Tag Archive: tim manning


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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26170782_914630398738455_5843566105616402098_o 2Sadly it is time to morn the passing of another musical great. Mark E. Smith, the glorious leader of The Fall may not have had the mainstream success that other recently departed icons were known for, but he was an icon nonetheless. An icon of otherness, of belligerence, of the anti and the other, of subversion, things which are by and large missing from todays music. He walked a line between the brilliant and the bizarre, shows were as likely to be terrible as transcendental, lyrics were confrontational and strangely poetic and gigs were your own little secret. He could have steered the band towards stadium success but instead preferred to play above pubs in Bethnal Green or decrepit ex-discotheques in Wythenshawe! Wether you got him or not, loved him or loathed him we can all guarantee that the world will be a less interesting and more conformist place without him. Anyway…to horse, well, musically speaking.

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13407096_10153662274891463_6649436038957675124_n.jpgIn a world which seems ever more divided along political lines, knowingly supporting cash over climate issues, payola over peace and where a small very small sector of society pull the strings and calls the shots, wouldn’t it be good to have someone come along and make sense of it all. Not some dry political hack or firebrand orator but maybe a guy with a bass guitar, a hat and a bag of songs which point fingers, neatly satirises and gently ridicules the state of the world. It might not fix the problems but it sounds like a fun night out to me. Oh look, Grant Sharkey is at The Tuppenny tonight, what a co-incidence!

Meanwhile down at The Beehive, that excellent fellow Tim Manning is hosting his Acoustic Buzz night, a session dedicated to all things rootsy and this time around Boss Caine headlines the night, imagine Tom Waits singing Ryan Adams …if they had both had the good fortune to grow up in Yorkshire that is. Chris Webb is also on the bill, a finger-style folkie par excellence and your host will kick the night off with his song-blends of country and folk.

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nick-harper-press-photo-08mOne of the biggest names to hit town in a while, especially if you have a penchant for the singer-songwriter format, can be found in one of the smallest local venues tonight. At Baila Coffee and Vinyl you will find Nick Harper,(pictured) a festival favourite with a string of fantastic albums under his belt and who is able to do things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja. Support comes from Burbank and I would suggest that you buy a ticket on-line rather than take your chances on being able to get in.

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11102962_929269977124189_2726214974406720768_nWhen I first started writing this more exclusive gig guide, I pessimistically thought that it would be a quick write up every week. At the time original bands seemed a very small chunk of the available gigs and where as the more inclusive and all encompassing guide that I write for the “paper that shall not be named” runs to a small essay these days, this seemed a breeze to put together.

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10933803_1011615478852084_3192550600492000273_nLet’s just title this week “Victim of Success Week” as the gig diary seems to have gone into overdrive and get straight on with the show.

 

Something well wicked this way comes, as the yoof of today might say, tonight at The Victoria with a snarling, noisy, beast of a show from those awfully nice chaps at Songs of Praise. Described as “zombie grunge” Sheffield’s Steel Trees are one big slab of industrial strength noise and scorching, white hot guitars. Support comes in the guise of deliciously schizophrenic post-punkers, Nasty Little Lonely and Ex-Shrine main man Mat Caron’s new outfit I Am In Love.

 

The regular Acoustic Buzz session at The Beehive has a stellar line up, not only the subtle beauty of Jess Vincent’s folk-pop but also the achingly authentic, Americana-folk of Jim Evans. As always your host, Blind River Scare’s Tim Manning, kicks the night off.

 

Two big names are in town on Friday. Firstly at The Oasis The Modfather himself, Paul Weller, will be continuing to further the cause of quintessentially English song writing. The Second hails from much further away, Portland, Oregon to be exact. Having made a name with the distinctly multi-cultural, hard rock, junk-funk outfit, The Dan Reed Network, the eponymous front man will be playing at level 3 for the Fatboys Cancer Charity For Children Fundraiser. A host of other supports are in place, although be aware that limited tickets are only available in advance from the charity itself.

 

Although if you can’t get a ticket for that one, like classic rock and iconic indie covers and want to support a worthy cause then head over to Riffs Bar where Soundbites and Vice Versa will be playing to raise money for Breakthrough Brest Cancer.

 

If you prefer something a bit smoother, then The Tribe headline at The Victoria with their trademark fusion of soulful reggae, dance grooves and infectious hip hop vibes. Support comes from dubstep meets jazz meets hip-hop collective Dubbed Over.

 

The phrase, at the opposite end of the spectrum, doesn’t even begin to describe the wonderfully named Ma Polaine’s Great Decline who play The Beehive. These roots genre time travellers mix the blues of Howlin’ Wolf and genre hopping of Tom Waits to create a sound both familiar and exotic.

 

Also to be mentioned in despatches are The Runaway Boys, a tribute to The Stray Cats, at The Rolleston and fans of covers have the choice of Toxic at The Swiss Chalet or Mojo at The Castle.

 

Before talking of Saturday’s gigs, I should point out that the now well-established Record and CD fair will be taking place at The Central Community Centre from 9.00 am.

 

As for gigs, they are more about the tried and tested rather than the new and innovative but there is still some great music to be had. At Riffs Bar, Syntronix will be reliving all of the great synth pop of the eighties, everything from the big numbers such as Rio and Tainted Love to a few lesser-known numbers from the likes of Talk Talk and The Thompson Twins.

 

Rock is on the menu as Dodging The Bullet bring the noise to The Rolleston; something a bit more subtle can be found at The Victoria as Just Floyd pay tribute to one of the biggest and most uniquely creative bands on the planet.

 

Fans of Reggae, Ska and Rocksteady will want to be at The Beehive as the Shocks of Mighty DJs spin all the best tunes from those genres and Tony M and Friday Feeling play covers at The Castle and The Swiss Chalet respectively. Also in that vein is Jamie R Hawkins who can be found at Byron’s Wine Bar.

 

And even on Sunday there is no let up as Ron Trueman Border mixes up folk, blues jazz and a lot more at The Beehive afternoon session and it is with a tear in the eye that I can report that The Victoria will be the scene of Sheer Music’s last Swindon gig for the foreseeable future. It’s only fair that they should go out with a bang and so have managed to bag a date with Moose Blood (pictured)and Creeper currently touring the UK. So, if quality Emo and melodic punk are your sort of thing then help thank Kieran and the team for all their hard work over the years.

 

Finally dexterous acoustica taking in folk, blues and rock can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday courtesy of Andy Robbins.

941709_451444478279664_612130979_nIt’s pretty much slim pickings gig wise around the town this week and no, that isn’t a sneaky reference to the Blazing Saddles and Dr Strangelove actor with a similar sounding name. A seasonal lull in proceedings is to be expected at this time of year, but if you are a venue, promoter and band and want to ensure a mention in this column then you only have to send me a message, I’m easy enough to find on the supermation info-highway thingy.

 

So starting with a bang at The Victoria, tonight there is a line up heavy enough to satisfy even the most extreme noise merchants. Leading the way is Sleep Inertia, the band that rose from the ashes of The Dead Lay Waiting, so expect the same uncompromising onslaught but one catering for a slightly more mature target audience than before. They are joined by two other local acts, the hardcore brutality of Heriot and the solid, metal shenanigans of Eden Falls.

 

Meanwhile, The Roughnecks can be found at The Beehive; fans of old school, gritty, rhythm and blues should do themselves a favour and check them out.

 

Friday can only offer a look back at some of the great music of yesteryear. At The Victoria you can catch The Teddy White Band playing the best in beat, retro rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues, whilst at The Rolleston, The Corduroy Kings cover music written between the sixties and the present day in the rock, blues, R’n’B, soul and funk categories. Over at The Fox and Hounds in Hayden Wick, function band Echo will be entertaining the crowd with a repertoire so broad there is no point even trying to nail it down. The best way to approach the gig is with an open mind, just go along and see what you get given.

 

Saturday also has its fair share of the tried and tested. At The Rolleston, Alter Ego will be offering up classic rock and soulful blues and at The Swiss Chalet, Mojo will be playing music from The 50’s to the present day.

 

And just as I was giving up on the notion that there may be something original going on, Riffs Bar come to the rescue with the launch show for Red Jasper’s (pictured)latest album, The Great and Secret Show, not only their 6th album but their first release in 17 years. Red Jasper blend British folk rock with a harder, neo-progressive rock edge, those that revel in the seventies output of Jethro Tull or Fish era Marillion may find a lot here that they like.

 

And finally something else to satisfy fans of original music can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday. Usually found fronting Blind River Scare, Tim Manning is a regular face in Swindon also due to the monthly Acoustic Buzz sessions he hosts at The Beehive. As a solo act his songs lose none of their craftsmanship and subtleties, a wonderful blend of Celtic folk and southern Americana traditions.

 

I shall probably get crucified for saying this but to all the venues and promoters who play it safe by continuously booking the same cover bands, I know there is a certain financial security to be had through this route, but do you not ever feel that there is more to life than comfort zones? Imagine in years to come being able to say to yourself, that the band that have just sold out an arena tour in under an hour used to play in your venue, wouldn’t it be satisfying to able to say that you helped them get where they are today. Wouldn’t that be something?

1390775_1010155912344262_2119820808637066610_nAlongside the bigger shows at The Victoria, the people behind Songs of Praise are now organising the acts every Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey. Following their usual template of mixing up the best of the local acts with some great out of town music, much of which is coming to Swindon for the first time, there is a lot to look forward to.

 

January is a great example of the scope that they cover. Starting this Wednesday (7th) the year kicks of with the funky blues, slide guitar skills and smoky voice of Jim Blair (pictured). Normally found fronting Hiproute, Jim’s solo set is no less exciting and taps a seam of rootsy southern blues and upbeat grooves.

 

Salisbury chantress Sue Hart can be found the following week (14th) mixing up Old World folk with New World country with a dash of humour and panache and a week later (21st) Tim Manning of Blind River Scare takes similar building blocks but comes out with some wonderfully different musical results.

 

Rounding the month off, folk-pop pixie Tamsin Quin (28th) comes out of hibernation and brings her honest songs and infectious stage presence to the venue and with a support from the hushed acoustic atmospherics of Andrew Burke, that show is double the value for money.

 

If you are fed up with acoustic sessions in town being dominated by the same few acts, are looking for some new, quality music to check out, or you are just after a pint in a chilled back street boozer to break the week up, this is the place to be. And you never know you may just find yourself part of something truly wonderful.

 

written for Swindon Link Jan ’15

10712899_10152416753527406_7198576379845939303_nOh, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids, they say. But Halloween seems to have turned into a national holiday for people who thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a documentary and who take quizzes on Facebook with titles like “How long would you survive a zombie invasion?” Also prepare yourself for a barrage of lazy journalism resorting to clichéd words such a boo-tiful and spooktacular. The tail end of the week is also an opportunity for on-line slacktavists to trot out their well-worn cliché about Guy Fawkes being the “only person to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Yes, that’s what the world needs, more religiously motivated terrorists in the pay of shadowy organisations. That said the offshoot of all this warped celebration is that there is a lot of live music to go with it.

 

Starting at The Beehive for a change, tonight the regular Acoustic Buzz night features Lucky Strikes frontman Matthew Boulter, whose solo work has been described as ““Introspective, gentle, tinged with darkness and a sorrowful undertow.” Sounds good to me. Also on the bill are the equally brilliant Paul McClure and your regular host Tim Manning of Blind River Scare.

 

The Victoria opts for the harder rock of All Ears Avow, a band who manages to infuse alternative rock with a certain pop sensibility to produce a sound that both big and commercial. They are joined by With Ghosts, Elasea and Heriot.

 

The big Halloween show is at The Victoria on Friday with a “Bands and Burlesque” special. Not only music from suitably named, psychobilly genre benders Cowboy and The Corpse but also exotic and sensual dance routines. Jokes about pumpkins made at your own risk. If something more raucous is required for your festivities The Hamsters From Hell at Rolleston offer riotous rhythm and boozy blues for your delectation. Meanwhile downstairs at Level 3, Emily’s Pole Fitness has a very unique Halloween show for you.

 

The Acoustic Session out at Riffs Bar is taken by Rob Richings this week, with the maximum added value of it being a full band show (pictured) and at The Beehive, The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning classic ska and reggae tunes.

 

Saturday gets a bit obsessed with the tried and tested but it’s all about supply and demand and what Swindon seems to demand looks a lot like this. In a clever play on words, The Four Fighters will be paying tribute to the band fronted by the universally accepted nicest man in rock music today, Dave Grohl, and they can be found at The Victoria. Riffs Bar holds its festive bash to the indie-party sounds of covers band Penfold with everything from “The Arctic Monkey’s to The Zutons” apparently.

 

Young and dynamic classic rock is on the menu at The Rolleston with Bad Obsession and tunes that run from “Aerosmith to Zeppelin”….and does anyone else see an alphabetized marketing theme developing here? More heavy rock covers can be found at The Ashford Road Club courtesy of Shepherds Pie who declare that they play “everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top”….see, there it is again. Finally Operation 77 will be at The Swiss Chalet with a range of covers covering punk, post-punk, ska and mod genres. They didn’t offer a neat alphabetized sound bite. Level 3 has a night that is 100% Drum and Bass for those that want to carry the party on into the night.

 

Music obsessives might wish to know that during the day at the Central Community Centre there will be a Record and CD Fair so all you audiophiles (that is a real word, I checked) start saving your money.

 

A second chance to see The Hamsters From Hell comes on Sunday at The White Hart in Wroughton. One of the reasons for mentioning this is that the pub has just changed hands and it would be in every live music fans interest to support the gig and prove to the new owners that live music is worth hosting and, more importantly from a business point of view, a lucrative income for the pub. Use it or lose it as they say.

 

Last mention of the week is for D’Bize at The Beehive also on Sunday, the best of the old Irish tradition with a young beating heart, sounds like a great way to enjoy a pint and let the roast dinner slowly digest.

lord_bishop_rocks_carlisle_01_313x470As Harold Wilson once said, “ A week is a long time in local music, ” well, something like that. Anyway, after a few weeks of being hard pushed to find much to talk about on the gigging front, this week is an embarrassment of riches and so without further….

 

So starting in our usual departure point on this rollercoaster of what’s-on-ness, The Victoria, tonight has it’s second show commemorating Tom Humber’s all too young passing a year ago, with the hard and heavy sounds of In The Absence of Light and Eye For An Eye. Those looking for a more rootsy fix would do well to head for The Beehive and this month’s Acoustic Buzz. Hosted and featuring a solo set from Blind River Scare’s Tim Manning, this month’s bill also sees the bluesy folk of Tamsin Quin plus Boss Caine, a man who looks like a Bowery street busker and has a sound and style reminiscent of Tom Waits. Nice!

 

Staying with roots, on Friday you can catch two of the best of that genre at The Rolleston as Hip Route bring their energetic and emotive acoustic-blues groove, slide guitars and beatific beats to bear on the audience. Support comes from Sam Green who even without his Midnight Heist cohorts is a musical force to be reckoned with. Riffs Bar Acoustic Session features a triptych of folk artists…for those that didn’t go to Sunday school that means three. The “Dude Where’s Your Car Tour” is a package of young singer-songwriters from the Midlands and comprises of David Young (no, not that one, a different one,) Dan Salt and the wonderfully named Brains For Breakfast.

 

The Automaniacs are at The Beehive; expect psychedelic instrumentals mixed with proggy structures, old school rock’n’roll, atmospherics and electronic washes or just imagine the sort of sounds that might come from a haunted music shop in the early hours.

 

For those who fancy crossing the parish boundaries and heading out into the sticks, as a teaser for The Big Gig later in the year, you can catch a bunch of bands at The Crown in Broad Hinton, namely The AK-Poets, (or catch them again at The Royal Oak on Saturday) Charlie Ann, Full On and Nick Felix.  Party band Interlight will be providing covers and humorous banter at The Victoria.

 

Saturday see’s one of the busiest nights musically around town I have seen for a while, nothing at all to do with venues booking bands merely as pre-football party acts whilst balding forty something’s in ill fitting sports regalia explain loudly to each other why their team selection would be much better. No, I’m sure the bands have been book purely on their own musical merits.

 

Original Brit-Punks, The Members bring “the sound of the suburbs” to The Victoria, mixing explosive first wave punk, pop melodies and reggae vibes. I’m sure the fact that their show is scheduled to finish at 10.30, just as the football starts is pure co-incidence. More heavy sounds can be had at Riffs Bar as Lord Bishop Rocks (pictured) swaggers into town. Beatle-esque melodies, Sabbath’s musical weight and the funk of James Brown are moulded into what the band themselves title Sex Rock. Superb Support comes in the form of Burnthru and Mascot.

 

Proving that it is not all about numbers, Level 3 have a show entitled Two Piece Suit: 2 acts each made up of two musicians. The Sea mix the sass of T-Rex with the swagger and industrial riffing of The MC5 whilst 2 Sick Monkeys play incendiary punk with humour and dexterity. Meanwhile in The Rolleston next-door The Imperial G-Men use rock and roll, jump and give to excite their crowd.

 

Something less raucous comes courtesy of The GW’s regular acoustic night, this time featuring sets from All Ears Avow, who’s normal modus operandi is trying to inflict structural damage via white hot metal onslaughts, Emi McDade whose delicate piano creations I have previously championed in these pages, as well as The Philly Wood Band, Tyler Harvey, Jack Summers and another outing for Hip Route. Covers are provided Peloton at The Royal Oak and The Hyperbolics at The Queens Tap.

 

If you need something that afternoon to get your music juices running then a perfect aperitif is watching David Marx play the café at The Old Town Gardens.

 

And briefly, The Academy of Music and Sound are running two nights of music at Level 3 on Tuesday and Wednesday to raise money for the Prospect Hospice.