Can’t review your own gig, numb-nuts; see this as a reflection on our blinding reggae night down the Cellar Bar………..
Relying on public transport, our neighbouring Marlborough seems like a million miles away, a gamble you won’t be stuck in Avebury wandering the stones talking to some starry-eyed American beatnik about the wonders of crop circles.
But I thought it an idea to invite the very best Marlborough has to offer, in the genre I love the most, to our own cobble-stoned Cellar Bar last night. And boy, did it go off.
I arrived as early as my dinner would settle, to find a wall of speakers and a sound system in various stages of construction.
Ingrained, we are, of live music, one punter inquired when the band was going to play. This is sound system culture, a history richer than disco, a Jamaican ethos of music for the masses, stretching back seventy years beyond the ska sound of the sixties, to days of dub reggae, inspiring the bloc-parties of hip hop in the Bronx, and naturally, the free rave scene of the nineties.
The sound system pioneered not just techniques in amplification, but musical progression in ways the band or solo musician could never.
So, we are here, in 2019, if Devizes embraces tradition it sure took this surprise under its wing, as the Cellar Bar began to fill with our few reggae aficionados, hippies, old scooter boys, youthful passers-by and embraced a unity of all which only reggae can do.
You can sum this up with popular slogan and Marely anthem, One Love. Precisely what Razah, Knati P and crew blessed us with, giving up their time to play in aid of the homeless charity, Devizes Opendoors, under our banner of Devizine, and of which I’m forever in their debt for.
A huge thanks goes out to the crew, painter and mentor, Knati P who brings the party with him, Nick, aka Razah, who technically made this work wonders, and gave me a few tips on playing on a big sound system, despite it looking like a confusing series of knobs, dials and lights to me!
I gave them a break and did a blast with my amateurish computer mix, as the crowds were yet to cotton on. Yep, should’ve publicised it better with posters, save relying on the followers of Devizine, yet Devizes should’ve heard of it by now, no excuses; help me to help you, sharing is caring, and word of mouth does wonders. Despite, as our first couple of gigs had no budget, and not wishing to dip into charity funds, was therefore experimental to see the power of the site and who pays attention to it; kind of worked, kind of didn’t. A few bods telling me they just passed by and heard the sweet music. Another notch in the idea of taking Devizine to the printers. Anyhoo, for future reference that.
With my mix from early ska to upbeat dub-ska over and done with, the professionals took control. In a blink the place was bustling. Beginning with popular reggae tunes and blending slowly towards a contemporary upbeat, jungle-like sound, only to finish where we started with Prince Buster’s One Step Beyond; that’s ska, people, please keep up!
No one shirked in the bottom seating area, even the dust on the old beams was jumping. Proof, I feel, reggae has a market here, fruitful and valid. Ergo, if you want to attract a crowd to your pub venue, with something differing from the norm, get in quick and book this Skanga sound system, the Knati P and friends reggae show, before someone else takes heed! My mission to force Devizes to be reggae-friendly has raised the bar, Knati, Nick and crew did an astounding job of convincing me.
A blinding, joyful atmosphere which needed no bouncer-presence; 99.9% here to party, as it should be. Mate, whoever you were to be so cheeky to ask bar-staff for a table knife, posing as a crew member with the task of taking the flags down, I’m not impressed with shadowing the good reputation growing in Devizes for our guests, who played for the love. You were only caught down the street anyway, with the spoils of a Bob Marley flag that you can buy online for £3.20; I’m not the local newspaper, and will refer to you publicly as a fucking knob-jockey.
Delighted to announce then, combined with last week we raised £225 for Devizes Opendoors, who work to provide homeless and people in sheltered accommodation comfort in a cooked breakie, takeaway lunch, wash and donated clothes, books, and importantly, a social environment with needed help and advice. The way things of going these days, this is the cold reality in our affluent town. Though minor compared with cities and larger towns, it’s real and it’s happening.
Bugger me sideward with a barge-pole if I say I love reviewing my own gigs, I’m not here to boast, as it’s not about me. See this then as a diary-like blogpost, and tip for who I think needs greater attention on our scene. Thank you, for all the effort you’ve put in, to the attendees, Luke and staff at the Cellar Bar. Thanks to the previous Saturday’s acts; The Roughcut Rebels, The Hound on the Mountain, Gail Foster and those Truzzy Boys (hope you had a grand night at the Cons Club.) And a massive respect and one love to this week’s crew, particularly Sam, and to Razah and Knati P, who you can catch 8th June at a regular spot in the Wellington Arms, Marlborough, for the Queen’s Birthday Party. Whether the Queen will be there to skank the night away is yet unconfirmed but highly likely.
We will prompt and notify you of future events from these guys, Devizine owes them big time. Meanwhile, I think there’s so much going on during the summer, time to concentrate on those. We are NOT an event organiser, we aim to promote those who do, but Devizine Presents does help me understand what organisers are up against. Not to say l won’t put something else on later in the year though, aiming to highlight our blossoming music scene and all that sail in her!
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