Maggiora Plays The Bear – And Wins!

Following on from our preview (see here,) Andy reviews last night at the Cellar Bar.

Andy Fawthrop

 

There’s a very talented musician, singer and song-writer walking round Devizes this morning who ought to be feeling pretty damned pleased with himself after performing such a great show in the Cellar Bear last night, and making a lot of new friends in the process.

 
That guy is Steve Maggiora, and last night he played his only UK gig whilst travelling through the country back to his home in the USA. He was aided and abetted by local favourites Jon Amor on guitar, and Mark Barrett on drums. Together these guys formed an impromptu “Steve Maggiora Trio” for one night only, and yet it was like listening to a well-oiled, well-drilled band that had been together for years.

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Steve, rightly, commanded centre stage, playing some great riffs on keyboard, and filling out every song with powerful, soulful vocals. The energy he generated was exciting and stimulating, his voice hitting both light and shade perfectly. To his left Mark Barrett, as ever, provided supportive no-nonsense simple but driving rhythms on drums. His style is restrained and sympathetic in a way that he manages to make look effortless. And over to Steve’s right Jon Amor, local hero of this parish, poured out some of his very best guitar work. At times he was on fire, laying down some really hot bluesy licks. Each musician was on top form, a master of his craft, and commanded huge respect from the others, but together the combination was irresistible, and they delivered some really stunning numbers. It was a warm, rich, complex sound that drew you in and gave you a big wet sloppy kiss. And it was so obvious that these three guys loved playing together and were enjoying every minute of it. Their enthusiasm was infectious and the packed crowd absolutely lapped it up.

 
Playing a mix of his own songs and covers of some great classics, Steve had the crowd eating out of his hand right from the start. After absolutely nailing “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”, the guys later came round to absolutely kick the living daylights out of “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”. The crowd loved it and sang along, creating an absolutely superb and enthusiastic atmosphere.

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Probably one of the best local gigs I’ve ever been to. I’d love to see the guy again, and hopefully we’ll manage to get him back in Devizes one of these days. High-calibre entertainment indeed.

 
The Cellar Bar at The Bear Hotel is a great venue for music at the best of times, but last night it was hard to imagine anywhere better to serve up such sumptuous musical fare. If you’ve not been before, get yourself along one of these Friday nights!

 

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