Tag Archive: sea mammal


13474997_1226074580758425_7694964783349260294_oIt’s certainly a quieter week ahead, but I guess that the swings and roundabouts nature of things is just redressing the balance after a couple of weeks that spoilt us music goers. It’s also a week where most things on offer are going to be fairly familiar to you although today stands out as being a bit at odds with what is to follow.

 

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13770448_10153879878179422_708032630940904024_nWith the rise of the Pokémon Go madness, I’ve had a great idea of how to invigorate the local music scene. Pokeband Go. Same concept but the avatars of the local bands and artists that you have to capture can only be found in the bar or venue that they are playing in. You can then take them to a “gym” – normally a music or record shop – to battle with other players. You get awarded candies for buying band merchandise and stardust signing up to their mailing list. What do you reckon? If imaginary Japanese cartoon creatures can become a worldwide phenomena, surely this has a chance. Right? Maybe not.

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10568792_671452159600192_7578462626234394886_nIn an effort to keep this column hip and groovy I have adopted a new tactic. I could have grown a beard that makes me look like an American Backwoodsman, bought some plaid shirts and started drinking espresso out of a jam jar but that wouldn’t make much difference in the medium of print. Instead I thought I would get on board with the parlance of a Buzzfeed type article to really show that I’m down with the kids. (Do people still say that?) So….

 

This music journalist sat down to write a gig guide and what happened next will blow your mind. No? How about…Here’s 11 gigs that only real music fans will attend. Or, When I saw what this guy had written I cried. Nah, it’s not really me, is it? What about, get off your sofa, turn that TV off and go and support some real live music before I send a cultural hit squad round to sort you out! That’s more my style.

 

And for all of you concerned that the rotation of the same few bands around town is getting a bit predictable, Riffs Bar have a real treat for you tonight. All the way from San Diego, Black Market III mix soulful blues with red hot Americana, Clash style street punk with old school rock ‘n’ roll and are touted as a real “one to watch” band on the international circuit. Support comes from the doom-rock and art-punk experimentation of Sea Mammal and the soaring, grunge-scapes of D.I.R.T.E.

 

 

More hard, electric blues can be found at The Victoria in the shape of John Fairhurst whose band freely mix music traditions from the Mississippi shoreline to The Ganges Delta with bottle neck blues and psychedelia sitting cheek by jowl with Indian Raga and exotic eastern flavours. Think Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits jamming in a Kolkata teashop. Also on the bill are Cook and The Case and personally it has been amazing to watch them evolve through solo singer-songwriter and chilled indie folk genres into a band of unbelievable dynamic shifts and extremes of light and shade. Their music is both reckless and refined but always beautiful. At The Beehive you can catch the Afro-pop and roots sounds of Two Man Ting.

 

By Friday original music gets harder to track down but you can catch Tin Spirits at The Victoria who channel the sound of 70’s progressive rock with their current writing but often treat the audience to some of guitarist Dave Gregory’s XTC back-catalogue. Support comes from Steve Grimmett’s fundraising, classic rock side project Sound Bites.

 

Tributes can be found aplenty going into the weekend, Beatles fans should head for The Rolleston whilst next-door in Level 3 Jilted Generation return to evoke the glory days of The Prodigy. On Saturday you can catch the music of The Stranglers at The Victoria and Iron Maiden at The Rolleston whilst out at Riffs Bar Hot Flex play a range of classic rock covers with support from rock parody outfit Vinyl Matt.

 

A nice slice of punk history rolls into Level 3 on Saturday as ex-Adverts front man TV Smith (pictured) joins the bill for this years Mick Love Memorial Gig. Since the demise of The Adverts, Smith has carved out a highly respected solo career as well as touring with Amen and Die Toten Hosen, anyone who has heard of either of those bands needs to catch him live. The night opens with the Nu-wave, Bowery street punk from Strength in Blunders and goes out with a bang from Charred Hearts, over thirty years in and still fighting the punk wars on their own terms.

 

Sunday has some great acoustic offerings. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre Café features Light Falls Forward a band whose EP Sleeptalkin’ I can honestly say is one of the most gorgeous new musical offerings I have heard in a while. They manage to capture a very emotive vocal sound and layer it over a cinematic soundscape that combines a lush ambience with enough drive to keep it in the realms of reflective and dreamlike rather than melancholy. The equally elegant Faye Rogers and your hosts Mr Love and Justice are also to be found there.

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?

10007472_597937763635813_1859564634_nI was fishing around in a box of vinyl albums I found in the attic that hailed from a time when people still thought that digital watches were a neat idea and I came across a load of those ghastly “ Now That’s What I Call Music…” compilation albums.  It struck me that the idea of a compilation album is a weird concept, one that sees a cheek by jowl mix of musicians who would not normally bother to make eye contact if they were sitting at the same table.  It also made me think about what if there was such a thing of a compilation novel.  The best bits of literature presented as a complete work.

 

It might be set in Second World War Greece when an Italian, mandolin playing artillery captain wakes up to find that he has turned into a beetle. Mrs Bennet then decides that he is no longer a suitable husband for Little Nell and in revenge for this slight he sets fire to the library of Gormenghast castle.  Heathcliff cries out “The horror, the horror” the White Whale drags Frodo under the water as he slowly comes to a stark realisation. He loved Big Brother. Have I just created a new literary concept? Hopefully not.

 

Anyway enough nonsense and cut to the chase. Those of you who missed out on Womad and the chance to catch Tibetan punk bands, Colombian jazz fusion out fits, Nepalese Hip-Hop crews and of course Billy Bragg (probably) can console yourselves with a couple of local festivals featuring bands with more pronounceable names.

 

Firstly running Friday to Sunday, Festival on The Farm takes place in the grounds of Purton House Organics and features a great mix of covers and original music, solo artists and full bands and everything from funky soul to heavy rock. Alternatively, on Saturday, The Stratton Stroll has its usual musical meander around the pubs of that area. 6 venues, twenty artists, one great day. In both cases check the website for times and line ups, there is far too many for me to detail here but rest assured there is something for everyone. I suppose festivals are a bit like compilation albums or are they boxed sets…sorry, I won’t start that again.

 

So, back in the regular haunts, there is still a lot of great music to be had. Two-piece neo-grunge outfit, Boss Cloth (pictured) have an e.p. launch tonight at The Victoria where they are joined by high-energy doom bass and drums outfit Skin Horse (see the connection yet?) Opening the night is Sea Mammal, a swirling, experimental duo (how about now?) from the people who brought you Babies vs. Rabies.

 

The other end of the spectrum is being catered for at The Beehive with Skins and Strings who play wonderful blends of table drum beats and pastoral acoustic guitar lines.

 

On Friday, The Victoria hosts its regular Bands and Burlesque nights with music from old school rock and rollers Josie and The Outlaw and at The Beehive it’s Teddy White Lite, (their spelling not mine, damned this creeping Americanisation of our language) all the usual best of blues, beats and boogie from yesteryear presented as an acoustic set. At The Rolleston, Lily B plays acoustic covers from Joni Mitchel to Aerosmith and from K T Tunstall to Pink.

 

If the idea of two, top of their game, international psychobilly bands gets your musical juices flowing then The Rolleston on Saturday is the place to be. Hailing from Hamilton New Zealand and London, respectively, The Doppelgangers and The Moonshine Stalkers both have a reputation for wild, energetic shows that fuse old time rockabilly with punk sensibilities.

 

Acoustic music is provided in both quantity and quality as The GW Acoustic session celebrates its first birthday. Playing the night is Ells and The Southern Wild, Charlie Ann, Jimmy Moore, The Wires, Andrew Paul Davis and Who Cares? Also on offer is a tribute to U2 at The Victoria.

 

Rounding the musical working week off on Wednesday is Billy Bingham at the Roaring Donkey; delicate threads of acoustic guitar over laid with heartfelt, honest lyrics, perfect music for a warm summer evening.