Tag Archive: mark merriman


news-0416-antinowhereleague-900x600It may be cold and wet out there enough to make you think twice about heading out to a local gig, but the answer to that dilemma is to immerse yourself in a show that reminds you of warm summer festivals and escapist music. Zetan Spore at The Beehive tonight is perfect for that with their high octane psytrance sound and music breaking in huge waves of energy and positivity, tribal breaks and searing guitar riffs. 

And if that all seems quite futuristic, Friday offers something a bit more old-school as Anti-Nowhere League (pictured) scream into town to hit the stage at The Victoria. Some punk from back in the day sounds a bit thin and mild with the passage of time but ANL’s mix of Motorhead-esque rock and heavy end punk sounds as raw, wild, obnoxious and exciting as it did when they first hit the scene nearly forty years ago. With the infectious ska-punk of Slagerij and the incendiary sounds of Borrowed Time kicking things off. This is a night that proves that at least some punk music did stand the test of time.

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11081418_10152764261624290_7985975332801455801_nIt’s easy to forget, especially when a whole music genre seems to have developed around trying it’s damnedest to be Frank Turner, that one man with a guitar does not have to result in bullish angst or political and social calls to arms. Neither does it have to follow the Damien Rice/Jake Morley model of minimalist melancholy and wistful, fragile thoughts put to music. Between the two extremes there is a whole industry built on pop aware, chart smart, accessible acoustic music and Ben Montague fits right in the heart of it. Emotionally charged and honest but delivered in a fairly commercial package, Montague gently plucks heartstrings whilst laying out songs that have a romantic yet broad appeal and you will find him at The Victoria tonight.

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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.

1012061_10151336558167168_224323729_nSo as we turn the corner from a cold and very wet January to a, probably, just as cold and wet February, at least the first buds of musical growth are starting to appear in the local venues. January is always musically slow but this week there is a lot more to tell you about than in previous weeks so I shall just get down to business, stop procrastinating, cease dilly-dallying around, quit the filibustering, postpone no longer…in short, get on with it.

Although with their roots in more conventional mainstream sounds, the Talk in Code that heads into 2014 are a sassy blend of synth washed, indie-dance and guitar driven pop sensibilities. Not a bad way to kick the week off. They are joined by alt-rock, new comers, A Way With Words and acoustic artist, Daniel James and all this happens at The Victoria tonight.

At The Beehive is Tennessee’s very own Mark Merriman, a world-renowned guitarist who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Frank Evans and Wishbone Ash’s Andy Powell.

Lots to choose from on Friday and the birth of a new venture to help bring something new and vibrant to town. Under the direction of two of the areas most established players, The Regent is now hosting acoustic sessions and the first one kicks off in fine style with an acoustic set from the guys of False Gods and the long awaited re-emergence of The Racket main man Plummie.

The other regular Friday night acoustic session at Riffs Bar will feature the delights of Nick Tann (pictured), a jazz inflected, soaring and soulful player armed with a disarming wit and shirts whose loudness might cause a few health and safety violations. He is joined by the stripped back acoustic funk of the puntastic With Nell and I, a slick and musically elegant band with a vocal that will stop you in your tracks.

Other acoustic offerings come in the form of the furious, folk party that is Grubby Jack at The Rolleston. Traditional songs from the folk, Americana and Celtic songbooks, delivered with infectious aplomb and cheeky charm by this talented trio.

Right, if you prefer your music more fired up and electrified…as it were, you can either catch The Star Men, a tribute to all things seventies Glam at The Victoria or for something more current and original, The AK-Poets continue their tour by descending upon The Beehive for a night of razor wire riffs, raucous rock and murderous melody. It’s brash, it’s boisterous…it’s brilliant.

Although I bemoan the amount of classic rock cover bands that come through this town (lets not get on that one again though) The Victoria this Saturday night offers the chance to see, if not the fresh face, at least the hard bitten snarl and contemptuous growl of the genres current cutting edge. This double header features Stonewire and Four Wheel Drive, festival stalwarts, hard hitting classic rockers and the most exciting live show ever to pull on a pair of biker boots.

Meanwhile Reginald Road, a mix of punky ska and reggae rock, will be firing up The Queens Tap with a set of originals and classics, The Rolleston features Dickie Reed and The Royal Oak is the place for a night of fun covers with Penfold. Fans of the 80’s will want to head out to Riffs Bar for the synthy sounds and nostalgic themes of Syntronix.

More pop, rock and indie covers come courtesy of Switch at The Kings in Old Town on Sunday and those with who remember the glory days of rock will do well to get tickets for Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash at The Wyvern Theatre. Founder member Martin, not only looks back at four decades of music, faithfully reproducing all the bands classics but also offers up brand new music into the mix. If the word Argus conjures up more than a Brighton newspaper, then this is the show for you.