Singing Songs of Praise…

The October Gig Monkey column for The Ocelot was a fairly straight ahead music review of my 40th birthday gig featuring one of my favourite bands, the magnificent Case Hardin. And a rant. 

I need to start this month’s column with a combined apology and rant. Firstly, the apology; once again I am reviewing a Wiltshire based show. I do appear to have been neglecting the other parts of Ocelotshire of late, and for that I am sorry. However, this brings me on to my issue and the reason I have been sticking close to home lately. This column is published in an entertainment magazine that  gets seen by tens of thousands of people, and yet in the past few months there has been a distinct lack of promoters and bands contacting me to review their shows. What’s more, there has also been a dearth in submissions of music to me to review.

Now, surely one of the points in creating music and playing and promoting live music is to be heard and seen by people? But, if they don’t know what you are up to, and what it is like, how can you expect them to want to listen or come watch your next show? I promise you, it really isn’t complicated to get me to review a show or record. All you do is email me on with details and I will do the rest and get my thoughts on your music or your show out to thousands of people. Go on, live dangerously and promote what you are doing! Who knows, it may actually work…..

Anyway, onto business.

Case Hardin, The Shudders & Tamsin Quin @ The Victoria

Case Hardin at The Vic Sept 14Songs of Praise is a regular night at The Victoria in Swindon that is forging something of a reputation for itself as a bit of a tastemaker and champion of new music in the town. The nights do not focus on any particular genre, just following a formula of carefully curating the best original music from the local area with the best of whatever else comes their way from out of town and seem to have hit that point where people come for the night, ready to check out whatever is on offer even if they have not heard it before.

Opening the night was Wiltshire based acoustic folk-pop troubadour Tamsin Quinn. Her brand of soulful, bluesy folk-pop was an instant hit, as was her witty, cheeky banter in-between songs, banter that even rose to gentle baiting of grizzled Case Harding guitarist Jim, who was left red faced and shuffling his feet. Simple yet brilliant, catch her as soon as you can.

After the Shudders last show closing the Swindon shuffle The Beehive had to shut down to re-furbish for a fortnight…coincidence? Well yes, but you know what I’m saying. Tonight, they picked up where they had left off with a set of melodic, poppy indie rock blended with rootsy Americana and dusty folk that pounded along at breakneck speeds. Cracking stuff that once again affirmed The Shudders as one of the best and most interesting bands in the area.

Headliners Case Hardin have steadily been growing a following in town, so were given a warm welcome from the full room. Normally specialising in chilled Americana that channels Steve Earl, Ryan Adams and the sparse musical hinterland of Springsteen’s Nebraska, tonight, back down to a precision four piece they ramped it up somewhat, blitzing through the more upbeat rocking tunes in their back catalogue until hitting a fantastic and fun interlude where they jumped off the stage, joining the crowd with acoustic instruments, inviting some crowd participation that didn’t bring down the atmosphere at all, rather ramped it up even more, into a hell of a finale that resulted in an encore of “The Ring” that had the room transfixed and baying for more. Sterling stuff once again from a band I have yet to see put a foot wrong.

If interesting, now and original music is your thing, you really ought to do yourself a favour and check out what goes on at Songs of Praise each month as the nights seem to be going from strength to strength, attracting good crowds regardless of what music is on offer.


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