Tag Archive: kitchen sink dramas


9280Apparently there is some sort of soccer tournament on (right, that’s another local demographic alienated) but whilst a few of the regular musical haunts have given themselves over to big screen TV coverage and people shouting “go on my son” …I assume, I’m not an expert, there is still plenty of live music to catch around and about.

One of the more interesting musical visitors to these parts can be found at The Tuppenny tonight. Grant Sharkey is on a one man mission to record and release forty albums in twenty years and he is out and about playing songs from album number eleven, Thoughts and Prayers. He not only does strange things to an upright bass but threads social commentary, environmentalism, avant-garde view points, wit, wisdom, warmth and humour through his songs. Support is from Kitchen Sink Dramas who come from a very similar place and I don’t mean Southampton.

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16797264_10155794267854056_5740058919034121743_oAnd here we are, the run up to Christmas, a week when “twas” and “tis” become an accepted part of the language for the first time since the seventeenth century, gaudy jumpers, or these days possibly onesies, replace having an actual personality, people talk about how A Wonderful Life is the best film ever made (the correct answer is The Fisher King!) and Mariah Carey is every other song on the radio or jukebox. (What’s wrong with Joni Michell’s River and maybe all of the bands who normally cover The Killers’ Mr Brightside could instead learn their iconic/ironic A Great Big Sled, the original of which featured the lovely Toni Halliday?) And yes, if you cut me in half you will see the words Bah Humbug scrolling through my core!

However, if you do love all the seasonal silliness and traditions then you may just like to head along to The Tuppenny tonight for Slim Ditty does Christmas! Crooner, comedian, music hall maestro and vaudevillian, he promises a swinging singalong, fun and frivolity. Also best and worst Christmas jumpers will be awarded prizes.

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nick-harper-press-photo-08mOne of the biggest names to hit town in a while, especially if you have a penchant for the singer-songwriter format, can be found in one of the smallest local venues tonight. At Baila Coffee and Vinyl you will find Nick Harper,(pictured) a festival favourite with a string of fantastic albums under his belt and who is able to do things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja. Support comes from Burbank and I would suggest that you buy a ticket on-line rather than take your chances on being able to get in.

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11102962_929269977124189_2726214974406720768_nWhen I first started writing this more exclusive gig guide, I pessimistically thought that it would be a quick write up every week. At the time original bands seemed a very small chunk of the available gigs and where as the more inclusive and all encompassing guide that I write for the “paper that shall not be named” runs to a small essay these days, this seemed a breeze to put together.

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12963827_10153440229201434_2550144404922643101_nIt may not be the busiest of weeks but it certainly plays host to some pretty big names, especially if you are a fan of the alt-folk and acoustic genres. And with that in mind I’ll leap straight in and talk about the next artist to take the stage at The Beehive as part of The Songs of Praise May Mini Roots Residency.

As part of her Songs of Our Years album tour, Gill Sandell is back in town. You may have seen her as a member of the critically acclaimed Red Clay Halo alongside Emily Barker, you may have even seen her playing the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games alongside Frank Turner. But tonight it is all about Gill’s own lyrically captivating, perfectly crafted, modernist folk. Opening up the night is the haunting and dulcet tones of Luke De-Sciscio.

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12279087_999483660093982_8296826872183162800_nTo quote the venerable Sir Noddy of Holder…”It’s Chriiiistmaaaas!” ‘Tis the season that conjures up so many wonderful images, clichés roasting on an open fire, TV adverts featuring useless dads, stressed mums and heart-tugging sentimentality set to a minor key rendered indie classic. It is the season that sees Barry from Human Resources on his yearly trip to the pub in his wacky matching tie and socks and his desire to show everyone else how to have a good time. But thankfully it is also a season when live music is in the ascent and very little of it is playing the seasonal card, thankfully. So with more to fit in than a (insert Christmas cliché here) it’s on with the snow….I mean show.

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10443993_10154647244665037_4127167166014113507_nI’ve been thinking, as I often do, about the support for local music and have realised that there is actually a very sound political argument for supporting live shows. Grassroots events are clearly on the wane as seen by the amount of venues closing or moving into more obvious incomes such as food, DJ’s and karaoke nights. Imagine if local level gigs dried up altogether? All you would be left with is a music monopoly made up of large festivals and over priced arena shows that would then be in a position to charge what they want due to total control of the game. As the prices are hiked up, the man in the street would be bumped out of the equation and music, like much art, would only be accessible to the moneyed minority. As I see it keeping local music operating is nothing less than a political act, part of a class struggle and to support this movement all you have to do is take in a show. Simple yet subversive… a bit like an old punk friend of mine.

And talking of subversive, The Vibrators were at the forefront of the first wave of British punk and you can catch their guitarist John Ellis at The Victoria tonight. Mixing drone acoustica, psychedelic meanderings and electronica; John’s current music path reminds us that he has had a very varied musical career before and after his well known punk days.

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10407052_774034392662307_1668943267993678268_nAs regular followers of my scribbling will be more than aware, tribute bands are not really my cup of tea, but there is one aspect to them that I find fascinating. The band’s name. It’s an area that can lend itself to acts of creative genius. After all why call yourself the Real Smiths, when you can be The Iain Duncan Smiths and why be the plain old Bowie Experience when you can be Camp David. It’s an art form in itself. Others that smack of sheer brilliance include J’Amy Winehouse, Motorheadache, Sean Connery’s favourite band Oasish and the total honesty of Kaiser Thief’s (“I just nicked a riot?”) Mentioned in dispatches are – Repeater Gabriel, Husker Don’t, Surely Bassey and vegetarian nu-metallers – Quorn!

And if you are into odd band names then you might be interested in Oui Legionnaires at The Victoria tonight. Odd name, odd music, odd people. Take a dose of angular indie, throw in warped pop melodies and punk energy, pile it all up into a heap and stand on the top. From there you may just be able to catch a glimpse of the genre that the band fall into. Best you just go along and work it out for yourself. Support from punk s Rebel Station and two-piece blues outfit The Harlers makes for a very eclectic bill.

Friday delivers the first of four Songs of Praise shows over the coming week. Staying at The Victoria, a line up of cinematic indie and dream pop vibes courtesy of the welcome return of Wyldest (pictured) a band with its formative roots in Swindon but now making waves on the national circuit. Fans of Warpaint will want to check out the same sort of musical furrows being ploughed by Cat Bear Tree and the night is kicked off by the brilliant White Lilac, a blend of post punk drive and Cocteau Twins like atmospherics.

At the other extreme, The Rolleston plays host to an act that is lewd, crude, “ Life-affirmingly puerile” according to no less than Charlie Brooker, hilarious and offensive in equal measure and it is brilliant. Mr K and The Gang (even the name has to be edited for general consumption) bring the UK tour to Swindon in the company of local drum and bass noise-merchants 2 Sick Monkeys and comedic punk from Mike Gibbons.

But fear not, less challenging options are also available. The Locomotive, for example, has more familiar offerings via funk, blues and soul played in a very improvisational way, old songs with new twists from Chameleon. Syntronix at The GWR are riding the 80’s nostalgia trip, not the one were you are stood in a muddy field watching The Wonder Stuff wearing a Coal Not Dole t-shirt drinking overpriced lager out of a plastic beaker (i.e. mine) but one that sounds more like the Top of The Pops version, synth-pop at it’s finest from Kraftwerk to Depeche Mode, New Order to Ultravox.

The big one for Saturday happens at The Castle with the long awaited return of The Pagan Fringe. There are so many reasons to go to this. It is 25 years since their album Gathering Light was released and you can now pick it up on CD. Proceeds will go to the Swindon-Calais Link Refugee Aid Charity, reason alone to support the gig and buy the CD. Maybe go along as a way of honouring the much missed Steve Carvey, the bands original drummer. On top of all of that go along for great music and to catch up with people you last saw propping up the bar of The Monkey Club and other long forgotten, half-mythical venues.

At The Locomotive, the sad news is that Colour The Atlas have pulled out of the Songs of Praise gig but you can still catch the brilliant Balloon Ascents, a rising Oxford band who mix dreamy wooziness, pop hooks and darker undercurrents.

Tributes are also flooding in, as it were, The Rolleston have The Doors of Perception which ticks the 60’s box, The Victoria has Lizzy and The Banshees, so that’s the late seventies sorted and Riffs Bar has the next decade covered with Hot Rox playing an 80’s set.

The third Songs of Praise offering can be found at The Beehive on Sunday with Case Hardin’s fantastic blend of haunted country meets lo-fi rock and roll and support from The Incredible Disappearing Boy who sound like Wilco writing underground Americana classics for a late night drive along the M4. Two bands about which I just can’t say enough nice things.

Gig four from Swindon’s seemingly busiest promoters is at their usual pitch at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with the politically astute Steve Leigh from Kitchen Sink Drama’s and a rare set from Graham Mattingley. Blimey, that’s quite a week.

10407052_774034392662307_1668943267993678268_nAs regular followers of my scribbling will be more than aware, tribute bands are not really my cup of tea, but there is one aspect to them that I find fascinating. The band’s name. It’s an area that can lend itself to acts of creative genius. After all why call yourself the Real Smiths, when you can be The Iain Duncan Smiths and why be the plain old Bowie Experience when you can be Camp David. It’s an art form in itself. Others that smack of sheer brilliance include J’Amy Winehouse, Motorheadache, Sean Connery’s favourite band Oasish and the total honesty of Kaiser Thief’s (“I just nicked a riot?”) Mentioned in dispatches are – Repeater Gabriel, Husker Don’t, Surely Bassey and vegetarian nu-metallers – Quorn!

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Drama at the coffee house

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