Tag Archive: optimal prime


I bumped into an old friend at a gig the other day. Oddly enough the resulting conversation didn’t revolve around what each other had been doing in the decade since we had last seen each other, but in the quirky way we have, it turned to the subject of mondegreens, or in layman’s terms, misheard lyrics in songs. Such questions were raised as  – did The Stone Roses really “Wanna Be A Door?” Why was Creedance Clearwater Revival telling us “There’s a Bathroom on the Right?” How did The Stranglers get it so wrong when predicting “Never A Frown, With Gordon Brown” and oddest of all, what did Roberta Flack actually mean when she said “Tonight I Sellotape My Glove to You?” Yes, we had been drinking!

 

Talking of confusing lyrics, not to mention more than a few “oh la la la’s”, “shubba-dubbas” the occasional “ha!” and other strange utterances, Crash and The Coots are playing The Victoria tonight. Theirs is a strange and beguiling world of lateral thinking, experimental pop, but one that you all need to visit at least once. Supporting them are Port Erin a band who have swapped some of the early complexities of their music for balance, space and atmosphere and now ably mix pop leanings with mature musicianship. Three Letter Agency get the night started.

 

Blending folk with rock, accessibility with intelligence and kicking into touch the fey, hippyness often associated with her field, Thea Gilmore is blazing a path towards classic status songwriter, catch her at The Arts Centre tonight. Similar folky undercurrents can be found at The Beehive as Ron Trueman-Border brings his band, Perfect Strangers along for some vivid, punchy lyrics and infectious tunes.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday and Pignose will be offering up some Old Town Blues for your delectation. This very narrow genre is a blend of gospel, rhythm and blues, country and rock, songs of the south if you like and if it wasn’t for all the road works in that part of town would have probably made a break for the border a long time ago. Offer them a Mint Julep, make them feel at home.

 

The noisy brigade will find their home out at Riffs Bar for  a gig spearheaded by Severance a band very much in the spirit of the NWOBHM era and making their first visit to the place. And if you thought Stoner Rock had died out in the infamous flannel shirt famine of the mid nineties, then The Ashun might come as a welcome surprise. Optimal Prime is also on the bill.

 

More rock on Saturday this time at The 12 Bar and headed by the metal-grunge hybrid that is Burnthru, with Toadstool filling that space between metal, blues and southern rock: kick arse four, four grooves just like the old days. The Starkers continue their pop-grunge fixation…think Nirvana having a fight with The Libertines.

 

The Rolleston plays host to the one cover band I can handle, Kova Me Badd. What sets them apart from the norm? Their music selection is awful, delivery questionable, professionalism in serious doubt and antics not suitable before the watershed. In short, everything a cover band should be. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will change your life. Well, one out of three isn’t bad.

 

Something a bit special comes to The Victoria on Sunday. Back on the menu is old school hip-hop from Long Beach underground vigilantes, Ugly Duckling; outsiders who like The Beastie Boys and Run DMC before them take humorous swipes at more commercial elements of their genre. And on into Monday, the names keep coming. Uli Jon Roth(pictured) made his name filling the shoes of guitarist for Michael Schenker in The Scorpions but over the years moved into more experimental pastures and today his style encompasses neo-classical, heavy metal, blues and psychedelic, all of which can be seen, again, at The Victoria on Monday. For something a bit more sedate, middle of the road even, Paul Carrack is at The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Staying at The Victoria for Tuesday, those lo-fi, folk-rock, indie-pop, Celtic-bop, pirates, The Shudders make a welcome return and we round off on Wednesday at The Running Horse. Nick Tann is becoming a bit of a regular fixture and his jazz inflected 12 string tunes and soaring vocals are always welcome. He brings with him Marvin B Naylor a man who blends folk, prog, the surreal and wonderful lyrical drives to create something truly unique.

Whilst I was clearing out some old text files from my computer the other day I came across my very first Sounds Around Town submission and realised that I have been ensconced in this particular ivory tower for just about 3 years now. Quick calculations put that are around 100,000 words of recommendation for Swindon’s gig going cognoscenti, many of those words spelt correctly and in a logical order. Three years! To paraphrase Sandy Denny, had she been writing in Latin, where does the tempus fugit indeed?

 

So, enough of ancient history and on to the music of the moment. It’s certainly one of the quieter weeks, but that is probably to be expected with the amount of local festivals and busy schedules we have had through the summer. Still, there is good stuff to be had if you know where to look.

 

There is no better place to kick off your search for original music than at The Rolleston tonight with Optimal Prime, made up of members of Dodging The Bullet, Deep Thought and Snaggletooth and delivering hard hitting rock that takes in the more proggy reaches of the genre. Support comes from the ubiquitous Plummie Racket touting his solo acoustic set.

 

If you miss the main act though you can catch them on Friday over at Riffs Bar supporting Steve Grimmet’s Grim Reaper. His is a tasty slab of British classic rock and all in aid of raising money for Children’s Leukemia. Great music and a worthy cause. And if the heavier end of the musical spectrum is your cup of Earl Grey, then you might want to consider a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria as Rammlied bring all the industrial grind, pomp and dark majesty of the original to your doorstep.

 

And still the options in the loud and shouty department roll on. The Furnace hosts it’s regular Teenage Kicks night, showcasing the best in local bands, this time with the melodic hardcore of The Pursuit and Natures, the eclectic alt-rock of Tides of Change (who replace Route 101) and the frantic drive of The Doss who sound like a collision between The Buzzcocks and Nirvana.

 

A different serving suggestion comes courtesy of The Erin Bardwell Collective. Late sixties style rocksteady and ska originals, driven by that classic organ sound and an infectious energy and all for free at The Rolleston.

 

Saturday has a fair bit to offer in the way of music, though sadly not much of it in the original category. The Rolleston offers the only oasis in a desert of tribute acts,  in the guise of Gwyn Ashton. Not only does he do a neat line in pre-war Delta blues flavoured with cool country, jazz vibes and swamp rock earthiness, but this show will also feature ex-Magnum drummer Mickey Barker. Those into their music trivia might be interested to note that the Magnum connection also extends to Gywn’s latest album, Radiogram, which features, amongst other stalwarts, iconic piano man Mark Stanway. (I have One Sacred Hour playing in my head even as we speak)

 

Tributes can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac, featuring a Christine McVie who looks a lot like Alice Offley, Bjorn Again being ABBA at the Old Town Bowl and Syntronix playing the synth-pop hits of the eighties at Riffs Bar. And if you are still in the mood for partying after all that then Reboot club night at The Furnace playing indie, rock and alternative is the place to head for.

 

Juey is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon session; soft Americana and folk songs with a traditional, storytelling form, employing guitar, harmonica, mandolin and banjo.

 

Wednesday provides a welcome stepping-stone to get you through the working week with a couple of interesting options. The Running Horse continue to bring in quality acoustic music, this week it’s The Black Feathers (pictured), a band whose ear for melody and amazing harmonising have to be witnessed live to be believed. Ben Maggs is also on the bill.

 

The Victoria is playing host to Shakespeare, Rattle and Roll a show looking at the life, loves and language of The Bard and setting much of it to music in a more contemporary style, such as Beatles, Elvis and Bob Dylan. Sounds pretty original to me.