Feature Photo used with kind permission of Nick Padmore Photography
If it’s not good enough for our humble little town to have Fantasy Radio on air twenty-four seven, there were the team again, out in the sweltering Hillworth Park for another Sunday session. The second of this year’s Month of Sunday’s live music events gave us Devizes-own four-piece band People Like Us, who always have a unique spin on popular covers.
Sitting on the crisp, sun scorched lawn I ponder why they remind me of Scooby-Doo’s gang, minus the Great Dane. They’ve a blue van but without psychedelic swirls painted on it, it’s not that. Andy has a shaggy look, Claire has glasses, but visually they’re not about to audition for a live action movie remake anytime soon!
I reckon it’s their mellowing sound, an inimitable combination of equal male-to-female vocal harmony ratio, and Andy’s accomplished use of the cajón, an unusual percussion instrument for pop. Used mainly in música negra and Latin American jazz styles like rumba, the cajón blesses their covers with distinctiveness, evoking this sixties West Coast, Californian panache, which, as an influence is sadly missing from modern music. I’m thinking The Mamas & the Papas, The Lovin’ Spoonful or even, dare I contemplate another cartoon, The Archies, only with far less bubble-gum, naturally!
People Like Us are good fun, never booming furiously at you, they drift through Coldplay’s “Yellow” as an introduction, nail Oasis with their version of “She’s Electric,” and breezed through Crowded House’s “Weather With You,” the only breeze to be had this sunny Sunday in the park.
Perhaps the most individually composed was “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” whereas their awesome rendition of “Mr Blue Sky,” aptly soothes. Erasure’s “Respect,” ups the tempo and polishes off a fine set.
While prolific keyboardist Nicky Davis plays “mom,” in appearing to hold the band together, and Claire Gilchrist on kick drums maintains the rhythm, and predominately takes lead vocals, there is no standout band member; they perform harmoniously and diplomatically. While the aforementioned use of the cajón box-instrument by Andy Phillips gifts the biggest contribution to the exclusivity of People Like Us, Dean Ellicock’s accomplished both bass and acoustic guitar riffs gives it the customary angle it needs to balance the sound in line with contemporary trends. In short, it’s an amicable and great combination!
People Like Us have a Thursday residency at Pewsey’s Waterfront Bar & Bistro, and you can catch them frequently performing locally. At the Three Crowns in Devizes on 22nd July, at The Woodbridge Inn, Pewsey on August 4th and I’m sure they’ll be a welcomed addition by the Dabchicks when they play at Aldbourne’s carnival on September 1st.
You should also look out for crazy-busy Nicky Davis as part of Southampton based pop-rock covers band The Reason, who formed ten years before PLUS, who’ve only been around for a couple of years, and, her contribution to the annual, all-female, all local, charity-fundraising supergroup “The Female of the Species;” something I need to run a feature on for this year, as they play their monumental one night only gig at Melksham’s Assembly Hall on 29th September. Do you ever get a day off Nicky?!
“Expect the unexpected,” People Like Us state on their Facebook page, and if you go in expecting a run-of-the-mill covers band I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Next Sunday at Hillworth Park is not to be missed; Trowbridge’s amazing singer/songwriter Phil Cooper.