Tag Archive: snaggletooth


Had a bit of a revelation last week, apparently the local music scene is dead. Not only did a bloke in a pub tell me, two days later a totally different other bloke in a totally different other pub told be exactly the same thing, so it must be true. In fact I think they are right as I had only managed to get to watch four bands that week, I really should put a bit more effort in.

It may come as no surprise that there are many things that annoy me; reality shows, celebrities, celebrity reality shows, cooking shows, cordon bleu, James Cordon, Twilight, people over the age of eleven who have read Twilight, people who pronounce coupon with a Q, people who make lists of things that annoy them, Steven Seagal and obviously Nicholas Cages hair. But the one thing that trumps any of those is people who tell me the music scene is dead yet whom I have never bumped into at a gig or even heard discuss a band they have seen.

Okay I admit things have been quiet of late and it doesn’t help that two of our bigger venues seem to have given up altogether on the idea putting gigs on. I will mention no names, as I don’t want to wake up with an overused Godfather movie reference in the bed next to me. But come on, dead? I don’t think so. Even on a quieter week like this,  I can still list a dozen bands to check out, many of them free, but if you would rather sit on Facebook posting “support live music” banners or watch Simon Cowell’s latest round of money spinning exploitations then maybe the local live circuit is not the place for you anyway, there is no “like” button for a start!

So what will the more supportive and broadminded be feasting on this week? Damn it! As if to trip my argument up at the first hurdle, tonight The Victoria plays host to BGT auditionee Sam Kelly who many of you will remember from such classics as Porridge and ‘Allo ‘Allo. He may have ambitions involving Cowell’s evil empire but at least he is putting his money where his mouth is and is out hitting the live circuit. Support comes from the slick dance-pop ear candy of Goldman.

Better illustrating my point is Acoustic Buzz at The Beehive. Blind River Scare main man Tim Manning hosts his regular night and delivers some wonderful acoustic Americana folk, this time joined by the delicate guitar and Kate Bush-esque vocal of Jess Vincent. Also on the bill is Jack Bird whose sound is neatly summed up as invoking bar-room brawls, smoky pool rooms, dusty highways and full of whiskey aching songs.

Friday has a couple of great options for the rock fraternity though both in the shape of tributes. Snaggletooth will be at The Rolleston doing their very best Motorhead impression and up at The Victoria, fans of Green Day will be catered for. After this weeks antics in Las Vegas I just hope no one tries to cut their set short. Oh, the language!

More Americana at The Beehive, this time the real deal. Armed with every instrument in the hill-billy musical arsenal and coming off like Captain Beefheart playing punk-pop bluegrass, Hymn for Her are just the sort of musical experience to blow your mind. Something that The Beehive seems to excel at.

Staying briefly at The Beehive as we move into Saturday and more roots music on the bill, this time with Dirty Old Folkers and their brand of “inappropriate folk” – a wonderful blend of gypsy jive, klezmer, bluegrass, folk and brummie humour.

The big name of the weekend is at The Furnace, not only are we talking about Sham 69 but three quarters of the classic line up in the form of Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and a personal hero (due to his co-founding of Lords of The New Church) Dave Tregunna. Support comes from local punk legends Charred Hearts and bravely opening the show is The Racket. Lets think about this – 300 or so 40-something punks here to see their heroes, armed with unlimited beer money and a BA in drinking greeted by a bunch of whippersnappers playing trashed out indie. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Next door in the Rolleston are the rhythm and booze outlaws, The Hamsters from Hell and if cover bands are more your sort of thing, Penfold will be playing popular party tunes over at Riffs Bar, 1000 Planets will be performing their Killing Joke set at The Victoria and it’s all about Ozzy’s post Sabbath career at The Queens Tap with Wizards of Oz.

Something a bit special washes up on our shores on Monday as Gabby Young and Other Animals (pictured) play The Arts Centre. A riot of colour and sound this boho-circus troupe meets jazz cabaret blend cool guitar, explosive brass, archaic music hall, unexpectedly delicate folk, abject eccentricity and burlesque. An experience to behold and Alice Offley opening the night is another very good reason to go.

Finishing at our usual Wednesday night recommendation, The Running Horse will be playing host to Louise Latham, a gorgeous voice, elegant and emotive songs and wonderful delivery, what more could you ask for? Ok, who said free beer?

Whilst I was clearing out some old text files from my computer the other day I came across my very first Sounds Around Town submission and realised that I have been ensconced in this particular ivory tower for just about 3 years now. Quick calculations put that are around 100,000 words of recommendation for Swindon’s gig going cognoscenti, many of those words spelt correctly and in a logical order. Three years! To paraphrase Sandy Denny, had she been writing in Latin, where does the tempus fugit indeed?

 

So, enough of ancient history and on to the music of the moment. It’s certainly one of the quieter weeks, but that is probably to be expected with the amount of local festivals and busy schedules we have had through the summer. Still, there is good stuff to be had if you know where to look.

 

There is no better place to kick off your search for original music than at The Rolleston tonight with Optimal Prime, made up of members of Dodging The Bullet, Deep Thought and Snaggletooth and delivering hard hitting rock that takes in the more proggy reaches of the genre. Support comes from the ubiquitous Plummie Racket touting his solo acoustic set.

 

If you miss the main act though you can catch them on Friday over at Riffs Bar supporting Steve Grimmet’s Grim Reaper. His is a tasty slab of British classic rock and all in aid of raising money for Children’s Leukemia. Great music and a worthy cause. And if the heavier end of the musical spectrum is your cup of Earl Grey, then you might want to consider a tribute to Rammstein at The Victoria as Rammlied bring all the industrial grind, pomp and dark majesty of the original to your doorstep.

 

And still the options in the loud and shouty department roll on. The Furnace hosts it’s regular Teenage Kicks night, showcasing the best in local bands, this time with the melodic hardcore of The Pursuit and Natures, the eclectic alt-rock of Tides of Change (who replace Route 101) and the frantic drive of The Doss who sound like a collision between The Buzzcocks and Nirvana.

 

A different serving suggestion comes courtesy of The Erin Bardwell Collective. Late sixties style rocksteady and ska originals, driven by that classic organ sound and an infectious energy and all for free at The Rolleston.

 

Saturday has a fair bit to offer in the way of music, though sadly not much of it in the original category. The Rolleston offers the only oasis in a desert of tribute acts,  in the guise of Gwyn Ashton. Not only does he do a neat line in pre-war Delta blues flavoured with cool country, jazz vibes and swamp rock earthiness, but this show will also feature ex-Magnum drummer Mickey Barker. Those into their music trivia might be interested to note that the Magnum connection also extends to Gywn’s latest album, Radiogram, which features, amongst other stalwarts, iconic piano man Mark Stanway. (I have One Sacred Hour playing in my head even as we speak)

 

Tributes can be found at The Victoria with Fleetwood Bac, featuring a Christine McVie who looks a lot like Alice Offley, Bjorn Again being ABBA at the Old Town Bowl and Syntronix playing the synth-pop hits of the eighties at Riffs Bar. And if you are still in the mood for partying after all that then Reboot club night at The Furnace playing indie, rock and alternative is the place to head for.

 

Juey is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon session; soft Americana and folk songs with a traditional, storytelling form, employing guitar, harmonica, mandolin and banjo.

 

Wednesday provides a welcome stepping-stone to get you through the working week with a couple of interesting options. The Running Horse continue to bring in quality acoustic music, this week it’s The Black Feathers (pictured), a band whose ear for melody and amazing harmonising have to be witnessed live to be believed. Ben Maggs is also on the bill.

 

The Victoria is playing host to Shakespeare, Rattle and Roll a show looking at the life, loves and language of The Bard and setting much of it to music in a more contemporary style, such as Beatles, Elvis and Bob Dylan. Sounds pretty original to me.

 

One of the things I love about the more serious and creative side of music (as opposed to the famous for fifteen seconds, in it for the quick buck, types) is that it’s interesting to chart the family trees and watch the complex career paths of musicians who inspire you, if you are some sort of music geek that is. Well, around nineteen eighty, this particular music geek would have been listening to a certain bunch of psychedelic punks called The Soft Boys and wouldn’t you know it, in the blink of an eye, a mere 32 years later, two of them surface to play a gig in Swindon.

Tonight at The Victoria, Three Minute Tease, featuring cult rhythm section Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe and led by Sacramento loon Anton Barbeau, will be spearheading an assault of warped space rock, trippy psychedelic pop, wit, wisdom and sheer strangeness. Jon Ouin from Stornoway is also rumoured to be amongst their ranks. Bristol’s Schnauser joins them, a band recently described to me with brilliant succinctness as “like the Wombles on Acid” and quantum rockers Super Squarecloud fire off the opening salvo…probably in 7/8 time if they get their way.

Riffs Bar meanwhile bow down to the gods of cacophony and raucousness as Twisted State of Mind, Eleros and Aethara go head to head for a place in the semi-final of Bloodstocks Battle of the Bands.

If you are looking for something a bit less loud or mind-boggling then head for The Beehive where The Acoustic Buzz session will be able to soothe you with the dulcet tones of Southern Folk, Jim Evans and Blind River Scare. If you prefer your acoustic music laced with a bit of punk vigour then The Rolleston is the place to be as ex-Tiryth guitarist Daniel James heads off down new musical paths.

On Friday, at Riffs Bar it’s a question of “who let the progs out” as The Dark Sinatra’s make a triumphant return. Summing up their music in a sound bite isn’t easy, prog it may be, but this is a groove driven, heavy prog more akin to Muse or even Rush. And when they say that sometimes Nigel Kennedy appears with them, don’t get your hopes up, although last time they did have the awesome Tallulah Rendall in rock chick mode helping out, which is much the better option in my book.

Teenage Kicks at The Furnace continues to deliver the best of the younger crop, this time The Fixed headline, with Bratpop madmen (yes I’m trying out a new generic moniker, just indulge me) Nudy Bronque, The Debuts and The John Does all filling the night with indie goodness and complicated waxed hair styles, no doubt.

Upstairs in The Rolleston is The Floydian Doors. As brilliant as they are, I have never quite got my head around being a tribute to two fairly diverse bands. I’m worried that it might be the thin end of the wedge and the next thing you know there will be posters up for The Yes Pistols or worse….The Collinsian Clash! Still at least the by-line is obvious … “From Genesis to Revolution.” Oh, come on you must have seen that one coming?

The Beehive is opting for a melting pot of blues with The Mestizo Blues Collective; all styles from the Delta to Chicago’s urban backstreets are succinctly alchemized into intelligent, quintessentially English song writing styles plus a touch of self-deprecating humour.

Saturday is the night for rock fans to indulge their various sub-generic passions. Younger fans will be heading for The Furnace as globetrotting local lads made good, The Dead Lay Waiting (pictured) return to their home patch to dish out some furious alt-metal to eager ears. They are joined by Scarred by Beauty, Frozen Affliction and Roads to Nowhere.

The Rolleston is being visited by powerhouse blues guitarist, Innes Sibun and at the Victoria, Snaggletooth and Earl Jam play tribute to Motorhead and Pearl Jam respectively.

The Sunday afternoon session at The Beehive is filled by Pete Jagger, so expect the usual deft mix of folk, blues and ragtime. That evening at The Rolleston is a real cosmopolitan mix. Terhi is a native Finn, living in Chippenham and playing rock flavoured with country and calypso and the odd ballad thrown in for good measure. You almost feel like you need an up to date passport to watch that show. Support is from the Ghoulies an exotic blend of folk, rock and Hammer horror. They describe themselves thus “Jim has Delta blues roots and Daniel is a green creative soul” so expect something….turquoise?