Tag Archive: tin spirits


9280Apparently there is some sort of soccer tournament on (right, that’s another local demographic alienated) but whilst a few of the regular musical haunts have given themselves over to big screen TV coverage and people shouting “go on my son” …I assume, I’m not an expert, there is still plenty of live music to catch around and about.

One of the more interesting musical visitors to these parts can be found at The Tuppenny tonight. Grant Sharkey is on a one man mission to record and release forty albums in twenty years and he is out and about playing songs from album number eleven, Thoughts and Prayers. He not only does strange things to an upright bass but threads social commentary, environmentalism, avant-garde view points, wit, wisdom, warmth and humour through his songs. Support is from Kitchen Sink Dramas who come from a very similar place and I don’t mean Southampton.

Continue reading

9280Sometimes in this column I get to talk about iconic artists. More usually I talk about local favourites. For once I get to talk about a band which is the perfect blend of both as Tin Spirits (pictured) can be found at The Victoria tonight. It’s a band of four experienced, highly talented and well-liked musicians, including a certain Mr Dave Gregory, the music errs on the side of prog, you will know and love the song selections and if you are lucky you may even get a song or two from “that” band.

Meanwhile, down at The Beehive, all the way from Sacramento …via Cambridge, Berlin, the astral plane and many points in between Anton Barbeau can be found plying his slightly wonk, paisley patterned, pre-apocalyptic psychedelic pop, music which fans of the likes of Julian Cope and Syd Barrett will appreciate. There is a new band in tow and a new record to be had so what are you waiting for.

Friday sees Over To You playing their farewell show at The Victoria, one last time to throw your self around to their punk-pop goodness. The show is free and there will be t-shirts and CD’s to be had. Joining them to make sure they go out with a bang are local post-hardcore posse Eden Falls and grunge infused trio Three Dead up from Bristol. 

Continue reading

10354096_404715793024462_9220940296262886703_nYou know how people say that no big names ever come to Swindon or if they do they are some pop sensation and play in the cavernous, acoustic hell that is the Oasis? You know how people still go on about that time that (insert generic cover band name) played a half decent version of a Queens of the Stone Age song? You know how most original bands are not as good as cover bands? Well all those arguments get blown out of the water tonight as Avon plays The Victoria. Avon? Yes, Avon. Not only named after a QOTSA song but also featuring their original drummer, who also happened to be the original drummer for Kyuss, the band that spawned them. So options are go and watch a cover band on the basis that you will get to hear songs from your record collection or go and watch a guy who helped put them there. And therein lies the crux of the big debate I guess.

Continue reading

10600611_722754574474721_1208207470222292011_nGuy Fawkes night is upon us so not only a time for fireworks, partying and cowering pets but also time for those online wits to roll out the old adage about him being “ the last person to enter Parliament with honest intentions”. So if your idea of honest intentions is a religious mercenary being hired by the English aristocracy to commit mass genocide then yes, spot on. So much for the political minds and rhetoric of generation X-box. Right, off the soapbox and into the mosh pit.

Continue reading

10568792_671452159600192_7578462626234394886_nIn an effort to keep this column hip and groovy I have adopted a new tactic. I could have grown a beard that makes me look like an American Backwoodsman, bought some plaid shirts and started drinking espresso out of a jam jar but that wouldn’t make much difference in the medium of print. Instead I thought I would get on board with the parlance of a Buzzfeed type article to really show that I’m down with the kids. (Do people still say that?) So….

 

This music journalist sat down to write a gig guide and what happened next will blow your mind. No? How about…Here’s 11 gigs that only real music fans will attend. Or, When I saw what this guy had written I cried. Nah, it’s not really me, is it? What about, get off your sofa, turn that TV off and go and support some real live music before I send a cultural hit squad round to sort you out! That’s more my style.

 

And for all of you concerned that the rotation of the same few bands around town is getting a bit predictable, Riffs Bar have a real treat for you tonight. All the way from San Diego, Black Market III mix soulful blues with red hot Americana, Clash style street punk with old school rock ‘n’ roll and are touted as a real “one to watch” band on the international circuit. Support comes from the doom-rock and art-punk experimentation of Sea Mammal and the soaring, grunge-scapes of D.I.R.T.E.

 

 

More hard, electric blues can be found at The Victoria in the shape of John Fairhurst whose band freely mix music traditions from the Mississippi shoreline to The Ganges Delta with bottle neck blues and psychedelia sitting cheek by jowl with Indian Raga and exotic eastern flavours. Think Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits jamming in a Kolkata teashop. Also on the bill are Cook and The Case and personally it has been amazing to watch them evolve through solo singer-songwriter and chilled indie folk genres into a band of unbelievable dynamic shifts and extremes of light and shade. Their music is both reckless and refined but always beautiful. At The Beehive you can catch the Afro-pop and roots sounds of Two Man Ting.

 

By Friday original music gets harder to track down but you can catch Tin Spirits at The Victoria who channel the sound of 70’s progressive rock with their current writing but often treat the audience to some of guitarist Dave Gregory’s XTC back-catalogue. Support comes from Steve Grimmett’s fundraising, classic rock side project Sound Bites.

 

Tributes can be found aplenty going into the weekend, Beatles fans should head for The Rolleston whilst next-door in Level 3 Jilted Generation return to evoke the glory days of The Prodigy. On Saturday you can catch the music of The Stranglers at The Victoria and Iron Maiden at The Rolleston whilst out at Riffs Bar Hot Flex play a range of classic rock covers with support from rock parody outfit Vinyl Matt.

 

A nice slice of punk history rolls into Level 3 on Saturday as ex-Adverts front man TV Smith (pictured) joins the bill for this years Mick Love Memorial Gig. Since the demise of The Adverts, Smith has carved out a highly respected solo career as well as touring with Amen and Die Toten Hosen, anyone who has heard of either of those bands needs to catch him live. The night opens with the Nu-wave, Bowery street punk from Strength in Blunders and goes out with a bang from Charred Hearts, over thirty years in and still fighting the punk wars on their own terms.

 

Sunday has some great acoustic offerings. The Lazy Sunday Afternoon at The Arts Centre Café features Light Falls Forward a band whose EP Sleeptalkin’ I can honestly say is one of the most gorgeous new musical offerings I have heard in a while. They manage to capture a very emotive vocal sound and layer it over a cinematic soundscape that combines a lush ambience with enough drive to keep it in the realms of reflective and dreamlike rather than melancholy. The equally elegant Faye Rogers and your hosts Mr Love and Justice are also to be found there.

1455048_10151626389261362_1814659028_nSo here we are again, at the tail end of another year and time maybe to pause and reflect on the year gone. Whilst everyone was distracted by footage of Miley “so thin and yet so thick” Cyrus twerking in the most indecorous fashion in a bid to be controversial and the circus show line up that is X Factor looking more tired and unconvincing than ever, what was actually going on in the trenches, the local musical grassroots. Well, with the 12 Bar standing boarded up like a silent epitaph to a more productive time and the MECA echoing to the sound of roller skates and baying fans of pugilism, things might seem at a low musical ebb.  Even many of the pubs have decided to bite the bullet and call time on their musical activities. Add to that promoters and even new bands seem to be thin on the ground and things might seem in a bit of a slump.

 

To take a tongue in cheek reference from that source of all knowledge, Spinal Tap, maybe the appeal of live music is not on the wane, just becoming more selective. That said, The Rolleston, Riffs Bar, The Beehive and The Victoria still manage to cater to a wide range of music fans, The Shuffle made it to its seventh year and managed to be more diverse than ever, incorporating poetry, art and dance as well as music. We also had events such as SN1 Fest, which managed to incorporate The Underground Orchestra into a wide range of local music. Plus the likes of The Stratton Stroll, Oxjam and a number of gigs now taking place at Basement 73 and things are looking pretty positive. Musically Swindon has always punched above it’s weight, maybe it is just that things have spiralled down that you can gauge how lucky we have been in the past and lets face it, in the cyclical nature of things…will be again.

 

So in the meantime, what can you do to see the old year out in style? Well, lots of things actually. Tonight, for example, is the last Songs of Praise of the year at The Victoria. Continuing with their mission (currently 7 years in) to line up the best of out of town bands alongside the cream of the local scene, tonight’s line up is indeed a bit special. Hello Lazarus (pictured) play indie music that is both heavy and melodic, intricate and driven, elegant, eloquent and inspiring.  Also if you think all Christmas covers are naff, check out their version of A Spaceman Came Travelling. Awesome! That should tick a few boxes with the musical cognoscente.  Support comes from another Bristol based outfit, Dead Royalties, who manage to fuse a Seattle sound with Brit Punk overtones and some lovely mathy interludes and opening up are local big and clever alt-rock quartet, All Ears Avow.

 

Those up for a bit of local nostalgia can catch up with the latest musical exploits of local R’n’B stalwarts Cartoon Heroes at the Beehive.

 

Despite being a little disparaging about The MECA in the intro, the big show of the week is to be found inside their hallowed walls, no less, in the shape of The Swindon Viewpoint 40th Anniversary Grand Benefit Concert on Friday. For four decades the cultural life of Swindon has been documented and archived by a team who are committed to preserving a public record of our creative achievements. The music and arts scene has benefited from their work in particular, as gigs, festivals and events have been captured for posterity and are now available to view on the internet; establishing a fantastic and unique record of the musical and creative history of the town. This gig is a chance to give something back as they both showcase some great bands and raise much need funds to continue their mission.  Music comes in the form of Teddy White’s good time boogie, swing and R’n’B, the delicate soundscapes of Colour The Atlas, the effervescent Nudybroque, old school reggae and rocksteady from The Erin Bardwell Collective, AJ Live with both a full band and a very special guest and Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits. Bobby the Persuader will be spinning additional fab and groovy waxings between bands.

 

The Victoria, meanwhile, will be reveling in the sounds of the eighties with Syntronix. Although my eighties was more about the sounds of New Model Army and The Icicle Works whilst probably wearing a “Coal not Dole” or possibly a Pendragon T-shirt, here you can expect something a lot more palatable to the mainstream ear such as Nik Kershaw and Erasure.

 

Rock fans should head out to Riffs Bar for a bit of Grohl induced action with top tribute band, The Faux Fighters.

 

Saturday sees a second chance for you to catch a bit of reggae as the regular Reggae Club Night bring you the best of sixties ska, 70’s dub, 80’s Dancehall and up to the present day at The Victoria. Bring your dancing trousers this one will be busy. The Rolleston should also be a bit of a packed affair as electric blues guitar wizard, Innes Sibun, makes a welcome return to the venue.

 

And even as we enter the cheesy disco period there are still some great live bands to be found. Sunday at The Beehive is Missin’ Rosie’s Christmas shindig…pumped up Celtic rock, traditional folk sounds and a good reason to throw your beer around and dance like a loon as any I can think of.  Monday finds Port Erin at The Victoria, a band that really does defy musical convention and seem to follow a rulebook that they have written themselves. In the support slot is The Clementine’s, a band risen from the eclectic, humourous and inventive ashes of Crash and The Bandicoots. New name, new songs and hopefully the same blatant disregard for the tried and tested way of doing things. Good to have you back.

 

And finally if you haven’t found yourself at a Cheesy Disco type event so far then Christmas Eve at the Victoria is the place to be, but if a party covers band is more your thing, The Tin Shack Band at The Rolleston is well worth checking out.

 

So there we have it, have a great Christmas, party hard and remember to drink irresponsibly if at all possible.

 

Beans on ToastWell, after a couple of weeks of gig listings that were quite literally an embarrassment of riches, things have calmed down a bit, but there is still a decent selection to be found on the musical menu this week.

 

Starting in our usual kick off point, the entrée on our acoustical a la carte offer, if you want to take the restaurant analogy to its illogical conclusion, Songs of Praise at The Victoria has a wonderfully intimate, seated show. Known the length and breadth of Old Town, Emily and The Dogs have been cooking up a veritable broth (enough of the culinary references now. Ed) infused with folk, gypsy jazz, blues, emotional resonance and late night reflections. Not a bad way to kick the weekend off. Joining them will be Hennesea –  imagine an acoustic Fleetwood Mac turning on to dream pop and Oliver Wilde who blends acoustica with shimmering technology to make wonderfully woozy experimental pop. And to think I used to play support to his dads band back in the day. Small world.

 

Rustic delights of the Americana variety can be found at The Beehive with this months Acoustic Buzz, featuring home grown bands Blind River Scare and The Open Secrets and all the way from San Antonio, Texas, is Rachel Laven touring her debut album, Unwind.

 

On into Friday and our good friends at Sheermusic are putting on a bit of an alt-folk treat. These days Beans on Toast (pictured) may rub shoulders with nu-folk royalty like Emmy the Great and Olympic warm-up act Frank Turner, but you can catch the man along with Oxygen Thief and Jimmy Moore at The Victoria.

 

Something a bit special at The Castle, all the way from Italy come The Sunny Boys, part Beach Boys part bubblegum punk though not to be confused with the Sydney post punk outfit of the same name. Theirs is a sound that will appeal to fans of Blink 41, Sum 182 and any number of North American bands with long shorts and numbers after their name. Jokes aside this is one of the slickest bands you will hear in town this year.

 

And that last sentence would carry a lot more weight if Dave Gregory’s current musical vehicle, Tin Spirits, weren’t also playing that night over at Riffs Bar. Dave, once part of the cutting edge of new-wave underground pop with XTC, these days revels in the myriad sounds of progressive rock.

 

Saturday at Riffs Bar is still about the rock, but this time, something less subtle, more primal. Anyone who hasn’t experienced Lord Bishop Rocks before really should do themselves the favour of catching this brilliant trio who alchemise Beatles melody, Sabbath’s oppressive weight and James Browns funk, the man is a musical shaman, you have to see it to believe it. Support includes the grunge-metal of Burnthru; trash rockers White Knuckle Bride and Latvian metal crew Burned in Blizzard.

 

Pop Quiz: What do Jay-Z, One Direction, Taylor Swift and Dizzee Rascal have in common? Answer: They have all had their songs ritually murdered by Kova Me Badd. If you want to witness the antithesis of good taste, musicianship and decorum, but do enjoy watching people who should know better make fools of themselves whilst brilliantly ruining chart covers, get up to The Victoria. A more serious offering comes with Grubby Jack and their upbeat and vibrant Celtic and American folk at The Tap and Barrell.

 

If a mix of alt-country, rock and folk sounds like your sort of thing, then Bob Collum and The Welfare Mothers at The Beehive is the place to head to, later that same day the voice of Dr Hook, Dennis Locorriere can be found at The Arts Centre and the jazz-heads will want to be at Baker Street for the potent and graceful piano led Dave Newton Trio.

 

More jazz on Tuesday, again at Baker Street this time with the gratuitous sax of the Kevin Figes Trio and Wednesday, The Running Horse plays host to singer-guitarist Ben Cipolla.