Tag Archive: syntronix


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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Kirk-Brandon-aKoustiK-Promo2016.jpgNothing ever happens in this town. It must be true, after all you hear it said over and over again. Though it is difficult to justify such a statement as I prepare to list over 20 different gigs in the space of under a week. So with no further ado…

Tonight, The Victoria plays host to a slew of indie bands headed by chaps of the moment Getrz. This young musical gang weave punk swagger through sharp indie cool and they are joined by No Hot Ashes’ eclectic and wide-ranging sonics, the cinematic and sweeping sounds of We Are Parkas, and Freakouts kick the night off in explosive fashion.

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40922994_1038122389702686_5504215381138472960_oSome weeks this town is blessed with big name acts travelling through the parish boundaries, other times there are a few new and interesting options passing through from further afield and sometimes we are find wonderful blasts from the past in our midsts. This week though is mainly a real celebration of the bands that keep the local circuit alive. You will know most of the names, you have probably seen many before but as a show case of just how vibrant the local scene is and just how many great home grown bands we have, this week acts as the perfect showcase.

I say mainly as tonight offers a few options from across the county line and the most unusual of them can be found at The Victoria. Siblings of Us (pictured) are a band undergoing a transformation moving from the most mercurial and jagged two-piece synth wave band topped off with Bee Gee-esque vocals into the most mercurial and jagged three-piece electro-rock band…with Bee Gee-esque vocals. Reventure and Xadium also bring new ideas to the rock format.

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16807137_10155794267854056_5740058919034121743_nWhilst most of the music on offer this week is more concerned with reliving past favourites, of offering sonic comfort zones and reminding you why you fell in love with music in the first place, the week does start out with some strides being made into new musical pastures. One such band is Lewis Clark and The Essentials who can be found at The Beehive tonight.

If you have not yet seen this regular visitor to the local circuit, I can assure you that this is band you really need to check out. Although on paper you would have to describe them as an acoustic folk and blues fusion, in reality they are much more than that. They are soulful, dexterous, effortlessly cool, and musically economical, they make every note and lyrical line count and are the perfect band to restore your faith in creativity and originality.

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22050281_1509919725735598_1001761715661952264_nStuck as we are between the recent Bank Holiday glut of live gigs, heading into the heart of the summer sporting diary and with festival season about to go into full swing, not to mention having a rare run of good weather that means that people are opting for pub garden and home barbecue’s rather than heating for the hot and claustrophobic gig environment, has resulted in not a great deal to report on this week from the live music trenches. There is also the small matter of pubs gearing up for that World Cup that seems to be all the rage these days. But to make up for the lack of choice, the options you do have dictate that it is a week where quality, not quantity, is the order of the day.

Like The Sarah C. Ryan Band at The Victoria tonight. Just as often found performing in solo mode, her blend of rootsy pop is taken to new levels when she has both the additional nuance and extra drive wielded by a full band. Expect a mix of her own deft creations writ sonically large and a few pre-loved classics along the way.

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26166586_1681465711875033_8057004855056739838_nThere was an interesting debate on Facebook the other day regarding the balance between original and non-original bands in town. Between all of the threads full of ill informed political infighting and pictures of cats falling off things, the old battle lines were drawn again and it seems as if many people think that there is some sort of conspiracy designed to hold back the original scene, which of course is nonsense. It’s all about market forces, venues and pubs are businesses and they exist by selling drinks, the more the better, so it obviously makes more sense to book bands with a known draw than some unknown Tibetan infused dream-pop band from Newport Pagnall. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to see more original music, bigger names playing more convenient nights of the week then you first have to prove that it can compete, and you do this by supporting the smaller shows which are already happening. Do that, and apart from the two usual venues championing original music, other venues will see the profit in it and there will be more on offer. It’s as simple as that. And buy a CD on the way out too, even musicians need to eat.

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16797264_10155794267854056_5740058919034121743_oAnd here we are, the run up to Christmas, a week when “twas” and “tis” become an accepted part of the language for the first time since the seventeenth century, gaudy jumpers, or these days possibly onesies, replace having an actual personality, people talk about how A Wonderful Life is the best film ever made (the correct answer is The Fisher King!) and Mariah Carey is every other song on the radio or jukebox. (What’s wrong with Joni Michell’s River and maybe all of the bands who normally cover The Killers’ Mr Brightside could instead learn their iconic/ironic A Great Big Sled, the original of which featured the lovely Toni Halliday?) And yes, if you cut me in half you will see the words Bah Humbug scrolling through my core!

However, if you do love all the seasonal silliness and traditions then you may just like to head along to The Tuppenny tonight for Slim Ditty does Christmas! Crooner, comedian, music hall maestro and vaudevillian, he promises a swinging singalong, fun and frivolity. Also best and worst Christmas jumpers will be awarded prizes.

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13054996_823594491078335_3518252429045520504_oThursday continues to be the night for new, original music and it doesn’t get more original than the offering at The Beehive tonight. Paddy Steer is an enigma, a juxtaposition of seemingly conflicting interests and challenging ideas, angular electronics blended with lo-fi, futuristic soul, trance-dance meanderings and swirling vocal washes. You could call it world music, but just not this world.

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12771521_505280549673444_5585277270321832928_oSome weeks I get to wax lyrical about bands with weird names that most of you have never heard of, from far flung realms and exotic sounding places that your average reality TV star or Republican party nominee couldn’t point to on a map. This week, however, it is much more about the home team as many of the gigs slots feature frequently returning and popular bands. In other words, tried and tested, solid, dependable bookings. And why not?

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10291855_655599347822650_4966922589267615587_nAnd so there it goes, that was 2015, what have you done? Another year over and another …no, hang on that’s Wonderful Christmas Time by George Harrison (I know, I know, but you have got to give the little darlings who like to commentate on-line something to work with.) So, a time for reflection on a tough year for live music with more venues than ever seeking to get involved but the pool of bands being called on getting seemingly ever smaller. How to inject something new, fresh, appealing and exciting without losing the existing punters, that is the trick. And how do you create a real event but also sell beer at the same time? Do we need better promotion and publicity? Do venues need to reflect our more ethnically diverse world and get away from the “white guys with guitars” template that dominates? Is the idea of going to grassroots level shows redundant? Should live shows also be streamed for the stay at home fan? Maybe we can find some of those answers next year, so keep the faith, keep things afloat, keep supporting. And buy a CD on the way out.

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