Tag Archive: mortdelamer


Library - 99There was an interesting debate on line the other day, mainly from a promoters point of view and centred around the age old problem of getting people out to watch live music. I have written about it extensively elsewhere but it is worth just recapping on the main thrust of the arguments here. One side seemed to want to lay the blame of poor attendances at the feet of the punter in a fairly sanctimonious line that went something like “ we are putting these gigs on for you and you are not attending them, therefore you are failing as a music fan” The usual clichés, use it or lose it statements and the one-upmanship of who’s most passionate about music followed in its usual dreary inevitability.

 

I see the scenario the other way around. The public know what they want and if promoters and venues are suffering from ill attended gigs, maybe their “product” and a gig is just as much a product as Tesco sausages, just isn’t that appealing. In short maybe they are just booking the wrong bands; wrong as in over played, limited appeal or just plain boring. Last week in particular showed that if you tap into the right vibe people will respond and bands such as Young Kato, Portia Conn, Old Colours, Spyglass, SkyBurnsRed and even old faithfuls like The Hamsters from Hell played to decent crowds. It can be done, but if people aren’t turning up to your shows, maybe the answer to the problem lies closer to home than you think.

 

Right, I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested enough and come to the conclusion that these are the gigs that you might like to go to. In the name of fairness and to avoid the usual backlash, I must point out that other gigs are available and door prices can go up as well as down.

 

Interesting proposition in the top bar of The Victoria tonight, Normally to be found performing with Toupe, Grant Sharkey is a brilliant mix of upright bass, live humour, improvised lyrics and audience participation all of which makes for a brilliant live experience.

 

Friday seems to be the night when it’s all happening, starting in Old Town and working our way down the hill it goes like this. The Arts Centre has the legendary Colin Blunstone, a name associated with bands such as Argent and The Alan Parsons Project but most famous for being a member of The Zombies and co-writing the hit She’s Not There.

 

Round the corner at The Victoria, after too long away from the scene, The Shudders (pictured) are back spearheading a cracking night. Not only do you get their lo-fi, folk-pop, Americana shennanighins, but you also have Alex Taylor who channels the ethereal acoustic vibe of the likes of Damien Rice and John Martyn, plus the funkier, rootsy acoustica of The Right Hooks.

 

By the time you get down to The Beehive, something very interesting and unexpected is afoot. Whilst certain venues at the more boisterous end of town have been hosting various X-Factor contestants, here you will find Dorka Shodeinde, who was well placed in the Hungarian version of the contest performing with her guitarist Roland Polyak, the result is something altogether more soulful and palatable. If you want to play the nostalgia card, The Rolleston plays host to The Nomarks who are keeping the sound of the late seventies two-tone/ska revival alive and kicking.

 

Although Swindon is never short of metal bands, Riffs Bar has taken the interesting slant of getting some of the top bands of the genre, namely Eye For An Eye, From Ruin and Mortdelamer to play acoustic versions of their songs. Also note that this is Mortdelamer’s last ever gig, so I think it is only fitting that all you metallers support this and give them a great send off.

 

On Saturday at the same venue you can catch John Coghlan’s Quo, touring as a warm up before the much talked about classic line up Status Quo reunion. Not normally one to tout the tribute set but as it’s Transmission, who recreate the glorious sounds of Joy Division, I can’t not give it a quick mention. That’s at The Victoria and support is a Killing Joke set from 1000 Planets. If country music is your thing then you need to be at the Arts Centre for the iconic Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys.

 

And finally we jump to Wednesday when you have the options of a Bluegrass jam session at Riffs Bar or some wonderful joyous and sweeping acoustic folk from Antoine Architeuthis at The Running Horse. Support comes from Alice Offley, genre-hopping pianist who is  equally at home knocking out brash pop, delicate other worldly dreamscapes and everything in between.

Last week I was revelling in the fact that there were so many gigs taking place that there just wasn’t enough room to mention them all, this week however the news is not so good. Less than a year after it re-opened under new management, The 12 Bar has shut its doors and is up for sale. Yes, this has happened before but it is my understanding that it is not just the business that is for sale but the building as a whole with no stipulation that it has to remain a music venue. This is a sharp reminder that supporting live music and the venues that host it takes more than re-posting a few Facebook banners signalling your disapproval of Simon Cowell but requires you to actually go along to the gigs, pay money and help ensure the bands get paid and rebooked and the venues thrive. As the cliché says, use it or lose it. Maybe live music ends not with a bang but a whimper!

On a more positive note, there is still some good music to be had around the town, starting tonight at The Beehive. Hiproute take various strands of roots music, from funky blues, southern boogie, outlaw country and even a dash of Memphis soul and weave them together via mesmerising lap acoustic playing into one of the best party-stomp soundtracks you are ever going to need.

The Victoria is also playing the acoustic card, but to a very different end. Dan Brown, who normally fronts Pirate Radiohead, (when he is not writing novels about albino monk assassins) will be reworking the intricacies of Radiohead classic songs for a solo acoustic performance. Intriguing!

On Friday, The MECA is the host for Indigo Pop’s Fresh Friday, an under 18’s club night featuring DJ Scott Kirby, X-Ploit winner Flow In Motion and a host of other top names. Conversely and definitely not for the under 18’s, The Rolleston sees the return of …well even the name is too coarse to be put into print here. Lets just say that he is the finest purveyor of lowbrow comedy and gutter lyricism and he makes support band 2 Sick Monkeys seem like a tea party on the vicarage lawn by comparison. Check the venue website for more specific information.

A safer option can be found at The Beehive in the form of M.O.D. Folky frolics, gypsy jazz jives, klezmerical meanderings and a host of other styles go into this rootsy-world melting pot. On reflection, probably not really a safer option, just mad in a different, less sweary sort of way.

To celebrate the fact that it is the end of November, Riffs Bar are throwing their Riffmass Lights Switch on Party. Then again they were playing Fairytale of New York in the supermarket the other night so I suppose I should just give in and go with the flow. Expect the best in funk from The Funk’daMentals, Glam and Disco from the in house Riffs Travelling Dance Band and rock covers from Dark Fire.

If you are looking for a dose of rock then head to The Furnace on Saturday for three bands that will provide just the fix you need. It seems that in the last year Broken Daylight seem to have come out of retirement, which can only be a good thing. Brash, loud and in your face, but that’s enough about Jamie, it’s good to have them back treading the boards once more. Support comes from IX, a band who sculpt epic and cinematic slow-burning instrumental workouts and the night gets going with the prog-metal gloriousness of Mortdelamer.  When you have a band as great as that first on the bill, you know it is going to be a special evening.

Meanwhile, next door in The Rolleston, Innes Sibun will be enthralling the crowds with his passionate, hi-energy, electric blues.

Sunday sees one band I have been looking forward too all year to return to The Victoria. Dan Baird, one time front man of rock legends, The Georgia Satellites, brings his current musical vehicle Homemade Sin, back to the UK. Comprising of two original Satellites and long term Jason and The Scorchers guitarist Warner Hodges, this band is southern rock and roll royalty. Highly recommended.

Finally on Wednesday, The Running Horse features Sloe Jam, a bluesy acoustic duo equally at home with the tender ballad as they are at kicking out the ….err.. Jams. Support comes from Benji Clements who deftly blends the most soulful vocals with classic songs reworked into his own style, extremely clever mash-ups as well as his own tunes.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a festival in possession of large ticket sales must be in want of good weather. Well, that’s what Jane Austin meant to say, but as it was 158 years before the invention of the modern music festival, as we know it today, she obviously had to wrap the message up in the social conformities of the day. And what a summer it has been to test such a statement. With festivals such as 2000 Trees resembling the Somme in the late autumn of 1916 and The Big Arts Day valiantly struggling through with a much reduced turn out, you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe the antidote to the British summer would be to hold a music festival indoors, maybe over three days, perhaps in multiple venues. Well, more on that in a few weeks.

 

Still, until then it’s not all bad news. Although the cancellation of Rowdyfest has just been announced, Festival on The Farm has run for cover and can be found lurking in warmth and security of Riffs Bar throughout this weekend, albeit in a reduced, bands only capacity. In brief, Friday is acoustic night; Saturday is tributes and cover bands and Sunday a mix of bands from The Graham Mack Band to Echo and from Penfold to Rocket Box.

 

Right, back to regular in-door matters. Tonight at The Victoria trash pop aficionados, The Starkers, will be unleashing their mix of melody, discord, harmony and mayhem on the unsuspecting public. We are all in the gutter and some of us like it there! Support comes from the driven, mathy sounds of Oui Legionnaires and kicking things off, eleventh hour booking, Secret Lives.

 

Down at The Beehive, Kola Koca will be mixing up any genres that cross their paths into smooth, jazzed out, folked off, rocked up, lyrically poignant masterpieces. More eclecticism can still be found at The Beehive on Friday with The Parlour Kats, whilst down at The Rolleston the Mason-Dixon line collides with The M4 corridor to shape the inimitable southern blues, rock and gospel sound that is Pignose.

 

More old time revivalism at The Victoria, this time with the skiffle, audience participation and general mayhem of Ode and The Bebops. If you can’t shake your moneymaker then a plastic bottle with some stones in it will do just as well.

 

Something wicked this way comes (these literary references are just flying out today) to The 12 Bar as local Hip-hop/Rap icon, AJ descends with a full band to bring to life his latest album, Tangle Your Cassette. The MECA, meanwhile,  has another of it’s trademark roller discos.

 

Saturday is all about the big guns as the 12 Bar plays host to another Southwest Hardcore event.  Pop Punk meets Hardcore, as MaLoKai, Snap Back, Go Out With a Bang and Starlight City bring the noise. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in Faringdon Park there is The 2012 Children’s Fete. All ages entertainment from maypoles and circus workshops, storytelling and dancers, fairground and live bands, but more importantly…free cake.

 

Sunday’s Beehive afternoon session is ably filled by Mr. Love and Justice and if the idea of historical, socio-political, agri-folk appeals then this is the band for you. Imagine Richard Jefferies fronting The Byrds  – Sweetheart of the Roundway Down perhaps? Or Thomas Hardy writing for the Beatles; Hey, Jude (The Obscure?) Best just go along and work it out for yourselves. Farmers for fifteen minutes? Ok, enough.

 

The evening sees Charlie Bath and The City Marshals launching her new e.p. The Good Fall. Expect seductive melodies, understated music and emotive atmospheres to be the order of the day. Support comes from Phil King and Emily Sykes and it all happens at The Victoria. Meanwhile at the Rolleston, Ash Mandrake will be weaving his prog-folk, story telling magic through the use of twisted mythologies, home made guitars and strange hats. Both bizarre and utterly spellbinding.

 

And it remains a good week for rock fans as Monday at The 12 Bar; the mighty Mortdelamer will be building their wonderfully mellifluous yet often threatening soundscapes. Also on the bill are the darkly epic Scythes and the atmospheric and luscious slow burn majesty of IX.

 

And the final quote comes from Michael Fish.” Reports of a hurricane are unfounded” Yeah, right!

In this world of immediate musical gratification, instant single track downloads, radio banality and dumbed down, disposable pop, it’s worth remembering that not all music has to be easy access, mainstream and spoon feedable for mass consumption. In fact music often moves forward because of, rather than in spite of the likes of Schoenberg, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Can, Cale or Zappa. And if you want a night that largely challenges the concept of music as an easy ride, that is both provoking and ultimately rewarding, then tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria is the place to be.

Mortdelamer headline with a luscious mix of dark alt-rock and slightly prog-stained flights of fancy and openers IX manage to take slow burning, heavy, instrumentals and turn them into sweeping cinematic sonic architecture. But these bands seem to act as a buffer zone to contain the madness of the middle act, Mr. Hello and His Honesty Club ft. Kid Jamaica. Think Kyuss playing with The Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard jamming Black Sabbath, The Fall in a fist fight with Zappa…just don’t think about it late a night else you probably won’t sleep.

Something a bit saner can be found at The Beehive. Matt Woosey plays blues exploring all the usual themes, hardship, alcohol, women, but does so in a uniquely British fashion. The Red, White and Blues perhaps? Okay, perhaps not.

Back up the hill on Friday and a night of alt-folk, anti-folk, agit-folk…call it what you will at The Victoria.  Gaz Brookfield is the main draw playing songs from his new album “Tell It To The Beer” as well as old favourites and with Marky Thatcher on the bill as well, I’m sure there will be some of the usual end of show shennanighins. But it’s not all about the local lads as Glasgow’s Lonely Tourist throws in blends of rockabilly driven acoustica.

More singer songwriter types at The 12 Bar on Saturday courtesy of Daylight Promotions in the shape of the contemporary acoustic meets 60’s folk revival sound of Ali Finneran and Racket front man Plummie, plus acoustic duo Talking Timber and adding a somewhat eclectic quality to the night, the lush, atmospheric synth driven indie of With Felix.

If you are a fan of all things big, brash and brutal, Riffs Bar has a Heavy Metal all-dayer. A host of serenely named bands make up the bill including, Acts of Brutality, Suicide Watch, Blood of Ash and Fluffy Bunny Slippers. Okay, I made one of those up but it does definitely feature an appearance by the legendary Vynal Matt.

You can also get a good dose of quality rock music with the incendiary blues of Innes Sibun at the Rolleston. And if after that you still have the energy to party, Reboot Club Night at The Furnace is hosting a collection of Indie, New Wave and Electronica into the wee small hours.

Another does of exquisite blues at The Beehive Sunday afternoon, this time from extremely young and extremely talented Anglo-Norwegian six stringer Krissy Matthews.  The evening gives you the option of virtuosic lap guitar playing from Hip Routes Jim Blair at The Rolleston or head down the 12 Bar to be part of powerful alt-rockers, Beyond The Break’s e.p. launch.

The middle of the working week is nicely broken up with two great shows for Wednesday or Swindependance Day if you like. If you fancy something to smooth the week through it’s The Running Horse for you where Sam Eden and Dylan Qioniwasa will be laying down some wonderfully original and chilled music. For a more charged experience catch Young Blood (pictured) at The Victoria and expose yourself to some great, of the moment indie, the soaring, My Bloody Valentine-esque sonic dream sequences of Archimedes plus a band that I have already gushed far to much about recently, Old Colours.

And if you think that my columns have been getting much less controversial of late, I have been saving it all up for this, a final paragraph of home truths and no holds barred opinion…that’s if it gets passed the editors exacting standards.

Even if the weather isn’t keeping to it’s part of the seasonal bargain, the Gods of Excellent Music are certainly concerting all their efforts upon our part of the world and the imminent arrival of this years Old Town Festival means another attempt to warp the time-space continuum to try and fit all the information into this weeks column.

Yes, Old Town Festival is upon us with a packed program of entertainment. On Saturday there will be music all day, first at the bandstand with Little Dylans, Dominic French, Talk in Code and Messer’s Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, being just the tip of the terpsichorean iceberg. In the Bowl, meanwhile, various vocal groups, dance and performing arts schools under the guidance of the Commonweal Performing Arts Academy will be parading their artistic wares. This is followed by an evening of music with such diversity as False Gods to The Frazer Tilley Trio and from Nudy Bronque to The Useless Eaters.

As is only fitting, Sunday follows more sedate lines with a wonderful mix of world dance, classical, orchestral, brass, jazz and choral music. To be honest you could just spend your every waking hour taking in the sights and sounds of the festival, but there are still a host of other options this week.

Back into chronological order and tonight is the regular Bands and Burlesque show at The Victoria. Alongside the glamour and glitz spearheaded by Susie Sequin (and lets face it, with that on your birth certificate it is inevitable you end up on the stage) are the funky grooves and the effortlessly cool lap guitar of Hip Route. A short walk down the hill and you can experience the lush harmonies and smooth folky-jazz vibes of Anglo-Swedish trio, We Ghosts. They play The Beehive.

So, The Ocelot Magazine. You know, the one with all those jokes about Football and Politics that no-one really gets and that rather wonderful music column…ahem!  Anyway, if you have been affected at all by the contents of the magazine they are prepared to make it up to you in the form of a party at The Victoria to celebrate their 6th birthday on Friday. Music comes in the form of the old school, rocksteady and ska beats of The Erin Bardwell Collective, the blistering and switched-on modish pop-punk with all the trimmings of Black Hats, another day out for Hip Route and the name on everybody’s lips, the warped Beck meets Brecht creations of Crash and The ‘Coots. You will notice that recently they have shortened their name to save on space (not to mention law suits) and their bassist has shortened his hair to save on product.

Zen Elephant at The Beehive will be mixing up the gypsy-jazz jive with a roots folk vibe to show just why they are held in such high regard on the underground folk circuit.

The Furnace will be proving that the only way is Essex, not by inviting some orange bimbo or bronzed buffoon to cash in on their fifteen minutes of fame but by inviting Rolleston regular booking Dave McPherson to bring his whole band into town. Melodic alt-metallers, InMe, have just finished supporting The Rasmus (remember them?) across Europe to promote their fifth album, The Pride and you can catch Brentwood’s finest at The Furnace with support from local icons Mortdelamer and the wonderful emo-rave hybrid that is Natural Tendancy.

Competition for the rock audience comes from Riffs Bar with a night of the hard and heavy led by ascending stars of the post hardcore genre, When Words Fail. Burthru, 5 Lives Left and Fist Full of Foozy add to the weight of the night.

Saturday brings another tsunami of metal this time crashing through the doors of the 12 Bar and depositing such bands as Austria’s Give ‘Em Blood, What the Night Brings, Moments Before Oblivion and Wreckoning. I think the band names are almost prophesising what sort of night it is going to be. Not for the faint hearted.

The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive sees the welcome return of The Shudders. Pirate fixated buffoons or deft weavers of folk, lo-fi pop, country rock and various jiggery-punkery? Well, both actually but it’s still good to have you back chaps.

Stay out for more great music at The Rolleston that evening  from The Blue Trees, purveyors of stripped back Americana flavoured rock and the flawless, soulful sounds of The Emsworth Duo.

Final shout of the week (before the editor shouts at me for taking up too much space…again!) goes to The Running Horse Sessions on Wednesday, this time showcasing a brace of acoustic duo’s, Ethemia and The Black Feathers.