It has been in the planning stages for a while, but, as part of a wider review of what we do, how we do it, and where, we are launching, in conjunction with the top folks at Renegade Brewery, live music at the rather cool Baila Coffee & Vinyl on Victoria Road in Old Town.
But live music in a coffee shop I hear you say? Well, yes, the core of the business may be as a coffee shop, but it is the antithesis of the identikit chains which are taking over the high street, , much like us at SoP. Additionally, along with the very friendly vibe of the place there is a rather tasty vinyl rack, which follows the shops quality over quantity way of operating, stuffed full of seminal albums and underground collectibles, the cream of the leftfield, everything from rock and soul, dance and hip-hop, funk, pop and even more offbeat and unexpected treats. The recent inclusion of an alcohol license has also added new dimensions. Expect to find bottled craft ales, classic cocktails, lesser spotted gins and quality wines. Which brings us onto the beer!
Renegade Brewery is brought to you by the crack team at West Berkshire Brewery, who wanted to brew more contemporary, modern beers. Taking a lead from the monumental flavours of American beer culture, Renegade brews are hop-heavy but easy drinking, rammed with flavour but refreshing as hell. current selection includes a crisp, fresh proper craft lager, the distinctive, citrus hop bomb of a West Coast Pale Ale and a complex but smooth Indian Session Ale. All of which will be available to try and buy on the night!
We are starting with two shows a month, one downstairs on a Sunday afternoon and one upstairs in what is “baby Baila” during the day. The upstairs show will be a ticketed affair, on a Thursday evening and will be strictly limited numbers whilst the Sunday shows will be free entry. For both we are curating a diverse and eclectic line-up and hoping to throw in things other than music when possible. Regardless of who is performing, you can be sure that it will very high quality and not the sort of thing you will see elsewhere in Swindon. If you are fed up with trying to experience the joy of subtle, intelligent and satirical music against a backdrop of beer fuelled noise, then these gigs have all the answers.
We kick things off this Thursday, 28th April with a a wonderful mix of smooth acoustica, poignant observations and downright weirdnesss. It’s a challenge to know how best to describe an artist like Grant Sharkey in just a few words. Musician who incorporates humour? Stand up comic who writes songs? Environmentalist cabaret? Mirthsome agitator? Arch-Liberalist? Poignant and insightful buffoon? It’s all in there somewhere. Falling between fringe theatre, satirical revue and regular music venue act and armed with his trusty bass, a bag of unique and often challenging songs, and a score of brilliant between song interludes and anecdotes, it is difficult to think who wouldn’t enjoy his show.
Local support comes in the very able guise of Canute’s Plastic Army, well crafted acoustic folk-pop vibes, very accessible and wonderfully memorable and the wholesome blends of West Country Folk and West Coast Paisley Underground pop that is Steve Cox, normally to be found fronting leading lights Mr Love and Justice. Tickets for this are priced at £5 and will be available from Baila or on the door, numbers allowing. Full details to be found on the event page here.
Our second show, the following Sunday 1st May, is a very different proposition to the first, marking a very welcome return for Vienna Ditto, one of all-time our favourite acts. Theirs is a pot-pourri of sounds, mixing rockabilly riffs with creative electronica and beats and soulful vocals. One of the most unique, original and exciting bands we have had before. In support, the creative and intelligent songwriting and electronica of Grasslands. Entry is free, be there for 3 pm, full details here.
Renegade brewery can be found on their website here.