Tag Archive: mike hoddinot blues allstars (the)


1016803_1381857422091209_1669605332_nThe recent deaths of high profile music stars seems to have caused a bit of a back lash on social media, cries of “not another one gone” accompanying the loss of almost every musician from a seemingly golden age of music. But all good things come to an end and instead of agonising over the creative loss we should be celebrating their influence on the world they left behind. What strikes me is that whilst everyone is drawing a line in the sand and saying “we will not see their like again” they are missing the vital part of the argument.

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11067477_10155344192370182_8626215301713582855_nI get a bit of stick for seeming to favour gigs at The Victoria, particularly those travelling on a Songs of Praise ticket. Certain quarters bandy around words such as nepotism (probably because a band of that name supported Iron Maiden at somewhere like Testosterone-fest) and clique (though they normally spell it click) but I think that the some of the bookings really are worthy of the extra attention. Take tonight’s act for example.

 

Emily Barker has won numerous song writing awards, written theme tunes to a number of well known TV shows, sold out The Union Chapel with her band The Red Clay Halo and even travelled Europe as part of Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour. Tonight you can catch her with fellow ex-Red Clay Halo player, Gill Sandell, for a set of country-folk vibes and breath-taking melodies. Add to that the soulful acoustica of Paul McClure (pictured) and the heart achingly honest, pin drop tones of Charlie Bath and you can see why I wax very lyrical about some of these shows.

 

And talking of great harmonies, anyone who hasn’t caught The Teddy White Band yet, which surely must amount to about two octogenarian spinsters on the outskirts of Stanton Fitzwarren, then you have the opportunity to catch the twin attack of Anish Noble-Harrison’s soaring, angelic voice pitted against the sinister and earthy tones of Pete Cousins’ growl. The fact that you also get a great retro beat band that ooze soulfulness is merely an added bonus.

 

A similar vibe can be caught at The Castle on Friday with the wonderful 58 Shakes and the bluest blues with the most soulful of souls can be found at The Rolleston with The Mike Hoddinott Blues All-stars. One of the most interesting and consistently unique bands in the area, Port Erin, are at The Beehive, trading in accessible psych grooves, flurries of cool jazz and walking a wonderfully fine line between pop, rock and progressive themes. If you don’t already have a copy of their latest album, Floating Above The City, then catch the show and pick one up. If you do already posses a copy I’m sure you have already made plans to attend anyway.

 

Another stalwart of the local circuit, The Shudders, can be found headlining at The Victoria. Their music has passed through a few different stages over the years and traces of all of those developments can be found in their alt-country meets indie sound. Imagine a West Country version of The Long Ryders or Wilco…or Bright Eyes..or Crazy Horse, oh, I don’t know, just pop along and dance the night away to music that rocks enough for the boys and pops enough for the girls and is even cool enough for the beardy hipster with the t-shirt and braces trying to look earnest in the corner. Solo sets from Nick Felix and Jarid Clark will set the night up in fine fashion.

 

Rock fans can get their fix with The Guns ‘n’ Roses Experiment at Level 3, supported by an opening salvo of classic rock with a contemporary kick from The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Younger bands are also out in force, pop-punks Post 12, shimmering shoegazers, Sahara Heights and new kids on the Britpop block, Westways, play Riffs Bar as a fundraiser for children’s projects in Africa.

 

And the both Post 12 and Sahara Heights can be found at a second fundraising night at Level 3 on Saturday, this time joined by The Misfires and Overload to raise money for Cancer Research.

 

Other original music to be had comes with The Newbolds funky R’n’B set at Riffs Bar and Flash Harry who will be concocting their magical folky-blues, bluegrass and gypsy jazz fusions at The Rolleston.

 

If you want a taste of The Thin White Duke then The Bowie Experience at The Victoria is one answer, and surely a better option than paying a fortune to watch from half a mile away at Wembley…if indeed he ever tours again.

 

People who prefer a smorgasbord of their favourite tunes that cross decades and genres should note that both Echo at The Haydon Wick Club and Mid Life Crisis at The Swiss Chalet will tick those boxes.

 

And finally on Wednesday, The Roaring Donkey break the working week up with the soulful and jazz infused folk and soaring vocals of Nick Tann.

10622848_701261516623318_3187721206277794022_nI suppose that I have to accept that the public perception of me is someone who spends all of his time bemoaning the state of original music in the town, stopping only briefly to sleep, eat cheese and play the B-sides of rare New Model Army records I have collected over the years. Whilst that is sadly not that far from the truth, it does mean that I am thrilled to notice that this weeks gig offers are almost exclusively original music and even the few tributes on offer appear to be something a bit off the beaten track. It may not please everyone but it does make at least one aging, music hack very happy.

 

Billy Bingham has been a familiar, unkempt face on the acoustic circuit for longer than his boyish looks would suggest, now he can be found fronting the dystopian rock soundscapers Ghost of Machines (pictured) who headline at The Victoria tonight. Support comes from Brit-pop two-piece Carnival and guitarist Edward Witcomb.

 

If something more dance driven is your preference then the Zetan Spore mother ship will be landing once more at The Beehive. A truly psychedelic, full on psytrance rave mixing electronica and guitars, tribal dance and the sounds of deep space to deliver an energetic even euphoric experience. A more traditional sound comes in the form of the Crowdys Hill School Ceilidh at The Moonrakers. As a school fundraiser this dance features The Cowshed Ceilidh Collective complete with live caller, so put on your dancing trousers and prepare to Strip The Willow or get stuck into a Dashing White Sergeant (steady on!)

 

Friday is one for the folk and acoustic types with plenty of contemporary sounds on offer and not a Fair Isle sweater or finger in the ear singing style to be found. Promoting his latest album, Human Herdings, Marc O’Reilly can be found at The Victoria blending fragile folk and emotive blues reminiscent of the likes of John Martyn or Bon Iver and with a string of major festivals and the weight of the national radio tastemakers behind him, this is obviously going to be a bit special. However, not to be outdone, Riffs Bar Acoustic Session has a bit of a coup in Darren Hodge. I first saw Darren as a semi finalist at the Radio 2 Young Folk Awards and when you experience his mesmerising blend of old time blues, bluegrass picking, vibrant jazz and folk you will realise that this is a chap with a bright future ahead. Support comes from fellow acoustic troubadour Sophie Curtis.

 

If that wasn’t enough a bonafide musical legend rolls into town as Steeleye Span’s legendary fiddle player Peter Knight leads his new musical vehicle, Gigspanner, through acoustic music that flirts with everything from eastern European, French, Cajun, African and even Aboriginal sounds. This is roots music, world music, global folk…call it what you will, at its finest.

 

Another emerging singer songwriter can be found at The Beehive. Robert Brown is a collector of world music styles with which he infuses his brilliant song crafting and virtuoso finger picking style, the result a cross between Nick Drake and Jimmy Page with a well stamped passport. More established sounds can be found in the inimitable electric blues selections of The Mike Hoddinott Blues Allstars at The Rolleston and Talon, a tribute to The Eagles at The Wyvern Theatre. Also of note you can catch ska covers and originals with the No-Marks at The Castle.

 

On Saturday Buswell will be subjecting The Victoria to it’s lush orchestral pop and given the recent self-imposed challenges of their erstwhile leader, expect there to be an element of surprise and spontaneity in the bands line up. Support comes from ex-Flaming Moes frontman Erik Nyberg now trading in mellow Nordic-indie pop as Last Box of Sparklers, guitarist Matt Adey and DJ Bobby The Persuader spinning tunes into the early hours.

 

At The GW, Jimmy Moore will be playing a show to launch his debut album The Good Times, so if a cross between The City and The Colour and Frank Turner sound like your thing, this is the party to be at plus there is a chance to pick up a limited special edition version of the album.

 

The rest of the week very briefly. Sunday at Riffs a host of artists, including Emmy Fearon, Josh Heather and Young Wilson line up to raise money for Children in Need, and The Swamp Marshalls play Celtic bluegrass at The Beehive.

 

Finally Songs of Praise Unplugged at The Roaring Donkey features the soaring acoustic punk of Si Hall and the more considered and delicate tones of Mel Hughes.

10325159_553057161469541_2419765703768719527_nA quieter week all round, especially compared to the tsunami of gigs that I was able to report last time, but I guess with the guaranteed matches coming to an end in the World Cup, venues and promoters are no longer cashing in…I mean, celebrating our national sides efforts. In fact by tonight it could all be over. Sport in many ways is a transient thing where as music endures (blimey, that was deep) and although there isn’t masses to choose from this week, there are still a few gems to be had.

 

Something a bit special is happening over at Riffs Bar tonight, especially if you are fans of hip-hop flavoured acoustica with a funky edge as De’Vide roll into town. Those of you who are avid followers of The Voice will have already seen them competing under Jessie J’s patronage in the battle rounds and after a run of major gigs supporting the likes of JLS and Union J and fresh back from tour of Russia, this Ipswich two piece can be found right on your doorstep.

 

Get there early, as the local support slots are a bit special too. Benji Clements will be bringing soulful vocal and funky acoustic guitar work to the table and Charlie Baxter, a man normally found tearing around the stage as part of puzzle-pop band Oui Legionnaires, will be performing solo with what he describes as electro-hippity-hoppity-poppity-rock. If you say so Charlie!

 

It’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight as well (hurrah) and it will be starting later due to some sport on the telly box that people seem to be keen on (boo.) Sadly the wonderful James Warner Prophecies have pulled out of the show but there are still two great bands to be had. Headliners British Harlem remind us what great indie guitar bands should sound like, the perfect blend of drive, melody and charisma. Openers Cavalier (pictured) are an alternative rock band up from Guildford and to my mid have a touch of vintage American college rock about them, such as The Gin Blossoms and even the home grown “back of a transit van, cider festival punk” of Mega City Four. What ever it is they sound great.

 

For something a bit more rootsy, Hip Route main man Jim Blair will be entertaining The Beehive with his trademark funky, acoustic, slide guitar blues.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday and Port Erin are back. One of the most consistently unique, slick and entertaining bands of recent times, their blend of chilled psychedelia, jazz infused rock and slightly proggy meanderings are a must for anybody looking to hear a truly original band.

 

The acoustic session over at Riffs Bar is filled by Adam Sweet one of the best purveyors of groove laden blues on the circuit today and Leon Daye whose inspirations are taken from a myriad of sources and styles move effortlessly from folk to rock and everything in between.

 

Fans of cover bands have the choice of 50’s standards as Rockabilly Rumble relive the music of Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and the like whilst at The Rolleston is The Mike Hoddinott Blue Allstars, a collective of blues-rock players who have worked with virtually everyone in the music business who matter.

 

Rhythm ‘n’ booze legends The Hamsters From Hell at The Rolleston is the place to be on Saturday if you like the idea of punchy, punky blues rock, drunkenness, chaos and ironically some of the finest musicianship around.

 

Reggae fans will want to be at The Victoria for Urban Lions followed by The Shocks of Mighty DJ’ s Erin Bardwell and Jason Hughes spinning classic era ska, reggae and rocksteady.

 

Final options for Wednesday are acoustic troubadour Steve DeGutis who plays The Roaring Donkey but if you are a fan of the “Piano man” himself then head up to the Arts Centre and catch Elio Pace playing the Billy Joel Songbook.