Tag Archive: laurence jones band


1526996_516022715159615_454140894_nI’m not one for hero worship, not in music at any rate. Musicians are just normal people – gifted, imaginative, talented, some times even genius but human none the less. The one exception I do make is for a man born this day in 1952 and who made his music under the name Joe Strummer. As a member of The Clash he helped defined not only what punk music could be but also what it could evolve into once the revolution had run it’s short course. As a member of The Mescaleros he mixed rockabilly, punk, ska and world music flavours to great effect but it is his humanity that I find myself drawn to. Even at the height of his fame, he epitomised the man in the street and seemed genuinely concerned about civil rights, the environment and encouraging new musical growth which still continues via his legacy, Strummerville. You can keep your musical genius; give me the flawed but charismatic anarchist any day.

 

Okay, I may be biased about Songs of Praise nights at The Victoria, but I will say that tonight’s show is the first of a run of gigs that is bringing in some great out of town acts, mainly because they booked every local act they know to put The Shuffle together. That said, having seen the diary, fans of original music are in for a real treat and for a short while at least Thursday is the new Saturday. Tonight for example you can catch Dirty 6 at their first Swindon show, an upbeat and infectious outfit who effortlessly weave a wide range of music genres into a tapestry of unique, swirling, danceable indie anthems. Taking the middle slot is Basingstoke quintet Flashfire (pictured)s who have recently recorded their debut album in California with Brian Wheat of Tesla. But this is no MTV rock outfit, all I will say is be sure to wear your dancing trousers you are going to need them. Opening up are new kids on the local block Sahara Heights.

 

Out at Riffs Bar is a musical tribute to one of the stalwarts of the folk and acoustic scene Terry Hunt who sadly passed away in June. Helping to remembering him on what would have been his 65th birthday will be Ells and The Southern Wild, Corky, Dylan Q. his regular musical partner J.C. Leonard, Sean and Daryl from Bateleurs and a headline slot from Missin’ Rosie.

 

Friday sees a Swindon ex-pat return to play his first ever hometown gig since leaving these shores over 30 years ago. Jittery Jack brings his brand of 50’s soaked rockabilly to The Victoria with support from home-grown rock ‘n’ roll sensations Josie and The Outlaw.

 

At The Rolleston the “head boy of the new blues breed” according to Classic Rock Magazine, will be channelling the feel and vibe of the likes of Robin Trower, Buddy Guy and Rory Gallagher. So catch Laurence Jones in full band mode before he is whisked off to superstardom.

 

Meanwhile, out at Riffs Bar the man with the iron tonsils, Steve Grimmett is having a birthday bash. Normally found fronting Grim Reaper, Steve will be fronting his other band, Soundbites and treating you all to a nice slice of classic rock covers. Support comes from far too young and far too talented metallers Twisted State of Mind.

 

Saturday is the day of rock…it’s official. Classic rock covers from Broken Image at the Swiss Chalet on Saturday covering everything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden and Dio whilst at The Rolleston Priest Unleashed will be covering everything from Judas Priest to…well, that’s it really. For something a bit different, but admittedly not terribly different, you can catch a tribute to The Doors at The Victoria.

 

On Sunday at The Rolleston you can catch The Great Nothing playing retro to contemporary rock covers. (Anyone see a theme developing here?) If you are looking for something original musically, then head for The Big Sunday Funday at Riffs Bar in conjunction with Swindon 105.5 community radio station. Along with stalls, a barbeque and lots of stuff for the kids you can catch music from Jimmy Moore, Charlie Anne Bradfield and those Latino Jazz men Gilmore and Jaz. But it’s not just original acoustic music as you get a second chance to catch Soundbites play classic rock standards and Riffs Travelling Dance Band cover the glam, funk and disco hits of yesteryear.

1185071_656401631049473_470672266_nA New Year, a new start. Time to select a blank canvas and start sketching a fresh picture or more relevant to this column, pick up a new instrument and play a new tune. T.S. Elliot put it well when thinking of New Year and fresh starts when he so eloquently said,

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice”

 

But then on the same subject of celebrating the start of a new year, Paris Hilton slightly less eloquently said,

 

“ I get half a million just to show up at parties. My life is, like, really really fun”

 

Which to me says something about how society is spiraling out of control.

 

So, in this quieter time of the year there is room to stop and reflect on what you want from the local music scene this year. It has been a time of belt tightening and cut backs, musical austerity if you like but that is not to say that we can’t do something about that. Austerity is about money, supporting music…or any art form is not, it’s about cutting your coat according to your cloth as they say. If you can’t get gigs in the few venues left operating, put your own on in alternative locations, play cafes, basements, churches, parks, house parties or art spaces. You might even consider hitting the streets and busking! Old School. Music must find a way.This year is going to be about thinking outside the box as the music scene takes the time it needs to get back on it’s feet. But remember, wherever the gig takes place, it still needs to be supported, so lets have none of the old excuses. If you are feed up by music being represented by a twerking twerp like Ms Cyrus, Nickleback (probably the worst Pearl Jam tribute band in the world) or anything that is the product of a TV show, from X-Factor to Glee, then get involved with grass roots music, whilst there is something still to get involved with.

 

Right, it may be a quiet week, but there are still a few choice cuts to be dined on. At The Victoria tonight, Secret Chord Records have a showcase of just some of the acts that they have handpicked to work with throughout the coming year, so the quality control has been done for you. Headline are the band who’s recent album seems to be as popular in Japan and New York as it is in Swindon, Super Squarecloud (pictured). A wonderful alchemizing of skewed pop, mathy interludes, time signatures that have more to do with quantum physics than music, the result is some of the most original sounds you will hear in ages. Support comes from Bristolians, Armchair Committee a band who combine the howling blues riffs of the Jack White school of cool with monumental stoner riffs and a impressively joyous noise. Opening the night Faye Rogers delicate folk palette is very much the calm before the storm.

 

Friday is the night for acoustic music, The Victoria has  Pirate Joe, a wonderful collection of improvisation, looping effects, comedy and multi-instrumentation. Support comes from the brilliant Jimmy Moore, the enigmatic Zackie Chan plus local stalwarts Hiproute.

 

At Riff’s Bar the first of the new Acoustic Sessions kicks off with Darren Hodge, who I can find almost no information about on the internet and Adam Sweet who plays bluesy acoustic rock.

 

For something a bit more rock and roll, now re-patriated with the land of his birth, David Marx brings his AK-Poets back to The Rolleston, a riot of raucous riffs and manic melodies…not to be missed.

 

Saturday sees the welcome return of Iron Hearse to The Victoria, a wonderful mix of kick-ass rock, doom infused anthems and old school metal. Warming up the crowd for them are Hot Flex and a bag of suitable covers.

 

 

And finally The Rolleston features one of the youngest and most talented electric bluesmen on the circuit, Laurence Jones who takes influence from legends such as Albert Collins and Tony McPhee. This is a player who is keeping the genre alive and fresh and marching into the 21st Century.

 

So there we go, welcome to 2014.

How do you get what is officially the busiest week in Swindon’s musical history into just 700 (ish) words? Let me demonstrate.

Starting tonight out at Riffs Bar, neo-progressive rock royalty will be making a two-pronged attack on your senses in the form of Credo and Landmarq. Fans of the likes of Pendragon, Marillion and IQ should make no plans to be anywhere else. The name Larry “Mud” Morganfield might not mean much to a lot of people, but if I tell you that he is the son of blues icon Muddy Waters, is virtually indistinguishable from his fathers sound and that he is playing the Art Centre tonight, you may just want to pop along and catch a what will undoubtedly be an amazing show.

At the Beehive, the regular Acoustic Buzz Session brings you the best in roots music, this time headlined by the Bluegrass influenced Rosellys. English folk meets sumptuous Americana vocal harmonies comes courtesy of The Black Feathers and the hosts, Blind River Scare will be kicking the night off in fine style.

On Friday The MECA also gets in on the folk vibe with Foster and Allen (not to be confused with Mulligan and O’Hare) purveyors of broad appeal crossover Celtic folk and gorgeous ballads. Also to be found filed under “musical legend” Amen Corner founder Andy Fairweather-Low is at the Art Centre with his band The Low Riders. And whilst we are dealing with the town’s bigger venues, it pains me to have to tell you that Rizzle Kicks are at The Oasis.

The Beehive continues it’s tradition of booking supremely unique bands, with a return visit from Clayson and The Argonauts, a baroque and roll phenomena who, in a parallel universe, should have been bigger than the Beatles. At only 19 Laurence Jones is being hailed as the head boy of a new blues breed, rocked up sounds imbued with optimism, showmanship, feeling and groove and all free at The Rolleston, whilst next door in The Furnace, Betty and The Page will be dishing out rockabilly, old school rock and roll, swing and skiffle. Quiff-tastic!

Saturday is where a difficult choice has to be made as two of the town’s most popular bands have launch gigs for new releases and unless you believe Erwin Schrödinger, you can’t be in two places at once. Maestros of Quantum glock-rock, Super Squarecloud (pictured), are at Riffs Bar to promote their latest weird and wonderful collection of sounds that goes by the name of The Stanford Torus e.p. (highly recommended) which pushes them equally into strange experimentalism and pop accessibility at the same time. They are supported by Nudybronque, now a three-piece and more fired up and edgy than they ever were, plus a rare local outing for The Listening Device. For those not in the know, and if not, why not? The Listening Device is a wonderfully ambient, progressive rock band displaying all the technical ability that that implies and an unexpected Waitsian vocal growl on top.

Whilst that takes place, SkyBurnsRed will be launching their new music at The Furnace. Violin fueled grooves, big guitar riffs, eastern vibes and punchy memorable songs, what’s not to like? And remember, the last time they played The Furnace people were picking bits of violin out of the walls for days to come! Not to be missed. Add to that The Street Orphans will be supplying driven, dynamic indie anthems as only they can. Also on the bill, up from Portsmouth is Yours Truly, a rock band who manages to do that rare thing of combining brains with brawn, melody with muscle, rock and roll the way God intended. (I know because, he told me!)

Other options are, rhythm and blues mayhem from The Hamsters From Hell in The Rolleston, David Lynch’s new musical vehicle, The Labradors at The Fox and Hounds in Haydon Wick and any prog fans who didn’t satisfy their musical thirst earlier on in the week should head to The Victoria for  a tribute to the Fish era of Aylesbury’s favourite sons with Still-Marillion.

If ska-inspired rap/rock sounds your cup of Darjeeling then it’s The Victoria again on Sunday. Having just toured supporting Sonic Boom Six, Imperial Leisure are one hell of a party –  big tunes, an energetic live show and one of the best front men in the business. Support comes from home-grown ska-punksters Slagerij.

Final mention of the week is for The Elijah at the 12 Bar on Monday; brilliantly atmospheric, ambient post-rock that surprisingly works in screamo vocal delivery and old school shoegaze indie. Can you imagine that? No? Best go down and check them out. Similar contradictory collisions work wonders for support band If Heroes Should Fail, whilst Homeland take the more expected but no less well executed melodic hardcore route.

Apologies to the dozen or so gigs that there wasn’t room to mention, I guess this week the music scene just became a victim of its own success. Who’d have thought?