October is the type of month I love as a punter but dread writing about as there is just so much to fit into one article…
Over at The Portland there is a string of events well worth your time. Starting with Joanna Gruesome (2nd). To the uninitiated, Joanna Gruesome are a collision of riot-grrrl, C-86 tweeness and whistling Psychocandy-era Mary Chain. We’ve been waiting for them to play Cambridge for what feels like forever. US Punk outfit Sorority Noise (11th) bring irresistible pop hooks, big Weezer-esque shreds and grunge breakdowns to the same venue. Mastering that fine line between pop and indie, Dublin outfit Raglans (25th) return to The Portland with their first new music since their 2014 breakout debut LP. The superb Paul Goodwin (17th) is our final pick for The Portland this month.
The gorgeous Unitarian Church on Emmanuel Road plays host to two great shows this month. Former singer/songwriter with Cambridge’s legendary Broken Family Band, Steven James Adams returns for an intimate acoustic performance (6th), playing songs from this year’s critically acclaimed album Old Magick. His shows are wonderful to behold: funny, intimate and wildly unpredictable.
Calvin Johnson is an underground legend, a font of creativity and the founder of K Records. Selector Dub Narcotic is his current moniker of choice, with new album ‘This Party Is Just Getting Started’ dropping earlier this year. He brings his Selector Dub Narcotic groove to Cambridge on the 24th.
Down Norfolk Street we have a busy schedule at the Blue Moon. Avant post punky acoustic solo bassist Howie Reeve (9th) will be weaving fragile vocal melodies around well thought out and executed musical backdrops. Plymouth’s post-hardcore boys Brunel are teaming up with Bristol-based Welsh noise mongers New Cowboy Builders for a tour this month, hitting Cambridge on the 20th. Cath & Phil Tyler (25th) play Anglo-American folk music using guitar, banjo, voice and fiddle. Cath was a member of the band Cordelia’s Dad in the 1990s when she lived in Massachusetts, USA. Phil, from Newcastle upon Tyne has played in various folk, rock and ceilidh bands for many years. Coming together musically through a shared love of traditional narrative song, full voiced sacred harp singing and sparse mountain banjo (25th) Known as a key figure in the contemporary world of improvised music, Rhodri Davies plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics plays the Boathouse (Chesterton Road) on the 31st.
There’s a huge month ahead at the Cambridge Junction with some big names on show. Earlier this summer Wild Beasts released their most naked and direct record to date. The Cumbria-via-Leeds foursome swapped arty erudition for rock swagger on a bigger, bolder fifth album and they bring said new record to Cambridge on the 10th. Synth-pop at its most intentionally infectious, Teleman never disappoint when they play Cambridge, good job they’re back on the 26th.
Brit Award nominated Birdy has set the world alight with her unique vocals and extraordinary musicianship over recent years and she’s in town on the 19th.
It’s been ten years since the Mystery Jets broke surface with their debut album, ‘Making Dens’. What’s kept Mystery Jets consistently fascinating over the last decade has been an itchy footed desire to keep trying new things. Given the strength of their new album ‘Curve Of The Earth’, the next ten years looks set to be as exciting for listeners as the last. They play the Cambridge Junction on the 12th.
The Cambridge Corn Exchange boasts some big hitters this October too. One of the most distinctive voices in British music, Jamie T, released his hugely anticipated fourth album in September, he brings the record and his vigor and vibrancy to Cambridge on the 22nd. Having gained a reputation as being one of the best live bands in the UK You Me At Six are in town on the 15th. With his economic sound, coupled with that black-suited, scowling look Wilko Johnson is a true guitar great, he’s back in Cambridge on the 14th. Speaking of greats, Loudon Wainright is also at the Corn Exchange on the 11th.
We close with the incredible event this month to celebrate the life and work of former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett. Entitled Syd Barrett – A Celebration, the concert will feature Swedish band Men on the Border, who reinterpret the music of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, backed by the Sandviken Symphony Orchestra, also from Sweden. It will feature symphonic interpretations of Barrett classics from his solo albums The Madcap Laughs and Barrett including the likes of Octopus and Terrapin with the repertoire flanked by an interpretation of Floyd’s High Hopes. The night will also see the unveiling of a lasting public memorial to Barrett.