Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman

Okay, I admit it, our Song of the Day feature was too optimistic, and failing every day to post a tune meant it fell by the wayside.

Song of the Week, think I can manage that, just! Let’s reintroduce it now, every Wednesday without fail, pinky promise, and do the first one right about now! Swindon Songstress and actor Sienna Wileman released this gorgeous song, For Nobody Else, this week.

And bonus, the video has some shots of Devizes in it, which doesn’t give her extra points, but then again, it doesn’t need them, it’s a hauntingily angelic song, as is Sienna’s style. You can find her first single, Petals, opening our Julia’s House compilation album, volume 2.

This one echoes that beauty and improves on it, too. Keep up the great work, Sienna!


On The Wayside with Viduals

Akin to Ghostbuster’s nemesis Slimer when he appears over the hotdog stand, I was squatting a spacious windowsill at Wiltshire Music Centre with an Evie’s burger summoning me to munch, when a mature lady swung open the fire-door to the third stage at Bradford Roots Music Festival a couple of weeks ago. She looked agitated, speechless at the brash raucous reverberations of the next band’s soundcheck, as if this wasn’t what she ordered at a “roots” festival, and not alone in her opinion. Naturally, I smirked….

In this much, I consider, not being Peter Pan established, if there’s something psychologically wrong with me. I’m pushing fifty, and welcome the unforeseen, refuse to join pensioner grumpy club. Hark, I say, to the sounds of youthful post-punk indie rock, retains faith musical progression is eternal, and I’m game for upcoming, fledgling bands to do their worst and try turn me into a fuddy-duddy with progression above my capacity. For try as they might, it doesn’t wash; I’m going in if they’re coming out.

The festival’s age demographic was wider than I imagined, and salute the organisers for supplying wild cards, things to appease younger attendees. There was a couple of bands which fit into this pigeonhole, I’m focussing on the one I managed to catch, Swindon-based four-piece Viduals.

This hard-hitting fury, in-your-face indie rock with flavours of skater punk and post-grunge, but never with an air of melancholy, though awash of surprisingly universal dejected romantic topics is a dish best served at a pub-like venue, known for diversity, if not Reading Festival. Our own Nervendings do it with cherries on, and along with a plethora of bands I cite Devizes-own Nothing Rhymes with Orange. The guys of Viduals know both these bands from gigging at The Vic and elsewhere, as I bought up comparisons chatting to them outside.

What came across from our brief conversation was, although not without a touch of understandable adolescent carefree banter, these young guys are level-headed and have a clear understanding what they want and where they wish to take this. Just mentioned that for the sweeping generalisations of stick-in-the-muds! Because, while the performance suffered somewhat with poor technical engineering, causing the Muppet’s Animal-like drummer to be too upfront and drowning out vocals, there was something which grabbed me about these guys, and their EP The Wayside confirms my suspicions.

Five songs pack a punch, Viduals don’t come up for air, the production on this EP affirms the perfect balance of a united group, working as a unit, and the splendour of Viduals shines through. It kicks off with Separate, like a little toe in the water, Look Away increases this degenerate, dysfunctional youthful amorousness theme, both never faulter to a bridge of forlorn downtempo mood, just rocks loud and proud throughout.

To mumble this general theme is cliché, Viduals do it with finesse. Drums roll like velvet over nimble guitar-thrashed riffs and intelligent lyrics, Embraces perhaps the best example. Here’s a thing though; contemplating the aggression of punk of yore, metal or hardcore, while there’s bursts of adolescent emotion within these upcoming bands, the like of The Karios and Mellor, it’s never as incensed or furious as punk’s roots, it takes you with it rather than sticks two-fingers up at you.

Viduals do this with exceptional balance, it’s tolerable universally, unlike, say, The Sex Pistols’ fashion of deliberately offending. I feel it collates various influences along the way, such as the mod-rock garage bands of the eighties, grunge, and in this it ceases to become a “noise,” living in a limbo between acceptable and unacceptable, a kind of halfway house.

But the thing is, taking hardcore bands like Black Flag, through to grunge, there’s never been a more progressive, and consequently, creative time for this genre than now; it has matured into pop, officially and naturally. Enthusing youths to pick up instruments, motivating them to self-promote and persevere with creativity, is a surely good thing. Coming Back to You, being prime to what I’m getting at, perhaps the politest song on offer here; there’s a need to rock, but not spit at or nick the audience’s belongings while doing it!

The finale Permanent Daylight feels something of a magnum-opus, at least to-date, and is symbolic of my overall valuation; in layman’s terms, it kicks ass!

Ironic EP title, in my honest opinion, playing it down. Viduals are a young Swindon-based band destined not to fall by the wayside, rather stand solid and secure on that highway to hell, likely above one of those massive motorway signs straddling this borderline; if the lane is closed, shit, you’re gonna know about it, blasting their non-harshness sublime sound across the stratosphere! Yeah, love it, it’s unexpectedly refined rather than raw, with bags more potential to boot.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st – 7th February 2023

Thank the heavens we can kick January out of the door! It’s been a warmer week though, hasn’t it? Still wouldn’t reach for the Hawaiian shirts and straw sunhats just yet. The weather is a tease, loves to give you a taster of the potential of the coming season, then reverts without warning or the slightest concern that you risked lobbing your thermal long-johns in the wash!

Some people prefer winter though, apparently; weirdos! Here’s what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire for the rest of us; hermits stay in, covered in blankets, re-watching Wednesday and praying into a bag of cheesy puffs for season two! Get a life, Wiltshire is not a cultureless void, see below if you don’t believe me!

Links and details can be found on our event calendar: here. Just takes ages adding them in here a second time; ain’t nobody got time f’ dat!

Ladies Day continues at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes until Saturday 4th all sold out now, but the next production hosts improvised comedy Instant Wit, for one day and that day being 18th February. Not forgoing the welcome return of Devizes Film Club showing the 2020 film Minari, about a Korean-American family moving from California to a remote Arkansas farm in search of their own American dream. That is on Friday 9th February.


Pinch, punch, Wednesday 1st February it will be then, and Trowbridge’s Pump celebrates Independent Venue Week with The Howlers, Langkamer and Mumble Tide.

Regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes.

Seventh Avenue Arts presents Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at Pound Arts, Corsham. Danny Baker’s Sausage Sandwich Tour comes the Wyvern, Swindon.

The Greatest Magician continues until 4th at Rondo Theatre, Bath, and staying in Bath, Monkey Bizzle meets The Scribes Komedia, Flats & Sharp at Chapel Arts, and Junior Bill at The Bell.


Thursday 2nd Quiz Night at The Devizes Literary & Scientific Institute in aid of Devizes & District Food Bank by Devizes Labour Party.

Moon plays The Vic in Swindon, Truck at The Tuppenny. Ben Portsmouth’s This is Elvis 2023 Tour at the Wyvern, and Limehouse Lizzy at Swindon Arts Centre.

Brennan Reece’s Crowded come to Rondo Theatre, Bath, and for music, find Del Barber & Band at Chapel Arts.

Still Moving DJs at Salisbury Arts Centre, Open Mic at The Winchester Gate, and Jamie Lingham’s regular From The Book at Brown Street, Salisbury.


Friday 3rd and it’s Potterne Cricket Club’s Quiz Night at Potterne Village Hall.

While revellers descend on Weston-Super-Mare for the Incider Festival, Jaz Delorean is at The Pump, Trowbridge, but I believe is near sold out, you’ll need to be quick, or own a time machine for this one!

A new regular feature at The Barge on Honey Street, open mic session continues Friday.

Sophie Duker’s Hag at Pound Arts, Corsham, Phoenix Dance Presents ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.

In the top three flamenco guitarists in the world, Juan Martin is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Malaya Blue Band at Chapel Arts in Bath, some Impromptu Shakespeare at Rondo Theatre, and David O’Doherty’s Whoa is Me at Komedia.

Wow; Fairport Convention play the Wyvern in Swindon, with Lucy Porter’s Wake Up Call at Swindon Arts Centre. Dohny Jep headlines a triple at The Vic, with Nervendings and Riviera Arcade.

Cressers Last Stand’s The Growing up Tour at Brown Street, Salisbury, while The Jonny Phillips Trio play the Winchester Gate.


Saturday 4th, The Shudders come to The Southgate, Devizes, (Update: The Shudders can’t make it on Saturday. To the rescue, they have laid back dude Grizzly Rhys Morgan at The Southgate instead,)while Devizes Scooter Club hold a Back to the 80’s Party at The Cavalier. But the concentration in Devizes should focus on The Corn Exchange, where we are thinking green. Make a hot-water bottle at Devizes Library during the day, and bring it to the Wiltshire Climate Alliance fundraiser with Seize the Day; preview here. Editor’s Pick of the week? Could be!

Damm! play The Bear, Marlborough, meanwhile it will be Vyv & Jackie’s farewell at The Lamb, after over an incredible 43 years they’re retiring and we wish them all the very best. A solemn occasion it refuses to be, as Pants will out! If you don’t know what that means, I suggest you read undoubtedly the funniest interview we’ve ever done, with Pants, last week. Got to be Editor’s Pick of The Week, if Seize the Day is too, I can’t decide this week!

Phoenix Dance presents a second night of ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.

Still Marillion play The Vic, Swindon, with One Chord Wonders at the Queens Tap, The Bellflowers at The Tuppenny, Homer at The Swiss Chalet, and Six O’clock Circus at Coleview Centre. Troy Hawke’s Sigmund Troy’d at the Wyvern, and Paul Foot at Swindon Arts Centre.

Stray Dogs will be ‘Unleashed’ for a Charity Gig for The Music Man Project at Burdall’s Yard, Bradford-on-Avon.

The Roy Orbison Experience at Chapel Arts, Bath, with Akasha at The Bell.

From 11am, Drag Queen Story Time at The Winchester Gate, while the evening in Salisbury gets punked, with Carsick headlining at foursome at Brown Street with Who Ate All the Crayons, Lucky Number Seven, and Seaside Glamour.

Staying punk, The Cheese & Grain hosts the Frome Punk Fest.


Sunday 5th and if you’ve achieved nothing over the weekend all is not lost, the monthly Jon Amor Trio residency at The Southgate, Devizes at around about 5pm, with guest Thomas Atlas.

Also, Julian Gaskell & His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists are at The Bell, Bath, while Stephen Lynch’s The Time Machine Tour arrives at Komedia.

The Psychology of Serial Killers at the Wyvern, Swindon, wraps up our weekend, but do keep a check on the calendar, for updates and planning.


Monday is Monday, not a lot going on. Do a jigsaw puzzle or something.


Tuesday 7th is the Wyvern Theatre Swap Shop at the Wyvern in Swindon, Randy Feltface’s Feltopia at Komedia, Bath, and Wiltshire College FE Student Showcase Samphire at Salisbury Playhouse.


Have a great week, behave yourself, within reason, and don’t forget to keep up-to-date with our calendar, for next week sees aforementioned return of Devizes Film Club, now based at The Wharf Theatre, a triple bill of folk at Pound Arts, Canute’s Plastic Army & Harmony Asia at The Tuppenny, Swindon, Emily Breeze at the Pump, the second stage of Take the Stage 2023 at The Neeld, in which we wish Nothing Rhymes with Orange the best of luck, 50 Years of Fender at Swindon Arts Centre, Ben Borrill at The Three Crowns, Devizes with Junkyard Dogs at The Southgate, and Big Mama’s Banned at the Pilot, Melksham, Adam Ant tribute Ant Trouble at the Vic, the Dub Pistols with Don Letts The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and so much more!

Trust other websites or Facebook pages with what’s to do and you’ll miss truckloads; Devizine is the only one around these darkened backwaters to collate them all; give the man a Twix.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 25th-31th January 2023

Oh, hey there, it’s me, here to tell you what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire this week, leading us nicely until the end of January. Second winter month nearly down, one more to go, shorter one, then spring, yay! My feet were so numb from the cold after getting in from work this morning I couldn’t tell if my slippers were on the right feet!

As usual I cannot be bothered spending an age posting links here, you can find them all, with further details on our event calendar: here.


Wednesday 25th Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has The Bookshop Quiz, presented by Devizes Books, where I’m guessing you’ll find tickets! Staying in the Vizes, don’t forget, regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.

The Shing-a-lings play The Bell, Bath, while there’s a Queen Extravaganza at Bath Forum.


Thursday 26th find Jules Hill & Charlie Bath at The Tuppenny, Swindon, and Jim Blair at The Beehive, and the regular Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca.

Stallards in Trowbridge have an open mic night.

National Theatre Live film of Othello, at Pound Arts’ The Crucible in Corsham.

And in Bath we see the opening night of The Greatest Magician at the Rondo Theatre, running until 4th February. A dazzling new magic show, presented by James Phelan, the magician most famous for jamming the BBC switchboards after he correctly predicted the lottery, still he’s charging for tickets! This astonishing, enigmatic, five star rated magic show will leave you aching from laughter and dizzy in disbelief, apparently. Directed by the late Paul “that’s magic” Daniels, the enigmatic show comes to the stage for the first time.


Friday 27th the RSPB will be at Hillworth Park, Devizes, until Sunday, for a Big Garden Bird Watch.

Always great fun, Blondie & Ska play The Pelican in Devizes.

Find the ever-popular Kova Me Bad at The Lamb, Marlborough, while Marlborough Town Football Club has an open mic night from 6pm.

The wonderful Sour Apple are at Old Lane, Chippenham, while there’s one of those grownup pantos of Aladdin at The Neeld; really, though, has anyone been to one of these? Do let us know if it’s any good!

The incredible Jaz DeLorean features at Chapel Arts, Bath, while The Magic of Motown comes to Bath Forum, and Edward Bourne presents Sketchbook, at Rondo Theatre. A play where songs become sketches and sketches become songs as he embarks on his first gig as a jazz keyboardist, only to find the hour overrun by an hour-long string of sketchy flashbacks.

Flow & Hustle play The Winchester Gate in Salisbury.

In Swindon, find Texas Tick Fever at The Beehive, The Jukebox Graduates at The Swiss Chalet, and a triple punk bill at The Vic with Drag Me Down, Mad by Mourning and I See Orange. T-Rextasy tribute at the Wyvern.


Saturday 28th sees Sustainable Devizes at the Corn Exchange for a Think Energy talk from 10-2pm.

The Worried Men play The Southgate, and is quite simply unmissable for you rock fans, whereas B-Sides are at The Three Crowns, and though I’ve not heard these guys before, you’re always in for a great night there anyway!

Find Rob Childs at Woodbrough Social Club, and Josh Kumra at The Bear, Marlborough.

The annual charity 7 Bands in 7 Hours at Calne Liberal Club is happening Saturday, with End of Story, Six O’clock Circus, Homer, Apache Cats, Boston Green, Ukey Dukes and Lonely Daughter; a fiver recommended donation on the door. Think we should make this Editor’s Pick of the Week.

Melksham Rock n Roll Club monthly dance features The Rads, while Sonic Alert play The Pilot.

World Music Club at The Beehive in Swindon, Dury Duty, Mark Colton’s famed tribute to Ian Dury at The Vic, and the most amazing Bob Marley tribute, Legend is at Meca.

From Melbourne, Australia, sister duo Charm of Finches play Pound Arts, Corsham; haunted indie folk, about love, grief and whispering trees, with support from Luke De-Scisco.

Tim Baker plays Chapel Arts, Bath, while a Lucy Lucy and Pameli Benham comedy play, It’s the Hope is what you’ll find at the Rondo.

At Salisbury’s Brown Street find the P45s and Break Cover for a Salisbury Cat Protection fundraiser.

A tad further out, Rage Against the Machine tribute The Machine Rages On play Frome’s Tree House, and there’s the WinterFest at Clevedon.


Sunday 29th and Melksham Assembly Hall have a record fair.

The Film Orchestra play Blockbuster Movie Themes for an audience on Springfield Campus in Corsham.

Comedian Lloyd Griffith presents his One Tonne of Fun tour to Swindon Arts Centre, while at the Wyvern, Buffy Revamped is an Edinburgh Fringe smash-hit fast-paced parody for Buffy the Vampire Slayer aficionados, told through the eyes of Spike.

Rev. James & The Swingtown Cowboys play The Bell, Bath.


Monday 30th is the opening night of Ladies’ Day at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, running until 4th February, Amanda Whittington play, Directed by John Winterton, previewed here, and tickets selling out fast!

Meanwhile, find Aaron Catlow & Brooks Williams at The Bell, Bath


Tuesday, I got nothing, yet, but do keep a check on our event calendar as updates come in, and check ahead for events in February, here. You need to start thinking about tickets for Wiltshire Climate Alliance’s benefit at the Corn Exchange with Seize the Day, of course, The Festival of Winter Ales, Sheer’s Emily Breeze at the Pump on 10th Feb is another one you’ll need to be quick on, and I like the sound of Adam & His Ants tribute Ant Trouble, who play Swindon’s Vic on the 11th. Seriously though, guys, thinking of trying to bring these guys to Devizes, good idea? Just need a venue, any suggestions?

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Beating January Blues, Bradford-on-Avon Roots Style

If the last thing you’d expect as the final sound you hear before leaving a festival carpark is of scraping frost off windscreens, notion of festivals as a summer thing is about to be turned on its head. January blues is curable in Wiltshire, The Bradford Roots Music Festival is your prescription.

Devizine is not Time Out, writing about our music scene is a personal voyage of discovery, but until now I’d not reached the core. Because Bradford-on-Avon boasts The Wiltshire Music Centre, a modern, purpose-built hub of music and arts, and I’m happy to confirm it’s a wonderful place.

Andy fondly reviewed their past roots festival, on the strength of this and the stunning line-up, it deserved sending my grumpiest of hibernating reviewers, so here I am, with beanie on.

Situated on a housing estate next to a school, first impressions are school-like, by design and decor. Interesting, a festival in a school, even has a coat rack, and fire doors held open by polite teenagers; imagine! If I get a detention here, I’ll be glad.

I believe it’s part-funded this way. Cause and effect are a wide age demographic; yes, a majority are those elders who can afford to fork out £20 in January, but it notably caters for the youngest too, with a vast craft area and workshops, a dinnertime finale of the latter being a Wassail kids’ procession led by Holt Morris Club in the foyer.

Also noteworthy, though I missed this, part of the proceeds goes to Zone Club, an in-house musical programme for learning disabled adults, who’s improv show opened the festival. The other half goes to the centre itself, which has charitable status, and is worth its rather hefty weight in gold.

Wowzers, I was impressed enough already, with plentiful to engage in, yet I’m told this three-stage single day is scaled-down post lockdown, previously housing two other stages and a food court, over three days. Though it was expressed this is the level they’d like to see it return to in future. I’m letting the cat out the bag, you can’t keep it a secret forever, Bradford, the south-west needs to know!

Though if food options were filtered to one, Bradford’s own Evie’s Mac N Cheese wagon is most definitely the one, my burger was to die for! There’s me, stomach-thinking first, when I’ve so much to report, so, so much great music, some completely new to me, others well-grounded in my favourites, and many to tick off my bottomless must-see list.

Aqaba

If I told you what I didn’t love, it’d be quicker, but blank! The only way to do this, is to get chronological, but before I do, it’s crucial to point out what’ll become clear by the end; the logo’s tree growing out of a guitar, and the whole name of Bradford Roots Music Festival can be a tad misconceiving; going in with the preconception it’s all folk, fiddles and hippy-chicks dancing barefoot, though these are present, to assume it’s the be-all-and-end-all is wildly off target. The diversity on offer here is its blessing, its quantity and quality is serious value for money, and likely the most important elements I need to express in order to sell next year’s to you, which I do, because it was utterly fantastic.

Not forgoing the hospitable atmosphere, its easy access under one roof, and its professionalism in staging the best indoor local festival I’ve been to, if not a forerunner for the best local community-driven festival, period. On programming I could point similarities to Swindon Shuffle, in so much as grabbing an international headline isn’t their thing, favouring promoting local acts. But unlike the Shuffle where you wander Old Town pub-to-pub, there’s a treasure behind nearly every fire-door.

Lodestone

Arriving as prompt as possible, unfortunately not as early as I’d have liked, finding Phil Cooper and Jamie R Hawkins packed up and chatting in the foyer, I consoled myself by noting there’s so much happening under this cathedral of music’s roof I won’t miss. Firstly, I found the main stage, a colossal acoustic-heaven seated hall, where came the cool mellow vibes of Chris Hoar’s Lodestone, soon to be renamed Courting Ghosts, with drummer Tim Watts from It’s Complicated, a band booked to headline the third stage, Wild and Woolley, but had to cancel.

Lightgarden

Though at this time, I’d not even found said third stage, dragging myself away from the balcony to the foyer, where a smaller makeshift middle stage hosted the duos and acoustic acts. The beautiful folk of Lightgarden currently attracting a crowd.

Mark Green’s Blues Collective

People tended to settle in one place, I rushed from stage to stage, excited as a sugared-up kid at Disneyland! Discovering the third stage was the best thing I did, as Mark Green’s Blues Collective thrilled with a reggae-riffed version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

The Graham Dent Quartet

Decided I need to settle down, smooth and accomplished piano-based jazz on the main stage by The Graham Dent Quartet could’ve easily helped, but hot-footing back to the third stage to catch Junkyard Dogs was a must.

Likely my acme of the daylight hours, if it’s nearly as impossible to rank the best thing any more than picking faults in the festival, Junkyard Dogs rocked this stage with sublimely executed Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry timeless classics of the raw RnB origins of rock n roll, (apt for a “roots” festival,) with added amusing originals, a downtempo Suzie Q, and a funky guitar chilled Dusty Springfield’s Spooky.

Junkyard Dogs

With fantastic delta blues in the foyer, via Westward, and a Wassail choir workshop in the main room, I tended to hover around the more unorthodox third stage, where Mod-type synths band Aqaba rolled out some damn fine originals.

Westward
Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio

Meanwhile joyful lounge jazz was blessing the foyer with the Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio, as I made my way to way to the main stage once more, to tick Billy in the Lowground off my must-see list. Missed this unique banjo and fiddle five-piece folk ensemble when they’ve graced the Southgate, but though their fiery foot-stomping loud ‘n’ proud scrumpy & western is hard-to-pigeonhole, I won’t be missing them next time.

Billy in the Lowground

This is where the stages vacated for dinnertime, and the Wassail children’s parade accompanied an entertaining Morris dance ruled the hour. It may’ve felt as if the festival was slowing pace, but it was only temporary. Outstanding Bristol-based soloist Zoe kicked off the foyer happenings again, a stalwart of the festival, while young Swindon popular post-grunge wild card, Viduals blasted the third stage.

Zoe
Viduals

It was great to meet the level-headed youths of Viduals, one to watch on the indie circuit, asserting the third stage now was for younger attendees. Man, they had some upfront drumming I likened to Animal from the Muppets, and some defined originals!

Foxymoron

The similarly youthful band, Foxymoron, to grace the headline at the third stage since It’s Complicated’s unfortunate cancellation, sounded prodigious, slightly more accomplished with slithers of retro post-punk, but I confess with so much going on, I didn’t catch enough for a full assessment. Because, I was equally surprised by Karport Collective at the main stage, but in a different way. Didn’t get any info on these guys, only to lean over to the frontman expressing my delight at them daring to cover Outkast classic Hey Ya at a roots event! If a pop repertoire of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You medlied with that Elvis breakbeat rework, wouldn’t fit at a folk festival, they did Bowie’s Let’s Dance too, engaging a mass-exodus to the dancefloor; surely a defining factor in my point about diversity here. Gallant five-piece, Karport Collective pulled a rabbit from their hat, and would be a superb booking for a function or large lively pub with universal appeal.

Karport Collective

Dilemmas over what to watch beached, the ultimate decision was the finale, where subtle yet powerful folk duo Fly Yeti Fly took the foyer, and my new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie played the main stage. Let’s get this straight, okay? Concrete Prairie are unmissable by my reckoning, though this is my third time seeing them live, and Fly Yeti Fly is one I so desperately want to tick off my list. The problem is solved by this easy access, we’re only one fire-door away from simultaneously viewing both, which I did; bloomin’ marvellous!

Complete with double-bass accompaniment, predicted gentle positive acoustic vibes from Fly Yeti Fly, if a song about burning the furniture for firewood on a frozen canal boat is gentle and positive! But, oh, how a duo can hold an audience spellbound, Fly Yeti Fly are the enchantment. My night was completed by their tune Shine a Light, which (plug) you can find on our Julia’s House compilation, together with swinging that fire-door to catch the sublime country-folk of Concrete Prairie as they polished off a set of debut album tracks, covers and new songs, with the magnum-opus Devil Dealt the Deck.

Concrete Prairie

Still at 1,000 feet of an impressive mountain; Bradford Roots Festival, I conclude, is faultless.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 18th-24th January 2023

Back to a possibility of snow on Wednesday, the big freeze makes an unwelcome return, so please, if you’re heading out be careful. For those careful few, here’s what we’ve found to be doing this week. As usual you can find more details, links, and whatnots on our event calendar….

Wednesday 18th sees Winter Gems, a Lawrence Society art demonstration evening by Pam Lewis from Marston at Devizes Town Hall, and the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.

Meanwhile, Amadou Diagne & Group Yakar play The Bell, Bath.

There’s an adult panto at the Wyvern, Swindon, Cinderella & Her Naughty Buttons. And Memory Cinema returns to Swindon Arts Centre screening The Wizard Of Oz.  Memory Cinema provides a facility where those living with dementia, their carers, friends, and families can watch a range of films.


Thursday 19th the incredible ZambaLando are live at The Beehive, Swindon, while the Wyvern, Arsenal legends Ray Parlour, Paul Merson and Perry Groves give a talk.


Friday 20th is heat one of local amateur musician’s contest Take the Stage, at The Neeld in Chippenham.

Melksham Assembly Hall plays host to Forbidden Nights, ladies, behave yourselves!

In Swindon the A K Poets take The Beehive, Get Carter play The Vic, and there’s Rave On – The Ultimate 50s & 60s Experience at the Wyvern.

Daytime in Bath, Rock the Tots take their Around the World Tour to the Rondo Theatre, and in the evening they’ve The People’s String Foundation Duo. One on my must-see hitlist, Adam and the Ants tribute Ant-Trouble play at The Royal Oak, and From the Jam are at Bath Forum.

They’ll be dancing in the dark at the Cheese & Grain in Frome with Springsteen tribute, Bruce Juice.


Saturday 21st and rock covers band Beyond the Storm play The Southgate, Devizes. Find Homer at The Cooper’s Arms, Pewsey, and El Toro at The Lamb, Marlborough.

At the Barge on Honeystreet, find NFA-TV and BishBosh presenting a night of “musikal mayhem” with the Radical Dance Faction, MC Basher, Doghouse and MCs, tenner on the door, extra £12.50 to camp.

Editor’s Pick of The Week this week must be the Bradford Roots Music Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, which we’ve previewed HERE and unless completely snowed in, I hope to check it out personally.

Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at The Neeld, Chippenham.

Devizes-own blues legend, Innes Sibun Blues Explosion play The Bell, Bath, while the Rondo Theatre has Jen Brister’s show, The Optimist.

The Rolling Clones tribute at The Vic in Swindon, Locomotion at The Swiss Chalet, Voodoo Room at Swindon Arts Centre, and ABBA Forever at the Wyvern.

Man of the World presents the Music of Peter Green at The Tree House, Frome, and that’s your Saturday night! Unless you know different? Do let us know.


Sunday 22nd Warmington, Lindley and Webb at The Bell, Bath.


Monday 23rd Eddie Martin’s turn at The Bell, Bath.


Tuesday 24th sees a Fish N Chip Supper & Quiz Night for the RNLI at Devizes Conservative Club.

Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls play Bath Forum, while Cirque – The Greatest Show comes to the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.


Keep on scrolling through our event calendar to see just how 2023 is blossoming with things to do, far sooner than spring I might add! Have a great weekend, stay safe and don’t go changing just to please me.


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New Lost Trades Single and Album Announcement

If our beloved two-part Devizes one-part Trowbridge folk harmony trio, The Lost Trades should be at the level now of aiming for reviews in the mainstream press and international folk music specialist magazines, they’re so nice they never forget little ol’ me, still bashing away at my keyboard writing this slapdash jumble! They’ve sent over Long Since Gone, the fourth single to feature on their follow-up album, the details of which are also being unravelled like a scroll in the hands of an eager pirate; exciting news……

Never quite as easy, the follow-up, but via these sneaky peeks, the previous three singles, Daffodils, Keep My Feet Dry, and Old Man of the Sea, anticipation is reasonable. We know its name, “Petrichor,” meaning the aroma of rain after a sunny spell. We have a release date, 10th March, the beginning of their spring tour, Bandcamp pre-orders from Bandcamp Friday, the 3rd February. We also have a glimpse at the cover, in which the trio saunter a one-point perspective open road, Phil looking chuffed, Jamie looking like he’s been duped by the distance they’ve rambled, and Tamsin set slightly back in the middle, doing the whole Mary Poppins thing!

On the strength of the previous singles, I admit I’m going in with high expectations. If each song seems to have bettered the preceding one in each of their own unique way, my first impressions were this has levelled out somewhat. Naturally, it bears all the hallmarks of a great Lost Trades song, it still points in the right direction, but ah, unlike the immediate appeal of the others, Long Since Gone is a grower, me thinks; sneaks up on you, and loiters while you’re dangling off a Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Phil takes the lead here, on this dreamy and sentimental harmony, with its humble narrative of bereavement and anguish, naturally awash with the kind of enriching stimulus we’ve come expect. The Trades explain, “it was written for a friend who sadly lost a long battle with cancer two years ago, and deals with the advanced stage of grieving, after the immediate pain fades and you are left with a lingering ache to see your friend once more.”

A notion we must all face if not already, and the gift this song gives is this all-encompassing emotion, which will implant in your mind the remembrance of a particular person close to you, that much is concrete. If the manufacture of provocative prose by drawing on personal reflection and generalising it, so its audience can mirror the concept from their own reminiscences is the objective of any artist, The Lost Trades have quickly become masters of how the pull the heartstrings and paint a picture through words and music. Therefore, I take it all back, Long Since Gone sure is a beauty, and another darn good reason to be enthusiastic for the 10th March.

Listening link-tree HERE


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The Bradford Roots Music Festival Returns

I know, it’s hardly festival weather, but this one is all inside! Inside the glorious Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon that is, on Saturday 21st January 2023, and it’s a whooper!

The popular Bradford Roots Music Festival returns kicks off at 11am, and runs until 10pm, for a day of great music to warm away the winter blues and celebrate all Bradford on Avon has to offer.

Building on Lisa and Chris Samuel’s brilliant work since founding the festival in 2012, Bradford Roots’ new team of community programmers will fill the Centre with folk, blues, pop, and rock, as well as workshops for all the family, great local food and drink and the famous Wassail. A true feel-good event, Roots is synonymous with community spirit, local talent, and an inclusive atmosphere.

There’s a huge range of local artists performing across all three stages this year, including the returning Fly Yeti Fly, St Laurence rock band Foxymoron, a Big Sing Workshop to lead participants through the Wassail, and celebrated group and Bradford Roots regulars Holt Morris who will put on a special dance performance.

 Dee Way, one of the new festival programmers shares what makes the festival so special to her: “Roots to me means a music festival under cover to cheer up the winter, to raise money for some very worthwhile charities, and to have a thoroughly good time with family and friends. This is a great opportunity to see and hear a wide range of musicians performing – all who have a local connection. It is also a brilliant opportunity to find out more about Wiltshire Music Centre and enjoy a family day out.”

 As well as music, Evie’s Mac & Cheese will be pitched-up on the front lawn all day and serving delicious grub, sweet treats, and hot drinks. Vegan and gluten-free beers will be available from Bradford on Avon microbrewery Kettlesmith, and scrumptious ciders from Honey’s Cider – both local brands who are proudly sponsoring this year’s festival! Enjoy their flagship refreshments alongside the usual WMC Bar offerings.

 Attendees can also get involved in the famous Wassail, led by Holt Morris, where participants in the Creativity Area can show off their handmade glowing lanterns!

Tickets are now on sale – one ticket gives admission to all the events of the day, and under 12s go free! Price: £22 Adult / £12 U18s + students / Free U12s. Book online: wiltshiremusic.org.uk/whats-on/bradford-roots-music-festival-day-2023

That’s the technicalities out of the way, let’s feast our eyes on all that’s performing at Bradford Roots this year, and, as it’s me and I like favouritism, point out my personal preferences!

To get the ball rolling, one you should never miss, Concrete Prairie are superb, and if you’ve not heard about them yet you must be new to Devizine, cos I’ve been waffling on about them for a while now, and get tremendously excited whenever their name crops up!

Billy in the Lowground, Fly Yeti Fly, It’s Complicated and those Junkyard Dogs all go without saying, and although The Lost Trades aren’t there this year, two-thirds are, the boys Phil Cooper & Jamie R Hawkins will be in attendance.

The ones I don’t know about, but you might know different, are Karport Collective, Big Sing Workshop with Jane Harris & Clara Atkins, Graham Dent Jazz Quartet, Lodestone, Jazz Factory,  Doves, Peace Choir, Zone Club, Z O E, Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio, Westward, Timur Dersuniyelioglu, LightGarden, Joe Hunt, Adrian Long, Littlemen, Aqaba, Foxymoron, Mark Green’s Blues Collective, Terry Sheppard’s Open Mic Hour and, and this is a big AND, an and I shouldn’t try but, well, you never know, might have a natural talent for, Wafaa Powell Belly Dancing Workshop!!

 Follow the Festival online: facebook.com/BradfordRootsFestival #BradfordRoots2023


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Commendation must go to The Exchange night club in Devizes this week, for introduing regular open mic sessions on Fridays….

Starting on Friday 3rd February, the club will open at 8pm for open mic. It’s a concept which has launched many a musical career, an opportunity for amateur and upcoming acts to find an audience. There are usually no fees, but equally there’s no restrictions either.

Owner Ian James says, “if you are a singer, or musician and would like to perform, please message me, OR just turn up on the night we will try and fit you in.”

This will be a monthly event on the first Friday of each month, followed by the Retro Disco until 2am.

We think this is great idea, and salute you, sir! If anyone who’d like to be a part of this has problems contacting Ian personally, do let us know and we’ll be happy to connect the dots.


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 11th-17th January 2023

Well into new year and things are building up again slowly, let’s have a little looky at what’s going on locally over this coming week, if you fancy going out to beat the January blues….

As usual, details and links can be found on our updating event calendar; keep checking for future dates, and, some events for this week will inevitably crop up and I don’t often update them on these articles, only on the calendar. 

Wed 11th and I am assuming there will be the regular Acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes. Meanwhile, at the Bell in Bath you can find the Dusk Art Rhythm Quartet.


Thursday 12th is the opening night for Beauty & The Beast, running until the 15th at The Rondo Theatre, Bath. Never too late for a panto!

Mark Farrelly, who you might recall as the creator of Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, as seen at Devizes Arts Festival last year, has a play at Swindon Arts Centre. It’s a tribute to Frankie Howerd, called Howerd’s End.

Staying in Swindon, Canute’s Plastic Army play The Beehive, Swindon, while UK Pink Floyd Experience is at Wyvern.


Friday 13th might be unlucky for some, but not if you like Chicago blues and you live in Devizes. Editor’s Pick of The Week this week takes us to the Long Street Blues Club, where direct from the US of A, Billy Branch presents at night of Chicago Living Legends, Jamiah Rogers, and John Primer.

Suitable for ages 10+, Living Spit’s Puss in Boots– More Than A Feline comes to The Neeld in Chippenham, which contains a small amount of strong language and awful puns.

Outrageous comedy at Pound Arts, Corsham with Simon Brodkin’s Screwed Up Tour.

One local band to watch out for, Here Come the Crows, they play the Vic, Swindon, while the Calling Planet Earth show is at the Wyvern, a new romantic symphony that goes on a journey through one of the greatest musical eras of all time, the electrifying 80’s. Obviously, I’m far too young to remember that!

Oh, and Absolute Bowie at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Saturday 14th and you’ll find Finley & Mark at The Three Crowns, Devizes, and Celtic folk at The Southgate with the Cooper Creek Band.

The Buttmonkies at Stallards in Trowbridge, Legacy at the Pilot in Melksham.

For alt-rock, Britpop, and a dash of punk, check out Static Moves at The Pelican Inn in Froxfield.

Lauren Housley & Nigel Wearne play Chapel Arts, Bath.

Find His Way- The Frank Sinatra Story at The Neeld, Chippenham.

The Beehive in Swindon has an Open-Deck Vinyl Night, while Sister Sister play The Swiss Chalet, and Martin Kemp DJs an eighties set at MECA, plus, there’s a Rapport CIC Performance at Swindon Arts Centre called The Suitcase.


Sunday 15th and The Neeld is the company of Charlie Hides with some Comedy Drag Bingo, while Circus of Horrors: Haunted Fairground is at the Wyvern, Swindon.

For Bath-centric folk instrumental, find The Barton Street Regulators at The Bell, Bath.


Monday 16th sees the first instore session at Sound Knowledge, Marlborough, as Rozi Plain comes to play an intimate set.

Riaan Vosloo’s Uphill Game play The Bell, Bath.


And Tuesday I got nought, so far, save the first councillor’s surgery at Devizes Town Hall from 6pm, with Devizes Town councillors Chris Gay and Ian Pennington.


Unless I missed anything? Do let us know!

By now you should be thinking about tickets for Bradford Roots Music Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, happening next Saturday 21st, The line-up can be found HERE. There’s also The Neeld’s Take The Stage happening next weekend. At the end of the month The Wharf Theatre’s production of Ladies Day, and lots more good, good stuff happening as ever, but you’ll only find them all collated and neatly folded together as one on Devizine!

 Have a great weekend!


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Breaking Hibernation; Adam Woodhouse at The Three Crowns

Arising like a brown bear from hibernation, now the Quality Street tin is all but empty wrappers and toffee pennies, I dropped briefly into The Three Crowns yesterday, to catch Adam Woodhouse strumming George Michael’s Faith….

Admist a quiet Devizes town, the faithful central perk was modesty busy under the circumstances, and this lively acoustic sololist was breaking January blues in the alcove. Perpetual drizzle reasoned me to drive, ergo it was more dipping my little toe into the live music water again, rather than the awakening of a standing dive; I’d rather be writing ‘Barbadoszine’ this time of year!

Though it was plentiful to acknowledge, through misty memories of the utterly spectacular show at Long Street Blues Club last year with Errol Linton, which could’ve obscured any support act, Adam Woodhouse is worth his weight in gold when it comes to putting a man with a guitar in a pub.

My reasoning thus; this guy’s repertoire is carefully selected not to be cliché, but still covers songs the audience will love. I collared him during his break, to question this; does he even do Wonderwall if requested?! He joyfully replied words to the effect of everyone had to have that under their belt in case of emergency cliché request, but asserted he favours an assortment of songs not so commonly covered.

In this, Petty’s Free Falling or Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door might not be the best examples, though Adam still comfortably rinses them with finesse. No, what I mean is Dire Straits’ Walk of Life, or Billy Bragg’s New England, but more so his affection for early rock n roll classics.

I noted a fair quantity of Elvis Presley covers when I saw Adam play Long Street, but was unsure if this was playing to the audience. Delighted to affirm now this wasn’t the case, when last night he knocked out great covers of rock n roll singalongs, Dion’s Runaround Sue, Cochran’s Summertime Blues and even some Monkees. But as I said at the beginning, I sauntered in to George Michael’s Faith, and he covered The Cure’s Friday, Im in Love too.

Confining himself to an era simply isn’t a thing for Adam, as we mutally agreed those rock n roll classics are timeless, but equally will any cover choices he makes be a delight to the audience. He does this comfortably, with slight banter, making Adam Woodhouse a perfect booking for the universal type pub where age demographics don’t exsist, and everyone enjoys singing along. And that’s precisely
the spirit in The Three Crowns, it’s forward-thinking, fresh and hospitable and caters for everyone.

Food is being served, tasty pub grub, but music is live and frequent. It is, however, elongated enough to hide away at another end for communal chat or eating, and its spacious fully-covered garden with heat lamps acts as a perfect extension to the pub, rather than the unsuitable and unkempt allotment-fashioned beer garden of others. Yeah, I feel at ease in the Three Crowns, it’s nice, and their affection for supporting local acts on the circuit is both popular and welcoming. Check our event calendar as shows at the Crowns fill most weekends.

That’s it, broke the seasonal spell, I’m back on the streets after yule, looking for quality entertainment, and Adam is one to watch.


Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

The Full-Tone Orchestra have released details of the 2023 line-up for their annual extravaganza, The Full-Tone Festival on Devizes Green, August bank holiday. It’s all on a rather smashing looking poster, unalike darker past posters with neon text, this time with a fresh use of pastel colours on white background, all very Degas I must say. While rain drizzles down our windows, let’s have a nose at what it says on there, shall we, and think of summer?!

A couple of years ago I published one of many list-type articles on the topic of forthcoming local festivals. Ah, phooey, it sparked a debate on social media because I didn’t include Devizes-own Full-Tone Festival, though the event did receive a sovereign preview of its own. My argument at the time was my definition of a festival was of multiple activities happenings across multiple sectors, therefore classing Full-Tone Festival, despite being named Full-Tone Festival, more in line with the word concert.

A technicality I’ve since altered my perspective of, and aside pigeonholing, for recent similar articles I’ve adopted the more causal, universal, and a smidgen double-entendre tagline, “Big Ones,” to encompass largescale events without categories, precisely so we can include things like Pewsey Carnival, and of course, The Full-Tone Festival. And in this, here’s the thing, who wants their event to be typecast and categorised? The Full-Tone Festival is what it is, and that “is” is something spectacular, annually happening now on our very turf, but mostly for point of this argument, something totally unique.

And of my technicality, Full-Tone acts as both sides of the debate, yes it shows off the incredible talent and togetherness of the Full-Tone Orchestra, an ensemble which will voyage to impressive venues like Wells Cathedral and Bath Abbey this year, but also showcases diverse local and national acts. Their social media posts boast “it’s going to be SUCH an amazing weekend of music! 50 musicians and singers, over 100 rotating over the weekend, plus some pretty amazing guests!” If you got it, flaunt it, darling! But honestly, it’s a highly impressive weekend, and they’ve every right to show it off!

Full-Tone Festival opens on the Saturday, for example, showcasing a set of classical proms, and features Full-Tone chief organiser Jemma Brown with her new vocal quartet, The Four Sopranos, consisting of Lucia Pupilli, Tabitha Cox, and Teresa Isaacson too.

Local rock n roll legends and regulars at Full-Tone, Pete Lamb and The Heartbeats are the first guests, followed by the orchestra taking off again for the ever-popular “big TV and movie themes” section, of which I always look forward to Jurassic Park the most, don’t know why, just do. Any comments on social media suggesting it’s because I’m a dinosaur will be deleted!

If, so far critics could cough up the “samey” tosh, I’d argue possibly, but certain elements of this event have become welcomed stalwarts, and why change it just to please them? We love it just the way it is! Besides, here’s a totally new one on me, The House Iguanas promises “massive bonkers brilliant sax, DJ and bongos,” and with that, could you ask for anything more diverse?

Saturday night closes with the reappearance of the orchestra’s The Ultimate Dance Anthems, which being they only scootered around last year with nineties pop hits, for me, personally, and literally from the sheer eruption of enthusiasm of the crowd of previous years, I’m sure will be a very welcomed return, with glowsticks.

If Saturdays showcases the orchestra foremost, I must say it’s more diverse this year, and, Sunday tends to focus on other acts more, anyways. Though the orchestra opens the day with the “Big Sound” section of this remarkable concert manifold, North Wiltshire big band 41 Degrees take over straight after. They’re the wedding function band of the wedding you’d never forget, with a spanning repertoire from Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, through Rat Pack and Weather Report, to the Killers and Oasis. There’s nothing like big band pop covers, often showing shame to the originals, and this sounds cool as.

A highlight of last year’s Devizes Street Festival, those funky mavericks of Mardi Gras and New Orleans jazz, The Brass Junkies revisit our soil, and remember; brass is class.

Time for the Full-Tone Orchestra to finish off their pizzas and get back onto that notable stage for a section of West End Musical hits. It must be exhausting, blowing into that brass, precisely plucking those strings and whatever else they need to do to create these massive sounds, not forgoing conductor Anthony Brown must be at risk of repetitive strain injury over the weekend.

Wowzers, and I’ve not got to the best bit, least what I think is the best bit, because this info was leaked to me by the band, but sworn to secrecy I couldn’t even blow my own trumpet and act all smarmy about, until now, so I will, thank you; Talk in Code play the finale guest set. A mighty local indie-pop band which, if you don’t know you must be new to Devizine, and I urge you pay more attention in future! Yes, forgive my plug, but they are coming to my birthday party at the Three Crowns on March 4th, and YOU are all welcome, but again, and in summary to the Full-Tone Festival as a whole, playing up on that breath-taking stage, with matchless acoustics is something else, and well worth the ticket stub. There’s nothing else quite like it in Devizes.

If Talk in Code have that stylised knack of capturing something decidedly eighties within their original material, Sunday aptly closes with the orchestra one final time, giving it whooping eighties bangers, which by then if you’re not completely satisfied, I suggest you urgently seek professional medical attention!

Early bird tickets are HERE, or at Devizes Books. Kids under 14 go free with a paying adult, £45 for the weekend (£35 before the 31st January), £35 for the day. And there it is, apologises for waffling, but it is all terribly exciting!


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And that day is Saturday 4th February. Celebrated frontline folk band, Seize the Day, who specialise in conservational protest songs, and have supported many environmental campaigns across the world, will arrive at our Corn Exchange for a one-off gig fundraising for Wiltshire Climate Alliance……

Founded in 1997 by singer-songwriters Theo Simon and Shannon Smy, Seize the Day are renowned for revelling and inspiring the country’s environmental movement. They annually play Glastonbury Festival along with a variety of folk and mainstream UK festivals, and as stalwarts to grass-roots campaigners, they also play many benefit gigs and protest meetings, often with a solar-powered PA.

Wiltshire Climate Alliance are an umbrella campaign group, bringing together the various eco-groups from across Wiltshire, including Sustainable Devizes. Formed in 2019, when Wiltshire Council acknowledged that there was a climate emergency and set themselves a target to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, Wiltshire Climate Alliance set to ensure that Wiltshire Council was taking this commitment seriously.

In February 2020 they held a rally outside County Hall in Trowbridge, and have since created several active topic groups including energy, transport, land use and business engagement, organizing speakers and workshops, responses to consultations and planning applications, site visits and more.

Continuing to grow, the group welcome new members, partners and people who can help with our organization and administration.

An eight-piece ensemble, Seize the Day, fresh from an XR Christmas party at The Cellar Bar in Bath, I’m sure will bring a welcomed and refreshing show to Devizes Corn Exchange. Tickets are £15.00 or £7.50 for those who are struggling to pay any more, people can choose which to buy. Food will be available to purchase.


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Devizine Review of 2022!

Featured Image by Simon Folkard Photography

Happy New Year from Wiltshire’s wackiest what’s-on website. It’s that time again when I waffle on endlessly in hope of summing up an entire year on Devizine. What can I say? It helps me grasp the ups and downs, highlights the things we could’ve done better but most of all, the things that went down well in 2022. And you get to see for yourself, our local area is awash with so many great events, so much great talent, and few things of concern……

Though I’m reserved to the fact, Santa’s good list starts afresh as early as January, so those who deliberately go out of their way to spoil the wellbeing of others and upset public peace will be called out accordingly, regardless of what position of power they might think they hold over others; Santa reads Devizine and Devizine states the facts, fact! See? It just did!

For the most part, though, Devizine is a happy place. If I must pick a favourite article I wrote this year, I’ve chosen an interview with John Petty, the brainchild of Devizes’ legendary event, the Boto-X. But it’s a rare thing for us to be retrospective, most coverage is about the here and now, and there’s so many highlights to mention, advance apologies for waffling!

January, I was still reviewing international music releases, as per-lockdown when we scrambled somewhat in the dark for content. It put me between a rock and hard place, the ol’ melon twister as to what exactly Devizine is; a music review blog, or a site dedicated to local affairs. While it straddled between the two for a while, I made the executive decision that Devizine is, first and foremost, a local affair, for local people, therefore if you’re not local the “things for you here” have been greatly reduced this year, as I’m sworn to dedicate it to the first and foremost.

Not to suggest I didn’t appreciate receiving new tunes from afar, and if I can make a tenacious link to something local, such as bands including a local venue on their tour, I will. The biggest niggle has been time, and time is key to decisions I’ve needed to make with content. As Devizine grows and lockdown is archived to the history books, I get inundated with enough local content to keep me busy, therefore reviewing international music has been put on the back-burner. Though reviewing locally produced music is still something we relish in, please send them in to us.

If I had the time, I’d consider reintroducing it, and in that there’s a reason to brainstorm how I balance my in-tray with working full-time and spending quality time with the family.

Part of this begun end of last year, when Christmas saw my son gain a “gamer’s corner” of our lounge, and to create the space I relocated my PC to my bedroom. At first, I admit I liked the idea, gave me office type space to think, but as the year went on, I realised I was missing family time, upstairs like a hermit. This meant I was either rushing out content fast as I could, or attempting to create content on my phone app, which doesn’t work quite as well. The new year’s resolution, then, is to acquire a shiny new laptop, allowing me to disappear upstairs when I need to concentrate, but create content and update the event calendar far more efficiently while still spending time downstairs with the family.

If I used the term “Devizine Towers” to make you believe we’ve a Trump-like office block, employing staff in various departments, (mostly in the complaints department) it was a big fat fib for humorous effect. But you’re no fool, I guess you knew this anyway.

Fact is, Devizine is a non-profit labour of love. Though this notion hasn’t put more folk off contributing and helping to make Devizine comprehensive in coverage. I’m eternally grateful for everyone who has helped in this, from longstanding reporter, Mr Andy Fawthrop, to Ian Diddams, Ben and Vicky, Lorraine, and the few other occasional contributors.

Take the “Devi” bit away, and you’re left with “zine,” and that’s the ethos we run with, a free press, DIY concept without the confines of mainstream publishing; ergo, we can publish whatever we see fit, and anyone and everyone is welcome to submit anything for consideration. This transpires to you all, if you go to a gig, for example, and think “everyone needs to know how fantastic this band are,” please consider jotting down a few words on the subject, snap a couple of wobbly photos on your phone, and send it to us. You don’t need to be Shakespeare, we are not your English teacher, and can even edit any spelling or grammatical mishaps to the best of our ability!

To stats and all that mathematical malarkey. 2021 we received well over double the hits to the site, but to double it again felt a little ambitious. We didn’t achieve it, but we did get 23% above the record-breaking 2021 with a further +18K, so again we’re heading up the right direction, with 100K hits seeming like an achievable target this year. To have achieved this, being I feel I slacked off slightly with supplying regular content sometimes through the year, I think is amazing, and I appreciate everyone who enjoys reading Devizine; thank you all, blinking love yer, group hug!

The best hitting article this year was from May, when immediately after DOCA’s Street Festival, I highlighted all the forthcoming big events coming in Devizes, headlining it “The Big Ones; Forthcoming Summer Events in Devizes.” Strange how, going on the success of this, in December I published a second “Big Ones” piece, this time highlighting on a wider scale, the best large-scale events and festivals locally over the entire 2023, incorporating anything deemed conceivable to travel to from here. But this was not nearly as successful on hits. Pondering why, I must consider we’re Devizes based, ergo content about Devizes seems to get most attention. Start to venture any further than the Lavingtons and that’s foreign soil!

Yeah, I’m aware the name Devizine directly links to Devizes, but I like the name, it’s grounded now, besides, I believe it’s important to let folk from other local areas know, Devizine’s boundaries are flexible, incorporate anywhere conceivable to travel to for an event, so ideally from Salisbury to Swindon, Bath to Marlborough, but hey, like I say, we’re flexible and I’m not going to hold it against you if you live in Newbury!

In fact, even if I often loiter sober, Billy-no-mates fashion, I’ve enjoyed my voyages of discovery outside of D-town most of all. Particularly Swindon Shuffle, MantonFest, Trowbridge Town Hall, Seend Community Centre for The Female of the Species gig, a trip to Aldbourne to see Painted Bird and Deadlight Dance, and especially the fond memory of going on the road to a Portsmouth gig with Talk in Code. It also goes a long way in the introduction of acts from elsewhere, who often find gigs in town after we’ve featured them playing elsewhere, or within an album review.

Fair to point out at this conjunction, our preview of The Party For Life organised Suicide Prevention gig at Melksham Town FC was the second highest hitting article this year, blowing my Devizes-only theory out of the water, and forgoing the best hit articles are often based upon how many people share and re-Tweet social media posts. The organisers of this one was so pleased to get some press coverage, in an area where the mainstream press seem more interested in national headlines and celebrity click-bait tosh, they rarely support local affairs, especially in entertainment.

This is what gives me the motivation to continue with Devizine, despite some criticism of a completely fictional political sway, or knickers twisted from the few we’ve had to call out the behaviour of. To know we’re appreciated, to hear stories of how we helped, be it a venue finding a band, or visa-versa, or a charity able to reach out, these things are what keeps our spirits up.

Feel-good articles, you know? That’s the ticket, so when young local actress Jess Self won Vernon Kay’s Talent Nation in November, people flocked to our coverage, making it our third best-hitting article this year. These bring the person(s) of the subject delight and joy, and that’s really what it’s all about, smiles on faces, people, smiles all round.

And given this, I really don’t understand why some people want to criticise us, ban us from their petty, clique social media groups, but they will, and that’s life. I got a name for them, I won’t spell it out here today; smiles on faces, remember?!

The fourth best-hit article of the year was a 30th anniversary piece on the Castlemorton free rave, a personal reflection on the historic event and the impact it had on society. But more importantly should be local current affairs, and when we broke the story of pollution in the water of The Crammer Pond in Devizes, well that became our fifth best hitter. Sadly, I really thought we’d made an impact here, and plans were afoot to address the unsuitability of the pond for wildlife and what can be done to rectify it by the town council.

Unfortunately, the issue has raised its ugly head again after the death of some wildfowl during December’s freezing conditions, of which bird flu was blamed but never proven. Nevertheless, no bird has died since a rise in temperature, bird flu is being used to politically point score and to suit other agendas by the powers that be. Is there nothing off limits to boost their egos, not even the deaths of wild animals?

Apparently not, as we continue to assist in campaigns against animal cruelty, especially of blood sports, the badger cull, and expose the trial hunt as the smokescreen it is. So, not only did we cover Lacock’s violence at Boxing Day perpetrated by the Avon Vale Hunt, when it came to light, the single police officer was a member of the hunt and did little to keep the peace, but other suspicious factors too, such as the proposed closure of Savernake Forest. Allowing only for a few set paths to be accessible around the Postern Hill site, environmental benefits to the forest were used in excuse, but residents were suspicious it’d give game hunters unrestricted access without the watchful eye of ramblers.

I cover these issues because I believe in them, and we don’t see enough being done to tackle the issues in, not only other local media sources, but within Wiltshire Police too, who’s fall into special measures surely proves what we’ve always said; the bogus re-election of a PCC in order to sustain totalitarianism for the Conservative Party has resulted in a candidate completely unsuitable for the role, a lack of motivation within the force, and people’s conviction in the Police in general.

I strive to wish to help any such organisations, to illustrate what they are doing to improve, should they wish to, but if it’s fluff they seek, they’re in the wrong place. Our services, our schools and charities are suffering from the incompetence of an uncaring government, we continue the fight for the everyman. That is not political sway, that’s common sense.

We will be reporting the facts of the Crammer debate as opinion pieces here, if you disagree that’s no issue, we won’t hold it against you, for it’s a close one to call. Much less certain councillors have decided their way or the highway. Okay, whatever hidden agendas lie there, but if you convince others to take matters into their own hands, resulting in children being harassed and verbally abused simply for feeding ducks, what have we become, blindly taking the word of someone with a popular Facebook page?!! Well, more’s the pity for them when I call them out on it.

On a happier note, sixth most popular article announced; George Ezra coming to Trowbridge, in what must’ve been the highlight of many young faces in our area. The response was overwhelming, and special thanks goes to Roger of Sound Knowledge, Marlborough and Kieran Moore of Sheer Music for making that happen. Bringing a top act like this to our area, without the need of an extortionate price, or ticket stub of festival proportions, allowing children and teenagers to catch a glimpse of live music by an inspiring popular act like Ezra was nothing short of miraculous, and I had a great time too!!

Something which doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to for a majority, the news DOCA have reset the date of Devizes carnival to the traditional date to the 2nd September was our 7th most popular article. MantonFest revealing their 2022 line-up came 8th, and what a brilliant festival it was, tickets for this year’s are on sale now, though I’ve procrastinated on a preview for the line-up, save inclusion on our aforementioned “Big Ones” article. Something we’re sure to knock up as soon as, because 2023’s line-up sounds equally as great.

From a proposal raised at a Devizes Town Council meeting by national organisers, the idea of a Devizes Cheese & Chilli Festival proved popular, being our 9th most popular article of 2022. Though, did this ever actually happen?! I certainly don’t recall hearing any more about it. Fact is though, Devizes already has our regular Devizes Food & Drink Festival, and that is well-established and as popular as ever. Dates for this year are to be confirmed, cheese and chilli I’m sure will be included, all you must do is support it.

The 10th most popular article of 2022 was concerned with Wax Palace, who held an officially licensed “rave festival” near Erlestoke. Much to the preconceptions of locals concerned, we spoke to organiser Harry, the man who ingeniously got a rave approved by Wiltshire Council, but when chatting to him it became clear how he managed it.

After this the sheer mountain of content we published continued, the day-to-day reviews of nights down our favourite venues, the concerns of public interest, and some silliness to boot! Though I must say, our cheeky, satirical pieces I’ve laid off from recently; must try harder!

Always popular, though not as previous years, like the very notion a McDonald’s would come to Devizes, was our essential April Fools joke. Our 11th most popular article this year, when I suggested Devizes Market Place will be pedestrianised; oh, the very thought of environmental progression angered gammons from afar, but seriously struck a chord with campaigners like Sustainable Devizes, and when you think about it, might yet be an environmentally sensible solution.

Yet, last year I struggled with an April Fools joke, while previous years were founded long before the date, I’m pleased to whisper to those brave enough to have read this far, I’ve already got a killer for this year, and it came to me immediately after All Fools Day 2022. On this though, no one seemed to have noticed the service road on my diagram was deliberately shaped like a small penis; a gag failed, maybe because clearly, none of you own a small penis!

But what of the importance of stats and popularity against our own personal enjoyment of attending events and giving our tuppence on them? Speaking to Andy about what we should or shouldn’t attend, I stressed, as we’re far from professional here, our focus should be on enjoying ourselves rather than seeing ourselves as pro-journalists, having to cover events we might not enjoy. Our objective therefore is surely to enjoy ourselves foremost; so, mine is a pint of scrumpy when you see me, cheers! Excuse the wobbly photos, we should view this as enjoyable or it’s not worth doing.

Taxing Andy’s superior mind for his most memorable events of 2022, off the top of his head, and in no particular order, he suggested: when Tankus The Henge played Devizes Arts Festival, and the Darius Brubeck Quartet too. Longcroft’s Lachy Doley gig in December, and Jazz Sabbath in November. Long Street Blues Club also features understandably high in his hitlist, noting April’s Carl Palmer, Skinny Molly, and March’s Soft Machine gigs. For me, both the Birdmen and the Errol Linton Band were my most memorable nights at Long Street, up skanking with the town councillor! Our gratitude to Ian and Liz for perhaps the most interesting and diverse programme at Long Street, ever!

As for Devizes Arts Festival, Andy became part of the furniture there, not missing a gig. I, on the other hand, skived, apologise profusely, and regret it too. Although, to catch Baila La Cumbia, or simply to have cumbia in Devizes was something I couldn’t miss, and must be one of my favourite gigs of 2022. That said, on my venturing out of Devizes note, I was welcomed over to Calne for their Arts Festival, to see one my new favourite things after fondly reviewing their debut album, and that is Concrete Prairie, who I’m glad to say, come to the Southgate on Saturday 25th March, do not miss it.

On our dependable Southgate, there’s too much to type about, again proving itself for another year to be the stalwart in providing regular live music, and simply for being such a fantastic watering hole. Andy notes the first Sunday of the month residences of Jon Amor, and I cannot possibly argue against this, reviewed them too, and even Ian Diddams stepped in to write his take on it.

I mean, right, bringing Beaux Gris Gris to the jam, who also played at Long Street is nothing short of awesome. Andy also gave honourable mentions of Southgate gigs to the Sarah C Ryan Band, Eddie Martin, and Jack Grace. Ben and Victoria noted the Cracked Machine gig at The Gate, whereas for me, SGO, again, Eddie Martin, but also 12 Bars Later, The Worried Men and Barrelhouse, all provided my most memorable evenings at this wonderful tavern.

Though despite working his little socks off at the Stealth bar, Andy was also quick to mention the Full-Tone Festival, which goes without saying. Such a marvellous annual event on our calendar, we had a fantastic time Full-Tone, thank you. Think classical festival, I’ll give you, but with Kirsty Clinch breezing the sunny Sunday vibes with her brand of pop-folk, or James Threlfall up there on the wheels of steel, how can we possibly now marginalise this? It’s incorporating everything, aside their love of classical, to the point the only part of the word classical we need to sum it up with is the beginning part; class.

Image: Gail Foster
Image: Simon Folkard

Time for tiny niggle, then, for Full-Tone comes at a price, a price you’ll see where your money goes should you attend, but with this in mind, the most fantastic event in Devizes must remain as the free-for-all DOCA Street Festival. This year I took a taster in volunteering to help, and consequently saw how much hard work goes into putting this on. All this said, I still partied, cider in one hand, clearing the bins in the other! And must say, throughout the wealth of talent present, the circus acts, and musical activities, which are too many to mention here, Mr Tea and the Minions rocked my world, and Loz’s farewell gift to Devizes, the Ceres display by Bassline Circus, was nothing short of the most breath-taking, inspiring, and apt thing I’ve EVER seen happen in Devizes.

Image Simon Folkard

But Devizes has seen the most amazing year for entertainment events in general, post lockdown, we are celebrating big stylee! Just think, I’ve written all this without even mentioning CAMRA’s Devizes Beer and Cider Festival yet, and that was phenomenal this year. With Ben and Vicky taking on the music task, they did a spectator job, Dr Zebo’s, I give you, Vince Bell giving it “you ain’t ever leaving,” and why would we? With Triple JD’s Hendrix-fashioned brilliance, followed by a reggae jam with Knati P and Nick; wowzers! Yes, it was so good I did fall into the flowerbed; thanks to my rescuers!

And while Wadworth gave us a free mini-fest, supporting local acts like Ben Borrill and The Roughcuts, Ruzz Guitar and the gang rocked Saddleback, which after a plethora of acts from Derby, turned into a full-scale dance event for an apt charitable cause. And The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings pulled out all the stops, giving us the inaugural CrownFest, something so utterly spectacular, I shit you not, Freddie Mercury mingled with the crowd!

Outside our area, I did MantonFest, which was a beauty, and later witnessed a Noddy-a-like yell “it’s Christmassss” at Marlborough College, while trips to Trowbridge Town Hall blessed me with meeting Gecko, and The Scribes, and wow, if Professor Elemental didn’t host a fantastic night with Boom Boom Racoon and The Real Cheesemakers. Nights I’ll never forget.

To bring hip hop to Trowvegas is one thing, to do it in Devizes is another, and though I sadly missed James Threlfall’s BBC Introducing night at the Muck and Dunder, I tip my straw hat to the rum bar, not just for presenting diversity to Devizes’ music events, but doing it in such style it bought the house down. I am, of course referring to the incredible Scribes visiting us in November, wow, that was a pina colada level of cool!

As far back as February, People Like Us played a packed Three Crowns in Devizes, affirming the pub’s reputation as a firm player on our live music scene. It’s always a great night, universally welcoming. Thinking back to The Roughcut Rebels playing a blinder one summery August, to the point, I’m basing my birthday down there on 4th March. Free to all, just turn up, we’ve hopefully some acoustic music in the afternoon followed by Talk in Code and the Ruzz Guitar Trio.

There’s just so much great, great stuff which happened last year, apologies if I missed mentioning your favourite bit, the article is going to epic proportions now and I need to put a cork in it. I just get so excited noting all these great happenings, it gives me great pleasure to be the happy chappy who helps to inform you about them.

I mean, look, I’ve not even mentioned our fabulous Wharf Theatre yet, who I’m delighted to really touch base with this year, and be invited to dress rehearsals, so we can get our views out on the performances prior to you delving into your purse for. Andy, Ian, and myself have given you the lowdown on TITCO’s The Dinner Party, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Hedda Gabler, Lovesong, but my favourite most was when Georgina Claridge played a Dorothy-type character in a most thoughtful, homemade children’s play by Helen Langford, called The World Under the Wood. We love the Wharf!

We had a feast at Soupchick, helped save Furlong Close, we told you about Swindon Paint Fest, we said about Midlife Krisis raving at the Vic in a milk float, we went to the Art Heist in Chippenham, we released a second volume of our 4 Julia’s House compilation albums, which you still NEED to buy, we even went down the “Bin” for UB40 tribute Johnny2Bad, but on bad, we cannot sing the praises of everyone, for that’s simply not realistic. The naughty list is open to invitation!

It was a shame to have to report how popular local Facebook group, Devizes Issues, administered by Tory town councillor Iain Wallis has seen it fit to block and ban Devizine for absolutely no given reason, as it has done with many individuals and even a local Covid support group. Nothing to do with a failed, laughable attempt to set up their own what’s on guide, (which only includes town council organised events,) no, of course not! It seems to enjoy regular culls of anyone who holds an alternative opinion to those of the admin’s, despite inviting members to participate in political debate on both local and national scales. So be it, we’re not looking back… the GB News of Devizes!!

We haven’t banned anyone from our social media pages, you can still enjoy the apolitical Devizine whatever side of the fence you sit on. We are an entertainment events and what’s on guide, ergo, there’s no need to include our personal political views, so we don’t. Why some think we should or shouldn’t do are shit stirrers from both sides, and we don’t play ball with shit stirrers. If you think different that’s your own issue, seek a doctor’s advice, not mine!

What a shame, that had to be said, but I feel it did. I’m not going out like that! For the most part Devizine continues to be the Time Out of Wiltshire, and I’m proud of this, and I’m eternally grateful to everyone who supports it. So, here’s to 2023, hoping it will be as good as last year, hoping we’ll get to cover more of it, be as comprehensive as possible, to not rise to witch hunts against us, and be the go-to website for the free-thinking local.

I urge you to tell us your story, inform us of your events, give us the scoops to cover, tell us about your talented family member, tell us about a niggly issue in need of exposure. Yeah, you can rant on Facebook or Twitter, but you won’t get the same level of attention, we are here to shake up the area, we are here to bring you the news on how great-a-place this is. If this means we’re the black sheep because we refuse to comply, so be it.

Devizine for 2023, I say, though I would, wouldn’t I?! We want to host some events too, btw, we want to raise some funds for charities, and we want to have a good time doing it! Do not get in our way of this simple ethos, with your pathetic and frankly perverse urge to kiss arse!


Live at Esquires: Belated Christmas Pressie from Gaz Brookfield

Featured Photo credit: Jus Carroll

It’s been far too long since Bristol-based singer-songwriter Gaz Brookfield has had a mention on our pages, so here’s a belated Christmas present from this amazing performer, a name-your-price download of a live album you’ll be sorry to have missed out on otherwise.

Of course, I only say belated because I’ve failed to mention it between munching on Quality Street until only toffee pennies and empty wrappers remain, and putting batteries in things, for Gaz released this Christmas Eve. It’s recorded live at Esquires in Bedford, back in November as part of a tour whereby his Patreon page members chose the setlist. So, expect a mixture of the best songs old and new, but be safe in the knowledge they’re accomplished acoustically. Without backing from The Company of Thieves, here is Gaz, warts, and all, as he apologises for a sore throat but, as you could imagine if you’ve seen this character before, still manages to pull a blinder.

I honestly didn’t expect to pick up on tracks I’d recall, but was reminded of one particularly adroitly written chef-d’oeuvre, The Tale of Gunner Haines, a true story of a solider assigned to Somerset’s Brean Down Fort, who was reprimanded for reporting in late from an unauthorised leave, due to a flat tyre on his bicycle, and promptly took 5,000 lbs of gunpowder and blew himself and the barracks to smithereens.

If this comes across rather Ralph McTell or Eric Bogle, historical narratives are a scarcity in Gaz’s repertoire, rather drawing influences from everyday observations and personal reflections. And to argue these subjects are cliché, I’d nod, but allow me thus, Gaz does it so incredibly well, the thoughts and observations of many others pale by comparison. So, as every good live album should, there’s abridged chat, confidently amusing and relative, and then there’s these ingenious prose pieces of aging and his youth, of medical issues, his affection for the ordinary from maps to gardening, and much to deliberate on the matter of being a musician on the road, self-deemed a “land pirate,” and particularly amusing when character assassinating drunks at his gigs.

Within it, Gaz states he follows a serious song with a “silly” one, but the lines between sentimental and amusing are blurred, you take what you want from each, for if a good sign for the performer who uses the tenet of personal reflection as topic is that you come away from listening thinking you know the person, Gaz will seem like your best mate. This open fellow is a lively Billy Bragg at his peak, a West Country Springsteen of storytelling, with the carefree attitude to pigeonholing of James Taylor and the coolness of Leonard Cohen. The sum of these parts is a highly entertaining show.

If this live recording shouldn’t be treated as comprehensive, but a teaser for you to explore more of his discography, I guarantee you’ll come away from it wanting more.


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Explosive Minds & ZambaLando: Swindon’s Connection to Afro Latin Funk

Patiently waiting for a good reason to feature ZambaLando, Wiltshire’s premier funksters of Afro-Latino beats, so upon the release of the follow-up album to 2020’s Carry On, off we virtually trot to Swindon for a worthy tropical musical expedition!

If there’s ever a criticism over Ry Cooper’s nineties Son adventures with the Buena Vista Social Club, it’s usually the style projected was rather outdated, and not in line with the popular sounds of Cuba at the time. Naturally the counter-argument here is advances in music technology arriving in developing worlds often creates much sparser, avant-garde, and radical subgenres within their pop, which to the western world’s untrained ear can be difficult to differentiate and adopt. So, makes sense for world music bands in Europe and USA to implement a melting pot, fusing styles under blanket terms such as Afro-beat and Afro-Funk.

While I could throw this debate on ZambaLando’s table, given Carry On is an unconditionally unique and beautiful album, its melting pot is spiced with salsa, merengue, lando, festejo, samba and bossa nova, yet all conveyed in a rather traditional and jazzy fashion, the world is smaller place than it was when Cooper popularised the Buena Vista Social Club, thanks to the internet, and through websites like Bandcamp one can easily backpack the planet virtually and be more aware of current global trends. I’m pleased to report back, that ZambaLando have stepped it up a colossal “modernised” notch with this month’s newly released Explosive Mind.

As the title suggests, it is such; explosive, with more contemporary offerings than the styles incorporated within Carry On, which if akin to Antônio Carlos Jobim, Latino-wise, and Fela Kuti and Tony Allen’s archaic afrobeat originations, Explosive Mind really pushes the boundaries of experimentation, often with the serenest ambient soundscapes, like the track Hay Mi Lando, or exotically dubbed, like Siku Funk, but what is more, from the off, the title track, it comes across with a greater and more wholesome funk tenet; irresistibly danceable and strikingly modern.

It doesn’t lose sight of their roots, though, and pre-subgenres of salsa, merengue, lando, festejo, samba and bossa nova are clearly still present. At times it embraces them fully, as Carry On did, yet at others it plays with them; this makes it the “journey” I suggested it is. So, if I expressed how Hay Mi Landos loses you in electronic ambience, it also ingeniously encompasses bossa nova too. Again, the following songs Little Baby and Sorry, are soulfully blessed, yet wouldn’t look out of place of NYP’s Mukambo Global Beats anthologies, which offers only the most contemporary of world music.

There’s mellower moments of romantically-themed jazzy blues-fashioned bliss as the album progresses, with masterpieces like Walking Along the River but the finale of this ten-track marvel, Quédate No Te Vayas is precisely the definition of what I’m trying to convey here; it rocks steady, samba fashion, incorporating up-to-date techniques to present this traditional, magical blend of Latino afro-funk subgenres as something worthy for your modern ears, and it doesn’t try to trick you with complexities of the ever-changing global pop either, just smooths all the way through.

I’m so pleased ZambaLando have provided this option locally, for their musical multiplicity is a blessing in a somewhat narrowly sundry circuit, and this album presents it in such a sublime way, while they gig prolifically in their hometown, I can imagine this will bring them to wider appeal. If I let you into a secret I might get in trouble for leaking, you won’t tell, will you?! But on my recommendation, Devizes Arts Festival are in talks with ZambaLando, entreating my passion to get them in playing our humble town, of which I’m thoroughly grateful for, and this album, Explosive Mind, illustrates exactly why I’ve such enthusiasm to do this!

Give it a listen this winter, it’ll warm you up cheaper than British Gas will!


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Okay let’s get this out there before the kids munch through all the Quality Street, and have a double whammy Christmas and New Year run down of everything (we’ve found so far) happening around these parts over the yuletide; I feel like the Radio Times for live local entertainment!

But first, allow me take to take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year…. I hope you are all on the good list. Find all links and further details on our event calendar, and keep scrolling to plan ahead and scan for updates, they do occasionally happen!

Sustainable Devizes’ The Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas continues at The Little Green, Devizes until Christmas Eve.


Wednesday 21st is Winter Solstice, for sunset at 16:00, and sunrise on Thursday at 7:30. See here for advice if visiting Stonehenge or Avebury. Meanwhile Andy will be on the piano at The Barge on Honey-Street for some carols.  And you’ll find The Hammervilles at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.


Thursday 22nd Melksham Assembly Hall hold The Polar Express Pyjama Party.

Fin & Mark entertain at The Condado Lounge, Devizes, while Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project play the Tuppenny, Swindon, and Far Cue attend the Three Horseshoes Bradford-on-Avon.


Friday 23rd Illingworth play The Three Crowns, Devizes, while One trick Pony takes over the Southgate for a Ugandan Children Centre fundraiser, with the promise of an afterparty with nibbles and funky disco. Talking funky, Funked Up play the Pelican Inn, while it’s the Long Street Blues Club’s Christmas party with Gee Baby I Love You. Any of these options can be washed down with a stint at The Exchange nightclub, where Stevie MC is behind the wheels of steel for an Ugly Christmas Jumper retro party night till 2am.

Outside of Devizes I’ve not got much to offer you, Rave Against the Machine play The Vic in Swindon, ska punk outfit Operation 77 will be at The Lamb in Marlborough, while Marchella are down The Wellington.

Pogues tribute, The P’Hogues are at Frome’s Tree House, Frenzy at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.


Saturday 24th, Christmas Eve finds 12 Bars Later at The Crown in Bishops Cannings, (UPDATED: Blondie & Ska have stepped in last minute as 12 Bars couldn’t make it) and a Christmas Eve party with DJ Lynx in the mix at The Exchange, Devizes. Illingworth play Old Town’s The Royal Oak in Swindon.


Sun 25th is Christmas day, and all silent night, enjoy your Brussel sprouts!


Our calendar from Monday 26th to Friday 30th has also drawn pretty much a blank to-date, hence while I’m getting the fortnight over and done with one big shebang today! Play it safe if protesting against Boxing Day fox hunts in Lacock or elsewhere. Find details for the protest at Lacock HERE.

Live music can be found at The Beehive in Swindon on Wednesday 28th with the Experimental Blues Orchestra, and on Thursday 29th with The Shudders, both start at 8.30pm.


Kick back into the live music action in Devizes on Friday 30th when Jon Amor plays The Southgate, and then it’s……


New Year’s Eve, Saturday 31st, and we’ve lots to get through, obviously. Seend Community Centre win my Editor’s Pick of the Week, even if it’s a fortnight special, where the Train to Skaville will be boarding. You need to get tickets for this steaming New Year’s Eve ska social.

Meanwhile in Devizes, DJ Andy Saunders is at The Conservative Club, there’s Glitzy New Year’s Eve Karaoke Party at The Pelican, and Plan of Action play The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings. Then, it’s all fancy dress at the Exchange with DJ Lynx.

Here’s what we’ve also found round-and-about for seeing in 2023, Get Carter play the Consti Club, Chippenham, while The Salutation Inn have a NYE party.

NYE disco party at The Civic in Trowbridge, and a party at The Wiltshire Yeoman too.

The Tuppeny in Swindon hos a New Year’s Eve Party, and that’s all we know about in Swindon.

Shindig Festival takes over Club Lomah in Bath for a Shimmy Discotheque.

No Middle Ground play The Burbage British Legion, the reBBels play Mere Social Club. Paul Jude Wilson is live at The George Inn, Middle Wallop.

New Year’s Eve Parties at The Lord Nelson, Marshfield, Players Traditional Carvery, Westbury, and The Packhorse, Larkhill.

Subgiant at The Winchester Gate, Salisbury, while The Deloreons play Salisbury Arts Centre, and find Miss Chief and the Makers at The Old Ale & Coffee House, and a NYE party at Ox Row.

In Frome the Foo Fakers and Nirvanot tributes play the Tree House, while The Hammervilles take the Cheese & Grain’s New Year’s Eve party.


If we missed something, let us know, for now though, we’re into 2023, happy new year, see you on the other side. Event organisers, your new year’s resolution should be to inform Devizine of your events, and don’t make us come looking for you!


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Proving That There’s More To Life Than Football!

Andy Fawthrop

Another perishingly cold weekend in D-Town, but there was plenty of music and entertainment on offer to warm the heart.  So I went off on a Winter wander to see what was on offer.

Unfortunately I had to miss Friday night’s Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, featuring Jon Amor and Innes Sibun.  I would dearly loved to have gone, but was prevented by another commitment.  Talking to people who did go, however, I was told that a great night was had by all.  

But by Saturday I was fully on my mission.  Whilst the editor of this esteemed digital mag was indulging his nostalgic love of Ford Cortinas and Slade tribute bands in Marlborough, I took to the mean streets of D-Town.

First off to St John’s for the Big Sound’s Christmas concert.  This was a gig of two halves.  The first half featured songs by a number of individual guest singers, including some very young soloists, each one of whom knocked it out of the park, despite the daunting prospect of standing up alone in front of hundreds of people.  Hats off!

The second half moved up a gear and featured the big guns of the eponymous The Big Sound – a massive and marvellous choir, marshalled by the enthusiastic Jemma Brown.  The choir was not formed particularly with formal concerts in mind, but more as an ongoing exercise in what Jemma herself describes as “music, singing, wellbeing, friendship, laughter and fun” (the choir meets and sings every Tuesday night).  Those values certainly shone through as the choir strode their way through a number of Christmas-related songs.  The highlight, particularly in the fun department, was the audience participation in The Twelve Days Of Christmas.  Everyone on stage looked as if they were enjoying themselves hugely, and the audience were kept warm both by singing and by the mulled wine being served at the back.  And to top all that, it would appear that the two charities being supported last night (Devizes Open Doors and Dorothy House) would have benefited somewhere in the region of £2000 – a terrific performance all round.  Given that this was the choir’s first-ever gig, it was what I can only describe as a stunning success.

Of course there was other stuff on around town, but my next venue of choice for the night was The Southgate.  Unfortunately, due to Covid, Dr. Zebo’s Wheezy Club had had to cancel at the very last minute, but the ever-resourceful Debbie had managed to find her friends (and fantastic musicians) Tim Madden (guitar and vocals) and Melinda Rozsahegyi (12-string pedal-steel guitar), both of The Duskers to play at the last moment.  From a relatively quiet start, the crowd grew as the evening wore on, and the place was pretty packed by the end.  Tim’s laid-back and mournful vocals, accompanied by gentle and under-stated guitar proved a perfect foil for Melinda’s pedal-steel.  I think it’s the association with Country music and the heart-rending lyrics of you-done-me-wrong songs, but there’s something infinitely sad and haunting about the sound of pedal-steel.  As it was, we had two great hour-long sets, and I left for home with just a liddle biddy tear in my eye.

But there was still more to come.  D-Town doesn’t stop after Saturday night, it carries on until we all have to go back to work on Monday morning.

So Sunday got off to an early start.  When there’s a Market Place full of farm machinery, why would you want to be anywhere else?  Due to (as I understand it) insurance issues, Devizes Young Farmers were unable to stage their now-usual Tinsel & Tractor run through the Wiltshire countryside, ending up in D-Town, and so they did the next best thing – a static display.  Whilst this might have been a little less exciting, and to feature rather less units, having the machines parked up in neat rows in The Market Place gave everyone a chance to get really close up.  I’ve never seen so much clean (and often new) farm machinery – just makes you appreciate the level of modern technology that goes into producing the food that we all take for granted.  I’ve also never seen so many strapping and weather-beaten chaps proudly displaying their vehicles.  There were loads of stalls, including food offerings, and stuff for the kiddi-winkies to do too.  Hopefully the day raised a shedload of money for Dorothy House, so another hats off to the organisers.

Afternoon is the time to go the pub, right?  Keen to observe this custom in full, and never one to shirk my reporting responsibilities, I fearlessly went to two of our finest establishments.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. 

First to The White Bear to see my mate Jamie R Hawkins in a now-rare solo performance away from his Lost Trades buddies.  It was really good to see and hear him in action again, and good to see that he’s retained all his good humour and singer/ songwriter skills. The songs were still there, that distinctive voice was still in evidence.  Always a class act.

Finally it was back up to The Southgate, following the football, to catch It’s Complicated’s Christmas party.  Again it was good to see an old mate, this time in the shape of Tim Watts behind the drums.  Accompanied by Jacqi Sherlock (keys and vocals), Tom Evans (guitar and vocals), and Adrian Mundy (bass guitar), it was another of those gigs that really built momentum ass it went along.  They’re a covers band, but definitely a musical step up from yer average pub band.  They don’t just play the more “obvious” cloud-pleasers – they’re happy to take on some less well-known stuff.  The musicianship, and their ability to use their own arrangements to lift a number out of the ditch of a mere slavish copy, means that they’re a notch or two better than the mere average.  Jacqi’s vocals, in particular, really lifted some of the songs.

And because it was a Christmas party, the set-list included a number of Crimbo classics that we could all belt out.  You don’t have to go all the way to Marlborough to see a Slade tribute act to get a dose of “Here It Is – Merry Christmas”.  Tim did a passable impression of Noddy Holder, belting out the song, whilst doing some heavy-duty tub-thumping.

So – all-in-all – plenty of stuff to keep me out of trouble.  And away from the football.

And – as a final note – I’d like to add a massive thank-you to all those shakers and movers, the organisers and planners, those people who get off their arses in our little town and put all of these events on for us to enjoy.  There are lots of them throughout the year, and at a lot of venues, but just based on the above things that fed my particular week-end, a big hats off to Ian Hopkins (Long Street Blues), Dave & Debbie (The Southgate), Marc & Georgie (The White Bear), Jemma Brown (The Big Sound) and the Devizes Young Farmers.  Hats off.  Well done to all of them.


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Though the Noddy-a-like frontman teased the audience he wouldn’t play Slade’s seasonal magnum opus, when they did, obviously for a finale, I was deep in conversation with purple goatee-bearded harmonica player, Nick Beere of supporting act Barrelhouse, about our dad’s make of cars in the seventies! The topic spurred by something the Noddy-alike (let’s call him by stage-name Nobby Boulder hereafter,) jested on stage, in true Black Country fashion, praising their attributing decade, “we all knew someone who drove a Ford Cortina!” Which coincidentally occurred just as I was contemplating the best method of assessing the value of a tribute act is to consider if a fan you know would appreciate them, and my dad loved Slade….and yeah, he drove a brown Cortina too!

For while uncannily looking and sounding akin to Slade to the point Nobby was mistaken for him in the street and actual band members endorse them, Slyde refrained from simply belting out their celebrated discography, opting to meld them with other sing-along classics of the glam era, only in the fashion Slade would’ve covered them in. This formed more a seventies nostalgia show than simply a tribute to one act, yet somehow retained the ambience of a Slade gig with silver disc top hats on. I mention this element now to answer the last paragraph’s question, would my dad have loved it? Undoubtedly, he would’ve, and been up doing his unique dad dancing, to the point I could envision his smirk through the crowds of bopping Marlborough folk. I was nailing “most definitely” prior to the icing on the cake, that being the final blast of Jeff Beck’s Hi Ho Silver Lining, as here is a tune which uncompromisingly dragged my dad to any dancefloor, to the point I parodied the lyrics into my eulogy to him.