Tag Archive: lovers (the)


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In many ways today can be seen as the anniversary of the birth of the rock and roll era. It was sixty years ago today that a Tennessee truck driver payed $3.98 to go into a Memphis studio and record a two track disc as a present for his mother. This may have been a footnote in the annals of music history had that truck driver not been Elvis Presley. Five years later an even more significant event occurred in Manchester, England when Nigel Twist came kicking and screaming into the world, presumably already sporting aviator shades and back combed hair. Significant as he went on to drum for The Alarm and record Sixty Eight Guns! I guess it’s all relative but in my world a much more important event, I mean Elvis Presley…what ever happened to him?

Anyway back in the modern age we seem to have a week of quality over quantity when it comes to live music options. Tonight a quite bizarre selection is on offer at The Victoria as Three Minute Tease (pictured) pay a return visit to Songs of Praise. Formed around Sacramento musical oddball Anton Barbeau and featuring a rhythm section made up of post-punk royalty in the form of Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe (former Robyn Hitchcock bandmates in The Soft Boys and The Egyptians) this band are a must see for fans of Julian Cope, Syd Barrett, XTC and psychedelic, underground, power-pop in general. Add to that the equally left field Schnauser who sound like The Bonzo Dog Band re-writing Pet Sounds and the more accessible but no less brilliant 8 Minutes Later providing the filling in this strange musical sandwich and you have something a bit special.

Also a bit special is Kent DuChaine at the The Beehive, who delivers a taste of the Delta through his authentic slide blues sound drawn from his “beat up 1934 National Steel guitar.” You can almost taste the mint julep!

On Friday, again it is The Victoria that offers something a bit special. Anyone who caught The Lovers play their stripped down set their back in April will know how great this band is, this time they are back fully amped up, no holds barred. They are a band that prove that rock can have good melody or pop can have attitude and drive, depending on which angle you look at it from. And I also managed to get through that description without resorting to the lazy journalistic fall back of pointing out that they are an all girl band. Damn!

Also on the bill are the ever popular Shudders who seem to be moving from strength to strength with their ever evolving brand of folk meets alt-country meets lo-fi pop meets…anything they can think of really. Plummie Rackett in solo mode opens up the nights proceedings.

At The Beehive, masters of the cross-generic set, Kola Koca, make a welcome return. Freely mixing styles as diverse as folk and jazz, blues and pop to drive some great social observations, kitchen sink dramas, politics and humour, this is a band that you really need to see.

After this the weekend switches away from original music but that’s not to say that there isn’t some great music to be had. (I know I do have a bit of a reputation of not favouring cover and tribute bands so much but it’s probably time to come clean that my favourite song of all time is Kirsty McColl’s 12” version of A New England – not only a cover but an extended re-mix, there I said it.) Friday is all about a range of covers from The Great Nothing at The Rolleston and on Saturday a couple of tributes might take your interest, Green Day at The Victoria and Ian Dury and The Blockheads at The Rolleston.

Original music comes back on the radar on Wednesday with Louise Latham at The Running Horse. Dealing in heartfelt and painfully honest lyrics, driven by wonderfully understated piano, and for this gig accompanied by her sister on guitar, if you are fans of the likes of Sarah MacLachlan, Tori Amos or the more sweeping end of The Indigo Girls, then this is for you. The Beehive are at the other end of the musical scale with Loonaloop and their genre hopping, cosmic electronica.

Final mention is for the show at The Victoria which sees Old Colors bringing back their cinematic folk pop to brighten up your mid-week slump support comes in the form of the ambient pop of The Sea,The Sea and the gentle balladry of Billyjon.

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311557_10150922275243207_1996043764_nAs most of you will be aware by now, the shock news of the last week is that Basement 73, the newly re-vamped, re-named, re-launched Furnace, has closed and the future of The Rolleston pub above it is still very uncertain. Whilst I can’t speak about the specifics of what brought this about, as I just don’t know the facts, I can make this very general statement. Any club, pub or music venue only exists by selling drinks and only thrives by doing so in large numbers. That obviously requires punters turning up to gigs. So every time you have taken the option of Saturday night TV or said “I’ll catch them next time” was actually a metaphorical brick knocked out of the support structure of local music, i.e. the venues themselves.  So now we find ourselves with no medium capacity venue at all in town, so for all those first album bands, rising stars and next big things, it’s a trip to Oxford, Bristol or further afield for you all.
 
That said, if you venture up to The Victoria tonight, you will be able to see a band who may very well soon be found filed under “next big thing” The Lovers. Four seasoned musical veterans of the female persuasion join forces to make enchanting and sophisticated, indie pop, drenched in sumptuous harmonies. Support comes from the alt-country and rock blends of The Blue Trees plus the welcome return of Mel Hughes to the live arena.
 
Something decidedly different is to be found at The Beehive. Alan Clayson, devoid of his usual musical backing, The Argonauts (gedit?) puts on a show of Chanson, a  lyrical French song form and something that fits neatly with his recent authorship of a Jacques Brel biography. Whilst Time Out thought his performance was one of “cult status”, The Independent had to admit, “it is difficult to explain to the uninitiated what to expect.” Make of that what you will.
 
Two big names arrive on Friday, those pioneers of dub, reggae and folk fusion, Dreadzone, are at The Victoria, if you haven’t already got a ticket or know someone you can mug to get one, then best opt for the second option as the show has sold out. The second option is to be found at Riffs Bar in the form of Soft Ground. Who? I hear you cry. Well they are only the current musical vehicle for organist Verden Allen of Mott The Hopple fame. But more than that the band also features former Tigertailz drummer Matthew Blakout and Jamie Thyer, normally found leading The Worried Men.
 
Staying with Riffs Bar and Saturday sees another Secret Chord gig, this time featuring The Shudders pictured) in the headline spot. This eight legged groove machine mix up alt-country, lo-fi pop, folk and rock into the perfect party soundtrack. In support you will find the wonderfully subtle playing and hushed vocal tones of Rumour Shed and opening up is Stead, a London based troubadour of the old tradition whose songs are filled with an understated intensity and musical economy.
 
 The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive will be filled with the sound of vintage acoustic music and echoes of The Great American Songbook. Lisa Wiship and Andy Mathewson specialise in pre-war blues and ragtime, pop along for your own musical time machine.
 
Fans of jazz will want to get a good seat at Baker Street on Tuesday as The Craig Milverton Trio set out their musical stall. Craig is one of the countries top jazz pianists, often rubbing shoulders with the likes of Paul Jones and Scott Hamilton and he even played with Van Morrison and Buddy Guy…not a bad pedigree you have to admit.
 
And finally we come to our usual jumping off point, The Running Horse on Wednesday which features Drew Bryant and Michael Hennessy.

Library - 204I was amused to read today that in an effort to raise his profile, Robbie Williams has agreed to sell his soul for charity. Williams, whose soul will be sold at Sotheby’s next week said, “ I haven’t used it in a while, in fact I don’t think I have ever used it; I’ve always borrowed other peoples, mainly Guy Chambers.” Robbie is not the first musician to sell his soul; blues legend Robert Johnson did so in the 30’s, striking a Faustian pact with the Devil at a crossroads. Johnson’s soul is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in America and valued at over $40 million. William’s soul has been set at a reserve price of £850 although a spokesman for Sotheby’s said “We hope it may reach £1000 if Japanese bidders express an interest.”

No gimmicks required for the music I want to recommend to you this week though, just heaps of talent and originality and it goes a bit like this.

Out at Riffs Bar tonight a bit of a new, local, super group is making it’s presence known. Alice Offley, Tiff Townsend, Evie Em-Jay and Gemma Hill are The Lovers and they deliver quality indie pop bathed in sumptuous harmonies, definitely worth catching. Support is from All Ears Avow, a new band rising from the alt-metal ashes of Mortdelamer.

Also a bit special is Grant Starkey at The Victoria, a man who neatly combines upright bass skills, stand-up style interludes and improvised banter; if something along the folk-roots-blues is more your sort of thing then head down to The Rolleston for Sam Green and The Midnight Heist, an act that fuses bluesy Americana with more anglicised folk, think Duane Allman in a musical arm wrestle with John Martyn. And if none of those appeal then The Beehive features the harmonious atmospherics of Anglo-Swedish combo, We Ghosts.

After a well-attended launch show last month, The Secret Chord, a new gig night at Riffs Bar fires it’s opening salvo on Friday. As a bit of a calling card for the quality you can expect,  they have lined up White Knuckle Bride to headline the first proper show. Old school sleaze rock is on the cards, a beautiful collision of razor wire riffs, big choruses, aggression and attitude. Support comes from The Damned and The Dirty who splice similar vibes with via grunge and metal and Oscillator, now returned to the live fray as an originals band.

Back in town and The Costellos unleash themselves upon The Victoria. Last time I saw them they were a five piece but now they have expanded the brass section meaning that there are now seven of the little blighters on stage now. Their music still promises exotic blends of pop, ska, funk, reggae, gypsy jazz and even a waft of punked up mariachi. Sounds like a good night, especially with SN Dubstation and Sigma 12 kicking the night off. The Beehive opts for funked up blues courtesy of Hiproute.

After the hectic launch last weekend, Basement 73 gets down to the business of backing up the promises it made about moving the venues musical focus forward in fine style on Saturday with a great line up. A mixed bag of rock, indie and punk-pop is on offer from The Dead Famous, Hold The Fight, Sell Your Sky and Starlight City. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston, Laurence Jones represents the sound of the new generation of electric blues.

Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe (pictured) are two great musicians in their own right, which is why when they collaborated on the album “ On Hire” the result was an amazing work that resonates with timeless grace, that connects various eras, styles, genres, cultures and even geographical locations without once sounding like a pastiche or parody of any one part of it’s sum. All that at The Beehive Sunday afternoon and afterward head up The Rolleston for another outing for Hiproute’s, Jim Blair, this time minus the rest of the band but with the same amount of groove.

Finally on Wednesday, a bone fide musical icon descends on The Beehive, probably via an alien craft. Ex-Soft Machine and Gong man, Daevid Allen, brings his weird world to town. Expect the unexpected…and probably goblins.

For a more straight forward serving suggestion catch the dulcet tones, introspective lyrics and wonderful harmonies of The Right Hooks at The Running Horse, a great band…..and probably no goblins.