That Was The (musical) Year That Was…

10834951_1038607686165751_8843445634796442325_oAs many of you may know, as well as writing for various myself music review sites and my partner in crime Ed “who actually does all the real work” Dyer and I run live music in our home town of Swindon. It’s been a brilliant year for Songs of Praise so thanks to everyone who has been part of our endeavours. Here are some stats (discounting the two festivals we were involved in).

We put 38 shows on at 3 venues ( The Victoria and The Roaring Donkey in Swindon plus The Lamb, Devizes). These shows incorporated 99 sets of music from 84 different artists. Only 10 artists played more than once for us with the most sets coming from Tamsin Quin, our supersub, who played 4 times. Faye Rogers played 3 times with Port Erin,  Case Hardin, David Marx, Luke De-SciscioCHARLIE BATH, Si Hall, Super Squarecloud and Vienna Ditto playing twice each spread over the year, across the 3 venues). And on top of all this we were involved in the Stratton Stroll and the Swindon Shuffle, adding more venues and artists to the totals.

As well as local Swindon artists and those from across England we also featured artists from The USA, Sweden and Scotland.

All of this made 2014 the busiest and most successful year ever for us. Thank you so much to each and every musician who has played for us over the year, each engineer, venue and member of staff we have encountered and mostly thank you to all the people who have come out and watched a show and helped keep new, original music live. See you in 2015 with some great new shows!

Linking Inkings – 18th December ’14


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writingLinks to some of the writing that has helped keep the supplies of port topped up in the last week.

Sounds Around Town – local gig guide (Swindon Advertiser)

That Was The Week That Was – gig diary (Swindon Link)

Start a Fire  – James Robinson – e.p. review (Dancing About Architecture)

The Tribe @ Longs Bar – live review – (The Ocelot)

The Adventures of Self-Raising Lazarus – Inappropriate Tipping.


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10390374_10152145463322168_7671577203036120946_nSo I had the pleasure of Nick Tann’s company and musical talents for the Songs of Praise (unplugged) acoustic show that I run at The Roaring Donkey here in the Grand Duchy of Swindon. Nick does a neat line in soulful, jazz inflected, acoustica with great dynamic scope and wonderful between song banter. He wanted to try out a theory of his in that by not plugging into a PA you still get the same crowd response as the people who actually want to listen move within earshot of the music and those who don’t stay at the other end of the room and don’t just talk louder to get over the amplified sound. And I think it is a theory that holds a lot of water.


The highlight of the night especially, from Nick’s point of view, was that about 4 songs in one of the business types who where talking just loudly enough about their jet set life style so everyone could hear, peeled off from the pack and purchased a CD mid set. It transpired that not only did the guy offer double the price for the album; he also dropped Nick a generous tip….a $100 bill! And I thought inappropriate tipping only worked in negative directions.


A drink in The Victoria, well it’s on the way home, say some of the worst aspects of modern culture going. Karaoke! Now karaoke began as a gentle, audience participation, restaurant cabaret in the east but as with many things that pass orient to occident take on all the horrendous trappings of western culture and what I witnessed was a (largely) talentless clamour for even the slightest recognition as 30 or more people jostled join in and drown out the person taking their turn at the microphone. I had to walk out when Britney Spears “Hit Me baby One More Time” was being accompanied by screamo backing vocals by some twat in a baseball cap and beard.


One thing was left, a bite to eat from my regular take out vendor further down the hill and as the only other customers in there were two Russians who were telling the Turkish serves in there what a great man Putin was. Rather than get caught up in that conversation I grabbed my food and headed home.

All hipsters must die….


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Icereal-killerweb--(None)_MED can understand the concept of expensive coffee, like wine or food there is a certain added value in the preparation, selection and the whole dining/drinking experience. £3 for a bowl of cereal is just people with waxed beards and tight jeans trying so hard to find something to be trendy with, and I’m betting that they thought of the name of the business and then worked out the concept afterwards. It’s cereal FFS.


PS: shut within a year.

The Adventures of Self-Raising Lazarus – what’s in a name?


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lazarusI thought I would use this blog as a sort of diary of the trials and tribulations of the things I see and experience as I promote music and attend gigs a way of getting things out of my head more than anything. You can find my weekly gig musings over at Swindon Link and via the articles re-linked here in the Linking Inkings posts under the title That Was The Week That Was, but this is the private version with thoughts and opinions that may not be conducive to mainstream publication so they end up here.


Also just to explain the name. I used to write brutally honest and often dryly humorous reviews of local bands for The Ocelot many years ago under the name Lazarus. Unfortunately for me the guitarist of one of the bands I had been less than emphatic about got the job of music editor and did what any well-balanced journalist would do in that position. He sacked me. The fact that he was removed from his position a few months later for setting up a rival magazine and trying to steal potential advertisers to his fold meant that the door was open for me to take my old job back on a higher wage. I then started writing under my real name and have remained there ever since but I always though that the name Self-Raising Lazarus was a great moniker, so I will use it here in tribute to that part of my life.


Anyway, that’s by way of introduction and return for semi-regular diary entries about my wanders about the music scene and beyond.


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