Tag Archive: paul mcclure


11067477_10155344192370182_8626215301713582855_nI get a bit of stick for seeming to favour gigs at The Victoria, particularly those travelling on a Songs of Praise ticket. Certain quarters bandy around words such as nepotism (probably because a band of that name supported Iron Maiden at somewhere like Testosterone-fest) and clique (though they normally spell it click) but I think that the some of the bookings really are worthy of the extra attention. Take tonight’s act for example.

 

Emily Barker has won numerous song writing awards, written theme tunes to a number of well known TV shows, sold out The Union Chapel with her band The Red Clay Halo and even travelled Europe as part of Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour. Tonight you can catch her with fellow ex-Red Clay Halo player, Gill Sandell, for a set of country-folk vibes and breath-taking melodies. Add to that the soulful acoustica of Paul McClure (pictured) and the heart achingly honest, pin drop tones of Charlie Bath and you can see why I wax very lyrical about some of these shows.

 

And talking of great harmonies, anyone who hasn’t caught The Teddy White Band yet, which surely must amount to about two octogenarian spinsters on the outskirts of Stanton Fitzwarren, then you have the opportunity to catch the twin attack of Anish Noble-Harrison’s soaring, angelic voice pitted against the sinister and earthy tones of Pete Cousins’ growl. The fact that you also get a great retro beat band that ooze soulfulness is merely an added bonus.

 

A similar vibe can be caught at The Castle on Friday with the wonderful 58 Shakes and the bluest blues with the most soulful of souls can be found at The Rolleston with The Mike Hoddinott Blues All-stars. One of the most interesting and consistently unique bands in the area, Port Erin, are at The Beehive, trading in accessible psych grooves, flurries of cool jazz and walking a wonderfully fine line between pop, rock and progressive themes. If you don’t already have a copy of their latest album, Floating Above The City, then catch the show and pick one up. If you do already posses a copy I’m sure you have already made plans to attend anyway.

 

Another stalwart of the local circuit, The Shudders, can be found headlining at The Victoria. Their music has passed through a few different stages over the years and traces of all of those developments can be found in their alt-country meets indie sound. Imagine a West Country version of The Long Ryders or Wilco…or Bright Eyes..or Crazy Horse, oh, I don’t know, just pop along and dance the night away to music that rocks enough for the boys and pops enough for the girls and is even cool enough for the beardy hipster with the t-shirt and braces trying to look earnest in the corner. Solo sets from Nick Felix and Jarid Clark will set the night up in fine fashion.

 

Rock fans can get their fix with The Guns ‘n’ Roses Experiment at Level 3, supported by an opening salvo of classic rock with a contemporary kick from The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Younger bands are also out in force, pop-punks Post 12, shimmering shoegazers, Sahara Heights and new kids on the Britpop block, Westways, play Riffs Bar as a fundraiser for children’s projects in Africa.

 

And the both Post 12 and Sahara Heights can be found at a second fundraising night at Level 3 on Saturday, this time joined by The Misfires and Overload to raise money for Cancer Research.

 

Other original music to be had comes with The Newbolds funky R’n’B set at Riffs Bar and Flash Harry who will be concocting their magical folky-blues, bluegrass and gypsy jazz fusions at The Rolleston.

 

If you want a taste of The Thin White Duke then The Bowie Experience at The Victoria is one answer, and surely a better option than paying a fortune to watch from half a mile away at Wembley…if indeed he ever tours again.

 

People who prefer a smorgasbord of their favourite tunes that cross decades and genres should note that both Echo at The Haydon Wick Club and Mid Life Crisis at The Swiss Chalet will tick those boxes.

 

And finally on Wednesday, The Roaring Donkey break the working week up with the soulful and jazz infused folk and soaring vocals of Nick Tann.

10712899_10152416753527406_7198576379845939303_nOh, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids, they say. But Halloween seems to have turned into a national holiday for people who thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a documentary and who take quizzes on Facebook with titles like “How long would you survive a zombie invasion?” Also prepare yourself for a barrage of lazy journalism resorting to clichéd words such a boo-tiful and spooktacular. The tail end of the week is also an opportunity for on-line slacktavists to trot out their well-worn cliché about Guy Fawkes being the “only person to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Yes, that’s what the world needs, more religiously motivated terrorists in the pay of shadowy organisations. That said the offshoot of all this warped celebration is that there is a lot of live music to go with it.

 

Starting at The Beehive for a change, tonight the regular Acoustic Buzz night features Lucky Strikes frontman Matthew Boulter, whose solo work has been described as ““Introspective, gentle, tinged with darkness and a sorrowful undertow.” Sounds good to me. Also on the bill are the equally brilliant Paul McClure and your regular host Tim Manning of Blind River Scare.

 

The Victoria opts for the harder rock of All Ears Avow, a band who manages to infuse alternative rock with a certain pop sensibility to produce a sound that both big and commercial. They are joined by With Ghosts, Elasea and Heriot.

 

The big Halloween show is at The Victoria on Friday with a “Bands and Burlesque” special. Not only music from suitably named, psychobilly genre benders Cowboy and The Corpse but also exotic and sensual dance routines. Jokes about pumpkins made at your own risk. If something more raucous is required for your festivities The Hamsters From Hell at Rolleston offer riotous rhythm and boozy blues for your delectation. Meanwhile downstairs at Level 3, Emily’s Pole Fitness has a very unique Halloween show for you.

 

The Acoustic Session out at Riffs Bar is taken by Rob Richings this week, with the maximum added value of it being a full band show (pictured) and at The Beehive, The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning classic ska and reggae tunes.

 

Saturday gets a bit obsessed with the tried and tested but it’s all about supply and demand and what Swindon seems to demand looks a lot like this. In a clever play on words, The Four Fighters will be paying tribute to the band fronted by the universally accepted nicest man in rock music today, Dave Grohl, and they can be found at The Victoria. Riffs Bar holds its festive bash to the indie-party sounds of covers band Penfold with everything from “The Arctic Monkey’s to The Zutons” apparently.

 

Young and dynamic classic rock is on the menu at The Rolleston with Bad Obsession and tunes that run from “Aerosmith to Zeppelin”….and does anyone else see an alphabetized marketing theme developing here? More heavy rock covers can be found at The Ashford Road Club courtesy of Shepherds Pie who declare that they play “everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top”….see, there it is again. Finally Operation 77 will be at The Swiss Chalet with a range of covers covering punk, post-punk, ska and mod genres. They didn’t offer a neat alphabetized sound bite. Level 3 has a night that is 100% Drum and Bass for those that want to carry the party on into the night.

 

Music obsessives might wish to know that during the day at the Central Community Centre there will be a Record and CD Fair so all you audiophiles (that is a real word, I checked) start saving your money.

 

A second chance to see The Hamsters From Hell comes on Sunday at The White Hart in Wroughton. One of the reasons for mentioning this is that the pub has just changed hands and it would be in every live music fans interest to support the gig and prove to the new owners that live music is worth hosting and, more importantly from a business point of view, a lucrative income for the pub. Use it or lose it as they say.

 

Last mention of the week is for D’Bize at The Beehive also on Sunday, the best of the old Irish tradition with a young beating heart, sounds like a great way to enjoy a pint and let the roast dinner slowly digest.

10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.