Tag Archive: with ghosts


1935162_454261378032105_6602445270487649865_nThey say that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. 35 years ago I was a thin, nerdy, bespectacled college kid unaware of the wealth of post-punk creativity which was about to wash over me during the next ten years but most importantly XTC’s seminal English Settlement had just hit the shops. Blimey, tempus does indeed fugit and creativity is indeed the watchword this week, as quantity and quality are both present in spades.

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13474997_1226074580758425_7694964783349260294_oIt’s certainly a quieter week ahead, but I guess that the swings and roundabouts nature of things is just redressing the balance after a couple of weeks that spoilt us music goers. It’s also a week where most things on offer are going to be fairly familiar to you although today stands out as being a bit at odds with what is to follow.

 

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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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10712899_10152416753527406_7198576379845939303_nOh, it’s just a bit of fun for the kids, they say. But Halloween seems to have turned into a national holiday for people who thought that Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a documentary and who take quizzes on Facebook with titles like “How long would you survive a zombie invasion?” Also prepare yourself for a barrage of lazy journalism resorting to clichéd words such a boo-tiful and spooktacular. The tail end of the week is also an opportunity for on-line slacktavists to trot out their well-worn cliché about Guy Fawkes being the “only person to enter Parliament with honest intentions.” Yes, that’s what the world needs, more religiously motivated terrorists in the pay of shadowy organisations. That said the offshoot of all this warped celebration is that there is a lot of live music to go with it.

 

Starting at The Beehive for a change, tonight the regular Acoustic Buzz night features Lucky Strikes frontman Matthew Boulter, whose solo work has been described as ““Introspective, gentle, tinged with darkness and a sorrowful undertow.” Sounds good to me. Also on the bill are the equally brilliant Paul McClure and your regular host Tim Manning of Blind River Scare.

 

The Victoria opts for the harder rock of All Ears Avow, a band who manages to infuse alternative rock with a certain pop sensibility to produce a sound that both big and commercial. They are joined by With Ghosts, Elasea and Heriot.

 

The big Halloween show is at The Victoria on Friday with a “Bands and Burlesque” special. Not only music from suitably named, psychobilly genre benders Cowboy and The Corpse but also exotic and sensual dance routines. Jokes about pumpkins made at your own risk. If something more raucous is required for your festivities The Hamsters From Hell at Rolleston offer riotous rhythm and boozy blues for your delectation. Meanwhile downstairs at Level 3, Emily’s Pole Fitness has a very unique Halloween show for you.

 

The Acoustic Session out at Riffs Bar is taken by Rob Richings this week, with the maximum added value of it being a full band show (pictured) and at The Beehive, The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning classic ska and reggae tunes.

 

Saturday gets a bit obsessed with the tried and tested but it’s all about supply and demand and what Swindon seems to demand looks a lot like this. In a clever play on words, The Four Fighters will be paying tribute to the band fronted by the universally accepted nicest man in rock music today, Dave Grohl, and they can be found at The Victoria. Riffs Bar holds its festive bash to the indie-party sounds of covers band Penfold with everything from “The Arctic Monkey’s to The Zutons” apparently.

 

Young and dynamic classic rock is on the menu at The Rolleston with Bad Obsession and tunes that run from “Aerosmith to Zeppelin”….and does anyone else see an alphabetized marketing theme developing here? More heavy rock covers can be found at The Ashford Road Club courtesy of Shepherds Pie who declare that they play “everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top”….see, there it is again. Finally Operation 77 will be at The Swiss Chalet with a range of covers covering punk, post-punk, ska and mod genres. They didn’t offer a neat alphabetized sound bite. Level 3 has a night that is 100% Drum and Bass for those that want to carry the party on into the night.

 

Music obsessives might wish to know that during the day at the Central Community Centre there will be a Record and CD Fair so all you audiophiles (that is a real word, I checked) start saving your money.

 

A second chance to see The Hamsters From Hell comes on Sunday at The White Hart in Wroughton. One of the reasons for mentioning this is that the pub has just changed hands and it would be in every live music fans interest to support the gig and prove to the new owners that live music is worth hosting and, more importantly from a business point of view, a lucrative income for the pub. Use it or lose it as they say.

 

Last mention of the week is for D’Bize at The Beehive also on Sunday, the best of the old Irish tradition with a young beating heart, sounds like a great way to enjoy a pint and let the roast dinner slowly digest.

thSome weeks things just seem to fall into place and the local music diary features four…yes, four, amazing events as well as the usual selection of regular gigs. So without further ado…

 

Sheer Music is one of the leading lights of music promotion in Wiltshire. Under the leadership of that awfully nice chap Kieran Moore, they have brought acts such as Frank Turner, Foals, Ben Marwood, Gnarwolves and many more to a venue near you and tonight they celebrate 10 years in the game with a show at Level 3. Headliners are the aptly named Decade (I see what you did there) a band who show you what pop-punk can do once it stops sniggering at it’s own in-jokes and graduates from college. Their songs are infectious and bouncy and their stage show is one long adrenaline rush. Also on the bill are Light You Up, With Ghosts and Hey Vanity.

 

If that isn’t your musical cup of tea then why not try some chilled harmonies, dreamy acoustica and ambient folk. Heading an all female line up, The Cadbury Sisters bring their tour to Songs of Praise at The Victoria. Theirs is a half forgotten dream world that evokes childhood memory, otherworldly harmonies mixing the fragile and fey with darker themes, Swallows and Amazons meets The Wickerman perhaps. Adding to the nature of the night is the delicate songs of Faye Rogers and a rare outing for the sublime Emily Sykes.

 

If blues is more your thing then head to The Beehive for Georgia guitarist Kent DuChaine a player who authentically delivers the spirit of all those wonderful old bluesmen from Robert Johnson to Son House and all three Kings – BB, Albert and Freddie!

 

A real melding of artistic disciplines can be found at New College on Friday as Chicago poet, Don Share, is joined on stage by local live musicians as part of the Swindon Festival of Poetry. In this unique and improvised show, Don is joined by Barry Andrews, Jon Bucket, Brendan Hamley and Catherine Shrubshall. Barry sums it up best when he explains “(Don) gets off the plane, steps on stage and then what happens, happens. And it will never exist in that way again.”

 

More conventional but no less exciting shows also can be found around town. The Rolleston plays host to funky, lap steel, blues maestros HipRoute with support from Stone Donkey Pilots. Out at Riffs Bar the Acoustic Session features the dexterous acoustic guitar work and subtle lyrical touch of David Waddington but if you want something a bit more loud and shouty then head to The Victoria for Slam Cartel, a band who distil the essence of rock ‘n’roll in the same why that bands such as The Cult and The Four Horsemen did in their heyday. Joining them are local sleaze-metallers The Damned and The Dirty.

 

And if you like the sound of that gig, you are going to love this one. On Saturday Level 3 opens its doors for the Swindon Alternative Festival Volume 3, a celebration of the best of local rock, punk, grunge, hardcore and metal. It’s an all-dayer and there is too much going on to mention all the bands but a few that caught my eye are Sleep inertia, SkyBurnsRed and headliners Skreamer, but check out the event page on Facebook for the full details.

 

The last of the big events to get a mention this week and one that will have all you proggies champing at the bit is Pendragon’s Megadaze (pictured) event at Riffs Bar. This two-day event includes a first hearing of the new album, Men Who Climb Mountains, 2 unique Pendragon live shows, food, quizzes and a chance to hang out with band and fans alike. A crucial date for all prog-rock diary’s.

 

Elsewhere you can catch a Dire Straights tribute at The Victoria or Going Underground paying tribute to post-punk, ska and mod classics at The Rolleston.

 

The Moonrakers is the place to be on Sunday as The AK-Poets play a stripped down, early evening session. All the usual great song writing and live presence but presented in a manner more fitting for the Sabbath day.

1911895_10152290934490225_884172200_nA quick look around the music history archives reveals that on this day in 1969 we lost one of the coolest and most influential guitarists of recent time, Brian Jones. As the founder member of the Rolling Stones he helped fuse American blues with the evolving pop music scene and as a consequence helped define the sound and attitude of the sixties and in many ways laid foundation stones for the development of future music culture. Brian would have been 72 today. As if to balance the loss of such an icon, today also marks the birthday of Kevin Hearn of Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, without whom we wouldn’t have the theme tune to The Big Bang Theory. Swings and Roundabouts!

 

Well, plenty of music to sink your teeth into this coming week, starting tonight at The Victoria, where those Songs of Praise chaps bring you something a bit special. After a number of critically acclaimed gigs in Swindon, particularly a much talked about set at last years Shuffle that blew collective minds …not to mention socks off of the audience, Dead Royalties are back with another dose of slightly mathy, grungy, alt-rock. They are joined by Vault of Eagles (pictured) who mix the Neolithic groove of The Bad Seeds with the warped beauty of P J Harvey to great effect. Opening up is Si Hall.

 

Bluesier options come in the shape of roots guitarist Gwyn Ashton at Riffs Bar, a wonderful blend of the sounds of The Delta and southern juke joints, New Orleans vibes, jazz and country and if that isn’t well travelled enough for you Kangaroo Moon are at The Beehive to deliver cosmic blends of pastoral, otherworldly vibes, haunting washes of timeless sound, hypnotic folk, dance and psychedelia. In the words of a wise man…well, Forrest Gump…you never know what you are going to get.

 

Culture Vultures may want to take notice of the fact that as part of The Old Town Festival, acclaimed pianist Paul Turner will be playing a lunchtime recital of the music of Debussy at Christ Church.

 

Friday sees the first of two shows this week from Sheer Music, a promotional team well known for bringing top class bands into town and their show at The Victoria doesn’t disappoint as they usher in The Computers. This is a band who are equally at home with the power of punk and hardcore as they are with pop melody and the result often comes off like Black Flag covering Elvis Costello. Intrigued? You should be. Support comes from All Ears Avow and Scout Killers.

 

If for no other reason than they have gigged with one of my favourite bands, Citizen Fish, you should try to catch Mad Apple Circus who are at The Rolleston playing a brilliant, tight and original blend of ska/hip-hop/jazz/reggae fusion. Another non-musical reason to watch is to see just how this, often 10-piece ensemble, are going to all fit in. Miss these guys at your peril.

 

More chilled sounds can be found at The Beehive as Swindon’s favourite Canadian music migrant, David Celia returns with his unique brand of witty pop and oft surreal visions whilst The Regent Acoustic Circus this month plays host to Nick Felix (also catch him at The Royal Oak on Saturday), Paul Griffin and Ells Ponting’s new musical vehicle, The Southern Wild.

Saturday is the usual nostalgia trip. At Level 3 Syntronix play the big hits of the eighties (and I didn’t even bang on about The Smiths and New Model Army once…damn,) and at Riffs Bar, In It For The Money play a range of covers. Rock fans have either the music of Guns ‘n’Roses at The Victoria or KoK Rok playing classic rock and metal at The Rolleston. Reggae and ska fans will probably opt for The Shocks of Might DJ’s at The Beehive.

 

However you can support your local community at The Bowl as The Old Town Festival hosts music from 1 o’clock with acts including The Undulations, The Corsairs, Darren Hunt, Zing and Get Carter.

 

The Lazy Sunday Afternoon Session at The bandstand in the Old Town Gardens is another show for David Celia plus country tinged folkster Rachel Gittus and as ever, hosts Mr Love and Justice.

 

Final shout goes to the other Sheer Music organised show which brings Cornish punk exiles Gnarwolves to The Victoria on Wednesday aided and abetted by 2 Sick Monkeys, The Rebecca Riots and With Ghosts.