Tag Archive: roughnecks (the)


1607111_577491689022522_3860118839849066474_nI will apologize in advance for the Shuffle-centric nature of this weeks scribbling but when over 40 music acts line up to play across 3 major venues and a host of additional bars, cafes and public places, it is inevitable that it will take up most of the space. So, The Swindon Shuffle is back for it’s ninth year and it seems only a blink of an eye that I was sat in the Winners Lounge (before it’s Legendary upgrade) on a Thursday night waiting for The Unforeseen to play the first ever slot. Tempus does indeed fugit! So, the first fringe events took place last night but as of today Shuffling begins in earnest.

The Victoria has long been one of the cornerstones of The Shuffle and so it is apt that we begin there. This session is one for those with a penchant for heavier music and is headlined by a band that have had a meteoric rise over the last year or so, A Way With Words. Other alt-rock acts on the bill include All Ears Avow and the dystopian vibes of Ghost of Machines. Between these you can catch the punk onslaught that is 2 Sick Monkeys and something with more of a blues spin from The Harlers.

Baila Coffee and Vinyl has always been a cool place to hang out during the day (where do you think I am writing this?) but now with the addition of a evening drinks license they have become part of Old Town nightlife with craft ales, a well selected wine cellar and quality spirits available and they join in the festival with sets from Matilda (minus drummer Emily who is probably doing headstands on a mountain in Outer Mongolia,) young, groove driven Indie from Polar Front and the captivating and heartfelt songs of Charlie Bath.

The Victoria second contribution comes on Friday, this time with a more eclectic and intriguing bill headed by the drifting ambience and trippy grooves of Colour The Atlas (pictured). Theo Altieri provides some effortlessly cool indie-pop and Super Squarecloud will be doing what ever it is they do – I’ve been writing about their mercurial, genre-hopping music and flagrant disregard for convention for 4 years now and I still haven’t found the adequate words! The early part of the night sees the welcome return of a couple of out-of-towners, Cursor Major who prove once and for all that kookiness is next to godliness and that blend of delicacy and dynamics that is Familiars.

Within easy shuffling distance of that (hence the name) is The Castle and their first session has a bit of a blues edge to it. Although main man Ian Doeser has long been a fixture of the Shuffle as a solo player this is, I believe, the first time that the full Hamsters From Hell have graced the event, so expect the usual sweary, tongue-in-cheek, bawdy humour set to an R’n’B backdrop. And if The Hamsters are a nod to the ghost of blues past, then The Greasy Slicks are very much about the ghost of blues future; slick, incendiary deliveries and killer riffs and acting as a sign post for where the genre is going. Also on the bill are Coasters, a punk vibe injected into Americana but whose songs trade Route 66 for the M4.

Elsewhere, The Locomotive, part of the Shuffle Fringe due to it’s outlying location in relation to the main focus of events, nevertheless plays a blinder by hosting Yves, one of the front runners of the new Indie crop of local bands and at The Rolleston you can catch Beatles tribute The Pre Fab Four.

On Saturday the music starts at midday at The Central Library where various acoustic acts including Neil Mercer and Stuart Marsh can be found playing throughout the afternoon.

Saturday also sees The Beehive, the only venue to have been involved in all nine years, get involved with a folk slant to their bill. Southern Harmony bring their wonderful blend of Celtic, English and Appalachian folk to the party and Ells and The Southern Wild throw in some darker folk vibes. Plummie Racket and Nick Felix will be adding a more singer-songwriter feeling to the evening.

Up the hill at The Castle, the younger set have their moment with Balloon Ascent’s accessible indie-folk creations, the shoegaze and post-punk referencing Sahara Heights building to a night of ska, reggae and infectious dance grooves from SN Dubstation, not a band that you want to miss, believe me. At The Locomotive, The Roughnecks will be blasting out their incendiary R’n”B and old-school rock and roll to entice and astound the Fleet Street crowd.

Non-Shuffle related gigs can also be found at The Victoria with Going Underground, Strictly Dan a tribute to Steely Dan at Riffs Bar, classic rock covers at The Rolleston from Bad Obsession and all your favourite songs from a new line-up Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees The Shuffle round off at its now traditional last day party at The Beehive. A string of solo players, Mel Hughes, Tamsin Quin and Steve Leigh get things underway before Bruce St. Bridges, the socially aware, psychedelic folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice and the sonic pick’n’mix of auralcandy move things up a gear. Last year The Shudders almost destroyed the venue with their final set of the festival and they have been given the task of attempting to do the same this year with another headline slot.

If you want something to help easy you out of the festival, the perfect gentle step back into normality comes at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with those dapper jazz aficionados Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz.

10384282_524686984329584_2829732092505597701_nThis week’s contentious offering goes like this. Has music lost its voice? Performing music and releasing records is a wonderful platform, which has been used since time immemorial to communicate information. From Dark Age Sagas and Medieval troubadours right through to the modern folk, hip-hop and punk movements, music has always had the power to be political, to spread social commentary and advocate change. Now in a society seemingly more ill at ease with itself than ever before music makers should be reminded of the power they hold. Songs such as Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding, The Special’s Ghost Town, John Lennon’s Imagine and Nina Simone’s Mississippi Goddam have stood as important rallying points; so the question is, what will you do with your platform? Recycle the glories of the past, write throwaway tunes in the quest for fame or actually use it as a vehicle to exchange ideas? Why try to smash through physical barricades when with music you can smash through perceptions and apathy. Anyway, enough of the Ben Elton type rhetoric, on with the show.

And there are countless options to connect with live music this week, unless you do count them in which case there are about 15, starting tonight at The Beehive. Keegan McInroe seems to spend more time touring Europe than he does in his at his Texas home and tonight is the first of two opportunities to catch his finely woven threads of country, blues, folk and roots Americana; he is aided and abetted by various great and good of local music.

Friday sees the first of three gigs at The Castle, a venue that has consistently upped it’s game over the last year or so to become an integral part of the local circuit, with The Roughnecks bringing their incendiary brand of gritty, old school rhythm and blues.

If you are looking for familiar sounds then you have the options of either ska covers at The Victoria with The Killertones or the genre hopping Corduroy Kings at The Rolleston.

Going against the normal flow, Saturday sees a real spike in creativity as two of Swindon’s most prominent bands have record launch shows taking place. Colour The Atlas have made a name for themselves creating wonderfully cinematic, hazy trip-hop and although they have managed to secure some impressive tours and support some big name artists, when it comes to launching new material they are real home birds which means that you can catch them showcasing their new e.p. Amethyst at The Castle. If something more driven is your preference then Level 3 plays host to popular and dynamic alt-rockers A Way With Words, who are launching their own e.p. Reflections the very same night.

Two fundraisers also take place, firstly to raise money for a humanitarian trip to Kenya. Music for this evening comes from Kate Musty, Meghann Newcombe, Westways, Misfires and Sahara Heights. The other worthy cause to get behind is Moonfest and more about that can be found elsewhere on this page.

Rock tribute acts go head to head, Wizards of Oz (Ozzy Osbourne) are at The Rolleston and Hot Red Chilli Peppers (do I really need you spell this one out?) entertain The Victoria.

Mr Love and Justice host their usual Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Central Library, joining them this time is Southern Harmony, who splice Americana and Celtic folk musical genes to impressive effect and hard hitting tribal funk-folk duo Insitu. If you still have a thirst for music after that you can continue into the evening at The Castle with Cristian Perugino.

Wednesday is surprisingly busy this week. It is the second chance to catch Texas blues man Keegan McInroe as he joins the bill at The Roaring Donkey along side ex-Snakes guitarist Richard Davis and new roots-pop duo, Bruce Street Bridges (named after an old time Chicago music hall crooner I believe.)   Also roots collective S’Go ( pictured) can be found at The Gluepot and at Level 3 things get heavy with punks Bob Malmstrom and metallers Bludger, Harmony Disorder and Belial.

941709_451444478279664_612130979_nIt’s pretty much slim pickings gig wise around the town this week and no, that isn’t a sneaky reference to the Blazing Saddles and Dr Strangelove actor with a similar sounding name. A seasonal lull in proceedings is to be expected at this time of year, but if you are a venue, promoter and band and want to ensure a mention in this column then you only have to send me a message, I’m easy enough to find on the supermation info-highway thingy.

 

So starting with a bang at The Victoria, tonight there is a line up heavy enough to satisfy even the most extreme noise merchants. Leading the way is Sleep Inertia, the band that rose from the ashes of The Dead Lay Waiting, so expect the same uncompromising onslaught but one catering for a slightly more mature target audience than before. They are joined by two other local acts, the hardcore brutality of Heriot and the solid, metal shenanigans of Eden Falls.

 

Meanwhile, The Roughnecks can be found at The Beehive; fans of old school, gritty, rhythm and blues should do themselves a favour and check them out.

 

Friday can only offer a look back at some of the great music of yesteryear. At The Victoria you can catch The Teddy White Band playing the best in beat, retro rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues, whilst at The Rolleston, The Corduroy Kings cover music written between the sixties and the present day in the rock, blues, R’n’B, soul and funk categories. Over at The Fox and Hounds in Hayden Wick, function band Echo will be entertaining the crowd with a repertoire so broad there is no point even trying to nail it down. The best way to approach the gig is with an open mind, just go along and see what you get given.

 

Saturday also has its fair share of the tried and tested. At The Rolleston, Alter Ego will be offering up classic rock and soulful blues and at The Swiss Chalet, Mojo will be playing music from The 50’s to the present day.

 

And just as I was giving up on the notion that there may be something original going on, Riffs Bar come to the rescue with the launch show for Red Jasper’s (pictured)latest album, The Great and Secret Show, not only their 6th album but their first release in 17 years. Red Jasper blend British folk rock with a harder, neo-progressive rock edge, those that revel in the seventies output of Jethro Tull or Fish era Marillion may find a lot here that they like.

 

And finally something else to satisfy fans of original music can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Usually found fronting Blind River Scare, Tim Manning is a regular face in Swindon also due to the monthly Acoustic Buzz sessions he hosts at The Beehive. As a solo act his songs lose none of their craftsmanship and subtleties, a wonderful blend of Celtic folk and southern Americana traditions.

 

I shall probably get crucified for saying this but to all the venues and promoters who play it safe by continuously booking the same cover bands, I know there is a certain financial security to be had through this route, but do you not ever feel that there is more to life than comfort zones? Imagine in years to come being able to say to yourself, that the band that have just sold out an arena tour in under an hour used to play in your venue, wouldn’t it be satisfying to able to say that you helped them get where they are today. Wouldn’t that be something?

318761_473799535965634_658808314_nThere was a time when, according to the song, all people wanted for Christmas was two front teeth, but those simpler times seem to be long gone. I blame Mariah Carey. She really raised the stakes by famously declaring that all she wanted was you. Yes, YOU (and you and you and you!) Blimey, not asking for much. It’s also a time when people “ironically” slip into novelty knitwear, words such as ‘tis and ‘twas make an annual outing and everyone suddenly thinks that Elf is the new It’s a Wonderful Life. (Over my dead body!)

 

It’s a time of year when TV sets overflow with adverts featuring stressed mums, useless dads, penguins, puppies, Christmas tables heaving under thousands of pounds worth of food, soppy, faux-indie soundtracks and perpetual snow, even though a white Christmas happens about one in 6 years and half as frequently in “that London” where these adverts are dreamed up. All I want for Christmas is some decent live music to experience; thankfully Santa seems to have delivered.

 

The Victoria has the first of two heavy rock shows, firstly tonight in the shape of Manchester trio Absolva, a band who have taken the core sound that informed the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement of the eighties and brought it bang up to date. Support comes from equally hard hitting classic metallers Die No More and Control The Storm.

 

At the other end of the musical spectrum Claude Bourbon returns to The Beehive to weave an intoxicating acoustic web from a fusion of classical, jazz, folk and Latin guitar styles.

 

Friday has plenty to choose from, the big one being a fund raiser for I.A.R. that’s International Animal Rescue, not the World War Two Romanian fighter plane manufacturer. Anyway, more about that can be found elsewhere on this page. Funk and soul fans are well catered for by Felix and The Funk at The Moonrakers and blues fans have two options. Soul, Rhythm and Blues and rock all go into the mix at Riffs Bar with Bob Bowles and the Dansette Tones and at The Rolleston there is a tribute to that stalwart of American music, Bonnie Rait.

 

Fans of heavier music get a second slice of the pie with ubiquitous Iron Maiden tribute Powerslaves playing Level 3 whilst Metalhead offer a selection of classic rock and metal at The Victoria.

 

Roots Reggae gets a look in on Saturday at The Victoria with Urban Lions the new musical vehicle for classic UK roots artist Donette Forte. Also on the bill are DJ’s Bambi (aka Miss Reggae Reggae Sauce) and Stu Green (aka Mr Pop Art.) If, however, something a bit more raucous is to your tastes then The Roughnecks at the Rolleston might be more to your liking. Made up of band members from Josie and The Outlaw, The Meteors and Screaming Lord Sutch, their blend of old school rock ‘n’roll and psychobilly has been described as a Dr Feelgood meets The Meteors sound clash. A more wide-ranging musical experience can be had with the pop and rock covers offered up by Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

 

Sunday may be the day of rest but something a bit special takes place at The Victoria in the evening as those awfully nice chaps at Sheer Music offer a chance to experience the brilliance of The Retrospective Soundtrack Players (pictured). This is a band who make albums about their favourite books and films and having already dealt with Cool Hand Luke and The Catcher in The Rye, their just released 3rd album goes under the fitting title of It’s a Wonderful Christmas Carol. So it’s folk-pop with a literary bent, sounds intriguing. Also on the bill are the intense aggro-acoustic sounds of Oxygen Thief, the agit-folk of Coasters plus the mellower and captivating musical charms of Charlie Bath.

 

Rounding the week off and providing two gigs that really do offer something totally unique are Kick Ass Brass and Skins and Strings. The first is a soul-funk outfit combining steaming hot brass, an amazing rhythm section and outstanding vocals and can be found at Baker Street on Tuesday. The second is an instrumental two-piece that combines exotic eastern tabla beats with the more pastoral guitar of a western folk tradition which is to be found at The Roaring Donkey.