Start off in Sound Circus, a new venue for me since I don’t normally pick gigs up here on my radar. Those nice chaps from Voodoo Vegas gave me the low down, yet I turn up in time enough to miss the first two acts at this Christmas Monsters of Rock bash (No Turbo No Love and Western Sand), and instead wait for Voodoo Vegas to set up.

They are in full Christmas effect – well Lawrence (vox) and Meryl (guitar) are by wearing Santa hats for their opener So Unkind – lost by 2nd song Tied Up. At least the tinsel remains on the mic stands – well until it goes crowd surfing! 

During their fourth song I shoot off across town to 1812 to catch Monkey Puzzle – I’ve heard a lot about these guys and for good reason – the place is kicking and heaving (seemingly more than as usual for 1812) with young and young-at-heart trendies enjoying the sounds.

There are dancers – proper dancers – doing their thing in front of the band, and everywhere around people are getting down and bopping to the amazing funk / soul fusion emanating from this 7 piece outfit. I’m not familiar with many of the tunes; I don’t need to be since every one of them entices punters to groove and gyrate along to the percussive beats and keyboard glissandos.

During their break lead singer Elena introduces me to Sarah, who’s plugging a new event Ghetto Fabulouse at the Winchester on 19 December. They might have bands in the future; Sarah was I think hoping to engage Monkey Puzzle for one of the nights.

Again I take my leave to drop in on the Winchester and Smokin Aces however a glitch in my programming means I’ve chosen the wrong night for live music at both venues.

Nothing for it then but to wind up the night in usual fashion at the Cellar Bar to catch Alex Roberts’ final set. The last time I saw Alex live was at The Crumplehorn Inn in Polperro, Cornwall. Boy this is (understandably) a different gig.  The crowd are up for some lively blues, Alex’Alex Roberts Live in Cellar Bar stomp box driving the beats turning the crowd into a pulsating mob. Even Harry, owner, is getting on down to Alex – really good to see

Of course, like a wally I’ve forgotten my new phone can easily transfer photos, I’ve only remembered in time for Alex’ gig, so here he is, as usually depicted with his amazing-sounding slide guitar.

Another thing I like about Alex – very little phases him when on stage. A nice heckle is dealt with, and even breaking a string in his last song means he simply switches track, changing to an even better sounding 12-string and kicking things into a frenzy.

This is the first time in a long time I’ve heard the shouts for a third encore (which he graciously delivers) – and the crowd still want more! To calls of “we won’t let you leave” and “you’re here ’til next Tuesday” Alex Roberts delivers the goods – all the time every time. Awesome.