Tag Archive: ursus


Musical Musings – May ’19

37782747_1883184831702720_7235865247637045248_nIt seems only a few weeks ago that the heating was on full blast, we were eating our tea in the dark and there was still a few of the Christmas Quality Street rattling about in the bottom of the tin. And in the blink of the eye here we are the other side of the bi-annual chronological re-alignments, summer is girding its loins and there’s more music to be had than unexpectedly heightened but tenuous analogy. Let’s do this….

A frequent visitor to the parish returns to The Victoria on 2nd May. Lewis Clark and The Essentials lace together deft acoustic threads, bluesy grooves and jazz jauntiness to create accessible tunes that link timeless singer songwriter sounds with European folk traditions. 

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23737694_1197292103706164_1036619967639662373_o-1If the term Folk-Punk implies a blend of deftly wrought tunes and vibrant energy, old school charm and a rabble-rousing soul, then Davey Malone could indeed be the poster boy for such a movement. Temporarily ditching his band,The Longtails, and heading out on his first solo tour he comes to The Victoria tonight armed with comedic and cautionary takes, poignant political and thought provoking prose, charisma and rough hewn elegance.

At The Beehive you will find the beat and boogie, rhythm and musical rhyme of The Teddy White Band who plunder the back catalogue of underground classics, revive and rejuvenate a host of songs you had almost forgotten about from a time when music mattered more than record sales and people were, quite frankly, much better dressed.

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12801474_967430416685843_7496377762084199365_nMusic has long been used as the focus of events seeking to raise money and awareness for good causes. Tonight at The Victoria you can experience that altruistic nature as a whole bunch of familiar faces line up in support of Alan McGee’s brilliant Musicians Against Homelessness project. Echoing his same maverick spirit the bands playing represent the more challenging, creative and leftfield end of the spectrum. Anyone who saw Tripdress’s last outing at this very venue, probably 8 years ago, (tempus does indeed fugit) will be aware just how great their urban-boogie-blues fusion is, those who missed it should rectify that immediately…you never know when this very occasional band will be back.

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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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149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nWith a record number of, mainly, original music gigs taking place this week, I am going to forego the usual meandering introduction and just jump straight in. And I’ll start at The Victoria, the main cause of such a glut of new music descending on the town. Tonight is the first night of Vic-Fest, a four-day celebration of original bands, each night curated by a different local promoter and varying in its target audience.

 

Laura Kidd aka She Makes War played for Songs of Praise as a solo act getting on for a year ago and now as part of her national tour she brings the full band show back into town. Her breathtakingly honest gloom-pop, distils a creative punk spirit and is the perfect headline for this night of alternative sounds. Tour support, Forgery Lit add a dirty, grunge blues to the night and the alt-country punk of Coasters will be lapped up by fans of such bands as The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Whether you catch Robert Brown fronting Smouldering Sons or solo, as he is tonight at The Beehive, there is so much to enjoy in the blends of Americana, blues rock and folky vibes that dance around this musical creations.

 

Friday at The Victoria and Fairview Promotions take us down a reggae path. Backbeat Soundsystem take a traditional reggae vibe, inject it with funk, dub and ska and then kick it up into a higher gear to create a bass driven party groove. Festival favourites Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band deliver fresh takes on the genre and openers The Nomarks offer a more ska based set to kick off the night.

 

Back at The Beehive and the folk ‘n’ roll of The Model Folk, a beautiful cacophony of wheezing harmonium, scratchy washboard, throbbing double bass and various acoustica, create a very different, but just as brilliant, party soundtrack. Midway between those two venues, some wonderful singer-songwriter sets can be had at The Regent courtesy of Drew Bryant and Nick Felix and if classic rock and metal standards are more your thing, then Bad Obsession at The Rolleston is the gig for you.

 

Day three at The Victoria, or Saturday as the rest of us call it, really steps things up a gear and showcases the best new bands at the harder end of rock. It’s always a pleasure to watch The Manic Shine (pictured) not just for their technical expertise and the sheer infectiousness of their songs, but also because they manage to give a lesson in stage performance than many bands would be wise to take note of. They are joined by Vault of Eagles who play a wonderfully primal brand of twisted rock that falls somewhere between The Bad Seeds and P J Harvey. Punk and metal fuse together in The Graphic’s warped art attacks (check out their video The Kid….do it now!) and local support comes from local rising stars, Ghost of Machines and stalwarts The Starkers.

 

It is quite apt that in a week that marked 15 years since we lost the lyrical genius, singer, artist, actor and madman, Ian Dury, that The Blox, a tribute to his years fronting The Blockheads, are playing at The Rolleston. Expect all the caustic wit and kitchen sink wisdom, not to mention exceptional musicianship that made the original band so…well, original.

If you are after something altogether more funky then, Funk’daMental play funk and disco classics at The Swiss Chalet and the after party tunes can be found at Level 3 as Beats and Bars mixes live acts with DJ’s to showcase the best of the current wave of hip-hop acts.

 

Sunday at The Victoria rounds off with a night of metal courtesy of Dredded Vyrus. Main act Skreamer manage to combine the grandeur and pomp of classic metal with the primal growl and speed of its current direction whilst Antoinette offer a more contemporary post-metalcore sound. Belial and Ursus open the night’s proceedings.

 

It’s blues and R’n’B (the boogie guitar sort not the lip synched, dance routine sort) all the way with Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and punk, ska and new wave covers are to be found at The Swiss Chalet with Operation ’77.

 

At The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday hosts ex-Haiku frontman Phil Cooper and his Neil Finn comparable musical earworms with a rare, short set from the mercurial Adam Crosland to kick the night off.

Gig of the Week – Vic-Fest

149371_10152435420009290_5033964773938942595_nNot so much a gig of the week but a whole mini festival. Over the Easter weekend The Victoria will be running four days of original music, a perfect blend of local and out of town, that showcases the emerging talent and circuit stalwarts in a number of genres, as chosen by a variety of local promoters.

 

Thursday is curated by Songs of Praise and is typical of their alternative and slightly underground slant on things. Having played about a year ago as a solo performance, She Makes War, the musical nome de plume of Laura Kidd, returns with the full band show. Her wonderful DIY ethic and offbeat style mixes gloom-pop with a punk spirit and her song writing shows just why she is sought after by the likes of New Model Army, The Levellers and Viv Albertine. Her tour support, Forgery Lit, add a wonderful slab of dirty, grungy blues to the night and opening are local rising stars, Coasters, with a blend of punk-acoustica meets alt-country that is reminiscent of the likes of The Gaslight Anthem.

 

Day two, Friday, and Fairlight Promotions provide a walk through reggae territory with festival favourites, Backbeat Soundsystem, Dub The Earth and King Solomon Band all offering contemporary takes on the traditional sounds of the genre and The Nomarks get things underway with a more ska based party.

 

Saturday is when the big guns are brought out. The Manic Shine (pictured) has been building up a reputation for alt-rock anthems that are based on amazing musicianship, an embracing approach to technology and infectious riffs. The fact that they can deliver all this whilst leaping around the stage like things possessed is an added bonus. The main support is from Vault of Eagles a three-piece hybrid of P J Harvey and The Bad Seeds who offer up a strange sort of primal beauty wrapped up in thunderous tunes. Also on the bill is The Graphic, new to me but having checked out their recent video, The Kid, I can tell you that you are in for a punk-metal fusion treat. The local end of things is provided by Ghost of Machines and The Starkers.

 

The last night of the event is the heaviest, thanks to Dredded Vyrus Promotions and sees post-hardcore and metal bands Skreamer, Antoinette, Belial and Ursus providing an onslaught of brutal beats and razor wire riffs.

 

1 venue, 4 nights, 16 bands. Sounds good to me.