There is plenty of live music available this week, which is always a good thing, and I am starting to see local festival bills being announced which always brings home how great the live music scene in Swindon is. OK, we may not have the variety and depth of some of our near neighbours, but for a provincial railway town we do know how to party and have some very talented artists, excellent venues and dedicated promoters. Personally, I would love to see more new and original stuff out there, but it is bums on seats that count in this day and age. Nonetheless, I applaud those hardy souls who do have the fortitude to put on new and different acts as this will be the musical lifeblood of the future.
We launch into proceedings with one of the few opportunities to catch some original music this week. Not only original, but cutting edge new music, as the latest edition of Songs Of Praise at The Victoria tonight is headlined by the alt-folk & ambient dream-pop of She Makes War (pictured). Citing a rich blend of influences from ELO to Kristin Hersh, The Breeders to Blur, Nirvana to Bon Iver, the artist behind this musical mixture is Bristol based Laura Kidd, who uses loops, marching drums, megaphones and an assortment of other instruments and tricks to sound like so much more than a solo artist. Main support is Wildest Dreams, a brand new project from Swindon’s Zoe Mead, her follow up to the successful and much missed Old Colours. Opening the night is the acoustic based indie-pop of The Illustrations.
Over at Riffs you can catch Room 2 playing a selection of Rock Covers from Blink 182 to Bowie (and some not beginning with B) and The Beehive has Teddy White Lite, a stripped down version of everyones favourite Beat, Boogie and Rhythm & Blues band, whilst it is stomping folk numbers from Missin’ Rosie at The Castle.
Brookhouse Farm meanwhile has the first in our double bill of excitable Italians with the Emiglios and their acoustic punk covers. Part two from the Italians is Fridays show at The Rolleston from The Beatholes – same Mediterranean faces, but this time playing loud punked up versions of Beatles classics – huge fun according to those that caught them last year.
Fridays big tributes at The Victoria are a double header of Britpop era bands – Oasish and The Stereotonics (I am sure you can work those out) whilst The Messenger have pop & rock covers from Zing. The weekly Acoustic session at Riffs features the return of piano balladeer Louise Latham and acoustic troubadour Ben Maggs .
A real mixed bag awaits us on Saturday. Starting with the plethora of covers acts The Victoria has songs from 1960s to the present day from The Corduroy Kings, The Rolleston some top Southern Blues Rock from Sons Of Liberty and there are contemporary rock covers from Stripped at The Bakers Arms, Tundra at Woodlands Edge and Fly On The Wall at The Waggon & Horses in Bassett.
Bridging the gap with a cocktail of originals and covers are the near legendary rhythm & booze band The Hamsters From Hell, who would surely be Oliver Reeds favourite party band were he still with us. They play The Queens Tap. Waving the flag for the original artist are a couple of line-ups. Firstly Charred Hearts and Strength In Blunders over at The Wheatsheaf in Stratton; two punk bands, one old school, one bang up to date and both excellent. And at The Tap & Barrel you can catch the exquisite showmanship and rocking post-punk new-wave songs of David Marx & The AK Poets, a band with something to say.
We finish Saturday off with a big charity fundraiser at Rodbourne Cheney WMC headed by guitarist Darren Hunt. This is quite a personal one as the funds raised go towards finding a cure for the type of cancer suffered by Darren’s father Gerry. Also appearing will be Darren’s band Shred, Jimmy Moore, Ode & The Be-Bops and several comedians. So if you are dithering about what show to go to on Saturday, do the decent thing and pick this one.
The rest of the week dribbles to a close with rock covers from Broken Image and De Ja Vu at The Rolleston on Sunday, David Marx and the AK Poets at the Town Gardens Bandstand on Monday and the weekly dose of top quality Jazz at Baker Street on Tuesday, this week featuring the Rob Brian Quartet.