Images used with kind permission of Nick Padmore
Featured image by Andy Fawthrop
Yeah, proper job that; is this anyway to start a formal and highly articulated review? Do I care, you were there, wasn’t you? It’s that pub in town which yesteryear used to have nicotine stained wallpaper peeling off the wall, which you’d get a tobacco hit from just standing close to. Now the Three Crowns is chic, Wadworthshire flavoured and very much a part of contemporary Devizes pub culture. It may not be home to live music every weekend, but it has its moments, and when it does it goes down a little something like this Sunday, when our pop cover favourites, People Like Us took over and hosted an afternoon in aid of Julia’s House.
Even CD sales from the support artists went into the charity pot, and when they’re none other than the lady like Tamsin Quin, and that local master of melancholic acoustic, Mr Vince Bell, you know it’ll be a homegrown winner. I noted a Pikachu in the toy shop window with a Sherlock Holmes hat, but if my son would like it was a fleeting thought as the mellow sound of saxophone drifted from the pub and drew me in.
Jimmy Sax was the fellow’s name, quite apt considering. After only a short period he’d mastered the sexiest brass instrument known to jazz, and presented us with some sassy sunny covers. I was reminded by our writer Andy, this was the second year of the charity event, that I was a fool to miss the last one, and my judgement on the décor of the Three Crowns went out with the Mesozoic era; what can I say, they don’t let me out much. The sun though, was scorching last year, Andy expressed, and while it stayed this way for Tamsin, who took the gazebo stage next, bin bags were sought for the speakers, in time for Vince Bell, as that tropical drizzle patted down.
Though climate could never distract, the crowd was both building and buzzing, you’d be forgiven to forgetting this was Sunday, a day usually reserved for homecooked roast dinner and perhaps strimming hedges. Yet I was informed the Sunday roast here was something rather special, and affordable at around a tenner a pop too. And those who partook stuck around to see the live show. It’s been a while since I heard Tamsin sing, although galivanting and making a name for herself, she, and Vince were at the Southgate Friday with Jamie, Phil and Pat. Still, for me, it was great to hear how much more self-assured and proficient she now comes across, but delightfully retaining her trademark air of gregarious and welcoming essence, which projects through her songs and banter. Tamsin was keen to tell me about new recordings she’d been making, and I’ll be thrilled to tell you about them when the time comes.
Vince set up next, I never tire of Ship of Fools, his magnum opus in my opinion, and the plethora of his intelligently crafted songs. Like Dylan could do in his heyday, timeworn, he now just goes through the notions. There is never anything mundane about Vince’s mellow moods, as he delivers them with such an astonishingly acute appetite; no ego, just, captivating passion. Then he rounds up with the facetious tribute to Devizes, which would soar overhead of “outsiders,” but is welcomed here with audience participation.
By six, People Like Us livened up to the point of a dance frenzy, for it’s what they do best, and herein lies the secret formula to a successful and enjoyable afternoon; when support artist are encouraged to do their own thing, what typifies Devizes music scene, is knowing acceptable, and for this People Like Us bought us something special, their share shines every time.
Through Don Henley to Bruno Mars, from Maroon 5 to Evanescence, and Coldplay to Metallica, it’s an exclusive and unique take on a Now album archive, finished with a slick overcoat in something almost Californian beatnik bubble-gum, yet matured over beechwood, ever proficient and polished; it’s Devizes, and its danceable fun. They could manage this electric atmosphere in our crustier pubs, they’ll do the same in a glitzy sports bar, it just works universally, simple. Catch People Like Us at the Owl in Bromham this Saturday.
Amalgamate this with the hospitable crowd, and it’s a pleasant, Devizes styled episode of Cheers; where everybody knows your name. Nick, you are “Norm!”
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