They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. That the customer is always right. Some will tell you that you are what you eat or that a watched pot never boils. I’ve even heard people say that nothing ever happens in Swindon. While you can make an argument either way on most of those adages, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the last one is about as believable as Liz Truss’s economic acumen. (I’m writing this mid-October; it may all be long-forgotten by the time you read this. But I somehow doubt it!) And here’s the proof that things, many things, many great things, do happen in this town.
We kick off at The Tuppenny, which has made a name for exciting, forward-thinking, eclectic folk and roots music. The 3rd November is no exception, with the virtuosic, cello and accordion-led folk of Good Habits taking the stage.
Local legends and pioneers of eclectic funk-punk experimentation, Sex Jazz, are at The Castle on the 4th. If you want something more sensible, subtle and serene, you might want to pop to The Wyvern Theatre on the 5th for none other than Leo Sayer. (I know, right?)
Head back to The Castle on the 9th, and you will find Polish rockers Over The Under laying out a music stall of grunge heaviness, rock and roll grooves and metal-esque intensity. This is a band that once arranged to do 100 shows in 100 days just to prove they could!
The 10th will prove to be a hectic day of music indeed. Blue Highways entertain the denizens of the Tuppenny with deft blends of rock, country and soul, and they have in tow local troubadour Jol Rose. At the Victoria, Captain Accident and the Disasters bring the ska, reggae and soul vibes and, talking of soul, The Drifters, a sound currently nearly 70 years in the making, bring their own brand of classic soul, R&B and pop to The Wyvern.
The Hop Inn gets in on the act with something special when The People Verses bring their haunting folk fairytales powered by sheer pop euphoria back to town. It’s also the last date of their current tour, so it should be a party and a half. And in a weekend of music at this establishment, the 12th sees Gaz Brookfield steer his current tour into the same space. For those not in the know, expect infectious and endearing singalong acoustic folk-pop, tomorrow’s festival classics and anthems in the making. Similar acoustic revelry can be found in the shape of the opening act, Heartwork.
For something more odd, adventurous, experimental and genuinely eclectic, Liquid Library is hosting a day best described as one of “joyous and disruptive sonic adventures.” Expect the artistically sublime to the musically ridiculous and everything in between.
The 17th sees The Beehive’s Acoustic Buzz host the gorgeous voice and soulful folk of Benita Johnson and the Americana-infused deftness of Josh Beddis. Meanwhile, up the road at The Tuppenny, guitarist Bob Heath is joined by Sounds Like Women project founder Luiza Staniec-Moir, great music from two people with roots in music therapy.
Something heavier this way comes on the 18th as dual-fronted melodic metallers Metaprism call in at Level III with Rites To Ruin and Drallian along for the ride, a ride that promises to be both big and clever, hard and heavy, powerful and poignant. The following day sees Thea Gilmore at The Arts Centre. If you like your folk music to be poetic and emotionally wrought, honest and relatable, open and articulate, this is one for you.
Several mentions for singer-song writers gracing us with their presence; the Rutland Troubadour himself, Paul McClure, makes a welcome return to town and can be found at The Tuppenny on 24th and the sublime and sensational Sarah McQuaid calls in at Clyffe Pypard and Buston Village Hall on 26th. If you don’t know Sarah’s music, you should do yourself a favour and head along. You can thank me later… with beer.
And finally, after comparing and headlining a night at the Shuffle, Grant Sharkey returns to the scene of the crime, Barristocats, on the 30th for more social commentary, political humour, satire, sing-alongs, silliness, bass dexterity and ukey deftness. You don’t want to miss that one, I tell you!