Shoegaze icons, doom rockers and Bluegrass ACDC; April is varied but with plenty to offer on the live music front…
We start on Chesterton Road where the gritty grooves of The Wytches’ and their Portland Arms show (19th) gets many thumbs up from us. The trio last year released their sophomore album ‘All Your Happy Life’ and there’s no difficult second album syndrome here. The black-hearted set is a combination of heavy comedown psychedelia and bilious and brilliant baroque ‘n’ roll. It’s portentous and scathing. Scabrous and bold. Utterly nihilistic. The 19th is going to be grand.
Aside from The Wytches there is plenty to get your teeth stuck into elsewhere at The Portland, grabbing our attention is the bassy, rich and barbed, razor-edged and loud, very loud sounds of Part Chimp (13th). Welsh indie-roots band Rusty Shackle are in town on the 20th, brandishing their distinct folk-roots sound and armed with an electrifying mix of rampant fiddle, scorching electric guitars, pounding drums, searing trumpet and banjo.
Hannah Peel is with us on the 4th, last year Peel released an exquisite, distinct album, full of vibrant, direct colour in the early stages of the record, contrasted with esoteric, dreamscape, legato movements towards the end. Peel’s electronic opus and Jessica Hoop (3rd) complete our Portland recommendations.
April sees the Blue Moon host the excellent Sweet Revenge (1st) and then Fuzz noiseniks Thee Telepaths (8th) as part of their new album tour. Psych-driven fuzz & beat four-piece from Kettering, Thee Telepaths have an in-the-red sound that fuses wonky electronics, Krautrock and warped psych. Finally at the Moon on the 15th there’s Goldblume and Stone Deepe supporting Brighton visitors and punk-riff noise outfit Ragweed.
A huge month at the Cambridge Junction starts with the seminal The Jesus and Mary Chain on the 3rd. Fronted by the Reid brothers Jim and William, The Jesus And Mary Chain first reformed to play the Coachella festival back in 2007. Despite regular touring – most notably a 2015 world tour which revisited their landmark album ‘Psychocandy’ – it took some time before they could agree on a plan to record a much-mooted seventh album. Said album ‘Damage and Joy’ dropped last month, so expect a set mixed with classics and new material.
Circa Waves bring their newly released second album to Cambridge on the 4th. New album ‘Different Creatures’ is the grittier, ‘night time’ counterpart to the breezy summer vibes of its Top 10 predecessor ‘Young Chasers’, exuding a newfound swagger. The line up on the 4th is completed by the exceptional Inheaven. The quartet’s thrashing, no-limits take on pop is well worth getting in early for.
What do you get you when ACDC fans play rock covers in a Bluegrass style? Hayseed Dixie, obviously, and they’re back in Cambridge on the 21st. 14 albums down the line and fans including Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon and thousands of shows under their belt and with a current political storm in the US that they don’t shy away from it promises to be a great night. Plus, John Wheeler (singer and all round main Dixie) has upped his sticks from the US and currently resides in Cambridge so he’s one of us now…
Hertfordshire four-piece The Hunna are considered one of the brightest lights in indie rock. While The Hunna are essentially a straight up, high-octane rock band, their guitar driven sound has a pounding, futuristic edge to it. Having worked with producers such as Tim Larcombe and Duncan Mills, The Hunna have carved out a string of huge songs that already boast over 1.75 million Spotify streams, 5 million video views. They’re at the Junction on the 26th.
Final Cambridge Junction tip goes down on the 27th, see Faithless’s Maxi Jazz return back to his roots with funky blues guitar music with his new band, the E-Type Boys.
Celebrated Northumbrian band The Unthanks bring their ‘How Wild The Wind Blows’ tour to the Corn Ex on the 27th. The project unearths the wistful and intimate compositions of Molly Drake, mother of singer-songwriter Nick Drake. These charming, secluded and melancholy songs offer an insight into the work of Nick Drake, revealing Molly Drake as perhaps the most overlooked influence on the cult musician – and as a fascinating songwriter in her own right. Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, whose knack for sensitive reinterpretation has seen them tackle everything from traditional English Folk to Antony & the Johnsons, turn their attention to these forgotten songs.