Tag Archive: nick harper


nick-harper-press-photo-08mOne of the biggest names to hit town in a while, especially if you have a penchant for the singer-songwriter format, can be found in one of the smallest local venues tonight. At Baila Coffee and Vinyl you will find Nick Harper,(pictured) a festival favourite with a string of fantastic albums under his belt and who is able to do things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja. Support comes from Burbank and I would suggest that you buy a ticket on-line rather than take your chances on being able to get in.

Continue reading

11102962_929269977124189_2726214974406720768_nWhen I first started writing this more exclusive gig guide, I pessimistically thought that it would be a quick write up every week. At the time original bands seemed a very small chunk of the available gigs and where as the more inclusive and all encompassing guide that I write for the “paper that shall not be named” runs to a small essay these days, this seemed a breeze to put together.

Continue reading

13661797_1461269417232907_1297127420586360915_o.jpg

14518262_10155219254708356_1683459862_n.jpg

Library - 124There has been a lot of concerned discussion recently over rumours that The Victoria, pretty much the constant in the ever-changing local musical landscape of the last eight years, is up for sale. Just to put you at your ease, here are the facts straight from the horses mouth – that’s just a turn of phrase and in no way implying that Mr Young is anything other that 100% prime beef. Yes, the business, i.e. the internal workings rather than the building itself, is on the market, but Dave and Anna want to stress that they intend to leave it in safe hands so that it continues very much in the same vein.

 

When you think about it The Victoria has grown to become part of the national music circuit (just look at their gig roster for proof) so any successful buyer is likely to come from a similar background rather than just being the ex-landlord of The Kebab and Calculator whose claim to fame is a once a week acoustic night and a quarterly under 18’s Battle of The Bands. Remember, Heraclitus told us “There is nothing permanent, except change” but then he did drink too much, though his first album was a real cracker.

 

So fittingly and inevitable we start tonight at The Victoria. It’s Bands and Burlesque again and this time it’s a chance for newcomers to the dance genre to get a bit of a showcase plus music from psychobilly crew, Cowboy and The Corpse. And if retro is your thing there is competition out at Riffs Bar in the shape of The Ludwig Beatles, who recreate the iconic band in all their, rock and roller, mop-topping, acid eating and genre defying glory.

 

The Beehive has music from John Blek and The Rats, a well travelled six piece who specialise in folk, country and Americana.

 

Another constant of our local scene is Holmes Music and to celebrate 50 years in the music business they are arranging a series of shows, tonight they take over The Victoria and offer us none other than Nick Harper (not pictured). Anyone spawned of the iconic Roy Harper and brought up in a house with a continual procession of Zeps, Floyds, Who’s and other heroes was always going to end up a musician and as such has been described as doing “things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja” in a good way I presume. If that wasn’t enough, Colour The Atlas is the support, a clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swaths of sensuous, late night atmospherics. Now that’s what you call a celebration.

 

More sweet music comes in the shape of Antoine Architeuthis and The Cotton Candy Rebellion, joyous acoustic folk tinged with classic rock and with a spiritual vibe running through the centre. He is at The Beehive.

 

The Furnace is the only place to be on Saturday as Peter and The Test Tube Babies roll into town. Originally part of the Punk Pathetique sub-genre that incorporated absurdist subject matters and humourous lyrics, don’t be fooled by such a seemingly silly approach as by contrast they are one of the most polished and professional bands on the punk circuit today. Support comes from the incorrigible local punk stalwarts and all round good eggs, Charred Hearts and Strength in Blunders, a new and infectious pop-punk trio but containing some very familiar faces.

 

Possibly as far removed from that gig, which is what I love about the versatility of music, is The Antonio Forcione Trio at The Arts Centre, a musical tapestry of African and Latin influences interwoven with flamenco, classical and Indian rhythms.

 

There is a lot to offer on Sunday, a brilliant tribute to Kate Bush, Never Forever, is an all seated affair at The Victoria; folk, skiffle and rockabilly are delivered acoustically by The Dylegans (Lonnie and Bob…gedit?) at The Rolleston and culture vultures have the choice of jazz guitarist Terry Hutchinson at Baker Street or recitals of Schubert and Shostakovich at the Arts Centre.

 

More jazz is on offer at Baker Street on Tuesday with Tantrum, a trio made up of Roger Beaujolais, Tommaso Starace and Paul Jefferies. And as always we find ourselves rounding off the week at The Running Horse for it’s regular Wednesday session, this time featuring Bateleurs. For the few of you not in the know, and if not why not? Bateleurs alchemize Americana, English folk and Celtic vibes into wonderfully accessible and joyously upbeat tunes. Support comes from Simon Allen.

 

 

 

 

321473_4958538808618_2075602608_n

It would seem that the booking of bands is a very tricky business, the slippery little devils. Often getting a confirmed and stable line up for an evening of music can be like trying to stuff a string bag full of freshly oiled eels. Still, if it was that easy, I guess everyone would be at it. Tonight’s show at The Victoria is a classic example of this. Having succumbed to more chopping and changing that a choppy changey thing and bearing little resemblance to the advertised gig, Songs of Praise still offers you some cracking, if fairly unexpected bands. The one constant in the whole maelstrom of changes is headline act The Racket. Delivering a riot of attitude and swagger, gutter anthems and punked out indie cacophony, it’s easy to see why they are becoming regarded as the musical rough diamonds of the local scene.

Support comes from slick Bristolian alt-rockers Mind Museum and not the Rhubarbs as originally billed and jumping into the opening slot at the eleventh hour are Quantum rock, jazz junkified, music warping, Super Squarecloud. Turned out all right in the end then.

At the Beehive it’s the welcome return of The Roving Crows.  They may look like just another folk band but in reality they are a much more interesting prospect, taking a Celtic folk musical core and flavouring it with everything from blues to jazz and ska to kleizmer and delivering it with infectiousness, energy and blinding virtuosity.

Friday has a very eclectic range of musical offerings. In fact if you look up eclectic in the dictionary you will see a photograph of this very paragraph. (No, I don’t know how they did it either!) Anyway, over at Riffs Bar those lovable buffoons nudy bronque, Nudybronque, Nudy Bronque…whatever (no ones sure of the exact grammatical form, not even the band!) steer their seemingly constant touring schedule towards Riffs Bar. This band have been one of the real success stories of local music over the past eighteen months and it has been a joy to watch they grow from a tentative band of musicians with rubbish dancing into a slick and confident, punky-ska-jangle-pop band…with rubbish dancing. Support comes from The Debuts and relative newcomers, The Starkers, but again not The Rhubarbs as originally advertised.

A great treat for progressive rock fans awaits at The 12 Bar in the guise of Tinyfish, one of the bands responsible for updating the face of the genre, from the flaky, fantasy fixations of the past into something relevant and cutting edge, from Genesis to revolution, if you like. Ok, maybe not. The Furnace is playing host to Swindon Academy of Music and Sounds Charity Show. As well as students showcasing their not inconsiderable talent, the night will be rounded off by the brilliant reggae/funk/hip-hop ten-piece A&T.

Having reformed for a one off gig at last years Shuffle festival, Big Casino decided to stay together and will be playing at The Beehive with the promise of new material.

The big event for the weekend happens on Saturday and though it is a little way out of town, I thought it deserves a mention. After the success of the recent Avebury Rocks, the Love Hope Strength Foundation has added another date to help raise money for local charities. The daytime itinerary includes walks around the area and refreshments and the evening boasts a show featuring an acoustic set by punk-folk legends, The Levellers (pictured) , one time Alarm front man Mike Peters, local lad Nick Harper and more besides. A stunning line up – if only there was a venue in Swindon capable of securing acts of this calibre!

Meanwhile, high-energy folk garnered from Celtic and American traditions will be on the menu at The Running Horse courtesy of Grubby Jack and the hardest working local punk-pop outfit, Disclosure can be found at The Royal Oak. Cinematic vibes, dance grooves and soulful jazz-folk can all be found at The Victoria with Matilda, Atari Pilot and Old Colours.

It’s not often a genuine living legend hits town, but on Tuesday, Louisiana blues king, Lazy Lester will be playing at Riffs with support from Good Things Happen in Bad Towns. And finally Wednesday sees Diversion, The Screaming Gypsies and Mike Bezzer play Wacky Wednesday at The Victoria.