Devizes Arts Festival’s FREE Fringe Events

A man of my word, ambiguity remains more in the “when.” Yes, I suggested last week we regroup “tomorrow” for a closer focus on the Devizes Arts Festival’s free fringe events; I can only apologise, it’s been nine days. Whatcha gonna do? It’s not until June anyway, relax!

Proudly managing the fringe events, Phillipa noted, to my surprise, “for some reason they don’t seem to attract that many people, compared with ticketed recent events.” Theorising a stigma, I commit to prove wrong could itself be wrong. Sunday being the prevalent day for these to spring up, perhaps the day of rest, of sofa slouching and dozing in the wake of Monday morning distracts. I really don’t know, all I do know is there’s some handsome events lined up here, and they’re all free; enough to motivate me from any tacky Hollywood rehash Sky care to throw at me.

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Guy Halls

Guy Halls

In fact, the only fringe event not on a Sunday is the first one, on Saturday 8th June at 1pm. An afternoon in Pizza Express apt for this self-taught but proficient guitarist, Guy Halls. Salisbury-based, but raised in Zimbabwe, Guy picked up a guitar aged six, now with thirty professional years under his belt, his repertoire fuses Latin-jazz styles rumba and bossa-nova with gypsy and nuevo flamenco.

You’ll need to reserve a table in advance with Pizza Express, assuming then a miniscule catch is you need to order lunch, twist my arm! I for one couldn’t sit in there, with its aroma of olive oil and basil without munching on a pizza, or two. Proof is always in a YouTube link, which I’ve running while I write this, perfectly setting an ambience; anyone got a glass of red wine and some churros?

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Now if this is all too traditional for you, you only need to head for the British Lion the following afternoon (1pm Sunday 9th June.) A choicest local for a pint on any Sunday without multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and beatboxer, She, Robot’s looping performance.

The Arts Festival site describe it as “Woman meets machine in a musical maelstrom that will make your head spin, your spirit lift and your feet move,” while Janice Long professed “very clever. A fine piece of loop pop.” Boss Looping UK Champion 2011, Suzy Condrad, a veteran underground performer, has self-released three albums, the latest EP, 7 Bells is produced by legendary Mike Bennett, who’s worked with The Fall, Toyah Wilcox and Ian Brown.

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The Hot Club

The Hot Club of Wiltshire

The event given me the trickiest task of researching is named The Hot Club on the Arts Festival site, which bought up all manner of web search results I’d rather not go into! It took to emailing one of this quartet, Lewis Dickenson, who explained “we play quite a lot together. Normally it’s under the name of Hot Club of Wiltshire.” One omission solved, I continue; They’re at the Three Crowns on Sunday 16th June, evoking the sound of 1930s Paris, and rooted in the style of Django Reinhardt.

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Spawned from a jam session at the Pound Arts in Corsham, Guitarists Alex Bishop and aforementioned Lewis, together with Steve Laming on clarinet and Ian Jackson on the double bass, offer us some foot-tapping gypsy jazz from the golden era of swing.

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Circu5

Circu5

Drawing comparisons to Radiohead, Yes or XTC in its numerous glowing reviews, the eponymous debut album of prog-rock mavens Circu5 is a concept album of five years’ worth of dedicated sixties vocal harmonies and driving rock.

It’s the solo project of British multi-instrumentalist, Steve Tilling, guitarist and vocalist for TC&I (the new band of Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers from XTC.) Steve however, calls upon guitarist Matt Backer, bassist Mark Kilminster (ex-Tin Spirits) and drummer Greg Pringle (Roger Daltrey Band) for live performances, of which you can witness on Sunday 16th June, down the Bear’s Cellar Bar from 8pm.

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Josephine Corcoran – Open-Mic Poetry Session

So, that’s about it for the music-related fringe events, but for poets and writers, there’s more. A reading by prizewinning, Wiltshire-based poet Josephine Corcoran on Sunday 16th June, 5pm at The Vaults is followed by an invitation from Josephine to share a poem or two of your own at the open-mic session, if so inclined.

I love the interactive nature of poetry nights, I know some who’ll be there with bells on, sure you do too if you read much of Devizine, and if they’re in attendance you’ll be in for a great night, as far as poetry night go. Josephine herself has published two poetry collections, What Are You After? and The Misplaced House. Her work as a playwright has been performed on stage in London and broadcast on BBC R4. She is a Poetry Society Stanza Rep in Trowbridge and works as a writer in schools and community settings.

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Alison Knight – Creative Writing Workshop

The first Sunday of the Arts Festival, Sunday 9th June, though, writers of a younger age are invited to the Wiltshire Museum at 2pm where writer of contemporary fiction and time-travel adventures, Alison Knight, leads a workshop exploring the ‘who, what, when and where’ of story-telling.
Aimed at 14-21-year-olds, they’re encouraged to bring a notepad and pen – there will be some writing exercises from this teacher of creative and life-writing at Wiltshire College, who also works as a freelance editor and proof-reader (I need one of those in my life!)

Now, let’s not distract you from the essential ticketed events, as there’s some great nights of quality entertainment ahead, and note, becoming “a friend” of the Arts Festival for £15 annually will get you priority booking and discounts. But I think you’ll agree, the fringe events deserve your attention, and you know me by now; there’s nothing like a freebie! For more info, and to book see here.

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Over Boot Hill to the Southgate

With the distinctive odour of stodgy crusty nourishing the air, the Southgate Inn Devizes jam-packed once again, this time in anticipation of a plentiful tequila-guzzling gang, breakneck banjos, and feathery lunacy, under the banner of those Boot Hill All Stars.

 
If there’s a band in the area I’ve been meaning to check out more I’d favour you remind me of them.

 
Okay, so I’ve put these nutters on a pedestal prior to catching them play, but the perilous move paid off; they were everything I imagined they’d be, with added professional folly. A canal-type’s darlings, talk in the rain-drenched beer garden consisted of various motors, otherwise was the sort of crisp banter you’ll only receive from these waterway travellers.

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Truly the worst photos taken for Devizine; accept no subsitutue

In which case, The Boot Hills couldn’t have been more apt for the Southgate, its proprietors rightly proud of their canal culture; these guys know how to have fun by the boatload, and fun it was. One chick down unaffected the mob, but not before a duo self-titled “Dry White Bones,” astounded the tavern with a unique blend of fiery folk with guitar, bowler hat, doc Martins and claves.

 
Fast, furious but friendly, The Boot Hills squeezed into the tight space and dancers wasted no time to celebrate their inimitable sound of misfit folk-fused rockabilly, gypsy-ska and general nuttiness. Sporting banjo and quiff, Flounder, composed the group, for want of a more appropriate word, and Cerys titillated with either tambourine or fluffy stick in a sturdy corset and top hat.

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If their own compositions didn’t feverously fire the crowd enough with tales of female masturbation, a cover of Toot’s Monkey Man certainly did, but most poignant was the scorching dissolute interpretation of Dolly’s Jolene. Phew, I’m flabbergasted, it was a filthy fuelled show of dubious ethics and warped values, and with a support résumé as varied as The Damned, The Beat to The Wurzels, it’s easy to see these misfits actually do fit, and what is more, bring the party with them.

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What? They had zider….

Favourites on the festival circuit of Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, Endorse, and Boomtown, for the best part of ten years, but who’d count? They hold the Once Upon a Time in the West, a festival which adopts their insane ethos, and if last night was anything to go by, expect this to go off.

 
It’s the sixth year of this festival, with a reputation of one of the friendliest and most accessible festivals on the circuit, it offers variety as diverse as punk, dub and ska, with the likes of Urban Lions, and The Tribe, to Corky’s devious blend of agricultural hip hop, he dubs Scrumpy & Western, oh and to ensure it’s a true west country welly-fest, the Wurzels also booked. Personal favs, Train to Skaville and Phil Cooper appear too, amidst a boundless line-up. Tickets on sale now for £85 here.

 
Akin to the opening of US sitcom Cheers, The Southgate continues to be that place sometimes you need to go; where everybody knows your name and always glad you came. Celebrating a year now at the helm, Deborah and Dave have successfully given birth to a live music landmark right here in our otherwise trivial town.

 

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The Lamb gets Drum n Bass

I reminisced about Devotion at Golddiggers last week on our homage to Keith Flint, don’t intend to go there again. But, (it’s a dirty big fib, you know it is…) I’ve been contemplating once, in the early nineties, inactive in my car in the carpark, when, what can only be described as “a cheesy raver,” completely unbeknown to us, steadied himself on the rolled-down driver’s window and allowed their jaw to run a marathon. He jabberingly informed he had no intentions of going back into the club, in his own words, “it’s all that jungle music, know what I mean?”

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Pop Quiz: Who can tell me what this was, and what it was for? Showing your age now whistle posseeee!

To be honest, I didn’t, it was the first time I’d heard it called by this name. Although, breakbeat had taken over acid house and techno “bleep,” the “hardcore” label was preliminarily splitting. X-L Recordings, albums like The Rebel MC’s Black Meaning Good and Ragga Twins, Reggae Owes me Money, were providing the hardcore scene with reggae-inspired beats which would assist the divide. Generally, many white youths headed for crashing pianos, hi-hat loops and sped up eighties pop samples, defined as “happy hardcore,” while the urban minority bought us a shadier, serious arrangement of sparse beats and deeper basslines, we now know as drum n bass.

 

 
At the time we considered ourselves maturing ravers, (oh, the irony!) The upcoming generation separated the two, we buried into a new wave of plodding house. Yet with one eye on the divide I appreciated the lunacy of happy hardcore, enjoyed its merry ambience, but couldn’t help feeling drum n bass held the future. It was the more creative and experimental; proved right in the space of only a few years; A Guy Called Gerald, Goldie, and LTJ Bukem were pushing its boundaries into concept albums like it was 1975 space-rock. They prepared the stage for Roni Size, and mainstream acceptance of the genre.

 
So, I had to chuckle at the premise of the blurb on the Facebook event page, where Vinyl Realm stages a drum n bass night at The Lamb, Devizes on the 23rd March with DJ’s Retrospekt, Rappo and Harry B. “We at Vinyl Realm feel there is nothing in town for young adults to do. So, to fix that we have a night dedicated to the local producers creating heavy DnB, deep House and banging Jungle music.”

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Hey, what about us middle-aged old skool ravers? I can still shake a leg yer know, still got it mate! And when I say old skool, I don’t mean like on Kiss FM when they blast a club anthem from 2006 and think they’re retrospective; we were there, at the beginning pal, stomping in the mud! We fought an oppressive government so you kids can rave!!

 
But yeah, you’re probably right, I’d only be panting disproportionately and holding onto the wall for dear life, or else chewing some kid’s ear off about how we used to do it, like Uncle Albert on a love dove. Best leave it to the younger crew. All jokes aside, I know Devizes D&B DJ Harry B has posted to Facebook in the past, attempting to gage interest into such a night.

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I fully support the notion, good on the organisers of this, they’ve hit the hammer on the head; there’s nothing of this genre in Devizes, and not a lot for young adults; fair play, I hope it goes well and spurs others to provide entertainment for this age group. Seems like it will, limited to fifty tickets, with forty showing interest on the Facebook event page, this will be an exclusive return of D&B in Devizes which you better get in quick on, if you’re a playa. A snip at a fiver, tickets are on sale now at Vinyl Realm.

 
I just hope the old pub can hold up under the pressure of devastating basslines! I put my concern to Harry. “I’m going to have a test run up there this week with the speakers,” he confirmed; storming!

 

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Feeling the Force of The Devizes Arts Festival

If there’s a stigma among the typical denizen surrounding the Devizes Arts Festival that it’s all rather pompous and geared toward the elder generation, all walks and organ recitals, and that sounds like you, then I bid you look closer at this year’s newly announced line-up.

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Devizes Arts Festival has pulled a colossal rabbit out their hats for this June’s festivities; really, I don’t know where to begin. Yes, some of it conforms to the customary Arts Festival bookings, such as an audience with international journalist and veteran reporter John Simpson (Corn Exchange. Friday 31st May) and an organ recital by the Sub-Organist at Durham Cathedral, Francesca Massey (1st June St Johns.) There’s even a two-hour festival walk; Historic Devizes (2nd June. Devizes Town Centre,) guided by experts from the Wiltshire County Archaeology team, and a Civil War Battlefield walk at Roundway Down on 9th June.

 
Now, don’t get me wrong, while there’s no bad about any such events, and chatting with organiser Phillipa Morgan, who is keen to point out, “we had fifteen sold-out events last year,” there’s many-a darn good reason to cast off this erroneous label.

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I assure, many acts are set to blow some interest in the direction of those who’d not considered the Arts Festival before. Ska, for instance, (you know me, fancy picking on this one first!) with Skamouth favourites, Coventry’s (the home of Two-Tone) Barb’d Wire (1st June Corn Exchange) who boast legendary and original rude boy himself, Trevor Evans, combined with local songwriter/singer Lloyd Mcgrath. This is certain to raise a few eyebrows; perfect for the 40th anniversary of Two-Tone.

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You can zip your soul boots too, for seventies pioneers in funk, The Real Thing are confirmed, (8th June. Corn Exchange.) Known for legendary hits “You to Me Are Everything” and “Can’t Get by Without You,” Devizes is sure to feel the force!

 
Wiltshire’s own Nick Harper is at The Exchange, 13th June, contemporary Congolese and Cuban music 15th June at the Corn Exchange with Grupo Lokito, and experimental prog-rock with CIRCU5 (16th June. Cellar Bar.)

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The brilliant radio, television and stage comedian Ed Byrne (12th June. Corn Exchange) was the other to immediately catch my eye. Joined by special guests, David Haddingham and Sindhu Vee, this one promises to “have you rolling in the aisles.” With sold-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, and the West End, it reminded me of a conversation I had with some organisers last year, about how they travel to Edinburgh to source acts for the Arts Festival. This dedication has paid off, it seems, and we’re set for an explosively good year.

 
I asked Phillipa if this stigma was something the committee addressed, as it certainly is a line-up of variety. “Classical music is still there but we’ve tried to broaden the appeal. I think we’ve just moved in that direction as a result of an awareness that the requirement is changing and we’re trying to be more inclusive.”

 
So, what else is up for grabs this year? Children’s author Clive Mantle will be entertaining youngsters with illustrated readings from his time-travelling, Himalayan adventure and talking about his writing and his own travels in Nepal (1st June. Devizes Town Hall 2:30pm.) Although familiar as an actor to audiences of Holby, Vicar of Dibley and Game of Thrones, Clive Mantle is also now a successful children’s author: his first book “The Treasure at the Top of the World” was short-listed for the People’s Book Award and a second book in the series is due out in June. This is suitable for eight-year-olds and above.

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Also, for young-uns, Blue Peter Award winning author and performer, Gareth P Jones presents Aliens in Devizes! (8th June. Town Hall) Pet Defenders, a secret organisation of dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents dedicated to keeping the Earth safe from alien invasion. Suitable ages from six to nine, but sounds like fun to me!

 
The best jazz violinist in the country, Christian Garrick and John Etheridge, one of the most stunningly versatile guitarists, presents Strings on Fire (3rd June. The Exchange.) Meanwhile, two siblings that make up the exceptional violin and viola duo, String Sisters, Angharad and Lowri Thomas String Sisters are at St. Andrews Church on the 5th June. Multiple award-winning musicians, who’ve played with Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Paloma Faith, Marc Almond, Boy George and Robbie Williams.

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2nd June at The Bear Hotel Ballroom, there’s a quirky, funny and poignant award-winning solo show about Nick Drake; a celebration of music, photography, life, coincidences and the legacy of one of the most influential singers/song-writers of the last fifty years.

 
Competitive improv as you’ve never seen it, The Shakespeare Smackdown (4th June. The Exchange,) is from the creators of Olivier Award-winning “Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.” Britain’s favourite celebrity organic gardener and Gardeners’ Question Time star panellist, Bob Flowerdew has An Audience with on the 5th June at Devizes Town Hall.

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From Atila singing the Nat King Cole Story (6th June. Town Hall) to the dark comic and eclectic music of Moscow Drug Club (7th June Corn Exchange) and from An Audience with grand dame of English literature, Fay Weldon (8th June. Bear Hotel) to Elspeth Beard, the first British woman to motorcycle around the world (8th June. Bear Hotel) no one can deny the quality and variety is extraordinary this year. Talks on Sci-Fi influences on evolutionary linguistics, a homage of renditions of Eric and Ernie, author Clare Mulley’s on her third book, “The Women Who Flew for Hitler”, open mic poetry session with Josephine Corcoran, in fact there’s too much here to list in one article, my wordcount exploding and I fear you’ll be bedazzled by it all.

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So why don’t we regroup tomorrow, when we’ll highlight, in particular, the free fringe events? Phillipa, in charge of the fringe events, notes surprisingly, that although “the fringe events are subsided, for some reason they don’t seem to attract that many people, compared with ticketed recent events such as Rick Wakeman at £45, which sold out.” I think this is down to the aforementioned stigma, and here at Devizine I’m dedicated to prove it wrong. So, same time tomorrow then?

 

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Stone Mountain Sinners at Dead Kool’s Final Night at The Cons Club

Returning favourites, The Stone Mountain Sinners pulled a sizable crowd to Dead Kool Promotion’s final hoedown at the Devizes Conservative Club last night. The accomplished Worcestershire country-rock six-piece belted out some dazzling country riffs fused with energetic rock n roll/blues nods. It was just how I suspected it’d be as drafted in our preview piece, that’s why I took the opportunity to drop in.

 
While stereotypically the genre admittedly not to my usual tastes my eclectic toe was tapping, here’s perfect example of the cross-over Dean pushes for, to appease both regular country aficionados and newcomers. For a sprinkling were Stetson-wearing adherents, but the bulk in attendance were everyday local music lovers.

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Covered in our preview was the harmonies of the two vocalists, Neil and Sarah, and they certainly took full advantage of this, as fronting a professional and tightly accomplished band, they shared the session uniquely and wonderfully, though I note while Neil took lead on the more country angled songs, Sarah had that poignant strength to twist some seriously grinding rock elements. After the first instance of this I felt the need to capture it on one my wobbly videos, but the following song lowered the tempo again to country, nevertheless, here it is!

 

Ah, king of the wonky sound-crackling video, they never do justice to the acts, you have to use a heap of imagination to note it was far better than it may sound here!

It sure was one grand performance, producing a night celebrating all that is good about the club, it’s balance between archetypical country and the diversity of its backlash.

 

Bringing in Devizes best singer/songwriter Jamie R Hawkins as support being a fine example. Jamie gave us his masterworks, expressed a fondness of country and mollified the audience with his own more-country inspired songs, such as Man of Simple Means.

 
Chatting outside he told me of his roots as a family band playing the country music circuit and we discussed his fondness of song-writing. I noted the narrative in his writing, a complete story, often with a twist is something all-together country; a skill Jamie rightly prides himself on.

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The night was prodigious, yet the arrangement of seating in the venue acts somewhat as a barricade between audience and artist, I feel, if left open for dancing it takes a while to encourage this. I note while the other clubs arrange this differently, Long Street Blues pushes seats up to the stage for optimal intensity, whereas The Scooter Club do the opposite, leaving a wider dancefloor, as the nature of its genre is more danceable. For this sole reason I welcome the venue change for the Country Club to the Cavalier on Eastleigh Rd for future events. It’ll be more imitate, engaging the audience more.

 
I look forward to seeing how this development progresses, for the Hannah Johnson & The Broken Hearts gig it’ll be perfect, for the Family Club tribute nights, a pub location rather than function hall will give it the community feel and closeness it craves. And if the club pulls in bands as good as The Stone Mountain Sinners, well, boom!

 

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Decatonics to take Devizes to Skaville!

Designing the posters for the Devizes Scooter Club came to the peak of absurdity with this one for the latest event on the 30th March, and I feel I may need tone down the experimentation a tad. Still, I think it stands out from the run-the-mill event poster; in the words of Mike the Cool Person, “I never stand on convention, it never stood on me.”

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But I cannot deny, with a bombardment of highly anticipated local gigs this coming month, I’m looking forward to this one perhaps, the most. We’ve seen a few Northern Soul and Motown nights of recent from the Scooter Club, and while my eclectic taste appreciates these along with the plethora of other gigs lined up on my calendar, you still can’t, in my opinion, beat a bit of ska.

This will reflect well against the forthcoming Scooter Rally, as while a weekend-long event will provide scope for the club to parade all relevant genres, there’s a truckload of ska to be heard. Orange Street headlining will be one to watch, while Swindon’s The Tribe mesh ska with hip hop beats, and other local outfit The Erin Bardwell Collective will simmer in some rock steady. Essex’s finest, The Start are not averse to playing ska, and I’m sure, given the nature of the event that the Day Breakers will blast a two-tone classic or three. Of course, Bad Manners tribute Special Brew take as red.

Confident in the statement international third-gen ska is regenerating the old Two-Tone scene here in England, is evident in the success of groups like the Dualers. Call it cliché, say yeah, diehard skins don’t know when to give it up, but there’s something in that joyous offbeat which makes you want to jump and skank.

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So put your braces together, your boots on your feet, and allow me to introduce this prodigious booking, Dorset’s eight-piece ska band, The Decatonics. It promises to be a blinding night at the Devizes Conservative Club. The band, formed in 2012 have indeed supported the aforementioned Dualers, along with The Skatelites, The Neville Staple Band and Bad Manners.

An established 8-piece female-fronted ska band, The Decatonics are constructed of bassist Rowan, two Steves, one on keys and the other on drums, an energetic backline and powerful horn section of Mike on tenor sax, Harry on trumpet and alto sax, and Ian on trombone. They’re fronted by two adept vocalists who compliment one another; Shaun, also on lead guitar and Sally, who I’ve been chatting with. I started by asking her how long they’d been together and if the members were the same original line-up.

“The bass and I, and the lead brass, are original, with our drummer being with us for five years,” she explained, “but as with any large band, changes are inevitable along the way.”

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“Is it all covers, or have you any original songs recorded?” I asked Sally.

“We do just cover songs,” she sustained, “but try and give our own little flair, and being female-fronted we get to play a more diverse set than your standard ska covers band.” No issue there, in retrospective glory, cover songs make the night at the Scooter Club. Not forgoing, Sally mentioned that since 2017, The Decatonics have been part of a Specialised Project, recording tracks for a CD. I saw my opening, boasted of my newfound show on Boot Boy Radio and blagged two tunes to play on the show next week!

The first song a Trojan hit in the UK, Bob & Marica’s up-tempo Pied Piper, proves their ability to sprinkle a joyous contemporary ska riff to a boss reggae classic, but the second hoists up that skill, with a concentrated ska adaption of the Jam’s Standards.

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The Decatonics draw influences from both original Jamaican ska, bluebeat, and its new-wave Two-Tone, but also from successors rock steady and reggae. They even accommodate soul in the melting pot, bringing a vibrant live show which has built up a great reputation with the entire mod/scooter scene rather than just ska aficionados. Do not expect third generation punk experimentation, but a suitable English ska sound popularised by Madness and The Beat.

With a strong following through regular pub and club gigs, and festivals such as the Big One Weekender Festival, Dorset Volksfest, The Dorset Steam Fair and Teddy Rocks under their belt, I’m certain they’ll transport their astounding party atmosphere to our already lively Devizes Scooter Club nights.

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Tickets are a tenner, by messaging the Devizes Scooter Club Facebook page, from Vinyl Realm, Jefferson’s Café, or from the Devizes Cons Club direct. As usual there will be a raffle, and I believe it’s me warming up the crowd on the wheels of steel, like a musical fluffer; but don’t let that put you off! The club ascertain everyone is welcome, not just members. Think of this as an opportunity to taste what you might bear witness to at the forthcoming Rally in July, oh and to have a good knees-up too!

 

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MY SCIENCE FAIR 2019

By Ryan West

 

Last weekend (Sunday 3rd March), Wiltshire Music Centre’s free annual event, My Science Fair, brought 850 people through the doors of the professional and community music venue for a day of family fun inspired by Music and Movement. Run by the Centre’s Creative Learning department, who engage around 5,000 young people each year in musical and artistic activities, the day was spread throughout the Centre and teaching rooms of St Laurence School.

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The aim of the day was to engage young minds in science, with a musical twist, and at its core was the culmination of the My Science Fair project competition, for which 36 students from 14 primary schools across Wiltshire and Bath devised their own exciting experiments exploring music, movement and science. Experiments were exhibited throughout the day and were judged by an expert panel, including scientists from the University of Bath, University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, as well as automotive-test specialists AB Dynamics, the Ministry of Defence and Unilever.

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Cressida ‘Chemical Cress’ Bullock started the day with a bang as nearly 400 people filled the Auditorium.

 

She engaged the audience with visually stimulating experiments including bowls bubbling with bicarbonate of soda, unravelling polystyrene polymers with nail polish remover and a hair-raising experience with a Van de Graaf generator! Music leader David Garcia then took to the stage with a new way of practising the chemicals of the periodic table – samba! Using percussion instruments and tuneful ‘boomwhacker’ tubes, he got the young visitors on their feet playing out rhythms to the beats of the elements of the periodic table.

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Elsewhere there was an enthralling light and music experience from Colourscape and three fun-filled and educational LEGO robotics workshops which gave young visitors the opportunity to create their own robot and programme its movements on a tablet. There was also a demonstration from students from the University of Bath who showcased an extraordinary sonic invisibility cloak made from soundwaves, and portable 3D printer pens, which provided children with a great chance to create their own objects with a stencil. There was more cybernetic fun to be had at the Bot Club, and the virtual reality headset proved popular with intrepid explorers wanting to enter a digital world.

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The afternoon saw a performance from electronic composer Duncan Chapman, along with raga singer Supriya Nagarajan and Theremin player Charlie Draper, who sampled sounds from throughout the day to create a lullaby soundscape in the main Auditorium. With swirling lights and dancing shapes on the screen, it was the perfect way to relax after a busy day!

 
At the end of the day, Wiltshire Music Centre’s Head of Creative Learning, Karl Bevis, presented the Young Scientists with their prizes which included learning sets of scientific games, chemistry sets, robotics kits and a melodica as the star prize for the best experiment combining Music and Science.

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The following prizes were awarded at the end of the day:
• Best in Class: Reception-Year 2 – “How do plants grow in brick walls?”, pupil from Widcombe Infants School aged 7.
• Best in Class: Year 3-Year 4 – “How does mould grow on bread?”, pupil from Westwood with Iford School aged 9.
• Best in Class: Year 5 – “How does sound affect how I feel?”, pupil from Saint Edmunds Catholic Primary School (aged 10)

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• Best in Class: Year 6 – “Fantastic Flood Defences”, pupil from Christchurch Primary School (aged 11)
• Most Eye-Catching Presentation – “Are bramble leaves bigger in the shade or the light?”, pupils from Stowford Manor Farm (aged 8 and 9)
• Most Innovative Project – “How could Stowford Farm be more sustainable?” pupils from Stowford Manor Farm (aged 8 and 10)
• The AB Dynamics Prize for Mechanical Engineering – “Magnet Trains”, pupil from Bellefield Primary School (aged 7)
• The Music & Science Prize – “Can you make music with water?”, pupil from Christchurch Primary School (aged 6)

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Speaking on the day, Karl said: “This year’s My Science Fair has seen more fantastic young scientists with some really interesting projects. Having the Music Centre so busy with robotics, virtual reality, samba music and even rocket-launching was just so much fun. We are looking forward to even more next year as we continue to provide an inclusive environment for people of all ages to explore, create and discover.”

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My Science Fair was generously supported by the Bradford on Avon Area Board, the Jack Lane Charitable Trust, NFU Mutual and Wiltshire Music Connect, as well as Wiltshire Music Centre Season Sponsor AB Dynamics.

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Wiltshire Music Centre plays host to around 160 concert events a year, including family events such as My Science Fair, the Big Family Music Day (22nd June 2019) and the Bradford Roots Music Festival. More information can be found online at: www.wiltshiremusic.org.uk/whats-on.

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