Tag Archive: st pierre snake invasion


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408146_550765044940471_378649541_nAs Del Amitri so deftly put it, “Nothing Ever Happens” a sentiment that I hear levelled at the local music scene almost as often as I see Brian Cox on my television. Visit the usual social media haunts and you will invariably hear the metal fraternity moaning that the town hosts the same few indie bands, emerging pop acts complaining that the town is dominated by rock cover bands, the indie bands saying that the town is ruled by dance nights and acoustic players arguing that they can’t get a foot in the door as their circuit only promotes the same few acts. But is the town as locked down and staid as these voices claim. Well here is the evidence from my own personal experience over the last week.

 

On Saturday I watched Buswell, a cinematic, indie dreamscape of strings and gentle beats, swirling orchestral dynamics and reflective, poignant sentiments. With a fluid line up formed from a large pool of musicians each show is unique in that geography and availability are the deciding factors behind who plays each show and even so the band are faultless. The same night I saw The Last Box of Sparklers, Nordic indie pop that seemed built purely on atmospheres and space rather than the music and words and more mainstream but no less impressive acoustic deliveries from Matt Adey. On the way home a few hangers on and itinerant musicians who had nothing better to do ended up at Level 3 and found themselves in the midst of a raging and effortlessly cool Afro-funk night which had drawn a crowd as big as anything from the clubs alternative rose tinted heyday that everyone seems to be in such an effort to try to recreate.

 

Wednesday found me watching two acoustic players who don’t seem to be part of the “go to” acoustic set, the quiet, late night jazz vibe of Mel Hughes and contrastingly the soaring agit-folk of Coasters front man Si Hall.

 

And then last night something truly awesome happened. The Victoria played host to three acts that had to be seen to be believed. GagReflex kicked things off, a two-piece punk leviathan in the 2 Sick Monkeys mould, all solid beats and bass lines that could get paid work in the demolition industry. Their by-line quote sums it all up eloquently, “small enough to fit in a car, big enough to take your face off” Well, quite. Blindman’s Bastion followed with a bluesier, Black Keys take on things before the main event, The St. Pierre Snake Invasion. In a whirlwind delivery of white noise guitars and buzz saw riffs, screaming, visceral vocals and more energy, strut, attitude and showmanship than you could ever need, they proceeded to blow the night and almost the building wide open. A recent review summed up the shock and awe tactics of the band in the following succinct line … “what the hell just happened there?” Don’t ask me I’m as bewildered and brusied as the next man but in a world that overuses the word awesome to a blatant degree, this band truly deserve that description.

 

So nothing ever happens in Swindon. Nothing original, diverse or truly entertaining. I would suggest the opposite is true; you just have to make a bit of an effort. The only thing I will say is that what sort of town do we live in where a Nirvana tribute band can fill a room based on the bands place in rock history yet put on a band such as The St. Pierre Snake Invasion, a band in many ways a natural successor in energy and attitude to Nirvana, a band writing their own chapter in the book of rock history and 25 people turn up. I say make an effort and you will be rewarded tenfold. Or you could sit at home on-line and post Facebook banners about how we should all support live music! That will really make a difference.

1238987_718461988170775_889455153_nIt doesn’t seem too far back that I was using words like Autumnal and talking about nights starting to draw in or even discussing various summer music festival options and describing cool music to go with warm evenings. Now in what would seem just a blink of an eye we arrive at the towns Christmas lights switch on celebrations. Where has the year gone?

 

Yes, tonight you can catch all of the various festivities in Wharf Green …or Woof Green as it should be known, (just trying out my tabloid journalism techniques there) as Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey will be performing and pushing the plunger to illuminate the town with lights and fireworks. Also on offer is an Aerial Hoop performance from Emily Smith, a video message from Nigel Havers plus Swindon Dance, The Brunel Elves and Heart FM presenters Ben and Kirsten. All of which starts at 6.30.

 

Fans of rock are going to be well catered for by The Victoria in a number of forms this weekend starting tonight with an explosive Songs of Praise line up. The St Pierre Snake Invasion (pictured) has built up quite a reputation on the regional circuit and they headline tonight in a riot of energy, sarcasm and attitude channelled through a relentless flow of garage rock and punk tirades. Also recently turning a few heads alt-rock two piece Blindman’s Bastion who channel vibrant electric blues and classic rock vibes take the middle slot. Opening the show is GagReflex who have been concisely described as a two headed punk rock machine – small enough to fit in a car; big enough to take your face clean off. Sounds ominous!

 

More intricate sounds can be found at The Beehive as The John Langan Band bring their tour to town. Traditional folk vibes are re-packaged as high energy, slightly unhinged and musically extravagant pieces and launched on the audience with a wilfully punk abandonment. Other acoustic sounds come from AK-Poets (unplugged,) this stripped back presentation of their music can be found at The Wheatsheaf in Old Town, all the energy, songcraft and stage presence in a slightly less in your face package. If an old school fifties rock and roll vibe is your sort of thing then head to 20 At The Kings for the first hometown show from 58 Shakes.

 

Friday is going to act as a bit of a conduit for musical time travel. The Victoria has Spanish 80’s metalers Stop Stop, so expect the hair to be as big as the guitar riffs and the bands look to be as glammed up and as brash as the music. Support comes from a rare appearance of the beast that is known as Vinyl Matt. If the idea of Steel Panther warms the cockles of your…err, cockles, then this is the show for you.

 

Electric blues standards can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of Barrelhouse. Influenced by the golden age of Chicago and early British blues scenes, they put a hard-edged spin on the genre and if their pedigree is in any doubt bear in mind that the man behind the kit is none other than former Ataraxis Vibration beat keeper Dave Growcott. More blues can be found at The Beehive, this time in the form of elegant slide playing from The Kevin Brown Trio. Also doing some retrospective referencing is London Calling who pay tribute to The Clash at Level 3.

 

Saturday offers the regular covers and tribute options with the music of AC/DC at The Victoria and Blondie at Riffs Bar. At The Swiss Chalet you can experience a range of covers from The Jam to The Foo Fighters with Happy Accident. Original serving suggestions come from two of the towns’ best-loved bands. The Erin Bardwell Collective play their trade mark retro edged reggae, ska and rocksteady at The Rolleston and The Hamsters From Hell inflict their raw and riotous rhythm and blues on The Queens Tap.

 

Last mentions come for The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Songs of Praise (unplugged) has the funky, rappy, poppy, soulful acoustica of A.Koustiks.