Tag Archive: port erin


706278_10151048704753039_833851308_oThe big noise this week, quite literally in this case, has to be that it is Easter Bank Holiday which mean’s that it is time for this years VicFest. As always this celebration of local and regional, cutting edge original music takes place over four generically themed sessions and tonight The Victoria presents a wonderful array of young and happening Indie bands.

Getrz lead the charge with their brand of high octane and deftly delivered wide screen indie, Sweet Tooth head up from Bristol to deliver some eclectic and wonderfully soulful indie-pop and We Are Parkas are a trashy take on the Manchester sound. Opening the night is the sweet sound of The Basement Club.

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1278861_573888912660792_1813647107_oNot many musicians deserve elevation to celebrity status. In fact celebrity is a word so devalued by its application to reality TV chancers and inflated pop dross egos that we need a new label for the likes of David Bowie. Maybe Icon is a better fit. 25 of the most influential albums of all time, film and theatre roles and untold creative innovations; he embodied art, androgyny, contradiction, mystery, elegance and eloquence and even his death and final musical statement seem like a work of art.

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12993610_493191007545654_2989128209578684041_nIn ancient times people would look for favourable portents or past indications of success before making big decisions. Now I’m sure nothing as calculated as that took place in the Polar Front camp, no ancient scrolls invoked, no crystal balls employed but with advance copies of their debut e.p. available at tonight’s Victoria gig, it does seem like the perfect day for them to go public. For on this day in history, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here first saw the light of day and Led Zeppelin’s In Trough The Out Door started a long stay at the number one spot. Most of all it should be noted for the day on which Dire Straits officially disbanded in 1988. It does seem as if the Gods of Music favour this date.

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I bumped into a young guitarist the other day whose opening line upon seeing me was, “Hey man, were you at my last gig?” to which I replied, “I really hope so.” Geddit? It’s a joke. No? Okay…tough crowd. Nothing else for it but to jump right in then, pay attention there is a lot to get through.

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1513283_506512192781069_1956845908_nA week may be a long time in politics but 10 years is certainly a long time in gig promotion and that’s how long Songs of Praise has been going. Blimey! Conceived as a way to support and promote the local original scene it has, under a revolving door of visionaries, music snobs, geeks and fantasists become one of the corner stones of original music in Swindon. Tonight it is time to celebrate that fact with a showcase of great bands and party at the Victoria and you are all invited.

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10712773_10152293780256876_355188488816819957_nI think we have pretty much everything covered this week generically speaking, everything from solo roots players to big ska-dance ensembles, from old school bar bands to forward thinking musical fusions. I can’t see any cause for complaint unless you are into Tibetan free jazz or a fan of the Inuit hip-hop scene, but you can’t have everything. After all where would you put it? Anyway, on with the task at hand.

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10620503_1288366577856526_5115857411380078918_oSo once all the enforced merriment, awkward reunions and argumentative family gatherings are done and dusted it will be time to get back down to those things that matter. Namely some original live music shows and what better way to start the year than with the mercurial, intricate, soothing and mesmerising sound of Port Erin. Playing 2 sets of music from across their career, weaving in some extended jams and generally showing what might have happened if Frank Zappa had joined Pink Floyd, this is the perfect way to get the new year underway.

Live and Local Podcast

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186This week how features Shaun Barry chatting and playing some of his music from his various bands and some new solo music as well. Music from: Shaun Barry, Automaniacs, Echoic, Blake, Buswell, Last Box of Sparklers, Raze Rebuild, Anton Barbeau, Les Clochards, Port Erin, The Familiars, Bruce Street Bridges.

Listen to The Podcast  HERE

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.