The Swindon Shuffle at various venues across the town from Friday August 10 to Sunday August 12
Pictures by Georgina Ingram
There is a remarkable amount of musical talent around Ocelotshire. For the last five years one of the main showcases of this has been the annual Swindon Shuffle festival. It is a multi-venue celebration of the best in local and unsigned music, serving as a great showcase of the best local talents and giving them a great platform to connect with an audience. All this takes place over what will be a noisy weekend of 10th to 12th of August, and it is all indoors so it is a festival with no need to worry about the rain.
This year has six main venues taking part, The Beehive, Riffs Bar, The 12 Bar, The Rolleston, The Furnace and a new venue, Piri Piri Restaurant, which is holding a more laid back, unplugged session. Rise Records will be hosting further unplugged sessions over the weekend featuring artists from the main bill. Each stage is being curated by a different promoter (including a special, Ocelot related one, more of which later..). So, who is playing? I hear you mutter. Well there are upwards of 50 bands playing across the weekend covering a whole host of genres. You can check it all out at the new website http://www.swindonshuffle.com
Spotlight on The Swindon Shuffle
A special Groovers on Manouevres report by Dave Franklin of greenmanmusic.biz
There has been the worst of times and the best of times, time after time, the TV Times, Times Roman, Times Square and even Stop! Hammer Time! But now the greatest Time of all is upon us. It’s Shuffle Time. Yes, for the sixth year, The Swindon Shuffle is back and with my learned colleague, Gig Monkey, focusing on one specific part of the event, I thought I would pick the “best of the rest,” if it were possible to do so in such limited space. This then is just the tip of the iceberg and for the full itinerary of this three day, multi-venue event, please check out the website below.
Firstly, the ever-evolving folkestral beast that is Buswell (12 Bar, Friday) is back in town. Having grown from an emotive, delicate and lyrical indie band into a fully orchestral cinematic soundscape, its fluid line up means that each show is different, though guaranteed to be one of the most luscious and powerful of musical experiences.
Forming part of the new wave of bands at the heart of Swindon’s recent musical explosion, Nudy Bronque and Super Squarecloud round off The Rolleston afternoon session on Saturday. The former deliver perfect pop songs with infectious energy and humour and the latter are a strange off-kilter, jazz induced riot of time changes and strange experimentation. The two bands together neatly illustrate the amazing diversity of the local music scene at the moment.
My final pick is to be found at The 12 Bar on Sunday, quite simply the legends that are 2 Sick Monkeys. Swindon’s answer to No Means No is not for the faint hearted, mixing in your face, two-piece punkatry with poignant, inter-song tirades. It will be loud, dynamic and sweary. You have been warned.
See you there and no need to bring your umbrella, poncho and wellies! http://www.swindonshuffle.com
The Gig Monkey Stage
The Furnace from 7pm on Sunday August 12
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Finally it has happened; Gig Monkey (AKA Ed Dyer) has decided to put his money where his mouth is. After a year of reviewing other people’s gigs I thought I should celebrate this milestone by putting one on myself. And what better way to do it than to join forces with the top folk of The Swindon Shuffle? Nothing like in at the deep end! So, on Sunday 12th August at The Furnace on Commercial Road in Swindon there will be the first ever Gig Monkey event. You would be mad to miss it, it will be astounding. And if you are good you could even meet the monkey!
So for your listening pleasure I have hand-picked 6 bands from around The Ocelot’s area. Some will be familiar, some will be new but all are amazing. The only link they have is that I think they are great and you lot should hear them as well. So, let me introduce to you….
Ocelot favourites and headliners Black Hats are Witney’s answer to The Jam, playing music that is an exciting blend of high energy post punk, dub beats and ska riffs, resulting in intelligent and articulate pop-punk, with killer melodies. Those who experienced their blistering set at The Ocelot’s 6th birthday can attest to the power of their live set, way more dynamic than the sum of its musical parts.
Delivering a riot of attitude and swagger, gutter anthems and punked out indie, Swindon band The Racket are the musical rough diamonds of the scene. They are the perfect antidote to the over-produced, auto-tuned music of the mainstream. Funky bass driven rhythms combine with jagged guitar riffs as the backdrop for songs that are lean, mean, hungry statements of intent. Live they are beautifully chaotic, always on the edge of melt down. Not to be missed!
Critics’ favourites SkyBurnsRed are a bit of a unique case. Taking a heavy, grunge influenced rock sound and adding in some violin they create a singularly wonderful noise that shouldn’t work, but has a majesty and dynamism all of its own. And, the violin is far from a gimmick, it complements the rest of the music They can also write some great songs with the classical strings adding plenty of different layers, whether eastern vibes or Wagnerian orchestral bombast.
Odd name, odd band. But marvellous nonetheless. The Starkers are one of the newer bands from Swindon, and trade in a brand of indie music with its roots in 60’s garage rock, but also owing a heady debt to more modern bands like The Libertines and with hints of Nirvana-esque grunge. Musically their sweet melodies and harmonies, layered over jangly guitar riffs is a classic combination.
Salute The Magpie
Salute The Magpie are five young lads who have become over a short space of time a tight, melodic and diverse group. Using a base of classic indie guitar music with more unique and modern elements thrown into the mix they suit fans of bands as diverse as Joy Division and The Smiths through to Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees. Catch them now before they go stratospheric!
The Light Grenades
New to the scene but already with a distinct sound all their own Swindonians The Light Grenades mix up indie rock with electronic music and chuck in some funk for good measure. Big grooves and riffs are tempered with creative guitar work and contemporary twists of electronica to deliver a pulsating sound that will get you all going from the word go. A great way to kick start the night!
The Beehive - The Nomarks + The Shudders + Skiddy
Riffs Bar - The Out in the Sticks Stage with Snaggletooth UK + White Knuckle Bride + Burnthru + The Porn Issue
12 Bar – The Misadventures in Media Stage with Buswell + Bateleurs + Peasants King + Charlie Bath + Mammoth and the Drum
Piri Piri – Culture Corner with Good Things Happen in Bad Towns + The Black Feathers + Mantrasphere
The Beehive - Emily And The Dogs + Matilda + Mr Love and Justice
The Rolleston – The Green Man Music Stage with Super Squarecloud + Nudybronque + The Blowbacks + Adepto Futui + The Labradors + Faye Rogers + Billyjon + Doza
The Furnace – The Acme-Live Stage - Mortdelamer + Run From Robots + Roads to Nowhere + Burials
The 12 Bar – The Frisko Stage with The Street Orphans + Old Colours + Easter + Plummie Racket + Darwin Republic + Kill Murray
The Rolleston – The Green Man Music Stage with The Me! Me! Me’s? + Browfort + Starlight City + Antonio Lulic + Alice Offley + Kitchen Sink Dramas + Matt Chipperfield + Gilmour
The Furnace – The Gig Monkey Stage with Black Hats + The Racket + SkyBurnsRed + The Starkers + Salute The Magpie + The Light Grenades
The 12 Bar – The Sheer Music Stage with 2 Sick Monkeys + Chip Daddy + Mr Hello & His Honesty Club + Russian Blue