Tag Archive: limehouse lizzy


thumbnailI know that everything works on supply and demand, even things in the cultural and artistic realms but looking at the sheer volume of rock bands playing in town this week, it might be nice if the powers that be tried something a little more diverse from time to time. I know it sells, I know it’s a form that is still popular but maybe instead of continuously underlining the past and looking back to nostalgic heydays it might be quite exciting to look to the future and help write the next chapter. Okay, change the record I hear you cry, ironically that is a good analogy for what I am proposing. Anyway, I’ve said enough.

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12111930_1683865851881044_3972085343232098947_nOne of the great things about the diverse and eclectic nature of the Swindon live circuit is that it has something for everyone. Take this week for example, everything from international swing bands, rock legends, national tribute acts, local covers and grassroots jobbing musicians can be found somewhere along the line. Not bad for a town which is usually seen as playing second fiddle to the more established music scenes of Oxford and Bristol. Personally, I’m a big fan of those ever touring, solo guitar acts, it’s a real reminder that once you strip away the glitz and glamour, musical hi-jinx and technological enhancements, it all comes down to two things. Good songs and personal charisma. Two great purveyors of such an approach can be found in town tonight.

You may have caught Chris Webb in any number of guises, gigging with Lonely Tourist, Gentleman Nick Parker or that Gaz Brookfield fellow, or as part of Plume of Feathers, but tonight at The Tuppenny you can catch him in solo mode delivering up-tempo, finger style, modern acoustic folk songs filled with wit and wisdom.

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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.

This week might seem like a lull in the tsunami of musical delights that has engulfed the town of late, but believe me it is just a chance to get your breath back (and save up some more drinking money) before the summer really kicks in with a vengeance. But that’s not to say that amongst this week’s small but perfectly formed list of recommendations there aren’t a few real gems.

Such as at The Beehive tonight were the combined efforts of John Lewis and Jah-man Aggrey, better known as Two Man Ting, weave a magic tapestry of acoustic afro-pop and reggae rhythms which often includes a cover of Willi Williams classic Armagideon Time (punk fans with long memories or their parents record collections will recall this being the B-side to The Clash’s London Calling.)

More roots music farther up the hill with Roots Night at The Victoria with Jim from Hip Route heading the bill, which also contains the acoustic, harmony-fuelled, surf vibe and folk twist of Bournemouth trio Willowen.

The rock option to ease you into the weekend comes at STFC’s The Legends Lounge with an appearance from Limehouse Lizzy. I normally don’t big up the tribute acts but as this is one of the finest re-visits to the classic days of one of my all-time favourite bands – Thin Lizzy, it had to be done.

On Friday in support of their recent album release, The Blood Choir will be playing in Rise Records. Part Portishead atmospherics, part The National’s slow burn grooves and many parts literary references and poetic explorations, this is a great band. And if you like that then you might want to head up to The Victoria that evening for some more truly original bands. I managed to see the headline, Will and The People (pictured), when they were just getting going and they were great then, all reggae vibes youthful exuberance and brilliant moments of vocal harmonics that are shot through with the spirit of Teenage Fanclub or even The Beach Boys. Imagine how good they will be three years on from that.

Support is from Old Colours, cinematic, fragile, windswept and brilliant. In fact, find them online now, play the song Centre Line and try telling me it’s not only the most wonderfully fractured and beautifully layered soundscape you have heard in a long time…unless you actually have no soul.

Having dabbled with everything from space–rock to old-fashioned bogie blues, not to mentioned being touched by the hand of Hawkwind; it’s difficult to know what The Michael Burro Band will have on the menu. The only way to find out is to head along to The Beehive.

Saturday sees something for the young and the …err, not so young down on the corner of commercial road. Downstairs at The Furnace, Teenage Kicks will be offering up the best of the younger element. Rock and metal played out in the form of Wreckoning, Without Consequence, Brink of Reason and making their Swindon debut, The Faint and The Fallen. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston it’s quiffs set to stun and time to dust off the brothel-creepers as psychobilly legends, The Corsairs hit town.

Something a bit more cultured takes place at the M.E.C.A. in the form of a two-course meal and entertainment by The Three Degrees, a group as big as they ever were despite having not boasted an original member since 1976.

One man who has really explored the roots of blues music is Ramon Goose. Having grown up on pre-war Delta Blues in 2010 he turned his attention to it’s West African origins spending time playing with musicians in Dakar and Senegal. The results of that trip and the album that captured its essence can be heard in The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

That evening back at The Rolleston, punk-popsters Disclosure will be mixing up the covers and original tunes in their own brilliant fashion and you never know if you talk to them nicely you might even bag a job as their new bassist.

Finally, Tuesday night Jazz at Baker Street will feature The Kevin Figes Quartet and guitar improviser extraordinaire, Mike Outram.