Tag Archive: with felix


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.

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Library - 25Another week and yet more bad news on the music front. Last time I reported that The 12 Bar had shut it’s doors, possibly for the last time as a music venue; this week it was announced that after three very successful years, the biggest cultural event in the local calendar, The Big Arts Day, is also calling it a day. A sign of the times no doubt, but maybe such things are a signifier of major shifts in our habits. Like the transition from physical formats to digital downloads, maybe the live experience itself is no longer seen as an particularly relevant experience. People seem more and more inclined to engage with music via the celebrity stacked medium of television in the comfort of their own homes rather than make the effort to go out and watch bands performing at the grass roots level, the place where every band, no matter how big, originated. So it sort of begs the question, where now for live music?

Whilst you ponder that you can still catch some good music around the town. Tonight (Thursday), for example, sees the welcome return of Witney’s finest yob savants, Black Hats. Imagine what The Jam might sound like if they had carried on evolving through the breakthroughs of modern technology and changing pop fashions, visit The Victoria tonight for a glimpse of that possible scenario. Support is the raw, visceral and unadulterated rock and roll of Nymph and kicking things off is Babies vs. Rabies who having risen from the ashes of Mr Hello and His Honesty Club are sure to throw a musical curve ball. For something more sedate, Claude Bourbon will be at The Beehive delivering his trademark weaves of folk, blues, and jazz, classical and eastern acoustic vibes.

On Friday, Riffs Bar have The Sanity Days, Severenth and Twisted State of Mind gigging in aid of International Heavy Metal Day, which is confusing because not only is heavy metal the one genre that there is no shortage of in Swindon, but also the official day is actually on the 12th. Still time to set up a Tibetan Acid Jazz day to rival it. No? Pity! The Victoria are hosting its annual tribute to John Lennon and The Beatles with the likes of Nudybronque, Aural Candy, The Suspicions, Mr Love and Justice and The Starkers providing their renditions of his songs.

The Furnace is celebrating all things youthful, indie and slightly experimental around the edges. Headliners The Debuts, despite their age, have a wonderful washed out and slightly cinematic post-punk feel mixed with more contemporary markers. The Jefferson Brick are the sound of indie exploring some of it’s more warped undercurrents whilst Korim Miah and With Felix push the night’s sounds into some interesting guitar-electro-pop territory.

If you have been anywhere near the internet in the last 4 months you must be aware that Kiss tribute, Dressed to Kill are playing The Furnace on Saturday whilst upstairs in The Rolleston Missin’ Rosie will be doing what they do best. For those not in the know, what they do best is mix high energy Celtic folk with a driven rock sound, sort of a West Country Flogging Molly if you like.

In aid of Help for Heroes charity and more specifically to honour the memory of Paul Dolphin there is a twin venue music event taking place, firstly at the MECA and then going on till 6am at SUJU. 10 hours of music in the form of 30 live acts and DJ’s and all for a very good cause.

The Beehive offers something a bit more old school for its Sunday afternoon session. Jim Reynolds is fine purveyor of blues, ragtime and old-fashioned ballads and is at turns, laconic, wistful and pensive and tongue in cheek.

More acoustic music in the form of The Stripped Back Sessions at The Victoria on Tuesday featuring Kitchen Sink Dramas, Nick Parker and Reichenback Falls, who is often compared to Sparklehorse, Iron and Wine and Bonny Prince Billy, three acts that surly must pique the interest of any music fan.

Finally the week rounds out at The Running Horse on Wednesday with the vocally gorgeous, dark sonnets of The Black Feathers and funkier acoustic sounds of The Right Hooks.

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.

In this world of immediate musical gratification, instant single track downloads, radio banality and dumbed down, disposable pop, it’s worth remembering that not all music has to be easy access, mainstream and spoon feedable for mass consumption. In fact music often moves forward because of, rather than in spite of the likes of Schoenberg, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, Can, Cale or Zappa. And if you want a night that largely challenges the concept of music as an easy ride, that is both provoking and ultimately rewarding, then tonight’s Songs of Praise at The Victoria is the place to be.

Mortdelamer headline with a luscious mix of dark alt-rock and slightly prog-stained flights of fancy and openers IX manage to take slow burning, heavy, instrumentals and turn them into sweeping cinematic sonic architecture. But these bands seem to act as a buffer zone to contain the madness of the middle act, Mr. Hello and His Honesty Club ft. Kid Jamaica. Think Kyuss playing with The Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard jamming Black Sabbath, The Fall in a fist fight with Zappa…just don’t think about it late a night else you probably won’t sleep.

Something a bit saner can be found at The Beehive. Matt Woosey plays blues exploring all the usual themes, hardship, alcohol, women, but does so in a uniquely British fashion. The Red, White and Blues perhaps? Okay, perhaps not.

Back up the hill on Friday and a night of alt-folk, anti-folk, agit-folk…call it what you will at The Victoria.  Gaz Brookfield is the main draw playing songs from his new album “Tell It To The Beer” as well as old favourites and with Marky Thatcher on the bill as well, I’m sure there will be some of the usual end of show shennanighins. But it’s not all about the local lads as Glasgow’s Lonely Tourist throws in blends of rockabilly driven acoustica.

More singer songwriter types at The 12 Bar on Saturday courtesy of Daylight Promotions in the shape of the contemporary acoustic meets 60’s folk revival sound of Ali Finneran and Racket front man Plummie, plus acoustic duo Talking Timber and adding a somewhat eclectic quality to the night, the lush, atmospheric synth driven indie of With Felix.

If you are a fan of all things big, brash and brutal, Riffs Bar has a Heavy Metal all-dayer. A host of serenely named bands make up the bill including, Acts of Brutality, Suicide Watch, Blood of Ash and Fluffy Bunny Slippers. Okay, I made one of those up but it does definitely feature an appearance by the legendary Vynal Matt.

You can also get a good dose of quality rock music with the incendiary blues of Innes Sibun at the Rolleston. And if after that you still have the energy to party, Reboot Club Night at The Furnace is hosting a collection of Indie, New Wave and Electronica into the wee small hours.

Another does of exquisite blues at The Beehive Sunday afternoon, this time from extremely young and extremely talented Anglo-Norwegian six stringer Krissy Matthews.  The evening gives you the option of virtuosic lap guitar playing from Hip Routes Jim Blair at The Rolleston or head down the 12 Bar to be part of powerful alt-rockers, Beyond The Break’s e.p. launch.

The middle of the working week is nicely broken up with two great shows for Wednesday or Swindependance Day if you like. If you fancy something to smooth the week through it’s The Running Horse for you where Sam Eden and Dylan Qioniwasa will be laying down some wonderfully original and chilled music. For a more charged experience catch Young Blood (pictured) at The Victoria and expose yourself to some great, of the moment indie, the soaring, My Bloody Valentine-esque sonic dream sequences of Archimedes plus a band that I have already gushed far to much about recently, Old Colours.

And if you think that my columns have been getting much less controversial of late, I have been saving it all up for this, a final paragraph of home truths and no holds barred opinion…that’s if it gets passed the editors exacting standards.

Looking back into the annals of history it turns out that today is a landmark anniversary. In 1954 a young man called Bill Haley went into Pythian Temple Studios in New York and recorded a song that was the jumping off point for all other contemporary music genres. Rock Around The Clock is where it all began, as radical in its day as psychedelic, punk, rave, baggy, post rock, grime and every musical development since. It is also interesting to note that 26 years later, to the day, Bryan McFadden of Westlife was born. Coincidence… or the Gods of Music playing their games? It’s probably just coincidence.

 

It would be interesting though to get Mr Haley’s take on tonight’s gig at The Victoria featuring two bands who blend rock with the latest technology. Talk in Code have been through an interesting evolution, leaving the more predictable territory of drive time rock behind them they now inject their music with dance beats and keyboard washes, something support band Atari Pilot are equally adept at.

 

Down at The Beehive, the jaunty tones of Bateleurs will be filling the air, but more than that if you get there early enough, you may find yourself an extra in their video shoot. Another acoustic option comes in the shape of Gaz Brookfield, who will be dishing out the charm, humour and infectious tunes at Baker Street.

 

Friday is one for those with youth on their side (damn them) as The Furnace opens it’s doors to the under 18 crowd. The main drawer is the mathy-electro-pop sounds of With Felix and the post punk/contemporary indie clash  of The Debuts, but add to that The Canary Club and dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass DJing from Miasmix and you have a great night.

 

The Sharpees at The Beehive will be in the more tried and tested blues field, but with their punk attitude towards the genre and rock influences, they are flying an altogether different blues flag for the 21st century.

 

Staying roughly in the genre, further up the hill, Hiproute will be laying out their funky, acoustic blues wares before The Victoria at The UK Roots Night. If scintillating slide guitar and groove driven backbeats are your cup of Darjeeling, then this is the place to be. Alex Roberts will be adding his quite brilliant observational acoustic songs and Stone Donkey Pilots open with a set of rootsy, country blues inflected tunes. If you prefer something more in the pop-punk vein then head up to The Royal Oak for Disclosure.

 

Saturday is a mix of the big names or tributes to big names.  The former comes in the shape of Cher Lloyd at The Oasis touring in support of her album Sticks and Stones, an album that went to number 31 in the New Zealand album charts, no less! The younger fans are catered for again; this time at The MECA with Captured, a night featuring the best in new R’n’B, hip-hop and grime with Fugative, Encore and former Nu-Brand front man, Saskilla. (“Flick, flick, pose” and all that sort of thing.)

 

Bristol’s Metalhead will be paying tribute to all things classic rock in what seems like their weekly visit to Swindon; catch them at Riffs Bar. Alternately Led Zeppelin fans need to be at The Victoria for The Black Dogz.

 

The one bastion of original music is to be found at The Royal Oak. The Jess Hall Band mix up sublime pop vibes with an acoustic alt-folk sensibility to make songs that reek of charm, infectiousness and that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If it doesn’t then you have no soul and might as well be at The Oasis after all.

 

And in the “if you like that you’ll like this department” more sublime soulful, folk-pop comes courtesy of The Sound of the Sirens (pictured) at The Rolleston on Sunday, support is a solo outing for Hiproute main man Jim Blair. And if you want to make it a day of brilliant music, head up to this gig after first catching the afternoon session by Good Things Happen in Bad Towns at The Beehive.

 

Baker Streets Tuesday Jazz offering is a bit special this week, as rising star, jazz history aficionado and award winning tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett pops in to entertain and entrance in equal measure.

 

And finally Ester (spot the catch phrase) on Wednesday you can catch the world vibes and soulful pop-rock sounds of Coach at The Running Horse with support from The Racket front man, Plummie.