Tag Archive: metal gods


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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22050281_1509919725735598_1001761715661952264_nStuck as we are between the recent Bank Holiday glut of live gigs, heading into the heart of the summer sporting diary and with festival season about to go into full swing, not to mention having a rare run of good weather that means that people are opting for pub garden and home barbecue’s rather than heating for the hot and claustrophobic gig environment, has resulted in not a great deal to report on this week from the live music trenches. There is also the small matter of pubs gearing up for that World Cup that seems to be all the rage these days. But to make up for the lack of choice, the options you do have dictate that it is a week where quality, not quantity, is the order of the day.

Like The Sarah C. Ryan Band at The Victoria tonight. Just as often found performing in solo mode, her blend of rootsy pop is taken to new levels when she has both the additional nuance and extra drive wielded by a full band. Expect a mix of her own deft creations writ sonically large and a few pre-loved classics along the way.

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Dreadzone-c-Simon-Partington-_MG_5821.jpgFor those who say that nothing ever happens in Swindon, this week is set to prove them very wrong, as not one but two big name bands with long histories, varied and fascinating careers and a wealth of albums behind them can be found nested in amongst the usual, more localised, musical fare. But more of that later.

Wilding, an act which has both grown in number and shrunken in name, since the eponymous George’s solo days, will be taking to The Victoria’s stage tonight and I highly recommend that you check them out. Combining the front man’s lyrical wit and wisdom with a band of seasoned players means that they can finally reach the sonic heights that their recorded work encapsulated and believe me you will want to experience that. With new indie outfit Compact Pussycat opening the night this is a great way to kick off the weekend.

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13407096_10153662274891463_6649436038957675124_n.jpgIn a world which seems ever more divided along political lines, knowingly supporting cash over climate issues, payola over peace and where a small very small sector of society pull the strings and calls the shots, wouldn’t it be good to have someone come along and make sense of it all. Not some dry political hack or firebrand orator but maybe a guy with a bass guitar, a hat and a bag of songs which point fingers, neatly satirises and gently ridicules the state of the world. It might not fix the problems but it sounds like a fun night out to me. Oh look, Grant Sharkey is at The Tuppenny tonight, what a co-incidence!

Meanwhile down at The Beehive, that excellent fellow Tim Manning is hosting his Acoustic Buzz night, a session dedicated to all things rootsy and this time around Boss Caine headlines the night, imagine Tom Waits singing Ryan Adams …if they had both had the good fortune to grow up in Yorkshire that is. Chris Webb is also on the bill, a finger-style folkie par excellence and your host will kick the night off with his song-blends of country and folk.

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426615_307388412659174_1530646521_nA bit of a Curates Egg for seekers of original music this week and those not familiar with Victorian satire should Google the phrase immediately. If, however, you are one of those people that are content to hear music with an already existing pedigree, then you will have a field day. But, tonight at least, there is something truly original on offer. Songs of Praise at The Victoria is always striving to bring in bands that tick boxes to do with boundary pushing attitudes, uniqueness and fresh sounds and tonight they have excelled themselves.

 

Nudybronque is a band that have built up quite a reputation over the last few years, evolving from a perfectly pleasant punk-pop four-piece to a truly mesmerising experimental indie band and the release of their latest e.p. Moondog merely confirmed them to be a band writing some of the best tunes in their field today. Tonight they are joined by Port Erin, another band who have striven to push the boundaries of their own musical development, these days plying a musical trade of space and atmospherics, subtle dynamics and an almost jazz inflected quality. Opening the show is Oui Legionnaires, a band that almost defies generic pigeonholing instead preferring to invent their own terms such as puzzle-pop and yelpcore. No idea what that means? No, me neither, may it’s best you check them out.

 

Something far more describable is at The Beehive in the guise of Robert Brown, a troubadour whose style falls on the less fey side of Nick Drake and the sweeter edge of Jimmy Page.

 

The big event for Friday is the Ocelot Magazines Eighth Birthday bash at The Victoria. Being a publication with strong connections to the local music scene, you can imagine that they are able to pull in the best bands around and this line-up is a bit of a corker. Headlining is the newly re-emerged Racket, now fully embracing their brit-pop leanings and elevated to a five piece but with all the live swagger and attitude that you associate with the band of old. Vienna Ditto offers a contrasting sheen of wild-eyed rockabilly riffs and sparse, atmospheric electronica whilst looking like collaboration between a mad scientist and a jazz chantress. Boss Cloth brings the noise, as it were, a heavy yet melodic wave of grunged rock riffs and drum dynamics. Opening the night will be Chip Daddy (pictured) a man as well known for his outrageous off stage stunts as he is for his onstage rap parody.

 

Rumbustious…that’s a good word isn’t it? Rumbustious music can be found at The Beehive courtesy of M.O.D. who play Balkan inspired folk using everything from washboards to double bass, harmoniums to clarinets and will be playing songs from last years wonderfully titled Travelling at The Speed of Cattle. If something smoother is called for, Benji Clements will be playing in full band mode at The Royal Oak and the ska and reggae creations of SN Dubstation can be found at The Liquor Lounge.

 

Other options are the rock, blues and swing standards of The Teddy White Band at The Rolleston and classic covers from Switch at The New Inn.

 

On Saturday, Level 3 features a night of music in memory of DJ, radio presenter and all round good egg, Tom Humber who sadly passed away a year ago. As a devoted rock and metal fan he would certainly have approved of the bands paying tribute; melodic trash metallers In The Absence of Light, heavy biker-rock with a dash of Southern charm from Eye For and Eye and Dodging the Bullet playing iconic rock covers. Meanwhile next door at The Rolleston Metal Gods cover similar musical ground and the music of Paul Rogers of Free and Bad Company fame, is being re-visited at The Victoria.

 

Reggae music is being celebrated by The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive and more pop and rock standards can be had from In It For The Money who re-launch the band at Riffs Bar and Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Session re-locate to the bandstand in Old Town Gardens and from 5pm you can have fun in the sun (you never know) with acoustic music from Blake, Rob Beckinsale and as ever your hosts, Mr Love and Justice.

Final mention of the week goes to those dapper acoustic Latin-jazzmen, Gilmore’n’Jaz who play the Roaring Donkey on Wednesday and whom I can’t recommend highly enough.

 

419506_10150699950192165_275869385_nI’ve been accused of being a bit negative towards the local music scene of late…a few off the cuff remarks were taken a bit too seriously by some people who should know my style better and resulted in a bit of a back lash. But in my defence I stand by my general thoughts that in the cyclical nature of these things we do seem to be at a low ebb, particularly in terms of emerging new and original talent and the amount of venues left to play in. That said one of the direct results in having more bands than venues, even if few of those bands are truly blazing new trails, is that a certain level of quality control should start to come into effect and the bookings at the remaining venues will potentially start to pay higher musical dividends. That’s the hope anyway.

 

 

 

Maybe a small step towards this was seen last week in the work of a couple of out of town bands, Barb Wire Dolls and Healthy Junkies who stormed the Victoria and really showed how to put a live show on. Also the Hip Route album launch also demonstrated how a band can really add value to a gig. Local bands take note of this.

 

 

 

One band that can also be found filed in the “really know how to own a stage” category are James Warner Prophecies  (pictured) who will be gracing The Victoria for Songs of Praise tonight, probably with about ten minutes to spare after getting caught up in the M1 evening traffic just outside Derby…no change there. They are a band that manages to mix up everything from heavy rock to ska to pop to old style music hall and come out with a wonderfully deranged yet utterly pleasing sound plus some lovely attention to beard design. Support comes from Cirencester’s Familiars and local band of the moment A Way With Words.

 

 

 

If something a bit more cultured is preferred then a visit to The Beehive means that you can catch the wonderful blends of blues, classical, folk and flamenco courtesy of continental troubadour, Claude Bourbon.  I can’t recommend this man highly enough especially to anyone who thinks they have mastered the acoustic guitar.

 

 

 

Sadly (or not depending on your point of view) original music is a bit hard to find for the next couple of days, but that’s not to say there isn’t some very talented bands to be had, it’s just that it will all be music that you are already familiar with. Not my thing but each to their own.

 

 

 

On Friday The Monkeys Dolls treat The Victoria to contemporary rock classics whilst at The Rolleston, Metal Gods fulfil a similar roll for the more metal and heavy rock minded.

 

 

 

Tributes come thick and fast of Saturday enabling you to catch the music of Madness at The Victoria, The Police at Riffs and Ozzy Osborne at The Rolleston. The one slice of original music can be found at The Sun Inn at Coate Water. Nick Tatham has been described “Dorset’s best kept secret”, plays music wonderfully reminiscent of the likes of Seth Lakeman or Newton Faulkner and was also recently to be found auditioning on The Voice, but don’t hold that against him.

 

 

 

Sunday sees a great event over at Riffs Bar to raise money for the Philippines Typhon Appeal and feature an all day spread of music from solo acoustic acts to blues, rock and indie bands and everything from covers, standards and originals. Truly something for everyone and the most worthy of causes as well.

 

 

 

At the Arts Centre on Monday members of The Albion Band, Edward II and Fairport Convention under the leadership of the godfather of British folk music, Ashley Hutchins, offer up a pageant of Christmas carols, seasonal music, dance, humour and poetry to start getting you in the seasonal frame of mind.

 

 

 

If the words Metalcore and the label “Victory Records” conjure up a certain image that makes older type hide under the bed, don’t be too quick to judge Continents who play The Victoria on Monday. Whilst maintaining the ferocity of the genre, they manage to nail enough looseness, infectious riffing and melody to possibly make them the successors to Bring Me The Horizon. Support comes in a similar vein from Fathoms.

 

 

 

Finally Wednesday rounds off as usual at The Roaring Donkey with the talented and musically dexterous Nick Felix who plays a Christmas themed show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library - 91Had Good King Wenceslas looked out of my window, far from seeing snow that was deep and crisp and even, he would have seen un-gritted roads and snow sculptures that either look like something out of a Tim Burton movie or designs that are too unsavoury to be discussed here. And looking at the snow it got me thinking that unlike the cheesy results when Christmas is used as the subject of a song, the topic of snow has generated some wonderful results. Underground classics such as Driven Like The Snow by obtuse grumps The Sisters of Mercy, the hauntingly beautiful Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave (although the underlying message is about something far darker of course) and in typical humour Frank Zappa’s, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow.

 

Well hopefully the snow related chaos that has caused so many gig cancellations over the last week are behind us, especially as one of the bands playing Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight are coming all the way up from Cardiff. Spyglass mix up heavy alt-rock grooves with a melodic grunge density and will be playing the support slot to SkyBurnsRed, a band who incorporate classical grandeur, raw, dark and emotive rock, sensuous violin and an aggressive delivery. Also taking their chosen genre to new heights is opener Adepto Futui, a band that captures the feeling, vibe and voice of traditional blues but who manage to twist it into interesting, Byzantine heavy and original shapes.

 

Meanwhile down at The Beehive an interesting local proposition is taking place. Having grown out of the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Sessions at the Art Centre, Fieldfare is the combined acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements of local stalwarts, Steve Cox, Paul Griffiths and Tim Sawyer reworking each other’s songs.

 

There are a few big shows at The Furnace this week; the first comes in the form of Cheltenham’s Young Kato on Friday. Pop may be a dirty word these days but along with LAB label mate Portia Conn, they will be proving that there is a lot more to the genre than dance routines and auto-tuners. Pop beats, warm atmospherics and infectious melodies collide with confident guitar-work to re-establish the credibility of the genre. Also on the bill Old Colours continue to ply their trade of fragile, cinematic, otherworldly indie creations and Salute the Magpie open the show. If something more raw, lewd and beardy is to your taste then check out The Hamsters From Hell in The Rolleston next door.

 

Back at The Beehive and another Cheltenham band, Stressecho indulge the venue with a wonderful angst-folk set, beautiful, understated music to accompany poignant and open story telling.

 

More big noises at The Furnace on Saturday, this time taking a much more aggressive format with hard edged pop-punk from south coast trio, Hold The Fight and local, upbeat, post-hardcore champions When Words Fail. Back upstairs in The Rolleston there is a bit of a paradox. Metal Gods claim to “try and bring something fresh to the scene” which is obviously commendable but then state that they play classic rock covers from the 80’s/90’s. Not sure what to make of that, still that’s not to say it won’t be a good night out for those still proudly holding on to their patched denim jackets and Let It Rain tour shirts.

 

 

Riffs Bar play the acoustic card and have a collection of acts both local and otherwise  playing in a very stripped down fashion, including the 50’s rock and roll vibe of Josie and The Outlaw, the wonderful harmonies and intricate guitar blends of Ethemia and the joyous and upbeat creations of The Real Raj.

 

Missin’ Rosie seem determined to invoke the wrath of the folk police (they do exist, I checked with the Home Office) by taking folk music and rocking it up to a point where those people who denounced Dylan for going electric in ’66 would be jumping off of tall buildings. Catch their mix of standards and originals at The Sun Inn on Sunday.

 

And so we end in our usual mid week oasis of music and two options. If you haven’t had enough of the loud and shouty, then Teenage Kicks at The Furnace has a Headbanger Special on Wednesday with music and neck ache courtesy of Twisted State of Mind, Dissolute, Wreckoning and Stands To Reason.  A more mellow listening experience can be had at The Running Horse with the wonderful Rosellys whose British-American ranges from acoustic country to stomping bluegrass, from gentle balladry to barn dance hoedowns. Not what you expect from the M4 corridor on a chilly midweek evening.