VB @ the WB!
OK so it’s the day after the (wonderful!) Devizes Beer Festival and you’ve worked your way through the hangover. You’re starting to feel normal again, but the sun is still shining, the world is still a beautiful place, and you really don’t want to start thinking about Monday just yet. What you gonna do?
Well, here’s a possible solution – head on down to the White Bear. Let me explain.
The White Bear (one of the oldest pubs in Devizes, blue plaque on the wall, blah, blah, blah) is rather on the up over the past few months. New landlords Marc & Georgie have been transforming the place since they moved in. Not only do they have an agreement with Wadworth that the pub can also supply a limited range of non-Wadworth beers on their pumps, and not only has chef Marc shaken up the menu with some glorious and interesting new food choices, and not only do they have some wonderful B&B accommodation, but now they are experimenting with providing a new laid-back music venue.
The plan is to feature a different artist every Sunday in the 5pm to 7pm slot, in a small, intimate venue with good food and beer, and to create a pleasant and laid-back vibe, perfect for winding down the week-end.
First up this Sunday was local musical hero Vince Bell. But before he took to the mic we had a great support slot from Fraser Tilley, who turned in an enthusiastic and lively set featuring both original and covers material (Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, T. Rex and others). He in turn was supported by drummer Tim Watts, laying down some very gentle percussion accompaniment (having played with It’s Complicated at the previous day’s Devizes Beer Festival). The two of them provided exactly what was needed – an uncomplicated (geddit?) drift of songs that had the audience listening and applauding.
After a short break, Tim stuck around to accompany main man Vince. Last time I saw Vince was a few weeks back at Long Street Blues Club, playing support act to Skinny Molly in front of a very large and noisy audience. On Sunday the audience was much smaller, much more intimate, but equally enthusiastic. Vince seemed relaxed and quickly established an easy rapport with the assembled crew, which (obviously) included many local friends. His choice of material was good, mixing his own self-penned numbers, with a few covers including those from a certain Mr Bowie, the Killers, David Gray etc. For an encore he asked the audience which they’d prefer – one his songs? Or a cover? The audience wanted both, and that’s what Vince obligingly delivered.
So, for the launch of yet another musical venue in The Vize, was it a success? An unequivocal thumbs-up from here – good venue, good beer, good food, nice cool atmosphere and, of course, some great music.
Future gigs are to be announced, but next Sunday (14th July) is already lined up with Bristol-based singer/ songwriter Andy Juan.
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