Tag Archive: shepherds pie


thumbnailIf you were thinking that it is around this time of year that the live gigging circuit goes a bit quiet as bands prepare for the hectic run of Christmas bookings then one look at the list below will show you just how wrong such thoughts are. And it isn’t just the local set out in force either.

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Kirk-Brandon-aKoustiK-Promo2016.jpgNothing ever happens in this town. It must be true, after all you hear it said over and over again. Though it is difficult to justify such a statement as I prepare to list over 20 different gigs in the space of under a week. So with no further ado…

Tonight, The Victoria plays host to a slew of indie bands headed by chaps of the moment Getrz. This young musical gang weave punk swagger through sharp indie cool and they are joined by No Hot Ashes’ eclectic and wide-ranging sonics, the cinematic and sweeping sounds of We Are Parkas, and Freakouts kick the night off in explosive fashion.

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vice_squad.pngOkay, I’ll get this out of the way first off and talk about a show that I have been pretty excited about since it was first announced. Those who know me are aware that I’m pretty fanatical about New Model Army and have been listening to and watching them play since the mid 80’s…yes I’m that old! But in all that time despite front man Justin Sullivan’s numerous side projects and solo ventures, somehow I have only ever seen him play as part of the full band experience. 

That all changes tonight as he plays The Victoria. Sullivan is a mirror for the trials and challenges of life, more social commentary than truly political, tales of ordinary people making their way through the world but also threaded through with optimism and a celebration of this strange and beautiful world we live in. Support comes from two of the finest acoustic players on the circuit, the engaging stories of Jake Martin and the deft and dexterous songwriting of Chuck SJ Hay.

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31562214_2064398750484126_1469105218103878079_nWith The Swindon Shuffle still visible in the rear view mirror, and both Fieldview Festival and Festival on The Farm (other alliterative festivals are available) looming large on the horizon, it is probably understandable that it is a bit of a quieter week. Throw in pub refurbishments and a general move on the part of the punter to beer garden drinking rather than suffering the hot weather in a cramped and sweaty gig environment and I’m surprised that there any gigs on at all. And whilst gigs may be small in number, there is a great offering of original and interesting acts to be had amongst the more familiar names. Quality not quantity is definitely the order of the day…or in this case, week.

Tonight you will find Pete Jagger back at The Beehive for a night of politically infused folk originals in a similar style to James Taylor and Ralph McTell, mixed in with standards from the genre such as Paul Simon, John Martyn and even a bit of Elvis Costello if you are lucky.

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30440996_1777185609007161_522701509947817984_oAnother fairly quiet week around town, musically speaking, unless I’m missing something and if I am then please let me know, this column is only as relevant as the information that is readily available, so feel free to get in touch. It does, however, leave me room to wish happy birthday to the most excellent Rosanne Cash, eldest daughter of American music icon Johnny and herself an award winning musician and writer. If your record collection doesn’t contain a copy of her fantastic album Interiors, then your life will be all the poor for it until you rectify that situation.

And talking of splendid Americans, Keegan McInroe is back in town tonight. A true wandering minstrel, he weaves old country sounds, bluesy vibes and timeless folk heritage into songs which are as poetic as they are poignant. Catch him and usually a few familiar faces from the great and good of local music, or failing that the adequate and available, at The Beehive tonight.

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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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26805351_1804865899523931_4455629295024373349_nBefore we get into the meat/quorn of the column this week, just a reminder that if you are not seeing your venues gigs here it probably isn’t because the author “only writes about his mates bands” but more likely that you need to keep your website up to date or better still ahead of the chronological curve. If you are updating your listing or events page whilst the band in question is setting up for the sound check, I think it is safe to say that it isn’t going to be that effective. If I, someone whose job it is to trawl the internet, can’t find your gig, it is likely that few other people are seeing it either. Maybe it isn’t that people aren’t consciously not supporting your gigs, maybe they just didn’t know that they were happening in the first place. These, however,  are the gigs I did manage to track down.

Something a bit special can be found at The Tuppenny tonight in the guise of Stereocilia. John Scott, the man behind the music, uses guitar, live looping techniques and analog synths to create dense and rich cinematic soundscapes and beguiling drone art attacks. Support comes from the always compelling Grasslands and his equally unusual musical blends.

The Teddy White Band can be found at The Beehive  for another round of their trademark selection of blues and boogy from a bygone age, long forgotten gems and underground classics. Germany’s Rooftop Sailors bring their classic infused slabs of alt-rock to The Victoria as the UK leg of their Dead Water tour hits town. Support comes from The Stolen Jam Band, who play a mix of alt-rock and pop-punk originals and covers.

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10349094_566351956803162_3626054594936056313_nAnd so the “Kanye at Glastonbury” debate trundles on with an army of armchair Foo Fighters fans getting outraged on our behalf and trying to find ever more convoluted reasons to justify the fact that they simply don’t like his music. So? Maybe they are forgetting what a festival, especially one the size of Glastonbury (no Glasto…never Glasto!) is all about. Take a road trip to the heart of the West Country, be part of a temporary city of music fans, meet some interesting people, have a drink, get a bit …err…merry (that’s code by the way but this is a family paper,) take in some Cuban Jazz, a 1940’s Swing Band or a Canadian comedian (aren’t they all these days?) head out to the fringe events and learn to juggle. The options are endless. With literally 1000’s of acts to choose from why worry about one act, on one day, on one stage! That said, I stopped going when people in designer wellies from Kent began putting picket fences around their camping area to demarcate their own suburban plot from their neighbours.

 

And our own music week kicks off in fairly eclectic style as well. Level 3 has a wonderful slice of alt-rock spearheaded by Maidenheads Hindsights, a melodic, riff driven, energetic young band and the more abrasive growl of Hereford’s Richa. Slightly at odds with the headline sound, the more wistful indie-folk of Bad News (no, not that one…a different one) play the middle slot and local bands Dreamcatcher and Sahara Heights add an element of moody indie and shimmering shoegaze to the night.

 

At The Victoria Talk In Code will be throwing stadium tunes, euphoric vibes, accessible dance-rock and a spade load of pop sensibility into the mix to deliver their trade mark cross genre fusions. They are joined by the similarly anthemic Echotape and the pop rock of The Fuse.

Meanwhile at The Beehive, The Sitting Tenants offer up English garage band psychedelia, power-pop and modish rock.

 

On Friday, again Level 3 provides the big draw of the night. The Green Gig is a fundraiser on behalf of the Swindon Green Party, but politics aside it’s a fantastic line up. The Headliners, Kid Calico and the Astral Ponies are a supergroup with ex-members from Belarus, Good Things Happen in Bad Towns and Sunday Dogs, to name a few and a neat line in Americana, music hall and raggle-taggle folk. Joining them, conjuring reflective dreamscapes and indie, pastoral sweetness is Colour the Atlas (pictured). Ian Doeser and Neil Mercer get the night underway.

 

After that original music gets a bit harder to find, though fans of classic rock and metal covers will find a lot that they like from either Kok Rok at The Rolleston and Shepherds Pie at The Victoria. All styles, eras and genres can be found at The Liden Arms courtesy of Penfold.

 

Similarly, Saturday continues to cater for the denim-jacketed brigade with more classic rock covers from Broken Image at The Swiss Chalet. If you are fans of rock and rolls most successful survivors, then The Victoria is the place to be for The Rollin’ Clones.

 

Barrelhouse will be playing vintage blues with a hard edge that takes in Chicago’s heritage and the sound of the early English blues-rock movement at The Rolleston and Riffs Bar is the place to be for something with more of a bucolic vibe to it. Rob Richings deals in vocal harmony driven folk that uses indie and pop borrowings to keep it fresh and contemporary. Joining him is Ethemia, a duo renowned for the timeless quality and sensitivity of their songs and the inspirational Leon Daye. Getting the night underway The Southern Harmony, a band featuring three ex-members of Bateleurs, will be playing their debut show.

 

Jim Reynolds takes the afternoon slot at The Beehive on Sunday, filling the room with music that taps into everything from blues to ragtime, music hall to folk.

 

If something a bit more energetic is your sort of thing then The Victoria that evening is the place to be. Stillbust give a new twist to the hardcore genre and Foxpunch blend gritty punk, ska and a thrashier edge into what they adequately describe as speed grunge. Opening that show are Strength In Blunders.

 

And finally, Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you can catch the wonderfully upbeat and infectiously soulful acoustica of The Real Raj.

 

1454601_785932734795095_2432621929046862276_nI recently found myself in a conversation with a tattooed, rock acolyte being told in no uncertain terms that heavy metal was the only genre of music that mattered and that all else failed to match up to it. Two things, however, immediately undermined his argument; firstly the fact that he was wearing a Limp Bizkit t-shirt and also the continued existence of Twisted Sister. For me the enjoyment of music comes from having a broad-minded approach to it. If you are a foodie, then surely you frequently sample many styles of cuisine, if you like travelling then your destinations are varied and many. Therefore if music has an important place in your life then is it not best to experience all of its many facets? My suggestion that he went home and listened to some Marvin Gaye was met with a derisory snort… his loss I guess. This weeks offerings are indeed varied and many, so if you like music in all its forms you have a treat of a week coming up.

 

Blues is the order of tonight. Having interviewed Elles Bailey (pictured) recently at an “in session” show on a local radio station, I already know what an incredible talent she is, the rest of you will have to head up to The Beehive to check out her sultry blues delivered with a sensuous, husky vocal and an energetic stage presence. A more funky take on the genre can be found in the top bar of The Victoria as Jim Blair breaks out his trademark slide blues and whiskey cracked vocal.

 

Friday actually continues in a similar vein with The Husky Tones at The Rolleston. This raw and energetic band mix up their own vibrant, electric guitar driven compositions with standards from some of the genres greats. At The Victoria a tribute to one of the finest southern blues acts can be found in the shape of The ZZ Tops.

 

Saturday is where things get a lot more eclectic but again a clash of bookings means that fans of the distinctive Caribbean sound will have to make a choice. At The Victoria, the Shocks of Mighty Reggae Club Night features Sidewalk Doctors, London’s finest purveyors of Rocksteady, that brief but breezy interlude that provided the link between the existing ska sound and the evolving reggae genre. It’s also the sound at the heart of support band The Erin Bardwell Collective’s music.

 

Ska and Rocksteady can  be found at The Rolleston to as Boy le Monti also revel in that glorious 60’s vibe, so expect off-beat, staccato guitars, pulsing basslines and glorious blasts of brass. Honestly, they are like busses, you wait ages for one to come along and then three show up at once. Actually a similar thing was overheard at the recent Bruce Springsteen look-alike competition. (He’s called The Boss…..think about it…no, well please yourself it made me laugh anyway.)

 

Of interest to the gig goers at the two shows I have just mentioned, The MECA have a night of DJ’s spinning Northern Soul and Motown, going on until 2am so you know where to go for the after party.

 

Imagine Vic Reeves leading a band. Okay, forget that just head up to The Beehive on Saturday and catch Bill Smarme (king of the social club crooners, love guru, connoisseur of fine wines and marmalades and building contractor) and his band The Business. I will say no more, but do catch them.

 

Cover band fans can catch all their favourite tunes from Penfold who celebrate their birthday bash out at Riffs Bar, those with a penchant for the heavier sounds should head to The Swiss Chalet and tuck into a bit of Shepherds Pie.

 

The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive features the pop vibes of James Cottriall, a man who won the Austrian version of The Voice in 2009. Now I know that sounds like me setting up a joke and you are waiting for a witty punchline, but in this case it happens to be true.

 

And finally Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey is the place to find Ells and The Southern Wild a wonderful trio who weave folk, pop and rock together to deliver delicate, accessible and memorable songs.

10606297_674715675957087_5120512786349989203_nAfter a few of weeks with lots of great music covering a diverse range of genres to chose from, things have inevitably quietened down this week. Maybe it is a December thing where people turn their attention to saving money for Christmas, work parties and family celebrations. Then again I never know which of the following is true. Some say that it is harder to get good crowds out for gigs in winter, as people are preoccupied for the reasons I have just given. But in the summer the perception is that people are not going to gigs because it is the season of barbeques and back garden gatherings. I guess that whatever the season if you book the right bands people will make the effort. Recent weeks have shown this to be true so here’s to this week being more of the same.

 

And we are off to a great start at The Victoria tonight with a wonderful array of energetic acoustic music. If you think that acoustic music is the domain of folk club balladry, Arran sweaters and pastoral songs with medieval themes, then this is the show to put the genre firmly on the modern map. Headliners, The Wires, mix high-energy grooves with forays into more bluesy, old school traditions. Also on the bill is Ben Maggs a man who makes engaging, accessible, chart friendly music and Jimmy Moore whose recent album release has seen his musical stock transformed from a good circuit singer-songwriter into a brilliant world-roots act.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, 1000 Planets will be laying out a stall of both original material and covers by the likes of Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke and Bauhaus. Definitely one for all the old school goths. (I used to be a goth but was thrown out for laughing!)

 

Friday really does have something for everyone, unless of course you think Nikki Minaj is the height of musical eloquence in which case you are beyond help. For everyone else there is the following to choose from. The Victoria is the place to be for something a bit funky as Felix and The Funk (pictured) play a range of Soul, Disco, Pop, Dance and Reggae from the last six decades. The Rolleston has Metalgods, who, as their name might suggest, are a tribute to 80s and 90s rock and metal but apparently steer clear of the standard fare offered by their competitors. At the Riffs Bar Acoustic Session you can find Sam Eason, a hirsute, flame haired, singer-songwriter with a touch of James Taylor, Damian Rice and His Bobness injected into his beautiful and original creations.

 

Those of a more dance orientated persuasion should note that MECA are hosing “Live Music” – a night of Hip-Hop, R’n’ B, House and club anthems from a range of artists such as DJ Longplaya, DJ Eclipse, DJ Mosco and live performances from SN Dubstation, Benji Clements and Hibbz, Young Wilson and many more.

 

The Victoria on Saturday has a very special show, paying tribute to the late great Ian “Jock” Kerr. Not only was Jock a brilliant musician and regular live performer he was also a keen supporter of local music, a regular fixture either side of The Victoria’s bar and someone who brought laughter and no small amount of bemusement to all who came into contact with him. As a tribute to the man, to mark his untimely passing and to raise money for both a headstone and to help support his daughter, I urge anyone who knew him to gather in celebration of “Yer Auld Pal.” The music like the man himself will range from genially boisterous to just plain silly thanks to The Racket, British Harlem and Kova Me Badd.

 

Rock music is also on offer at The Queens Tap with Shepherds Pie who play the best of classic rock from the past 40 years and Lewis Creaven will be offering up blues, retro and southern rock standards at The Rolleston. Those looking for a beautiful noise could do a lot worse than head out to Riffs Bar for a night with Ruff Diamond playing tribute to namesake Neil.

 

Please note that the Peloton gig recently advertised at The Royal Oak is cancelled due to the recent closure of the venue.

 

Two offerings to round the week off are acoustic and electric blends of bluegrass, Cajun and Americana from Sons of The Delta at The Beehive on Sunday and a solo show from David Marx at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.