It seems to me that there are two sorts of people in this here parish. There are those who spend their time on-line moaning that, musically speaking at least, nothing ever happens in Swindon. And there are those who don’t have the time for all of that nonsense as they are out supporting all the fantastic, musically speaking at least, things happening in Swindon.
I will make a prediction. Fassine heading back into town for a double header at Level 3 with local prog infused, alt-rockers Circu5 will be one of the defining gigs of the year. It may be a bit early to start with such hyperbole, but unless Hope Sandoval finally gives in to my almost daily requests to play a solo show in my front room, I can’t imagine there will be much to beat such a line up. Not for me anyway.
It’s safe to say that my love of Fassine’s music has lasted longer than most of my relationships but that’s music for you. I think the key is to love it from afar, keep the mystery alive, enjoy it for what it is. I remember hearing Sunshine for the first time, it seemed like a cheeky wink across a crowded room, and in the five years since, that has how things have remained. I don’t need to know too much about the people behind the sound, that would spoil the allure and despite seeing them trying to articulate their admiration for XTC as a set of talking heads in the documentary This Is Pop and that time the small one from the band with the penchant for military style caps tried to get me to dance at a TC&I gig, that’s the way things have remained.
I was lucky enough to see Fassine at Level 3, a gig which has since become a bit of a Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall moment, as I have personally met at least 400 of the 98 who attended that night. And that’s how I know how great this gig is going to be, made even more of a draw by the fact that they share the stage with Circu5. Any one who saw the TC&I shows will recognise a couple of the faces in this popular beat combo, but don’t expect there to be too much of musical similarity. This isn’t pop, this is rock. Circu5 began life as a labour of love for Steve Tilling, a set of ideas looking for a musical outlet, then a bunch of songs in search of an album to call home, an album in search of a live band, and finally a live band in search of a stage.
Thankfully, no one from Circu5 has ever tried to make me dance but that is not to say that you shouldn’t when they bring their weighty yet intelligent rock to town. They seem to be picking up favourable coverage in the printed prog world but do not expect people dressed as wizards singing songs about Charlemagne over 13 minute keyboard solos. This is prog for the 21st century, if prog it even is and I for one am doubtful and even with Steve’s often strange sartorial choices you can banish all worries of being subjected to any unpleasant Rick Wakeman-esque moments.
The two bands make for oddly perfect musical bedfellows. One a drifting blend of ambience and alternative dance beats, the other a heady mix of intelligent narratives and rock and roll swagger, opposites which attract, ones yin to the others yang…and a third analogy which I can’t think of at the moment.
Nothing ever happens Swindon! Wanna bet?