Tag Archive: southern folk


10_Spiers__BodenI don’t really like to name drop. I was saying as much to Fiona Bruce when we were over at Liam Neeson’s place only the other day waiting for Noam Chomsky to turn up. So without naming names, suffice it to say that through my musical travels and via the people I meet on the local arts and music show I’m involved in, I get to talk to a lot of the people who actually make things happen in this town, everything from music and art, dance and film, to debating societies and underground media. And the common themes that come up in conversation are how much creativity there is in this town at the moment and how your average resident probably doesn’t realise it. Swindon has long had a bad press from lazy comedians looking for a convenient cliché but also, ironically, from the people who live here, creating something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I tell you what, Swindon is starting to hit a real ground swell of creative energy, things seem to be falling into place, Swindon is becoming, dare I say it…cool. We just need to get behind our town and show the rest of the country what we have here.

Helping to pave that good reputation we have a week of great and varied music on offer. Tonight at The Victoria, after a couple of recent mellower shows, Songs of Praise is going all loud and shouty with 50 Shades of Punk, a band definitely keeping their genre alive with high octane music and a hyperactive live show. Support comes from another local favourite, 2 Sick Monkeys, a frantic punk drum and bass 2 piece known as much for their between song rants as their relentless musical style. Opening the show is Parva Hinton, a London based, future punk, synth sound clash.

If you prefer something less likely to upset the neighbours and spill your beer then maybe an evening of Chicago blues at The Beehive courtesy of Built For Comfort is more your thing.

Friday brings lots of opportunity for you to get behind your live music scene. At The Royal Oak, The AK-Poets mix great melodies with an uncompromising rock and roll delivery and a charismatic stage presents whilst at The Beehive The Blue Tree’s take rock and roll on a southern road trip.

A couple of acoustic options also pop up on the radar. Riffs Bar acoustic session features Leicester songster Paul McClure and Southern Folk who as their name suggests play a range of rootsy Americana flavours. The Regent plays host to Darren Hodge who you may have seen recently shortlisted in the Young Folk competition at the recent BBC Folk Awards. Also appearing is Ethemia, makers of lush dream-folk music who also featured recently on BBC radio as guests of Gaby Roslin.

Covers can be had either at The Rolleston with Humdinger playing contemporary rock standards or if you prefer a band with a sillier take on the idea, Kova Me Badd at The Victoria parody the pop classics.

Saturday continues largely in the same vein with tributes to Bon Jovi at The Victoria, Steely Dan at Riffs Bar and Rory Gallagher at The Rolleston plus party covers from Breeze at The Royal Oak. Classic rock is supplied by Rorke’s Drift at The Swiss Chalet. If however you are feeling stout of heart, reckless or just know no better then a trip to The Castle will find you in the dubious company of rhythm and booze legends, The Hamsters From Hell. Loud, in your face, no holds barred riotous pub rock flavoured with beards, beer, blasphemy and a bad attitude.  What could possibly go wrong?

If you need something less abrasive to wind the weekend down then The Beehive afternoon session features Kola Koca, a band renowned for a mix of eclectic styles, social commentary, politics and humour.

Jazz fans can catch The Wayne Elliot Trio at The Plough that evening and then on Tuesday at Baker Street The Graham Taylor Quartet. Meanwhile just along the road at The Arts Centre, Spiers and Boden (pictured) , better known as Eliza Carthy sidekicks and founders of folk super group Bellowhead, are playing what they have announced will be their last show in duo format for the foreseeable future. So, definitely one to catch.

Finally The Crown at Stratton on Wednesday features the delicate sounds and considerable song craft of Louise Latham.

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?