Tag Archive: model folk (the)


31760151_1227166777386457_3318506893571260416_nLots to get through this week so with an introductory paragraph as brief as one of Cheryl Cole’s relationships, let’s get on with the show.

Scott Lavene makes a sort of quintessentially English rock and roll, infectious tunes mixed with jittery new wave tension and uniquely humorous narratives that Messrs. Difford and Tilbrook would be proud of and you can catch him at The Beehive this very evening.

Two helpings of rock are to be found on Friday with The Lizzy Legacy and Stat-X at The Victoria and The Rolleston respectively. The former, as the name implies, pay tribute to the music of Thin Lizzy and associated acts, no wigs, costumes or gimmicks they just let all of those classic tunes speak for themselves and the latter offer rock music in all its forms from the obvious iconic choices to some more pop-rock selections.

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706278_10151048704753039_833851308_oThe big noise this week, quite literally in this case, has to be that it is Easter Bank Holiday which mean’s that it is time for this years VicFest. As always this celebration of local and regional, cutting edge original music takes place over four generically themed sessions and tonight The Victoria presents a wonderful array of young and happening Indie bands.

Getrz lead the charge with their brand of high octane and deftly delivered wide screen indie, Sweet Tooth head up from Bristol to deliver some eclectic and wonderfully soulful indie-pop and We Are Parkas are a trashy take on the Manchester sound. Opening the night is the sweet sound of The Basement Club.

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19143181_1006331876069956_5134772044657416393_oWe’ve had the first snow, a lot of people have their decorations up and there is even a bottle of Amaretto on the drinks shelf but of course it isn’t really Christmas until you have watched Alan Rickman plummet from the top of the Nakatomi Plaza! And the musical offerings also reflect this transitional period, not quite swamped with office soirees where people called Brian from Human Resources take it upon themselves to enforce the fun, not quite into the realm of wall to wall cheesy Christmas songs but certainly at a point where the musical options are more about the tried and tested than the unknown and cutting edge…material wise anyway.

Of course there are always some exceptions and one is the chance to catch the last local Hip Route show of the year at The Beehive. Funky blues, pulsing and soulful grooves, dexterous slide guitar and a sassy vocal growl…what more do you need? Not much but if you feel the answer is a cool folk-pop support act then Sarah Ryan has that covered. If that isn’t your thing then Lewis Leighton will be breaking out everything from Sinead O’Connor to Green Day, Springsteen to Rhianna at The Groves Company Inn.

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14714917_824267610943051_5388684584880545879_oIt’s all a bit quite out there this week. But then, as we step over the line into the last month of the year, I guess everyone is saving themselves for a sprint finish. Think of this as the deep breath before the plunge (spot the quote and win a…well, nothing actually) the calm before the storm, the storm that will bring enforced wackiness from work colleagues, amateur drinking on a wanton scale and endless covers of Merry Xmas Everybody. Still, all is not lost just yet and there are a few cool live bands to catch before we all sell our soul to Santa.

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166902_250056101706651_204372703_nOkay, we are over the line, there is no stopping now. Welcome to December. From here on in things will slowly descend into the dreaded realm of the enforced wackiness of office parties, of trying to look enthusiastic through karaoke dross, of consumerism and excess. But let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of someone whose work is an inspiration to millions and who we celebrate in song at this special time. Yes, 25th December is of course the birthday of Shane McGowan and we should remember this fact whenever we attempt the dual vocal part of Fairytale of New York.

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12801474_967430416685843_7496377762084199365_nMusic has long been used as the focus of events seeking to raise money and awareness for good causes. Tonight at The Victoria you can experience that altruistic nature as a whole bunch of familiar faces line up in support of Alan McGee’s brilliant Musicians Against Homelessness project. Echoing his same maverick spirit the bands playing represent the more challenging, creative and leftfield end of the spectrum. Anyone who saw Tripdress’s last outing at this very venue, probably 8 years ago, (tempus does indeed fugit) will be aware just how great their urban-boogie-blues fusion is, those who missed it should rectify that immediately…you never know when this very occasional band will be back.

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149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

10402533_746070758809060_9184893415247669729_nSo, last weeks column raised a few eyebrows, it seems, with my comments on promoting originality and being part of a more creative bigger picture. I was aiming for poignancy but judging from the reaction from certain quarters many of you took it as some sort of swipe at certain genres and styles. The Gods of Music seem to have been listening to my plea though and this week’s gigs do seem to be collectively pushing the creative envelope a bit harder.

 

And right off the bat (what is it with me a clichés this week?) tonight The Victoria offers you something a bit special. After years for plying a trade as a solo acoustic troubadour, Billy Bingham has finally teamed up with some other well known faces on the live scene to create Ghost of Machines (pictured), a band that blend white hot riffs, industrial back beats and spiralling hooks to paint a dark, brutal and dystopian sound track. The middle slot features the welcome return of Armchair Committee, whose scattergun salvo of influences run from howling blues to stoner rock via rampant melodicism. Opening the night are Cathodes, a brooding and intense musical assault of Byzantine complexity.

 

Over at The Beehive you can catch a mixture of R’n’B, soul and rock covers and originals from The Dansette Tones, the current musical vehicle for our very own Bob Bowles.

 

Friday also has a great billing at The Victoria. As vocalist for The Inspiral Carpets, Tom Hingley was at the forefront of the influential Madchester Scene of the 90s. Since leaving the band in 2011 for a solo career he has released two crowd-funded albums that have taken him in totally new musical directions. Expect an eclectic mix of blues originals and Manchester era standards.

 

Support comes from Uxbridge quartet The Cornerstones who channel that same quintessential Englishness that you can hear in songs by The Beatles, The Kinks and The Stone Roses. Local stalwarts, British Harlem and The Racket will be warming the crowd up and vinyl junkie and DJ Bobby The Persuader will be spinning the coolest of tunes in between sets.

 

At the Art Centre Blue to Brown, featuring Duran Duran guitarist Dominic Brown, present a rock and blues extravaganza. Apparently they toyed with a band name based on other members of this all-star line up, but Spalding to Bramwell just sounded like a vintage car rally.

 

Folk is on the menu at The Beehive but don’t expect the twee, pastoral musical outing that the genre often conjures up. The Model Folk are a riot of East European sounds with wheezing harmoniums, shrieking clarinet and the humble washboard providing the platform for tales about everything from soviet farm machinery to 1930’s drag queens. Intriguing to say the least.

 

Rhythm and Blues fans are well catered for at The Rolleston by The Back Water R&B Band playing standards from Delta, Texas, Southern and Back Water sub-genres, whilst at The Castle Vice Versa play a range of indie tunes from the 70’s to the 90’s.

 

Saturdays big draw is out at Riffs Bar as A Way With Words bring their brash and assertive brand of rock to the stage. Channelling a host of contemporary influences from The Foo Fighters to Fall Out Boy, expect crunching guitars and spiralling lead lines, pulsing bass and thunderous back beats. Bristol alt-rock trio Stone Cold Fiction and the soulful acoustics of Cristian Perugino complete the bill.

 

Echo will be providing the party at The Swiss Chalet and at The Rolleston a legendary blues triptych of Mike Hoddinott, Innes Sibun and Jerry Soffe perform as Blues Transfusion.

 

Finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday, you will find folk-pop pixie, Tamsin Quin dishing out wonderfully accessible tunes presented with equal measures of charm and cheek. Starting the night off will be the atmospherics and hushed tones of Andrew Burke.

1380749_832890343422733_1288878591824317191_nSo here I am once more, (extra points if you can guess which debut album starts with those lines) writing the intro to the last  but one column of the year and a time to look back before moving forward towards the empty canvas that is 2015. As I repeatedly mention putting on live music these days is an increasingly difficult activity. The certainty of people willing to pay to see a band or turn up in sufficient numbers is something slowly being eroded by free access to music via downloads, streaming, TV, not to mention all the financial demands that a night out requires. So with that in mind I want to thank everyone still doing their best to keep live music on the Swindon map. To the venues, the bands, the engineers and most of all the punters who have turned up, supported and especially if you have bought merchandise and helped keep the bands fed and watered.

 

So where does it go next? Who knows, but as long as you all keep doing what you have done we keep the spirit alive and who knows next year might be when it all turns around. That’s something to aim for anyway. So for now I will leave you with the round up of gigs and knees-ups to take you through to Christmas in …well if not style, certainly with a smile on your face.

 

Starting in the usual place, the first of those party activities comes in the guise of Songs of Praise End of Year Shindig at The Victoria. For this final show they have lined up a whole pack of familiar musicians who have been an integral part of the Swindon musical story and reassembled them into new bands for this one off show. You won’t know quite what you are getting but you can guarantee that it will be totally unique and top quality.

 

More familiar territory is being explored at The Beehive with the cool swing and R’n’B vibes of The Teddy White Band, possibly the best thing to come out of Swindon since Diana Dors.

 

The party music really kicks in on Friday and what better way to celebrate than with the punked out Celtic folk of Missin’ Rosie (pictured) who are on crowd thrilling duties at The Rolleston. More exotic but no less rumbustious (good word) folk music can be found at The Beehive with the Balkan inspired Model Folk. The puntastic S-Hit 5 have their annual seasonal do at Riffs Bar and at The Victoria you can catch Oasish and Stereotonics paying tribute to…well, it shouldn’t require much imagination to work that out.

 

If you want something cool to take you into the early hours then slip on your dancing trousers and party away to Afrobeat, Funk, Hip-Hop and much more at Level 3 with DJ Mosco’s Christmas party night. Dress code is white.

 

Another stalwart event of the season talks place at The Victoria on Saturday as The 12 Bands of Christmas sees a dozen local original bands forego their usual genres and compete to perform the most unusual, out of character or downright silliest covers they can think of. Previous years have seen the Blowbacks turning Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman into a feedback-drenched tribute to Sonic Youth. Matt Kilford abandoning his usual restrained approach and screaming, “Lick my legs!” when covering PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’, and Si Hall somehow matching the stratospheric range of La Roux. You have been warned.

Another chance to throw caution to the wind and party like a loon is The Bassett Bulldogs FC gig, not only open to all and sundry but also featuring the talents of avant-garde, indie-popsters, Nudybronque, the solid rock riffs of Edenfalls and the social commentary of troubadour Worried About Mike. Other options are rhythm ‘n’ booze mayhem at The Castle with The Hamsters From Hell, a tribute to classic rock with Shepherds Pie at The Rolleston and function band Paradox at The Swiss Chalet.

 

More familiar sounds on Sunday with The PreFab Four recalling The Beatles at The Swiss Chalet and Interlight playing classic songs from across the decades at The Victoria. But if you really want to party there is no better way to celebrate than with the punked out Celtic folk of Missin’ Rosie…hang on didn’t we do this already. Anyway they are at The Beehive.

 

Anyway, what every you chose to do this week, keep flying the flag of live music and have a great run up to Christmas.

10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nWith the exception of Tibetan Jazz aficionados and fans of the burgeoning Polynesian trip-hop scene, most musical tastes will be catered for this week. Variety, as they say is the spice of life and this weeks musical offerings prove to be a particularly fine condiment of existence.

 

Acoustic buffs should head to The Victoria tonight for a rather special triptych of players, headed by Darren Eeddens, a bluegrass and honky-tonk folkster as at home on the banjo as he is the guitar. A story telling troubadour in the truest sense, he describes himself as an old soul with the imagination of a child. Local support comes in the form of the elemental sounds of Drew Bryant and the atmospheric endeavours of Andrew Burke.

 

The newly revamped Beehive will be echoing to the sounds of Built For Comfort who channel the sound and the vibe of a late night, smoky, back room Chicago blues club.

 

And Friday, it would seem, is the new Saturday judging by the amount of gigs you have to choose from, a myriad of styles and genres running from the sublime to the ridiculous. Representing the sublime is Faye Rogers at Riffs Bar. Hers is a sound that has grown gracefully from an innocent, “girl with guitar” solo spot to a band that soundscape around the tunes with shimmering guitar riffs, sensuous cello washes and less is more beats. Joining her is Antoine Architeuthis who mixes Celtic jauntiness with sweeping English pastoral folk sounds and just a splash of eastern spiritualism to weave an exotic musical tapestry.

 

Representing the ridiculous (only joking chaps) is The Hamsters from Hell, rhythm and booze experts whose talents at wrapping a risqué lyric around a grinding r ‘n’b groove is exceeded only by the speed at which they can run up an impressive bar tab. Catch them at The Queens Tap.

 

It’s folk Jim, but not as we know it. Actually it’s The Model Folk. Forget finger in the ear, bearded, jumper wearing folk police who still harbour a grudge over Dylan going electric, this is Balkan inspired, punked up gypsy folk with a fixation for railways, soviet farming machinery and 1930s drag queens…apparently. Catch them at The Beehive not least because they use the word rumbustious in their band biog’ and you have to admire a band who keep such words in circulation.

 

Level 3 continues in its mission to throw off the gothic imagery and nu-metal fixations of the past (I can see the music forums ablaze already over such a comment) and embrace a broader musical sensibility by hosting a night of reggae. Empower the Gambia, a charity that aims to improve conditions in rural Gambia brings you cool reggae sounds from Bobo Blackstar and The Tribe.

 

Something more familiar can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac (I’ll let you work out what they are all about) and at The Rolleston where The Dark Eyes will be playing covers through the ages from the sixties to the present.

 

In a change from their usual Thursday slot, those awfully nice people at Songs of Praise have a Saturday show at The Victoria. The top slot is taken by Colour the Atlas (pictured) a band whose chilled, cinematic and atmospheric brand of trip-pop (if such a term is allowed) has seen them lauded by critics and touring with the likes of Newton Faulkner. Check out their brilliant new single “That Sound” now and then watch them live, right on your doorstep. Also clutching a new release is Alex Rainsford, who creates a sound that embraces the drive of rock and the dexterity of folk and throws in soaring vocals and heartfelt sentiments. And opening the night is Charlie Bath a singer-songwriter who needs no introduction to the discerning local music fan. If a crystal clear yet warm vocal, emotive lyrics and wonderfully crafted songs are your sort of thing, then make sure you get to this gig on time.

 

If you are after something more visceral, then The Rolleston may have the answers, as The Keith Thompson Band will be firing off salvos on incendiary blues-rock in the style of Moore and Gallagher.

 

And finally the Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive has what can be best described as “3 in the morning, porch blues” courtesy of David Bristow.