Neil D’Arcy-Jones picks his cultural highlights for the week

1. Essex Rocks and Art Not Apathy presents, The Witch Kids, Denial Twist, Rosalind Harniess and Fraser Morgan, Best Days Vintage, Eld Lane, Colchester, tonight, doors 7pm.

And the cool gigs keep on coming, this time in a very intimate setting and raising money for Musicians Supporting the Homeless. The line-up will consist of some of the best local acts in town, all doing unique ‘stripped back’ sets and all playing for free. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance via messaging the venue ‘Best Days Vintage’ facebook page. There’s a strictly no ticket/ no entry policy and only 50 available, so get in there quick.

2. Anakadabra, Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, Colchester, doors 1.30pm. £5.95. 01206 500900.

A family magic show that has been performed in three continents and many countries over the last five years from the very talented Alex Silleras.

3. Sam Eagle + Rubberjaw + Lemondaze, Upstairs at Three Wise Monkeys, High Street, Colchester, doors 8pm. £5 on door. 01206 543014.

If you missed him and his equally talented band at Essex University’s Lakeside Theatre last week, then get along to Three Wise Monkeys this weekend to see what everyone’s been talking about. And the added bonus are sets by another of the town’s rising stars Rubber Jaw, and the shoegaze punk from Cambridge’s Lemondaze.

4. Banner Theatre: Spirit of 1868, Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, Colchester, Tuesday, doors 7.30pm. £10, £5 concessions. 01206 500900.

1868 was the year of the first ever Trades Union Congress and this show takes us from that first meeting on a musical dash through the history of trade unionism in Britain right up to the struggles of workers today.

5. Dan Cruickshank: Road to Palmyra, Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester, Wednesday, 7.30pm. £16. 01206 573948.

A thought provoking look at the destruction caused by IS to one of the world’s greatest historical treasures, the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria from a television treasure of our own.