters From Hell shaped package and at The Rolleston, French blues band Nico ZZ play originals and standards and show why they have made such a big impact on the blues circuit.

Finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday, Jamie R Hawkins plays emotionally charged, poignant and witty acoustic pop-rock that reminds you of Crowded House or even Del Amitri, which is fine by me.

251026_474397722648292_1275993545_nRock fans should be fairly happy this week with a higher than average quota of gigs coming from their favoured genres, but that is not to say that between the louder and more shouty selections there aren’t a few other styles being well represented and at least one iconic act crossing the parish boundary as well.

 

We The Deceiver lay generically midway between Post-Hardcore and Djent (which I have to admit I thought was a small town in Tunisia, but which is actually a gnarly, muted, low-end guitar driven style) so expect their set at The Victoria tonight to be filled with thunderous grooves, intense riffs and bombastic beats. Local support comes in the form of Roads To Nowhere, a similarly uncompromising onslaught of extreme and brutal sounds.

 

As if to balance the extremes of that gig, Keith Thompson plays The Beehive in solo mode. Rootsy, southern fried blues blending effortlessly with more homegrown influences to great effect.

 

Friday at Riffs Bar sees rock on the menu, this time from Clay Gods, a band who weave dark atmospherics, gritty grooves and lyrics equally at home delivering rock standard street sleaze as they are thought-provoking philosophizing. Joining them on the bill is The Dirty Smooth, who write tunes hard enough for the boys to rock out to, but sweet enough for the girls to dance to, and the blues fuelled alt-rock of Four Dead Crows.

 

More solid rocking options can be found at The Rolleston as Hot Flex deliver classic heavy rock and metal covers and the mercurial Bruise make a welcome return to The Beehive. Imagine the song writing sensibilities of Joni Mitchell, the dynamics and production values of Genesis and the epic pop of The Eurythmics and you only start to get a feel for what this amazing duo have to offer.

 

A Songs of Praise occasional Friday show is also to be found at The Victoria where White Lilac headline. They may look familiar, having evolved from Faye Rogers and her band but the sound is a whole quantum leap into new musical territory. The pastoral folksiness has been swapped for chiming guitars, brooding cello, distant crashing percussion, sonorous saxophones and a whole wash of gothic beauty and post punk edginess. It’s a musical transformation that you need to hear…and indeed see, to believe. Joining them is the sweeping dynamic soundscape of Familiars (pictured), a more chilled, piano driven White Lies perhaps and the shoegaze referencing but up to the moment indie of Coco Esq.

 

Saturday sees the icon I mentioned hit the stage as multi-million selling recording artist and award-winning actress, Barbara Dickson plays The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Beans on Toast may be seen to be an icon to some, albeit in a more niche and under-the-counter-culture sort of way. He brings his incisive and hung-over musical take on modern life to The Victoria before heading off to the States to play with Irish punk-folk exiles Flogging Molly. He brings with him someone you will all by now be familiar with (if not why not?) Gaz Brookfield, our very own slice of poor boy makes good and purveyor of charismatic, heartfelt and infectious songs. Ben Wiltshire and Sophie Brown get the night started.

 

Explosive, raucous, boozy, sweary and unpredictable music can be found at The Rolleston as The Hamsters From Hell celebrate their 30th Birthday Bash, probably not what your significant other had in mind as an option for St Valentines Day, but certainly a real test of a relationship. Support comes from 2 Sick Monkeys.

 

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon sessions hosted by Mr Love and Justice are now being held at The Central Library and this month they have a couple of very special acts for you. Local roots collective S’Go mix up folk, blues and country styles with more eclectic gypsy jaunts, shanty shindigs, café jazz and everything in between. Also appearing are Lightgarden a band whose celtic jigs and eastern vocal tones are a beautiful mix of orient and occident.

 

Finally, The Roaring Donkeys Wednesday offer to break up the working week comes with a stripped back show from Kitchen Sink Dramas; poignant social comment meets infectious musicianship, wit and wisdom all in one place.

421623_337560366296411_100955706_nA bit blowy out isn’t it? Still, as long as the wind is coming from the right direction you can use it to propel yourself to one of the myriad of gigs that is taking place this week. Think of it as a climate related, musical, Russian roulette. Head out of the front door and see where the wind and the Gods of Fate carry you. Who knows, you might just discover your next favourite band.

 

A whole bunch of candidates for that title can be found at the latest Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Known for her enthralling songs built from, understated piano and emotive vocals, tonight Louise Latham is being joined by her sister Suzie on guitar, so this is a real treat for fans of her work. Support for this comes from the intimate and Buckley-esque style of Luke De-Sciscio and the shimmering, gossamer delicacies of Faye Rogers. A night of compelling and magical music and no mistake.

 

Similarly acoustic driven sounds can be found at The Beehive as Keith Thompson plays a sampler of the raw and honest songs that can be found on his Steel Strings and Bruised Reed album. In a night of acoustic offerings, other options are Bookends at The Art Centre, a tribute to Simon and Garfunkel and acoustic covers from Stripped at The Wheatsheaf.

 

All sorts of things going on musically on Friday, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a gig with your name on it. A good place to start is at The Victoria for The Smokestack Shakers a genre twisting band who take ska and bluebeat and add liberal doses of Latin rhythms and the simmering blues vibes of harmonica and slide guitar.  You also get a DJ set from Erin Bardwell for your money.

 

Fans of superbly executed, fired up electric blues should do everything they can to get tickets for Larry Miller (pictured) at The Arts Centre but if you like the idea of saxophone driven, 50’s swinging rock’n’jive then the place to be is The Rolleston for the Imperial G-Men.

 

A few acoustic options are also up for grabs. At Riffs Bar in celebration of landlady Tiggy’s birthday, Mark Wilderspin will be leading a scratch band of musical waifs and strays and the usual open mic’ spots are available prior to the gig proper.  At The Beehive, Stressechoes will be serving up their usual brilliantly harmonics and well crafted acoustic creations whilst David Marx at The Roaring Donkey, minus his usual AK-Poets, will enthral you with his mix of melody, tunesmithery and eloquent interludes. As the saying goes, Dave (pardon the familiarity) is indeed the home of witty banter.

 

At The Victoria on Saturday you can catch a tribute to Genesis covering both the Gabriel and Collins eras whilst at The Phoenix Bar in Wootton Bassett you will find Hammond organ driven blues standards courtesy of Shades of Blue. Punters should remember to adopt a proper blues name for the night to add to the authenticity. Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Willie Joe, Hank and Poor Boy are all acceptable choices. Derek, Keith and Damien are not permissible blues names; no matter how many men you have shot in Reno!

 

The Rolleston has a bit of a treat for you with the welcome return of Bristol’s Natural Tendency, a euphoric high mix of emo-rock and futuristic synth grooves that will connect with the “get up and boogie gene” in even the most reclusive barfly.

 

Putting a new twist on the standard piano trio is Rob Terry who plays Baker Street on Tuesday. Mixing contemporary jazz with modern classical he weaves his way through a musical landscape that references the likes of Chopin and Grieg, as much as it does the more expected jazz icons.

 

We wrap the week up with the chance to catch Singer-Songwriter Jenny Bracey at The Crown on Wednesday, or if you are looking for a bigger musical experience, Ten in a Bar will be unveiling a new show of humour and harmonies called Brand New Day at the Art Centre, always wonderful value for money.

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It makes a change to have some good news to report in this, a most difficult time for live music, so you will be pleased to hear that The Rolleston opened up again last weekend in pretty much the same shape that it left us in. With Status Promotions still the driving force behind the bookings you can expect the same mix of covers, tributes and originals, obviously with their trademark leanings towards the heavier end of the musical spectrum, but as they say, “if it ain’t broke, put the damn lump-hammer down.” Normal service, it would seem, has been resumed.

 

First though, tonight at The Victoria and a first outing for something very interesting. Spiral Key sit somewhere on a breaking wave where prog and metal collide. Channelling both classic era influences such as Rush and more recent bands such as Tinyfish the result is both big and clever, not bad at all for a two-piece! Alternately you can head down The Beehive for the wonderfully lazy, sax-led, rocksteady groove of Count Bobo and the Bullion.

 

Things get a bit busier as we move into the weekend proper.  Starting out at Riffs Bar, this might act as the perfect wind down to last weeks Riffstock Festival as The Secret Chord brings you a night of drum and bass with a difference. It’s true all the bands are made up of just, what is normally the rhythm section, but generically this night of four-legged foolery offers something a lot heavier. Spearheading the musical onslaught is 2 Sick Monkeys, fast, aggressive punk from the No Means No school of no messing about, complete with Pete’s legendary between song rants, GagReflex; simple, defiant, brave and obtuse (pictured) and as they put it “small enough to tour in a car, big enough to take your face clean off!” and up from Cornwall, Monolithian, a tsunami of doom and black metal intensity.

 

Those who don’t feel that they have the constitution for that still have plenty to choose from. Josie and The Outlaw will be giving it some old school rock’n’roll vibes at The Queens Tap, Dan (of Ocean Colour Scene fame) and Adam will be at The Rolleston and for those who want to break out the spandex and suede fringe jackets, Bon Giovi are strutting their stuff at The Victoria.

 

Probably the most interesting band of the night is to be found at The Beehive in the guise of Harry Bird and The Rubber Wellies. These travelling folkies are based in Bilbao and Dublin, create a cabaret of sing-a-long choruses, encourage audience participation and inhabit a world of pirates, lizards, cracks in the wall and Basque cycling songs. Sounds wonderfully bizarre.

 

Saturday is a good day to be a blues fan. At The Arts Centre, Head, Hands and Feet main man and sparing partner of the likes of Eric Clapton, Albert Lee and his backing band Hogan’s Heroes, bring their brand of high octane, invigorating blues-rock into town. Not to be outdone, The Rolleston is showcasing the best of the new breed in that field with the welcome return of The Laurence Jones Band.

 

Other serving suggestions are Reginald Road playing mainly originals in a rock, ska and punk vein at The  Tap and Barrel and the Destination Anywhere Dj’s will be getting their Motown, Northern Soul and Reggae groove on at The Victoria.

 

The Sunday afternoon slot at The Beehive is filled by Keith Thompson so be prepared for some of the best unplugged style, acoustic soul-blues you have heard in a long time. If you are still in the mood for mellow music after that, head up to Baker Street for some piano led, smooth trad jazz standards with The George Cooper Duo. More Jazz can be found here again on Tuesday with swinging jazz from trombonist Ian Bateman and his Quartet.

 

And so we arrive at our usual final destination, it’s Wednesday and we are at The Running Horse. The last hurrah comes in the form of folk and funk blending together courtesy of Withnail and I, plus the wonderful, tongue in cheek, “Scrumpy and Western” creations of Corky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThose that can, do. Those that can’t teach. And those that can’t teach, teach P.E, well according to Woody Allen anyway. Similarly, those who can’t make records for a living often sell them instead and some who aren’t very good at selling them end up working in second hand record shops. Okay, that’s a bit unfair but the sub-cultures found within the murky world of the vinyl record shop make it a fascinating place to hang out where old folkies, lo-fi elitists, sensitive world music fans, northern soul survivors and indie geeks all meet and mingle, lost in their own music fixations. And with the gradual closure of the major music chains (karma?) and the rise in vinyl sales, these weird emporiums may just be making a come back.

I feel a bit sad for the music consumer of today, click, click, double click and straight on to the PC, that’s the sound of you missing out and if you feel something is missing too, head down to your nearest second hand record shop and indulge in the age old rituals of pawing over obscure and slightly creased 12 inch albums in that search for the elusive Agincourt album, Trojan records back catalogues or just to buy back a few memories that you had to part with to make the rent one week.

Anyway back in the cold light of the modern age, three bands destined to be sought after and collectable in the future play Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight. Ataraxis Vibration alchemize the classic sounds of seventies rock, from Cream to Hendrix (via Burning Tree, remember them?) and offer something fresh and new but with a foot firmly planted in very familiar territory. Songs of Praise favourites, The James Warner Prophecies, return with their wonderful brand of crazy generic scattergunning that blast between hard rock, punked out folk, ska and hooks strong enough that you could hang Ginger Wildheart’s beaten up leather jacket on. Opening the show are Even Nine.

The Rolleston offers something a little more sedate for its inaugural Blues Night fixture in the form of The Stone Donkey Pilots; earthy folk meets rootsy blues. More bluesy vibes can be found at The Beehive with guitar and saxophone of Keith Thompson and Patsy Gamble.

If you want to do something to help make a difference whilst catching some great music then head out to Riffs Bar on Friday for the Olive Tree Café fundraiser. Covers from  The Hyperbolics headline the show but the real coup comes in the form of Colour The Atlas, a band whose clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swathes of sensuous late night atmospherics is something to behold. The night opens with two young singer-songwriters, Theo Altieri and Charlie Anne.

The Beehive has an interesting proposition for you. Knock on Wood are a quite brilliant Latin fusion band blending latino, flamenco, blues, afro-celt, gypsy and much more to create their unique sound.

In the name of balance (and to avoid the usual “fanmail”) I must also mention Angels Fall will be playing classic rock covers in The Rolleston and a tribute to The Small Faces is at The Victoria courtesy of The Small Fakers.

More blues at The Rolleston on Saturday, this time with Gwyn Ashton (pictured) and Micky Barker (yes, pomp rock fans…That Mickey Barker!) Expect a raw and passionate set of standards and originals that could be the sound track to Harper Lee’s famous re-imagining of the South. Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

Elsewhere it’s all a bit tribute-y. Punk at The Victoria with the music of The Sex Pistols plus The Useless Eaters supporting and at Riffs Bar Syntronix tribute the whole of the eighties!

As would be expected, Sunday is a much more sedate affair. The Beehive have blues/roots duo Nobodies Business to accompany your post roast beverage and in the evening The Rolleston has Jess Morgan a real gem of a singer peddling some wonderful country folk sounds.

It is no exaggeration to say that real life legends will be at the Arts Centre on Monday when The Pretty Things, still led by Phil May and original Rolling Stones guitarist Dick Taylor bring their 50th anniversary tour to town.

The week rounds off at The Running Horse on Wednesday for more acoustic singer-songwriteryness with Nick Felix and The Dizzy Hush.