Tag Archive: ocelot magazine

10462326_10152474301986463_7348495292948651899_nLast month I waxed lyrical about the up-swell of new bands that seem to be fashioning, not only a small but well proportioned new movement, but a post-punk, shoegaze referencing one to boot (shoe…boot?…worth a go!). But a healthy music scene needs the right mix of home cooked creations and also visits from bigger bands to sustain its momentum, so this time I want to cast my focus a bit wider and look some more established names coming your way.


Right off the bat, Laura Kidd aka She Makes War returns to The Victoria on 2nd April, this time with a full band set up and Forgery Lit as tour support. Stalwart of supports with The Levellers and New Model Army, hers is a pacifistic yet provocative mission, her weapons, breathtakingly honest music and a unique brand of doomy, melancholic, garage pop. Later that month (23rd) Brawlers rock into town (surely I’m too old to use a phrase like that…) a wonderful blend of pop-aware lo-fi punk that heavily references the 90’s heyday of college rock. The guy in the corner of the pub with the GBH t-shirt will still moan that this isn’t real punk and that he once lit Joe Strummers cigarette but this represents punks logical evolution and it rocks like a…well, you know.


In the same part of town, The Roaring Donkey’s Wednesdays acoustic night also promises some great out-of-area acts. Not only the dulcet, folky tones of Lucy Kitchen and the mercurial pop of George Wilding are on the cards, but also the inimitable Grant Sharkey is in the diary for 29th April. His act is a mix of humorous songs, surreal interludes that Milton Jones would be proud of, upright bass experimentation and leftfield social commentary. Imagine Jim Tavare (remember him?) if he had lost the dinner jacket, taken a few ‘shrooms and become an anarchist.


So all in all, the Swindon scene seems to be heading somewhere exciting, why not tag along and see where it takes you.


from The Ocelot April ’15

Sheer brilliance!

tourflyerwebI just wanted to draw your attention to a wonderful article written by that awfully nice chap Kieran Moore of Sheer Music and possibly Maoam adverts fame (okay it isn’t him but it makes me laugh) about the state of the local music scene at the moment. Take a minute or two to read it, take on board what he is saying and get involved.


Read Here

1001847_10151555930943635_1223282823_nThere is no getting away from it; this week is all about The Swindon Shuffle. I won’t dwell on it in full, there has been a fair bit of coverage already in this august (and indeed August) publication and a quick search under the obvious terms will find all the details listed up on their website. But here is a very brief walk through (or Shuffle through I guess.)


Following last nights opening event at The Queens Tap, the focus tonight turns to Old Town which sees the regular Songs of Praise night at The Victoria become a temple to all things mercurial pop and alt-rock (Super Squarecloud, Dead Royalties and the return of SkyBurnsRed), whilst The Roaring Donkey is the haven for culture vultures, providing a mixture of intelligent acoustica (David Marx and Steve Leigh) and poetry readings. Also happing in the vicinity is some lovely Psytrance (tribal beats meets alien dance vibes) from Zetan Spore at The Beehive and Baila, that wonderful coffee house meets old school vinyl emporium is joining the fray with music provided by hand picked DJ’s. Artist might like to note that those awfully nice people at Cradle Contemporary will be running a Sketch Crawl; artists will be wandering the venues capturing the inspiration and the spirit of the night on paper for a future exhibition.


Friday not only stays around Old Town with The Ocelot curated Indie night at The Victoria (incorporating the now traditional Doza opening slot plus Nudybronque and British Harlem)), the first of two mellower nights at The Castle (Familiars, Wildest Dreams) and Riffs Bar’s wonderful acoustic night joins in the fun with an open mic. night and headline slots from The Black Feathers and The Cadbury Sisters, which is a coup in anyone’s book.)


Saturday is a tsunami of music. The big daytime session is to be found at The Rolleston from midday, courtesy of The Academy of Music and Sound who showcase their students’ talents before the rest of the afternoon and evening mixes all genres of music from the delicate tones of Charlie Bath to the wild musical machinations of Sea Mammal, the blues infused Armchair Committee and goes out with a bang courtesy of The Ak-Poets.


Through out the afternoon, The In-Store Sessions sees music in Billabong, Baila, That’s Entertainment and The Central Library.


An eclectic mix is also to be found at The Beehive that evening (Cartoon Heroes, Swindon Samba) and another chilled session at The Castle includes an acoustic Port Erin and Colour The Atlas.


Sunday has a family fun day at Riffs Bar, so take the kids along and mix music and shenanigans in equal measure whilst if you are in town The Beehive is the place to be as it plays host to the Shuffle wrap party. If you have made it this far, you may as well go out in style.


Right, that is The Shuffle well catered for lets look at non-Shuffle related options.


Riffs Bar on Thursday has a great little fundraiser for the Prospect Hospice that features the slightly funky indie of The Primaveras plus The Illustrations, a band who have evolved out of a warped acoustic bedroom duo into a sharp edged outfit that both channels the past and predicts the future. Also on the bill are Abi James and Brinliegh Gallagher. Great music, great cause.


The bottom corner of Commercial Road comes up trumps on Friday as The Rolleston plays host to Replica, which as the name suggests are pop and rock cover band, whilst downstairs at Level 3 you can catch Floydian Doors, the only band in existence paying tribute to Cambridge progressive and LA hedonistic psychedelic rock simultaneously. Saturday’s non-Shuffle events are a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria and Indie and rock covers from Happy Accident at The Swiss Chalet.


As if to prove the power of musical networking whilst playing the Mostar Blues and Rock Festival in Bosnia, members of Innes Sibun’s Band found themselves playing alongside and befriending Texas old country/blues troubadour Keegan McInroe (pictured) to the effect that he will be playing at The White Hart in Wroughton on Sunday…not normally on the direct route back home but it’s great when these things happen.


Finally, at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday those acoustic classical meets Latin meets jazz maestro’s Gilmore and Jaz can be found enchanting the crown. Why not join them?

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.

1.1184171637.2_gig-streetIn the process of moving house (Jehovah’s Witness Protection Scheme if you must know) I stumbled across a lot of musical paraphernalia and ancient hoardings, including some old Ocelot magazines from when I had my first stint at putting pen to paper on behalf of the local scene. Back in those days the article style was one of general commentary rather than review and as getting my hands on new music to review these days is like getting blood out of a particularly impervious stone, I thought I’d return to that approach.


A lot seems to have changed since my first Ocelot literary outings (6 years ago…blimey) and Swindon’s main problem is still the way it views itself. Maybe it’s the result of being one too many punch lines on the likes of Have I Got News For You, maybe it is the Council’s reticence to get behind the towns musical endeavours, maybe we have just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Okay, the amount of venues available to acts is at low ebb, but for creativity the town still punches well above its weight, doesn’t that just mean it’s time to think outside the box. All meaningful musical legacies happened away from the mainstream anyway – punk, hip-hop, rave, so why not create, if not a new genre, at least a new way of doing things.


Organise acoustic gigs in cafes and restaurants, throw basement parties, hire out halls and pub back rooms and put your own show on. Embrace the technology that enables you to by-pass the traditional first rungs of the ladder of gigging – stream your shows to far-flung audiences, be your own recording studio, it’s all about innovation not quality. Record “found sounds, ” play guerrilla gigs, busk on unauthorised spots. Avoid the normal patterns and approaches, never explain yourself. Be legendary. Don’t give them what they want, give them what they didn’t even realise it was what they wanted and do it when they least expect it.  Be a musical terrorist, a poetic hand-grenade. Viva la Revolution.