Tag Archive: splat the rat


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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newpromo_b 11.15.37For obvious reasons many of the gigs this week are touting a Halloween theme, though it seems odd that a Celtic occasion of remembrance should be marked largely by the playing 80’s classic rock covers but that is the world that we find ourselves in.

Tonight there is, as is Thursday’s role in things, a plethora of original music to be had. The Basement Club can be found at The Victoria doling out their weaves of infectious indie and deft pop and joining them is the much talked about China Bears a band who have already caught the ear of many radio movers and shakers with their anthemic indie sound. Kaleido Bay open the night.

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Dreadzone-c-Simon-Partington-_MG_5821.jpgFor those who say that nothing ever happens in Swindon, this week is set to prove them very wrong, as not one but two big name bands with long histories, varied and fascinating careers and a wealth of albums behind them can be found nested in amongst the usual, more localised, musical fare. But more of that later.

Wilding, an act which has both grown in number and shrunken in name, since the eponymous George’s solo days, will be taking to The Victoria’s stage tonight and I highly recommend that you check them out. Combining the front man’s lyrical wit and wisdom with a band of seasoned players means that they can finally reach the sonic heights that their recorded work encapsulated and believe me you will want to experience that. With new indie outfit Compact Pussycat opening the night this is a great way to kick off the weekend.

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27503378_1049985821809631_747397107544723842_o.jpgIt’s a controversial issue for sure and at the risk of sounding like one of these music snobs that you always hear about, I am going to raise the point anyway. You could consider covers and tributes as the mass entertainment of the live gigging circuit and original music as the way to ensure that things keep moving forward. Both are required. The former largely keeps venues and music pubs in business these days, the latter feeds into the wider music system and bigger, further flung venues to keep musical evolution a going concern. I only mention this because this week I have been unable to find many original gigs to fill this column and that does beg the question that without that input of new creativity what does the future look like? Is new music taking place outside the traditional live venue circuit? Are we locked into a rose-tinted era of comfort and familiarity? Where will new music come from if not the small, grassroots venues? Enough speculation, on to business.

Blues is on the menu at The Beehive tonight as Built For Comfort offer up the sound of traditional Chicago blues with a few detours through the Memphis and New Orleans scene, expect sultry guitars, organ flourishes (steady) and some solid grooving music. Also following a traditional route but this time down an English folk pathway Splat The Rat take rustic songs from the days of yore and update them for the modern audience at The Victoria.

The one totally original show I could find this week takes place at The Tuppenny and features the welcome return of Phil Cooper (pictured) as he promotes his most excellent and highly recommended new album Thoughts and Observations. He blends the likes of Crowded House and David Gray’s deft pop through his own enlightening songs. Also on the bill is Sarah C. Ryan and her own take on folk and roots infused guitar pop.

Friday sees two helpings of old-school rock for your enjoyment. Firstly at The Victoria Rorke’s Drift and Black Rose line up a set of iconic numbers from the halcyon days of the genre delivered with all the power and the glory of those original bands. Those of a less nervous disposition might wish to head over to The Swiss Chalet for a slice of The Chaos Brothers. They aim to “play the Three Chords of Freedom to an unsuspecting and largely uncaring world” but the reality is that they generally play punk, rock, glam and metal to a rowdy and drunken gathering.

If something smoother and more considered is required then The Soul Man at The Grove’s Company Inn is the gig for you, especially if the golden age of soul, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, The Drifters and the like is your cup of honeyed sonic tea. The Ultimate Band bring the wide appeal of the function band and a diverse and infectious mix of music to The Queen’s Tap whilst Monkey Dolls at The Castle play songs which you probably know but are less likely to hear from your average cover band.

Nuttyness pay tribute to Camden Town’s finest skanking, 2-tone revivalists, Madness, at The Victoria on Saturday so expect a night of ska-pop fun and frolics and all the hits and iconic songs that you know and love. Also playing some groovesome and accessible tunes is Felix and the Funk who will be filling the Haydon Wick Club with all the iconic sonic moments from funk (natch) pop, soul, reggae, dance and disco. Rugs will be cut, wigs will be flipped and dance floors filled.

Funk and rock pair up at The Queen’s Tap as Patsy Gamble and Wishbone Ash’s Muddy Manninen mix up groove, blues, funk, rock and soul into covers and originals at The Queen’s Tap as they lead Hipkiss through their musical moves, Penfold break out the party tunes at The Castle and Stripped take things down a notch or two with acoustic renditions of all your favourites at The Manor.

The Coleview Community Centre starts two days of music with Locarno Beat’s 60’s hits package followed by Get Carter’s pop rock and indie covers on Sunday. Also on Sunday The Revolvers will be bringing a touch of ska to The Duke of Edinburgh.

23737694_1197292103706164_1036619967639662373_o-1If the term Folk-Punk implies a blend of deftly wrought tunes and vibrant energy, old school charm and a rabble-rousing soul, then Davey Malone could indeed be the poster boy for such a movement. Temporarily ditching his band,The Longtails, and heading out on his first solo tour he comes to The Victoria tonight armed with comedic and cautionary takes, poignant political and thought provoking prose, charisma and rough hewn elegance.

At The Beehive you will find the beat and boogie, rhythm and musical rhyme of The Teddy White Band who plunder the back catalogue of underground classics, revive and rejuvenate a host of songs you had almost forgotten about from a time when music mattered more than record sales and people were, quite frankly, much better dressed.

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1796959_1497749917115309_5306381136964104986_oBefore the year plunges into the more predictable waters of Christmas parties, reindeer head gear and those seasonal matching tie and sock combo’s that prove just how wacky you really are, the year still has a few musical treats in store. Three of them can be found in town this week.

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13246174_672093756262043_7295479845484515225_oI find it odd that people still can’t grasp the fact that just because I’m writing a gig guide it doesn’t mean that every single band playing in town that week is going to be included. I do write another, more extensive guide for one of the local papers, one with a wider brief and even that has the usual limitations of word count as well as the difficult task of extracting the factual blood from the apathetic promotional stone. But this is not that column.

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993496_10151749777031146_1227491858_nSo there I was looking for inspiration to write this opening paragraph, trawling the Internet for interesting facts from which to spring into wondrous literary prose or at least amusing anecdote. Sadly, for all it’s billions of facts and articles the internet doesn’t seem to work like that and most of the information to be found between the postings of cats who look a bit like Hitler and the latest Justin Bieber antics seem an exercise in pointlessness and posture. I say most, as there were a few interesting nuggets to be found. For example did you know that David Bowie invented Connect 4? Air conditioning is actually helping to prevent global warming by cooling the earth. The fact that Mount Rushmore resembles famous American presidents is pure coincidence. Chicken pies actually came before the egg sandwich.  114% of the statistics found online are exaggerated for comic affect. Some of these might not be true, it’s like Abraham Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg, “not all quotes found on the Internet are accurate.”

With that in mind the best place to find out what is going on musically is here. I have done all the rigorous checking for you and can assure you that this 100% accurate, subject to change, the information given to me by promoters, the fickleness of musicians and natural disasters!

Tonight at The Victoria, Songs of Praise throw another loud and shouty collection of bands into the mix. The AK-Poets will be gracing the headline spot for their trade mark show of riotous, razor wire rock ‘n’roll riffing, meticulous melodies and more alliterative descriptions than you can throw a thesaurus at. Support is courtesy of the wonderfully named punk ‘n’roll outfit, Molotov Sexbomb and the opening salvo comes hard and heavy from Headcount. Old school rock and roll is back on the menu it would seem.

Something a bit more soothing can be found at The Beehive as Mambo Jambo mix up roots and world music styles into a cultural diverse musical odyssey. If something altogether funkier is your thing then The Soul Strutters at Baker Street is the place to be.

On Friday we have offerings that run from the sublime to the ridiculous. At one end we have Metalhead playing rock and metal classics at The Victoria and at the other it’s Showaddywaddy at The Wyvern Theatre. Blimey! In between those extremes you can find the eerie, understated acoustica of We Ghosts at The Beehive, whilst The Rolleston opts for fired up electric blues-rock with Keith Thompson and his band. Keith has worked with everyone from a pre-Motorhead Mick “Wurzel” Burston to Ruby Turner so musical quality is guaranteed.

Out at Riffs Bar the regular acoustic session features Jenny Bracey and Last Flight Home.  After trawling trough the copious amount of information on offer for this gig I can tell you that the former is a singer-songwriter and the latter is a new musical vehicle for Missin’ Rosie frontman Joe Rendell. That is all.

It’s the usual pre-dominance of standards and nostalgia on Saturday with a couple of exceptions. Towing the line are 1000 Planets at The Victoria with a set of punk, goth and new wave blasts from the past, The Great Nothing play rock classics at The Rolleston after which if you move down stairs to Basement 73 you will get another set of classic rock and metal from Dodging The Bullet. Meanwhile, at The Greyhound you will find Bombshell playing, wait for it….rock covers, anyone see a pattern forming here?

If you are looking for something to break the cycle, Splat The Rat play Folk Beat at The Castle, a blend of modern folk acoustica put to a world music back beat.

Also moving to the beat of their own drum is Nudybronque who launch their new e.p. at Riffs Bar.  After months holed up in a secret location in Old Town they have emerged with a more diverse sound, a raft of great songs, a shiny new CD and the same brand of charisma, lunatic charm and stage presence that got them noticed in the first place. To help them celebrate the night they have invited some of their favourite acts to join them. The Get Outs will play punked out rock, The Interceptors, infectious ska and Faye Rogers provides a gentle acoustic start to the evening.

More delicate acoustic sounds can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday in the shape of tousle hair troubadour Billyjon.

1011722_561639567220535_1865761047_n-1It’s been another one of those crystal ball sort of weeks compiling this article. Without going off on my usual rant, I do find it odd that people who run businesses that rely on getting numbers through the door  are becoming more and more reluctant to post information regarding what bands are playing in their venue, or if they do there is no description of the said band to entice people in. Last week I completely missed the biggest gig of the week because it wasn’t to be found on the internet and if I can’t find it, think of all the more casual information surfers who are going to miss it too. So armed with a crystal ball and a do it yourself shamanic starter kit, I have gleaned what information I can about this weeks gigs and I apologize for any events I have inadvertently missed out.

 

The weekend starts building up momentum tonight with a hard and heavy line up at The Victoria. Headlining are Reading’s finest, We Caught The Castle, not only a wonderful Paramore-esque slab of melodic rock but on a personal note one of the first bands I ever promoted in Swindon. Also on the bill are purveyors of post-hardcore Falling With Style and metal warriors From Dusk Until Dawn.

 

More big sounds will be emanating from Riffs Bar with the welcome return of The Dark Sinatra’s (pictured). Mixing the musical economy of a three piece line up with almost dance grooves, complex back beats and spiky guitar riffs, the result is a sort of groove laden, heavy progressive rock and none do it better.

 

At the other end of the musical spectrum, the first lady of folk, Kate Rusby leads an all star band through songs old and new, traditional and self penned at The Wyvern Theatre. Meanwhile, Two-Man Ting will be filling the Beehive with their very unique roots-pop music. Those who know their world music labels might throw around terms such Palm Wine, High Life or Afro Beat, but all the layman needs to know is that this band are like a dose of summer sunshine and joyous laughter all rolled into one.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday, good causes and great music go hand in hand in the form of Oxjam – part of the Oxfam fund raising campaign taking place nationally through out October. This session is all about the singer-songwriter and features the groove fueled blues of Jim Blair, the unique stylings of Tommaso Galati, Tamsin Quin who in my opinion will soon be giving the likes of K T Tunstall a run for her money and new duo Splat The Rat.

 

Th se into the nostalgia scene are also well catered for. Fans of the Stranglers should head for The Victoria and into Saturday, also at The Victoria, it’s all about one of my favourite bands, The Stone Roses. A more across the board range of punk, ska and new-wave can be found at The Rolleston with Going Underground.

 

Even though it does not appear on their website, I want to assure people that Saturdays Secret Chord gig at Riffs Bar is still taking place and what a great line up it is. Band of the moment, Dead Royalties, a scattergun mix of Seattle grunge and 70s Brit-punk, take the top spot with the raw, melodic, modish rock of The Last of The Light Brigade and the eclectic, musical light and shade of Kubris adding all the ingredients for the perfect bill.

 

After that, live music seems to be fairly hard to track down although there are a couple of more famous names in the bigger establishments, such as award winning saxophonist, Yolanda Brown and guitar and fiddle duo Kevin Dempsey and Rosie Carson at the Arts Centre on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

 

At the Wyvern Theatre also on Tuesday is the legendary Charlie Lansborough who delivers his trademark ballad and blues, country and spiritual music all interspersed with a dash of anecdote and humour.