Tag Archive: useless eaters (the)


1278861_573888912660792_1813647107_oNot many musicians deserve elevation to celebrity status. In fact celebrity is a word so devalued by its application to reality TV chancers and inflated pop dross egos that we need a new label for the likes of David Bowie. Maybe Icon is a better fit. 25 of the most influential albums of all time, film and theatre roles and untold creative innovations; he embodied art, androgyny, contradiction, mystery, elegance and eloquence and even his death and final musical statement seem like a work of art.

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11244578_1668237160071991_5434254339853004958_nSo there is good news and bad news. I was just reading about a new national radio station, Radio X, which is being launched dedicated to new music and particularly guitar-based bands. Great, but surely there has to be a catch. Of course there is and that catch is that spearheading the programing will be not only Vernon “absolutely amazing” Kaye but also Chris “let’s just talk about me rather than play any music “ Moyles. So if you like the idea of twenty-minute ramblings about his celebrity mates at an award show before the indulgence is broken by the latest attempt by Kasabian to sound like a Primal Scream studio outtake, then this is the station for you.

But if you really are looking for emerging, guitar-based bands then look no further than The Victoria tonight as Yves play with Coco Esq in support. Both bands represent the frontline of a current local creative upsurge plying a trade in tight and melodic indie and proving that the future of local music and hopefully beyond, is in safe hands.

The Beehive plays host to one of its regular favourites. Whilst normally fronting his own eponymous blues-rock band, Keith Thompson as a solo act is just as impressive, the stripped back, raw and honest sound making for a vary intimate connection between player and audience.

And talking of blues, Friday sees the first outing for Level 3 Live, a regular blues night and this inaugural session features the man who none other than Alexis Korner described as “ The best white blues harmonica player in the world, ” Rod Garfield and his band. High praise indeed. Blues is also on the cards at The Beehive, this time with Bob “famous in Swindon” Bowles, a soulful voice, effortlessly slick, bluesy tunes and a bagful of great songs.

Although mainly a venue for cover bands The Castle occasionally takes a punt on trying originals and you can’t get much more original than Kid Calico and The Astral Ponies. Variously described as a “Mercurial and biscuit obsessed blend of lilting, music hall Americana and psychedelia” and “If I’d kidnapped Radiohead or the Floyd & forced them to work as a mid-west American Circus band during the 1970’s, they’d sound just like this.” I’ll just leave it at that then.

For those who already know what they like, there is a wide range of more familiar options available. Classic punk from the iconic to the underground can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of The Useless Eaters, Dire Streets at Riffs Bar who pay tribute to Mark Knopfler and his band who helped launch the CD/MTV age, as well as Peloton playing mod, soul and power pop at The Victoria. At The Locomotive, Don’t Speak cover pop and rock but seem to have a very select ear for music, so expect The House Martins, The Beautiful South and Natalie Imbruglia in place of some of the more usual selections.

The big event for the weekend can be found at The Old Town Bowl on Saturday in the form of this year’s Reggae Garden. Top names such as Channel One Soundsystem, 10 piece nu-wave roots/reggae band Roots Ambassadors, Dubwiser and The Tribe provide the music plus there will also be stalls and soul food all combining to make this the party of the year. If you want that party to continue into the evening then re-locate to The Victoria for the official after party with Jah Jah Sounds and guests spinning reggae, dub, lovers rock, ska, rocksteady and everything in between.

Continuing it’s mission to bring new and original bands to an area infused with nightclub culture and more mainstream tastes, The Locomotive really pushes the boat out with IDestroy (pictured), a Bristol all girl three piece who reference Riot Grrrl, grunge, garage rock and straight out rock ‘n’ roll and who are gearing up to support ex-The Runaways singer Cherie Currie shortly. Support comes from the no less uncompromising Molotov Sexbomb a band that is in many ways their male equivalent.

If you fancy some dirty, sweary R’n’B then a trip out to The Globe in Highworth will deliver just that in a Hamsters From Hell shaped package and at The Rolleston, French blues band Nico ZZ play originals and standards and show why they have made such a big impact on the blues circuit.

Finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday, Jamie R Hawkins plays emotionally charged, poignant and witty acoustic pop-rock that reminds you of Crowded House or even Del Amitri, which is fine by me.

11666269_1656469707909721_4057054763037170281_nPunk may have been a very short-lived phenomena but it stormed the barricades, turned the music scene on it’s head and completely changed the way we thought about what music could accomplish. Tonight you can relive those times through the songs, the attitude and the sheer live energy as Useless Eaters lead us through a set of iconic songs from both sides of the Atlantic  – https://www.facebook.com/events/1670576679842991/

1482760_10152470476699251_1199696131_nGuess what folks? I’m back. Did you miss me? No? You fickle bunch, a new, younger writer comes along and you forget all about me, typical. I can’t say that I’m not hurt but will attempt to work through my pain by jumping straight into what is happening this week on the music front.

 

Of course the big event coming up is that evergreen explosion of music and good vibes that goes by the name of Riffstock. Yes, those lovely folks at Riffs Bar will be filling the bank holiday weekend with the best local talent beginning on Friday with the regular acoustic slot. It will be an open mic. session as usual but with some special guest slots from the hirsute Shaun Buswell, the blonde bombshell that is Bren Haze and other big names on the local acoustic scene.

 

Saturday is the start of two days of full band music, A Way With Words and Rocket Box cover the rockier end of the spectrum neatly, and there is shimmering lo-hi indie from Sahara Heights, pop-punk from Starlight City plus the classic ska and reggae sound of The Nomarks.

 

The following day again covers a lot of musical bases, from the pastoral acoustica of Rumour Shed and the harmonious Americana of The Shudders to the drum’n’bass punk of 2 Sick Monkeys stopping off at all points in between. Points as diverse as the mad scientist of indie-pop, Nudybronque,(pictured) high-octane ska from The Interceptors and the emotive psychedelia of Sister Morphine. The Monday afternoon is “Kiddstock” a kids and family day. There is a plethora of great music, more than I have room to cover here so check out their website for full details.

 

And if you decided not to join in the fun over at Riffs Bar then here are some other serving suggestions for you. Tonight punk fans will want to be at The Victoria for covers and originals with a first wave Brit-punk feel from Useless eaters and 50 Shades of Punk. If the idea of a psychobilly/R’n’B band is more your musical poison then The Beehive is the place to be to catch TNT, a band made up of ex-members of Screaming Lord Sutch and The Meteors as well as current members of Josie and The Outlaw.

 

Fans of tributes are in luck on Friday as Kins of Leon play the music of those pesky Followill siblings at The Victoria and Metalhead re-run the best bits of the metal and hard rock genre at The New Inn. If however you want something original then get yourselves to The Castle for some big riffing, infectious rock with 8 Minutes Later plus post punk informed Indie from King in Mirrors.

 

So what would happen if The Dixie Chicks and The Pogues joined forces? Well, visually it would look pretty weird but musically it would probably sound a lot like Flash Harry. These stalwarts of the Bristol scene liberally plunder the best bits of Celtic folk, new-country, blues-rock, Cajun and gypsy jazz to create outstanding and original songs. Catch them at The Rolleston. Stiff competition comes from The Beehive as The Eddy Allen Trio take an improvisational jam attitude and bend everything from folk to reggae, flamenco to rock, afro-beat, Celtic and a lot more to their will with stunning results.

 

Saturday, as is the norm, is mainly about tried and tested sounds, Peleton play covers from across the modern musical eras at The Victoria and The Rolleston plays host to Powerslaves, an Iron Maiden tribute no less. Original music can be found at The Regent in the guise of Ethemia, so if meaningful and optimistic lyrics, lush harmonies, exquisite guitar work and humorous rambling interludes are your thing, then that is the place to be.

 

SN Dubstation blend dub (naturally), reggae, hip-hop, pop and ska together into wonderful new shapes at The Victoria on Sunday whilst at the Beehive Charlie-Ann offers up some acoustic treats.

 

The final mention of the week is Louise Parker who is at Baker Street on Tuesday. Playing this show as a quartet, Louise has been lauded by critics (including the late great Humphrey Lyttleton…and if Humph’ says it’s good then you know it is) as the new, great voice in British jazz combining elements of funk, gospel and scat styles. Just what the jazz doctor ordered!

 

 

eFestivalsI’m not sure if it is just a Swindon thing but it does seem that every other gig you see advertised these days features some earnest young acoustic guitar wielding wannabe aiming to be the next Frank Turner or Laura Marling. It may seem like an easy way to get into music; low overheads, no egotistical band mates to fight with, the ability to tour the country in a broken down Fiat Uno etc but the problem with so much of it going on is that for every soon to be discovered darling of 6music or Wychwood Festival there are a dozen chancers waxing not so lyrical about their recent break ups over a rudimentary knowledge of the key of A minor and clumsily rhyming June with moon.

Thankfully if you want a master class in how it should be done, all you have to do is head to The Victoria tonight when the prodigal son returns, sort of. Songs of Praise is being headlined by Gaz Brookfield, aided and abetted by his fiddle-wielding associate, Ben Wain. Fresh from another jaunt supporting The Levellers and about to share a stage with those emotionally battered, wind swept rock gods, New Model Army (yes, I’m a bit of a fan), I suggest you catch him whilst he is still cheaper than a pint of beer, because it won’t last much longer. Also on the bill is Joshua Caole, who brings a chilled Elliot Smith meets Gram Parsons feeling to the proceedings and kicking things off is the soulful, funky vibe that is Benji Clements.

Two of the musical genres that people have most problems identifying are “world” and “roots” music. If you go to The Beehive tonight you will see both genres colliding head on. Mambo Jambo are an amazing duo that mix Latin styles with bluegrass, jazz and Eastern European sounds – raw enough to sound authentic, virtuosic enough to be mesmerising.

Punks will find much to like over at Riffs Bar on Friday as legendary, urban rail punks Eastfield make a rare visit to this neck of the woods. Three chords, catchy tunes, an often tongue in cheek story and lots of smiles. What’s not to like? The Useless Eaters will be mixing up covers and originals in a tribute to the first wave punk era and opening the night with unforgettable hooks and despondent satire is Strength in Blunders, featuring a guest bassist in the form of Pete Monkey. Nice.

The other big name in town that night is former InMe front man Dave McPherson (pictured) who can be found at The Castle. At a turn uplifting, mournful, calm and soothing, whilst often being a world away from his previous musical vehicle, here is an artist that delivers something very special indeed.

At The Beehive a collection of familiar faces from the local scene, who go by the name The Sitting Tenants will be blending power-pop, new wave, psych and soul into wonderfully original creations, whilst at The Rolleston, The Dylegans take skiffle, country and old school rock and roll as their chosen musical weapons.

Saturday is all about roots music at The Victoria, as Hiproute will be laying out their trademark funked up, acoustic blues stall. Support comes from the quirky, harmony fuelled, folky, surf vibe of Willowen, who I can only describe as being what Noah and The Whale sound like in their own heads, though fall way short of in reality. Delta-esque rockers The Blue Trees and Alex Roberts also add value to the deal. More blues can be found in the guise of Built For Comfort at The Rolleston and it’s slick contemporary covers with Toxic over at The Swiss Chalet.

If you have a craving for electronic music, DJ Dust hosts Digital at Piri Piri, a night of music and videos of that ilk featuring everything from the likes of New order to Chase and Status.

If you want your final fix of music before the working week pulls you back then there are a number of options on Sunday. The afternoon session at The Beehive is taken by The Racket main man Plummie and his new solo venture,  support for that one is The Black Sheep Apprentice himself, Skiddy and the original Sweet Plum, Cat Jamieson. Old school rock’n’roll and rockabilly riffs are to be found at 20 At The Kings with Josie and The Outlaw and if gargantuan slabs of rock with grunge overtones are more your cup of tea (or should I say Seattle Coffee) then the place to be is The New Inn for Vanarin.

Rounding up on Wednesday at The Running Horse you will find bluesman Ian O’Regan and Rhys Bury providing the entertainment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThose that can, do. Those that can’t teach. And those that can’t teach, teach P.E, well according to Woody Allen anyway. Similarly, those who can’t make records for a living often sell them instead and some who aren’t very good at selling them end up working in second hand record shops. Okay, that’s a bit unfair but the sub-cultures found within the murky world of the vinyl record shop make it a fascinating place to hang out where old folkies, lo-fi elitists, sensitive world music fans, northern soul survivors and indie geeks all meet and mingle, lost in their own music fixations. And with the gradual closure of the major music chains (karma?) and the rise in vinyl sales, these weird emporiums may just be making a come back.

I feel a bit sad for the music consumer of today, click, click, double click and straight on to the PC, that’s the sound of you missing out and if you feel something is missing too, head down to your nearest second hand record shop and indulge in the age old rituals of pawing over obscure and slightly creased 12 inch albums in that search for the elusive Agincourt album, Trojan records back catalogues or just to buy back a few memories that you had to part with to make the rent one week.

Anyway back in the cold light of the modern age, three bands destined to be sought after and collectable in the future play Songs of Praise at The Victoria tonight. Ataraxis Vibration alchemize the classic sounds of seventies rock, from Cream to Hendrix (via Burning Tree, remember them?) and offer something fresh and new but with a foot firmly planted in very familiar territory. Songs of Praise favourites, The James Warner Prophecies, return with their wonderful brand of crazy generic scattergunning that blast between hard rock, punked out folk, ska and hooks strong enough that you could hang Ginger Wildheart’s beaten up leather jacket on. Opening the show are Even Nine.

The Rolleston offers something a little more sedate for its inaugural Blues Night fixture in the form of The Stone Donkey Pilots; earthy folk meets rootsy blues. More bluesy vibes can be found at The Beehive with guitar and saxophone of Keith Thompson and Patsy Gamble.

If you want to do something to help make a difference whilst catching some great music then head out to Riffs Bar on Friday for the Olive Tree Café fundraiser. Covers from  The Hyperbolics headline the show but the real coup comes in the form of Colour The Atlas, a band whose clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swathes of sensuous late night atmospherics is something to behold. The night opens with two young singer-songwriters, Theo Altieri and Charlie Anne.

The Beehive has an interesting proposition for you. Knock on Wood are a quite brilliant Latin fusion band blending latino, flamenco, blues, afro-celt, gypsy and much more to create their unique sound.

In the name of balance (and to avoid the usual “fanmail”) I must also mention Angels Fall will be playing classic rock covers in The Rolleston and a tribute to The Small Faces is at The Victoria courtesy of The Small Fakers.

More blues at The Rolleston on Saturday, this time with Gwyn Ashton (pictured) and Micky Barker (yes, pomp rock fans…That Mickey Barker!) Expect a raw and passionate set of standards and originals that could be the sound track to Harper Lee’s famous re-imagining of the South. Tequila Mockingbird perhaps? Perhaps not!

Elsewhere it’s all a bit tribute-y. Punk at The Victoria with the music of The Sex Pistols plus The Useless Eaters supporting and at Riffs Bar Syntronix tribute the whole of the eighties!

As would be expected, Sunday is a much more sedate affair. The Beehive have blues/roots duo Nobodies Business to accompany your post roast beverage and in the evening The Rolleston has Jess Morgan a real gem of a singer peddling some wonderful country folk sounds.

It is no exaggeration to say that real life legends will be at the Arts Centre on Monday when The Pretty Things, still led by Phil May and original Rolling Stones guitarist Dick Taylor bring their 50th anniversary tour to town.

The week rounds off at The Running Horse on Wednesday for more acoustic singer-songwriteryness with Nick Felix and The Dizzy Hush.

Library - 84If you look through the history books you will see that the pages are littered with high profile failures. Franz Berliner, Captain of the Hindenburg, the man who flew the worlds biggest balloon into the worlds biggest needle; The Decca Records executive who in 1962 auditioned and rejected the Beatles saying that “guitar bands have had their day;” Russell Crowe’s voice coach for the film Robin Hood or any number of post-Spice Girl solo careers! Well, one person who has made a successful career out of being a failure (and thus creating a paradox in the process) is playing at The Victoria tonight.

 

Having almost two hits in over forty years as a musician may back up this idea of being a failure, but that is to overlook one important fact. John Otway, the artist in question, is a musical legend, a comedy genius and a live performer second to none. Tonight he appears with his (not so) Big Band line up, which the more discerning of you will know contains Murray and Adam from that sublime bloke rock outfit, The Sweeney. So if you like the idea of silly singalongs, forward rolls, stylophone solos, head butting microphones, self-deprecation, Bob Dylan singing Gloria Gaynor classics and a whole slab of surreal madness, then get on up there.

 

If you want something a bit closer to sanity then maybe The Beehive is the place to be for Sons of The Delta. This duo of awesomely talented bluesmen will be mixing up all the usual blues sub genres as well as throwing in some gospel, hillbilly, bluegrass Cajun and texmex influences along the way.

 

Friday sees punk well and truly back on the menu as Nobody’s Heroes and Useless Eaters descend on The Rolleston and if that isn’t enough for you then afterwards at The Furnace the Kaos Klub DJ’s will be weighting their playlists heavily toward the genre as well.

 

On a slightly lighter note, up at The Victoria you can revel in the joyously retro musical plunderings of The Teddy White Band, stalwarts of the local scene breathing new life into rock and roll, r’n’b and swinging blues standards. They are joined by The Blue Trees, now with a new singer but still the same dedication to raw, stripped back, roots rock.

 

For a change, Saturday happens to be a veritable cornucopia of great music, so plan your night carefully. Starting at the most cultured end of things, the Arts Centre features pianist Adriana Beaumont-Thomas who will be paying tribute to the romanticism of Chopin’s music, including the Raindrop Prelude, which I’m sure many of you will know from…Halo 3. Heathens! Pretty much at the other extreme at Wroughton Bowls Club, not a venue that features in this column much, you can be part of The Wroughton Wassail, food and drink, fun and games, stories and songs, the latter being provided by Talis Kimberley a folk singer with suitably medieval and pagan undercurrents who deftly mixes the magical with the mundane and the poignant with the whimsical. Sounds like it’s going to be a great party.

 

Talking of parties, Riffs Bar is throwing a birthday bash for Brian Keen, well known around town as a sound engineer, promoter and the man behind the very successful acoustic sessions at the Running Horse. You can join in the revelry and enjoy music from The Rolling Zones (some sort of Beatles tribute I think,) rock covers from A Fist Full of Foozy and original music from two enchanting folk dues, The Black Feathers and Ethemia.

 

Blues fans can find everything they need at The Rolleston in the form of The Worried Men, righteous, fired up blues-rock for fans of Moore, Thorogood and (Wilko) Johnson. That might sound like a firm of solicitors but believe me it’s all you need to know about quality guitar work and bandleader Jamie Thyer deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.

 

More cool vibes on Sunday as Frazer Tilley blend jazz-funk guitars with grinding blues grooves and a sweet splash of soul to top it off. That’s at The Rolleston.

 

And as is becoming tradition we end at the aforementioned Running Horse for the Wednesday session which this time features the “far too young to be that talented” sound of Charlie-Anne Bradfield and Paul Farrar.

Library - 48So, it’s coming to that time again, the race for the coveted Christmas number one spot is upon us, or as it should be known, the inevitable public pedestal for Cowell’s latest crooning cash cow. You almost feel sorry for Joe McElderberry, being usurped by those nasty Rage Against The Machine fans and their shouty, sweary anarchist sentiments. You could argue that all these “let’s stick it to Simon” campaigns designed to overturn his god given right to be the Christmas number one puppet master, is just as orchestrated and convoluted as the thing it is protesting against. Maybe, but this year there is a really good alternative.

 

Gaz Brookfield has released a special version of his song Diet of Banality in an attempt to add a bit of spice to the race for the top spot. Imagine if this years Christmas number one was a rant against all those previous style over substance tunes and their dance routines, skimpy outfits, gimmicky rap-middle eights and the like. Oh the irony! Well if you all head over to Gaz’s website, Amazon or iTunes you could be part of the best piece of seasonal satire and festive japery the charts have witnessed in a long time. Do it!

 

Talking of japes, The Victoria has three less than serious acts for you tonight. Dole queue hero and anti-PC rapper Devvo headlines with the boy racer Chip Daddy and the best/worst cover band of them all, Kova Me Badd, also on the bill.

 

The Beehive hosts Sophie’s Xmas (as opposed to  + vent Sunday or E-ster, I suppose) Charity Bash which in the usual eclectic style of the venue will feature fire jugglers, street magic and music from Doeser, Missin’ Rosie, Erin Bardwell Collective to money for Swindon Sands.

 

Younger fans are being catered for at The Furnace in the form of Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 1), which has a wonderfully experimental undercurrent. Tides of Change deliver alt rock with a pop punk vibe, Sasquatch Walk does a neat line in jazzy punk disco and With Felix adds in some ambient electro-indie. Make sure you check out openers The Weekend Effect, I was really impressed with their rapped up indie groove. Interestingly enough there isn’t going to be a Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 2) but then I guess if the world is ending there really isn’t much point.

 

To celebrate our imminent doom on Friday (unless the Mayans got it wrong…my, won’t we look foolish?) There are a couple of Apocolyto-parties going on. At The Victoria, party band Breeze will be providing the soundtrack whereas The Furnace has one amazing line up for you. Briefly it goes like this, The Racket – elegantly wasted gutter anthems, Nudybronque – intelligent, intense and fired up pop, The Rhubarbs  – The Beatles on Speed, The Street Orphans – slick, sophisticated indie, SkyBurnsRed – searing and dark alt-rock with a classical sweep and The Fixed – exuberant indie.

 

Other parties come in the form of Slagerij’s very messy Christmas at TP’s; ska-punk mayhem from one of Swindon’s success stories and taking Hell Death Fury, Escape From ’98 and The Useless Eaters into oblivion with them.

 

The Beehive goes down a slightly more sedate path with the fiddlesome roots rockers State of Undress. If our are a fan of The Albion Band, Fairport Convention or even The Strawbs then this is for you.

 

Saturday brings along the annual musical curveball at The Victoria, The 12 Bands of Christmas. Each band gets to do two covers; the more out their usual comfort zone the better. Previous years have seen the Blowbacks turning Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman into a feedback-drenched tribute to Sonic Youth. Matt Kilford abandoning his usual restrained approach and screaming, “Lick my legs!” when covering PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’ and Si Hall somehow matching the stratospheric range of La Roux. Need I say more?

 

 

After the bizarre offerings of that you may want to find some nostalgic, late night comfort at The Furnace when DJ Dust will be hosting one of his irregular Level 3 reunion nights. Party like its 1993 all over again, Kurt is still alive and Strictly Come Dancing is still eleven years in the future.

 

Finally Sunday afternoon at The Beehive brings a wonderfully pairing of bands and not just because they share a drummer. Rumour Shed plays music that is wonderfully chilled, reflective, richly poetic and quietly majestic. Accompanying them are The Shudders, a band just beginning to get back into their stride after too long away and guaranteed to make you want to bop, boogie and booze in equal measure. And it’s all free.

It’s amazing what little bits of music trivia you stumble across when doing research for music articles. Like the fact that comedian Roland Rivron once drummed for Transvision Vamp or that Monaco’s National Orchestra is bigger than its army. Few of you may be aware that David Bowie invented Connect 4 and as well as coining the term Britpop, Stuart Maconie also originated the phrase Latvipop, which, to be fair,  never really caught on. Also I have personally listened to the Concrete Blonde album Bloodletting more times than anyone else on the planet. Not all of the above is true but I can assure you that everything that follows is absolute fact.

 

Tonight at The Victoria is a folk and roots extravaganza in the form of this years Oxjam. Hiproute will be on hand to deliver funked up, lap slide guitar blues, whilst Missin’ Rosie will be injecting folk music with rock adrenalin. Bateleurs provide a wonderful blend of new-country and traditional folk and the intriguingly named Stone Donkey Pilots seem immersed in a hill-billy busker vibe that evokes moonshine, dungarees and re-runs of Deliverance.

 

Further down the road, The Beehive continues it’s fascination with Canadian bands by playing host to Picture The Ocean, an alt-pop band who are both gently melodic and wistfully reflective or as someone put it “ like a therapeutic walk on the shore on a grey day.” Catch their last UK show before they head off to Europe, India and, if there is any justice in the world, fame and fortune.  At the Arts Centre, musical icons The Animals (and friends) pay a visit; for  the song We Gotta Get Out of This Place alone they deserve your endless adulation.

 

Something a bit special for you at The Victoria on Friday. Goldray (pictured) are what happens when the guitar sound of Reef and the beats of Faithless come together in a psychedelic explosion of textures and riffs. Think Jefferson Airplane sparring (or even spa-ing) with Warpaint whilst Tame Impala hold their coats. With support from Ulysses and The Baronesques it will be like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test all over again. (Blimey, a Tom Wolfe reference two weeks running, it’s getting like the Times Literary Supplement!)

 

The 12 Bar opts for the punkier route with Useless Eaters and stalwarts of the scene Nobodies Heroes plus the return of Lydia Twenty whilst The Rolleston has neo rock and rollers, Red Hot Trio, not just your usual bowling shirt rockabilly! Other options are rocked out blues with The Stevie J Rivers Band at The Beehive and ska from The Nomarks at The Liden Arms.

 

Saturday, normally the bastion of the cover and tribute set really raises it’s game to deliver three top gigs. If you haven’t seen Flipron before then you need to be at The Victoria. If you have seen them then you will know that it is difficult to pin down exactly what they do in such a small amount of space. They have been described variously as “ Barrelhouse Britpop,” “Psychedelic Honkytonk” and, my favourite “ Stephen Fry wrestling with Ian Dury on a Mississippi Riverboat” not much I can add to that except The Costellos and Coach add equally exotic vibes into the nights mix.

 

Fans of Hardcore should head to The 12 Bar for Vera Cruz, What The Night Brings and Rising From Death, whilst The Furnace plays host to Fearless Vampire Killers a band whose “Death Pop” will appeal to anyone who watches the Twilight Films and/or grew up on My Chemical Romance. Support is from local lads making good The Dead Lay Waiting.

 

Pete Christie is at The Beehive for the Sunday afternoon slot, finger picked acoustic that mixes rock, folk and country into a sort of anglicana roots music now there’s a term we need to catch on.

 

 

As usual our jump off point is The Running Horse acoustic sessions on Wednesday, this time featuring the welcome return of the newly resurrected Shudders and their clean limbed, melodic and totally infectious country-pop-folk masterpieces. Support comes from The Cadbury Sisters, a duo whose delicate harmonies will leave you transfixed, charmed and in total awe.

Some of you may be aware that I write an occasional music blog called Groovers on Manoeuvres, but how many of you realise that it is a title I stole and was originally the name of the first major UK tour by Black Country legends, The Wonder Stuff. I mention this mainly to build up to the fact that main “Stuffie” Miles Hunt is playing at The Victoria tonight, aided and abetted by his glamorous assistant and virtuosic violinist, Erica Nockalls.  Offering up rootsy versions of Wonder Stuff classics as well as between song narrations of life on the road with the band, this is a real must for anyone who remembers leaping around their bedroom to the strains of “It’s Your Money I’m After Baby” Not that I did such a thing I hasten to add. Support comes in the fine form of Gaz Brookfield.

 

Further down the hill the Zetan Spore mothership will be descending on The Beehive to turn the compact and bijou pub into a pulsating and euphoric, tribal, psy-trance rave. Blimey!

 

If you like your music a bit more brutal, then South West Hardcore has a metal show at the 12 Bar. Up from Basingstoke, headliners Blood of the Spectre do a neat line in technical metal, fast, Byzantine heavy and always on the money. Regular touring partners, Doomed From Day One and local outfit, Go Out With A Bang will be warming the crowd up for them.

 

Indie rules the roost over at Riffs Bar on Friday with the quite brilliant Street Orphans leading a line up of local talent. Hard work and great songs have made The Street Orphans one of the success stories of the last couple of years, a story whose most recent chapter saw them playing an after show party for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Also on the bill are With Felix, Fly Like Fools, The Souperstars and The Eberdeens.

 

The Parlour Kats play at The Beehive. At this point I would normally endeavour to describe what it is they do but I have read their “about” info on their website and as is often the way with self penned biography blurb, I still have no idea what they do. Best you just pop in and see for yourself.

 

If the heavier groove is your thing then The Victoria has The Thin Lizzy Experience and The Rolleston the ultimate tribute to heavy metal – Metalhead.

 

Saturday is really mixing up the options, generically speaking. The big name is Richard Street, ex-Temptations front man and his touring band at The Wyvern. At The Rolleston some of the finest white electric blues on the circuit today can be found with Innes Sibun, whilst next-door in The Furnace, The Useless Eaters will be recreating the power and the passion of the early punk era to help raise money towards a Camps International trip to Kenya for pupils from Dorcan Academy.

 

The 12 Bar sticks with it’s championing of heavier music  again in tandem with South West Hardcore who this time bring you Knotslip, an anagrammatic tribute to the Iowa nine-piece. Support comes from Christian rockers Rising From Death, but don’t worry I’m not going to go into the whole Buddhist Rap/ Shinto Indie routine again, once every couple of years is enough.

 

One band that defies easy categorisation can be found at The Beehive filling the Sunday afternoon slot. Kola Koca alchemize folk, blues, jazz, swing and rock into poignant and humorous vocal charges and sublime musical set pieces, not bad for a free gig.

 

A couple of big names from the folk world will be breezing up to the Arts Centre on Tuesday. Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick have been at the heart of bands such as The Albion Band, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Band of Hope and more recently The Imagined Village and their current live outings are still full of the energy and charm of their formative days.

 

And finally, the Wednesday Running Horse Sessions features Bateleurs; rising stars of the festival circuit and a wonderful weave of English folk, Celtic vibes and vibrant Americana.

 

Not to be out done, The 12 Bar’s Acoustica is an “open mic and acoustic showcase featuring some of the South West’s best acts.” It does, however, neglect to tell us just who those acts might be.