Tag Archive: young blood


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.

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If you thought last weeks column was hard pushed to fit everything in, then this week is playing journalistic sardines with the coming weeks gigs. With the Jubilee weekend upon us and so many events taking place, I will apologize in advance to the bands that don’t get a mention, but rest assured you are in the majority this week. It also means that with the forced exclusivity on this run down, anything that does get a mention is going to be well worth checking out.

Last week was the first big indoor festival of the season out at Riffs Bar, this week we move into town with the exotically named My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival running over the whole, extended weekend at The Victoria. Tonight is a very special, ticket only affair, but the reason will become clear. Suffice it to say that some of the best chilled music is on offer, building up to a very special and intimate performance by Buswell. After that, drop in for free anytime over the weekend and you are guaranteed to catch something great, be it the driven, totally now, sounds of Young Blood, the eastern vibed, alt-rock strains of SkyBurnsRed, weird folky-pop-ska hybrids from The Costellos, punchy Manics-esque alt-rock from False Gods, jazz-junkiefied, quantum pop with Super Squarecloud or the beautiful cacophony that is The (aptly named) Racket.

The Rolleston will be celebrating in suitably disrespectful fashion with three days of punk music. Saturday sees a one off reunion of The Old Gits, or as they put it, four old punks for old punks (clever), and ska-pop-punk from The Richardson Maneuver. Sunday is also a reunion of local punk stalwarts, with local legends turned national treasures, 2 Sick Monkeys plua a band that take me right back to the days of The Monkey Club (now, that ages me somewhat) Nobody’s Heroes. Another legend, Doza will be kicking the night off or you can catch him again as part of The Dodgy Duo on Monday when they open up for The Useless Eaters.

Right, if you can’t find anything to watch in that small mountain of musical talent, then try some of this for size.

You may want to duck out of the heat tonight (Michael Fish told me there is going to be a heat wave, so it must be true) and cool down with the soulful, world-jazz sounds of vocal and guitar duo Ruba Tempo at The Beehive.

Staying at The Beehive, Friday promises something unique in the form of CCTV Tapstars a duo who offer up Latin influenced guitar playing, percussion and, wait for it …tap-dancing. Oddly though there is 5 of them pictured on the venues website so probably best you just head in with an open mind and just see what you get. Always the best way to approach music. Also on Friday at The 12 Bar, Lighthouse Promotions are hosting a night to raise money for Fatboys Cancer Charity featuring, The Avenue, The Canary Club, Max Curtis and Korim Miah.

Two big names hit town on Saturday. At Riffs Bar the legendary 4 Skins will be the main draw at a Help For Heroes fundraiser. Once more fronted by long serving vocalist Gary Hodges, The 4 Skins were right at the heart of the Oi! movement that paralleled the punk scene. Tickets are limited for this show and must be purchased in advance only.

Also in town, all the way from New York’s lower east side (which is not only where Harry Met Sally, but was totally devastated by a giant monster, as recorded in the documentary, Cloverfield) are the original Teenage Dirtbags themselves, Wheatus. You can catch them at The M.E.C.A.

And after you have done all of that, it’s time for another Level 3 reunion night at The Furnace and this time they had better play some Diesel Park West! (Whaddayamean who?)

Another great little event this weekend can be found on Sunday in the form of the small but perfectly formed Goddard Avenue Street Party. There will be acoustic tunes from Craig Hutchinson and Bob Heath, performances from Commonweal School and mellow jazz vibes from Andre and Helen Pyzanchin. Nudy Bronque hit the stage around 5.00 with their infectious indie pop, though the bar will have been open for 30 minutes by then so expect carnage (only joking lads but you are getting a bit of a reputation!) This is followed by the glorious pop sounds of The Jess Hall Band and wrapping it all up is The Innes Sibun Band; incendiary blues rock and one of the best of it’s genre.

There is so much more I want to tell you about but the shadow of the editors red pencil looms large already. Have a great weekend what ever you do.

You know things are going well when over the course of one long weekend  you have the options of watching feisty female rock from Minneapolis, a Celtic rock guitar legend, sublime shoe gazers from along the M4 corridor, chilled out, cinematic folk or harmonious indie soundscapers. Well, I only managed to catch two of those shows but which ever you look at it, if the music scene were going for a medical, you would have to declare it in the rudest of health. And this week is set to continue along the same lines.

There is trouble brewing at The Rolleston tonight as Rumour Shed goes musically head to head with Dave Corrigan in the acoustic grudge match of the year. Weapons will include deep and meaningful lyrics, luscious vocals, joyous and lilting songs, tweed and possibly sandals. Beards are preferred but not essential.

Stiff competition for the folk/roots audience comes from itinerant troubadour Jez Hellard who brings his Djukella Orchestra to the Beehive for a night of folk and funk, rumba, reels and reggae, jigs and gypsy jazz. Rock fans will find their spiritual home for the night at The Victoria with Simon Townsend (baby brother of the legendary Pete) but make sure you get there early enough to catch sublime support act Kola, a wonderful blend of Heartbreaker era Ryan Adams and The Waterboys chilling out.

Staying at The Victoria, Friday sees genres and creative boundaries thrown aside as the madness that is Flipron grace the stage. This bohemian pop collective manage to fall somewhere between The Bad Seeds playing Disney tunes and Charles Dickens CD collection (the fact that this is obviously an impossible scenario says a lot about the band.) Swindon’s own folk-pop-ska mavericks, the Costello’s, will be kicking the night off.

Thanks to a flying visit by their errant and trans-continental drummer, The Dacoits, have a few gigs lined up and you can catch their dark, poetic garage rock at The Beehive. Support comes in the shape of an equally rare outing for alt-country punks, Black Sheep Apprentice.

The Furnace also fires up for the first of three gigs this weekend. Red Seas Fire is a brilliantly executed weave of melodic metal, progressive structures, power and passion. They are joined by Burials, Chronographs and the symphonic-laced hardcore sounds of The Cold Harbour.

Saturday sees The 12 Bar get in on the act with a host of young indie bands spearheaded by the aptly named Young Blood. Having formed from the remains of Napoleon In Rags, they seem to have adopted a less modish, more fired up and contemporary fuel for their indie vehicle; you will not be disappointed. Add to that support slots from The Fixed, Retrospecs, Last Nights Victory and Luna Machine and you have the makings of a fine night.

If ska-punk floats your boat, one of the finest exponents of it, Slagerij, will be creating musical havoc at The Victoria. They are joined by West Coast (Clevedon, North Somerset to be exact) skate punks Mr Zippy and Bristol’s The Richardson Maneuver. In terms of energy, stage presence and song crafting, this gig, to quote the infamous Nigel Tufnell, goes up to eleven.

It’s all a bit full on down at The Furnace as post-hardcore crew When Words Fail headline their last UK gig for a while in aid of Louise Hunt and her Paralympic bid. They are joined (after more chopping and changing than a choppy changey thing!) by the euphoric sounds of This Fall; Eastbourne’s post-punks, Hold the Fight and the pop punk of Days on Juno.

All the way from Italy to The Rolleston, The Beatholes cleverly re-invent The Beatles for a punk and rock audience. If you have ever imagined what Eleanor Rigby would sound like given the Iron Maiden treatment or mused over Motorhead’s take on Get Back, then this is the place to be.

Sunday’s big noise comes in the shape of Carridale leading a slew of great pop-punk bands at The Furnace. Hot Damn, Sell Your Sky and Tides of Change also feature.

Final mention of the week goes to my favourite new band of the moment, SkyBurnsRed (pictured top)who play The Victoria on Wednesday. Kicking alt-rock underpinned by intricate grooves and sweeping eastern violin vibes…what’s not to like? They are joined by the funked and punked creations of The Me!Me!Me’s? and in a last minute change to the line up, the effervescent and ubiquitous Nudy Bronque.

Sounds Around Town

After a couple of weeks experimenting with different stylistic approaches to this column, an attempt to appease various critics, I have come to rather a startling conclusion. Irrespective of whichever criteria I use to determine its content, the old adage about pleasing all the people all of the time still holds true, so I might as well just write as I see fit, forget democracy and take whatever flak comes my way. So with that in mind here are my undemocratic musical musings and biased nominations for this week.

 

Those of a certain age, my sort of age in fact, will probably remember a group of spiky haired, Celtic rockers called The Alarm who exploded in a blaze of glory (see what I did there?) from North Wales in the early eighties. Well believe it or not guitarist Dave Sharp plays a free top bar gig at The Victoria tonight, having swapped fist in the air, charged anthems for a smoother blend of bluesy-folk rock. Support comes from the incomparable Rob Beckinsale.

 

The Rolleston continue to hit high standards with their original band bookings and tonight play host to Wires who excel in lusciously harmonious indie creations; make sure you pick up a copy of their latest e.p. Shadows whilst you are there.

 

Tonight also heralds the return of Minneapolis muse Courtney Yasmineh (pictured) who manages to squeeze in a visit to The Beehive between gigs in London and Amsterdam to dish out feisty rock that lies somewhere between Blondie and Sheryl Crowe  and  guitar brilliance comes courtesy of Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Wheatsheaf. Big name options come in the shape of McFly at The Oasis and Chas (but no Dave) Hodges and His Band at the Wyvern.

 

Friday night sees a host of young bands at Riffs Bar headed by pop-punksters Beyond The Break, The John Does and the currently ubiquitous Sasquatch Walk (who seem to be on a short tour of Swindon postcodes over the next month). The Rolleston goes psychobilly as The Graveyard Johnnys and Cowboy and The Corpse go quiff to quiff.

 

The shoegazing, dream pop of Reading’s Tripwires, will be the highlight of the night at The Victoria; imagine Warpaint teaching Sonic Youth to play lullabies, The Jess Hall Band take on the role of the perfect support band and I’ll say it again, Play Shy is nothing short of a perfect pop song. A DJ set from the Young Blood guys is also on the cards.

 

The big noise of Saturday night is The Hoosiers at The MECA; originally describing themselves as “odd pop” they have since re-invented themselves as a more conventional electro-tinged pop band. The Furnace will be revelling in what it does best, a swift, brutal sensory overload courtesy of metal bands Romeo Must Die, My City Burning and Karrion.

 

Elsewhere it’s tributes to Pink Floyd at the Victoria, Ozzy at The Rolleston and punk and new wave covers at Riffs Bar with Operation 77.

 

If you like the idea of a Lazy Sunday afternoon with some chilled music, then head up to The Art Centre to take in the intelligent folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice. The evening may bring one more tribute experience, this time Bon Jovi at The MECA, but it also brings some great original music. Hotly tipped to be one of the next big things Billy Lockett is at Riffs Bar along with a support act so exciting, it can’t even be named on the website.

 

One of the most exciting gigs of the week takes place at The Victoria with the first time out for Old Colours who rise out of the ashes of Anchor and The Wolf to keep the “cinematic” banner flying. Any band described as “a bit like Laura Marling playing a house party with My Bloody Valentine rocking in the next room” has got to be worth checking out. Charlie Bath and The City Marshals will be show casing songs from the soon to be released The Good Fall e.p. and opening the night is a rare outing for chilled, folky lounge-jazz darlings, Matilda.

 

Tuesdays dose of jazz at Baker Street is courtesy of keyboard virtuoso Alex Steele and Wednesdays Running Horse Sessions features the wonderfully named John Shillibeer and a welcome return for Sumita Majumdar.

 

There had been much chopping and changing in the opening slot of this Songs of Praise night with bands Imageas diverse as Atari Pilot, Nudy Bronque, Blackwaters and Headlights being briefly pencilled in only to have things change. The best laid plans of mice and…music promoters? So it was with a great relief that SkyBurnsRed jumped into the slot at the eleventh hour.

SkyBurnsRed are just one more reason for me to keep banging on about what a brilliant local music scene we have at the moment. In the cyclical world of highs and lows, we are definitely heading up to a high point with bands such as this, as well as Crash and The Bandicoots, The Racket, Super Squarecloud, Old Colours, Young Blood and the aforementioned Nudy Bronque forming the vanguard of the younger bands.

Testament to their popularity, they played to the busiest room I have seen for an opening band at Songs of Praise, opening bands playing original music kicking off at nine o’clock on a damp Thursday are always going to have their work cut out. Having recently coined a phrase for their music, I think I shall give it a bit of a test drive –  SkyBurnsRed play Gypsy Metal. To clarify, dynamically intelligent alt-rock, laced with dark almost gothic overtones, peppered with eastern grooves (I’ll say it again, I love Paralysed Lullabies) and violin that wanders between lilting gypsy riffs, punchy staccato jabs and classical washes. And live they really put on a show. Whilst the drums and guitar take the music down the rock route it is the four stringers, the bass and violin, who add a lot of the flavours with clever interplays and arabesque vibes. It’s rock meets classical with out the pomp and pretensions of what that has meant in the past.

Up from Bristol, the Chimerical are a much more straightforward affair. Matching the power of grunge with the immediacy of Brit-pop they ran through a set of charged songs that played around with ska rhythms, post rock onslaughts and slightly Libertines inflected sleazed out indie. If the vocal side of things did let them down to a degree, their rhythm section coupled with the nonchalant guitar style and a lively show more than made up for it.

There are only two types of person in the world. Those who believe that The Black Hats are the next big thing and those who haven’t seen them play live.  Tonight they proved exactly why I know that to be true. A couple of years ago I vowed that I would continue setting up gigs for The Black Hats in Swindon until the punters started to get it. Tonight there were the first signs that the town is finally starting to see the light.

The most obvious thing about this band is the simple truth that they know how to write a good song, songs that pop back into your head days later and find you unexpectedly singing “we write things, we write things down…” for no good reason, to the amusement of the other people in the bank queue. Once that is quickly established it is followed up by their consummate musicianship and understanding of song structure. Effortless beats and intricate bass grooves allow the guitar to weave high end riffs or drop out all together without there being a hole in the music. To paraphrase front man Nick, they sound like The Jam might if their career had continued unabated to the present day. They share the same energy and passion, have a slightly modish punk edge to what are essentially melodic yet fairly aggressive indie-pop songs and they remain quintessentially English.

Whilst comparisons to The Young Knives and Stars of CCTV era Hard–Fi are conclusions also easily jumped to by the younger listener, I think that The Black Hats have enough of their own musical identity to brush such observations aside. As their PR campaign builds towards the release of the forthcoming album, Austerity for The Hoi Polloi, I think this is one band that are going to find themselves hot property as the year progresses.

This week’s Sounds Around Town link