Anyone who still harboured any doubts as to just how good a music scene we have in the area at the moment can only have had them put to rest by the tsunami of musical talent that was The Swindon Shuffle last weekend.
In a four-day audio orgy of music across the town we experienced it all. From impromptu buskers to full blown metal bands, in store unplugged sessions to big rock shows, chilled jazz players to intense art-punk, long established bands and at least one playing their debut gig, over 50 bands of all shapes, sizes and genres. I saw singers leapfrogging drum kits, a violinist re-inventing the Who’s trade mark by completely trashing her instruments and a Latin band-led street party still grooving at 1 in the morning. Awesomeness thy name was Swindon Shuffle.
And there is plenty more still to come this week. At the Old Town Bowl over the weekend you can catch The SN1 Fest Summer Ball, a celebration of the local dance music scene. The tip of the iceberg includes Ben Montague, Eats Everything, Danny Byrd and MC Risky, Pinch and so much more.
Back indoors there is an amazing range of music to immerse yourself in. Having recently had Gazz Marlow at The Rolleston it is only right that his InMe band mate Dave McPherson should be gigging there on Thursday. Dave’s solo path is a softer acoustic almost folk-driven sound more Loudon Wainwright or Frank Turner that the blistering alt-rock of his band environment. His solo album, The Hardship Diaries is well worth buying.
The 12 Bar is opting for something a bit on the heavy side as Southwest Hardcore host Christian hardcore band Conduit and the lycanthropically named When We Were Wolves. Alternatively The Victoria has a Burlesque night with a Super heroine theme and rockabilly sounds.
On Friday Hangfire bring their slick classic rock sounds to the Rolleston, a band who feature amongst their ranks former Tigertailz drummer Matt Blakout and a blind guitarist in the form of the incredible Lizzy Evans. Make sure you check out support band Ataraxis Vibration who’s music will immerse you in a sound that is a legacy of bands such as Cream, Hendrix and event more contemporary bands such as Burning Tree.
Saturday in particular is a veritable cornucopia of great music of all genres’ imaginable. If you like your music fired up and rocked out then catch The Sins at The County Ground Hotel and putting an exciting, contemporary edge into the often-jaded genre of blues-rock is The Worried Men at The Rolleston. If something with a funky, hip-hop groove is to your tastes then A&T will quench you thirst, you can also catch the groove driven rock of The Porn Issue and the Jim Blair’s exquisite lap guitar playing. All of that is at The 12 Bar.
Reggae is on tap at The Victoria in the form of the Reggae Club Night where you can catch everything from 60’s rocksteady, 70’s dub, 80’s dancehall and the best of the current crop. Riffs Bar has The Graham Mack Rock Band and retro rockers, Josie and The Outlaw and for those who want to stay out late The Furnace is all about celebrating the sounds of the eighties.
Staying at The Furnace for Sunday and Summerlin will be delivering hard-edged pop punk with support from We Caught The Castle, Beyond the Break and Starlight City. If you prefer something a bit more genteel then The Beehive afternoon session features Jim Reynolds who sculpts songs from such raw materials as blues, ragtime, rhythm and blues, music hall and folk traditions and does so with panache and humour.
The last shout of the week goes to The Running Horse on Wednesday and Good Things Happen in Bad Towns. Mixing a very English folk tradition with underlying lilting Americana vibes, this is a band that will excite and charm you in equal measures. Support comes from US singer-songwriter, Michael Hennessy.