Tag Archive: switch


426615_307388412659174_1530646521_nA bit of a Curates Egg for seekers of original music this week and those not familiar with Victorian satire should Google the phrase immediately. If, however, you are one of those people that are content to hear music with an already existing pedigree, then you will have a field day. But, tonight at least, there is something truly original on offer. Songs of Praise at The Victoria is always striving to bring in bands that tick boxes to do with boundary pushing attitudes, uniqueness and fresh sounds and tonight they have excelled themselves.

 

Nudybronque is a band that have built up quite a reputation over the last few years, evolving from a perfectly pleasant punk-pop four-piece to a truly mesmerising experimental indie band and the release of their latest e.p. Moondog merely confirmed them to be a band writing some of the best tunes in their field today. Tonight they are joined by Port Erin, another band who have striven to push the boundaries of their own musical development, these days plying a musical trade of space and atmospherics, subtle dynamics and an almost jazz inflected quality. Opening the show is Oui Legionnaires, a band that almost defies generic pigeonholing instead preferring to invent their own terms such as puzzle-pop and yelpcore. No idea what that means? No, me neither, may it’s best you check them out.

 

Something far more describable is at The Beehive in the guise of Robert Brown, a troubadour whose style falls on the less fey side of Nick Drake and the sweeter edge of Jimmy Page.

 

The big event for Friday is the Ocelot Magazines Eighth Birthday bash at The Victoria. Being a publication with strong connections to the local music scene, you can imagine that they are able to pull in the best bands around and this line-up is a bit of a corker. Headlining is the newly re-emerged Racket, now fully embracing their brit-pop leanings and elevated to a five piece but with all the live swagger and attitude that you associate with the band of old. Vienna Ditto offers a contrasting sheen of wild-eyed rockabilly riffs and sparse, atmospheric electronica whilst looking like collaboration between a mad scientist and a jazz chantress. Boss Cloth brings the noise, as it were, a heavy yet melodic wave of grunged rock riffs and drum dynamics. Opening the night will be Chip Daddy (pictured) a man as well known for his outrageous off stage stunts as he is for his onstage rap parody.

 

Rumbustious…that’s a good word isn’t it? Rumbustious music can be found at The Beehive courtesy of M.O.D. who play Balkan inspired folk using everything from washboards to double bass, harmoniums to clarinets and will be playing songs from last years wonderfully titled Travelling at The Speed of Cattle. If something smoother is called for, Benji Clements will be playing in full band mode at The Royal Oak and the ska and reggae creations of SN Dubstation can be found at The Liquor Lounge.

 

Other options are the rock, blues and swing standards of The Teddy White Band at The Rolleston and classic covers from Switch at The New Inn.

 

On Saturday, Level 3 features a night of music in memory of DJ, radio presenter and all round good egg, Tom Humber who sadly passed away a year ago. As a devoted rock and metal fan he would certainly have approved of the bands paying tribute; melodic trash metallers In The Absence of Light, heavy biker-rock with a dash of Southern charm from Eye For and Eye and Dodging the Bullet playing iconic rock covers. Meanwhile next door at The Rolleston Metal Gods cover similar musical ground and the music of Paul Rogers of Free and Bad Company fame, is being re-visited at The Victoria.

 

Reggae music is being celebrated by The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive and more pop and rock standards can be had from In It For The Money who re-launch the band at Riffs Bar and Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees the Lazy Sunday Afternoon Session re-locate to the bandstand in Old Town Gardens and from 5pm you can have fun in the sun (you never know) with acoustic music from Blake, Rob Beckinsale and as ever your hosts, Mr Love and Justice.

Final mention of the week goes to those dapper acoustic Latin-jazzmen, Gilmore’n’Jaz who play the Roaring Donkey on Wednesday and whom I can’t recommend highly enough.

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156353_181984905147703_916302_nI often get the feeling that I am the protagonist in the latest Dan Brown novel. But this time instead of being a Harvard Symbologist searching for the meaning of the Holy Grail or trying to save priests from an Illuminate plot, it is set in a west country railway town and I am on a break-neck, historic quest, unravelling clues and wrestling gig information from a shadowy cult made up of venue owners and promoters who have also sent an albino sound engineer to thwart my efforts. Still if Dan Brown’s clichéd style holds true I will probably get paired up with a young, European stunner as the “will they, won’t they” love interest, so things aren’t so bad.

 

But safe guarding the descendant of Christ is one thing, I’m just trying to put together an accurate and informative gig guide and it really shouldn’t be this difficult. I would have thought that in these fiscally tricky times, venues and promoters would be putting even more effort into trying to draw punters into their shows, but if an expert gig goer (and if experience is measured in hours spent leaning on a bar, pint in hand watching local bands then I am pretty top of my game) like myself can’t root out the relevant information from websites and (anti-) social networking sites, then what hope has the casual enquirer. Come on folks, work with me here or don’t moan when the door count to your gig only just scrapes double figures. Help me to help you before more venues go out of business or stop promoting music.

 

Anyway, with the information I have been able to wrestle from elusive, mystic guardians at gunpoint, here are some things to do over the coming week.

 

The Victoria has a bit of a treat for you tonight as those splendid chaps at Sheer Music bring Brighton band of the moment, Verses, to the stage. Intelligent, hook driven, dynamic rock music is on the menu and if you like what you hear you can be amongst one of the first to pick up their debut album, Feel It Faster. Support comes from the no less talented Take the Seven and local bands All Ears Avow and Somewhat Snakes.

 

Those looking for something all together more rootsy might find what they are looking for at The Beehive as Christopher Rees weaves soulful folk around spectral blues and ends up with a wonderfully unique sound.

 

If metal tributes are your thing, then there is only one place to be on Friday, The Victoria. The Big Four Tribute Band go further than similar acts, four times further in fact, as they replicate the music of Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. Consisting of members of UK metallers, Betrayal, and with five years behind them in this guise, you know that they will be more than capable of pulling off such a feat.

 

Meanwhile, music biographer, musician and leader of his own personal band of Argonauts, Alan Clayson (pictured) will be fronting a show at The Beehive that pretty much defies description, so all I will say is go along, watch and make your own mind up about this truly original performer. The Arts Centre has The Ben Waters Band, energetic boogie piano at it’s finest taking in rock, jive and ska, not only one of Jools Holland’s top ten piano players but trivia fans might like to know that Ben is also PJ Harvey’s cousin.

 

 

Saturday plays host to mainly covers and tributes, the music of Pink Floyd can be heard at The Victoria whilst 1000 Planets play a mix of rock, industrial and goth covers plus originals in a similar vein from this years release Pay The Price.  Rock, pop and indie covers can be found at The Swiss Chalet courtesy of Switch and original music comes from the often shambolic, always entertaining Hamsters From Hell at The Castle. If you like the idea of mixing great food with sublime music then the dulcet and exotic tones of Skins and Strings will provide the perfect musical backdrop at Asiana in Old Town.

 

The penultimate mention is for Shaun Buswell’s show on Tuesday. After setting himself the challenge to meet, write for, rehearse and gig with an orchestra of total strangers, he is now taking a Dave Gorman style presentation of the whole project to The Edinburgh Festival and you can catch a preview at The Victoria. Finally on Wednesday, stalwart jazzmen and all round good eggs, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz play The Roaring Donkey.

1374371_626819517396714_494436571_nIf you type the letters S M E and L into Google the first thing that is returned as the most common search in the world is Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that is just about 23 years old. Why do I bring this up? Well, it is twenty years ago since Kurt Cobain took his own life but still he is all around us. In many ways Nirvana, and the grunge scene it was part of, was the last musical style that seemed to really change the musical landscape. Like hip-hop, punk and rock’n’rock before it, the impact was immeasurable, but what have the last twenty years given us? Whilst great music has continued to be made, why haven’t we seen the radical changes in music that previous revolutionary movements would suggest?

 

If you are waiting for answers, I don’t really have them. Maybe it is the fact that music is so “on-demand” it’s like Christmas everyday and you can have whatever music you want, when you want it, largely for free. Maybe it’s time to fight back and make a scene, it all it’s meanings. Grunge, Hip-Hop, rave, baggy, punk all grew from small acorns, maybe it’s time to get behind live music again, storm the barricades of apathy and make something happen…maybe even in Swindon.  Still, enough of the rhetoric.

 

Starting out at Riffs Bar, tonight is one for the rock fans and All Ears Avow lead the musical charge. Having risen from the ashes of progressive metal maestros Mortdelamer but now with an eye on a snappier alt-rock delivery, the band elegantly blend the dexterity of their previous incarnation with the accessibility of the latter. Support comes from pop-punkers Highly Personal and

Cavalier, a band that with just a few shows under their belt are already sounding on a lot of the right peoples radars.

 

The Beehive will be hosting the dustbowl era Americana of The Open Secrets who will make you feel like you are sipping whisky in a bar in North Carolina with Ryan Adams jamming Carter Family tunes in the background. Reginald Road will be playing roots rock reggae at The Queens Tap and The Beaujacks come all the way over from Eindhoven to treat The Victoria to everything from Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones to ZZ Top.

 

Fans of psychedelic blues and highly charged R’n’B will want to be at The Rolleston on Friday for Snatch It Back and if a further reference point were needed the band features original Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik so you will have some idea what to expect. At the Royal Oak, The Cover Addicts will be playing hits from the 50’s to the present day.

 

Out at Riffs Bar Acoustic Sessions Jenny Bracey and Sadie Fleming feature, though as usual any details of the show are a closely guarded secret so I suggest you contact the venue for further information.

 

What I can be a bit more certain about is the event that they have at the venue on the Saturday. In an effort to help fund a trip to Kenya for the Younite Outreach Project and continue it’s objective of helping improve the lives of those less fortunate, there is a fund raising show featuring British Harlem, a  wonderful blend of punk infused, quintessentially English indie with soulful transatlantic vibes. Also on the bill are Theo Altieri, Bianca Polizzi, The Primaveras, The Debuts and The Illustrations. Great music and a worthy cause.

 

More great original music is to be had at The Castle with the return of The Racket (pictured). Back out as a five piece, the band known for their uncompromising, last gang in town attitude, punked up indie cool and cocky live swagger will come as breath of….sweaty, cigarette fumed, booze soaked air.

 

The Victoria has a tribute to Texas groove-metallers Pantera and at The Rolleston The Dark Eyes “bridge the gap between rock and pop with originals and covers.” Their words not mine. More covers are to be had at The Woodlands Edge with Switch.

 

Sunday sees Ezio return to The Victoria a band that specialize in emotive, deep and meaningful music and lyrics that are honest and which will strike a chord (pardon the pun) with the audience.

1970727_759281224090815_510702344_nI was presented with the perfect analogy the other day of why if you go to a gig you should support the whole evening. Obviously courtesy and support for grassroots music should be enough but whilst running the merchandise stand at a recent gig, this wonderful bit of karma unfolded. The first band had just finished, lets call them Band X, and a punter came over to the desk to check out the CD’s on offer, picking up one by the band who had just left the stage. “Did you see the opening act?” I enquired. “ No, I was in the upstairs bar, I don’t bother with support acts, I’m only here to see Band X” It came as a bit of a blow then when I informed him that whilst he was up in the top bar he had totally missed the band he had travelled, all the way from Birmingham as it happened, to see. Why he had assumed that Band X were headlining is anybody’s guess, he was even drinking in a bar with posters advertising the nights running order. So the obvious moral of the story is support all the bands on the bill, not only are you sure not to miss the act you have come to see, you may just pick up some new music as well. And so endeth todays lesson.

It’s a bit of a quiet week on the live music front, but there are a few gems to be found if you know where to look and tonight at The Victoria is the ideal place to start. Californian legends Ugly Duckling blend a range of urban sounds, 80’s hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz with humour and a feel-good factor that has found them acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. Also on the bill are Lusty and Swindon’s own DJ/producer Para.

The American invasion continues down at The Rolleston as “ Glam Rock survivor” Adam Bomb (pictured) plays the last date of his European tour there. Adam has a CV that reads like a who’s who of rock royalty, having worked with everyone from Hanoi Rocks and Motorhead to The Wildhearts, John Paul Jones and even reggae giants Steel Pulse. His is a show that reminds you of what rock and roll is all about, razor wire riffs, attitude soaked stage presence, and his trademark love of pyrotechnics. Support comes Rocket Box and Nick Felix.

Jazz, folk and blues meet head on at The Beehive in the music of Portsmouth duo Walker Broad, which I thought was a pun (walk abroad?) until I realised that it is actually the surnames of the players. Expect Latin infuse foot tappers, jazz folk ballads and a few pure blues numbers.

Friday’s acoustic offering at Riffs Bar features a couple of tried and tested local acts in the shape of Ian O’Regan and Drew Bryant.  The former is a dexterous bluesman, whilst the later is an old school folk troubadour with a wonderful Donovan-esque vibe to his songs. Something heavier this way comes…well to The Rolleston at least, as new (ish) kids on the rock block, Broken Image, serves up a generous helping of classic rock covers.

Riffs Bar on Saturday offers something rather tasty, well if you like your prog rock that is. And why wouldn’t you when you have Credo on the bill? Not only are they a brilliant neo-progressive rock band, it is front man Marks birthday and so a whole bunch of genre stalwarts have rallied to the cause. Andy Sears, one time frontman with Twelfth Night will be there as will Comedy of Errors, neatly described in one review as Floyd meets Muse in The Court of The Gentle Giant (unpick the references from that.) Ex – Tinyfish chaps Robert Ramsey and Simon Godfrey are along for the ride, as are Also Eden’s Rich Harding and Simon Rogers. In short it is a showcase of almost everyone who matters in the contemporary progressive rock world.

Other options are blistering electric blues-rock at The Rolleston with Innes Sibun or a whole range of genres and eras covered by party band Switch at The Royal Oak.

Tuesday sees former Mike and The Mechanics and Ace frontman, Paul Carrack grace the stage of the Wyvern Theatre and The Roaring Donkey sees the week out on Wednesday with the liquid gold vocal talents of Sophia Bovell.

1012061_10151336558167168_224323729_nSo as we turn the corner from a cold and very wet January to a, probably, just as cold and wet February, at least the first buds of musical growth are starting to appear in the local venues. January is always musically slow but this week there is a lot more to tell you about than in previous weeks so I shall just get down to business, stop procrastinating, cease dilly-dallying around, quit the filibustering, postpone no longer…in short, get on with it.

Although with their roots in more conventional mainstream sounds, the Talk in Code that heads into 2014 are a sassy blend of synth washed, indie-dance and guitar driven pop sensibilities. Not a bad way to kick the week off. They are joined by alt-rock, new comers, A Way With Words and acoustic artist, Daniel James and all this happens at The Victoria tonight.

At The Beehive is Tennessee’s very own Mark Merriman, a world-renowned guitarist who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Frank Evans and Wishbone Ash’s Andy Powell.

Lots to choose from on Friday and the birth of a new venture to help bring something new and vibrant to town. Under the direction of two of the areas most established players, The Regent is now hosting acoustic sessions and the first one kicks off in fine style with an acoustic set from the guys of False Gods and the long awaited re-emergence of The Racket main man Plummie.

The other regular Friday night acoustic session at Riffs Bar will feature the delights of Nick Tann (pictured), a jazz inflected, soaring and soulful player armed with a disarming wit and shirts whose loudness might cause a few health and safety violations. He is joined by the stripped back acoustic funk of the puntastic With Nell and I, a slick and musically elegant band with a vocal that will stop you in your tracks.

Other acoustic offerings come in the form of the furious, folk party that is Grubby Jack at The Rolleston. Traditional songs from the folk, Americana and Celtic songbooks, delivered with infectious aplomb and cheeky charm by this talented trio.

Right, if you prefer your music more fired up and electrified…as it were, you can either catch The Star Men, a tribute to all things seventies Glam at The Victoria or for something more current and original, The AK-Poets continue their tour by descending upon The Beehive for a night of razor wire riffs, raucous rock and murderous melody. It’s brash, it’s boisterous…it’s brilliant.

Although I bemoan the amount of classic rock cover bands that come through this town (lets not get on that one again though) The Victoria this Saturday night offers the chance to see, if not the fresh face, at least the hard bitten snarl and contemptuous growl of the genres current cutting edge. This double header features Stonewire and Four Wheel Drive, festival stalwarts, hard hitting classic rockers and the most exciting live show ever to pull on a pair of biker boots.

Meanwhile Reginald Road, a mix of punky ska and reggae rock, will be firing up The Queens Tap with a set of originals and classics, The Rolleston features Dickie Reed and The Royal Oak is the place for a night of fun covers with Penfold. Fans of the 80’s will want to head out to Riffs Bar for the synthy sounds and nostalgic themes of Syntronix.

More pop, rock and indie covers come courtesy of Switch at The Kings in Old Town on Sunday and those with who remember the glory days of rock will do well to get tickets for Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash at The Wyvern Theatre. Founder member Martin, not only looks back at four decades of music, faithfully reproducing all the bands classics but also offers up brand new music into the mix. If the word Argus conjures up more than a Brighton newspaper, then this is the show for you.