NEWS

Reggae Inna Cellar, with Razah and Knati P

 

Can’t review your own gig, numb-nuts; see this as a reflection on our blinding reggae night down the Cellar Bar……….. 

 

Relying on public transport, our neighbouring Marlborough seems like a million miles away, a gamble you won’t be stuck in Avebury wandering the stones talking to some starry-eyed American beatnik about the wonders of crop circles.

But I thought it an idea to invite the very best Marlborough has to offer, in the genre I love the most, to our own cobble-stoned Cellar Bar last night. And boy, did it go off.

I arrived as early as my dinner would settle, to find a wall of speakers and a sound system in various stages of construction.

Ingrained, we are, of live music, one punter inquired when the band was going to play. This is sound system culture, a history richer than disco, a Jamaican ethos of music for the masses, stretching back seventy years beyond the ska sound of the sixties, to days of dub reggae, inspiring the bloc-parties of hip hop in the Bronx, and naturally, the free rave scene of the nineties.

The sound system pioneered not just techniques in amplification, but musical progression in ways the band or solo musician could never.

So, we are here, in 2019, if Devizes embraces tradition it sure took this surprise under its wing, as the Cellar Bar began to fill with our few reggae aficionados, hippies, old scooter boys, youthful passers-by and embraced a unity of all which only reggae can do.

You can sum this up with popular slogan and Marely anthem, One Love. Precisely what Razah, Knati P and crew blessed us with, giving up their time to play in aid of the homeless charity, Devizes Opendoors, under our banner of Devizine, and of which I’m forever in their debt for.

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Another bass-wobbly image by Devizine; except no substitute

A huge thanks goes out to the crew, painter and mentor, Knati P who brings the party with him, Nick, aka Razah, who technically made this work wonders, and gave me a few tips on playing on a big sound system, despite it looking like a confusing series of knobs, dials and lights to me!

I gave them a break and did a blast with my amateurish computer mix, as the crowds were yet to cotton on. Yep, should’ve publicised it better with posters, save relying on the followers of Devizine, yet Devizes should’ve heard of it by now, no excuses; help me to help you, sharing is caring, and word of mouth does wonders. Despite, as our first couple of gigs had no budget, and not wishing to dip into charity funds, was therefore experimental to see the power of the site and who pays attention to it; kind of worked, kind of didn’t. A few bods telling me they just passed by and heard the sweet music. Another notch in the idea of taking Devizine to the printers. Anyhoo, for future reference that.

With my mix from early ska to upbeat dub-ska over and done with, the professionals took control. In a blink the place was bustling. Beginning with popular reggae tunes and blending slowly towards a contemporary upbeat, jungle-like sound, only to finish where we started with Prince Buster’s One Step Beyond; that’s ska, people, please keep up!

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Christ on a bike; where are my photographers in my hour of need, huh?

No one shirked in the bottom seating area, even the dust on the old beams was jumping. Proof, I feel, reggae has a market here, fruitful and valid. Ergo, if you want to attract a crowd to your pub venue, with something differing from the norm, get in quick and book this Skanga sound system, the Knati P and friends reggae show, before someone else takes heed! My mission to force Devizes to be reggae-friendly has raised the bar, Knati, Nick and crew did an astounding job of convincing me.

A blinding, joyful atmosphere which needed no bouncer-presence; 99.9% here to party, as it should be. Mate, whoever you were to be so cheeky to ask bar-staff for a table knife, posing as a crew member with the task of taking the flags down, I’m not impressed with shadowing the good reputation growing in Devizes for our guests, who played for the love. You were only caught down the street anyway, with the spoils of a Bob Marley flag that you can buy online for £3.20; I’m not the local newspaper, and will refer to you publicly as a fucking knob-jockey.

Delighted to announce then, combined with last week we raised £225 for Devizes Opendoors, who work to provide homeless and people in sheltered accommodation comfort in a cooked breakie, takeaway lunch, wash and donated clothes, books, and importantly, a social environment with needed help and advice. The way things of going these days, this is the cold reality in our affluent town. Though minor compared with cities and larger towns, it’s real and it’s happening.

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Bugger me sideward with a barge-pole if I say I love reviewing my own gigs, I’m not here to boast, as it’s not about me. See this then as a diary-like blogpost, and tip for who I think needs greater attention on our scene. Thank you, for all the effort you’ve put in, to the attendees, Luke and staff at the Cellar Bar. Thanks to the previous Saturday’s acts; The Roughcut Rebels, The Hound on the Mountain, Gail Foster and those Truzzy Boys (hope you had a grand night at the Cons Club.) And a massive respect and one love to this week’s crew, particularly Sam, and to Razah and Knati P, who you can catch 8th June at a regular spot in the Wellington Arms, Marlborough, for the Queen’s Birthday Party. Whether the Queen will be there to skank the night away is yet unconfirmed but highly likely.

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We will prompt and notify you of future events from these guys, Devizine owes them big time. Meanwhile, I think there’s so much going on during the summer, time to concentrate on those. We are NOT an event organiser, we aim to promote those who do, but Devizine Presents does help me understand what organisers are up against. Not to say l won’t put something else on later in the year though, aiming to highlight our blossoming music scene and all that sail in her!

 

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Make Devizes Reggae-Friendly with Devizine!

Cuban meets African, in Devizes: All About Grupo Lokito

You know, I have my ska-reggae show on Boot Boy radio, that’s while I’m so looking forward to Barb’dwire playing the Devizes Arts Festival in June, but feel I differ from its, generally, skinhead cohorts with instantaneous love for all Caribbean styles of music.

There’s something so colourful and lively in these many styles from the islands in the sun, but in my excitement for the ska night, I’ve overlooked the other intriguing main musical booking, London-based Afro-Cuban group Grupo Lokito, and wow, they sound tremendous!

Rhumba down to Corn Exchange on Saturday 15th June, where Grupo Lokito fuse contemporary Congolese and Cuban; I leave a few videos here, certain to wow you as they have me. In addition, we’re lucky enough to have Lokito’s manager and keyboardist, Sara McGuinness to enlighten.

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Keen to scoop some background, I asked Sara about managing a number of Cuban groups in London, Grupo Lokito being just one, and if they were Cuban by birth.

“I have played Cuban music and salsa for most of my life, as a piano player on the UK Latin scene,” Sara tells me. “In the mid-2000s I decided I wanted to investigate Congolese music, found a, at that time, vibrant underground Congolese music scene and started playing keyboards in a Congolese band. Congolese music is one of the few styles that is popular pan- Africa. The fact it has a modern but distinctly African sound is often cited as one of the reasons. It’s vibrant, fantastic music. What became clear to me the minute I started working with Congolese musicians within their community was that the music the African audience, the ‘home’ audience if you will, liked was quite distinct from the music favoured by the world music audience. The Congolese liked the old and the modern stuff, whereas the tastes of the world music audience stopped in the 60s. I loved the modern music that I was playing with the Congolese bands. Furthermore, I could see many similarities in performance practice and musical structure between that music and Cuban music. So, together with a Congolese singer, I wrote some tunes and we brought together musicians from the two traditions.”

“We were lucky as, working within both scenes, we had insider knowledge about who to work with. What was striking was that the two groups of musicians had never met each other or mixed at all before we brought them together in this band. Together in the band we worked hard to absorb each other’s musical styles. I was determined not to have a ‘fusion’ group which played a pastiche of the two styles. Grupo Lokito have a large original repertoire which combines different elements of Congolese and Cuban music. All of the band are dedicated to playing the music well and with an amazing groove.”

I asked Sara to breakdown the band’s origins.

“I’m the bandleader, born in the UK. The two lead singers, the lead guitarist and, on this occasion, the drummer are from the Democratic republic of Congo. The bass player and the percussionist are from Colombia and the trumpet player who is guesting with us on this occasion, is Cuban. What is more important than our origins are we are all Londoners, we have all chosen to make London our home and contribute to the rich cultural fabric of this great city.”

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This Cuban/Congolese fusion, I had to ask; are African fusions common in Cuba’s contemporary music scene, or something unique to Lokito?

“Absolutely not. My experience of Cuba is that most Cubans know very little about contemporary African music. Yes, there are many African derived musical traditions in Cuba but these hark back to an imagined Africa and African of 200 years ago. My experience is that initially the Congolese musicians I involved in the project had more idea about Cuban music, albeit a little old fashioned, than the Latinos did about Congolese music. The band is unique.”

The idea of an “imagined” Africa of yore is interesting, I think akin to all Caribbean music, particularly reggae. On Cuban styles though, I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years since the Buena Vista Social club album when, Ry Cooder popularised the genre. I wondered what Sara thought about this, does she think it’s been good for Cuban bands in the UK, as it’s probably the only album the masses would recognise from a bucket of “world music” albums.

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“The Buena Vista Social Club project certainly was part of the opening up of Cuba and popularity of Cuban music in the world,” she explains, “It is often said to be a Ry Cooper project, but was actually a consortium of Juan De Marcos Gonzales, Nick Gold (World Circuit) and Ry Cooder. They decided to bill it as Ry Cooder in order for the project to gain wider popularity and not just end up in the world music bin; it worked!”

“In terms of it being good for Cuban music in the UK there are positive and negative consequences. On the positive side; many people became interested in Cuban Son and there was more call for Cuban bands to play old style, Cuban Son. On a negative side, it did create a nostalgic, polarized image of what Cuban music is and created a standard repertoire that bands were required to play. In fact, the island of Cuba has a huge number of musical styles which have come out of the island, a product of the mix of cultures on the island: Mainly European and African but also Chinese, and other.”

My research suggested Cubano Son is the style associated with an African and Latin fusion in Cuba, which has been around since the 1920s. So, is Grupo Lokito similar? But does Sara think this wouldn’t be popular in Cuba today.

“I don’t agree Son is the style associate with African and Latin in Cuba,” Sara corrected me, I’m here to learn! “There are definite African and European roots to son,” Sara continues, “Son has been constantly developing since the 20s and, as you point out most people are not listening to son in the style of the 20s. Cuba has definitely opened up to the world and there is a lot of music coming out of Cuba now, from Jazz to Hip hop, timba, son.”

But Grupo Lokito brings together contemporary musicians from two musical traditions, okay, similar more so to Soukous, a popular dance music from the Congo Basin derived from Congolese rumba, or better still, stop pigeonholing Worrow! Grupo Lokito write their own original tunes: stories of life ranging from love tales, reflections on the trials facing musicians trying to make a home away from home, the wisdom of the elders, to the simple joy of dancing, and sounds awesome!

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To return this fascinating and enlightening chat to the beginning, what of reggae and ska, surely the most popular forms of Caribbean music in the UK, due to the Windrush generation. I asked Sara, what she thinks African, or Cuban styles would have to do to become as ingrained in our culture as them, is that even possible does she think, and is it something to aim for?

“I think it depends who ‘we’ are,” Sara replied. “There are many second, third and more generation British people of African descent and for them, the music of home is embedded in their culture. Latin-American music, in cities such as London, where there are large Latin American communities, particularly Colombian and again, second and third generations have Colombian musical styles ingrained in their culture. I definitely think that multi-cultural society is something we should be proud of. I do realise the London is a cultural bubble and the rest of the UK, particularly outside the large cities, is far less multi-cultural. If you look at some of the new music being created in the UK cities it will all be in there.”

Ah, but this be Devizes me lover! I’m extremely grateful for Sara’s time in chatting with us, must say, it’s a great example of the diversity on offer at this year’s Devizes Arts Festival, and something exotic and exciting for us bumpkins!

 

Tickets to Grupo Lokito are on sale now at £18.

 

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De Novo; New Beginnings for Claire and Mark

 

What’s all this about then, another invitation to “like” a Facebook page? I was glad to catch up with Claire Gilchrist yesterday, as she announced a new venture with other former People Like Us originator, Mark Povey…….

The fresh electro-acoustic duo dubbed, De Novo, promises to “create something frickin’ stratospheric!”

Bassist Mark left People Like Us after a sell-out New Year’s Eve gig at the Three Crowns, Devizes back in 2017, while Claire left towards the end of last year. Let’s not dwell on details, I wanted to press Claire for what we can expect from this silver lining, for does she see it as thus? “Quite,” Claire agreed, and informed me, “De Novo is Latin for New Beginning.”

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But is De Novo something dreamed up on a whim, this Sunday afternoon in a beer garden? “No. Mark and I have been toying with the idea of a duo for a while now,” Claire explained, “but I was far from ready to sing again after last year.” The split from People Like Us left Claire disheartened, so we are pleased to hear she’s found her feet again, and that wonderfully punctual and expressive voice too, obviously.

But, what kind of music can we expect?

“We will be producing our own take on chart and album songs, old and new,” she explained.

How far do you plan to go back? I inquired, requesting them to give us some eighties!

“Foo’s,” Claire namedropped, “Beach Boys, Adele, Guns & Roses, The Police…” Then Erasure, The Human League, and Simple Minds were also cited.

A broad pop mix, “choosing your favourites?!” I asked.

“The One and Only!” came a knee-jerk reaction, I hope in jest! “Yes, but also songs that people won’t necessarily recognise.” The blurb on De Novo expresses: Anyone who knows either of us already will not be surprised to read that our duo will not be that of the ‘every day’ kind.

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Original People Like Us line-up, Andy, Nicky, Claire and Mark

Claire agreed with my belief, that it’s fascinating to cover songs, when putting your own stamp on them. But what about originals, has the duo their own compositions up their sleeves?

“Yes, Mark and I are songwriters.”

“Together?”

“Yes.” Claire was keen to open up to a little of her history, “I had a record deal with an independent label when I was in my early twenties. My song-writing partner and I had songs that were put forward to artists in Nashville, at the time.” Yet she sings and plays by ear, “I always need an ‘actual’ musician to realise stuff properly.”

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Mark and Claire are at “the very beginning of our musical journey together,” and we wish all the best for this promising duo, but are they ready?

“Not quite yet, we’re honing our act. We don’t want to go out and perform without being 100% happy and ready,” she explained, “but we’re hoping to pop up over the summer to give people a free taster and be gig-ready by September. Like flash-mob, out of the blue, street kinda stuff.”

“Buskers,” I jest, though Claire professed the importance of busking, informing me her idol KT Tunstall started as a busker. So, track their progress by giving the De Novo Facebook page your “like,” and we look forward to hearing from them soon.

 

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Happy Gypsy Birthday Blood!

Some years ago, I walked into the Moonrakers, keen to hear a young singer called Tamsin Quin perform. It was a time when I had reservations about the rant column I was writing for Index; Wiltshire. While popular, and mostly when I did rant on a subject, I tended to become more interested in highlighting the positive things about Devizes.

 
Devizine born from this notion, but not before I heard our Tammy sing, as while it made me a fan of her music, it also opened me up to our local music scene. Our first post outside reposting the No Surprises Living in Devizes column, was the crowdfunding campaign for Tamsin to produce an album.

 
The album, Gypsy Blood now celebrates it’s first birthday. Check our review here, a year ago. Just a quick one from me them, to say a big happy birthday to Gypsy Blood, and advise you to follow this event, which celebrates the occasion with a live stream of Tamsin performing the album, and all from the comfort of your armchair; the show starts at 8PM: https://www.facebook.com/events/2036120543358867/

Devizine Presents #1; Presented

All Photos used with the permission of Gail Foster, except the one of Gail herself!

 

Gimme a samba band, throw me an avant-garde minimalist techno breakbeat and then chastise me with a euro-pop grunge fusion played by an antelope on a washboard, I couldn’t give a donkey’s kidneys, all music is better than no music; shit, imagine a world without music.

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Perhaps my taste too eclectic. I respect my supervisor’s dedication to one particular band, it’s borderline obsession; but me, see, I couldn’t reduce my tastes to a particular genre or era, let alone group. Bite the bullet, I can hold a conversation once tuned to wavelength, yet cause angered debate if I venture off your playlist. Bollocks, I say, any modern popular musical genre has been wired from the same machine, track the branch you sit on beyond the earth, and you’ll find the same roots.

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For me, last night was a learning curve, as I staged our first “Devizine Presents” evening at the Cellar Bar. In communication with all these event organisers it helps me to comprehend the issues they face, and it’s not so simple as propping up the bar all smug, though I attempted to! All said, we had a great night I feel, but refrain from giving my own gig a review, treat this as a diary-fashioned blog post, but compulsory to give you the heads up on the guys who did all the real work.

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Diverse the line-up may have been and contradictory to each other in style, I knew that, these acts slung together by an inexperienced promoter, me, under a banner of kindness to freely give their time and effort, for which I and Devizes Opendoors are both extremely grateful for. What the acts did bring was their own inimitable panache, and from Saturday Night at the Palladium to Britain’s Got Talent, variety is the spice.

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Local, the Roughcut Rebels have been on the circuit a while, playing mod-rock and indie classics from sixties to today, however with major changes to the line-up, including Jamie, the new frontman it was a chance for them to showcase their modifications. Regrettably, I’ve never caught the original group, but confirm now the alteration is a transformation; they rocked with confidence, panache and flair through Animals, Small Faces and Kinks sixties blues-rock classics to benchmark eighties mod, resting particularly on The Jam, and progressing to Britpop anthems including a sublime take on Wonderwall.

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Ha, I ain’t making no money writing this crap, so just cos the gig has our tag doesn’t mean I’m here to flatter, you know I’ll tell it as it is. The Roughcut Rebels are highly bookable, would make a great band for a lively pub, scooter club, indie night or even are diverse enough to satisfy the multiplicity a wedding reception would crave.

With the moderate crowd building, (I need YOU at these nights, you know you bring the party, you little party-head, you!) and roused, having a poetry interlude could’ve been a mistake, as you could hear a penny drop; who was unaware that Gail Foster would charm and entertain with poignant verse and witty interims? Because I had no doubt, having do exactly this at our birthday bash back in November, and she did this time with equal appeal.

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Now the cobblestone stage was set for the dreadlocked guy parading around attired bizarre, for Jordan Whatley is his own, is the wildcard and as noted in our interview (here) will bring something curious, peculiar to the show, but shine with original brilliance. Armed with just electric guitar, the ambience he set was spellbinding as he went through a set from his new works, previous tunes from his EP …… such as The Forest, to making Pink Floyd’s Another Brick his own.

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The Hound is truly back on the Mountain, appearing alternative but positive, he’s the character you cannot deny his talent and showmanship, as his expressive spectacle sends him to the floor in an intense display of vivid gothic splendour.

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Then it’s all change akin to the circle line at Edgware Road, as after a poignant Brexit verse from our Gail, The Truzzy Boys are raring to stamp their brand of acceptable pop covers on us. Speaking to Finley about his partner in crime under the Larkin banner, Sam Bishop, who unfortunately couldn’t make it, the DIY ethos of being unsigned means they’re not tied to their namesake. A contract would detail it’s Larkin or nothing, split or together, but Larkin continues albeit while Sam is away studying it’s on the backburner, they still hailed a welcomed night at the Southgate recently.

What Finely’s grouping with cousin Harvey Trusler brings to the show is contemporary pop-indie covers and floor-filling anthems with wide appeal, which did exactly that in the most practical means possible. Confident and harmonious they performed a set more than adequate for any age-ranging function, like a wedding. To boot, the musical family’s prodigy would also supply a disco set-up to complete any such function. This is industry, yes, but within the commercialism of it the boys maintain a positive love of performing, and this shines across the audience, sparking them with equally good vibes.

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You can catch the Truzzy Boys this Saturday (18th May) at the Devizes Conservative Club, where for a mere three quid you’ll witness just what I mean; it’s catchy pop fun, with enjoyment throughout and the expertise not to meander into cliché pop mush.

Though I could tell you nothing else is going this coming Saturday, being we’re back at the Cellar Bar, Devizine exists to inform all of local events. It will not and does not favour any category or genre, will treat a church jumble sale and a four-day mud-fest gypsy rave with equal affection. Suitable then is my aforementioned eclectic tastes, or it would be bias, and that wouldn’t do. I aim to cast variety for these charity gigs, using the various venues at hand, if it’s to become a thing now.

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Starting same time, same place this coming Saturday, is my “for instance;” Knati P, renowned on the international reggae scene with right-hand man, Razah I-Fi will be stacking up a sound system down that Cellar Bar, bringing us a dynamic dub party, something of a rarity here in the Vizes. They say, they might even let me operate the controls as a warm-up, where you can expect a set of original Jamaican ska, as my favoured palate, which will wind into lively ska inspired dub; that’s the plan at any rate. You will dance, you can be sure of that young fellow-me-jig.

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But again, I’m asking for donations, preferably a fiver, as I’m not out to hang myself on the music promoter vocation, not with the wonderful experienced ones we already have locally, from Mr Moore of Sheer, The Blues Club, Scooter Club, and Dean of Dead Kool now at the Cavy, to namedrop a few. I do however, ask for a contribution so we can hand it to our chosen charity, this time the homeless aids, Devizes Opendoors, who work towards making life that tad nicer for our rough sleepers and those in sheltered accommodation. I’m not here to get political on your ass, but with the way the country is going, this is more in need than ever.

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So, delighted to say, Saturday night’s musical jaunt has raised £140 which will be banked along with takings to next weeks and handed to the charity. That in itself is a grand job, and I thank the Cellar Bar for having us, and to Harvey, Finely, Gail, Jordan, and The Roughcut Rebels; Doug, Jamie, Mark and John for giving a diverse and amazing night; cheers guys!

 

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Up the Mountain to Chat with the Hound;

Jordan Whatley on his new EP, illness and influences.

 

If chat between songs on Tamsin Quin’s live CD commending the local music scene prompted me to an awakening, Saddleback’s Battle of the Bands in February last year opened my eyes and ears to exactly what she was extolling. A decade of parenting undermined my mindfulness of any such scene, yet I was to be inaugurated.

Bowled over by this acoustic assortment and now befriended Jamie, George, Mike, Sally and Jack, Jordan Whatley was one I never did get to greet. A distanced performer, masquerading under the pseudonom The Hound on the Mountain, he lay out on his knees before the panel of judges in a Hendrix screeching guitar moment. If there was an award for showmanship, he’d have owned it.

Keen to catch him again months later, in the group setting of The Compact Pussycat, I felt the shebang somewhat disjointed, the band proficient, Jordan spirited and acute too, but the combination fragmented. Later in the week Jordan and the Compact Pussycat went separate ways. This Melksham prodigy, feeling alienated, opened up about a mental illness to his Facebook followers, but returns to supplement his 2016 solo EP, Cernunnos with new material, and a live album from his recent gig at Bristol’s highly regarded Fleece.

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We hope to witness it when he arrives Saturday at the Cellar Bar for our charity-based Devizine Presents debut gig. Time to catch up with this hound methinks, for he is more hound than pussycat, and rap about this progression, dealing with his affliction, and investigate his influences.

Cernunnos is a roller-coaster of gothic ballads, fiery blues-rock psychedelia and indie-come-Britpop elevations. If the opening tune, The Forest astounds in goth traipse, building to an enraged frenzy, Ghosts of Your Past is the hauntingly psychedelic blues of Steppenwolf awash with Lewis Carroll references.

While Porcelain Trees perhaps the most emotionally drafted and executed, a gothic gradient of Bauhaus, Tin Can alleviates with a Britpop danceable anthemic riff. Yet the finale staunch punk into archetypical goth. Through diverse stimuli though it’s unified and uniquely Jordan. The passion to be himself and not deviate an attraction to his art, I was keen to engage him into what we should expect next. “So,” I asked, “you’ve a new EP coming, the years between occupied by working with the Compact Pussycat I take it?”

“Yeah sure thing, dude!” was the reply, “The EP was created in 2016 with Nine-Volt leap, put the project on hold due to the Compact Pussycat and getting back on it now. And yep, the live recording is finished, just editing it. Also, I’m starting new EP production next month.”

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But how does Jordan think it differs from Cernunnos?

“This next EP is gonna have a lot more creative process behind it,” he informed. “Beforehand, Cernunnos was made just after me leaving my acoustic scene behind, so was fairly vanilla, using basic structure and minimal instruments. This new album is gonna feature a lot of progressive structures, more electronics and I’m developing a story to run through it. I want this to be my saucer full of secrets; it’s gonna be complex and hopefully be something to show how much I’ve changed, musically and mentally, over the last few years.”

“A tune like Ghosts of your Past has complex narrative relating to Alice in Wonderland, it’d be good to hear a flowing theme right through the EP,” I observed. “Any similar cultural references, could I delve for a hint at a synopsis, or is it secret?!”

“I guess a lot of the psyche behind this is the concept of, almost, wicker man-esque cult themes; the kind of closed-end community’s dealing with their own myths and stuff. Alice in Wonderland will feature again, that’s more about the mental illness-based ideas of it, as someone who has dealt with mental illness it’s kind of weird, since describing it more as a being, prowling over you more than an invisible disease is something I’d like to put into words. To be honest, it’s gonna have a few themes that I’m hoping I can finetune together. Gonna have some other musicians working with me on it too.”

“Yes,” absorbed with his openness about psychological impetuses clearly portrayed in his writings, “you publicly spoke about depression/mental illness on Facebook a few months ago. Do you think it can be part-and-parcel with the creative mind; the bleeding hearts of artists and all that?”

“I wouldn’t say it’s the whole damaged soul thing,” Jordan replied, “I feel it’s more that it just makes you a bit more open to ideas, and sort of a little more comfortable with expressing certain topics.”

I pressed on this, “I often think it’s what separates the true artist from the media whore, just in it for the money. Not mental illness necessarily, but a wilder, crazy side is no bad thing provided it’s channelled into art.”

I thanked Jordan for his time, touching on the, perhaps, incoherent ambience surrounding the final Pussycat gig, despite all being accomplished and talented musicians. “Yeah,” he explained, “I enjoy working on music that I would like to watch live more than something I think will be popular; I’m doing it for me after all!”

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In a nutshell that’s what I like about Jordan, I was a window-shopper of goth, something I never popped into purchase, but winked at the cute and curiosity shop-worker garbed in black gown and eyeliner; knowing Robert Smith’s lyrics in school was the difference from getting a snog, or not. Yet, The Hound on the Mountain turns my eclectic taste simply because he is who he is; “never try to be anything other,” I offered.

Previously I’ve mentioned the Doors comparison, as Morrison could hold that audience spellbound; probably easier for him as his audience were all tripping, but still, Jordan has a similar presence. So, who does he cite as influences? Does he describe his music with the “goth” label?

“Yeah,” he tended to agree, “this is showing off more influences, from the kind of Joy Division, Nick Cave, Bauhaus and Portishead side! The kind of Jim Morrison frontman still comes out, but you know I can’t be too ordinary, ha-ha; and yeah kinda, alt-gothic shoe gaze rock!”

Devizine welcomes this Madhatter Hound on the Mountain on Saturday 11th May, at the Cellar Bar Saturday 11th May, at the Cellar Bar with the Roughcut Rebels and Truzzy Boys also gratefully agreeing to contribute their time to raise some pocket money for worthy homeless charity, Devizes Opendoors; please do come along!

 

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Greatest Love Themes: Andrew Hurst Joins Devizes Town Band

Ten years study at the Royal College of Music from the age of twelve, exceptionally talented local musician, Andrew Hurst joins the Devizes Town Band for Saturday’s spring concert, titled Greatest Love Themes.

 
The Band announce their delight that Andrew is to join them. He has many years of performing and teaching experience, and his sensitivity to atmosphere and huge variety of repertoire makes him highly sought after on both guitar and lute.

 
Also, wonderful and talented local actress and singer, Laura Deacon, has agreed to be compere for the concert at The Corn Exchange, Devizes. Laura has had a variety of lead roles with Devizes Musical Theatre, for which some of the Band perform the music. Laura has wowed audiences with her beautiful voice and her incredible portrayal of a wide variety of characters, ranging from a harlot to a powerful politician.

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The concert raises money for Wiltshire charity, Alzheimer’s Support, who have an office and Day Club in Sidmouth Street. In a change from the traditional black, band members will be wearing other colours to make the concert more dementia friendly.

 
Some people living with dementia see a black mat or flooring as a bottomless black hole, which is understandably very scary. They can also see people wearing black as floating heads, because they cannot identify black clothes.

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Babs Harris, CEO of Alzheimer’s Support said: “People’s perceptions can change when they have dementia and it is fascinating to hear from some of them how they now see colours. It is so heartening that Devizes Town Band have taken this on board for their concert and taken this extra step to make their performance truly inclusive and dementia-friendly. It promises to be a wonderful evening of music and the bright colours will only add to the celebratory atmosphere.”

 
“As an organisation Alzheimer’s Support is committed to listening to the voices of people living with dementia. We are very grateful to the Band for taking the initiative to make this happen.”

 
Greatest Love Themes is on Saturday 11th May, 7:30pm. Tickets are £7.50 from Devizes Books, or online via www.devizestownband.com

 

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