By Ed Dyer AKA Gig Monkey
For anyone who appreciates new and original local music, the Swindon Shuffle is the must see event of the year.
The last few years have seen the Shuffle occupy a slot in early August, but for 2015, thanks to a partnership with the Academy Of Music and Sound, things will all be happening from the 14th to the 19th July! As the event is a celebration of grassroots music, and has a desire to nurture the musical talent of tomorrow, this is a very natural partnership, and one that will see young musicians and technicians from the college getting involved both as performers and in support roles in a great introduction to the industry (maybe not the most professional of introductions judging by previous experience, but it will certainly be an education for them).
This year, The Shuffle has slimmed down somewhat, in reflection of the current original music scene, and possibly in anticipation of events at what will be the festivals 10th year in 2016, where surely all stops have to be pulled out?
Therefore, venue wise the stalwarts of the original music scene, The Victoria and the Beehive will be the cornerstones of the event, hosting music on the Thursday and Friday, and The Saturday and Sunday respectively. They are joined by Shuffle upstarts The Castle (in their 3rd year), for the Friday and Saturday, Baila Coffee & Vinyl throughout the weekend and The Central Library on the Saturday (both in their 2nd year of involvement). Everything will be kicking off on the Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey (also in its 2nd year).
But who is playing I hear you ask? Well, as is tradition not all of the line-up has been confirmed yet, but so far on the Thursday night at The Vic you can catch the high-octane Foo’s-esque rock of A Way With Words – the hardest working band in Swindon when it comes to promotion. They will be supported by drum & bass punk overlords 2 Sick Monkeys, pop-punk tech rockers All Ears Avow and 2 piece blues rockers The Harlers.
Friday at The Vic will see some hazy, reverb soaked dream-pop from Colour the Atlas alongside the slick indie-pop of Theo Altieri, the awkward noise-pop of Super Squarecloud and, opening proceedings are young band Sahara Heights whose brand of indie-pop is wise beyond their years. Joining Swindon’s finest that night are Bristolians Cursor Major, an 80’s pop influenced indie band with a neat line in catchy melodies.
The Castle line up on the Friday is headed by those masters of Rhythm ‘n’ Booze, the Hamsters From Hell who you can tell, just by looking at them, know how to party! Joining them is the band formerly known as Coasters – all angsty rock anthems with punk undertones. The Saturday features Swindon’s foremost exponents of upbeat ska and funk rhythms, SN Dubstation, another band who knows how to get a serious party started. Alongside them you will find the indie-anthems of Yves and an acoustic outing from songwriter extraordinaire Plummie Racket, whose tales of life in Swindon are bittersweet but often hilarious.
So far The Beehive line-up has been kept fairly closely under-wraps, but I can reveal that following their triumphant closing of the festival (and the pub) last year, The Shudders will again be gracing proceedings with their country and Americana sounds, where they will be playing alongside the intelligent folk music of Mr Love & Justice.
Even with that little lot, you have a damn fine musical event happening, but with a stack more talent to be revealed it is looking like The Swindon Shuffle 2015 is going to be a classic. And with all venues free entry (there will be collections towards Goldenhar UK, The Shuffle’s chosen charity) you have absolutely no excuse not to get down and check out what amazing music is right on your doorstep.