It is another busy week at SoP as we present 5 shows featuring 8 bands / artists (so far) across 3 venues, encompassing Americana, Folk-Pop, Gothic-Country, Acoustica, Alt-Rock and Blues-Roots. It is going to be another belter, basically.
Wednesday 25th May – Tim Manning (Blind River Scare) – Unplugged @ The Roaring Donkey
Musically Tim (or Blind River Scare as he goes out when a band) seems to follow a template created by one of our musical favourites, Steve Earle. For whilst they he is able to steer songs down a very familiar hillbilly highway towards a looming Nashville horizon, there are detours taking in swaggering folk influences, melancholy blues and home-grown acoustica.
The chic term these days is roots music, which is a fair enough handle if you need one and these roots anchor him somewhere just the other side of the mid-Atlantic ridge. As they say, east is east and west is west …but when the twain does meet, you get music as great as this. Tim is one of our regular returners and a continual musical delight. Come and find out why.
Entry is free, music from 9pm. Details here.
Thursday 26th May – Franc Cinelli, Monkfish (Acoustic) + Oli Norman – The Renegade Sessions in The Loft @ Baila Coffee & Vinyl
Franc Cinelli has has been on Dave’s radar since he reviewed his album last year (which he thought “a sublime mix of all that is familiar but crafted together into new shapes and presented with a masterful touch”). He has carved a niche for himself in the industry by bucking trends with his free-wheeling alternative folk and doing things his way. Considered by many the songwriters’ songwriter his style ranges from uptempo torch songs to blues laden road journals and love struck serenades to defiant, prison outlaw ballads.
Ed’s contribution to the line up has been to procure a rather special acoustic set from Swindon / Oxford band Monkfish. As a full on electric band they sound like the bastard sons of Johnny Cash and The Sisters of Mercy, with a dash of The Gun Club thrown in for good measure. Their acoustic set therefore promises to pitch somewhere around The Handsome Family but that is just a best guess. What ever it sounds like I think it will be something dark, lush and wonderfully unique.
Our opener, Oli Norman, kind of found us and is very much a raw prospect. Helping new talent gain an audience is one of our main drivers though, so it is a pleasure to be able to present an artist who so far has been only really been seen at open-mic slots. So let this be a lesson to all you other new faces out there – keep on getting up at open-mics and similar to hone and perfect your songs and performance, know your scene, network, ask for shows, get yourself out there and heard. Anyway, Oli presents simple songs sung with heart, and what more could you ask for than that from a guy with a guitar?
Entry is £5 and strictly limited in numbers. Music starts around 8pm. Full details to be found here.
Friday 27th May – Echoic + Well Dressed Thief @ The Locomotive
I think this is Echoic‘s third show for us now. once we find a band we like we do try to bring them back, especially when they play such cool, melodic music and are so nice to work with!
Essentially an exciting Alt-Rock quartet from Reading, Berkshire, Echoic have been a going concern since late 2013 have spent their time playing as many shows & festivals as possible – they have a serious work ethic and love of life on the road. Although this does result in some appalling luck with cars and vans; Echoic are the kiss of death for tour vehicles! However, this drive has resulted in a hugely supportive following in their hometown, and picked up attention and airplay from Radio X, Kerrang! and multiple ‘BBC Introducing’ stations around the country.
Well Dressed Thief are a 4 piece band at the forefront of the current crop of young groups springing out of the Swindon scene. Melodic, expansive and energetic with dark undertones and a frontman with enough charisma to fill Wembley.
Entry is free, music from 10pm. Full details and tunes here.
Saturday 28th May – Hip Route @ The Locomotive
The Hip Route Mantra : Playing live, making new friends, playing live, recording, playing live, writing, playing live….. Simples.
Usually a 3 piece roots band from the South west, but often seen as a guitar / drums or guitar / bass 2 piece as well as a solo outfit, anything is possible at a Hip Route Show. The word cool is often bandied about carelessly these days and doesn’t sound that, well, cool anymore but if there was ever a band that could put the cool back into cool then it would be have to be Hip Route. These guys are effortlessly cool, hip and funky- the moment Jim Blair strikes up the old slide guitar , the heads turn, the feet tap and then the rest of the band storm headfirst into a fat groove.
One of our favourite regulars the band are part of the worthy Uk Roots Movement and have the old working ethic of playing live as much as possible.
Entry is free, music from 10pm, details here.
Sunday 29th May – Phil Cooper + TBC – The Renegade Sessions @ Baila Coffee & Vinyl
Sop regular Phil Cooper is a contemporary singer/songwriter with thought provoking songwriting and energetic, often unpredictable live performances. Phil has regularly (especially from Dave) drawn comparisons to Neil Finn, Glenn Tilbrook and Ben Folds, which is a very good thing.
Having been the frontman for The Haiku for 6 years, 2012 saw him go it alone, and since he has played a host of solo shows, including highly successful support slots for Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) and Dave McPherson (InMe). During his live shows, he makes a real connection with the crowd, often starting and finishing the shows entirely unplugged and shunning the stage to stand right in among the captivated audience.
Entry is free, music from 3pm. Details here.