Tag Archive: worried men (the)


sweetchunks-band-800x450Thursday, as always, is the night for original music and one of the most interesting line-ups to have graced the parish in a while can be found at The Tuppenny. The Blunderbuss Press is a strange and quixotic duo who blend Old World alt-folk with New World quirky Americana and sing songs whose lyrics wouldn’t seem out of place on a Bonzo Dog Band album. Support comes from Cursor Major, a band whose accessible indie-pop meets post-punkery has graced Swindon as a full band in the past but who will be rendering their songs into more a manageable, stripped back form on this occasion. If you want wonky pop and the sort of indie music which isn’t checking its hair in the mirror every ten minutes, then this is the show for you.

Indie of a more fashionable form can be found at The Victoria as a whole host of local movers and shakers line up behind This Feeling’s club night. These nights are aimed at bringing the newest and most happening bands to a wider audience and before This Feeling resident DJ’s remind us of great music past, it is the turn of those bands seeking to join that list. The Sulks paint with a wide, almost neo-psychedelic, sonic palette whilst Shore and GETRZ both thread some deft post-punk references through forward thinking takes on widescreen indie.

Continue reading

Advertisements

16797264_10155794267854056_5740058919034121743_oAnd here we are, the run up to Christmas, a week when “twas” and “tis” become an accepted part of the language for the first time since the seventeenth century, gaudy jumpers, or these days possibly onesies, replace having an actual personality, people talk about how A Wonderful Life is the best film ever made (the correct answer is The Fisher King!) and Mariah Carey is every other song on the radio or jukebox. (What’s wrong with Joni Michell’s River and maybe all of the bands who normally cover The Killers’ Mr Brightside could instead learn their iconic/ironic A Great Big Sled, the original of which featured the lovely Toni Halliday?) And yes, if you cut me in half you will see the words Bah Humbug scrolling through my core!

However, if you do love all the seasonal silliness and traditions then you may just like to head along to The Tuppenny tonight for Slim Ditty does Christmas! Crooner, comedian, music hall maestro and vaudevillian, he promises a swinging singalong, fun and frivolity. Also best and worst Christmas jumpers will be awarded prizes.

Continue reading

166902_250056101706651_204372703_nOkay, we are over the line, there is no stopping now. Welcome to December. From here on in things will slowly descend into the dreaded realm of the enforced wackiness of office parties, of trying to look enthusiastic through karaoke dross, of consumerism and excess. But let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of someone whose work is an inspiration to millions and who we celebrate in song at this special time. Yes, 25th December is of course the birthday of Shane McGowan and we should remember this fact whenever we attempt the dual vocal part of Fairytale of New York.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

426330_472706166084333_342403751_nThere is a lot going on this week so I’m going to cut to the chase straight away but let you into a little secret that there is a theme running through this piece, the prize for spotting it is the knowledge that you have sound musical taste, which is better than any prize I could afford to offer up anyway.

Starting at the top of the hill, at The Victoria good music and worthy causes go hand in hand as bands gather to raise awareness, not to mention money, for Sue Ryder and the great work they do at The Leckhampton Hospice. Although known for a big, alt-rock sound, A Way With Words will be all stripped down and playing an acoustic set and are joined by local troubadour Ben Wiltshire and the chilled musical vibes of The Dirty Smooth.

At The Beehive the monthly Acoustic Buzz night continues to bring together the best of folk and roots music, this time featuring Boss Caine, who conjures up Tom Waits singing Ryan Adam tunes and Iron and Oak who blend vocals, guitar and violin into wonderfully melancholic folk music. Your host Blind River Scare get the night underway.

Level 3 has a night called Beats and Bars, a hip-hop showcase with DJ’s and live sets from Los Angeles resident Esko plus support from the best home-grown talent the genre has to offer, including DJ Triksta, Citizen Kane and BGenius.

Friday gives you the chance to catch another set from A Way With Words, this time in full, unchecked rock show mode as they play Riffs Bar and are joined by reggae, dub and ska fusion experts SN Dubstation to raise money for Goldenhar and Swindon Women’s Aid. Ska is also on the menu at the Castle with The Nomarks and other options are power pop, mod and soul with Peloton at The Victoria, soul and funk standards from The Heist at The Beehive and some stomping folk rock at The Rolleston courtesy of Flash Harry.

And so we head straight into the heart of Saturday night and one of the most unique bands you will ever see. Dirt Box Disco (pictured) are a blend of trashy garage rock, and glam punk who’s chaotic, theatrical and often bizarre stage show is something to behold, so head over to Riffs Bar and catch them along with local punk stalwarts Charred Hearts plus Borrowed Time and The Setbacks.

More raucousness can be found at The Castle with those riotous rhythm and blues boozers, The Hamsters from Hell. Expect uncompromising music, sweary interludes, beards and general mayhem.

If you are looking for something a little mellower, less likely to give you a heart-attack and fine (you must have got the theme by now surely?) for general consumption, maybe a night of vintage reggae and ska from The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s at The Beehive is a more palatable option.

For a live take on modern ska and reggae, Level 3 is the place to be as Brixton based Mangoseed blend funk guitar, rock bass and hip-hop deliveries to create a fresh and eclectic new direction for the genre. Joining them are the infectious, dance floor fillers Conway, ska-punksters The Larry Fish Experiment, inventor of opera reggae and soul ukulele aficionado Nakisha Esnard, plus another chance to catch SN Dubstation. Bop till you drop and tango till they’re sore.

Jamie Thyer brings his Worried Men to The Rolleston for some high-octane blues-rock, it’s rock, punk and pop covers at The Swiss Chalet with The Hyperbolics and Bon Giovi play at The Victoria.

Finally a last mention for Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey and the featured artist, Joe McCorriston. Joe spends all his time on the road and whether supporting the likes of Gaz Brookfield, playing big festivals or intimate gigs like this one, his brand of genre hopping folky-pop-punk always goes down a storm with the audience.

So there is more than enough there to keep the most demanding of music consumer satisfied. And that’s closing time.

NB: This week’s column was held together by plundered Tom Waits song titles. And why not…

600x600In an effort to keep up with the mainstream side of the music industry I tentatively watched the BRITs last week. I know that I’m far from the target audience but dear me what a disaster. Firstly, how can James Corden, a man who could teach Robbie Williams a thing or two about being smug, be the best presenter available? Not only did he look so far out of his depth, his interviews came across like a petulant college kid talking to inarticulate show-offs against the background chatter of an audience too busy taking “selfies” to pay attention. And why was Ellie Goulding singing backwards…in Finnish? The most edgy thing to happen was Alex Turner dropping the microphone, a feat that twitter users seemed to find on par with Keith Moon blowing up his drum kit (and himself and Pete Townsend) at their US TV debut. How times have changed.

This was, however, balanced by the watching of the BBC folk awards later that night, a genre inhabited by rugged, real ale drinking blokey blokes and flame haired Celtic beauties. Throw in Mark Radcliffe hosting, some virtuosic live music and a general feeling of celebration, decorum and mutual support and you actually got to see what an award ceremony should be about.

And if you are looking for something cool as folk, then The Victoria tonight is the place, as Rob Heron and The Tea Pad Orchestra blend the genre with gypsy jazz, Cajun, ragtime and country roots. Support is from the ever popular Missin’ Rosie…heads down, no nonsense, mindless folk music! And if you want a more Euro-centric take on the genre then The John Langan Band (pictured) at The Beehive provides the answer – high energy, extravagant and slightly unhinged acoustic playing of a joyous mix of polka, klezmer and Celtic folk traditions.

If you fancy making your own music then pop along to The Patriots Arms in Chiseldon for an open mic. night hosted by Jimmy and Aidan Moore (no relation.)

Friday delivers more of the tried and tested rather than the boundary pushing but you won’t find a better classic rock cover band around than Bad Obsession who play The Rolleston. Tributes are also on the cards with the music of ZZ Top at The Victoria and Boot Led Zeppelin at Riffs Bar delivering an acoustic take on the legendary band.

If you didn’t catch them at their open mic. earlier in the week and you want more of Moore and Moore (no relation) then they are part of a fundraising evening at The GW on Saturday which also features the soulful acoustica of Benji Clements and the sweet moreish sounds of Remedy. Need I say more?

If high energy music is your preference then catch guitarist Jamie Thyer as he leads his Worried Men through R’n’B standards at The Rolleston on Saturday whilst at The Castle, it’s time to grab your Crombie and pork pie hat for The Nomarks and their ska and reggae originals.  You could even combine this with the short walk down to The Beehive where the Shocks of Mighty DJ’s will be spinning similar genres.

The Victoria has Syntronix, a tribute to eighties synth pop and at the other end of the scale it’s all about bringing Pearl Jam back to life Riffs Bar. Support to that comes from a re-union show from Tiryth, a metal band who must have been away from the scene for a decade at least.

Proving that Sunday doesn’t have to be the day of rest, more heavy music is to be had from two South Wales post-hardcore bands When We Were Wolves and Set To Break at The Victoria.  Not your thing? Why not head to The White Hart for a slick slice of soul grooves and funky R’n’B with Otis Mack and The Tubby Bluesters maybe after catching the 3am porch blues picking of David Bristow at The Beehive afternoon session.

Baker Streets regular Tuesday jazz offering comes in the form Portuguese guitarist Miguel Martins who delivers a neat line in contemporary playing mixed with a more traditional jazz legacy. For this show the regular quartet is augmented by renowned tenor sax player Brandon Allen.

Final acoustic offerings on Wednesday come in the form of Drew Bryant at The Roaring Donkey and bluesman Ian O’Regan and Darren Hodge at The Crown, the latter who you may also have spotted on the aforementioned BBC folk awards.

Seamlessly full circle or what?

1238974_708248452536051_260016646_nAs the last of the Halloween greasepaint has been scrubbed from the costume that you need to return to the shop; the final whiff of bonfire smoke and the cordite of smoldering fireworks have been blown away on autumnal gusts and those once a year “I’m so much more pagan than thou” types have ceased posting their burning martyr updates to their fellow Buffy fans on the various anti-social networks to which they belong, we can finally put such things behind us and get on with the task at hand. Supporting live music. There are not so many opportunities to do so this week as I would like to be able to report, but it seems to be a week of quality not quantity so pick a show and get behind the live music scene.

 

The cream of the acoustic crop is in town tonight at Songs of Praise at The Victoria as local lad made good, Gaz Brookfield aided and abetted by his violining sidekick, Ben Wain,    spearhead the best of the regional and national circuit. Hard work is really paying off for Gaz and supports to the likes of The Levellers and New Model Army are finally pushing him into the spotlight of the acoustic – new folk – crusty – festival circuit…call it what you will, so catch him before he is whisked away to bigger things. Support comes from the looping acoustica and Buckley-esque tones of Alex Taylor, Joe McCorriston all the way down from Morecombe and wise words and romantic ballads from the enigmatic Stead to start things off.

 

Something a bit more rooted in rock and roll is to be found at The Beehive as Josie and The Outlaw dig up some old school grooves and rockabilly backbeats to kick the weekend off early.

 

More contemporary sounds can be found at Riffs Bar on Friday as The Secret Chord brings in some amazing bands from around the south for your delectation. Kernow’s finest, Even Nine (pictured) make a welcome return to headline the night, a slicker, more energetic band you couldn’t wish for, delivering music that is stuck between a rock and a ….well, wonderfully melodic and totally infectious place, as the saying goes. Alt-rockers A Way With Words provide the local interest and Dorset four-piece Patchwork Native kick the night off.

 

At The Rolleston, meanwhile, there will be original music blended from the building blocks of mod style lines, power-pop drive and psychedelic wigouts courtesy of The Sitting Tenants. Super!

 

Saturday night is the traditional slot for the big tributes, not normally my thing but you could do a lot worse than Still Marillion, a tribute to one of my favourite neo-prog bands from back in the day. If you want to re-live the Fish era years, that heady blend of poetics and passion, technical ability and emotive songlines, then this is the show for you. Support comes from original progressive rockers Spiral Key, so real value for money all round.

 

Riffs Bar is offering a night of Burlesque accompanied by music from Ghost Trail and at The Rolleston it’s The Worried Men. Although the event page for this show describes the band as “Chance of Rain 11C” they would be better described as the last word in fired up, white hot, electric r’n’b. Jamie Thyer leads a band that are in the same mold as The Hamsters, not as well known as the likes of Gary Moore, George Thorogood or ZZ Top, but every bit as good.

 

Sunday afternoon at The Beehive is a elemental blend of dark ballads, protest songs, slow airs, jigs and reels, courtesy of Tattie Jam who reinterpret songs from the Scottish folk tradition and give it all a fun and contemporary twist.

 

Final offering of the week is to be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday as Plummie Racket picks up his acoustic guitar to entertain with his gritty tales of urban life.

 

Just the two puns this week, must be losing my touch!

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.