There has been a lot of concerned discussion recently over rumours that The Victoria, pretty much the constant in the ever-changing local musical landscape of the last eight years, is up for sale.
Just to put you at your ease, here are the facts straight from the horse’s mouth (that’s just a turn of phrase and in no way implying that Mr Young is anything other that 100 per cent prime beef). Yes, the business, ie the internal workings rather than the building itself, is on the market, but Dave and Anna want to stress that they intend to leave it in safe hands so that it continues very much in the same vein.
When you think about it, The Victoria has grown to become part of the national music circuit (just look at their gig roster for proof) so any successful buyer is likely to come from a similar background rather than just being the ex-landlord of The Kebab and Calculator whose claim to fame is a once a week acoustic night and a quarterly under 18s Battle of the Bands. Remember, Heraclitus told us “There is nothing permanent, except change”, but then he did drink too much, though his first album was a real cracker.
So fittingly and inevitably we start tonight at The Victoria. It’s Bands and Burlesque again and this time it’s a chance for newcomers to the dance genre to get a bit of a showcase plus music from psychobilly crew Cowboy and The Corpse.
And if retro is your thing there is competition out at Riffs Bar in the shape of The Ludwig Beatles, who recreate the iconic band in all their rock and roller, mop-topping, acid- eating and genre-defying glory.
The Beehive has music from John Blek and The Rats, a well travelled six- piece who specialise in folk, country and Americana.
Another constant of our local scene is Holmes Music and to celebrate 50 years in the music business they are arranging a series of shows – tonight they take over The Victoria and offer us none other than Nick Harper. Anyone spawned of the iconic Roy Harper and brought up in a house with a continual procession of Zeps, Floyds, Whos and other heroes was always going to end up a musician and as such has been described as doing “things to his guitar that would have had Segovia weeping into his Rioja” – in a good way I presume.
If that wasn’t enough, Colour The Atlas is the support, a clash of cinematic folk, chilled trip beats and swathes of sensuous, late night atmospherics. Now that’s what you call a celebration.
More sweet music comes in the shape of Antoine Architeuthis and The Cotton Candy Rebellion, joyous acoustic folk tinged with classic rock and with a spiritual vibe running through the centre. He is at The Beehive.
The Furnace is the only place to be on Saturday as Peter and The Test Tube Babies roll into town. Originally part of the Punk Pathetique sub-genre that incorporated absurdist subject matters and humorous lyrics, don’t be fooled by such a seemingly silly approach as by contrast they are one of the most polished and professional bands on the punk circuit today.
Support comes from the incorrigible local punk stalwarts and all round good eggs Charred Hearts, and Strength in Blunders, a new and infectious pop-punk trio but containing some very familiar faces.
Possibly as far removed from that gig, which is what I love about the versatility of music, is The Antonio Forcione Trio at the Arts Centre, a musical tapestry of African and Latin influences interwoven with flamenco, classical and Indian rhythms.
There is a lot to offer on Sunday – a brilliant tribute to Kate Bush, Never Forever, is an all seated affair at The Victoria; folk, skiffle and rockabilly are delivered acoustically by The Dylegans (Lonnie and Bob…geddit?) at The Rolleston; and culture vultures have the choice of jazz guitarist Terry Hutchinson at Baker Street or recitals of Schubert and Shostakovich at the Arts Centre.
More jazz is on offer at Baker Street on Tuesday with Tantrum, a trio made up of Roger Beaujolais, Tommaso Starace and Paul Jefferies.
And as always we find ourselves rounding off the week at The Running Horse for its regular Wednesday session, this time featuring Bateleurs. For the few of you not in the know – and if not why not? – Bateleurs alchemize Americana, English folk and Celtic vibes into wonderfully accessible and joyously upbeat tunes. Support comes from Simon Allen.