Tag Archive: yves


the-quireboys-2016Well, we haven’t quite succumbed to the enforced jollification and festive template of the coming season quite yet so before the Christmas jumper brigade and the once a year drinkers from the office temporarily take over proceedings, here’s a few safe musical havens before the coming tinsel and singalong deluge.

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13442180_888099744649311_3475199604914760277_nIt’s very encouraging to see the run of bigger acts coming through this parish continuing. And if last weeks offerings were acts that have already made a name for themselves, tonight at Level III you can catch a band still riding a fast, upward trajectory.

Lake Komo (pictured) mixes dynamic indie-pop with melodic rock, is soulful, commercial and yet will appeal to those who don’t wander the mainstream paths. Gorgeous, soaring sonics mix effortlessly with chilled pop grooves to create music which wanders the same pastoral paths as Bon Iver, only with a bit more musical meat on the bone. The support slot sees two of the best local indie bands line up to get the night underway in the form of Yves and Misfires.

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13255980_496504200558302_4254652198824349989_nSome nice little global offerings start the musical week, firstly at The Beehive, a venue whose size belies its importance to the worldwide, underground touring community. Within its art and literary decked walls I have witnessed Nashville Americana, Australian tribal rave, New Zealand anti-folk, Scandiwegian jazz-folk dark, indie rock from Germany, Californian acid-pop and everything in between. Tonight you can catch 2-piece musical hobos, Hymn For Her, itinerant stateside wanderers who mix backwoods country blues with desert rock psychedelia into what they describe as “Hell’s Angels meets The Amish.”

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11244578_1668237160071991_5434254339853004958_nSo there is good news and bad news. I was just reading about a new national radio station, Radio X, which is being launched dedicated to new music and particularly guitar-based bands. Great, but surely there has to be a catch. Of course there is and that catch is that spearheading the programing will be not only Vernon “absolutely amazing” Kaye but also Chris “let’s just talk about me rather than play any music “ Moyles. So if you like the idea of twenty-minute ramblings about his celebrity mates at an award show before the indulgence is broken by the latest attempt by Kasabian to sound like a Primal Scream studio outtake, then this is the station for you.

But if you really are looking for emerging, guitar-based bands then look no further than The Victoria tonight as Yves play with Coco Esq in support. Both bands represent the frontline of a current local creative upsurge plying a trade in tight and melodic indie and proving that the future of local music and hopefully beyond, is in safe hands.

The Beehive plays host to one of its regular favourites. Whilst normally fronting his own eponymous blues-rock band, Keith Thompson as a solo act is just as impressive, the stripped back, raw and honest sound making for a vary intimate connection between player and audience.

And talking of blues, Friday sees the first outing for Level 3 Live, a regular blues night and this inaugural session features the man who none other than Alexis Korner described as “ The best white blues harmonica player in the world, ” Rod Garfield and his band. High praise indeed. Blues is also on the cards at The Beehive, this time with Bob “famous in Swindon” Bowles, a soulful voice, effortlessly slick, bluesy tunes and a bagful of great songs.

Although mainly a venue for cover bands The Castle occasionally takes a punt on trying originals and you can’t get much more original than Kid Calico and The Astral Ponies. Variously described as a “Mercurial and biscuit obsessed blend of lilting, music hall Americana and psychedelia” and “If I’d kidnapped Radiohead or the Floyd & forced them to work as a mid-west American Circus band during the 1970’s, they’d sound just like this.” I’ll just leave it at that then.

For those who already know what they like, there is a wide range of more familiar options available. Classic punk from the iconic to the underground can be found at The Rolleston courtesy of The Useless Eaters, Dire Streets at Riffs Bar who pay tribute to Mark Knopfler and his band who helped launch the CD/MTV age, as well as Peloton playing mod, soul and power pop at The Victoria. At The Locomotive, Don’t Speak cover pop and rock but seem to have a very select ear for music, so expect The House Martins, The Beautiful South and Natalie Imbruglia in place of some of the more usual selections.

The big event for the weekend can be found at The Old Town Bowl on Saturday in the form of this year’s Reggae Garden. Top names such as Channel One Soundsystem, 10 piece nu-wave roots/reggae band Roots Ambassadors, Dubwiser and The Tribe provide the music plus there will also be stalls and soul food all combining to make this the party of the year. If you want that party to continue into the evening then re-locate to The Victoria for the official after party with Jah Jah Sounds and guests spinning reggae, dub, lovers rock, ska, rocksteady and everything in between.

Continuing it’s mission to bring new and original bands to an area infused with nightclub culture and more mainstream tastes, The Locomotive really pushes the boat out with IDestroy (pictured), a Bristol all girl three piece who reference Riot Grrrl, grunge, garage rock and straight out rock ‘n’ roll and who are gearing up to support ex-The Runaways singer Cherie Currie shortly. Support comes from the no less uncompromising Molotov Sexbomb a band that is in many ways their male equivalent.

If you fancy some dirty, sweary R’n’B then a trip out to The Globe in Highworth will deliver just that in a Hamsters From Hell shaped package and at The Rolleston, French blues band Nico ZZ play originals and standards and show why they have made such a big impact on the blues circuit.

Finally at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday, Jamie R Hawkins plays emotionally charged, poignant and witty acoustic pop-rock that reminds you of Crowded House or even Del Amitri, which is fine by me.

1607111_577491689022522_3860118839849066474_nI will apologize in advance for the Shuffle-centric nature of this weeks scribbling but when over 40 music acts line up to play across 3 major venues and a host of additional bars, cafes and public places, it is inevitable that it will take up most of the space. So, The Swindon Shuffle is back for it’s ninth year and it seems only a blink of an eye that I was sat in the Winners Lounge (before it’s Legendary upgrade) on a Thursday night waiting for The Unforeseen to play the first ever slot. Tempus does indeed fugit! So, the first fringe events took place last night but as of today Shuffling begins in earnest.

The Victoria has long been one of the cornerstones of The Shuffle and so it is apt that we begin there. This session is one for those with a penchant for heavier music and is headlined by a band that have had a meteoric rise over the last year or so, A Way With Words. Other alt-rock acts on the bill include All Ears Avow and the dystopian vibes of Ghost of Machines. Between these you can catch the punk onslaught that is 2 Sick Monkeys and something with more of a blues spin from The Harlers.

Baila Coffee and Vinyl has always been a cool place to hang out during the day (where do you think I am writing this?) but now with the addition of a evening drinks license they have become part of Old Town nightlife with craft ales, a well selected wine cellar and quality spirits available and they join in the festival with sets from Matilda (minus drummer Emily who is probably doing headstands on a mountain in Outer Mongolia,) young, groove driven Indie from Polar Front and the captivating and heartfelt songs of Charlie Bath.

The Victoria second contribution comes on Friday, this time with a more eclectic and intriguing bill headed by the drifting ambience and trippy grooves of Colour The Atlas (pictured). Theo Altieri provides some effortlessly cool indie-pop and Super Squarecloud will be doing what ever it is they do – I’ve been writing about their mercurial, genre-hopping music and flagrant disregard for convention for 4 years now and I still haven’t found the adequate words! The early part of the night sees the welcome return of a couple of out-of-towners, Cursor Major who prove once and for all that kookiness is next to godliness and that blend of delicacy and dynamics that is Familiars.

Within easy shuffling distance of that (hence the name) is The Castle and their first session has a bit of a blues edge to it. Although main man Ian Doeser has long been a fixture of the Shuffle as a solo player this is, I believe, the first time that the full Hamsters From Hell have graced the event, so expect the usual sweary, tongue-in-cheek, bawdy humour set to an R’n’B backdrop. And if The Hamsters are a nod to the ghost of blues past, then The Greasy Slicks are very much about the ghost of blues future; slick, incendiary deliveries and killer riffs and acting as a sign post for where the genre is going. Also on the bill are Coasters, a punk vibe injected into Americana but whose songs trade Route 66 for the M4.

Elsewhere, The Locomotive, part of the Shuffle Fringe due to it’s outlying location in relation to the main focus of events, nevertheless plays a blinder by hosting Yves, one of the front runners of the new Indie crop of local bands and at The Rolleston you can catch Beatles tribute The Pre Fab Four.

On Saturday the music starts at midday at The Central Library where various acoustic acts including Neil Mercer and Stuart Marsh can be found playing throughout the afternoon.

Saturday also sees The Beehive, the only venue to have been involved in all nine years, get involved with a folk slant to their bill. Southern Harmony bring their wonderful blend of Celtic, English and Appalachian folk to the party and Ells and The Southern Wild throw in some darker folk vibes. Plummie Racket and Nick Felix will be adding a more singer-songwriter feeling to the evening.

Up the hill at The Castle, the younger set have their moment with Balloon Ascent’s accessible indie-folk creations, the shoegaze and post-punk referencing Sahara Heights building to a night of ska, reggae and infectious dance grooves from SN Dubstation, not a band that you want to miss, believe me. At The Locomotive, The Roughnecks will be blasting out their incendiary R’n”B and old-school rock and roll to entice and astound the Fleet Street crowd.

Non-Shuffle related gigs can also be found at The Victoria with Going Underground, Strictly Dan a tribute to Steely Dan at Riffs Bar, classic rock covers at The Rolleston from Bad Obsession and all your favourite songs from a new line-up Echo at The Swiss Chalet.

Sunday sees The Shuffle round off at its now traditional last day party at The Beehive. A string of solo players, Mel Hughes, Tamsin Quin and Steve Leigh get things underway before Bruce St. Bridges, the socially aware, psychedelic folk-pop of Mr Love and Justice and the sonic pick’n’mix of auralcandy move things up a gear. Last year The Shudders almost destroyed the venue with their final set of the festival and they have been given the task of attempting to do the same this year with another headline slot.

If you want something to help easy you out of the festival, the perfect gentle step back into normality comes at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday with those dapper jazz aficionados Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz.

544560_586659531391273_2070667669_nAs time goes on music seems to get more and more compartmentalised, ever more exotic labels and terms seem to come into play to create demarcation between music styles. Now, I grew up musically in the 80’s and things were quite tribal then, in any given pub the mod would be glaring at the punk, the metaller would be chatting to the glam rocker out of solidarity, the new wave kids would be geeking over the forthcoming Bunnymen album and the two goths would be sipping cider and black in the shadows. That was a world that made some kind of sense to me. Recently I have had to struggle which such subgenres as Djent apparently not a village in Tunisia (recycled joke alert!) Math-core, Gyp-hop, Vedic Metal, Sadcore, and a host of other niche scenes. Where will it end?

 

One band that can be found in a very small genre, possibly its only inhabitants, are those glorious purveyors of Puzzle-pop…for want of a better description, Oui Legionniares, a soundclash of the best bits of pop, indie and punk reassembled in strange and intriguing ways. They can be found tonight at The Victoria sandwiched between shimmering, shoegazing vibes of Sahara Heights and headliners Yves equally exotic soundscapes.

 

Another wonderful fusion of styles can be found at The Beehive as Mambo Jambo weave together the distinctive sounds of bluegrass, Latin, Caribbean, New Orleans, Balkan, jazz, folk and more besides into a sunny and vibrant feast of music.

 

And in the “if you like that, you’ll like this” department, and staying at The Beehive for a moment, on Friday you will find Grubby Jack the renowned local fast folk trio who mix fiendish banjo with high velocity fiddle-breaks to deliver classic celtic and Appalachian styles.

 

Other options will suit rock fans but they will have to choose between the hard-rocking electric blues of The Lewis Creavan Band at The Rolleston or the classic metal showcase of Metalhead at The Victoria.

 

One of the most important bands of my formative years can be found at Level 3 on Saturday as The Men They Couldn’t Hang provide the headline act to celebrate Charred Hearts front man, Dermot Fullers 50th Birthday bash. This is a semi-private affair with entry by ticket only but how often do I get to talk about the outfit that made me want to join a band in this column? (Yes, they have a lot to answer for!)

 

Similarly raucous folk and roll can be found with celtic, cider punk, party animals Mick O’Toole in The Rolleston, think The Pogues meet The Clash and prepare to dance the night away. And talking of “the last gang in town” you can catch a tribute to them in the guise of Radio Clash at The Victoria.

 

 

So with the old punk posse well catered for we can cast our eyes out towards Riffs Bar and a bit of an old boys reunion. Blueprint’s heyday may have been around 15 years ago but that hasn’t stopped them dusting off the instruments and hitting the stage once more. Support comes from 80’s underground pop referencing The King In Mirrors and indie rock stalwarts Rocket Box.

 

Fans of slick, 70’s pop should head along to The Swiss Chalet as vocal duo Abbaholics relive the hits of…well, I’m sure you can work out where they are coming from.

 

Things get a bit quiet until Wednesday when you can catch two solo acts at The Roaring Donkey whose bands have played a major part in local music over the years, Neil Mercer (Rumour Shed, Dacoits, Seven Years on) and Dave Corrigan (good Things Happen In Bad Towns, Spacehopper.)

 

And to end on a real bang, at the same time Gnarwolves return to The Victoria courtesy of Sheer Music. Infectious, abrasive, sing-along punk at it’s finest. Support comes from the equally punchy Boxkite and opening the night is the more saccharine pop-punk of As The Sun Sleeps.

 

 

 

4180_79993902739_2766341_nI have to start this column by way of an apology. Last week there was some confusion as I omitted to mention the actual venue for the Tom Hingley gig and it seemed to have suggested that it might have been taking place at a different location. I was alerted to this mistake early last Thursday when the distant, yet audible, clamour of keyboard warriors (none of whom actually went to the gig, presumably) rushing to be the first to comment online could be heard and a distant glow of their eyes lighting up made for an unusually bright morning. Obviously I apologise for any confusion caused, but here are a few phrases that might help next time. “Everybody makes mistakes,” “ It’s no good crying over spilt milk” and “It’s just a gig guide people, not a proposition from Socrates.”

 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. The Victoria begins a run of wonderful diversity tonight with a headline show from Delta Sleep. Complex layers of guitar driven melody, fluid and hypnotic bass lines, jazz tinged percussion and left field electronica are the order of the day. Support comes from two stalwarts of the local alt-rock scene, All Ears Avow and The Damned and The Dirty.

 

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and pondered that big question, are we alone in the universe? I would suggest that you are looking in the wrong place and that answers are more likely to be found in The Beehive as the Zetan Spore mother ship docks there tonight. Communicating through the medium of industrial strength psy-trance, euphoric, psychedelic waves of energy and trippy tribal beats – is this proof of alien life? Who cares, just dance.

 

The big one for Friday can be found at Level 3 as South West Indie Music present a fist full of young acts for your delectation. Sahara Heights have already made quite a name for themselves with their shimmering psychedelia and chiming shoegazey meanderings but this is a show that promises headline quality acts all night. Coco-esq skirt around similar territory but are anchored to a more conventional indie delivery and The Primeveras aim straight for underground pop cult status. Yves manage to harness that timeless alt-pop jangle that has fuelled everything from The Byrds to The Paisley Underground movement to current bands such as Desperate Journalist ad Field Mouse and they do it so well. Opening the night is Josh Wolfsohn who does a neat line in accessible and witty acoustic indie-pop.

 

The second Victoria offering of the week comes in the shape of Songs of Praise first ever, monthly Friday show. This step up to hopefully a wider platform sees the welcome return of puzzle-pop wizards Super Squarecloud who showcase some of their new material. They are joined by garage-electronica, post-punkers Candy Darling – if anyone is old enough to remember Suicide then you might want to check them out and the band name is an obvious reference to another seminal New York band. Opening the night are dream pop soundscapers Wasuremono. Indie rock covers are one the menu at The Rolleston with Vice Versa.

 

I make no bones about the fact that I prefer original bands to tributes, but I have made a few detours into their world in the past. Three of their ilk have left me nostalgic for my early musical education, The Dayglo Pirates (Jethro Tull,) Limehouse Lizzy (Thin Lizzy) and Saturday night’s headliners at The Victoria, Still Marillion. Not only do you get a set of Fish-era songs delivered to perfection, this show will also feature the complete Fugazi album, which I have just realised is about 6 weeks short of its 31th anniversary. Blimey, how to feel old. This is an absolute must for fans of not only the neo-progressive movement which spawned the band, but I urge all those with discerning taste to check it out.

 

High octane, electric blues doesn’t come much more authentic than Innes Sibun (pictured), not only a powerhouse guitarist with a great band behind him but a voice that seems to channel the heartache and anguish that blues was born from. Fans of Rory Gallagher in particular should make this Rolleston show.

 

In the “if you like that, you’ll like this” department multi-award winning mainstays of the British Blues scene Joel Fisk and Jon Amor (The Hoax) play a stripped back mix of their own songs and standards at The Beehive on Sunday Afternoon.

 

The week rounds off with be-hatted, Latin-jazz aficionados, Gilmore ‘n’ Jaz at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday.

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