Tag Archive: ugly duckling


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.

I bumped into an old friend at a gig the other day. Oddly enough the resulting conversation didn’t revolve around what each other had been doing in the decade since we had last seen each other, but in the quirky way we have, it turned to the subject of mondegreens, or in layman’s terms, misheard lyrics in songs. Such questions were raised as  – did The Stone Roses really “Wanna Be A Door?” Why was Creedance Clearwater Revival telling us “There’s a Bathroom on the Right?” How did The Stranglers get it so wrong when predicting “Never A Frown, With Gordon Brown” and oddest of all, what did Roberta Flack actually mean when she said “Tonight I Sellotape My Glove to You?” Yes, we had been drinking!

 

Talking of confusing lyrics, not to mention more than a few “oh la la la’s”, “shubba-dubbas” the occasional “ha!” and other strange utterances, Crash and The Coots are playing The Victoria tonight. Theirs is a strange and beguiling world of lateral thinking, experimental pop, but one that you all need to visit at least once. Supporting them are Port Erin a band who have swapped some of the early complexities of their music for balance, space and atmosphere and now ably mix pop leanings with mature musicianship. Three Letter Agency get the night started.

 

Blending folk with rock, accessibility with intelligence and kicking into touch the fey, hippyness often associated with her field, Thea Gilmore is blazing a path towards classic status songwriter, catch her at The Arts Centre tonight. Similar folky undercurrents can be found at The Beehive as Ron Trueman-Border brings his band, Perfect Strangers along for some vivid, punchy lyrics and infectious tunes.

 

Staying at The Beehive for Friday and Pignose will be offering up some Old Town Blues for your delectation. This very narrow genre is a blend of gospel, rhythm and blues, country and rock, songs of the south if you like and if it wasn’t for all the road works in that part of town would have probably made a break for the border a long time ago. Offer them a Mint Julep, make them feel at home.

 

The noisy brigade will find their home out at Riffs Bar for  a gig spearheaded by Severance a band very much in the spirit of the NWOBHM era and making their first visit to the place. And if you thought Stoner Rock had died out in the infamous flannel shirt famine of the mid nineties, then The Ashun might come as a welcome surprise. Optimal Prime is also on the bill.

 

More rock on Saturday this time at The 12 Bar and headed by the metal-grunge hybrid that is Burnthru, with Toadstool filling that space between metal, blues and southern rock: kick arse four, four grooves just like the old days. The Starkers continue their pop-grunge fixation…think Nirvana having a fight with The Libertines.

 

The Rolleston plays host to the one cover band I can handle, Kova Me Badd. What sets them apart from the norm? Their music selection is awful, delivery questionable, professionalism in serious doubt and antics not suitable before the watershed. In short, everything a cover band should be. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will change your life. Well, one out of three isn’t bad.

 

Something a bit special comes to The Victoria on Sunday. Back on the menu is old school hip-hop from Long Beach underground vigilantes, Ugly Duckling; outsiders who like The Beastie Boys and Run DMC before them take humorous swipes at more commercial elements of their genre. And on into Monday, the names keep coming. Uli Jon Roth(pictured) made his name filling the shoes of guitarist for Michael Schenker in The Scorpions but over the years moved into more experimental pastures and today his style encompasses neo-classical, heavy metal, blues and psychedelic, all of which can be seen, again, at The Victoria on Monday. For something a bit more sedate, middle of the road even, Paul Carrack is at The Wyvern Theatre.

 

Staying at The Victoria for Tuesday, those lo-fi, folk-rock, indie-pop, Celtic-bop, pirates, The Shudders make a welcome return and we round off on Wednesday at The Running Horse. Nick Tann is becoming a bit of a regular fixture and his jazz inflected 12 string tunes and soaring vocals are always welcome. He brings with him Marvin B Naylor a man who blends folk, prog, the surreal and wonderful lyrical drives to create something truly unique.