Tag Archive: kunt and the gang


741242_664074006964975_1369003998_oOkay, it isn’t exactly local but Charlton Park does have an SN postcode so I guess it is okay to remind you that WOMAD kicks off today. You may not have heard of many of the acts or even be able to pronounce some of them but if ever there was a celebration of culturally diverse and globally reaching music then this is it. Whether you have a hankering for Kurdish folk or British hip-hop, New Orleans brass or Malian vocal groups, transcendental raga or gypsy jive, it is all here and more besides. In the grand scheme of things, it is right on your doorstep, which means you can just pop down for the day or do the full-on festival experience with the minimal of travelling.

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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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425603_10100168477043011_9295930_nThere has been a bit of a discussion in the on-line comments sections about how easy this article is to understand and extract the necessary information. One side of the argument is that the actual content is difficult to fathom out from my description and prose, opinion and attempted humour, that it would be better if the article was just an embellished list of pertinent information more akin to a listing than an article. My defence is that this column attempts to make the prospect of local live an exciting one through vividly painting what the bands are all about through prosaic description. Whilst I don’t profess to be a new Lester Bangs or Paul Morley, neither would I want this column to read like a telephone directory and hence the poetic license to colour what is effectively a musical menu. I also think that by suggesting that the average reader couldn’t follow my literary twists and turns is to actually undermine their intelligence. That’s my defence and I’m sticking to it.

 

To someone so engrossed in promoting live music performance, the idea of DJ nights might seem anathema to me. But when the DJ in question is one who still scours bargain bins and backstreet music shops to find the right hip-hop, soul, funk and rock vinyl to mix live then you know you are dealing with something above the normal club DJ spinning the same old sounds. DJ Format brings his dance floor filling skills to The Victoria tonight.

 

Friday runs from the sublime to the ridiculous. The Sublime coming in the guise of Tennessee jazz-bluesman Mark Merriman at The Beehive, back in the country on a short tour of the area. At the other extreme we have a certain X-rated act whose naughty name I can’t really mention here but who is known for toilet humour, self-deprecation, smut and catchy pop-melodies. Not for the faint hearted, easily offended or completely sober. All will make sense if you head to The Rolleston.

 

Between those extremes, Riffs Bar offer the not inconsiderable talents of roots musician and slide guitarist Kevin Brown, a man who learnt his trade from none other than Son House and is held in acclaim by the likes of Mark Knopfler. The Victoria has hi-energy neo-rockabilly with Rockabilly Rumble an authentic three-piece rockabilly outfit that does just what it says on the tin.

 

Those who like a slice of nostalgia have a choice of two tribute acts. The sounds of Johnny Cash can be heard at Level 3 whilst The Arts Centre is the place to be to re-live the majesty of Phil Lynott and the gang with Limehouse Lizzy.

 

And if you like your rock music then I should mention an event taking place in Trowbridge on Saturday. I know it’s a bit off of the radar for a local gig guide but with a heavy involvement from Swindon bands Trowbridge’s Rock Diabetes Metal Festival is worth a mention. Alongside headliners Diamond Head and Skreamer (who recently played Level 3) you can find the town represented by All Ears Avow, Harmony Disorder and Burnthru as well as Kodiak Jack and Flashfires who have both played Songs of Praise nights in the recent past.

 

But there is plenty of rock in town if you wish to support the local venues. At The Rolleston, Snatch It Back will be playing psychedelic blues rock, reminiscent of The Groundhogs of whom drummer Ken Pustelnik was a member and at The Victoria, Rorke’s Drift cover classic rock such as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Aerosmith.

 

Another US musician back in the area to tour their latest album is Courtney Yasmineh (pictured) and her band who between them channel the feisty female fronted glory days of Patti Smith, Sheryl Crowe and Blondie; rock chick meets country troubadour meets pop accessibility. Catch her at The Beehive. If your thing is more of an eighties synth vibe, then head out to Riffs Bar where Syntronix will act as a time machine back to the age of jumpsuits, headbands, ironic mullets and jacket suits with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, Miami Vice style.

 

And a couple of mellowing choices to end on. Sunday sees the Indian beats and pastoral acoustic guitar of Skins and Strings at The Beehive and on Wednesday you can catch classical meets Latin guitar maestros Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at the Roaring Donkey.

Last week I was revelling in the fact that there were so many gigs taking place that there just wasn’t enough room to mention them all, this week however the news is not so good. Less than a year after it re-opened under new management, The 12 Bar has shut its doors and is up for sale. Yes, this has happened before but it is my understanding that it is not just the business that is for sale but the building as a whole with no stipulation that it has to remain a music venue. This is a sharp reminder that supporting live music and the venues that host it takes more than re-posting a few Facebook banners signalling your disapproval of Simon Cowell but requires you to actually go along to the gigs, pay money and help ensure the bands get paid and rebooked and the venues thrive. As the cliché says, use it or lose it. Maybe live music ends not with a bang but a whimper!

On a more positive note, there is still some good music to be had around the town, starting tonight at The Beehive. Hiproute take various strands of roots music, from funky blues, southern boogie, outlaw country and even a dash of Memphis soul and weave them together via mesmerising lap acoustic playing into one of the best party-stomp soundtracks you are ever going to need.

The Victoria is also playing the acoustic card, but to a very different end. Dan Brown, who normally fronts Pirate Radiohead, (when he is not writing novels about albino monk assassins) will be reworking the intricacies of Radiohead classic songs for a solo acoustic performance. Intriguing!

On Friday, The MECA is the host for Indigo Pop’s Fresh Friday, an under 18’s club night featuring DJ Scott Kirby, X-Ploit winner Flow In Motion and a host of other top names. Conversely and definitely not for the under 18’s, The Rolleston sees the return of …well even the name is too coarse to be put into print here. Lets just say that he is the finest purveyor of lowbrow comedy and gutter lyricism and he makes support band 2 Sick Monkeys seem like a tea party on the vicarage lawn by comparison. Check the venue website for more specific information.

A safer option can be found at The Beehive in the form of M.O.D. Folky frolics, gypsy jazz jives, klezmerical meanderings and a host of other styles go into this rootsy-world melting pot. On reflection, probably not really a safer option, just mad in a different, less sweary sort of way.

To celebrate the fact that it is the end of November, Riffs Bar are throwing their Riffmass Lights Switch on Party. Then again they were playing Fairytale of New York in the supermarket the other night so I suppose I should just give in and go with the flow. Expect the best in funk from The Funk’daMentals, Glam and Disco from the in house Riffs Travelling Dance Band and rock covers from Dark Fire.

If you are looking for a dose of rock then head to The Furnace on Saturday for three bands that will provide just the fix you need. It seems that in the last year Broken Daylight seem to have come out of retirement, which can only be a good thing. Brash, loud and in your face, but that’s enough about Jamie, it’s good to have them back treading the boards once more. Support comes from IX, a band who sculpt epic and cinematic slow-burning instrumental workouts and the night gets going with the prog-metal gloriousness of Mortdelamer.  When you have a band as great as that first on the bill, you know it is going to be a special evening.

Meanwhile, next door in The Rolleston, Innes Sibun will be enthralling the crowds with his passionate, hi-energy, electric blues.

Sunday sees one band I have been looking forward too all year to return to The Victoria. Dan Baird, one time front man of rock legends, The Georgia Satellites, brings his current musical vehicle Homemade Sin, back to the UK. Comprising of two original Satellites and long term Jason and The Scorchers guitarist Warner Hodges, this band is southern rock and roll royalty. Highly recommended.

Finally on Wednesday, The Running Horse features Sloe Jam, a bluesy acoustic duo equally at home with the tender ballad as they are at kicking out the ….err.. Jams. Support comes from Benji Clements who deftly blends the most soulful vocals with classic songs reworked into his own style, extremely clever mash-ups as well as his own tunes.