Tag Archive: woodlands edge (the)


10838049_805409206181876_6692365775109408289_oThe Beehive is renowned for giving new things a try, and never more so than with the music that it books to grace its compact and bijou playing area. Tonight is no exception as The Fresher and Angel Collective will be doing their thing there. And if you thought that acoustic music is largely the territory of bearded, ageing folkies, hipsters in wide brimmed hats and Ed Sheeran wannabes, then these guys and their blends of pop, soul, funk and hip-hop will give you a whole new perspective on things.

There has been a real buzz lately about the new musical happenings from a couple of the ex-XTC chaps under the TC&I moniker. I’m pretty sure if you are following those developments with keen interest or are just a fan of the original band in general then you will want to be down at The Rolleston on Friday for Fossil Fools. This, the UK’s only tribute to Swindon’s most famous sons, will relive the nature of those early gigs and of course given their premature move away from live performance give you a chance to appreciate many of the later songs beyond their recorded confines.

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26805351_1804865899523931_4455629295024373349_nBefore we get into the meat/quorn of the column this week, just a reminder that if you are not seeing your venues gigs here it probably isn’t because the author “only writes about his mates bands” but more likely that you need to keep your website up to date or better still ahead of the chronological curve. If you are updating your listing or events page whilst the band in question is setting up for the sound check, I think it is safe to say that it isn’t going to be that effective. If I, someone whose job it is to trawl the internet, can’t find your gig, it is likely that few other people are seeing it either. Maybe it isn’t that people aren’t consciously not supporting your gigs, maybe they just didn’t know that they were happening in the first place. These, however,  are the gigs I did manage to track down.

Something a bit special can be found at The Tuppenny tonight in the guise of Stereocilia. John Scott, the man behind the music, uses guitar, live looping techniques and analog synths to create dense and rich cinematic soundscapes and beguiling drone art attacks. Support comes from the always compelling Grasslands and his equally unusual musical blends.

The Teddy White Band can be found at The Beehive  for another round of their trademark selection of blues and boogy from a bygone age, long forgotten gems and underground classics. Germany’s Rooftop Sailors bring their classic infused slabs of alt-rock to The Victoria as the UK leg of their Dead Water tour hits town. Support comes from The Stolen Jam Band, who play a mix of alt-rock and pop-punk originals and covers.

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26166586_1681465711875033_8057004855056739838_nThere was an interesting debate on Facebook the other day regarding the balance between original and non-original bands in town. Between all of the threads full of ill informed political infighting and pictures of cats falling off things, the old battle lines were drawn again and it seems as if many people think that there is some sort of conspiracy designed to hold back the original scene, which of course is nonsense. It’s all about market forces, venues and pubs are businesses and they exist by selling drinks, the more the better, so it obviously makes more sense to book bands with a known draw than some unknown Tibetan infused dream-pop band from Newport Pagnall. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to see more original music, bigger names playing more convenient nights of the week then you first have to prove that it can compete, and you do this by supporting the smaller shows which are already happening. Do that, and apart from the two usual venues championing original music, other venues will see the profit in it and there will be more on offer. It’s as simple as that. And buy a CD on the way out too, even musicians need to eat.

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19143181_1006331876069956_5134772044657416393_oWe’ve had the first snow, a lot of people have their decorations up and there is even a bottle of Amaretto on the drinks shelf but of course it isn’t really Christmas until you have watched Alan Rickman plummet from the top of the Nakatomi Plaza! And the musical offerings also reflect this transitional period, not quite swamped with office soirees where people called Brian from Human Resources take it upon themselves to enforce the fun, not quite into the realm of wall to wall cheesy Christmas songs but certainly at a point where the musical options are more about the tried and tested than the unknown and cutting edge…material wise anyway.

Of course there are always some exceptions and one is the chance to catch the last local Hip Route show of the year at The Beehive. Funky blues, pulsing and soulful grooves, dexterous slide guitar and a sassy vocal growl…what more do you need? Not much but if you feel the answer is a cool folk-pop support act then Sarah Ryan has that covered. If that isn’t your thing then Lewis Leighton will be breaking out everything from Sinead O’Connor to Green Day, Springsteen to Rhianna at The Groves Company Inn.

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13054996_823594491078335_3518252429045520504_oThursday continues to be the night for new, original music and it doesn’t get more original than the offering at The Beehive tonight. Paddy Steer is an enigma, a juxtaposition of seemingly conflicting interests and challenging ideas, angular electronics blended with lo-fi, futuristic soul, trance-dance meanderings and swirling vocal washes. You could call it world music, but just not this world.

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548800_428930193833165_1291860355_nYou may well remember him from The Hoax. You may have seen him playing with Joel Fisk or as part of the four guitar super group The Boom Band. You may have even seen him as a member of DVL or fronting his own titular blues outfit. Well, tonight at The Victoria you can catch Jon Amor (pictured)playing as the Gods of Music intended it. Solo, acoustic and intimate. So expect something a bit special as one of Britain’s best blues players comes to town. Support comes from Mike Barham who will regale you with tales of cider swilling student days and Jack Moore opens the night.

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10553415_268441576675504_9081060970114757321_nOkay, he may not be a living legend as such, but he will certainly do until one comes along. Edward Felix Tudor Pole (pictured) may sound like a villain from the first series of Blackadder (the one that never gets the TV re-runs) but has had a long career as an actor and TV presenter. But it was as lead hooligan of the ragged punk gang Tenpole Tudor that he is best known. Tonight at The Victoria you can catch the man himself. Punk was an attitude not a form of music and it is an attitude he still operates with as his swaggering rock and roll, unpredictability, powerful performance and sheer energy will attest to. Support comes from that sweary, lairy punk two-piece, 2 Sick Monkeys.

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I bumped into a young guitarist the other day whose opening line upon seeing me was, “Hey man, were you at my last gig?” to which I replied, “I really hope so.” Geddit? It’s a joke. No? Okay…tough crowd. Nothing else for it but to jump right in then, pay attention there is a lot to get through.

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1394432_639689642740457_554281832_nAnother quiet week in the Grand Duchy of Swindon, I guess the good weather means that many people are opting for back garden barbeques or at least the back garden of a pub rather than being confined to dark, sweaty, side rooms to watch bands play. Good news for those who want to work on their tan: bad news for working bands. Bad news for Goths for that matter.  You have to feel sorry for the old school goth in this weather… not the modern, nu-metal evolved contemporary goth who still thinks that Marilyn Manson and The Crow is the alpha and omega of the genre. I’m talking about the early eighties survivors. The ones in DMs and drainpipe jeans, Interview with a Vampire style frilly white shirt, eyeliner and Max Factor Porcelain face foundation for that recently deceased look. It must be difficult playing five a side football with your Ray-Bans on in an attempt to look like Wayne Hussey. I always think that if the temperature gets too high they will spontaneously combust or go into the whole “I’m melting” routine like the Wicked Witch of the West. Still, full marks for effort.

 

Sadly nothing remotely of that genre on this week, but there is a clash of great original music on the northern slopes of Old Town tonight. At The Beehive, Bruise (pictured) will be regaling the crowds with their wonderful cross-pollination of Joni Mitchell-esque folk, Eurythmic power-pop and a whole bunch of strange prog-rock meanderings. Believe me it will be like nothing that you have heard before.

 

In the blue corner, as it were, are Weatherstorms; atmospheric, sensual, dance tinged vibes and tonight performed stripped back and acoustic by main man James Cameron, a face you will recognise from such great acts as Old School Tie and Sam Green and The Midnight Heist. That’s at The Victoria.

 

And talking of acoustic sets, The Rolleston has Boot Led Zeppelin Acoustic, a band that none other than Sharleen Spiteri from Texas described as sounding “amazing.”

 

Friday’s big offering is seminal doo-wop group The Drifters at The Wyvern Theatre. Known for iconic songs such as Up On The Roof and Under The Boardwalk the band have survived through many incarnations but the reason for their longevity (61 years and counting) will be obvious from the first note.

 

And if the sound of 50’s New York is not to your taste, how about the timeless sounds of The Delta as The Blue Trees evoke haunting blues and a southern fried rock groove at The Beehive. More Americana at The Victoria with Cash, a tribute to the man in black himself and even speaking as someone who is not big on country music or tribute bands, this band are amazing.

 

At The Rolleston Lewis Creavan and his band will be firing off a salvo of songs from such icons as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and many more.

 

A full day of music is on offer on Saturday at The Swindon Town Football Club Legends Lounge to raise money for The Prospect Hospice and Ruby’s fat Cow Fund.  Acts include A Way With Words, Sahara Heights, 8 Minutes Later, The Illustrations and many more so check their website for full details.

 

The rest of Saturday is in the hands of standard bearers and those offering tribute. At The Victoria Felix and The Funk play floor fillers from Daft Punk to Chic and from James Brown to Jamiroquai. It’s old school ska, punk and new wave at Riffs Bar with Going Underground and at The Woodlands Edge it’s The Shoo Flies who describe themselves as a “unique covers band” which to me is quite an ironic turn of phrase, but that’s just me.

 

Bit of a treat at The Victoria on Tuesday as Brian Hogan brings Preachers Son to The Victoria. Not only does the band draw comparisons to early Thin Lizzy and the demented approach of The Jon Spenser Blues Explosion but also Brian has worked with everyone from Irish folk giants Kila (one of my highlights of a dim and distance Womad Festival) to Gavin Friday, Sinead O’Connor and even U2.

 

And as if one great Irish band isn’t enough for you, a more traditional offering from the Emerald Isle comes in the form of Patrick Street at the Arts Centre which features former members of The Bothy Band, De Dannan, Planxty and Van Morrison’s Band.

1374371_626819517396714_494436571_nIf you type the letters S M E and L into Google the first thing that is returned as the most common search in the world is Smells Like Teen Spirit, a song that is just about 23 years old. Why do I bring this up? Well, it is twenty years ago since Kurt Cobain took his own life but still he is all around us. In many ways Nirvana, and the grunge scene it was part of, was the last musical style that seemed to really change the musical landscape. Like hip-hop, punk and rock’n’rock before it, the impact was immeasurable, but what have the last twenty years given us? Whilst great music has continued to be made, why haven’t we seen the radical changes in music that previous revolutionary movements would suggest?

 

If you are waiting for answers, I don’t really have them. Maybe it is the fact that music is so “on-demand” it’s like Christmas everyday and you can have whatever music you want, when you want it, largely for free. Maybe it’s time to fight back and make a scene, it all it’s meanings. Grunge, Hip-Hop, rave, baggy, punk all grew from small acorns, maybe it’s time to get behind live music again, storm the barricades of apathy and make something happen…maybe even in Swindon.  Still, enough of the rhetoric.

 

Starting out at Riffs Bar, tonight is one for the rock fans and All Ears Avow lead the musical charge. Having risen from the ashes of progressive metal maestros Mortdelamer but now with an eye on a snappier alt-rock delivery, the band elegantly blend the dexterity of their previous incarnation with the accessibility of the latter. Support comes from pop-punkers Highly Personal and

Cavalier, a band that with just a few shows under their belt are already sounding on a lot of the right peoples radars.

 

The Beehive will be hosting the dustbowl era Americana of The Open Secrets who will make you feel like you are sipping whisky in a bar in North Carolina with Ryan Adams jamming Carter Family tunes in the background. Reginald Road will be playing roots rock reggae at The Queens Tap and The Beaujacks come all the way over from Eindhoven to treat The Victoria to everything from Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones to ZZ Top.

 

Fans of psychedelic blues and highly charged R’n’B will want to be at The Rolleston on Friday for Snatch It Back and if a further reference point were needed the band features original Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik so you will have some idea what to expect. At the Royal Oak, The Cover Addicts will be playing hits from the 50’s to the present day.

 

Out at Riffs Bar Acoustic Sessions Jenny Bracey and Sadie Fleming feature, though as usual any details of the show are a closely guarded secret so I suggest you contact the venue for further information.

 

What I can be a bit more certain about is the event that they have at the venue on the Saturday. In an effort to help fund a trip to Kenya for the Younite Outreach Project and continue it’s objective of helping improve the lives of those less fortunate, there is a fund raising show featuring British Harlem, a  wonderful blend of punk infused, quintessentially English indie with soulful transatlantic vibes. Also on the bill are Theo Altieri, Bianca Polizzi, The Primaveras, The Debuts and The Illustrations. Great music and a worthy cause.

 

More great original music is to be had at The Castle with the return of The Racket (pictured). Back out as a five piece, the band known for their uncompromising, last gang in town attitude, punked up indie cool and cocky live swagger will come as breath of….sweaty, cigarette fumed, booze soaked air.

 

The Victoria has a tribute to Texas groove-metallers Pantera and at The Rolleston The Dark Eyes “bridge the gap between rock and pop with originals and covers.” Their words not mine. More covers are to be had at The Woodlands Edge with Switch.

 

Sunday sees Ezio return to The Victoria a band that specialize in emotive, deep and meaningful music and lyrics that are honest and which will strike a chord (pardon the pun) with the audience.