Tag Archive: stone donkey pilots


Library - 25Isn’t science great? I was reading a report in New Made-up Scientist recently that Zoologists have discovered that the mental powers of Slipknot fans are far greater than previously imagined. In a series of experiments conducted in a research facility in Hogwash, Colorado involving dozens of Slipknot fans, bearded scientists found that many were able to count to 20, had the potential to perform simple sums and even had a basic vocabulary consisting of a handful of words such as “Slipknot” and “Rule.” Professor Dan Geek who led the team said “ This evidence of intelligence has taken us by surprise and is causing us to rethink what we know about these particular primates.” In a prepared statement Slipknot said, “This proves what we always said, our fans ain’t stupid. They know a whole bunch of stuff, y’know, like stuff and stuff like that”

Thankfully your faith in intelligent music can be restored by a visit to Riffs Bar tonight. If you thought Red Jasper had been consigned to local music mythology, you will be pleased to know that they are back out as a gigging band delivering their trade mark symphonic rock meets folk blend that puts them somewhere between classic era Jethro Tull and early Marillion and with Bristol prog stalwarts Crimson Sky supporting, this is a brilliant line up.

More rootsy sounds can be found at The Victoria with the funky lap-blues of Jim “Hiproute” Blair and the shamanistic folk and emotive bluesy vibes that make up Stone Donkey Pilots. The Beehive, meanwhile, will be grooving to the gypsy-jazz swing of Ruba Tempo.

Friday is a big night out at Riffs Bar as Beauty with a Purpose (and not a Porpoise as it said in one listing!), a longstanding and immensely important global children’s charity, have lined up a host of fund raising great acts including Ethemia, Echo, Benji Clements and Aiden Moore. Great cause. Great music.

The Beehive opts for laid back music from  Stressechoes a band described as “a triumph of heart-on-sleeve storytelling supported by beautiful, understated music” and with the simple musical lines of Juey also on the bill it will be a cracking gig. The delectable R’n’B sounds of The Teddy White Band can be found at The Royal Oak.

If you want a fuller band experience, then there are a number of options. Nudybronque play Riffs Bar as headliners for the Secret Chord’s latest show, underground, post punk, inspired pop, melody and memorable tunes, they may have evolved but they haven’t lost the glint in the eye and tongue in cheek drive that keeps them self-deprecating, grounded and a joy to watch. Also on the bill is Jim Johnston, currently operating as a two-piece but still running a great line in brittle, fractious guitar lines and dark yet bluesy undercurrents. New chaps on the block Devotion get the night underway.

Missin’ Rosie are at The Manor and The Corsairs grace the New Inn but if punk is more your thing then the Victoria tonight provides the first of two shows that should tick your musical boxes. The UK Subs now enter their eighth decade (probably not true) as leading lights of the punk scene and they bring with them the Dropkick Murphy’s inspired Criminal Mind and Proud City Fathers. The other gig in this pairing comes with Charred Hearts playing The Beehive Sunday afternoon.

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon show may have now relocated to The Central Library but they haven’t lost their ear for good music. This time it is the turn of the luscious Latin Jazz of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz, the romantic nature of Jess Vincent and as always hosted by Mr Love and Justice.

Other options for the day of rest come with the effortless, vibrant blues of Retramantic who play 20 at the Kings in Wood Street and the Sax fronted trad jazz of The Don Franks Duo at Baker Street.

Playing the week out, on Tuesday at Baker Street, it’s jazz from virtuoso guitarist Esmond Selwyn and the organ lead brilliance from The John-Paul Gard Trio and Wednesday at The Running Horse acoustic treats come in the shape of Pete Taylor and The Right Hooks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThose that can, do. Those that can’t teach. And those that can’t teach, teach P.E, well according to Woody Allen anyway. Similarly, those who can’t make records for a living often sell them instead and some who aren’t very good at selling them end up working in second hand record shops. Okay, that’s a bit unfair but the sub-cultures found within the murky world of the vinyl record shop make it a fascinating place to hang out where old folkies, lo-fi elitists, sensitive world music fans, northern soul survivors and indie geeks all meet and mingle, lost in their own music fixations. And with the gradual closure of the major music chains (karma?) and the rise in vinyl sales, these weird emporiums may just be making a come back.

I feel a bit sad for the music consumer of today, click, click, double click and straight on to the PC, that’s the sound of you missing out and if you feel something is missing too, head down to your nearest second hand record shop and indulge in the age old rituals of pawing over obscure and slightly creased 12 inch albums in that search for the elusive Agincourt album, Trojan records back catalogues or just to buy back a few memories that you had to part with to make the rent one week.

Anyway back in the cold light of the modern age, three bands destined to be sought after and collectable in the future play Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight. Ataraxis Vibration alchemize the classic sounds of seventies rock, from Cream to Hendrix (via Burning Tree, remember them?) and offer something fresh and new but with a foot firmly planted in very familiar territory. Songs of Praise favourites, The James Warner Prophecies, return with their wonderful brand of crazy generic scattergunning that blast between hard rock, punked out folk, ska and hooks strong enough that you could hang Ginger Wildheart’s beaten up leather jacket on. Opening the show are Even Nine.

The Rolleston offers something a little more sedate for its inaugural Blues Night fixture in the form of The Stone Donkey Pilots; earthy folk meets rootsy blues. More bluesy vibes can be found at The Beehive with guitar and saxophone of Keith Thompson and Patsy Gamble.

If you want to do something to help make a difference whilst catching some great music then head out to Riffs Bar on Friday for the Olive Tree Café fundraiser. Covers from  The Hyperbolics headline the show but the real coup comes in the form of Colour The Atlas, a band whose clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swathes of sensuous late night atmospherics is something to behold. The night opens with two young singer-songwriters, Theo Altieri and Charlie Anne.

The Beehive has an interesting proposition for you. Knock on Wood are a quite brilliant Latin fusion band blending latino, flamenco, blues, afro-celt, gypsy and much more to create their unique sound.

In the name of balance (and to avoid the usual “fanmail”) I must also mention Angels Fall will be playing classic rock covers in The Rolleston and a tribute to The Small Faces is at The Victoria courtesy of The Small Fakers.

More blues at The Rolleston on Saturday, this time with Gwyn Ashton (pictured) and Micky Barker (yes, pomp rock fans…That Mickey Barker!) Expect a raw and passionate set of standards and originals that could be the sound track to Harper Lee’s famous re-imagining of the South. Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

Elsewhere it’s all a bit tribute-y. Punk at The Victoria with the music of The Sex Pistols plus The Useless Eaters supporting and at Riffs Bar Syntronix tribute the whole of the eighties!

As would be expected, Sunday is a much more sedate affair. The Beehive have blues/roots duo Nobodies Business to accompany your post roast beverage and in the evening The Rolleston has Jess Morgan a real gem of a singer peddling some wonderful country folk sounds.

It is no exaggeration to say that real life legends will be at the Arts Centre on Monday when The Pretty Things, still led by Phil May and original Rolling Stones guitarist Dick Taylor bring their 50th anniversary tour to town.

The week rounds off at The Running Horse on Wednesday for more acoustic singer-songwriteryness with Nick Felix and The Dizzy Hush.

It’s amazing what little bits of music trivia you stumble across when doing research for music articles. Like the fact that comedian Roland Rivron once drummed for Transvision Vamp or that Monaco’s National Orchestra is bigger than its army. Few of you may be aware that David Bowie invented Connect 4 and as well as coining the term Britpop, Stuart Maconie also originated the phrase Latvipop, which, to be fair,  never really caught on. Also I have personally listened to the Concrete Blonde album Bloodletting more times than anyone else on the planet. Not all of the above is true but I can assure you that everything that follows is absolute fact.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is a folk and roots extravaganza in the form of this years Oxjam. Hiproute will be on hand to deliver funked up, lap slide guitar blues, whilst Missin’ Rosie will be injecting folk music with rock adrenalin. Bateleurs provide a wonderful blend of new-country and traditional folk and the intriguingly named Stone Donkey Pilots seem immersed in a hill-billy busker vibe that evokes moonshine, dungarees and re-runs of Deliverance.

 

Further down the road, The Beehive continues it’s fascination with Canadian bands by playing host to Picture The Ocean, an alt-pop band who are both gently melodic and wistfully reflective or as someone put it “ like a therapeutic walk on the shore on a grey day.” Catch their last UK show before they head off to Europe, India and, if there is any justice in the world, fame and fortune.  At the Arts Centre, musical icons The Animals (and friends) pay a visit; for  the song We Gotta Get Out of This Place alone they deserve your endless adulation.

 

Something a bit special for you at The Victoria on Friday. Goldray (pictured) are what happens when the guitar sound of Reef and the beats of Faithless come together in a psychedelic explosion of textures and riffs. Think Jefferson Airplane sparring (or even spa-ing) with Warpaint whilst Tame Impala hold their coats. With support from Ulysses and The Baronesques it will be like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test all over again. (Blimey, a Tom Wolfe reference two weeks running, it’s getting like the Times Literary Supplement!)

 

The 12 Bar opts for the punkier route with Useless Eaters and stalwarts of the scene Nobodies Heroes plus the return of Lydia Twenty whilst The Rolleston has neo rock and rollers, Red Hot Trio, not just your usual bowling shirt rockabilly! Other options are rocked out blues with The Stevie J Rivers Band at The Beehive and ska from The Nomarks at The Liden Arms.

 

Saturday, normally the bastion of the cover and tribute set really raises it’s game to deliver three top gigs. If you haven’t seen Flipron before then you need to be at The Victoria. If you have seen them then you will know that it is difficult to pin down exactly what they do in such a small amount of space. They have been described variously as “ Barrelhouse Britpop,” “Psychedelic Honkytonk” and, my favourite “ Stephen Fry wrestling with Ian Dury on a Mississippi Riverboat” not much I can add to that except The Costellos and Coach add equally exotic vibes into the nights mix.

 

Fans of Hardcore should head to The 12 Bar for Vera Cruz, What The Night Brings and Rising From Death, whilst The Furnace plays host to Fearless Vampire Killers a band whose “Death Pop” will appeal to anyone who watches the Twilight Films and/or grew up on My Chemical Romance. Support is from local lads making good The Dead Lay Waiting.

 

Pete Christie is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon slot, finger picked acoustic that mixes rock, folk and country into a sort of anglicana roots music now there’s a term we need to catch on.

 

 

As usual our jump off point is The Running Horse acoustic sessions on Wednesday, this time featuring the welcome return of the newly resurrected Shudders and their clean limbed, melodic and totally infectious country-pop-folk masterpieces. Support comes from The Cadbury Sisters, a duo whose delicate harmonies will leave you transfixed, charmed and in total awe.

Looking back into the annals of history it turns out that today is a landmark anniversary. In 1954 a young man called Bill Haley went into Pythian Temple Studios in New York and recorded a song that was the jumping off point for all other contemporary music genres. Rock Around The Clock is where it all began, as radical in its day as psychedelic, punk, rave, baggy, post rock, grime and every musical development since. It is also interesting to note that 26 years later, to the day, Bryan McFadden of Westlife was born. Coincidence… or the Gods of Music playing their games? It’s probably just coincidence.

 

It would be interesting though to get Mr Haley’s take on tonight’s gig at The Victoria featuring two bands who blend rock with the latest technology. Talk in Code have been through an interesting evolution, leaving the more predictable territory of drive time rock behind them they now inject their music with dance beats and keyboard washes, something support band Atari Pilot are equally adept at.

 

Down at The Beehive, the jaunty tones of Bateleurs will be filling the air, but more than that if you get there early enough, you may find yourself an extra in their video shoot. Another acoustic option comes in the shape of Gaz Brookfield, who will be dishing out the charm, humour and infectious tunes at Baker Street.

 

Friday is one for those with youth on their side (damn them) as The Furnace opens it’s doors to the under 18 crowd. The main drawer is the mathy-electro-pop sounds of With Felix and the post punk/contemporary indie clash  of The Debuts, but add to that The Canary Club and dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass DJing from Miasmix and you have a great night.

 

The Sharpees at The Beehive will be in the more tried and tested blues field, but with their punk attitude towards the genre and rock influences, they are flying an altogether different blues flag for the 21st century.

 

Staying roughly in the genre, further up the hill, Hiproute will be laying out their funky, acoustic blues wares before The Victoria at The UK Roots Night. If scintillating slide guitar and groove driven backbeats are your cup of Darjeeling, then this is the place to be. Alex Roberts will be adding his quite brilliant observational acoustic songs and Stone Donkey Pilots open with a set of rootsy, country blues inflected tunes. If you prefer something more in the pop-punk vein then head up to The Royal Oak for Disclosure.

 

Saturday is a mix of the big names or tributes to big names.  The former comes in the shape of Cher Lloyd at The Oasis touring in support of her album Sticks and Stones, an album that went to number 31 in the New Zealand album charts, no less! The younger fans are catered for again; this time at The MECA with Captured, a night featuring the best in new R’n’B, hip-hop and grime with Fugative, Encore and former Nu-Brand front man, Saskilla. (“Flick, flick, pose” and all that sort of thing.)

 

Bristol’s Metalhead will be paying tribute to all things classic rock in what seems like their weekly visit to Swindon; catch them at Riffs Bar. Alternately Led Zeppelin fans need to be at The Victoria for The Black Dogz.

 

The one bastion of original music is to be found at The Royal Oak. The Jess Hall Band mix up sublime pop vibes with an acoustic alt-folk sensibility to make songs that reek of charm, infectiousness and that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If it doesn’t then you have no soul and might as well be at The Oasis after all.

 

And in the “if you like that you’ll like this department” more sublime soulful, folk-pop comes courtesy of The Sound of the Sirens (pictured) at The Rolleston on Sunday, support is a solo outing for Hiproute main man Jim Blair. And if you want to make it a day of brilliant music, head up to this gig after first catching the afternoon session by Good Things Happen in Bad Towns at The Beehive.

 

Baker Streets Tuesday Jazz offering is a bit special this week, as rising star, jazz history aficionado and award winning tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett pops in to entertain and entrance in equal measure.

 

And finally Ester (spot the catch phrase) on Wednesday you can catch the world vibes and soulful pop-rock sounds of Coach at The Running Horse with support from The Racket front man, Plummie.