As festive season reaches fever pitch on Saturday 22nd December, The Cellar Bar @ The Bear Hotel in Devizes will host a Christmas bash like no other. Four bands, terrible compulsory jumpers, and more festivity than you can shake an elf at.
the quadruple of bands, The Compact Pussycat, Nerve Endings, Sunset Service and The Real Cheesemakers will entertain you from 7pm, and donations will be taken for Julia’s House Hospice as an Xmas gift from Wiltshire’s music scene.
DevMas (a brand-new term combined from the ancient Wiltshire slang “Devvie Town” and…. well, Christmas, of course…) will take-over The Cellar Bar beneath Devizes’ iconic Bear Hotel on the final Saturday before Christmas, giving weary shoppers and the hardcore party seekers that final chance to get themselves their exciting musical fix before being buried in wrapping paper and left-over vegetables!
Co-organiser, who we know very well, Mr Mike Barham, vocalist and guitarist in Devizes rock group Nerve Endings, explained the inception of the one-off event as “initially just a group of friends wanting to put on a Christmas show, but it became much more than that! Our group had their debut at The Southgate during October and weren’t planning on doing any more shows this year, rather focus on recording and writing to get things rolling properly.”
“Then we decided it was so close to Christmas, and Wiltshire has such a ridiculous variety and scope to its music scene, that we wanted to celebrate that and the people who make it possible with their support and generosity. So, the best way we could think of to say thank you was with a free entry show on the last Saturday before the big festive day!”
“It’s an opportunity for everyone that supports those first musical steps, share our stories and passion with others, to be in one place and share the festive spirit whilst being bombarded by new material from four bands who all bring their own unique flavour to the Christmas table!”
“Also, it’s a chance to celebrate The Cellar Bar, which has long stood as one of our stand-out venues in Devizes. So many incredible acts have graced this venue, and it remains almost like a bastion of musical endeavour. It’s charming, intimate and a great spot to grow talent in this little town, so to me it was the ideal place to have this event.”
“AND it means we can give back to the community by raising money for Julia’s House, who do incredible work at their new Devizes hospice site. Aside from the religious connections, Christmas should be about embracing those around you, whether that’s in the community or those in need, so we are trying to do both. It may just be a gesture, but if we can raise a smile on kids face at Julia’s House over Christmas, it’s worth all the battering of ear drums and tired limbs of our acts!”
Luke Bartels, who operates the Cellar Bar on behalf of Wadworth Brewery, said: “Using the Cellar Bar to its full potential is a dream of mine. When my family was asked to take on the Bear Hotel, we came to look at the space and immediately I knew it had potential.”
“It’s like The Cavern or some of the other iconic small venues round the country, and having a showcase of the local talent on show here for Christmas is the best way to give back and let everyone know the space is here to be used and harbour all the developing talent in the area. It’s a cradle of life for music!”
Julia’s House is an award-winning children’s hospice in Dorset and Wiltshire, dedicated to bringing comfort and care to families across the two counties. Each family they support is unique and so is the care they provide. When a family finds out that their child has a very serious medical condition, which is life-limiting or life-threatening, their world falls apart. Julia’s House exists to help these children and their families, with practical and emotional support, tailoring their care to the needs of each individual child and their family.
The new respite centre in Devizes has been warmly received by the local community, and DevMas hopes to add to that local support from the musical community that is so prevalent in the small Wiltshire town.
So, the bands: The Compact Pussycat, who have taken the Wiltshire scene by storm since their debut earlier in 2018, and expanded like a funky, fuzzy rash across the South West within a few months. Now rocking as a tight, dancy three piece these dashing young men will be firing out brand new tracks guaranteed to have you tapping your feet (other involuntary body motions are available) throughout the evening.
The Real Cheesemakers almost need no introduction in certain circles, their hilarious yet pulsating tunes have seen them team up with legendary Chap-Hop star Professor Elemental and build an avid local following of cheesy fans. The self-proclaimed, “purveyors of the finest nonsense and Wallop of Cods in a musical format,” these fine fellows will deliver tales of epic squid vs whale battles, plastic free living and the odd reference to dairy products that rhyme with “tea”. These chaps bring the mirth factor to DevMas Day.
Sunset Service are a cut above your average alt-country rock band, in fact they are one of the finest groups in their field. The five-piece from across the south west have been churning out their charming yet chunky sound across the area and are now coming home for Christmas (take that Chris Rea!) Amidst the other chaotic and comedic elements of the other groups on the bill, Sunset Service may actually be the most mature and refined act of the night!
Nerve Endings are a three-piece rock outfit from Devizes, newly formed and hurled into the crucible of live performance in early October to thunderous reception. Drawing influences from Biffy Clyro, Rage Against the Machine, Father John Misty and many other diverse sources, these three-combine swaying, anthemic sections with all out aural warfare to hammer home their sound.
Yet if you’ve been reading Devizine biblically, which I know you do, you’d have heard of all these great acts already and have to agree prior to basting the turkey, it’s something pretty cool to be doing during yule. You don’t even have to write it on your list to Santa, because entry to this gig is FREE!
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