So, it’s coming to that time again, the race for the coveted Christmas number one spot is upon us, or as it should be known, the inevitable public pedestal for Cowell’s latest crooning cash cow.
You almost feel sorry for Joe McElderberry, being usurped by those nasty Rage Against The Machine fans and their shouty, sweary anarchist sentiments. You could argue that all these “let’s stick it to Simon” campaigns designed to overturn his god given right to be the Christmas number one is just as orchestrated and convoluted as the thing it is protesting against. Maybe, but this year there is a really good alternative.
Gaz Brookfield has released a special version of his song Diet of Banality in an attempt to add a bit of spice to the race for the top spot.
Imagine if this years Christmas number one was a rant against all those previous style over substance tunes and their dance routines, skimpy outfits, gimmicky rap-middle eights and the like.
Oh the irony! Well if you all head over to Gaz’s website, Amazon or iTunes you could be part of the best piece of seasonal satire and festive japery the charts have witnessed in a long time. Do it!
Talking of japes, The Victoria has three less than serious acts for you tonight. Dole queue hero and anti-PC rapper Devvo headlines with the boy racer Chip Daddy with the best/worst cover band of them all, Kova Me Badd, also on the bill.
The Beehive hosts Sophie’s Xmas (as opposed to + vent Sunday or E-ster, I suppose) Charity Bash which in the usual eclectic style of the venue will feature fire jugglers, street magic and music from Doeser, Missin’ Rosie, Erin Bardwell Collective to raise money for Swindon Sands.
Younger fans are being catered for at The Furnace in the form of Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 1), which has a wonderfully experimental undercurrent. Tides of Change deliver alt rock with a pop punk vibe, Sasquatch Walk does a neat line in jazzy punk disco and With Felix adds in some ambient electro-indie. Make sure you check out openers The Weekend Effect – I was really impressed with their rapped up indie groove.
Interestingly enough there isn’t going to be a Teenage Kicks Christmas Special (part 2) but then I guess if the world is ending there really isn’t much point.
To celebrate our imminent doom on Friday (unless the Mayans got it wrong… my, won’t we look foolish?), there are a couple of Apocolyto-parties going on. At The Victoria, party band Breeze will be providing the soundtrack whereas The Furnace has one amazing line up for you. Briefly it goes like this, The Racket – elegantly wasted gutter anthems; Nudybronque – intelligent, intense and fired up pop; The Rhubarbs - The Beatles on Speed; The Street Orphans – slick, sophisticated indie; SkyBurnsRed – searing and dark alt-rock with a classical sweep; and The Fixed – exuberant indie.
Other parties come in the form of Slagerij’s very messy Christmas at TP’s; ska-punk mayhem from one of Swindon’s success stories, and taking Hell Death Fury, Escape From ’98 and The Useless Eaters into oblivion with them.
The Beehive goes down a slightly more sedate path with the fiddlesome roots rockers State of Undress. If you are a fan of The Albion Band, Fairport Convention or even The Strawbs, then this is for you.
Saturday brings along the annual musical curveball at The Victoria, The 12 Bands of Christmas. Each band gets to do two covers; the more out of their usual comfort zone the better. Previous years have seen the Blowbacks turning Cliff Richard’s Devil Woman into a feedback-drenched tribute to Sonic Youth; Matt Kilford abandoning his usual restrained approach and screaming “Lick my legs!” when covering PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’; and Si Hall somehow matching the stratospheric range of La Roux. Need I say more?
After the bizarre offerings of that you may want to find some nostalgic, late night comfort at The Furnace when DJ Dust will be hosting one of his irregular Level 3 reunion nights.
Party like its 1993 all over again, Kurt is still alive and Strictly Come Dancing is still 11 years in the future.
Finally Sunday afternoon at The Beehive brings a wonderful pairing of bands, and not just because they share a drummer. Rumour Shed plays music that is wonderfully chilled, reflective, richly poetic and quietly majestic. Accompanying them are The Shudders, a band just beginning to get back into their stride after too long away and guaranteed to make you want to bop, boogie and booze in equal measure. And it’s all free.