Mad March: Things to Do. Part 1…

Huzzah, hurrah, hurray, whoop, bravo, hoot, shout, shriek, hosanna, alleluia and other synonyms for expressions of delight which I’ve shamelessly purloined from Word’s dictionary. Do I care? It’s March, time of the Mad March Hare, spring springing, birds a-singing in the blossoming treetops; after such a damp winter it’s refreshing to look forward to the April showers season!

Why do we even call them April showers when they tend to carry through from March to June?! Nevertheless, it’s warmer rain, with momentary lapses of sunshine, those little teasers of spring; don’t blink you might miss them. Still, just like a bear, I’m awakening from my hibernation, and heading downstream for a salmon supper!

In celebration of the feast, here’s some choosiest stuff to do over the coming month, as fished from our event calendar. The list is by no means comprehensive, you know the score by now, it’s updated (nearly) every day, so do try to keep up. Facebook is a good idea, if you do that, our page pumps posts out like Dwayne Johnson on a promise. Also, consider signing up for a weekly email, I don’t spam you, just once a week bulletin of what we’ve done and what’s to come.

First fortnight in March then, here it comes; the second half will follow…… I say that, then like a goldfish it’s a notion that’s gone in three seconds! Also, I can’t provide the links, but it’s all listed on our home page with links; it’ll take till April to do that, computer running at the speed of snail and all!

Devizes: First of the month is Sunday, nice way to ease into it. Georgina, Landlady of the White Bear, is running the London Marathon for Dorothy House, so there’s a pub quiz at 6:30pm to fundraise; £2.50 per person, max. 6 people on a team. Great Scott! St James Church hosts the monthly Devizes Silver Screen Film Club; Back to the Future showing this month. A great social meeting for our elders, and Driving Miss Daisy can provide transport.


If you’re looking for something wilder, The Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon is the place to head, where those Back-Wood Redeemers will be twisting those dark country and blues riffs into their splendid frenzy. Highly recommended from Devizine, tell them we sent you!

PSG has their regular Monday “Devizes session of Pop Soul & Gospel Choir,” at the Parish Rooms on Long Street, from 8pm until 9:30pm. Incredibly welcoming, PSG currently expect between 25 and 30 members on a Monday, and inform us “it’s a fantastic sound!” Join them for a fantastic start to your week!

Tuesday 3rd then, and it’s Devizes Film Club at the Town Hall. The Farewell (PG) from China, 2019. Director: Lulu Wang. To western eyes, this film has a curious plot but it becomes understandable in the telling. Billi has left China aged six, to be brought up in New York. Twenty-four years later, she is called back to attend a wedding that has been arranged purely to conceal from her grandmother that she is dying of lung cancer. Such kindly subterfuge is apparently common practice but Billi finds it hard to accept. She sees again many family members and it is her gradual reacquaintance with her Chinese heritage that provides this compelling, spiky exploration of family duty. A heartfelt, funny, emotional and rewarding film. The screenplay and production are wonderful, prompting The Irish Critic to call it the Best Film of the Year.


Wednesday is the regular acoustic jam at the Southgate. Marlborough’s folk-roots club has Edgelarks at the Town Hall; duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin combine exquisite folk with influences as diverse as the blues and Indian classical slide guitar, to create a sound that is “subtle, atmospheric and bravely original” (The Guardian.) Alternatively, one of the most romantic operas ever written, La Bohème is showing at Bath Forum.

Even if not for the weather, Thursday 5th should get heated. Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough debate with MP Danny Kruger at St Mary’s Devizes.

Friday night in Devizes looks loud; hard-edged vintage blues with Barrelhouse at the Southgate will yowl like the Howlin’ Wolf. To contend, AC/DC tribute, Hell’s Bells play the Exchange, but want for a local, loud, classic rock cover-band, the awesome Homer play The Crown at Bishop’s Canning’s, and you’ll probably hear them from the Market Place!

Buddy Holly and The Cricketers

Lighter rock n roll tributes come from Melksham’s Assembly Hall, where you’ll find Buddy Holly and The Cricketers. Or Bath Forum has Elvis show, The King is Back, and Johnny Walker presents Sounds Of The 70s at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre.

The 7th, first Saturday of the month then, here it is: A songwriter genuinely literate, sometimes almost literary, Ian Parker is an original craftsman. Expressed through a distinctive bitter-sweet vocal delivery, Ian’s songs hold nothing back. His ability and willingness to share with his audience, naked honesty and genuine emotion, is what sets him apart, and The Long Street Blues Club welcomes him and his band back. Meanwhile, a little more light-hearted, Teachers Pet Rock Show comes to The Cavalier Community Hall. If you’ve seen School of Rock, expect an East/West Midlands styled tribute, promising to be a “gut busting, face melting glorious rock show that’s suitable for all ages!”


There’s acoustic fingerpicking, electric guitar thumping rhythms, harmonica and a loop pedal at the Southgate with Jon Pollard, while Marlborough’s Lamb has the high-energy classic rock covers band, The Electric Troubadours. Down t’other end of that enlarged High Street, The Wellington has its Welly-Fest; check their Facebook page as there’s stuff going on the whole month long. Comes to ahead for reggae fans though, on Saturday  when our friends Razah and Knati P bring their sound system; oh yes.

Tributes in Trow-Vegas with Abbamania at The Civic. Whereas it’s a Britpop tribute double-header at the Melksham Assembly Hall with Oasis Maybe and Ultimate Stone Roses, and always worth catching, The Blue Rose Band play The Talbot Inn, Calne.

Would you Adam & Eve it, Sunday March 8th is my birthday? Thank you, it’s just a number. Not spoiled for choice as I’ve only one gig listed at the moment, but I do love the White Bear, where Phil Jinder Dewhurst continues their regular Sunday Sessions. Talking Sunday sessions, Swindon promoters Songs of Praise do similar at The Tuppenny, find the Richard Wileman & the Amy Fry Experience there this Sunday 8th.

Week 2

Second week of March then, then we’re done and you go vacuum the hallway, or whatever else is outstanding; never ends, does it? Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough holds workshop “Roots of a Regenerative Culture,” Monday 7pm at The Barge on Honey Street. This training demystifies how to make everything we do regenerative and, as such, it is the key to understanding how to build resilience within ourselves and our communities.


Tuesday 10th there be a Quiz Night at The Vaults, Devizes in aid of Opendoors. And the Devizes Film Club has a Mexican movie, The Chambermaid (15) at the Town Hall. Director Lila Avilés’ first film quietly pulses with life in a multi-storey luxury hotel in Mexico. We see the engrossing work of a young, single mother trying her best to be promoted by thorough work, and to study in what spare time she is allowed. There is no life-saving Hollywood romance, just the drudgery of her daily work, problems with her fellow workers and managers and her efforts to improve her life. Cartol acts with sublime understanding of her role. With persistence and wry humour, she rearranges her tasks for variety, wickedly teases the window-cleaners, goes to evening classes and reads Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A subtle gem of a film, beautifully shot against the boring and colourless back-rooms, lush guest-rooms and the stunning city views.

Wednesday 11th at Marlborough’s Merchants House Michael Hart presents “Protestantism and the English Character.” While one of the most intriguing and exciting collaborations on today’s folk scene, Peter Knight, legendary violinist and ex-Bellowhead member John Spiers brings an evening of improvisation and invention of mysterious tunes to Pound Arts in Corsham. In Devizes, it’s time again for the acoustic jam at the trusty Southgate.


Blossoms play the Bath Forum on Thursday 12th, revealing their new album, Foolish Loving Spaces. They explain, “The album is a pure celebration of love in all of its splendid and baffling guises, toying with the so-called sins of lust and forbidden infatuation. It’s inspired by a summer spent listening to ‘Stop Making Sense’, ‘The Joshua Tree’ & ‘Screamadelica’.” If you’re in Swindon though, head for The Tuppenny, where the awesome Jake Martin and Jess Silk perform acoustic. Acoustic, made for Thursday, eh? If you disagree, check out the Winchester Gate, Salisbury where top Ramones tribute, The Ramonas are guaranteed to liven it up.

The Lost Trades

Friday is the night when the county finally gets ready for the debut gig of super-group The Lost Trades. Highly anticipated amalgamation of our good friends, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins and Tamsin Quin. We wish you the very best of luck, guys. They’ll be supported by Timid Deer and Vince Bell at Trowbridge’s Village Pump.


Meanwhile, keeping Kalm ‘n’ Kind in Devizes, there’s a Restorative Yoga class with Kim Pierpoint, a Fundraising Quiz Evening for Opendoors at 7.30. Philippa and Declan Morgan are running the quiz at Wiltshire Museum. Tickets £10, including nibbles and a glass of wine. Reserve your ticket online and pay on the door!

On my never-ending list to do is get to “Pelly,” kudos for putting on live music gigs, guys, just got work early in the mornings! Drew Bryant is live at The Pelican Inn on Friday, Lewis Clark & The Essentials with folk, soul, and blues at The Southgate, and there’s a Queen tribute called The Bohemians at the Corn Exchange. Comedy Night at Bradford’s Boat House with Jake Lambert, and the amazing Frank Turner plays Bath Forum.

Lewis Clark & The Essentials

Tuesday is St Patrick’s Day, but Devizes’ Cavalier can’t wait, and present a St Patrick’s theme weekend with those brilliant Day Breakers in the Community Hall on Saturday 14th. On the other side, three-piece rock originals, the Lightnin’ Hobos play The Southgate, and if you’re not spoiled for choice this Saturday, I don’t know when you will be, as the one and only Pete Gage plays with Innes Sibun and Jon Amor, all backed by Ruzz Guitar Revue at the Sports Club, corrrrr, that’ll be awesome.


Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough are back at the The Barge, Honeystreet for a gathering, where the evening presents a stripped back, 3-piece version of Troyka Bristol, Troyka Mala. They play a stormy mixture of traditional and original songs and rhythms from the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans with brushes of Klezmer and the Middle East; intrigued? I am.

Powerhouse Gospel Choir play Melksham Assembly Hall while Jon Hopkins is at Bath Forum. For something more off planet, stoner rock and electro art-punk are promised at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon, with Head Noise, Conspiracy of Chaplains and The Forgetting Curve.

TLT artwork

That’s about all, we will follow this up with the final fortnight of March, when I get around to it. I do, though wish I’d stop promising these things! One thing you can depend on, Saturday in Swindon will rock with Splat The Rat at The Merlin on Drove Road, unfortunately, I cannot recommend Talk In Code’s new single Talk Like That enough, see our review. Note, the launch party is at the Castle on this particular Saturday, the 14th, and I can’t think of a better way to finish this lengthy roundup off!

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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Hold Tight, March Brings R’n’B Showcase at the Sports Club

Ah, hold tight, two preview pieces from me tonight; I’m an unstoppable steam train of broadcasts, choo-choo! Yet, I’m not sure this needs an introduction, not because we’ve been running the poster for it a while now, but if you’re in the know regarding Devizes links to blues then the line up at the R’n’B Bar at The Sports Club on Saturday 14th March will appeal no end, and you’ve probably snapped the tenner tickets already. If you’re new to said scene, then this gig would act as the ideal taster; digest this……


Legendary bluesman Peter Gage, former frontman of The Jet Harris Band, member of Dr Feelgood who blew the roof off Long Street with Dave Raeburn, Paul Hartshorn and Pete Lowrey as The Pink Tornados in December, will headline. But come here, there’s more. The guitar maestro I’ve been raving about, Mr Ruzz Guitar and his Blues Revue will also be there, his trio backing, or blessing these otherwise solo performances. I swear his guitar is like a phaser in Star Trek, set to stun, and I’m still speechless after his performance at the Gate a number of moons ago.


While Ruzz is Bristol based, and Peter resides in the west country too, both Devizes links to the contemporary blues scene also show up to do their thing. Innes Sibun, who we featured partnered with Marcus Malone as the Malone Sibun Band on the night they allowed me to roam free at the Long Street Blues Club, and be astounded by the quality of goings-on there. And of course, Jon Amor who is regularly featured here as, well, he’s regularly here, but more-so, because his talent is unsurpassed. Though I’m sure, as when such heroes meet, there will be a communal feeling and we’ll be treated to some improv and guitar-showdowns, rather than a balanced one-off-next-one-on scenario; least I’m hoping.


All in all, this event is like pulling four bells in a row on the fruity; need I say more? See you there. Oh, nearly forgot, slow down, man; tickets on door or in advance from Sports Club.


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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Truth Sluth: Epistemological Investigations for the Modern Age

One of the most intriguing blurbs to a local event to catch my eye on recent online travels, in this humble but perpetual quest to bring you news of happenings, has to be a new performance from a Bristol/South-West theatre group, aptly named the Modest Genius Theatre Company. “Truth Sluth: Epistemological Investigations for the Modern Age,” is touring locally, and coming to Trowbridge Library on Tuesday 7th April, Warminster’s on the morning of Wednesday 8th April, the afternoon at Devizes Library on the 8th and Calne on Thursday 9th.


Targeted at everyone aged seven and up, Truth Sluth is a choose-your-own-adventure comedy show that will make laugh, think critically and question everything. It explores contemporary issues surrounding fact and fiction, and asks “ever wondered who you can trust? Ever read a blog and doubted its veracity? (Hummm; ed!) Is your newsfeed feeding you fake fodder? Truth Sleuth is on the case of fake news.”

Pre- booked tickets are £5 and are available from or telephone 01249 701628. Tickets on the door are £7 (cash only for on the door tickets.) Then, be ready to “join Truth Sleuth to gather clues, make decisions and steer the action. Come on down to the birthplace of information itself, the oracle with a public toilet: your local library.”

The Modest Genius Theatre company are fast becoming renowned for their innovative, dark physical comedy about social taboos. Based in Bristol and the South West, the company was formed in 2015 by graduates of the Lecoq, Gaulier and Dell’arte theatre schools, Tristan Green, Sidney Robb and Tess Cartwright. Using clown, mime, physical theatre, storytelling, movement and music they mesmerise audiences with poignant material that takes you on an emotional journey. “We love the extremes,” they tell, “and give our audience permission to feel how they feel.”


Truth Sluth: Epistemological Investigations for the Modern Age is hot topical comedy, in collaboration with Canadian playwright Greg Cochrane, and Pound Arts. Using physical comedy, storytelling and clever wordplay, this is devised theatre that obliterates the fourth wall. I don’t know about you lovely lot; I’m delighted to hear local libraries hosting something so intriguing and hope it’s the beginning of more such performances.

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – Celtic Roots Collective @ The Southgate and Mule @ The White Bear, Devizes –Sunday 23rd February 2020

Sunday Contrasts

Andy Fawthrop

It was a shame that England’s crushing defeat of Ireland Twickenham meant that the start of music at The Southgate got pushed back from its usual start at 4pm until 5pm, because it meant there were two live acoustic duos performing at two different pubs at exactly the same time.

I wanted to see both, as both acts were new to me, so the only tactic I could think of was to see the first half of one (CRC at The Southgate) and the second half of the other (Mule at The White Bear). I know, I know – it’s like waiting for buses – you wait for ages, then two come along at the same time.


First up was Celtic Roots Collective, a rather strange Irish-focussed musical outing for a duo whose members hail from Yorkshire and Italy. Both assured the audience that their “countries” bordered Ireland, so that was OK then. The music was basic, down-to-earth and (if I’m honest) slightly rough round the edges and a little nervously delivered. Featuring violin and guitar, they played plenty of singalong “Irish” and “English” crowd-pleasers such as Whiskey In The Jar, Wild Rover, Dirty Old Town, Leaving of Liverpool etc. which certainly got the crowd moving. It was all good knockabout stuff, but I felt that they needed more practice and more gigs to tighten up the act, particularly the vocals/ harmony. But it’s still very early in the band’s journey, so that’s only to be expected. CRC are what I’d call still a work-in-progress.

Then down to The White Bear to catch Mule, featuring Chris Goulding on guitar & vocals, and Sharon Lindo on violin & vocals. This was an altogether tighter, more practised and more confident duo, delivering a good variety of material, ranging from folky jigs and reels, through to some great covers of David Gray, The Doors and others. Their vocal harmony work was spot-on, and they exuded an easy-going, friendly rapport with the audience. And a good audience it was too, including a fair crowd from the Devizes Town Band, with whom Sharon plays a key role. So we had a great atmosphere, a full pub, and plenty of clapping and singing along. Excellent entertainment.


Yet another great Sunday afternoon where we, the audience, were spoilt for choice. But this is the fun of live music in our town!

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 28th February The Shudders
• Saturday 29th Feb Plus Friends
• Friday 6th March Barrelhouse
• Saturday 7th March Jon Pollard
• Friday 13th March Lewis Clark & The Essentials
• Saturday 14th March Lightnin’ Hobos

Future gigs at The White Bear:

• Sunday 8th March Phil Jinder Dewhurst
• Sunday 15th March Burbank
• Sunday 22nd March Mr. Love & Justice
• Sunday 29th March Matt Cook

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – King Street Turnaround @ The Southgate, Devizes –Saturday 22nd February 2020

The Juggernaut Rolls Back Into Town

Andy Fawthrop

There had been some concern that this gig might not go ahead after Jon Amor was forced to cancel Thursday night’s outing to The Beehive in Swindon due to illness. But fortunately for us, and thanks to the amazing healing properties of Lemsip, Jon’s latest home-town gig went ahead as planned. And even being a bit under the weather, Jon was on good form.

King Street Turnaround is one of Jon’s latest band outings, formed at the end of last year, and features Jerry Soffe on bass, Evan Newman on keyboards and Tom Gilkes behind the drums. And what an outfit it is. The band rolled into the Southgate and blew us all away.

What did we get? We got soul, funk, blues, boogie-woogie and rock. This was high-octane stuff, delivered with confidence and panache. We got some great solos from each member of the band, including the always-expected wizardry from Jon’s squealing lead guitar. How he manages to squeeze some of those sounds from that one guitar is simply amazing.


And we got tight, driving rhythms that gave a solid platform to some great improvisation work. We got a band that could dial it up, then dial it down, then back up to eleven again. We got a dance-floor packed with people having a good time. We got very little time wasted on inter-song chat, just lots and lots of music that spoke for itself. It was hot, it was sweaty, it was great.

Highlight of the night for me was the band getting in the groove to deliver a fearsomely good performance of “Juggernaut”. It’s got to that point with me now that if Jon doesn’t play this monster of a song, I almost feel short-changed!

Are we allowed to say that it was shit-hot? Can we say that? Yes – it was shit-hot!

Yet another belting gig from Mr Amor and friends, and yet another inspired booking by Debs and Dave at The Southgate. Live music at its very best.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 28th February The Shudders
• Saturday 29th Feb Plus Friends
• Friday 6th March Barrelhouse
• Saturday 7th March Jon Pollard
• Friday 13th March Lewis Clark & The Essentials
• Saturday 14th March Lightnin’ Hobos

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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Neeld Hall pays Tribute to Eddie Cochran

Following the plane crash which killed his friends, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, along with the Big Bopper, just a year prior to his own tragic death, rebellious rocker Eddie Cochran was said, by his friends and family, to be emotionally disturbed by the incident, and had an unsettled premonition that he would also die young.

On 16th April 1960, on route to London to catch a flight after a show at the Bristol Hippodrome from an extended tour, his taxi crashed into a lamppost on Rowden Hill in Chippenham, a plaque there marks the disaster. The other rock n roller touring, Gene Vincent met with a broken leg which would see him walk with a limp. Other passengers, American singer Sharon Sheeley and theatrical agent Patrick Tompkins suffered minor injuries. But Eddie was thrown from the car, sustaining a major head injury, and died, aged just 21, in Bath RUH in the early hours of the following morning.


The taxi driver, George Martin, was convicted of dangerous driving, fined £50, disqualified from driving for 15 years, and sent to prison for six months. The taxi and other items from the crash were impounded by local police waiting for a coroner’s inquest. David Harman, a police cadet at the station, who would later become known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, taught himself to play guitar on Cochran’s impounded Gretsch. The band’s success was slight, but the world had lost a rock n roll legend.


Eddie Cochran may never have played a gig in the town, but Chippenham has become a shrine to the legend, and many rock n roll-styled celebrations have taken place in his memory. 2020 sees the sixty-year anniversary of this tragic event, and the Neeld Hall will mark the occasion aptly: Geoff Endacott Presents: A Tribute to Eddie Cochran Featuring The Bluejays on Thursday 9th April.

They tell that “The Bluejays will be keeping his memory and his music alive with this special evening of music. The show will celebrate the music of Eddie Cochran and many other 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll stars.”


The Bluejays formed in 2013, after years of performing together in West End rock ‘n’ roll theatre shows such as Buddy; The Buddy Holly Story, Million Dollar Quartet and Dreamboats & Petticoats and have since toured all over the world. The band created the show Rock and Roll Revolution which is touring UK theatres throughout 2019. In 2017, The Bluejays were invited out to Lubbock, Texas to play for Buddy Holly’s family. They were joined on stage by Buddy’s wife María Elena Holly who sang backing vocals during a cover of Not Fade Away. Other ‘Part-time Bluejays’ include Brian May of Queen who joined the band for a cover of Johnny B. Goode when they played at his daughter’s wedding.

Tickets for this seated event are £23, available now, here.

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The Grated Hits of the Real Cheesemakers

There it goes again, that blasted TV Anchor butter advert. Why, oh why have they used the theme from the classic sitcom Desmond’s? I swear, every time I hear it, I swish around with excitement that rather than the cliché reruns they’ve decided to air Desmond’s again, but it is not to be, just a butter advert. Far from Anchor’s bane of my life, considering they made me redundant when the Swindon plant closed in 2000, where I worked in the cheese hall for five interminable years. People thought I was some kind of expert of cheese production working there, firing all kinds of technicalities at me such as the separation of curd and whey, when all I did was prep and pack the stuff!

I could ask Calne’s Real Cheesemakers the same annoying question, if I wanted to, but I suspect the name derives from cheese’s informal definition; the eminence of being too apparently mawkish. Their debut album, Grated Hits edges this with West Country hilarity. If my hope for a chance rerun of Desmond’s doesn’t qualify me for interest its unsubtle and cringeworthy eighties cultural references, perhaps only the sound of a ZX Spectrum loading would.

Late on the off with this, the album released in November last year, it’s been a monumental twenty-seven years in the making. Twenty-seven years wasted; they’d have got less for murdering a politician. For our local music scene though, it’s a tongue-in-cheek awakening and worthy of your attention. It does to heavy metal-ish banality what The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band did to jazzy psychedelic sixties pop.

Apt that the band cite the Bonzo Dog Band in their bio, as they “formed in 1992 as a duo following the discovery of said band’s records in founding member, Egg’s mum’s record collection.” They continue to explain, “The Real Cheesemakers spent years creating top-quality nonsense and walloping the finest of cods.” They finally played to “an actual audience for the first time,” in 2011, “to some acclaim, and have since performed across the south of England, and added two new members who actually know how to play musical instruments.”


Nonsensically avant-garde from the start, said eighties cultural references from John Craven to Rick Moranis and Marathon’s name change to Margaret Thatcher’s milk snatching, get slammed in “Unicorns of the 1980s.” The blurb explains it as “the now infamous rejected Eurovision Song Contest entry, United by Cheese, and the collaboration with the Godfather of chap-hop and steampunk legend, Professor Elemental.” From here it’s a good guess this album isn’t going to take itself too seriously, and for that, it’s bloody brilliant.

Through a cascade of local refences too, from Cheddar George to the Roundabouts of Swindon, they bash out seventeen songs of confessed love for He-Man and dinosaurs, a dedication to eggs, bacon, chips and beans, pre-assumed affection for cheese, fear of psychopathic tortoises and annoyance of supermarket queuing, with a Pink Floyd-esque ballad to the weasel and a plodding brass explanation for airborne trousers. Like a snail on a lettuce leaf, I’m only teetering the edge of this odd iceberg here, I’d suggest, if you love your nonsense humour and surrealism you steam headlong into it like a Titanic crew comprising of Spike Milligan and the Monty Python team.

Because of its decades-spanning production period, the band explain Grated Hits gives “each song a slightly different feel, but offers high-end production value without overly contaminating the group’s purity and no-fi roots.”

The release topped off a huge year for the “Cheesers,” playing to a sold out Neeld Hall crowd with Professor Elemental and support slots with fellow Chap-Hop pioneer, Mr B Gentleman Rhymer. Most recently, they played with Creed Bratton from the US version of Ricky Gervais’ sitcom, The Office on a few dates of his UK tour to huge acclaim, before supporting Goldie Lookin Chain at their Xmas bash in Bristol. I’ve noted listing them at our trusty Southgate, after hearing this I’m making a beeline for their next local gig, you would too, if you’re the kind of chap who wears a kipper tie and wellington boot on your head, or not, or just when driven to on occasional weekdays.

out now

The album is available to purchase on CD and digital download from The physical copy features and exclusive track, Cheesemaker Blues (live recording), that is not available on the digital version.

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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George Wilding; Sunday Session @ The White Bear

Marc singing off the same song sheet as me, when he explains he encourages original material from the performers at his Sunday sessions at the White Bear in Devizes, yet covers which the artist “make their own” are always crowd pleasers. Who could be more apt than George Wilding?

Yeah, car troubles caused his slight delay, but the fireplace was warming, the denizen atmosphere matched. Convivial and geniality are prevalent at this earliest of Devizes inns, still going strong; I do like the White Bear. Last time I was here, George Wilding coincidently blessed the alcove, while others such as Wade Merrit, Andrew Bazeley, Vince Bell, Jon Walsh, Ian O’Regan, and Cutsmith have all graced the sessions, to name but a few; I’ve just been a bit rubbish in attending. Though our man Andy has been there to review most, I see why. It’s a comfortable and welcoming central pub.

Andy was there, to breath a sigh of relief upon seeing me; I’ll delegated myself to write a little something and he knows it. Though there’s not a great deal to say, especially nothing negative; I didn’t even snap a photo through nattering. If you’ve not heard how unsurpassed George’s every performance is then you’re both new to Devizine and to the area. In a peak cap he breezed through sublime covers and proficient originals like it was child’s play, and maintains his audience with genuine and sincere affability.

Hidden between Simon & Garfunkel, The Animals and even Abba classics, he slipped a refined version of his own My Backwards Head, doing as he always does, brilliantly. With right here, and naturally, The Southgate adding end-of-weekend live music too, Sunday afternoon in Devizes has never been so good. If the value of a pub is the sum of its landlords and its atmosphere, Marc and Georgie have done wonders. It’s Wadworth but with its own stamp. Sunday sessions continue for a while, check our event calendar of their Facebook page. Sunday roasts are also popular here; Mark tells me about plans to open some outside space, but while it’s February, we’re here, nice and warm.

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VE Day in Devizes & Rowde

We held a surprise anniversary party for My Nan and Grandad when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My Grandad was the straight man, my Nan the funny one in an unsurpassed comedy duo. Her sister called out while Grandad did the thank you spiel, “just like your wedding night, eh Carrie?!”

As spontaneously as the wit of the cockney comes my Nan replied, “no, there were bombs on my wedding night!” In an age where we’d go ballistic if a drop of rain appears on our special day, it’s a sentiment I’ll never forget, and I find myself wondering, how on earth do you joke about a thing like that?! Makes you ponder the spirit of the time, people coping through making light of the atrocity of the blitz, and that we would never fully appreciate what they had to endure.


Through my grandad on the other side’s photos and keepsakes I hold dear, I became quite fascinated by the era and therefore honoured to be asked to design not one, but two posters celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE-Day. Firstly, Wayne Cherry and team helps Rowde mark the occasion on the small playing field on the afternoon of Friday 8th May, as I’m sure our other villages will do similar. We also have the Market Place being closed off in Devizes, as Jeanette Von Berg heads the organising of celebrations there.

final rowde ve day poster

I begun the journey to designing these as usual, on the book of face, enquiring if there were any photos of VE Day in Rowde or Devizes. This request remained unanswered, and with time pushing on I decided to use some national images of VE Day to incorporate in the design. Still, I think it came out rather special and I have to confess I’m rather chuffed with it!

But for Devizes I was determine to discover something more local, and thanks goes to Jane and the archives staff at the wonderful Wiltshire Museum for hunting for some amazing images and references. I’ve included some here I didn’t use for the poster.


It was here some years ago, when they held an exhibit of war memorabilia, I dragged my son along with the convenient timing that he was doing a school history project on the wold wars. He was particularly interested with the mock Anderson shelter they had, but I had to correct them when they claimed “everyone had an air raid shelter.” For my family in the poorest parts of the East End of London, gardens were hard to come by, and my Nan fondly recalled the songs and banter echoing through the underground station. We were never told of the Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of 1943, as we were never told of any hardships they faced daily.

I also came to realisation then, while untold dangers and misfortunes were wrought everywhere, there are subtle differences here in urban Wiltshire than the stories passed down to me from my London family, thus opening up a whole new avenue to explore. I knew of the bomb-holes in Savernake Forest, for example, always contemplated the worth of Nazis bombing a forest, but a helper at the exhibit, who was a police officer during the war, answered when I held to question a photo of the large gatehouse at the entrance to Grand Avenue. Ah, I see now, it was a bomb disposal area. He continued for some time, informing me about the prisoner of war camp on Horton Road, and how he had to round them up and chase them back in!


The concern I guess, is that relaying these stories second-hand doesn’t carry the same impact as coming from the horse’s mouth. So, I accept while these events may be geared towards the older generations, I think we owe it to attend if we can, as those who were alive then thin with every year, we have a duty not to forget the sacrifices they made. But the celebrations of VE Day must have been one great explosion of relief, you’d have thought. Yet a book found in the museum told, amazingly, that the Devizes Town Council were criticised for failing to organise anything to mark the occasion; and you thought they’re rather frumpy now!

VE Day in Devizes

Here then is the only photo found of VE Day in Devizes, but its slow aperture has blurred the image and therefore it wasn’t suitable to use in the design. The picture I did use was from a parade in 1944. For while the Council did nought, sporadic parties held by the pubs and hotels burst out into the Market Place. Today, The Devizes Lions have agreed to assist closing the road off for the event, and, at this stage, it’s unclear exactly what help the Town Council will offer. I’m quite chocked by this, having thought on this particular occasion, we all could unite to help however we can. Yet you can bet your bottom dollar Devizine’s upfront attitude will send a rocket up their butts to do something to help mark this monumental occasion; so, watch this space!

For now, though, I’m flattered to have been asked to contribute, by doing what I love, and look forward to seeing these posters around, and in attending. I’ll try swish between the two, eager to pick up some stories we can publish here, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – Navajo Dogs @ The Southgate, Devizes –Saturday 8th February 2020

Pub Rock Is Alive and Well

Andy Fawthrop

After the previous night’s superb gig with The Arnie Cottrell Tendency (see other review elsewhere in Devizine), it was back to The Southgate for something completely different. From gentle Americana on a Friday to straight-up pub-rock on a Saturday night. Part of me was concerned that the night just couldn’t be as good, but I needn’t have worried. Different music genre, different vibe, but still excellent.

Navajo Dogs, formed in 2016, are a local blues-influenced rock band. Consisting of Simon Hansen on vocals, Tom Evans on lead guitar, Kieran McLaughlin on rhythm guitar/ vocals, Jonny Wallhouse on drums/ vocals and Graham Hill on bass, these guys are one solid entertainment unit. The music is loud and uncompromising, the performances are hot, sweaty, sweary and in your face.

Covering a wide range of pop/ rock/ blues classics, outstanding numbers for me were Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s A Winner”, Free’s “Fire and Water”, Prince’s “Purple Rain”, The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and Sam The Sham’s “Woolly Bully”, but there were plenty more. The dance-floor was full all night long, and the crowd clearly appreciated their no-nonsense, no-apologies style. This was 4-star leaded, full cream, full fat pub-rock. It was thumping, steady, rocking and totally infectious. Great vocals, nice guitar work.

Two superb gigs on two consecutive nights. This is what live music is all about.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 14th February Trevor Babajack Steger
• Saturday 15th February Mike Barham
• Friday 21st February Kent Duchaine
• Sunday 23rd February CRC
• Friday 28th February The Shudders

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – Arnie Cottrell Tendency @ The Southgate, Devizes –Friday 7th February 2020

Live Music At Its Very Best

Andy Fawthrop

Friday night is music night, so where else to go other than the ever-welcoming Southgate? Once again Dave and Deb had found a wonderful band to fill the pub…..

I managed to miss the very start of the gig, but then stayed to catch the rest of it, and was still sitting there at nearly midnight.

What had been originally billed as The Velvet Doonicans had morphed into The Arnie Cottrell Tendency. Same people, same band. Whatever. Whoever. Either way Arnie Cottrell, Rick Foote and Graham Bushell played a simply superb gig. Featuring upright bass, acoustic and steel guitars, mandolin, and shared vocals blending into double and triple harmonies, the trio produced music that was magical, melting, melodic and absolutely mesmerising. This was Americana at its best.

The guys were clearly confident and comfortable with their music and with each other, and produced some stunning versions of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country”, Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”, and The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek”. Every song was easy on the ear, relaxed and understated, delivered with panache and some wonderful self-deprecating good humour.

Song after song was wheeled out, and I dearly wanted to go home and get my head down for the night, but there was no way I was leaving whilst these guys were still playing. Such superb musicianship just drew you in. It was warm, lovely, embracing, mesmerising and – well – brilliant. No other word for it.

Yet another reminder that it’s absolutely worth getting your arse in gear, going out into the night and supporting live music venues like the Southgate.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 14th February Trevor Babajack Steger
• Saturday 15th February Mike Barham
• Friday 21st February Kent Duchaine
• Sunday 23rd February CRC
• Friday 28th February The Shudders

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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The World’s Most Famous Fences!

Slow news week, our local rag The Gazelle & Herod decided to report on the country’s most vital subject, Philip Schofield’s sexual orientation, as if he lives in Burbage or somewhere, so why can’t I focus on something irrelevant too? Like the world’s most famous fences. Yeah, as you ponder daring to whisk across your lawn and rescue fence panels, pirouetting trampolines and low flying plant pots, I thought yeah, this is bound to cheer you up.

It might even inspire you for your new fence, after Storm Ciara has done her worst. After all, seems researching a topic such as the most world-famous fences, most of the data is provided by fencing companies. They generally begin by explaining the reasons for installing a fence, be it privacy, security, or decoration. But many of our best fences have other reasons for being; preventing wild animal invasions, cultural, political, or, and do not take off-fence (ba-boom) for hanging women’s undergarments on. So, for your reading pleasure, here’s my chart rundown of the world’s most famous fences; you don’t have to thank me. My sanity was on a hinge browsing “Fencebook” today, what with the perpetual OMG posts of people’s fallen fences.

1: The Great Wall of China


Such an obscure and bizarre subject cannot be comprehensive without some deviation from its limitations, so many cite The Great Wall of China, or the Wànlǐ Chángchéng, as the world’s most famous fence; yeah, I know, there’s a clue in its name, it’s not a fence. Cheating Ming Dynasty Chinese, but you’ve got to admit, it deserves to be top of the fences, for its age, history and simple fact it’s so mightily impressive you can see it from space, if you were in space, which you’re most probably not, so I don’t know why I mentioned it.

2: Hadrian’s Wall


If it’s good enough for the Chinese it’s good enough for us Brits. Again, the second on most lists is a wall, not a fence; what a rip off. Heck, you all know the story of Emperor Hadrian commissioning a coast-to-coast wall to keep out those pesky Scottish barbarians, I haven’t got the leather elbow patches to be any more of a history teacher than that. Let’s just thank our lucky stars it’s not happening today or Hadrian’s act might have been viewed as “Trumpish.” These days though, the wall has disintegrated and wouldn’t keep a haggis from leaping over it, as they regularly do.

3: The Berlin Wall


One last wall then, if we’re going to have walls, we cannot forget the Berlin Wall. It physically and ideologically separated Berlin from 1961 to 1989, protecting its population from fascist rudiments conspiring to avert the “will of the people” from building a socialist state in East Germany. The evening of the 9th November 1989 is known as the night the Wall came down, and marked the end of fascism in Germany; funny, we’re only just starting out with ours.

However, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, other barriers were disposed of in the breaking of the Iron Curtain, and yay, they do include fences! A long one too, in Hungary, stretching 149 miles it bordered Austria. In April 1989, the Hungarian government ordered the electricity in the barbed-wire border fence turned off, and consequently it was removed shortly after.

4. Dingo Fence


But if you want length in your fence, as many do, consider South East Australia’s The Dingo Fence, for it’s the longest real fence in the world, in fact, at approximately 3,400 miles, it’s one of the longest structures in the world. This beaut will stretch from London to New York, and was constructed in the 1880s to protect sheep on southern Queensland ranches from attacks by wild dogs. Without wild dogs hunting though, the population of kangaroos and emus exploded on the south-eastern side of the fence. While us pommes have an affection for kangaroos, they can be a pest in Oz. Pass the burger relish and put another roo on the barbie, Shelia.

5. Buckingham Palace Fence


Gawd bless her, she’s got a lovely fence to help keep her safe, along with her five regiments of guards, who will bayonet you in the ribs for the slightest mickey-taking. Though many have climbed it, and few succeeded, its elegant cast-iron stakes, topped with extravagant gilded fleurs-de-lis symbolises the theme of our national anthem; she’s pretty safe in there, God. Yep, sure is one highly decorative set of railings, the envy of foreign tourists, especially our Yankie-doodle friends, whose rather plain White House security fence pales in comparison. In fact, unless you’re reading an American “World’s Most Famous Fences” website, it barely gets a mention.

6. Aquarium Fence


If you want to really show off though, and get one over on her majesty, and the neighbouring Jones’, here’s the ideal plan after Storm Ciara has taken it out on your fence. Leave it, let it go, and ping a message to Turkish billionaire Mehmet Ali Gökçeoğlu, ask him where he got his fence from, because it’s more likely Jollyes pet shop than B&Q. I’m not shitting you here, the guy’s got an aquarium of fish, eels and octopus for his 164-metre fence, attracting tourists from all over the world. Poachers watch out though, he’s had to put 17 security cameras around it.

7. Paris Lock Fence


Apparently, fastening a padlock to a fence and throwing away the key is popular symbolism of undying love; I’m not that romantic. Such a gesture is commonly done on the fence of the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, until the weight of thousands of padlocks caused a six and half section of it to collapse. The accident didn’t cause any physical injuries, just a few broken hearts. And?

8. Glastonbury Festival Security Fence


Quite honestly, I’m so shocked this one hasn’t been churned up through research, I felt the need to add it myself. Over the course of fifty years the festival felt the need to increase its security with a bigger fence. Ode to that corrugated fence, how many scaled its heights are incalculable, but it was all part of the Glastonbury experience. Saunter along the perimeter to find abandoned rope ladders, stalls, and Scousers willing to bunk you over for a tenner or couple of spliff-worths. One year in the mid-nineties, memory doesn’t serve me too well, it collapsed completely and no one battered an eyelid when campers set up temporary residence in the fields outside. It’s all history now, as 2002 saw the unveiling of a new £1m, five-mile perimeter fence with a second barrier that put an end to people jumping in. Probably for the best, festival goers now would only get caught, or least break their phone, as they attempt a live-stream or selfie whilst atop of it.

9: The Green Monster


Perhaps the most iconic fences in the USA are ones surrounding baseball fields. Take Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, dubbed the Green Monster, as it was painted green in 1947 to match the rest of the field; nothing escapes those Americans. Built to protect Fenway Park from gate crashers, it also protects outsiders from flyaway baseballs.

But the right field boundary at AT&T Park in California has a reputation as a “hitters’ ballpark,” due to the fact its shorter than most baseball fences, also means you can illegally watch the game from a boat from McCovey Cove, just the other side of the San Francisco fence.

10. Bra Fence


Save the best till last, at least the most titillating. Despite it not being the most renowned fence, it’s aptly quickly gathering attention. You should note, in acts of random fascination, fastening assortments of everyday objects to fences is a national obsession in New Zealand. But teapots, rubber boots and shoes have had their day, and the jewel in the Kiwi crown is the bra fence in Cardrona. There was no meaning as to why women starting whipping off their knocker lockers and attaching them to this fence in 1998, dubbed Bradrona, but this tourist attraction and obviously prime photo opportunity has raised over $40,000 for breast cancer research.

But if you think, only in Australia, interesting to note a bra fence has also taken off in the Eyjafjöll mountains of Iceland, where the climate is bound to raise more of a nip (in the air I mean.) Here’s a plan then, if you’ve said goodbye to your fence in the storm. I know it’s something I’m considering, but getting approval from the better half may be tricky, and it’s not the ideal season to sleep in the dog house.

© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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White Horse Opera’s Spring Concert

Spring, that’s what we need to be talking about today! I’m getting my shades and sun tan lotion ready. Plus, White Horse Opera’s Spring Concert this year will be on Friday 20th March at 7.30pm in Devizes Town Hall.

It will include Haydn’s Creation, Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’amore and Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan. “A musical treat not to be missed,” they tell me. I’m really beginning to think I should break my anxiety of opera and try this out rather than assign Andy, what do you think?!

You can come too though, just avoid my incompetence with such matters. Tickets are £10 and on sale now from Devizes Books and

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Daydream Runaways Light the Spark Live

Daydream Runaways are reflecting back to the start of their career together, even if it’s only a year ago! Still worthy to mention this live session recording of their debut single “Light the Spark,” which we glowingly reviewed on its release last April, here.

On their website it reads, “recorded and filmed in an intimate setting, this version of gives listeners a glimpse into Daydream Runaways performance style whilst showcasing the energy that the track is known for in their live sets.” I agree, it’s everything we been raving about. While this newer live version was released on Thursday, lets hope this upcoming young band are daydreaming of the future too, as I’m eagerly awaiting their next move and some new songs. This is not the time for a “greatest hits” album, guys, yet!

However, it’s a brilliant example if you’ve not taken heed of our previous praises and hooked in their songs, or witnessed them playing live. Come on people, see here! I’m grateful they blew the low roof of the Cellar Bar off at our fundraiser last month, and wish them all the best.


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Will You Dare to Propose at the Town Hall this Leap Year, Ladies?

Good for old St Bridget, a 5th Century Irish nun who whinged to St Patrick, about women waiting too long for their suitors to propose. You see, ladies, you can’t blame modern man, we’ve always been this rubbish. 5th Century lads didn’t even have X-Box as an excuse.

In a bold stand for feminism, five hundred years before the Spice Girls, they forged a compromise. On one day, once every four years, that being the 29th February, women could pop the question. Men’s generosity knew no bounds back then.

But girls, according to the tradition, you either have to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat. Begging the question, what difference would that make, and surely lacing your boo with vodka and Red Bull might be more effective? In fairness though, if they refuse they have to buy you twelve pairs of gloves. If it sounds random, I’ll explain they weren’t quite at the bra-burning stage, and the gloves are, apparently, to hide your embarrassment of not having an engagement ring; sing about that, Beyoncé.

So, the big question is; will you dare to propose at the Town Hall this leap year, ladies? Not to me, mind, I’m spoken for…. a heartbreaking sentiment to end this post on I know ladies, but there’s plenty of other men out there who are nearly, just nearly, as nice as me! Oh, and you’ll get a discount on your wedding at the Town Hall.

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REVIEW – Skedaddle @ The Southgate and Chris O’Leary @ Three Crowns, Devizes – Sunday 2nd February 2020

Spoilt For Choice on a Sunday Afternoon

Andy Fawthrop

After the previous night’s blow-away gig by the Jack Grace Band, it was back to the Southgate first of all for some post Six Nations music.

The afternoon’s offering was Skedaddle, a local band mostly populated by the Witcomb family. With Southgate regular Eddie on acoustic bass, dad Chris on guitar, mum Jane on vocals and friend Chris Whant on guitar, the band gave us a gentle stroll through some great covers and soon had the pub singing along. Jane’s vocals, a little nervous at first, soon grew in confidence, and she was well supported by the rest of the team. Wonderful afternoon music.

Talking of singalongs, I got two for the (free) price of one when I wandered down the road to the Three Crowns, where Chris O’Leary was giving it large. I’d not seen Chris before, but was well impressed with his playing, singing and general energy level. Chris was playing covers and actively seeking suggestions from the friendly crowd. Effortlessly slipping from song to song and making good use of stomp-box and loop-pedals, Chris showed all the versatility of a human juke-box. By the end the whole pub was singing “Sweet Caroline” and a good Sunday afternoon was brought to a close. Really great atmosphere, and a great way to wrap up any weekend.

Great to see The Three Crowns offering itself as a music venue again. Roll on the summer when, hopefully, we can get outside in the courtyard again.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 7th February Velvet Doonicans
• Saturday 8th February Navajo Dogs
• Friday 14th February Trevor Babajack Steger
• Saturday 15th February Mike Barham
• Friday 21st February Kent Duchaine
• Sunday 23rd February CRC
• Friday 28th February The Shudders

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – Jack Grace Band @ The Southgate, Devizes – Saturday 1st February 2020

Live Music At Its Very Best

Andy Fawthrop

It was Saturday night, which could mean only one thing – free live music at The Southgate!

Jack Grace was a figure new to me, so thought I better give him a good old listen – be rude not to. And so pleased that I made the effort to go and see him.

Jack’s band is described as delivering “Country Rock with a Latin Twang” and that was certainly much in evidence. The trio were already operating at full blast when I walked in, and rarely if ever let the tempo and the excitement level drop. The pub was full, the dance-floor crowded, and the band were cooking. They gave us two superb sets of music that was loud, exciting and great to listen to.

We got lots of styles – country, country/ rock, R&B, boogie-woogie, rock n’ roll, and little bit of vaudeville, all delivered with some panache, confident playing and a good deal of humour. There were musical nods in there to Tom Waits, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Johnny Cash, and many others. Jack and his band seem to be constantly on the road, and their playing reflected a close understanding, driving rhythms as tight as a nut, and some very assured vocals and guitar playing. Yet this didn’t mean any kind of complacency or just running through the numbers. The band were not afraid to experiment, and to completely let rip at times. And the crowd absolutely loved it.

To me, this is what live music is all about – musicians who want to deliver a great show, and a crowd that really wants to listen. A completely belting gig, and a fabulous live band.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 7th February Velvet Doonicans
• Saturday 8th February Navajo Dogs
• Friday 14th February Trevor Babajack Steger
• Saturday 15th February Mike Barham
• Friday 21st February Kent Duchaine
• Sunday 23rd February CRC
• Friday 28th February The Shudders


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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A Skandal in Marlborough

Broke my hibernation last night to trek across the downs and catch Swindon’s Skandals play the Lamb in Marlborough; well worth the effort……

“Some proper drum and bass,” yelled frontman of The Skandals, Mark Colton during the break of a Bad Manners’ Special Brew cover, “not like the shit the kids listen to today!” In essence there’s the summary of The Skandals’ ethos, yet with the catchiness of the simple offbeat of ska, you’ll commonly find every generation up dancing together. So, while the attitude is to appease the elder, skinhead, mods and scooterists, I think you’ll find generations too young to personally recall the days of yore a band like The Skandals arrest, still love it.


This was certainly true in Marlborough’s Lamb last night, as this Swindon ska cover band came to skank, with bells on. It was a squeeze in the crowd, with the aforementioned varied demographic, but none can resist the surge of retrospective ska. Limited to saxophonist Nina as the brass section, and without keyboards, this six-piece still manage to capture the spirit of the era and throw it back in your face loud and proud. I’d wager this comes from experience; the band boasting not just Nina, but both guitarists Jase and Mark, who previously played with Swindon’s legendary Skanxters, and in turn this event brings fond memories to my old watering hole, as those Skanxters skanked here during their nineties reign.

Though frontman Mark also heads a new wave punk cover band, The Rotten Aces, among other projects such as Thin Lizzy tribute, The Lizzy Legacy. This punker angle showed through the playlist, as adroit but only subtly ‘ska’d’ covers of “Echo Beach” and the Toy Doll’s bonkers arrangement of “Nellie the Elephant,” echoed between the more archetypal tunes of Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, et all. I wanted to quiz Mark on what he favours, but when they stated they were taking a ten-minute break, it was far more punctual than most bands!


Pigeonholing I haven’t time for, and in a hedonistic moment it matters not. Example; they covered Rancid’s Time Bomb, pioneers of the ska-punk crossover that the international third-gen ska-heads thrive on. Yet the Skandals didn’t venture over this border, delivering predominantly eighties Two-Tone they were obviously inspired by, and giving the audience diminutive verbal notations as to why, amidst the usual banter. They were lively, fun and entertaining; everything a ska band should be, and would guarantee to liven up your venue or pub. Specials covers Rat Race, Rich Girl, Little Bitch and their version of Toot’s Monkey Man being the nimblest.

It may be a timeworn formula for a ska band to cover classics like Baggy Trousers, Lip Up Fatty and Mirror in the Bathroom, but like fish n chips, it’s cliché because it never fails to thrill an audience, and The Skandals do it superbly. Interestingly, they added northern soul anthem “Tainted Love,” reggae’s “Pressure Drop” and “Chase the Devil,” into the melting pot, and choosing “Food for Thought,” as their UB40 cover is a wise move; anything post-Red Red Wine and it’s a cover band covering a cover band!


While Devizes has a thriving music scene, other than sporadic gigs from the scooter club, the pub circuit lacks ska and reggae, and you all know how I feel about that. If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad. It was a delight to pay a visit to Marlborough’s Lamb again, despite remining in Wadworthshire, it’s working formula stands the test of time. “We’re quite lucky in Marlborough,” a regular informed me, rattling off the Bear’s backroom, The Wellington and Royal Oak as fond live music venues, as well as the Lamb. Yes, I nodded my acknowledgment, but when ska comes to town that’s where you’ll find me! “Let me tell about Sally Brown……”

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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Word from the top; Mayoral Fundraising Events

Word from the top, I’m always happy to receive a message from our mayor. Although, I might be remanded to the town gaols for my inexcusable misuse of photoshop. I think Judy Rose is a great choice, in my defence, yet I just like mayors in general, most likely from being a lifelong fan of Trumpton. Despite remaining anonymous, he’s the most reliable character in Gordon Murray’s stop motion masterpiece, along with his faithful chauffeur, Mr Philby. But hey, I’m nostalgically waffling now, please stop me.

From Trumpton to Devizes, Judy is keen to tell me about a couple of upcoming Mayoral Fundraising Events, so here’s the lowdown. Both being held to raise money for her three charities: Victim Support, Devizes and District Food-bank and Devizes Youth Football.

The first one is the Mayor’s Quiz Night with superb quizmaster, Don Jones, from just down the road in Camberwick Green I believe. It’s on Sat 8th February, 7 for 7.30pm in the Assembly Rooms of the Town Hall. Tickets are £3pp from the Town Hall or on the night at the door. Judy tells, “if you aren’t part of a team, just come along and we will set you up with others to create one. There will be a cash bar and a raffle.”


The second one is the Mayor’s Ceilidh on Sat 18th April, again 7 for 7.30 till 11.30pm. “I didn’t want to go for a formal ball as I sense that folk nowadays are reluctant to take on the cost of such an event,” Judy explained, “and I wanted a proper community knees-up if at all possible!”

It sounds like a plan, essentially it promises to be a party with dancing and food, in which all ages can participate, so families with children are welcome. There will be fantastic Ceilidh musicians: The Pack Horse Band, a finger buffet and cash bar, plus the usual raffle etc. “This is a money raising event after all!” Judy reminds us, and for some brilliant charities too I might add. “I’m hoping there will be other entertainment, but that is not confirmed yet. Tickets are £30ph, with Primary School and younger children free and secondary school children £15ph. I have used this band before for a similar private event, and they are terrific fun.”

So, save the dates in your diary. “Here is the clock, the Devizes clock. Telling the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly. Telling the time for Devizes.”

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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