Tag Archive: sitting tenants (the)


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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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.

 

1238974_708248452536051_260016646_nAs the last of the Halloween greasepaint has been scrubbed from the costume that you need to return to the shop; the final whiff of bonfire smoke and the cordite of smoldering fireworks have been blown away on autumnal gusts and those once a year “I’m so much more pagan than thou” types have ceased posting their burning martyr updates to their fellow Buffy fans on the various anti-social networks to which they belong, we can finally put such things behind us and get on with the task at hand. Supporting live music. There are not so many opportunities to do so this week as I would like to be able to report, but it seems to be a week of quality not quantity so pick a show and get behind the live music scene.

 

The cream of the acoustic crop is in town tonight at Songs of Praise at The Victoria as local lad made good, Gaz Brookfield aided and abetted by his violining sidekick, Ben Wain,    spearhead the best of the regional and national circuit. Hard work is really paying off for Gaz and supports to the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army are finally pushing him into the spotlight of the acoustic – new folk – crusty – festival circuit…call it what you will, so catch him before he is whisked away to bigger things. Support comes from the looping acoustica and Buckley-esque tones of Alex Taylor, Joe McCorriston all the way down from Morecombe and wise words and romantic ballads from the enigmatic Stead to start things off.

 

Something a bit more rooted in rock and roll is to be found at The Beehive as Josie and The Outlaw dig up some old school grooves and rockabilly backbeats to kick the weekend off early.

 

More contemporary sounds can be found at Riffs Bar on Friday as The Secret Chord brings in some amazing bands from around the south for your delectation. Kernow’s finest, Even Nine (pictured) make a welcome return to headline the night, a slicker, more energetic band you couldn’t wish for, delivering music that is stuck between a rock and a ….well, wonderfully melodic and totally infectious place, as the saying goes. Alt-rockers A Way With Words provide the local interest and Dorset four-piece Patchwork Native kick the night off.

 

At The Rolleston, meanwhile, there will be original music blended from the building blocks of mod style lines, power-pop drive and psychedelic wigouts courtesy of The Sitting Tenants. Super!

 

Saturday night is the traditional slot for the big tributes, not normally my thing but you could do a lot worse than Still Marillion, a tribute to one of my favourite neo-prog bands from back in the day. If you want to re-live the Fish era years, that heady blend of poetics and passion, technical ability and emotive songlines, then this is the show for you. Support comes from original progressive rockers Spiral Key, so real value for money all round.

 

Riffs Bar is offering a night of Burlesque accompanied by music from Ghost Trail and at The Rolleston it’s The Worried Men. Although the event page for this show describes the band as “Chance of Rain 11C” they would be better described as the last word in fired up, white hot, electric r’n’b. Jamie Thyer leads a band that are in the same mold as The Hamsters, not as well known as the likes of Gary Moore, George Thorogood or ZZ Top, but every bit as good.

 

Sunday afternoon at The Beehive is a elemental blend of dark ballads, protest songs, slow airs, jigs and reels, courtesy of Tattie Jam who reinterpret songs from the Scottish folk tradition and give it all a fun and contemporary twist.

 

Final offering of the week is to be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Plummie Racket picks up his acoustic guitar to entertain with his gritty tales of urban life.

 

Just the two puns this week, must be losing my touch!

eFestivalsI’m not sure if it is just a Swindon thing but it does seem that every other gig you see advertised these days features some earnest young acoustic guitar wielding wannabe aiming to be the next Frank Turner or Laura Marling. It may seem like an easy way to get into music; low overheads, no egotistical band mates to fight with, the ability to tour the country in a broken down Fiat Uno etc but the problem with so much of it going on is that for every soon to be discovered darling of 6music or Wychwood Festival there are a dozen chancers waxing not so lyrical about their recent break ups over a rudimentary knowledge of the key of A minor and clumsily rhyming June with moon.

Thankfully if you want a master class in how it should be done, all you have to do is head to The Victoria tonight when the prodigal son returns, sort of. Songs of Praise is being headlined by Gaz Brookfield, aided and abetted by his fiddle-wielding associate, Ben Wain. Fresh from another jaunt supporting The Levellers and about to share a stage with those emotionally battered, wind swept rock gods, New Model Army (yes, I’m a bit of a fan), I suggest you catch him whilst he is still cheaper than a pint of beer, because it won’t last much longer. Also on the bill is Joshua Caole, who brings a chilled Elliot Smith meets Gram Parsons feeling to the proceedings and kicking things off is the soulful, funky vibe that is Benji Clements.

Two of the musical genres that people have most problems identifying are “world” and “roots” music. If you go to The Beehive tonight you will see both genres colliding head on. Mambo Jambo are an amazing duo that mix Latin styles with bluegrass, jazz and Eastern European sounds – raw enough to sound authentic, virtuosic enough to be mesmerising.

Punks will find much to like over at Riffs Bar on Friday as legendary, urban rail punks Eastfield make a rare visit to this neck of the woods. Three chords, catchy tunes, an often tongue in cheek story and lots of smiles. What’s not to like? The Useless Eaters will be mixing up covers and originals in a tribute to the first wave punk era and opening the night with unforgettable hooks and despondent satire is Strength in Blunders, featuring a guest bassist in the form of Pete Monkey. Nice.

The other big name in town that night is former InMe front man Dave McPherson (pictured) who can be found at The Castle. At a turn uplifting, mournful, calm and soothing, whilst often being a world away from his previous musical vehicle, here is an artist that delivers something very special indeed.

At The Beehive a collection of familiar faces from the local scene, who go by the name The Sitting Tenants will be blending power-pop, new wave, psych and soul into wonderfully original creations, whilst at The Rolleston, The Dylegans take skiffle, country and old school rock and roll as their chosen musical weapons.

Saturday is all about roots music at The Victoria, as Hiproute will be laying out their trademark funked up, acoustic blues stall. Support comes from the quirky, harmony fuelled, folky, surf vibe of Willowen, who I can only describe as being what Noah and The Whale sound like in their own heads, though fall way short of in reality. Delta-esque rockers The Blue Trees and Alex Roberts also add value to the deal. More blues can be found in the guise of Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and it’s slick contemporary covers with Toxic over at The Swiss Chalet.

If you have a craving for electronic music, DJ Dust hosts Digital at Piri Piri, a night of music and videos of that ilk featuring everything from the likes of New order to Chase and Status.

If you want your final fix of music before the working week pulls you back then there are a number of options on Sunday. The afternoon session at The Beehive is taken by The Racket main man Plummie and his new solo venture,  support for that one is The Black Sheep Apprentice himself, Skiddy and the original Sweet Plum, Cat Jamieson. Old school rock’n’roll and rockabilly riffs are to be found at 20 At The Kings with Josie and The Outlaw and if gargantuan slabs of rock with grunge overtones are more your cup of tea (or should I say Seattle Coffee) then the place to be is The New Inn for Vanarin.

Rounding up on Wednesday at The Running Horse you will find bluesman Ian O’Regan and Rhys Bury providing the entertainment.