Summertime with those Truzzy Boys.

I predicted a week ago, our local musicians will be planning and writing during this surreal isolation period. With a lack of distraction from gigs, I’m hoping the coming months should deliver some surprisingly remarkable releases. Bring them on. For now, Fin tells me this was written last summer, but there could be no better surprise then to take a listen to Summertime, the debut single from Finley and Harvey Trusler, aka The Truzzy Boys.

Prolific on the pub cover-band circuit with a nonchalant ambience, those Truzzies always bring a smile. Live they distribute a contemporary, happy-go-lucky indie-pop atmosphere, squishing you into a makeshift dancefloor on a tipsy evening down your local. Yet if there’s something blithe in their performances, have no doubt, Summertime will twist your perspective on this family duo.

Yeah, immediately catchy it is, I expected this much. What did surprise was the resolute grittiness and maturity of the vocals, the breezy feel-good eighties blues-rock conjuring comparisons to Chris Rea or Tom Petty, and the ingenuity of an uplifting style, akin to the Style Council. Kind of feels to me as if the boys have taken onboard the favoured elements of their live covers show, squeezed them into an original single and sprinkled it with the genius production of Martin Spencer.

“I thought I would release now, as we can’t gig at the moment,” explained Finely, “so something for everyone to enjoy!” and it is just that, very agreeable, with all the rudiments in the right locations; proficient guitar solo bang on cue, enticingly unpretentious lyrics, but if I had to pick one reason why I like it, it’s got to be the elevating, easy-going summery feel. It is the Eddie Cochran “Summertime Blues” for the era, and will leave you dripping with anticipation for the promised forthcoming album. Well done, boys, grand job.

Sun tucked itself behind a cloudy sky somewhat today, hasn’t it? This is out on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer as of yesterday, so, give it a download, guaranteed to brighten your day.


© 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.

Short Story: Dizzy Heights

The silhouette of a fledgling businessman clutching some paperwork apprehensively entered through the light of the doorway, and eased the door shut behind him. Sealed in darkness now, he couldn’t be absolutely certain, but he whimpered nonetheless. “I know you’re in here, Dizzy….”

He received no reply; the only sound was the gentle hum from outside. The young man sighed, fumbled his hand along the wall to find the light switch, eager to rid the space around him of this gloomy ambience.

He detected the slight sound of a stomach beginning to rumble, deeper it grew, hastily. Then, the shuffling of an uncomfortable posture. “D…izz…y?” the man questioned slothfully.

Still no answer, save this emerging rumble. Abruptly, and unwillingly it detonated a deafening belch, deep and booming. What followed was an ingenuous snigger. And what followed that was the repercussion, a comforted sigh of relief.

It was this convenient conjunction in which the fellow located the switch, and hastily flooded the room with light. It showed a smoky haze, and through it the man detected the outline of Dizzy. “Like, hey man,” protested Dizzy mellowly, “like, kill the lights man!”

The young chap did not obey, rather thrust his hands on his hips and ogled the obscured figure as it sloughed in a corner, reluctantly tugging one side of some headphones away from an ear. “What are you doing in the dark?” grimaced the fellow.

“Like, meditating,” clarified Dizzy, as if it were obvious. “To some, y’ know, some Pink Floyd, and that, man.”

“I thought you had gone,” groaned the young man.

“Dude,” Dizzy gurgled, extending his elongated arms, then tucking them back in to shrug. “Like, where is I supposed to have gone to, man? You answer me dat!”

“You could have left.”

“We are on a, like, plane, dude,” informed Dizzy, in confused amusement. Smoothly and professionally his voice harmonised a growly melody, “like, flying high, up in the sky, you and I!”

“You could still have left,” insisted the youthful entrepreneur, maintaining his frustrated posture.

“Gary, Gary, Gary,” Dizzy exhaled.

“Yes?” inquired the man.

“Gary, man, Gary, that’s, like, my point, Gary, that’s like the, the, well, this whole shit-stem, I ain’t going out like that, like Puff, man.”

“Puff?”

“He was like, my bredrin, man, from Honahlee, I, like, thinks, but that’s beside the, erm, the point! The point is,” Dizzy now pointed an authoritarian yet unkept finger at Gary. “In a, like, a, erm, a nut…shell, Gary. You still, after being my manager for, how, erm, long is it, like, been now, man?”

Now the man lamented, as he recounted his years of service. “Five years, Dizzy,” he extenuated the number with an interminable sigh, “five. Long. Years.”

The pointed finger became more proficient at pointing. “Five, man,” Dizzy nodded, “five, as you say, you say, that’s what you said, like man,” he giggled to himself, “five years, and in all those years, in all that time, Gary-Gary, you, Gary, never understood me, did you?”

Gary rubbed his chin, “I’m sorry,” he nervously whimpered, “I, erm, I….”

Voice raised in slight anger, but retaining depth, Dizzy interrupted. “You don’t, man,” he paused, “you, like, don’t understand, do you? I like, man, I know, I know, and I have to say, it’s alright, man, really it is. You never took the time to understand where I’m coming from, and that, young fellow-me-gig, that, right there, is the like, the erm, the, yeah, that right there is the definitive and, like, abso-fucking-lute issue, that is.”

Gary was lost for words, observing the bottles of tequila surrounding his client, as the beast bit the end from a Cuban cigar.

“Picture this,” Dizzy continued, spanning his hands mysteriously through the air. “If you, like will; you, right, are, on a boat on a river, a river, man, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Then, right, somebody calls you, and you, right, you answer quite slowly….”

Gary huffed. “Is it a girl?”

Dizzy snapped his finger, “yeah, man, you see it too! But, dig this, yeah….”

“She has kaleidoscope eyes?”

Dizzy let out a bellowing laugh which reverberated around the room. “That’s it, man, finally! Finally, you see it, finally you appreciate it too, man, like definitively and, like, abso-fucking-lutly, man! You do, you understand! Here,” he threw a baggie at Gary, “roll up a fat one, knock yourself out, man, gee-whizz, you understand me now!”

“I understand how much this is all costing us,” replied Gary. He shimmered over to the round windows, observed the cloud formations below them, to confirm he was on a plane, with this blathering idiot.

“Cellophane flowers of yellow n green,” Dizzy pointed at Gary, gesturing him to sit. He wobbled the baggie in the air, “towering over your heaadddd. Look, right there, for the girl with the sun in her eyes…….”

“I said,” started Gary.

“And she’s, like, gone,” Dizzy expressed and stopped in astonishment, as if a manifestation of a girl really did just disappear. He observed his manager’s frown. “Sheez Gary, you worry too much, I need me this plane,” Dizzy stressed.

“You do not need a plane!” Gary firmly stated.

“Wha’ you mean I dun’t need me no plane, dude?” replied Dizzy, rather bitterly but still maintaining his generally cool tone. He dipped his dark sunglasses to get a better look at his manager. “I’m tellin’ ya, I need dis here plane. Everybody that is somebody need a plane these days.”

“Why do you need a plane?” Gary snorted.

“I am who I am,” Dizzy wafted, “da social elite, man, the god-damn star of the god-damn show, and the star of the god-damn show needs a plane,” Dizzy maintained.

“You had three downloads of your last album, Dizzy,” Gary reminded, “and one of them was by your mum!”

“She know good mu-sic,” Dizzy pondered silently, and took a sip from a fresh bottle of tequila. “Damn it, man, I’m done with tequila! Get me some Champagne!”

“Really?” Gary threw the paperwork at Dizzy. “Final demands, Dizzy, final.”

“Take a chill pill,” he ordered. “Sheez, man you, like, you know better than me; there ain’t no readies in recording these days man, the bread and butter is in performing, you gotta do da festivals man, that’s what it’s all about. And for that, man, I needs me a plane.”

Gary swung his head with ease to take his gaze from the window and aim it towards Dizzy as he slouched in the chair, swigging from an expensive bottle. He gestured to Dizzy that he did not agree. “You need a hundred nights, to pay your last bar bill!”

“Don’t you dare, dude,” Dizzy spat, “like, talk to me about knights, with their, like, chivalry and their fuckin’ shiny armour! Give me one good reason, Gary-Gary, one god-damn good reason why I don’t need me no plane?” Dizzy pointed an accusing finger at Gary.

Gary confirmed by moving just a step closer, “Just one?”

“Yep, just the one will be, like, acceptable,” calmly said Dizzy, confident with his side of the argument.

“I’ll tell you one, shall I?” the manager took another step towards him.

“Yep man, that is, like, all I’m asking, big-shot rock star manager,” giggled Dizzy, replacing his shades completely over his eyes.

Gary was now so close to Dizzy he could smell his breath, and it wasn’t nice. It had the stench of an expensive tequila, true, but overpowering this was a smoky charcoal funk. “Because Dizzy,” the uncompromising flow snowballing, “because…. you…. you are a, you a dragon, Dizzy. You are a bloody dragon, and dragons can fly!”

“Technical details,” replied Dizzy. “Technical details,” he repeated to make it sound even more prominent. Then the dragon waved his hand at Gary to pass off his comment, and blew fire from his nostrils in order to light his cigar.

We Call The People That We Love Inside: by Gail Foster

We received this poem from Gail this morning, rather current and especially lovely, but that’s our Gail; poem is good too!! Re-blogging from her site, please follow the link to read.

The shops are shut. Our hearts are open wide Before we put the Closed sign on the door We call the people that we love inside ‘Last orders at the bar!’ the barman cried Our days of wine and roses are no more The pubs are shut. Our hearts are open wide The schools are […]

via We Call The People That We Love Inside — gailfromdevizes

I Will Not Bleat About Coronavirus, Write it Out a Hundred Times……

So, I love television, think it’s a marvellous invention. I just don’t like trending programming schedules; I want to bring people an alternative. I cut the grass yesterday, yes, that’s how desperate life has got! I cut it so my sports-loving daughter can have a kick around in the garden, before her built-up energy explodes like a supernova and blows the roof off the house. Without her football and hockey games she’s clutching straws, it’s okay, she washed her hands.

But I think we all are, right now. Through this avalanche of social media inclination where near-on every post is about the epidemic, it’s hard to heed what to do for the best, what sources to trust. Even “official” guidelines should be taken with a pinch of salt. Bulked with complaints, some even go as far as actually praising our Prime Minister; ludicrous! In a world gone mad, seems it has. Too little too late is my theory, sorry BoJo. I accept the wallet-bulging job is no easy task, but you picked it. Measures have only been introduced because Emmanuel Macron threated to close the border with the UK, face it.

Naturally, I’m a fair guy, you are entitled to your opinion. Yet, it’s not like the government didn’t know about the looming menace since December, and instead of preparing, Boris was fumbling his Big Ben Dong and getting a hard-on over the success of Brexit. Tropical holidays and expensive luncheons on tax-payer’s cash he took, while floods devastated the country; what suddenly makes you think he gives a hoot now?

Keep calm and carry on, we don’t need our statistics reliable. Actively refusing in some cases to test people and making little effort to make the kits needed, is not something we should hail him for in my opinion. The ethos of the government has been to protect the economy over the lives of the population. Ah, the trusty backhander for BoJo from the BIBA insurance company is his real reluctance to lockdown like every other European country, but we’re fine with that if it means we get one last chance to nip to the boozer. The soundbite “herd immunity” should have rung alarm bells as to how this selfish clown is prioritising. What do scientists and the World Health Organisation know over our darling czar?

A decade of austerity has besmirched our NHS, Boris backed every vote to wreck it. Face it, we haven’t the facility to cope with this, accumulation of bog roll will not protect you. Yeah, we are all getting tetchy, the point of my article which will come to light as soon as I’ve discredited this pitiable sympathy for Boris; God save our twat, he’ll be alright, Jack.

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Awl, looks so cute up close

So, I cut the grass. Only for the football to be launched into the field opposite within milliseconds. On my trek to retrieve it, I glanced left, my seasonal short-cut route to Devizes on foot. It’d be the first weekend to use it without getting muddy, alas it’s not worth it. I gave a momentary thought to the previous blowout weekend, the awesome blues gig at the Sports Club. Ruzz will do a live stream, we will post it on our “virtual festival” page, but a week into the idea and I’m feeling, on occasions, it’s worthless as it’s simply not the same as a live gig. Cue sad-face emoji.

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The other angle, which deflects my notion, is unfortunately, right now, it’s all we have, and I hate television’s trending programming schedules; I said that, didn’t I? So tetchy we’ve become, I thought I’d swerve my milk-float on Saturday’s homebound journey to grasp at number of twenty-four packs of toilet rolls that some selfish hoarder was off-loading from his car. I wouldn’t need poo on them all, I figured, but heroically distribute them to the needy in a kind of Robin Hood of lavatory prerequisite guise.

So tetchy that this week my virtual festival idea was condemned by a renowned musician who shall remain nameless. You know me, I would name them if I damn well wanted to, but won’t for the fact that after I explained its workings and ideals, the person thoroughly apologised and welcomed the notion. I therefore feel I should elucidate further on why I’m, and many others are too, platforming live streaming. It is not that I’m attempting “guilt-tripping” musicians in their hour of need, as was accused by the petitioner, and I am sorry if anyone else feels this way. A majority have supported it, so it sticks. It is the prerogative of the individual to take part, or not, no pressure. Neither are we staging these streams, rather the artists were intending to stream on social media and we are extending their presence.

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Professional musicians of a certain calibre may wish to find their own methods of making ends meet, they may have the tech at hand in order to create a pay-per-view stream. Given my apprehension that it simply isn’t the same as a live performance, and requires a connection which may drop out at any given time, I’m not sure one can justify charging a viewer. Again though, I accept this maybe a requirement and a fair notion. I’m scrambling, truth be told, as to how to promote these, and let’s face it, many are unsigned, amateur or semi-professionals just starting out artists, in such a way it will create revenue for them, but I confess I lack the technical knowledge to provide this. Though, I am grateful to the legend who is Mike Barham, for offering help with the tech if needed.

Therefore, I tip my hat to websites such as Bandcamp, which seems to me the fairest of platforms for artists to distribute. As a user I blinking love Bandcamp, I surf for eternities. You can bury yourself deeper into rabbit holes on an international level and discover unsigned or emerging artists you simply wouldn’t have fathomed to Google or YouTube search for. For instance, through browsing Bandcamp I’ve currently a penchant for Cumbia, the contemporary sound of Colombia, and I’m now downloading music I’d never have found in a record store in the UK.

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At the aforementioned blues night, I chatted to independent singer-songwriter, Joe Hicks. We both commended Bandcamp for its fairness on both punter and creator, a virtue it recently enhanced by its notion to waiver its fees to help struggling musicians. I have put a donation option on our virtual festival, which will be shared between all who contribute. I am warning them in advance I doubt it will be much past a packet of peanuts between us. As predicted the request has been ignored so far, not to cast blame; dubious financial forecasts haunt us all. I will, however, favour to encourage visitors to the festival to research the artists performing, and do what they can for them. I have added links to their website and Bandcamp pages, urge viewers to buy their music. In short, I’m honestly doing what I can.

I fully accept now, my late article on this coronavirus may have been somewhat ill-informed and perhaps irresponsible. But, just as our musicians want to continue to perform, even if it is from their living room, writing humour is my escapism. I am, after all, trying to create a light-hearted approach of this mess, and I believe being satirical keeps us going through the otherwise doom and gloom. I’ve been reading up on the Black Death and the Plague and finding measures then were much more adhered to. Self-isolating was strictly policed, they painted a red cross on their doors rather than queued outside Iceland to fight for the last toilet roll. Hum, a Monty Python sketch comes to mind; see what I mean? Damn it, sorry if my sense of humour meanders in offensiveness, but right now it’s all I have to offer.

Yeah, I could whinge about whingers, worried about their finances as they stay at home while I work outside, even harder than before under such risky circumstances, but I’ll leave that there. Work for home, how disheartening for you. I suggest we all pull together, like the Queen will witter from one of her castles, but that’s increasingily difficult to do and I urge people to forgive others as they cry their ills. I forgive the person who criticised the idea of the virtual festival, it was a valid point. Yet, I don’t have the answers and you’d be a fool to look to me for them. All I know is, stay safe out there; I love you all.

Didn’t Nostril-damas, or whatever his stupid name is, predict this? We should’ve taken heed and planned from then; dammit Jim, I’m milkman/writer not a doctor. Then again, it’s a lovely day and maybe we should take the words of the famous philosopher Lilly Allen; sun is in the sky, why-oh-why, would I want to be anywhere else? Sorry, got to go, another football is over the fence.


© 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.

The Lost Trades; Debut at the Village Pump

By Helen Robertson

Images by Abbie Asadi

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On a rainy Friday night in Trowbridge, I followed the directions from the bar staff at the Lamb Inn- past the pool table and out the back – to the Village Pump, a quirky, intimate performance space that was already packed. And there was cake, lots of cake.

This was the first gig for The Lost Trades but most people seemed to know the Wiltshire-based singer songwriters, Jamie R Hawkins, Phil Cooper and Tamsin Quin, pretty well as they mingled in the breaks between support acts Vince Bell and newcomers Timid Deer.

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Tamsin confessed she was nervous, hoping the new three-part harmony adventure would start well. She needn’t have worried. The sell-out crowd were on their side right from the start.

 
Swapping instruments and lead vocals throughout the night, The Lost Trades shared their stories and songs with the relaxed ease of seasoned performers. There are three distinct styles to the songs but an obvious pleasure in playing together binds the music into a cohesive set. It’s folky, funny and full on harmony.

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 I’m glad Phil took the time to introduce his original, the Groom of the Stools – a little context went a long way to explaining this rollicking, foot stomping number where “every day I take a look at the Crown jewels”. Google it, trust me it’s that job that you’ve never dreamed about.

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 About halfway through the set Tamsin debuted Hope Cove, a very personal song for a friend about holidays in Devon. Loaded with emotion the absolute strength of the trio, the balance of harmonies, was on display. These three voices create a beautiful rich sound, layered and textured.

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 My favourite song wasn’t an original – sorry guys – but a traditional American spiritual, Down in the River to Pray. The harmonies, wow. Just wow. As it soared and rolled around me, I’m not ashamed to say I might have had something in my eye….

 
The Village Pump is a cracking venue, home to the local folk club and a regular open mic night. I was told a group of friends started the folk club there in 1973 in a barn at the back of the pub. Performances were staged from a wagon and there are nods to this on the walls with horse paraphernalia hanging with tubas, French horns, guitars and pipes from a church organ. Upstairs in the balcony there’s plush red tiered seating from a now-closed local movie theatre. Great acoustics, a welcoming vibe and drinks on tap from the Lamb Inn, it’s just the place to showcase local talent.

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Shout out to Jamie’s fiancé Janey for the cakes – a vote saw the chocolate cake coming out the clear winner with the consolation prize going to Tamsin’s flapjacks. I tried a few, for research purposes. Perhaps more than a few. Yum!

 
The encore was a swinging country version of Talking Heads’ Road to Nowhere. I’m picking this is far from the truth for the trio. The Lost Trades are out on a Spring tour now with a handful of gigs around Wiltshire as well as trips to far flung places including London, Stratford on Avon and Exeter between now and the end of April. Details are on their website along with the chance to join the mailing list for early bird benefits.

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© 2017-2020 Devizine (Helen Robertson)
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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Blues at the Sports Club got my Mojo Working

If I divide rock music into three favoured eras; its birth from rhythm and blues to form rock n roll, psychedelia moulding it back to wailing blues, and second gen mod or new wave from the eighties, and anything post these I don’t care for so much, be it heavy, soft or Nu-metal, I paused for thought last night, observing these three pillars firmly personified at this most fantastic jam at the Devizes Sports Club. And what is more, it’s fused, together in one great monster of a performance, which, in a word, was spellbinding.

Impelled to duck out the Cavy early, as while I figured our writer Andy would be in attendance, and be willing to put some words into action, I had to see this for myself. It was as I predicted in our preview, no musician singled out, no-one-on-one-off exhibition, rather a humongous blues jam amalgamating the exceptional talents of all present. Already underway on my arrival, our guitar heroes Ruzz Evans, representing the rock n roll in my three-pillar theory, with his classy suit and quiff, Innes Sibun on the psychedelia with that long hair and wailing guitar, and Jon Amor in his trademark drainpipes and sneakers. To boot, not only is Ruzz’s backing band present on bass, drums and horns, there’s the legend who is Peter Gage causally making the keys look like Child’s play.

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Afterwards I made a beeline for Ruzz, inquiring how one goes about creating this wonderful amalgamation and how rehearsed it needed to be. There was no rehearsal, he explained, it’s based on specific templates in which the musicians observe each other’s changes and improv takes control. This takes a wealth of experience and talent, as Ruzz continued to get technical it showed both his obsession with his craft, and my incompetence in such matters. I should’ve recorded his explanation for a quote, as the jargon pursued and I’d drunk far too much! (Note dodgy photographs as proof!)

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Again, the slight topic of conversation that was passed around the club related to the current virus situation. Naturally people are concerned, yet it didn’t stop this venue filling sufficiently with our blues aficionados, matured or otherwise. I figured if times do go terribly wrong in the coming days, this could potentially be my last night out for a while, and if so, or even if not, I’m out to party. This event satisfied that ideal, but I knew it would, it said so on the tin.

It was good to bump into singer-songwriter Joe Hicks, where we expressed concern for the decline and postponing of events and its effect on organisers and musicians alike. He had, as I suggested, already an album up his sleeve. Perhaps the coming month will see musicians take to recording studios as the bread and butter of gigs phases out. It’s a sad thought, but absently unnecessary tonight, as the power of live music blessed the hall in a way which should make Devizes proud.

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Staggeringly as ever, Innes was on lead when I got there, taking the audience on one of his magical journeys, only for Ruzz to be frontman for one of my favourites of his tunes, Sweet as Honey. After a short break it was Jon’s turn, picking Juggernaut to blast us with, ever so proficiently. Then, was it a Billy Price song which Peter Gage so skilfully but causally covered with the honky tonk of Howlin’ Wolf, The Price I Paid for Loving You? I dunno, no expert, but I’d lost the will to keep track, allowing the blessed music to flow over me.

With a hypnotic guitar-off, if that’s the appropriate terminology, between Ruzz and Innes, sections provided for all musicians to show off, including the drum solo of drum solos and the most amazing bass guitar solo too, it was one heck of a brilliant blend of electric blues I’ve bared witness to.

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If my only criticism was pondering if the sound could contain this monster of supergroups, and that a semi-circle barrier between the musicians and audience had naturally formed, with the blues preservation society of Devizes merely wobbling on their feet, the sound system took the strain adequately, and after not too long the movers penetrated the semi-circle and all round dancing ensued. Otherwise, this gig was perfection on all levels, my blessings to all involved. If there is, gloomily, to be no Saddleback Festival this year, last night thoroughly made up for it and leaves me pondering what will be next from this fantastic venue.


© 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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Day Breakers Down The Cavy!

If variety is the spice of life, The Cavalier in Devizes cannot be faulted. While it may be a short walk from the town centre it hardly requires a sponsor form, and when you get there it’s a warm welcome from a proletariat pub divided from the Wadworthshire typecast. Yeah, define it as boozer for the locals, yet with their event schedule ambitiously aimed to recreate the working men’s clubs of Northern yore, there’s a diverse range of events with something to suit all.

As apposed to the Southgate, per say, where there’s dependable original live music every weekend, or the Long Street Blues club where it’s a singularly assured you’re going to get some damn fine blues, it’s advisable to check ahead on our event calendar or their Facebook page, for anything could be going down at the Cavy.

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Next Saturday, for example, organiser Dean Czerwionka’s own preferred genre, Americana, is represented with a motivating country-rock originals band, the Stone Mountain Sinners, while the following weekend, 27th March, sees the return of a quality Thin Lizzy tribute, Twin Lizzy. Between these this community hub takes on the growingly popular concept of taking your kids raving, setting up their own “Little Ravers,” night of old skool club anthems suitable for children, and hugely discounted compared to the official organisations doing this at just £2 entry for all.

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So, while awash with a variety of tribute acts from Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, or Garth Brooks, to the Motley Crue, Sex Pistols and UB40, they hold regular children’s discos and events, many proudly fundraising for our adorable Carmela and her ongoing Stand Up To Muscular Dystrophy aid. They even have a small pub festival in August, presenting this eclectic mix with local live acts too.

In fact, I’m down here tonight for a St Patrick’s Day celebration, and Swindon’s Day Breakers are setting up. A talented four-piece with boundless eyes for great covers, you know we love these guys, for as the Celtic-roots-inspired originals duo, Sound Affects or as the mod-branded, Absolute Beginners, they never fail to raise the roof. With a new line-up consisting of a  young drummer, Katy, and a new violin for Cath York, The Day Breakers combine aforementioned influences with post-punk pop of yore and contemporary folk-rock hits. It’s all Doc Martins and gritty covers with edge.

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Superbly as ever they knock out Dexys’ Jackie Wilson Said, as an intro, the Manic’s Design For Life follows, with the Pouges’ Dirty Old Town displaying the variability of their repertoire, without finesse. The Cavy is treated to Specials, Jam and Madness covers, to The Cure, ELO, other early eighties classics, up-to-date anthems from Elbow et all, and Irish folk-punk. They do them with bells on. Mightily impressed with Katy’s drumming, despite her casually expressing her training hasn’t been for long.

Here is a professional floor-filling band, genuine, convivial and enjoyable, yet, although I accept the recent situation with the virus leaves everyone cautious, and Devizes is chockful of gigs on Saturday, the crowd is slight. I have to be honest; this is a tad frustrating. There is nothing more the Cavalier needs, other than your attention.


© 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 – Lewis Clark & The Essentials @ The Southgate, Devizes –Friday 13th March 2020

No Pigeon-Holes

Andy Fawthrop

Friday had been a not-so-great day, with lots of news about C**, pitched battles in the aisles of Morrisons over the last few toilet-rolls, and the cancellation of many sporting and other events. How to react to this desperate situation? Well it was obvious – go to the pub for a few beers and to listen to some live music.

It was The Southgate’s landlady Debs’ birthday week-end, so some great music (as always) was promised. And it all kicked off on Friday night with locals Lewis Clark & The Essentials. Although the band had played this venue before, I’d managed to miss them last time out, so wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d been told that they were wonderfully hard to pigeon-hole, but that they were an acoustic based band, blending folk, soul, and blues.

Lewis’ band on this occasion consisted of the man himself on vocals and guitar, accompanied by upright bass and keyboards, and they had just kicked off their first number when I got there. I was with friends and so started the evening by chatting to them, but the chat soon died away as we all relaxed and really began to listen to this very talented performer. This was no mere pub background music. None of us wanted to ignore what was clearly some very fine music.

The first thing that struck me was Lewis’ incredible voice. His range, delivery and vocal style were completely arresting and mesmerising. Coupled with some wonderful jazz-like phrasing, his vocals absolutely carried the night. The effortless musicianship of the band supported Lewis’ songs through a whole range of musical styles and influences – folk, jazz, blues, latin, roots, soul – sometimes within the same song. The result was a spell-binding fusion of melodies, haunting lyrics, and an eclectic and varied performance.

The trio produced two superb sets of original music, and still managed to work in a few covers, to which they lent their own fresh interpretation. Stand-outs among the latter were a mash-up of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” with the Guess Who’s “American Woman”, and later on Free’s “All Right Now”, which all received a damned good seeing-to.

In total, it was tour de force performance – lyrical, multi-influenced, impossible to pigeon-hole, and thoroughly entertaining.

And, yes, after self-medicating with beer, I did wash my wash hands at appropriate times during the evening.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Saturday 14th March Lightnin’ Hobos
• Saturday 21st March Eddie Witcomb
• Sunday 22nd March Vince Bell
• Saturday 28th March Mark Smallman Band
• Sunday 29th March Gary Hall


© 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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Corona Virus and Devizine; Anyone got a Loo Roll?

Steve Marsh’s ball of masking tape has reached 60mm in diameter, some doughnut drove their car across the footpath of Marlborough’s green to avoid the pelican crossing; these Facebook posts are not about the corona virus, why are they appearing on my newsfeed?!

I’ve been in the “keep calm, carry on, and wave little flags at Europeans” arena of this current outbreak, but media flimflam is twisting my melon; I might actually have to wash my hands now. The very fact I found myself agreeing with Boris Johnson and his mob of insensible sociopaths must surely mean my lax perspective on the issue is wrong and I should start worrying, about stockpiling bog roll at any rate.

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So, yeah, in order to keep up with the Jones’ of mass-media hullabaloos, Devizine has succumbed to the clickbait and decided to write an article about the Corona Virus. Not that I’m in any way informed, or have found a substantial or even relevant angle in which to write; dammit Jim, I’m a writer not a doctor. Expect content from Devizine if I need to self-isolate, but without any subject; otherwise the better half will have me doing the gardening. Actually, quite fancy the self-isolation bit, stick a crate of milk outside my house for customers to take, conceal myself under the duvet till May with a Sandra Bullock boxset and family-sized packet of Frazzles.

Yet, we are here to promote and acknowledge events and things to do locally, that is our mission statement, if we had one, which we don’t, but if we did. Just broken my winter hibernation too, and what becomes of our calendar of events, and the one person who reads it? Fairly, many have ignored the advice of the government to ignore the advice the rest of the world is following, and self-regulate their events; all part of Cameron’s “big society.” We’ll be out in polypropylene suits fixing the multitude of Vredefort crater-sized potholes next. Wiltshire Council who now?

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I apologise that I’ve dragged you here, then, with the false notion you’ll gain some worthy advise about this mild-by-comparison epidemic, all I know is what I’ve been told; wash your hands, buy more bog roll and it’ll blow over in two weeks. All I will say in seriousness, which is rare, is take the precautions, take care, we really don’t want to lose our friends and family, but we do want to get out and about too. The effect on local business will be devastating if we don’t, but something for the government to blame recession on. Most promoters are going ahead with events locally, but it’s advised to check ahead as everyday the news gets worse; if Steve Marsh’s ball of masking tape gets any bigger it might still come under EU safety standards, for instance.

Both White Horse Opera and the Devizes Lions have sadly cancelled their Spring Concerts, here’s hoping for a mid-summer one. The Lions have also decided to cancel their sports coaching weekend scheduled for April, because of “uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus and to help mitigate the risk of it spreading.” Karaoke will be off until further notice at the Cross Keys in Rowde as they explain, “passing microphones to person to person could pass on any bugs.” It’s my personal opinion that banning karaoke is an upside from this virus, but impartially accept it’s a popular amusement.

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Other than this, many events this coming month are still going ahead. We must respect all decisions made by organisers, and I’ll endeavour to inform you of them, if I spot them. Though, I still believe, mostly, and despite it being in line with Boris and cronies, that we shouldn’t let it piss on our chips, for want of a cruder idiom, and provided we take care and abide by the cautions, hopefully, the coming months won’t be as dull as predicted. If you choose to stay in and post your twenty favourite album covers or movie scenes on Facebook that’s your prerogative. Me, I’m nipping out this weekend, making the most of it before it might be like the end scene of ET. If you see me horizontal, please put me back on the bar stool, phone home, and I’ll lob you a half-price bog roll as a thank you; just £8 to you, sir!


© 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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Phil Jinder Dewhurst at the White Bear

You know you’re stockpiling years when you decide staying in for your birthday is the choicest option. I did, finally, haul my birthday-cake belly off the sofa on Sunday, driven by lingering desire, or an essence of ritual, which put up a fierce battle against my indolence; I’m glad it won.

Though the anticipated birthday banter and celebratory sacraments were scarce, as the White Bear was held captive by an extraordinarily acute and enthralling sound. An artist I thought Andy had reviewed for a past Sunday session here at this snug tavern, but searching came up with no reference to it, Phil Dewhurst, known as Jinder was mysterious to me as either. Yet he weaves intricate and personal storytelling as an introduction to each song, so you leave feeling you know a little about the musician.

If it’s a Springsteen-esque cliché, Phil summarises well, each song illustrated with an explanation to his thoughts and inspiration while writing it. No matter if it’s fashioned with poetic riddle, once you’ve a background to it stimulus you comprehend. And his writing is well crafted, eloquent and precise.

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While the songs were melodic and mellowing, few with a melancholic theme, Phil conducts his prose against the cynical, and his songs breath an air of positivity over pessimism. There was a running leitmotif of keeping on the sunny side of the street against all odds, and for such, I compare him again to Springsteen, for his wild romantic style. Never was the subject quixotic, pragmatism showed his true colours as he poured his emotion fluently into his songs, attached to acoustic guitar so you couldn’t see the join, through proficient use of the loop peddle he created a beautiful soundscape, like a one-man Pink Floyd.

And it was when to come back with the following verse which really impressed me, Jinder has professionalism in his timing and a natural flare, making this afternoon a notable and entertaining affair.

See, I observe the loop pedal operation with a certain fascination, particularly under the command of the multi-instrumentalist, previous referencing Chris James Marr from a Sheer gig, or when the Arts Festival introduced Devizes to She Robot last summer, but it never ceases to amaze me when a man like Jinder can weave such intense resonances with just an acoustic guitar. The instrumental sections penetrated the mind and drifted from person to person; he clearly knows what he’s doing there, wincing an electric guitar sound or bashing a beat on the side of it.

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Big “but” here though, it was the crux when he let off the pedal, the songs of simplicity; man, and guitar, ah, the acoustic really showed his true expertise. I’d recommend and welcome a Phil Jinder Dewhurst gig to all mature aficionados of rock. And marvellously prolific is he, a West Country based international touring musician, Jinder has released ten critically acclaimed albums for five different labels, including Sony BMG and Universal, had top 40 singles with ‘Overthinkers Anonymous’ and ‘Keep Me In Your Heart’, the latter of which has been successfully covered by many other artists and features in 2019’s international smash hit movie ‘Fishermen’s Friends’.

Through the delicacy of lo-fi folk-noir to the crank but pleasing blues tune he charmed the humble audience with personal anecdotes of woe, or uplifting inspirational moments, he expressed his passion for his art, that of friends in collaboration, and he pitched his landmark album The Silver Age with accounts of its orchestration. I’d like to hear that, yet as solo he has a force of his own, and was the perfect finale to a weekend.


© 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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March On: Things to Do. Part 2

Everyone having a nice March so far, been alright, innit? I promised, when I featured the first fortnight of events, here, that I would return to complete the last two weeks. I’ve promised this before and totally spaced on it, for which I apologise; not enough hours in the day. Nothing to do with my goldfish memory. Here though, this month, I’ve actually only gone and done it, before the 31st March too! See below if you don’t believe it’s true, the last fortnight in March, stuff to do while waiting for the supermarkets to restock on bog roll, and all that. I know, it scares me sometimes too.

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Click on the hare here to see the first fortnight of March

Bear in mind, mind, our calendar is constantly updating, so do check in as more events and gigs are bound to magically appear like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben.

Week 3

Sunday 15th is where we were up to, and I got two fantablous gigs, Burbank are the White Bear in Devizes, while Jon Amor is at the Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon; nice.

Monday, I never know if the Devizes Folk Club is on down the Lamb or not, to be frank, but it’s a place for a beer if I’m wrong and it’s not!!

Tuesday 17th The Stonehenge lecture at the Wiltshire Museum is now sold out. Celebrated cartoonist and artist, Norman Thelwell is at The Merchant’s House in Marlborough, for a fascinating hour illustrated talk, tracing his life, passions and artistic development. Thelwell produced 1,500 cartoons and 60 front covers for the famed Punch magazine alone and some 32 books translated into a dozen different languages. His works were full of beautifully observed detail and mainly of rural subjects, including country and leisure pursuits, sport, house sales and renovation, stately homes, gardening and sailing. Failing that, Cracknakeel provides live music at The Sun in Frome for their St Patrick’s Day celebration.

Wednesday 18th is jam-packed, for a Wednesday! Acoustic jam down the Southgate, Devizes. Bromham’s Farm Cookery School has a Taste of Morocco class, where you could be learning how to make a Briouat which is like a Moroccan Samosa, make your own Khobz and Kefta Mkaouara. £40.00 per person. Over in Marlborough David Evans gives the second of three lectures in The Merchant’s House Study Series, focussing on Reformation in England and the Arts. The Roots Sessions continues at Frome’s Cheese & Grain with the fantastic Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue.

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Thursday 19th and you could be back down The Farm Cookery School in Bromham for a Mozzarella & Halloumi Masterclass with Josie. She will teach how to make both cheese which is technical but fun! £35.00 per person. The fantastic Ed Byrne is at the Bath Forum and Moles has a punky/metal night with the Anarchist’s Bookfair, Butter The Pavement and Out Of Reach.

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If it’s a slow start to the week, Friday 20th March makes up for it. If, like me, all you know about Jesus Christ Superstar is that he came down from heaven on a Yamaha, and you have doubts with your conviction of that, it’s the opening night for this amateur production by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical portrayal of the last seven days of the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot runs until Sat 28th March and while tickets are still available as I write this, do be as quick, as if you were on a Yamaha yourself; take care not to skid though!

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Meanwhile Devizes Town Hall is the place to head for opera fans, as The White Horse Opera presents their Spring Concert. Including Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan and Hadyn’s Creation, this would be the perfect introduction to opera for those, like me, who thought Donizetti was a type of pasta sauce!

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If you fancy music more pop, the local supergroup I’m always raving about, the Female Of The Species play Melksham’s Assembly Hall. Fusing all their respective band’s influences, expect the best of rock, soul and ska as the girl’s combine forces for a fun-filled gig; I’ve been to see one of these shows and I’m not hyping it up because they’re all awesome chicks, I highly recommend it!

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Day one of two, at the inspiring Shoebox Theatre in Swindon of their FUSE Festival where six emerging artists test a new performance idea over three days. Fuse is about supporting the beginnings of new work before it’s fully developed. Watch, discuss, and be part of the creation of something brilliant. Two performances Kat Lyons’ Dry Season, interweaving music and movement with original spoken word poetry and extracts from medical literature. And the debut one-woman-show from Mighty Mammal Theatre, Swine of the Times, where you can meet the piggies at the troff; they sing songs, say prayers and even mime. Alice Wolff-Whitehouse employs her skills in physical comedy, dance and song to bring to life a series of flawed and quintessentially British characters, looking at the grotesque nature of privilege in the UK through a warped and colourful lens.

Staying in Swindon, Baila Coffee & Vinyl have some Disco Voodoo with DJ Amir, or try indie rock covers with Joli & the Souls at the Vic. Elsewhere, the Leathers play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon, Clannad are at Bath Forum, and Jack Dee’s Off The Telly tour is at Salisbury City Hall.

Saturday 21st then. After the hugely successful free concert in the Market Place last summer, The Full Tone Orchestra have taken their show to Marlborough, and return to town to rave the night away at the Corn Exchange. Taking the most popular section of their show, the club anthems, expect this to be something innovative and all glowsticks, as conductor Anthony Brown’s beloved orchestra reproduce the club classics which defined an era.

The Cavalier go country with the Stone Mountain Sinners, caught these guys before, they’ve a refreshing approach to country-rock which is a cut above the rest. And breezy, original songwriter Ed Witcomb makes a welcome return to The Southgate. For surf beats, odd time signatures, eccentric tunes and irony-fuelled free jazz, try The Barge at Honeystreet, where bonkers surf surrealists Mustard Allegro do their stuff.

Super Trooper Abba tribute, Sensations grace the Seend Community Centre, while Swindon’s Meca has a Whitney Houston tribute. Don’t forget though, it’s day two of the Shoebox’s Fuse Festival too.

Mercy Lounge at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. Recommended ska night at Warminster’s Prestbury Sports Bar with the Train To Skaville, and Paul Carrick is at Bath Forum.

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Week 4

Head to the Southgate for an afternoon pint or three, on Sunday 22nd, and our fantastic singer-songwriter Vince Bell will entertain you. Meanwhile, Groovelator play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford.

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Vince

Tuesday, Devizes Film Club at the Town Hall have the latest Ken Loach film, Sorry We Missed You, which you will be if you miss this one film fans. Full of drama, tension and heartbreak. Ricky and Debbie are the parents of teenage children. Ricky joins the ‘gig’ economy with a franchise for a parcel delivery firm. The job is sold to him as one where he will become master of his own destiny. Providing, that is, he complies with the labyrinth of deadlines, rules and conditions imposed by the company, a near impossible task. Debbie is a care worker who wants to care for the old people as though they are her Mam. But her working conditions thwart her in doing the job as she thinks fit. This modern Dickensian story dramatises the conflict between work and family life in contemporary Britain.

Don’t forget Wednesday’s acoustic Jam down the Southgate, and blues-folk singer Elles Bailey is with Phil King at the Chapel Arts, Bath. Thursday you can witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing cinematography on the big screen at The Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour, coming to the Salisbury City Hall. Staying in Devizes on the last Thursday of every month though is no bore, as the regular and celebrated open mic night at the Cellar Bar is something to behold.

Seventies punk bands never had such a great name as Brighton’s Peter & The Test Tube Babies. Still going strong forty years on, they play the Vic in Swindon on Friday 27th. Tenner on the door. Swindon also has an Improv Jam at The Shoebox, and homemade function band Locomotion at the Swiss Chalet.

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While it’ll sadly never be possible for the boys to be back in town, Preston’s tribute Twin Lizzy will. They make a welcomed return to the Cavalier, Devizes on Friday. Meanwhile, the Devizes & District Twinning Association take over the town hall to bring us some French Café Music with Jac & Co, tickets are also a tenner for both these diverse evenings.

How much more diverse do you want? A dedicated club night for adults with Learning Disabilities? This Is Me at the wonderful charity youth centre, Young Melksham is precisely that, a night of great music and friendship. There’s a series of these events, first one is Friday.

Another welcomed return to Marlborough Folk-Roots at the Town Hall on Friday, when Steve Knightley explores the themes and stories that inspire him and shows how music and words can become lyrics and chords and notes can meld to create songs that acquire a life of their own.

For want of an authentic tribute band, From The Jam play The Cheese & Grain in Frome, and I’ve heard all good stories about them. If originals are what you want though, The Queen’s Head in Box has a double-booking Friday. Katy Hurt stretches the country music genre in exciting new directions; haunting blues vocals, towering country rock guitars, even a reggae vibe, and she is followed by psychedelic alternative rock band, The Bohemian Embassy.

Saturday night of the 28th March is alright, but no fighting, please. Time for the Devizes Lions’ Spring Concert at St Andrew’s Church, where Ian Diddams comperes Bath Coleman, Bangers & Nash, and the Trowbridge & District Youth Band. Tickets are £10, proceeds to Wiltshire Young Carers.

The Corn Exchange has a Gin Festival. Tribute act, Motley Crude are The Cavalier and local heroes Rockhoppaz play The Black Swan. For high octane original and classic rock mixed with some tasteful Bluesy tracks, check the Mark Smallman Band at the Southgate.

Devizine is the unofficial Tamsin Quin fan club, if you wanna hear why, head to Bromham’s Owl on Saturday. Another Abba Tribute, Swede Dreams play Market Lavington Community Hall.

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Highly recommended for the mods, The Roughcut Rebels are at The Pheasant in Chippenham. Also, Blondie & Ska are great fun, they’re at the Wiltshire Yeoman in Trowbridge, checking ahead, they play in Devizes, at the Pelican in May. The Blue Rose Band at The Westbury Conservative Club and an Amy Winehouse tribute at Bath’s Odd Down AFC & Social Club. Level III have a “One Step Beyond-ska and punk club-night.

Elsewhere in Swindon, homemade Damm at Coleview Community Centre and P!nk tribute, Beautiful Trauma play Brookhouse Farm, and a Pearl Jam tribute, Earl Jam at the Vic.

Sophie Matthews explores the links between the visual and the aural in a one-hour presentation at the Merchant’s House, Marlborough. Drawing on the works of great painters including Brueghel, Hogarth and Rigaud, Sophie presents a feast of images featuring historical woodwind instruments in their original social context interspersed with live performances of historical music using authentic instruments.

Sunday 29th – Nearly there, and breath…. Yin Yoga & Gong Bath at Devizes Corn Exchange, The Sunday Sessions continue at The White Bear with Matt Cook and Gary Hall at The Southgate. There’s a Comic-Con at Bath Pavilion, to be frank, it’s a commercial affair rather than a genuine “comic” con, with cosplay, gaming and meeting vague TV actors and ex-Gladiators, but might be fun for the kids.

That’s it, folks, March done, save Bradford on Avon Folk Club have Geoff Lakeman on Tuesday 31st. Let’s regroup in April, but feedback on these articles are needed. Do they work for you? Long-winded I know, but in order to fit it in. Devizine is a work in progress, I enjoy and need to know what’s working and what’s not. So, if you’ve read this far, I salute you! Tell me about 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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Baby, we were Born 2 Rum!

Received a substantial golden handshake when Anchor Foods closed the Swindon site in 2000, by the following week I was maxing-relaxing on Long Bay near Sam Lord’s castle in Barbados, sipping the local beer, Banks. Upon my second influx at the beach bar, a conversant gent questioned why I drank beer, “mek ya belly get big,” he advised.

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“What do you recommend?” I inquired. He suggested I gave this local lad a dollar, I did, and before I knew what was what, he had ascended a palm tree with a machete and used it to knock off a coconut. With a thud it hit the sand, the top was severed, the remaining part handed to the barman who filled it with a generous dosage of Mount Gay white. I’ve been a rum drinker since.

You can’t get white Mount Gay for love nor money in the UK, so I made a beeline for the Muck & Dunder’s mobile rum bar at the Devizes Scooter Rally to ask them. I’d been chatting online with Stu and Shelly, listing their Born 2 Rum event at the Wyvern Club in Devizes. Sad to have missed it, what with the now defunct SN Dubstation playing. I don’t intend to make the same mistake this year, as the Muck & Dunder plan to do it again, with bells on, same place, on 23rd May.

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What these kids don’t know about rum you could write on the back of a matchbox, with space for diagrams. It’s a borderline obsession which sees them travel the Caribbean searching to increase their collection, and they call that work! Since 2018 they’ve been a welcomed sight at our food festival, fetes and events, providing fabulous insight on their passion, often bringing an exotic musical accompaniment, and generally providing the joyous ambience you’d expect from drinking rum, as well as the rum itself of course!

You can guarantee they’re sorting through their collection right now in anticipation, claiming to bring us over forty varieties of rum, some locally brewed rum-ale, with all the added cocktail ingredients they so expertly concoct. Tickets are a tenner and on sale now. It includes a Rum Punch on arrival, and a Rum Map (with tasting notes.) Doors open at 7pm, last entry at 9pm, event closes at 11pm. Strictly over 18’s. There promises to be beer, soft drinks and food available from the club.

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As of last year, WierdyShit spins some tunes. Not come across this DJ before, so I’m intrigued. One thing is for certain though, the most innovative and exciting band to come out of Swindon for a decade or so, The Tribe, will be playing a live set. This year sees a new release from the Tribe with Shakka and Chunkz, yet their debut album Tribal Wave is three years old. If hip hop is usually tricky to reproduce live, The Tribe are a firm favourite on the contemporary festival scene, with a plethora of bookings, and I’d speculate their live performances are the greater priority for them; and take it from me, they rock.

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First time I came across The Tribe was Calnefest some years ago, where I’d returned to my car, taking a break from overheating in the Wilber the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Bear suit! Some fine bands played, but I chose my timing badly to leave the site. This funky, hip hop sound I was appreciating from afar, contemplating heading back it was so good. But when it unexpectedly split to an offbeat ska, the crowds exploded and I hotfooted it back to see what the deal was. Here’s where The Tribe excel, embracing the original hip hop ethos of a fusion of styles, they encompass localised preferred genres, of rock, gypsy-folk-ska, then blend it with funk, rap and dancehall reggae. It’s frenzied, stylised, unique and invigorating, and has to be seen and heard to be believed. So, grab a ticket to Born 2 Rum!


© 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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Andy Hamilton Coming to Swindon’s Wyvern

Apparently the UK just cannot live too long without spending An Evening with Andy Hamilton and so he’s back for another short run of his ‘up close and personal’ show this summer, just to keep us happy. A show which comes to Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre on Wednesday 20th May.

In an evening of reminiscence and revelation, one of the most noted comedy writers and directors of the last few decades looks back over his forty years in comedy and sixty(ish) years on the planet.

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Audiences will have the opportunity to ask Andy questions on any topic as he takes a look back at his very extensive professional career in comedy. Beginning in 1976 as a contributor to Radio 4’s Weekending, Andy went on to pick up a raft of awards for co-writing and co-directing such household TV classics as Drop The Dead Donkey and Outnumbered. His TV satires turned up the heat on Westminster with Ballot Monkeys and Power Monkeys, and he and his co-writer Guy Jenkin also penned and directed the hit British comedy feature film What We Did On Our Holiday. In the spring, their latest sitcom Kate & Koji, starring Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola, will air on ITV.

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Andy’s numerous TV and radio credits include Have I Got News For You, QI, Andy Hamilton Sort of Remembers, The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Old Harry’s Game.

Andy’s debut novel, The Star Witness, is available via Outbound, and his handwritten (yes, handwritten!) epic novel Longhand will be available in June.


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Jamie, Tamsin, Phil, Vince and Ed Too; Five Go Adventuring to The Southgate

“Norm!” – brilliant, wasn’t he? A kind of anti-hero pre-Homer Simpson. Part of the furniture in Sam’s Bar and despite him being an average guy, when he walked in the whole place lit up. It defined the lyric of the Cheers theme song, “where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”

If I awakened from my hibernation Saturday night to attend the wonderful Festival of Winter Ales, such was the arrangement of tables in the Corn Exchange, it felt like the sort of event you appeared at with a posse of friends. For Billy-no-mates here, I’m kind of scanning the horizon for people to hassle with my company. So, I nipped out towards the end, knowing what I was doing; I had a calling.

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There is a place in Devizes akin to Sam’s Bar in Cheers, I could visit anytime, but it’s been a while and knowing what’s occurring there, resistance is futile. It takes a few minutes in the winter wind to turn the corner and get the Southgate in my sights, but I’m immediately assimilated into the Borg collective upon hearing her song. While the Southgate strives to bring us a variety of live music acts, regular as clockwork, freely, and from varying locations, Tamsin Quin’s distinctive voice summons me, the very essence of her hometown. It’s like returning for a homemade roast dinner, or a New Jersey resident going to see Springsteen.

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There’s enthusiastic talk between them, about the amalgamation to be, The Lost Trades, yet the trio aren’t leaking any secrets until their debut at the Village Pump. Gate as welcoming as ever, Jamie R Hawkins billed for tonight, “with friends.” You know this is a local circumstance, sharing of the limelight a must, with flare and passion for the venue and crowd, it reflects into their performances. Phil Cooper is like Clark Griswold, if Jamie and Tamsin are Rusty and Audrey, but Vince Bell is also in attendance, so I don’t know where it leaves him! I mean this in so much as Phil is the organised one, with a setlist scheduled, he’s professional in all aspects of the game, providing order to their show. Jamie is sauntering and socialising, before being beckoned to the now legendary red-carpet makeshift stage, “oh, is it my turn?!”

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At that conjunction you’d expect a song come over muddled, but Jamie, like the others, just rolls into it and knocks out the perfect rendition of his own classic, “As Big as You.” Yep, I’m in my comfort zone, with or without an easy chair.

Through all their subtle differences, the trio work, period. As we’ve said here, The Lost Trades will be a natural progression from the sporadic and less formal amalgamations. Phil is thrilled, nodding and telling me how well the harmonies work, and it’s unusual to have a boy-girl-boy harmony trio. The conversation progressing onto Simon & Garfunkel citing the Everly Brothers as the unsurpassed vocal harmony. In this line of chat, you can sense Phil’s passion and love for what he does, and with every performance it shows. If anything, that is the symmetry within this triangle, Tamsin and Jamie sport the same proficiency and appetite.

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I’ll go as far as illustrating this point: later in the evening, after each performer took their turn until Clark’s schedule ran out and the punters craved more, improv covers streamed. Landlady Deborah handed Phil a drum and his eyes lit up like a kid with a new X-Box; “oh yes!” he thrilled, and joined Jamie with it, strumming. There are no prizes for guessing the improv would take over, once drinks were flowing, and with the gang helping one another out. There are subtle hints as to how the Lost Trades will sound, and it’s simply awesome.

For now, though, they’re still three separate performers with an intimate ethos, and Vince is equally involved, rather than treated like a prodigal son. That’s the spirit in a nutshell; be it George, Kirsty, or others, it’s a family affair to make Sister Sledge envious. That’s precisely why Devizine celebrates this little circuit. In a sentence, it’s guaranteed to be an awesome night, and thus it was, with a very special added surprise.

There is nought negative I could say about it. Between acts, if there was a confusion who was up next, the crowd ardently called for “Ed” to take another. I didn’t like to inquire, something I missed? If another singer was present, I didn’t see him, just a ten-year-old sitting on a stool amidst the regulars. Ed did take the stage, the very same; no one nicked his stool.

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If the near future of our local music scene is the progression of these talented adults, we just glimpsed the future beyond. Ed took up his acoustic guitar, played an Oasis cover superbly, and effortlessly raised the roof. What a surprise and absolute gem, reflecting in all I’ve said about the family atmosphere. I chanced my luck and caught a quick chat with Ed, who came across mature and at ease. Oasis songs his comfort zone, for now, he expressed, it was his first time performing to an audience, it did not show. To get an entire pub singing along, no easy feat, well done Ed; you owned 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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A (hic) Festival of Winter Ales

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Call them Ale

Proper quality celebratory glasses here y’ know, no squashy disposable cups; something of a memento. There are flowers in a jar on the table, aroma of hot pie, and a bulky fellow juggling knifes, while straddling our own Ian Diddams while he lies flat on his back on stage. If your preconception of a beer festival is a marquee in a muddy field, think again, this is the prestigious Devizes Corn Exchange and DOCA, our Outside Celebratory Arts association, are holding their annual Festival of Winter Ales in conjunction with the Stealth Brewery Company.

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Splat the Rat

I’ll come clean, I’m breaking my Festival of Winter Ales cherry tonight, and I’m also fashionably late. Friday night was a sell-out, I’m informed, today is near equal in success, but I’d better hurry on in, the beers were running out. Another confession, I be a cider drinker, part of my five a day. Our man Andy cannot report, he’s here in a professional capacity, tending the bar, least lengthy set of tables. I would have kept him on his toes, but he’s attending to the ale end of things, I’m occupying the cider corner. A rhubarb laced cider is my first glassful, despite the event’s name, there’s ciders aplenty, but the choice of ale was extensive and over the whole weekend you could possibly, but unlikely to, pursue them all.

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Vince Bell

With a customary token system functioning, and barrels aligning the length of the grand hall, there’s part of this event which reflects the standard beer festival format, in a grand fashion. Yet it has a civilised angle, prementioned flowers on tables, etc and surrounding the magnificent stage as if it was an awards evening rather than a beer festival. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint but a compliment, twas a splendid arrangement for a splendid evening; no one need a muddy field in a rain drenched February, save perhaps the odd duck.

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Matt Barnard

If I’m honest, which you know I blatantly am, I’m not surprised by the impressive event, Stealth knows good beer, and DOCA know what they’re doing and could arrange a party on a glacier off Antarctica and it’d still be awesome. Winter beanies off to them both, for this inviting and warming occasion which is, essentially, an important fundraising event which will help fund the carnival and massive summer events such as the beloved annual street festival.

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It’s Complicated

Through the three sessions over two days, our best local bands and musicians played, the wonderful It’s Complicated, Splat the Rat and Vince Bell. I was there in time to catch the finale of Matt Barnard, who has amused as compere, and all-round entertainer through the festival. He’s a confident, comical and cheery chap with that unique Saturday Night at the Palladium ability to cover all aspects of showbiz proficiently. Kris Dollimore followed, with an extensive résumé, this member of Del Amitri drove from Cornwall to pick a guitar akin to an illusionist vanishing the Eifel Tower. I pay particular astonishment to his beautiful rendition of Marvin Gaye’s Inner-City Blues.

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Kris Dollimore

What a most splendid event, one worthy of your attention for next year, and priced at a tenner with first pint free in your keepsake glass, you cannot go wrong.

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© 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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