Tag Archive: toxic


44355478_2024555787567157_6243720230233702400_o.jpgThat marvellous chap Jim Blair kicks off this week’s live music menu, a tasty starter blended from groovy acoustica and funky blues to whet your appetite and found at The Beehive, this very evening. 

If original acoustic music is your thing then you might also be interested in a neat little show this Friday at Darkroom Espresso, that wonderful little oasis of coffee, culture and craziness, and as is their wont the show is typically left field. It sees Ravetank’s wonky coming of age stories and scuzzy tunes spearhead the night with By The Day’s similarly warped deliveries acting as the perfect companion. Opening the night is Mat Caron and his intense and often downright bleak gothic folk meets sparse acoustic-noir narratives. If you want to support alternative venues trying something very original and unique then this is one to get behind.

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41840665_1830663387012009_2535535369122742272_oGreat to see that with the merest of breathers to get over the busiest season for live bands, the local circuit is once again brimming with musical options and it starts tonight with a bit of a gem especially if you are a big fan of country music. Katy Hurt (pictured) is a 20 year old resident of Long Island yet she sounds as if she has been deftly combining commercial country with pop, blues and southern musical charm for decades. Forget all the alt-this and post-that generic wordplay this is unashamedly feel-good country music with all the glitz and glamour left in and it is at The Beehive tonight.

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Tony Wright (6)Another busy week ahead in the music venues and pubs of this fair town, so without further ado…

Plenty to choose from for the fans of original music tonight, the biggest name being Tony Wright who comes to Level III courtesy of those awfully nice people at Sheer Music. You will know Tony as the frontman with Terrorvision and he is joined on this leg of his UK acoustic tour by former Black Spiders main man, Pete Spiby and a solo slice of HipRoute.

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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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1472801_551493731605357_193622463_nWith the May Day bank holiday looming on the horizon it means that the coming long weekend packs even more live music options and so without further ado, let’s dive straight in.

Tonight, as is usual, tips the balance towards the original artist with stalwarts Hip Route to be found at The Tuppenny in Old Town. For those unaware of the band, and I can’t image I am talking to many people, this three-piece are purveyors of funky-blues delivered via a killer rhythm section, some deft and dexterous slide guitar-work and a whiskey soaked vocal straight out of an East Nashville juke joint. A hip operation if ever there was one.

At The Victoria you will find something a bit more weird but no less wonderful. All three acts, Dinner The Band, Ravetank and Spring-Heeled Lettuce, come from the musical fringes, one where wonky, lo-fi acoustica, punk’s DIY ethic and a complete disregard for following fashion are the order of the day.

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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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12771521_505280549673444_5585277270321832928_oMaking ends meet as a musician is tough enough at the best of times, especially when trying to keep a full band on the road, it is the reason that so many musicians opt for solo gigs either alongside or instead of band careers. But what if you want to really challenge yourself? Well, you could try organising a 10-day tour around the country with an orchestra made up of players who just turn up on the night. Every night the band will be different and comprised of an ever-changing set of instruments and players who are new to the songs. Seems a ridiculous idea? I agree but it is what Shaun Buswell and Erik Nyberg have set themselves to do and you can catch the Swindon leg of the tour at The Arts Centre tonight.

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10850275_1508642422743307_3346557062355699842_nTomorrow is one of those days that resonate throughout history. On May 8th, 70 years ago, the world woke up to a Europe finally at peace after the ravages of war. Sixteen years before that The St Valentines Day Massacre made world headlines and more latterly, completing the cycle of world shaking deeds, in 1972, Ian “H” Watkins of Steps infamy was born, so it is obviously a date which is tied in with important historical events. Also tomorrow we will wake up to learn the fate of the next five years in the running of this country. But tonight we party. Thankfully, this weekend whether celebrating the result or drowning your sorrows there is no shortage of great sounds to do it to.

 

Those opting for a bit of a shindig should look no further than The Victoria tonight as Bite The Buffalo bring their “stomping, coffin blues” to town and show just why recent years have seen them play such festivals as SXSW and supports to none other than Robert Plant. Fresh out of the box, 2 piece The Harlers continue to re-connect with dirty blues-rock memories and openers The Johnstown Flood add grunge and warped guitars to the blues template.

 

At The Wheatsheaf, Darren Hodge deals in a gentler but no less mesmerising take on the same genre; an ear for tradition and some outstanding finger-picking dexterity are the order of the day and he is joined by the loved-up folk harmonies of Ethemia plus the elemental imagery and sounds of Drew Bryant. Sitting between the two, a funky blend of acoustic and gritty blues is Jim Blair who can be found at The Beehive.

 

And if Thursday had a heavy blues undercurrent, Friday takes a folkier stance. Firstly at The Beehive with Calico Jack (pictured), a band whose distinctive canal boat-folk blends gypsy jive, carnival chaos and shanty shenanigans to create twisted fairy tales and worlds of dark enchantment. For a punkier take on the genre, Mick O’Toole can be found at The Rolleston. Theirs is a howling banshee of a show in the tradition of Flogging Molly or Greenland Whalefishers, so if the idea of a sonic wall of aggressive accordion, mutilating mandolin lines and belligerent banjo forming the front line of a folk-punk onslaught sounds like your cup of cider, then this is the show for you.

 

At The Victoria, Buswell’s brand of indie-pop meets chamber folk will be providing the venue with sweeping majestic sounds not to mention some logistical headaches as the orchestral wing of this band often pushes the stage set up into double figures. Support comes from the lush dynamics and dark atmospherics of White Lilac and opening the show is the man known as Last Box of Sparklers and his hushed and fleeting, Nordic indie sounds. Incendiary blues-rock classics are delivered with spellbinding dexterity at The Queens Tap courtesy of The Lewis Creaven Band.

 

As usual, Saturday is the bastion of nostalgia, reminisence and the tried and tested (all of which could actually be names of cover bands themselves) but that doesn’t mean that they rock any less. In fact, out at Riffs Bar, the hardest partying band in town take the stage. Enjoy their set of rock, pop and indie classics, just don’t try matching them drink for drink at the bar afterwards.

 

Also rocking out like a good ‘un, The Sex Pissed Dolls, pun their way into level 3 to deliver a set of rock, ska and punk standards and at The Brookhouse Farm (moved from The Woodlands Edge) it’s the last chance to catch The Beat Holes before they return home to Italy. Imagine if The Beatles had formed out of the punk melting pot of 1976’s London squat scene and also liked to listen to heavy metal. Intrigued? Check them out, they are brilliant.

 

Other options are 1000 Planets punk, goth and alternative sounds at The Rolleston, power-pop, mod and soul from Peloton at The Swiss Chalet and vintage classic rock from Mid-Life Crisis at The Queens Tap.

 

There is just enough room to mention Peter Jagger and his political tinged folk songs at The Beehive on Sunday afternoon and David Marx’s poetic and poignant music at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

524197_10150691403541517_1939880277_nThey say that variety is the spice of life and writing this week’s column has brought up a couple of thoughts relating to that. The first musing I will bring up straight away and is on the subject of gig line-ups. Question: Is it best, when putting a show together, to take the line of generic harmony, in other words to chose a series of acts of a similar style so that the whole bill appeals to fans of one genre of music, or is a more eclectic approach useful in that it the bill as a whole appeals to a wider musical outlook. There probably is no simple answer, but I do know that tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria definitely falls into the latter category as their offering takes in everything from indie to pop to voodoo blues.

Theo Altieri sums up everything that is of the moment in music. His clean-limbed, indie-pop tunes, sit easily on the listener, are vibrant, fresh and punchy and as such he makes a worthy headliner for the show. Vienna Ditto (pictured) is a whole different bluesy, retro-electro can of worms. Looking like an alliance between a lounge jazz diva and a mad professor and sounding like the deal the devil would have struck with Robert Johnson had he been into homebuilt electronica and Twin Peaks, they are as strange as they are brilliant. New Indie kids on the block, The Primaveras open the night.

And if that doesn’t cover enough musical bases, then maybe The Open Secrets brand of modern country meets old time mountain music at The Beehive is to your liking.

Friday takes more of a soul and blues journey, initially at least. The Soul Strutters at The Rolleston do pretty much what it says on the tin as they select the best of the golden era of funk, soul, disco and rare groove. Made up of consummate musicians with a musical pedigree second to none, this is the tightest and funkiest band you will experience for a long time. Riffs Bar is the setting for the launch of a new blues band. Featuring a few familiar faces and leaning heavily towards a Joe Bonamassa feel, Sloe Train are one for blues enthusiasts to keep an eye out for.

If covers are more your idea of a musical night out then you have to options of acoustic pop and rock at The Castle with Stripped or an altogether wilder experience with Toxic at The Victoria.

Looking for something all together more hard and heavy? Look no further than Level 3 and Essenone’s regular night. Kremated lead the charge with their collision of thrash metal, punk and hardcore, imagine Venom’s tour bus crashing into an Exploited gig and you have some sort of starting point. Joining them are Sumer who sound like Tool re-writing Ok Computer plus high-octane metal-heads From Dusk Till Dawn and Powercake.

And this brings me on to my second point regarding the condiment of existence (spice of life…gedit?) and that of clashing shows. For whilst The Victoria hosts The Big 4, a tribute act specialising in the music of stalwarts of thrash metal – Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, The Rolleston has opted for Shepherds Pie who offer a wider selection of music from loosely the same territory. So effectively over just two days, there are three shows, which are aimed at the same audience. Surely that just divides the fans who probably can’t afford to go to every show and who certainly can’t be in two places at once. Just saying.

More rock, indie and funk covers are to be had at The Swiss Chalet with The Shadow Monkeys and up at The Castle, The Hamsters From Hell will be treating (?) the punters to some blustery, raucous and sweary r’n’b as only they can.

That wonderful monthly fixture, Lazy Sunday Afternoon is at The Central Library and as well as featuring your hosts, Mr Love and Justice and their blend of West Coast meets West Kennett folk-pop, has the velvet tones of Emily Davis and the celtic, folk, American, southern harmony infusions of The Black Feathers.

And finally Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey is a showcase of young singer-songwriters. Headlining is George Wilding whose songs encompass Nick Drake, David Bowie, Dickensian vaudeville and Lewis Carroll. Also on the bill are Rhys Bury and Matthew Bryant.

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.