Tag Archive: kova me badd


19800827_329147764207648_8548866910363338205_o.jpgSo after a couple of weeks of international circuit stalwarts and iconic punk visitations, things settle down to a more local affair. But as always this little old railway town proves that there certainly is something for everyone going on within its parish boundaries.

There is something quintessentially English about the name Chesterfield Supper Club and if you are looking for a night of chilled, acoustic covers then you should catch their gig tonight at The Beehive. The fact that this wonderfully named band is actually made up of one-time members of local legends Big Casino means that the quality of the music remains in no doubt whatsoever.

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10628059_765161323523366_7975140535020360117_nI was going to do my usual introduction based on musings and procrastination but I have even decided to put that off until another time and just as well looking at how much there is to fit in this week. Okay, lets do this.
Starting, as I usually do, with Songs of Praise at The Victoria, tonight you can catch lo-fi, roots duo The August List (pictured). Variously described as “backwards country” and “porch folk” this is a band that invoke the bleak, gothic, southern soundscape of The Handsome Family and the bucolic folk/rock of The Decemberists.  The local talent is supplied by Kitchen Sink Dramas, the musical vehicle for Steve Leigh’s hard-hitting, thought-provoking, incisive, romantic and humorous lyrical outpourings. Also on the bill are Cook and The Case a band who whether crafting gossamer thin musical atmospherics or soaring post-rock deliveries still have the ability to break your heart.
 
Meanwhile down the hill at The Beehive, the regular Acoustic Buzz night hits its 25th show in style. Hometown Show provides old time Appalachian bluegrass and Joe Kelly contributes harmonica soaked country folk. Shoot The Duke play sweet folk-pop and your host, as always, is Tim Manning from Blind River Scare with his wonderful country/folk blends.
 
The big noise for Friday takes place at Level 3 as those wonderful folks at The Reggae Garden have put together a great night. Dubwiser are a dub, hip-hop, reggae collective who mix their quirky English heritage with Jamaican influences that suggest Syd Barrett meeting The Specials in a parallel dimension. Also appearing are The Tribe, a funk, reggae, dance act drawn from familiar faces on the scene and having witnessed their debut show at Longs Bar last week cannot recommend them highly enough.
At Riffs Bar Josh Wolfsohn launches his new e.p. Dirty Concrete aided and abetted by Over To You, Break Glass To Open and Sammy Sangha and there is a second chance to catch Kitchen Sink dramas at The Beehive.
The Victoria is the scene of The Monkey Dolls 3rd Charity Bash, raising money for Uplands School and The Alzheimer’s Society. Joined by The Cover Addicts and Albatross Landing it is a night of all your favourite songs from the whole of the rock and pop history book and a worthy cause to boot.
Fans of tribute bands have the options of the music of Steely Dan at The Rolleston on Friday and on Saturday can either relive The Who at The Victoria with Who’s Next or catch Bootleg Floyd at Riffs Bar. At The Swiss Chalet, Syntronix will be tapping into the synth pop end of the eighties, so set your shoulder pads to stun, slip on a pair of legwarmers and dance the night away to the sounds of Gary Numan, Ultravox, OMD and the like.
For the full comedy/music experience then head to Level 3 for the strange world of Kova Me Badd.  More a surreal parody of a covers band than a serious attempt at the genre they will be either the best or worst band you see this year depending on how you judge such things and foregoing the usual cover band selections brace yourself for a night of murdered boy band tunes (that’s the tunes being murdered not the…well, you know,) cheesy rock and nothing less than the wholesale destruction of music as we know it. Still, could be worse.
Original music does show its face here and there. The Worried Men play incendiary rhythm and blues, mixing standards and originals at The Rolleston. If you are a fan of the likes of ZZ Top and The Hamsters then this is the band that completes the unholy electric blues-rock trinity.
But before all of that kicks off you can catch a more sedate afternoon at VuDu with music from Tom Stark and Shaun Barry but more importantly great coffee and cake on hand as well.
More acoustic offerings to end on. The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive is the place to find the delicate blend of blues, ragtime, music hall and folk traditions; intricacy and intimacy in the style of Nick Drake and John Martyn. And finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday features the jazz tinged folk of Nick Tann who will be playing a totally unplugged set of soaring, expressive vocals, heart on sleeve poeticism and pin drop atmospherics.

10606297_674715675957087_5120512786349989203_nAfter a few of weeks with lots of great music covering a diverse range of genres to chose from, things have inevitably quietened down this week. Maybe it is a December thing where people turn their attention to saving money for Christmas, work parties and family celebrations. Then again I never know which of the following is true. Some say that it is harder to get good crowds out for gigs in winter, as people are preoccupied for the reasons I have just given. But in the summer the perception is that people are not going to gigs because it is the season of barbeques and back garden gatherings. I guess that whatever the season if you book the right bands people will make the effort. Recent weeks have shown this to be true so here’s to this week being more of the same.

 

And we are off to a great start at The Victoria tonight with a wonderful array of energetic acoustic music. If you think that acoustic music is the domain of folk club balladry, Arran sweaters and pastoral songs with medieval themes, then this is the show to put the genre firmly on the modern map. Headliners, The Wires, mix high-energy grooves with forays into more bluesy, old school traditions. Also on the bill is Ben Maggs a man who makes engaging, accessible, chart friendly music and Jimmy Moore whose recent album release has seen his musical stock transformed from a good circuit singer-songwriter into a brilliant world-roots act.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, 1000 Planets will be laying out a stall of both original material and covers by the likes of Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke and Bauhaus. Definitely one for all the old school goths. (I used to be a goth but was thrown out for laughing!)

 

Friday really does have something for everyone, unless of course you think Nikki Minaj is the height of musical eloquence in which case you are beyond help. For everyone else there is the following to choose from. The Victoria is the place to be for something a bit funky as Felix and The Funk (pictured) play a range of Soul, Disco, Pop, Dance and Reggae from the last six decades. The Rolleston has Metalgods, who, as their name might suggest, are a tribute to 80s and 90s rock and metal but apparently steer clear of the standard fare offered by their competitors. At the Riffs Bar Acoustic Session you can find Sam Eason, a hirsute, flame haired, singer-songwriter with a touch of James Taylor, Damian Rice and His Bobness injected into his beautiful and original creations.

 

Those of a more dance orientated persuasion should note that MECA are hosing “Live Music” – a night of Hip-Hop, R’n’ B, House and club anthems from a range of artists such as DJ Longplaya, DJ Eclipse, DJ Mosco and live performances from SN Dubstation, Benji Clements and Hibbz, Young Wilson and many more.

 

The Victoria on Saturday has a very special show, paying tribute to the late great Ian “Jock” Kerr. Not only was Jock a brilliant musician and regular live performer he was also a keen supporter of local music, a regular fixture either side of The Victoria’s bar and someone who brought laughter and no small amount of bemusement to all who came into contact with him. As a tribute to the man, to mark his untimely passing and to raise money for both a headstone and to help support his daughter, I urge anyone who knew him to gather in celebration of “Yer Auld Pal.” The music like the man himself will range from genially boisterous to just plain silly thanks to The Racket, British Harlem and Kova Me Badd.

 

Rock music is also on offer at The Queens Tap with Shepherds Pie who play the best of classic rock from the past 40 years and Lewis Creaven will be offering up blues, retro and southern rock standards at The Rolleston. Those looking for a beautiful noise could do a lot worse than head out to Riffs Bar for a night with Ruff Diamond playing tribute to namesake Neil.

 

Please note that the Peloton gig recently advertised at The Royal Oak is cancelled due to the recent closure of the venue.

 

Two offerings to round the week off are acoustic and electric blends of bluegrass, Cajun and Americana from Sons of The Delta at The Beehive on Sunday and a solo show from David Marx at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.

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So we made it then? Here we are at another last round up of the year, another year older, not necessarily wiser.  According to my loosely kept records this is the two hundred and tenth column I have written suggesting and promoting live shows around town. Add to that a few additional album reviews and the like and I make that about 150,000 words fired off into the ether hopefully to catch peoples attention and get them along to gigs. This is starting to sound like a resignation letter, fear not, it isn’t (or sorry, it isn’t… depending on your view point) I was just reflecting on how much of my musing and lyrical waxing had been sent out into the big wide world. Too much? Quite possibly!

Naturally this is a quieter week in the live gig department as people are off doing the family thing, work outings, reunions with out of town friends and the like, but t

here are still a few things that I would like to draw your attention too.

The Victoria, the venue that never seems to miss the opportunity to put on a gig or throw a party, will be moving it’s regular Wacky Wednesday to Boxing Day for the usual karaoke madness with a Christmas theme. Cheesy it maybe but the alternative is watching Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas or re-runs of Miranda! That should put things into perspective.

More silliness continues to be on offer at The Victoria on Friday with the Kova Me Badd annual end of year extravaganza…and I use the word extravaganza quite wrongly. The best way to describe Kova Me Badd is as a parody of a cover band, think of all of the worst songs ever to feature on a “Now…” album, add bad jokes and worse costumes and you have a rough idea what to expect. Never have a band carried the tag “so bad it’s brilliant” so well.

Two nice slices of nostalgia are on offer the same night. At The Rolleston, The Hamsters from Hell will be unleashing their trade mark rhythm ‘n’ booze; words such as raucous, bawdy, chaotic and booze-fueled are sure to appear in any review of the show. Meanwhile The Beehive are offering up Gray Roots, a one off jam session featuring the stalwarts of the local scene, including – Pete Cousins, Brendan Hamley, Rob Beckinsale and Paul Henry.

Something a bit more of the moment can be found at The Victoria in the guise of SN Dubstation a band who blend trippy synths, skanking guitars and pulsing, infectious back beats into a cocktail of reggae, dance, ska and dub. More traditional fare comes from a rare outing to The Beehive by Simplee Simon, “a singer of these ageless times, with kitchen prose and gutter rhymes” as the quote goes.  Expect folk tunes, country ditties, sing-alongs, silliness and audience participation.

Those still looking for some tribute band action can have their thirst sated at The Rolleston with a bit of dual guitar classic metal as Powerslaves bring you the music of Iron Maiden.

If, by Sunday, you still are up for a bit of a Christmas shindig then the afternoon session at The Beehive is the place to keep the musical momentum going. Rumour Shed (pictured) will provide the chilled and majestic calm before the storm before The Shudders crank it up a few notches with their energetic fusion of indie infused country rock.

Later that evening The Victoria is hosting a John Lennon tribute night with a host of local bands paying homage to the man wrote some of pop music’s most iconic songs….and Imagine.

Finally, if you are still at a loose end what to do on New Years Eve, there are probably parties everywhere but of a musical note are Breeze at The Victoria,  Riffs Bar Winter Ball, (Black Tie dress code) featuring the Hi-Fidels, Echo and Riffs Traveling Dance Band and  Snatch It Back at The Rolleston, heavy psychedelic blues featuring the original Groundhogs drummer.

And finally on a personal note, thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this column, and comment on it (positively or otherwise) plus a very  special thanks to all the bands, venues, punters and promoters who have kept music alive in Swindon….and thus me in a job. Here’s to an even better 2014.

The Stratton Stroll

580441_10152953732135461_1828677105_nSo you’ve heard of The Camden Crawl, The Swindon Shuffle and The Oxford Punt, but if you fancy something similar this Saturday come along to the The Stratton Stroll. I think the title sums up the broad detail but the finer points are that between 6 venues (The Kingsdown Arms, The Wheatsheaf, The Rat Trap, The Crown, The New Inn and the Leisure Centre) you can catch such great acts as the upbeat celtic vibes of Grubby Jack and Missin’ Rosie, the ethereal acoustica of Faye Rogers and Charlie-Anne, the folky Americana of The Shudders, Bateleurs and The Blue Trees and much more besides.

 

As well as great music, Shaun Buswell will be bringing his London Underground Orchestra to the event with the challenge to play all six stages over seven hours. He does like to make things difficult for himself. Stratton, Swindon, this Saturday 13th July. get involved.

Beans on ToastWell, after a couple of weeks of gig listings that were quite literally an embarrassment of riches, things have calmed down a bit, but there is still a decent selection to be found on the musical menu this week.

 

Starting in our usual kick off point, the entrée on our acoustical a la carte offer, if you want to take the restaurant analogy to its illogical conclusion, Songs of Praise at The Victoria has a wonderfully intimate, seated show. Known the length and breadth of Old Town, Emily and The Dogs have been cooking up a veritable broth (enough of the culinary references now. Ed) infused with folk, gypsy jazz, blues, emotional resonance and late night reflections. Not a bad way to kick the weekend off. Joining them will be Hennesea –  imagine an acoustic Fleetwood Mac turning on to dream pop and Oliver Wilde who blends acoustica with shimmering technology to make wonderfully woozy experimental pop. And to think I used to play support to his dads band back in the day. Small world.

 

Rustic delights of the Americana variety can be found at The Beehive with this months Acoustic Buzz, featuring home grown bands Blind River Scare and The Open Secrets and all the way from San Antonio, Texas, is Rachel Laven touring her debut album, Unwind.

 

On into Friday and our good friends at Sheermusic are putting on a bit of an alt-folk treat. These days Beans on Toast (pictured) may rub shoulders with nu-folk royalty like Emmy the Great and Olympic warm-up act Frank Turner, but you can catch the man along with Oxygen Thief and Jimmy Moore at The Victoria.

 

Something a bit special at The Castle, all the way from Italy come The Sunny Boys, part Beach Boys part bubblegum punk though not to be confused with the Sydney post punk outfit of the same name. Theirs is a sound that will appeal to fans of Blink 41, Sum 182 and any number of North American bands with long shorts and numbers after their name. Jokes aside this is one of the slickest bands you will hear in town this year.

 

And that last sentence would carry a lot more weight if Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits, weren’t also playing that night over at Riffs Bar. Dave, once part of the cutting edge of new-wave underground pop with XTC, these days revels in the myriad sounds of progressive rock.

 

Saturday at Riffs Bar is still about the rock, but this time, something less subtle, more primal. Anyone who hasn’t experienced Lord Bishop Rocks before really should do themselves the favour of catching this brilliant trio who alchemise Beatles melody, Sabbath’s oppressive weight and James Browns funk, the man is a musical shaman, you have to see it to believe it. Support includes the grunge-metal of Burnthru; trash rockers White Knuckle Bride and Latvian metal crew Burned in Blizzard.

 

Pop Quiz: What do Jay-Z, One Direction, Taylor Swift and Dizzee Rascal have in common? Answer: They have all had their songs ritually murdered by Kova Me Badd. If you want to witness the antithesis of good taste, musicianship and decorum, but do enjoy watching people who should know better make fools of themselves whilst brilliantly ruining chart covers, get up to The Victoria. A more serious offering comes with Grubby Jack and their upbeat and vibrant Celtic and American folk at The Tap and Barrell.

 

If a mix of alt-country, rock and folk sounds like your sort of thing, then Bob Collum and The Welfare Mothers at The Beehive is the place to head to, later that same day the voice of Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere can be found at The Arts Centre and the jazz-heads will want to be at Baker Street for the potent and graceful piano led Dave Newton Trio.

 

More jazz on Tuesday, again at Baker Street this time with the gratuitous sax of the Kevin Figes Trio and Wednesday, The Running Horse plays host to singer-guitarist Ben Cipolla.

Library - 185The world of music was stunned this week after the shock announcement that Girls Aloud have split up the day after their tenth anniversary tour ended (almost as if it had been planned that way). And worse than that they have fallen out with Nadine Coyle who publicly tweeted that the split was nothing to do with her, giving rise to speculation of rifts and backstabbing in their ranks. Surely not, they seem so mild mannered and balanced and not at all hungry for media attention. The group who rose to fame after a successful punch up with a washroom attendant have left a string of timeless hit, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I for one hope that the girls make it up, as the thought of them being angry at one another is too much for me to bear.

Anyway, from the ridiculous to the sublime, as The Victoria tonight has a female bias in its running order. You will be able to catch a rare live outing by Matilda, a wonderful cocktail of country, classical and dreamy lounge jazz, an even rarer solo outing by Emily Sykes who does a neat line is seductive acoustica and Emily and the Dogs who I must warn you contains a hairy, all male rhythm section, but they do scrub up nicely.

Out at Riffs one of the truly unique musical visitors to these shores, Bob Log III (pictured), pops over from Tucson, Arizona to subject the place to a lesson in trash blues, helmets, scotch drinking and assorted naughtyness! Another blues offering comes in the more normal form of Bob Bowles at The Rolleston and if you have a hankering for fired up Celtic folk, then head to the Beehive for some high octane shennanighins with Missin’ Rosie.

Friday sees the MECA get on board the music scene with an under 18’s Popcorn and Chocolate Party. Those of a slightly older persuasion, or with chocolate allergies might like to try the following. There are a couple of tributes in town; nineties kids might want to experience a bit of grunge nostalgia with Earl Jam at The Rolleston, those who appreciate the “Man in Black” should walk the line up to The Victoria for Cash, a show that I can’t recommend enough.

Original music can, however,  be found in abundance at Riffs Bar with the fairly odd pairing of Cold In Berlin’s delay drenched, bleak, brooding and animalistic musical shamanism and The Shudders melodic lo-fi indie meets country rock, a tapestry threaded from Crazy Horse, Bright Eyes and Wilco for those weaving enthusiasts out there.

Originality takes a bit of a back seat on Saturday, so you might want to opt for classic rock covers at The Rolleston with Lonesome Crow, though if Burlesque is your thing, then head out to Riffs Bar, with music from Ghost Trail.

Sunday sees the best/worse cover band in history take the stage at The Victoria. Kova Me Badd are local legends who should really know better but if you imagine a live parody of every Now… compilation album ever made, that’s at least a starting point.

Washboards and shakers at the ready at The Rolleston for a bit of skiffle madness and audience participation courtesy of Ode and The Bebops who may once and for all be answering the age old question about the lasting flavour properties of chewing gum left on bedroom furniture. Aiden Moore will be playing a mix of covers and originals at The Sun Inn at Coate Water and the Beehive afternoon session features Jim Reynolds who taps into blues, ragtime, rhythm and blues, music hall and folk. That’s followed by the Soul Box dj’s and a selection of Soul, Tamla and Ska tunes to see the weekend round off with a nice vibe.

Last but not least, the regular Wednesday session at The Running Horse sees none other than Nick Tann return to its hallowed domain. Nick not only does a neat line in slightly jazz edged, acoustic folk but also is a blogosphere hero, podcaster and promoter and as such deserves your support in return. With him this time is Anna Neale, whose songs explore and resonate from such depths as Roman Literature and ancient religious texts through mediums as diverse as gentle ballads, arabesques, frantic acoustica to slow burning anthems. I’d say that ticks all the boxes.

Library - 48So, it’s coming to that time again, the race for the coveted Christmas number one spot is upon us, or as it should be known, the inevitable public pedestal for Cowell’s latest crooning cash cow. You almost feel sorry for Joe McElderberry, being usurped by those nasty Rage Against The Machine fans and their shouty, sweary anarchist sentiments. You could argue that all these “let’s stick it to Simon” campaigns designed to overturn his god given right to be the Christmas number one puppet master, is just as orchestrated and convoluted as the thing it is protesting against. Maybe, but this year there is a really good alternative.

 

Gaz Brookfield has released a special version of his song Diet of Banality in an attempt to add a bit of spice to the race for the top spot. Imagine if this years Christmas number one was a rant against all those previous style over substance tunes and their dance routines, skimpy outfits, gimmicky rap-middle eights and the like. Oh the irony! Well if you all head over to Gaz’s website, Amazon or iTunes you could be part of the best piece of seasonal satire and festive japery the charts have witnessed in a long time. Do it!

 

Talking of japes, The Victoria has three less than serious acts for you tonight. Dole queue hero and anti-PC rapper Devvo headlines with the boy racer Chip Daddy and the best/worst cover band of them all, Kova Me Badd, also on the bill.

 

The Beehive hosts Sophie’s Xmas (as opposed to  + vent Sunday or E-ster, I suppose) Charity Bash which in the usual eclectic style of the venue will feature fire jugglers, street magic and music from Doeser, Missin’ Rosie, Erin Bardwell Collective to money for Swindon Sands.

 

Younger fans are being catered for at The Furnace in the form of Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 1), which has a wonderfully experimental undercurrent. Tides of Change deliver alt rock with a pop punk vibe, Sasquatch Walk does a neat line in jazzy punk disco and With Felix adds in some ambient electro-indie. Make sure you check out openers The Weekend Effect, I was really impressed with their rapped up indie groove. Interestingly enough there isn’t going to be a Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 2) but then I guess if the world is ending there really isn’t much point.

 

To celebrate our imminent doom on Friday (unless the Mayans got it wrong…my, won’t we look foolish?) There are a couple of Apocolyto-parties going on. At The Victoria, party band Breeze will be providing the soundtrack whereas The Furnace has one amazing line up for you. Briefly it goes like this, The Racket – elegantly wasted gutter anthems, Nudybronque – intelligent, intense and fired up pop, The Rhubarbs  – The Beatles on Speed, The Street Orphans – slick, sophisticated indie, SkyBurnsRed – searing and dark alt-rock with a classical sweep and The Fixed – exuberant indie.

 

Other parties come in the form of Slagerij’s very messy Christmas at TP’s; ska-punk mayhem from one of Swindon’s success stories and taking Hell Death Fury, Escape From ’98 and The Useless Eaters into oblivion with them.

 

The Beehive goes down a slightly more sedate path with the fiddlesome roots rockers State of Undress. If our are a fan of The Albion Band, Fairport Convention or even The Strawbs then this is for you.

 

Saturday brings along the annual musical curveball at The Victoria, The 12 Bands of Christmas. Each band gets to do two covers; the more out their usual comfort zone the better. Previous years have seen the Blowbacks turning Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman into a feedback-drenched tribute to Sonic Youth. Matt Kilford abandoning his usual restrained approach and screaming, “Lick my legs!” when covering PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’ and Si Hall somehow matching the stratospheric range of La Roux. Need I say more?

 

 

After the bizarre offerings of that you may want to find some nostalgic, late night comfort at The Furnace when DJ Dust will be hosting one of his irregular Level 3 reunion nights. Party like its 1993 all over again, Kurt is still alive and Strictly Come Dancing is still eleven years in the future.

 

Finally Sunday afternoon at The Beehive brings a wonderfully pairing of bands and not just because they share a drummer. Rumour Shed plays music that is wonderfully chilled, reflective, richly poetic and quietly majestic. Accompanying them are The Shudders, a band just beginning to get back into their stride after too long away and guaranteed to make you want to bop, boogie and booze in equal measure. And it’s all free.

I bumped into an old friend at a gig the other day. Oddly enough the resulting conversation didn’t revolve around what each other had been doing in the decade since we had last seen each other, but in the quirky way we have, it turned to the subject of mondegreens, or in layman’s terms, misheard lyrics in songs. Such questions were raised as  – did The Stone Roses really “Wanna Be A Door?” Why was Creedance Clearwater Revival telling us “There’s a Bathroom on the Right?” How did The Stranglers get it so wrong when predicting “Never A Frown, With Gordon Brown” and oddest of all, what did Roberta Flack actually mean when she said “Tonight I Sellotape My Glove to You?” Yes, we had been drinking!

 

Talking of confusing lyrics, not to mention more than a few “oh la la la’s”, “shubba-dubbas” the occasional “ha!” and other strange utterances, Crash and The Coots are playing The Victoria tonight. Theirs is a strange and beguiling world of lateral thinking, experimental pop, but one that you all need to visit at least once. Supporting them are Port Erin a band who have swapped some of the early complexities of their music for balance, space and atmosphere and now ably mix pop leanings with mature musicianship. Three Letter Agency get the night started.

 

Blending folk with rock, accessibility with intelligence and kicking into touch the fey, hippyness often associated with her field, Thea Gilmore is blazing a path towards classic status songwriter, catch her at The Arts Centre tonight. Similar folky undercurrents can be found at The Beehive as Ron Trueman-Border brings his band, Perfect Strangers along for some vivid, punchy lyrics and infectious tunes.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday and Pignose will be offering up some Old Town Blues for your delectation. This very narrow genre is a blend of gospel, rhythm and blues, country and rock, songs of the south if you like and if it wasn’t for all the road works in that part of town would have probably made a break for the border a long time ago. Offer them a Mint Julep, make them feel at home.

 

The noisy brigade will find their home out at Riffs Bar for  a gig spearheaded by Severance a band very much in the spirit of the NWOBHM era and making their first visit to the place. And if you thought Stoner Rock had died out in the infamous flannel shirt famine of the mid nineties, then The Ashun might come as a welcome surprise. Optimal Prime is also on the bill.

 

More rock on Saturday this time at The 12 Bar and headed by the metal-grunge hybrid that is Burnthru, with Toadstool filling that space between metal, blues and southern rock: kick arse four, four grooves just like the old days. The Starkers continue their pop-grunge fixation…think Nirvana having a fight with The Libertines.

 

The Rolleston plays host to the one cover band I can handle, Kova Me Badd. What sets them apart from the norm? Their music selection is awful, delivery questionable, professionalism in serious doubt and antics not suitable before the watershed. In short, everything a cover band should be. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will change your life. Well, one out of three isn’t bad.

 

Something a bit special comes to The Victoria on Sunday. Back on the menu is old school hip-hop from Long Beach underground vigilantes, Ugly Duckling; outsiders who like The Beastie Boys and Run DMC before them take humorous swipes at more commercial elements of their genre. And on into Monday, the names keep coming. Uli Jon Roth(pictured) made his name filling the shoes of guitarist for Michael Schenker in The Scorpions but over the years moved into more experimental pastures and today his style encompasses neo-classical, heavy metal, blues and psychedelic, all of which can be seen, again, at The Victoria on Monday. For something a bit more sedate, middle of the road even, Paul Carrack is at The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Staying at The Victoria for Tuesday, those lo-fi, folk-rock, indie-pop, Celtic-bop, pirates, The Shudders make a welcome return and we round off on Wednesday at The Running Horse. Nick Tann is becoming a bit of a regular fixture and his jazz inflected 12 string tunes and soaring vocals are always welcome. He brings with him Marvin B Naylor a man who blends folk, prog, the surreal and wonderful lyrical drives to create something truly unique.