Tag Archive: songs of praise


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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12801474_967430416685843_7496377762084199365_nMusic has long been used as the focus of events seeking to raise money and awareness for good causes. Tonight at The Victoria you can experience that altruistic nature as a whole bunch of familiar faces line up in support of Alan McGee’s brilliant Musicians Against Homelessness project. Echoing his same maverick spirit the bands playing represent the more challenging, creative and leftfield end of the spectrum. Anyone who saw Tripdress’s last outing at this very venue, probably 8 years ago, (tempus does indeed fugit) will be aware just how great their urban-boogie-blues fusion is, those who missed it should rectify that immediately…you never know when this very occasional band will be back.

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12993610_493191007545654_2989128209578684041_nIn ancient times people would look for favourable portents or past indications of success before making big decisions. Now I’m sure nothing as calculated as that took place in the Polar Front camp, no ancient scrolls invoked, no crystal balls employed but with advance copies of their debut e.p. available at tonight’s Victoria gig, it does seem like the perfect day for them to go public. For on this day in history, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here first saw the light of day and Led Zeppelin’s In Trough The Out Door started a long stay at the number one spot. Most of all it should be noted for the day on which Dire Straits officially disbanded in 1988. It does seem as if the Gods of Music favour this date.

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10553415_268441576675504_9081060970114757321_nOkay, he may not be a living legend as such, but he will certainly do until one comes along. Edward Felix Tudor Pole (pictured) may sound like a villain from the first series of Blackadder (the one that never gets the TV re-runs) but has had a long career as an actor and TV presenter. But it was as lead hooligan of the ragged punk gang Tenpole Tudor that he is best known. Tonight at The Victoria you can catch the man himself. Punk was an attitude not a form of music and it is an attitude he still operates with as his swaggering rock and roll, unpredictability, powerful performance and sheer energy will attest to. Support comes from that sweary, lairy punk two-piece, 2 Sick Monkeys.

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10350429_860852760613038_2339669657931546296_nYou often hear of young bands trying to get that mythical “record label interest,” find a manager, getting “discovered” or making music that is “radio ready” or “on trend.” They are probably throwing these terms around sat in the snug bar of the Kebab and Calculator after their third gig in as many months in their college hall. This isn’t the seventies, those days are gone and it basically comes down to two things. Write great songs and play them to as many people as you can. One person who is proof that this strategy works can be found at The Victoria tonight.

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13269298_1175762365815736_8729034887665700384_nI occasionally wander through the on-line pages of the NME just to check out anything new and intriguing (obviously I don’t pick up the print version anymore just in case someone sees me…the shame of it!) I knew things were bad, but I didn’t realise just how bad. In their top stories I learned that Barbara Streisand has asked Apple to correct Siri’s pronunciation of her name, Justin Bieber has been miming at his gigs and Arctic Monkeys are still not recording a new album. ( What…no Antony Burgess Arts Journalism Award nominations?) Remember the days when you could read a 10,000 word Clash expose or a witty character assassination of the latest new-wave darlings by the likes of Charles Shaar Murray. Even Paul Morley’s dense diatribes would be a welcome break from these lower sixth form warbling’s. Does an unchallenging music scene result in boring reportage? Discuss.

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I bumped into a young guitarist the other day whose opening line upon seeing me was, “Hey man, were you at my last gig?” to which I replied, “I really hope so.” Geddit? It’s a joke. No? Okay…tough crowd. Nothing else for it but to jump right in then, pay attention there is a lot to get through.

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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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12961464_980606442020246_937699355755527568_nNow that the clamour of the Shuffle has died down, the rattle of charity buckets has faded and the smell of spilt booze and sweat has been washed out of your favourite gig trousers, it is time to get back into the day-to-day mode of gig going. Happily, Thursday provides a couple of real crackers to let us down gently, starting with something pretty unique tonight at The Victoria.

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13510793_10154349708688336_4108217032984453493_nGiven my penchant for original music, for championing bands most people haven’t even heard of and then banging on about them to anyone who will listen, you can imagine this week is like my birthday, Christmas and that moment when Victoria Coren donned a pair of teddy bear ears during Comic Relief all rolled into one. Yes, it is The Swindon Shuffle and not only that it is year 10 (cue Looks Like We Made It by Barry Manilow playing in the background,) that’s a decade of celebrating local, unsigned, original music, so I apologize that this column will be very Shuffle biased but with over 50 acts playing 13 different official musical sessions happening in 6 different venues, I think my excitement is justified.

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