Tag Archive: white lilac


12744745_1030968833617887_4773140140613442708_nSome weeks the town’s available gigging options are subject to quality over quantity, other times there seems to be a lot going on but little new being added to the gigging canon, so it is great to see that this week we seem to have the best of both worlds, a selection that is both diverse and in great numbers.

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968 White LilacThose who missed the excellent bill at The Castle last night can check out the evenings proceedings via the always excellent David Rose’s Gig Diary.

HERE

Split decisions

Songs of Praise has two shows in town tonight. Firstly up at The Castle we have a fantastic double-header with White Lilac and Familiars, two of our favourite local acts who will be delivering soundscaping indie, sonorous dream-pop, soaring crescendos and sonorous undertones.
 
 
Those of a more blues-rock persuasion will want to head down to The Locomotive to catch The Greasy Slicks and The Harlers for a night of incendiary blues-rock for the 21st century, traditional vibes in a forward looking wrapper.
 
 
I will be cloning myself and watching everything. Best you do the same.

12032792_889717027763398_6926717901493668994_oMaybe we have to get away from this idea that important and impressive musical events can only take place in more revered places – New England coffee shops or Camden venues, in large stadiums or within media defined scenes. Good music takes place in town every week; you just have to know where to look. In the last month I have witnessed blistering, national circuit alt-rock; underground, gothic pop and ranting music and poetry from a stalwart 35 years into his career. I have also watched and hung out with a charming satirical, agit-folk performer and the icing on the cake was watching two iconic songwriters who helped define the sound of the early days of indie, pair up and deliver music that was nothing short of gorgeous. All in Swindon and it was all free. Beer may be expensive but do you feel the desire to get out of your face on premium lager when you go to the cinema or theatre? No, so why is the price of beer used as an argument against live music. The music is already out there; all it needs is your support.

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10511341_482074355276738_7671521640346479499_nWhite Lilac has come a long way in a short space of time, not least musically. With Faye Rogers’s early solo work now a distant yet charming memory, the band that formed in that chapter of the story now help her head down a more mesmerizing path. I’m guessing that the moment you realise that the sound you have imagined in your head for so long is now achievable with the people that you have around you, must be the moment when anything seems possible.

First single, Night Visions, was a brilliant statement of intent and immediately disassociated the new band from Faye’s earlier work and saw them take up camp in a cinematic indie soundscape of mist and shadows, as much a modern, ambient gothic film score as a song in the mainstream sense.

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10407052_774034392662307_1668943267993678268_nAs regular followers of my scribbling will be more than aware, tribute bands are not really my cup of tea, but there is one aspect to them that I find fascinating. The band’s name. It’s an area that can lend itself to acts of creative genius. After all why call yourself the Real Smiths, when you can be The Iain Duncan Smiths and why be the plain old Bowie Experience when you can be Camp David. It’s an art form in itself. Others that smack of sheer brilliance include J’Amy Winehouse, Motorheadache, Sean Connery’s favourite band Oasish and the total honesty of Kaiser Thief’s (“I just nicked a riot?”) Mentioned in dispatches are – Repeater Gabriel, Husker Don’t, Surely Bassey and vegetarian nu-metallers – Quorn!

And if you are into odd band names then you might be interested in Oui Legionnaires at The Victoria tonight. Odd name, odd music, odd people. Take a dose of angular indie, throw in warped pop melodies and punk energy, pile it all up into a heap and stand on the top. From there you may just be able to catch a glimpse of the genre that the band fall into. Best you just go along and work it out for yourself. Support from punk s Rebel Station and two-piece blues outfit The Harlers makes for a very eclectic bill.

Friday delivers the first of four Songs of Praise shows over the coming week. Staying at The Victoria, a line up of cinematic indie and dream pop vibes courtesy of the welcome return of Wyldest (pictured) a band with its formative roots in Swindon but now making waves on the national circuit. Fans of Warpaint will want to check out the same sort of musical furrows being ploughed by Cat Bear Tree and the night is kicked off by the brilliant White Lilac, a blend of post punk drive and Cocteau Twins like atmospherics.

At the other extreme, The Rolleston plays host to an act that is lewd, crude, “ Life-affirmingly puerile” according to no less than Charlie Brooker, hilarious and offensive in equal measure and it is brilliant. Mr K and The Gang (even the name has to be edited for general consumption) bring the UK tour to Swindon in the company of local drum and bass noise-merchants 2 Sick Monkeys and comedic punk from Mike Gibbons.

But fear not, less challenging options are also available. The Locomotive, for example, has more familiar offerings via funk, blues and soul played in a very improvisational way, old songs with new twists from Chameleon. Syntronix at The GWR are riding the 80’s nostalgia trip, not the one were you are stood in a muddy field watching The Wonder Stuff wearing a Coal Not Dole t-shirt drinking overpriced lager out of a plastic beaker (i.e. mine) but one that sounds more like the Top of The Pops version, synth-pop at it’s finest from Kraftwerk to Depeche Mode, New Order to Ultravox.

The big one for Saturday happens at The Castle with the long awaited return of The Pagan Fringe. There are so many reasons to go to this. It is 25 years since their album Gathering Light was released and you can now pick it up on CD. Proceeds will go to the Swindon-Calais Link Refugee Aid Charity, reason alone to support the gig and buy the CD. Maybe go along as a way of honouring the much missed Steve Carvey, the bands original drummer. On top of all of that go along for great music and to catch up with people you last saw propping up the bar of The Monkey Club and other long forgotten, half-mythical venues.

At The Locomotive, the sad news is that Colour The Atlas have pulled out of the Songs of Praise gig but you can still catch the brilliant Balloon Ascents, a rising Oxford band who mix dreamy wooziness, pop hooks and darker undercurrents.

Tributes are also flooding in, as it were, The Rolleston have The Doors of Perception which ticks the 60’s box, The Victoria has Lizzy and The Banshees, so that’s the late seventies sorted and Riffs Bar has the next decade covered with Hot Rox playing an 80’s set.

The third Songs of Praise offering can be found at The Beehive on Sunday with Case Hardin’s fantastic blend of haunted country meets lo-fi rock and roll and support from The Incredible Disappearing Boy who sound like Wilco writing underground Americana classics for a late night drive along the M4. Two bands about which I just can’t say enough nice things.

Gig four from Swindon’s seemingly busiest promoters is at their usual pitch at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with the politically astute Steve Leigh from Kitchen Sink Drama’s and a rare set from Graham Mattingley. Blimey, that’s quite a week.

10407052_774034392662307_1668943267993678268_nAs regular followers of my scribbling will be more than aware, tribute bands are not really my cup of tea, but there is one aspect to them that I find fascinating. The band’s name. It’s an area that can lend itself to acts of creative genius. After all why call yourself the Real Smiths, when you can be The Iain Duncan Smiths and why be the plain old Bowie Experience when you can be Camp David. It’s an art form in itself. Others that smack of sheer brilliance include J’Amy Winehouse, Motorheadache, Sean Connery’s favourite band Oasish and the total honesty of Kaiser Thief’s (“I just nicked a riot?”) Mentioned in dispatches are – Repeater Gabriel, Husker Don’t, Surely Bassey and vegetarian nu-metallers – Quorn!

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11753745_1663230517242448_8272897022402729679_nDowntown Swindon on a Saturday night and the place is crackling with energy. The lads are wearing their Ralph Lauren polos and their designer jeans and the ladies are wearing, frankly, very little.

We’re gathered in The Locomotive for the latest in a series of original music gigs curated by  Songs of Praise. It’s a small and neat pub with a stage that covers a good half the available interior space, but when the 70’s disco lighting starts up, I realise that we’re actually looking at a huge dance floor…

The young guy standing next to me is, not putting it too finely, hammered. “What’s this band’s name, mate?” he asks. I tell him and he says “They any good?” I tell him that I think we’re about to find out, one way or another – and we certainly do.

The amount of people who have told me that I should be watching tonight’s headliners, White Lilac has reached such a level that I turn to Bristol music luminary Mustafa Mirreh of The Flux for his opinion and when he gives a resounding thumbs up, I’m there.

I do a few minutes’ YouTube research to familiarise myself with the style, but nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you11219112_1663230680575765_6908029146545632346_n for the power of this band. And I don’t mean they’re loud – aided by an excellent sound tech, they’re only using sufficient volume to rise above the hubbub – they’re just forceful, the music simply hits you in a wave. Imagine the most coruscating parts of Abjects colliding head on with the most blissful parts of Light Falls Forward and you might be getting close.

The band is a four-piece, but the pretty constant swapping of instruments to produce different configurations and soundscapes is an impressive feature of the performance. The one fixed point though is drummer Tom Counihan, who unobtrusively lays down a wide variety of different beats through the night with great craft and subtlety – an essential anchor when a band plays a good chunk of its set without a bass player.

Much of the coverage the band has received centres around singer Faye Rogers glorious, soaring voice, which is much in evidence as they jump straight in with their latest single, the mesmerising “The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower”. Clearly not a band to keep their powder dry. Rogers also plays very smooth sax and can more than handle her lush teardrop Vox.

11781783_1663230393909127_5818595597345483278_nIt’s clear after about one and a half tracks that this band has got something very special going for it, and a further recent effort, the breathtaking ‘Night Visions’, long and elegant, firmly reinforces this.

Much of this band’s elegance is produced by Emma Thornton’s cello, which has the dual role of providing a deeply melodic backdrop to some tracks while acting as a substitute bass on the tracks where two guitars are being used. She also switches over to bass for the more rocking tracks, of which there are several of differing degrees of violence, topped by the brutal ‘Dog Meat’, a three(ish) chord post-Punk thrash of immense power, with an instrument-free Rogers showing that not only does she do the Siren call but she can also growl one out as well – it’s my favourite of the night – it could strip paint at a hundred paces and produces a tremendous crowd reaction.

Guitarist Curtis Warner also comes right to the fore in this one, crashing out the chords to add to the bell-like clarity of11800291_1663230630575770_7235828207295542885_n his fine soloing during the evening, he also adds very fluent bass to a couple of tracks.

They do just under an hour, which goes very, very fast. I turn to the bloke next to me, who’s still, miraculously, standing and ask him what he thought. “They’re [expletive deleted] brilliant, mate – what are they called again?”

The band is called White Lilac and you’re going to be hearing a lot about them.

Outstanding.

 (images used by kind permission of Geoffrey Head)

10978528_10206449370499975_5340061803394851914_n-1Worthy causes and great music go hand in hand on 16th May in the shape of Moonfest, an evening of music being held at The Moonrakers in Cricklade Road. About 260,000 people in the UK suffer from Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, half of which are diagnosed before they are 29 and teenage sufferers are also common. Even though money may be scarce at the moment, £10 will get you into a great event that is raising much needed money for this charity. But it isn’t just a feeling of having done the right thing that you will gain from the night; you also get to experience 6 top musical acts.

What better booking to headline this night than local boy made good, Josh Kumra? After breaking out of the local circuit he made a name for himself in London and found himself one half of the number one single Don’t Go, with rapper Wretch 32. Likened to a young Ray Lamontagne or Ben Harper he is worth your entrance fee alone.

Joining him are White Lilac who reference the likes of Joy Division and The Cocteau Twins to create wonderful atmospherics and shimmering soundscapes and Zero Return who give a contemporary twist to classic rock.

The Summits, Oscillator and Natures can also be found doing their bit, so why don’t you do yours too, all you have to do is turn up, have a drink and take in some of the best acts on the local, and not so local, scene.