Tag Archive: new inn (the)


26166586_1681465711875033_8057004855056739838_nThere was an interesting debate on Facebook the other day regarding the balance between original and non-original bands in town. Between all of the threads full of ill informed political infighting and pictures of cats falling off things, the old battle lines were drawn again and it seems as if many people think that there is some sort of conspiracy designed to hold back the original scene, which of course is nonsense. It’s all about market forces, venues and pubs are businesses and they exist by selling drinks, the more the better, so it obviously makes more sense to book bands with a known draw than some unknown Tibetan infused dream-pop band from Newport Pagnall. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to see more original music, bigger names playing more convenient nights of the week then you first have to prove that it can compete, and you do this by supporting the smaller shows which are already happening. Do that, and apart from the two usual venues championing original music, other venues will see the profit in it and there will be more on offer. It’s as simple as that. And buy a CD on the way out too, even musicians need to eat.

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10462732_578185338961043_2884624458629214826_nMaybe this is the calm before the storm; I guess a week sandwiched between two great local music festivals, the recent Stratton Stroll and the imminent Swindon Shuffle is going to be a bit light on gigs. So it’s all about quality and not quantity and therefore perfect timing to have one of the most interesting bands of the festival circuit roll into town, the wonderfully named Formidable Vegetable Sound System (pictured). Hailing from Melbourne, Australia and featuring the familiar face of frequent musical visitor Mal Webb, this band combine the vintage sounds of the speakeasy, brazen brass and wonky ukulele sounds with the principles of permaculture, into what they describe as ecological electro swing. A very niche market yes, but you have to admire a band who put out a whole album on the subject of sustainability but which doesn’t require you to buy a djembe, tie die a shirt and knit your own yogurt. Catch this amazing band at The Beehive tonight.

 

Those looking for a more rock and roll experience will find what they need at The Victoria with The Brompton Mix. Mentored and managed by Rick Buckler from The Jam, which probably tells you a lot about their sound and style, this Woking four-piece mix up all the best bits of punk and rhythm ‘n’ blues; from The Clash to The Stones to Elvis and everything in between. Local support comes in the shape of Burnthru.

 

Fans of acoustic music have a treat waiting for them at The Regent with their regular Acoustic Circus which this month features Sumita Mujumdar and her magical blend of poetic dream pop, the wit and wisdom of Nick Felix and Billyjon and the Brosephs.

 

Elsewhere you can catch a tribute to the mercurial music of David Bowie at The Victoria and The Rolleston has rhythm ‘n’ blues standards with Shades of Blue.

 

If you are into your punk, then you have a choice of gigs to be at on Saturday as two sets of great bands are to be found in town. Healthy competition? Bad planning? I don’t know but either way there is more punk on offer than you can shake an eighteen-hole Doc Martin Boot at.

 

At The Victoria first generation punks 999 deliver their high energy, highly infections, no nonsense, snarling melodies and remind us why they have lasted so long. Support comes courtesy of a rare reunion from psychedelic, deranged, swamp-fuzz outfit, The Chaos Brothers. Just when you thought that it was safe to go out….

 

The other punk serving suggestion can be found at The Rolleston in the form of 2-piece legends, 2 Sick Monkeys; incendiary punk with a between song banter to match, circuit stalwarts 50 Shades of Punk and the sharp-edged, Strength In Blunders who always sound as if they should be hanging around at CBGB’s in about 1978…New York punk the day before it evolves into New Wave.

 

Reggae and ska fans also have a couple of options. Vintage ska and rocksteady can be had live at The New Inn as The Erin Bardwell Collective play their Caribbean Day festivities and The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning some great music at The Beehive. If you prefer a musical nostalgia trip then Going Underground will be playing post-punk, ska and mod at The Swiss Chalet.

 

The big event for Sunday is a fundraiser at The Victoria. Kit Off For Cancer is an all day fundraiser with events and activities, a raffle and music from Banjovi, the areas number one banjo ensemble.

 

At The Bandstand in The Town Gardens, Lazy Sunday Afternoon features Ells Ponting and her new musical vehicle, The Southern Wild the amazing young talent that is Rory Evans, plus your regular hosts Mr Love and Justice. Go and work on your tan and listen to some great music.

 

Talking of great music, if you haven’t yet managed to take in a show by Jim Reynolds then do so at The Beehive also on Sunday, a wonderful blend of

vintage blues, ragtime, music hall and folk, not to mention an amazing musician.

 

Finally, if classic blues-rock is your thing than spend the last evening of the weekend at The White Hart in Wroughton with The Lewis Creaven Band providing incendiary blues and righteous, not to mention riotous rock.

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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.

1482760_10152470476699251_1199696131_nGuess what folks? I’m back. Did you miss me? No? You fickle bunch, a new, younger writer comes along and you forget all about me, typical. I can’t say that I’m not hurt but will attempt to work through my pain by jumping straight into what is happening this week on the music front.

 

Of course the big event coming up is that evergreen explosion of music and good vibes that goes by the name of Riffstock. Yes, those lovely folks at Riffs Bar will be filling the bank holiday weekend with the best local talent beginning on Friday with the regular acoustic slot. It will be an open mic. session as usual but with some special guest slots from the hirsute Shaun Buswell, the blonde bombshell that is Bren Haze and other big names on the local acoustic scene.

 

Saturday is the start of two days of full band music, A Way With Words and Rocket Box cover the rockier end of the spectrum neatly, and there is shimmering lo-hi indie from Sahara Heights, pop-punk from Starlight City plus the classic ska and reggae sound of The Nomarks.

 

The following day again covers a lot of musical bases, from the pastoral acoustica of Rumour Shed and the harmonious Americana of The Shudders to the drum’n’bass punk of 2 Sick Monkeys stopping off at all points in between. Points as diverse as the mad scientist of indie-pop, Nudybronque,(pictured) high-octane ska from The Interceptors and the emotive psychedelia of Sister Morphine. The Monday afternoon is “Kiddstock” a kids and family day. There is a plethora of great music, more than I have room to cover here so check out their website for full details.

 

And if you decided not to join in the fun over at Riffs Bar then here are some other serving suggestions for you. Tonight punk fans will want to be at The Victoria for covers and originals with a first wave Brit-punk feel from Useless eaters and 50 Shades of Punk. If the idea of a psychobilly/R’n’B band is more your musical poison then The Beehive is the place to be to catch TNT, a band made up of ex-members of Screaming Lord Sutch and The Meteors as well as current members of Josie and The Outlaw.

 

Fans of tributes are in luck on Friday as Kins of Leon play the music of those pesky Followill siblings at The Victoria and Metalhead re-run the best bits of the metal and hard rock genre at The New Inn. If however you want something original then get yourselves to The Castle for some big riffing, infectious rock with 8 Minutes Later plus post punk informed Indie from King in Mirrors.

 

So what would happen if The Dixie Chicks and The Pogues joined forces? Well, visually it would look pretty weird but musically it would probably sound a lot like Flash Harry. These stalwarts of the Bristol scene liberally plunder the best bits of Celtic folk, new-country, blues-rock, Cajun and gypsy jazz to create outstanding and original songs. Catch them at The Rolleston. Stiff competition comes from The Beehive as The Eddy Allen Trio take an improvisational jam attitude and bend everything from folk to reggae, flamenco to rock, afro-beat, Celtic and a lot more to their will with stunning results.

 

Saturday, as is the norm, is mainly about tried and tested sounds, Peleton play covers from across the modern musical eras at The Victoria and The Rolleston plays host to Powerslaves, an Iron Maiden tribute no less. Original music can be found at The Regent in the guise of Ethemia, so if meaningful and optimistic lyrics, lush harmonies, exquisite guitar work and humorous rambling interludes are your thing, then that is the place to be.

 

SN Dubstation blend dub (naturally), reggae, hip-hop, pop and ska together into wonderful new shapes at The Victoria on Sunday whilst at the Beehive Charlie-Ann offers up some acoustic treats.

 

The final mention of the week is Louise Parker who is at Baker Street on Tuesday. Playing this show as a quartet, Louise has been lauded by critics (including the late great Humphrey Lyttleton…and if Humph’ says it’s good then you know it is) as the new, great voice in British jazz combining elements of funk, gospel and scat styles. Just what the jazz doctor ordered!

 

 

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January is always a difficult time to try to get people along to gigs, well, at least the sort of gigs that I go to. But it got me thinking about just how important a crowd is to a musical event. Sure, everyone wants their band to be able to pull in the numbers but really, as with many thing…size doesn’t actually matter. You can still make history without an audience. How many people saw The Sex Pistols at The Lesser Free Trade Hall, the gig that took punk beyond its London art college roots….about 40? (Although I have personally met about 120 people who claim to have been there.) There were only 12 people at the last supper, well, thirteen to begin with. Half that number witnessed the Wright Brothers first flight and Archimedes was alone in his bath when he made his greatest discovery. No, not soap on a rope!

 

It’s not the size of the crowd, it’s the power of the event, so do something brave, original, extravagant, boundary pushing and truly entertaining. Something that people will take notice of. Write your own footnote in the music history book. Do something new; don’t just copy what has gone before. Who wants to live in a world that runs on plagiarism?  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…errr, hang on!

 

Anyway, a quiet week but here it is.

 

Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight has a bit of a vicious edge. Strength In Blunders headline, a three piece sitting on the cusp of punk traditions and new wave experimentation, more Husker Du or Magazine than first wave Brit punk. Support comes from Honesty a band evolved from Frome’s riotous assembly, Haters…remember them? And opening up the night are local alt-rockers Tides of Change.

 

A couple of wonderfully original shows are on offer on Friday. Firstly at The Victoria, The Shudders grace the stage with their musically eloquent combinations of alt-country, lo-fi rock and wonderfully melodic and infectious tunes.  Support is from El Born (pictured), an evocative, heart on sleeve, London, alt-rock band just heading out on a UK tour and offering a Café Nero style loyalty card leading to free gig entry. Interesting! Opening the night is looping, electric guitarist Johnny Lucas who you may remember from his summer anthem Lilo, a song that would even have the most stalwart Goths taking off their nu-rocks and playing Frisbee on the beech.

 

Over at Riffs Bar Benji Clements will be playing his trademark mashed up and funked out standards and originals, an artist who does a neat line in sassy soul and bluesy acoustic grooves. Also on the bill is Ella Martini a young singer with an equally soulful pop vibe.

 

The next part of the column is what I call the “that was then…and this is then as well” section, as everything on offer is a cover of or a tribute to something that you are probably already familiar with. So in brief, also on Friday at The Rolleston regular fixtures The Great Nothing offer a wide range of iconic rock tracks from across the years, followed by Dodging The Bullet the next day who play classic rock covers.

 

At The New Inn on Saturday you can catch punky-ska classics from Operation 77 and at The Victoria there are tributes to Hendrix and Cream.

 

And that is it apart from a solo appearance from David Marx (minus his regular AK-Poets) at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. A wealth of songs that you might not get to hear from the full band show, interspersed with stories and humour. Not a bad way to round the music week off if you ask me, and in a way by reading this article you did ask me. So there!

The Stratton Stroll

580441_10152953732135461_1828677105_nSo you’ve heard of The Camden Crawl, The Swindon Shuffle and The Oxford Punt, but if you fancy something similar this Saturday come along to the The Stratton Stroll. I think the title sums up the broad detail but the finer points are that between 6 venues (The Kingsdown Arms, The Wheatsheaf, The Rat Trap, The Crown, The New Inn and the Leisure Centre) you can catch such great acts as the upbeat celtic vibes of Grubby Jack and Missin’ Rosie, the ethereal acoustica of Faye Rogers and Charlie-Anne, the folky Americana of The Shudders, Bateleurs and The Blue Trees and much more besides.

 

As well as great music, Shaun Buswell will be bringing his London Underground Orchestra to the event with the challenge to play all six stages over seven hours. He does like to make things difficult for himself. Stratton, Swindon, this Saturday 13th July. get involved.

eFestivalsI’m not sure if it is just a Swindon thing but it does seem that every other gig you see advertised these days features some earnest young acoustic guitar wielding wannabe aiming to be the next Frank Turner or Laura Marling. It may seem like an easy way to get into music; low overheads, no egotistical band mates to fight with, the ability to tour the country in a broken down Fiat Uno etc but the problem with so much of it going on is that for every soon to be discovered darling of 6music or Wychwood Festival there are a dozen chancers waxing not so lyrical about their recent break ups over a rudimentary knowledge of the key of A minor and clumsily rhyming June with moon.

Thankfully if you want a master class in how it should be done, all you have to do is head to The Victoria tonight when the prodigal son returns, sort of. Songs of Praise is being headlined by Gaz Brookfield, aided and abetted by his fiddle-wielding associate, Ben Wain. Fresh from another jaunt supporting The Levellers and about to share a stage with those emotionally battered, wind swept rock gods, New Model Army (yes, I’m a bit of a fan), I suggest you catch him whilst he is still cheaper than a pint of beer, because it won’t last much longer. Also on the bill is Joshua Caole, who brings a chilled Elliot Smith meets Gram Parsons feeling to the proceedings and kicking things off is the soulful, funky vibe that is Benji Clements.

Two of the musical genres that people have most problems identifying are “world” and “roots” music. If you go to The Beehive tonight you will see both genres colliding head on. Mambo Jambo are an amazing duo that mix Latin styles with bluegrass, jazz and Eastern European sounds – raw enough to sound authentic, virtuosic enough to be mesmerising.

Punks will find much to like over at Riffs Bar on Friday as legendary, urban rail punks Eastfield make a rare visit to this neck of the woods. Three chords, catchy tunes, an often tongue in cheek story and lots of smiles. What’s not to like? The Useless Eaters will be mixing up covers and originals in a tribute to the first wave punk era and opening the night with unforgettable hooks and despondent satire is Strength in Blunders, featuring a guest bassist in the form of Pete Monkey. Nice.

The other big name in town that night is former InMe front man Dave McPherson (pictured) who can be found at The Castle. At a turn uplifting, mournful, calm and soothing, whilst often being a world away from his previous musical vehicle, here is an artist that delivers something very special indeed.

At The Beehive a collection of familiar faces from the local scene, who go by the name The Sitting Tenants will be blending power-pop, new wave, psych and soul into wonderfully original creations, whilst at The Rolleston, The Dylegans take skiffle, country and old school rock and roll as their chosen musical weapons.

Saturday is all about roots music at The Victoria, as Hiproute will be laying out their trademark funked up, acoustic blues stall. Support comes from the quirky, harmony fuelled, folky, surf vibe of Willowen, who I can only describe as being what Noah and The Whale sound like in their own heads, though fall way short of in reality. Delta-esque rockers The Blue Trees and Alex Roberts also add value to the deal. More blues can be found in the guise of Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and it’s slick contemporary covers with Toxic over at The Swiss Chalet.

If you have a craving for electronic music, DJ Dust hosts Digital at Piri Piri, a night of music and videos of that ilk featuring everything from the likes of New order to Chase and Status.

If you want your final fix of music before the working week pulls you back then there are a number of options on Sunday. The afternoon session at The Beehive is taken by The Racket main man Plummie and his new solo venture,  support for that one is The Black Sheep Apprentice himself, Skiddy and the original Sweet Plum, Cat Jamieson. Old school rock’n’roll and rockabilly riffs are to be found at 20 At The Kings with Josie and The Outlaw and if gargantuan slabs of rock with grunge overtones are more your cup of tea (or should I say Seattle Coffee) then the place to be is The New Inn for Vanarin.

Rounding up on Wednesday at The Running Horse you will find bluesman Ian O’Regan and Rhys Bury providing the entertainment.

Library - 25Isn’t science great? I was reading a report in New Made-up Scientist recently that Zoologists have discovered that the mental powers of Slipknot fans are far greater than previously imagined. In a series of experiments conducted in a research facility in Hogwash, Colorado involving dozens of Slipknot fans, bearded scientists found that many were able to count to 20, had the potential to perform simple sums and even had a basic vocabulary consisting of a handful of words such as “Slipknot” and “Rule.” Professor Dan Geek who led the team said “ This evidence of intelligence has taken us by surprise and is causing us to rethink what we know about these particular primates.” In a prepared statement Slipknot said, “This proves what we always said, our fans ain’t stupid. They know a whole bunch of stuff, y’know, like stuff and stuff like that”

Thankfully your faith in intelligent music can be restored by a visit to Riffs Bar tonight. If you thought Red Jasper had been consigned to local music mythology, you will be pleased to know that they are back out as a gigging band delivering their trade mark symphonic rock meets folk blend that puts them somewhere between classic era Jethro Tull and early Marillion and with Bristol prog stalwarts Crimson Sky supporting, this is a brilliant line up.

More rootsy sounds can be found at The Victoria with the funky lap-blues of Jim “Hiproute” Blair and the shamanistic folk and emotive bluesy vibes that make up Stone Donkey Pilots. The Beehive, meanwhile, will be grooving to the gypsy-jazz swing of Ruba Tempo.

Friday is a big night out at Riffs Bar as Beauty with a Purpose (and not a Porpoise as it said in one listing!), a longstanding and immensely important global children’s charity, have lined up a host of fund raising great acts including Ethemia, Echo, Benji Clements and Aiden Moore. Great cause. Great music.

The Beehive opts for laid back music from  Stressechoes a band described as “a triumph of heart-on-sleeve storytelling supported by beautiful, understated music” and with the simple musical lines of Juey also on the bill it will be a cracking gig. The delectable R’n’B sounds of The Teddy White Band can be found at The Royal Oak.

If you want a fuller band experience, then there are a number of options. Nudybronque play Riffs Bar as headliners for the Secret Chord’s latest show, underground, post punk, inspired pop, melody and memorable tunes, they may have evolved but they haven’t lost the glint in the eye and tongue in cheek drive that keeps them self-deprecating, grounded and a joy to watch. Also on the bill is Jim Johnston, currently operating as a two-piece but still running a great line in brittle, fractious guitar lines and dark yet bluesy undercurrents. New chaps on the block Devotion get the night underway.

Missin’ Rosie are at The Manor and The Corsairs grace the New Inn but if punk is more your thing then the Victoria tonight provides the first of two shows that should tick your musical boxes. The UK Subs now enter their eighth decade (probably not true) as leading lights of the punk scene and they bring with them the Dropkick Murphy’s inspired Criminal Mind and Proud City Fathers. The other gig in this pairing comes with Charred Hearts playing The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon show may have now relocated to The Central Library but they haven’t lost their ear for good music. This time it is the turn of the luscious Latin Jazz of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, the romantic nature of Jess Vincent and as always hosted by Mr Love and Justice.

Other options for the day of rest come with the effortless, vibrant blues of Retramantic who play 20 at the Kings in Wood Street and the Sax fronted trad jazz of The Don Franks Duo at Baker Street.

Playing the week out, on Tuesday at Baker Street, it’s jazz from virtuoso guitarist Esmond Selwyn and the organ lead brilliance from The John-Paul Gard Trio and Wednesday at The Running Horse acoustic treats come in the shape of Pete Taylor and The Right Hooks.