The Best He Could Do at The Time, Joe Hicks’ Debut Album

A little late for the party, as ever, I’ve been procrastinating, and my computer is equally as listless; failing to save my original words on this. Meanwhile Newbury good guy, but welcomed regular on our circuit, Joe Hicks has been busy with a debut album launched yesterday, worthy of a rewrite……

Titled The Best I Could Do at The Time, Joe is seriously playing it down, like the nerd at college who tells you they “haven’t done much” for their assignment, so you follow suit only to find them offering a feasible cure for all known diseases in a presentation with U2 providing the soundtrack, while the best you can offer is a scribbling of your pet cat, which you did on the bus journey there.

The opening tune, Sail Away, for example, is far punchier than David Gray’s appellation of the same name, and we won’t contemplate sailing down the Rod Stewart route. Though it’s best pigeonholed like Gray’s, as folktronica, there’s a whole lot more going on here from this stalwart who could just as easily fit comfortably into a blues dance as he could a folk festival, and does.        

The blurb suggests The Best I Could Do at the Time is “a journey through many of the emotional peaks and troughs we go through as humans,” Joe explained, “and more specifically me as a musician in such uncertain times. It’s about acknowledging them, living in those feelings for a while and ultimately finding the hope we all have within us to take control and rise above the worst of them. It’s about doing the best we can with the tools that we have.”

The first thing to hit you is the sheer production quality, a euphoric yet upbeat anthemic joy from the off, Sail Away, sustains the timeless pop formula, making him balance on the edge between aforementioned folk and blues, and allowing this album to flow tidy, but traverse any given pop subgenre at will, while retaining originality and stylised inimitability.

If One More Step, the timeless pop second track is a prime example, it builds on layers like a contemporary hit of say a George Ezra-Bruno Marrs hybrid, Maybe When It’s Over follows, and this stretches back further, reeking of unruffled seventies soul, like Curtis Mayfield.

Four tracks in and you’re safe in knowledge to accept anything, Pieces is sublime acoustic fluff, and there was a line in the subtle skank of Lost in Love, “oh, such a reckless emotion,” where I paused for thought on a comparison which I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until it came to me; the velvety vocals of Paul Young, especially when he sang Come Back and Stay.

Mirror Mirror reflects an indie side-order, while Out of My Mind surprisingly nods of township jive, designating a hint of Paul Simon’s Graceland. Hand in Hand settles the pace once again to this euphoria, so that even if the narrative traverses the downhearted at times, it’s always a musical ride with the glass half full. And herein is my point; this is ageless pop goodness, borrowing from what went before, but fresh and contemporary throughout, which is the even balance of magnitude.

The final trio of tracks on this eleven-strong album returns to the early eighties pop formula with, Alive, folktronica goodness with the inspiring Make It Home, and Weightless polishes it off with the pop roll of The Corrs, or something along those lines, though the whole shebang holds itself in its own pocket.

It’s a wonderful album, deservedly to be considered a remarkable achievement; The Best I Could Do at The Time huh? Well, the time is nigh. Having made a name for himself as a session guitarist, Joe Hicks was ‘BBC Introducing Artist of the Week’, directly from his first solo single in 2017. Since he’s built up a sizable online following, touring the UK and Europe, appearing at CarFest, The Big Feastival, Are You Listening? Festival, Pub in the Park, over thirty Sofar Sounds shows and slots supporting Sam Fender, James Walsh and Starsailor.

Here in Devizes, he’s regularly appeared at Long Street Blues Club and Saddleback, and is always a delight to chat with; just a genuine modest talent, of which this album truly blows the lid off his cover. I got your number, Hicks; bloomin’ amazing album, my son!

Link-Tree to Buy


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I Shuffled in Swindon, and I Liked It!

Yep, It’s Swindon Shuffle weekend, and so I thought it best to poke my nose in…..

Voice recognition they call it, I call it defective verbal dysentery. My precise articulation fails on a number of letters and numbers from my vehicle reg, and I’m wound up. Parking apps; pet hate, so, call a number, it says, fuck you, nonhuman Noddy, I’m relocating, to a known carpark where you put these primative nuggets of bronze into a machine, wondering why I, aging country bumpkin that I am, bothered to come to the smoke of Swindon centre in the first place. Though it was a passing aggravation, my only rant about the Swindon Shuffle, and hardly their fault anyways…..

Like a lukewarm sea, once you’re immersed it’s lovely, and if the ground I once frequented is so alien, Swindon College, Regent Circus, now an underground carpark unpermitable for technophobes with a neon multiplex atop, one step up the hill and dependable Old Town greets you. Dependable because other than a few shop facades changing, it’s prettty much the same as it always was, the one safe haven within the roundabout-infested sprawling metropolis with its name derived from “pig hill.” Apologies Swindonites, I’m tetchy only about your carparks, and every large town has them.

So now I’m decending Vic Hill with the pleasent scent of kebab houses, on a misson to cram myself into the sardine tin which is The Beehive. It’s my first port of call, a bee line, (gettit?) after reviewing the singlemost amazing debut album from a local act, I was coming to see Concrete Prairie no matter the machine, urbanisation and rammed public house.

But it’s the most welcoming sardine tin, it has to be, the bustling Beehive is a wonderful no-frills pub making do with the space it has, adorned with quirky decor, and filled with smiling faces there for this legendary fifteenth Shuffle, a multi-venue long weekend testimonial to local live music, in aid of Prospect House. I’m immediately feeling homely in this hospitable watering hole, if a tad sultry.

I have to grab a word with chief coordinator Ed Dyer, in which he reveals this time legwork is reduced by having a promotor at each venue, though every year it’s rammed like this at most of the venues. Took me to pondering if a mere market town of Devizes populas could ever accommodate such a scale event without a severely dispursed crowd in each individual venue, but here, it works.

And it works with half-hour sets, timed somehow, with precision engineering, this colossal musician assemble spanning too many names to mention, let alone amass a comprehensive coverage. But such was yours truly impressed with what I did manage to injest, I’m contemplating if I should make Swindon Shuffle a B&B getaway next year.

It was good to bump into Kelly Adams, of Lacock’s Wiltshire Blues and Soul Club, hosting this venue’s entertainment, old friend and newspaper entrepreneur Jamie Hill, and Joel Rose, whose set I unfortunately missed. The question was if Concrete Prairie could, in this petite space, recreate the magic of said album, and they did, with bells on. One cover, and a few peaches from the album was all it took to convince me this is a band we so desperately need to get into our town, their stage pressence was topnotch, their timing impeccable and original compositions just melt.

One silver lining to the parking botheration is I’m closer uphill to my car once settled in the reliable Victoria, which is where I’m hotfooting it to next. Keen to catch Salisbury’s upcoming recommended CarSick, though skate-metal-punk not my preferred cuppa I’m game for those who do it well. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you; CarSick pulled a sicky, though no reports it was actually in any kinda vehicle.

Instead, Kieran Moore, coordinator for this legendary venue under his stalwart Sheer banner, flew in a young three-piece called InAir, who thrashed it out professionally, in a most pleasing fashion, so one could feel the bass rumble under one’s feet; I like that in any genre.

For where the Beehive is a welcoming but crammed bustling hive, The Victoria has a large pit aback, geared toward gigging. While slightly more conventional, and certainly more spacious, it still holds charm and you know when you decend those stairs into the black magic box, The Vic will pull a rabbit from its hat.

Proir to InAir’s blown away set, I spotted the man himself, fronting the Saturday headliner at the Vic, it’s impossible to miss him. “You’re out of Devizes?!” he cried in mirth; am I not allowed to be?!

Mike Barham towered, chatting enthusiastically, while bassit Rob McKelvey stood smiling, a position he’d compromise before the finale by circular squirming the stage floor while strumming his last notes. Yeah, with missing drummer Luke Bartels, who’d arrive on the scene soonishly, complaining of the after-effects of the pre-gig curry they’d had, the one InAir promised themselves on stage never to do again, ah, bless, the joys of reuniting with the NervEndings lads on neutral ground.

And they did their thing, loud and proud as before, though slightly more professional I hassen to add, with boundry-pushing banter. It’s one hardcore band easy on my acceptance, because there’s a blues influence. Mike nodded to Devizes’ affection for blues, and attempted a tune geared that Jon Amor way, but it fell short of a younger crowd, there to mosh and roll, or whatchamacallit. A quick switch rammed the dancefloor again, and those purveyors of noise were at it, superbly. Something Devizions need not miss when Sheer takes the Bin for free, on the 7th October.

To conclude, for what bore witness to mine eye, Swindon Shuffle is more than worthy bounding over the downs for, and what’s furthermore, you’re best leaving any ill-conceived notions at home. For loutish hooliganism, I saw none, just a mass of widespread age demographic live music aficionados, relishing the moment of strolling Old Town in bliss. Bouncers, I saw one, happily munching on a salmon sandwich.

There’s no prentious big names, no grand finale tribute act wandering around like they’re the real McCoy, no ethos to let the local orginal acts do their thing early and get sloshed awaiting a mainstream headliner. This is wholly dedicated, not just to a worthy charity, but to promoting upcoming local talent, which is precisely the kind of thing we love here at Devizine Towers; go Swindon; it continues today, (Sunday.)


Sheer Music Grand Return to Devizes

Ah, it’s on the grapevine alright; godfather of Wiltshire’s millennial live indie scene, Kieran Moore isn’t sneaking in the back door with his tail between his legs like the prodigal son, rather he’s returning to Devizes, the origins of his promotional stamp Sheer Music, in a blaze of heavy rock glory.

Not content with setting the soul of live music in the bright light city of viva Trowvegas on fire, or getting those stakes up higher at Komedia in Bath and legendary venue the Vic in Swindon, he’s
just a devil with love to spare…. for his roots!

It’ll be loud and proud, that much is for sure, when Sheer takes the Corn Exchange on Friday 7th October, and, hold your breath, it’ll be a free gig, yes I said free. When was the last time you got in the Corn Exchange for nought? Obviously as chief blagger I’m not at liberty to answer that question myself, but you catch my drift I hope!

They’ve got that kick-ass skater punk collaboration of Trowbridge, Devizes, Westbury and Wotton Bassett, Start The Sirens as support. A promising upcomer we handsomely reviewed their debut “Just the Beginning,” back in June.

Next up is two-thirds homegrown purveyors of noise NervEndings, who should need no introduction locally, abielt to note the boys are creating quite the stir forever further abound, headlining this Saturday at the very same Victoria, for the Swindon Shuffle.

Plus hard-rocking contemporary punkers Lucky Number Seven, which I’ll confess is a new one to me, but they certainly sound like a belter, featured alongside NervEndings at the Shuffle, and who tore Bristol’s Fleece apart at the beginning of the month.

Kieran labels his promo posts with “shit the bed, Devizes,” leaving me pondering; are you sure you’re ready for this, Devizes? Stage diving all the way to Chick-O-Land?!


A Baroque Blast at St Mary’s!


Kaffeehaus Culture comes to St Mary’s, Devizes on the 1st of October, bringing you some Bach, Handel & Telemann……

The acoustically rich space of St Mary’s Church, Devizes, will be filled with music from the best-known baroque masters on Saturday, 1st October.

Playing on traditional instruments The Brook Street Band will transport the audience back to the mid-18th century as they perform pieces by Bach, Handel and Telemann – three of the most famous German composers from the period.
The programme reflects the rhythm and harmony of these baroque giants whose music was regularly heard at the famous Zimmerman Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.

The Brook Street Band takes its name from the street in London’s Mayfair where composer George Frideric Handel lived and composed for most of his life.
Since its formation in 1996, the ensemble has established itself as one of the country’s foremost interpreters of baroque music performing at many of the UK’s major chamber music venues, as well as at Early Music Festivals in the UK and Europe.

The group has released eleven CDs, all receiving high critical acclaim; the Band’s debut disc “Handel Oxford Water Music” was selected as Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, as was its “JS Bach Trio Sonatas”.

The St. Mary Project

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Park Street, Devizes, dates from the Norman times and is one of the most important buildings in the town, with the church tower a particular landmark.

The building is listed Grade I, putting it amongst the top 2.5% of listed buildings in the country. The St.Mary Future Group is working hard to turn this wonderful building into an arts and community space that will become a hub for future generations.

Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm; tickets £18. See www.stmarydevizes.or.uk for booking details. email: info@stmarydevizestrust.org.uk


Devizine 5th Birthday!

Right then you lot, Devizine is five years old today, or at least it was when I begun this monumental mission of reminiscing on how, why and what the hell I was thinking when I started it in the first place. Question is, do you want the short story, or the long, drawn-out one?

Oh well, that’s just tough luck then, isn’t it?! You can’t stop me in full shit stream, because, everyone’s good at something, mine is endlessly waffling on about crap, so that’s what I’m going to do. In the words of the unforgettable Lesley Gore, it’s my party I can waffle on about crap if I want to, or something like that.

In consolation, I’ve sprinkled this piece with a lot of lovely photos, well, it’s been five years and we’ve a lot to show off about. And what a wonderful ride it’s been; dancing, dodging, meeting so many wonderful and talented people, rattling a few cages, and I hope it will continue to be so, if I do say so myself.

Best, if any, place to start is childhood aspirations. Note, I never had any dreams of writing, let alone journalism. English at school was a pet hate, like every other subject, especially spelling, I was atrochous…… atreechois…. really bad at it.

Though I have to humour the media industry, I’d grow to detest Fleet Street wank-stains. To be a cartoonist was the thing for me, the like of Charles Schultz or Jim Davis favourably, they did, after all, make the most money. But I’d write for magazines, zines and FINs I submitted cartoon strips for in support, because they needed writers…. bloody slave drivers.

As time moved on and I created my own comic, reviewing works of other creative types within it was an aid to networking, and, most importantly, getting freebies. I also suffered with a lack of writers but plenty of artists, so I’d script for them, and gradually the writing took prominence over the artwork.

Self-publishing is a labour of love, and any excuse for procrastination was on the cards. Unpredictably stumbling upon family life was the perfect excuse for giving it up; there were nappies which needed changing before cross-hatching a nudy caricature of Cameron Diaz, and besides, I’d grown out of the psychedelic nature of the zine; fatherhood can change a lad. Word of warning, whippersnappers.

But once bitten, the creative cannot help but create, that’s why they call them creatives, see? I picked self-publishing up again when eBooks came around, as it was easy, and not so time consuming. As an author I spaffed out more books than Boris Johnson did lies, happy as a method of improving my writing skills; though it’s still a learning cuve…. curth… bendy thing. And okay, that’s the same joke, get used to it.

Devizine came about simply for looking at other avenues in which to offload my wobbly words to the unfortunate world. I pitched to satirical, (or “fake news,” to gammons of which satire is above their understanding) websites, but was only sporadically successful, even lesser-so my attempt to create my own satirical website, called Poop Scoop. Until I noticed a new local news-site called Index;Wiltshire. There, finally through this insane waffling lies the kingpin to Devizine.

The editor wrote to me, “you’re the most powerful person in Devizes,” as my weekly rant column amassed a thousandfold more hits than MP James Gray’s did. Dishonest flattery works; I marched on, slagging off everything that was shit about Devizes as I could possibly think of, for humorous effect, you understand? Some didn’t, and Monday morning hate-mail filled my inbox, which was amusing to start with but being grew tedious.

Aside common complaints from any medium-sized market town, the joke wore thin due to decreasing ammo. Devizes is actually a great place to live; could be better, like freewheeling Frome, or like Tijuana, the murder capital of the world, it could be worse. The need to keep the ideas flowing caused me to post a gathering material question on a local Facebook group. It was Jemma Brown who raised the most important point: why didn’t I focus on the positives about living in Devizes? Of course, she was bang on the money, but it simply wouldn’t do, for that’s not the nature of satire, that’s not the idea of “No Surprises Living in Devizes.”

At the time, I’d just crawled out from my hermit hole and seen for myself talent lurking in the mists of this Tory haven. Richie Triangle played The Black Swan, spurring me to meet Tamsin Quin, who was crowdfunding for a debut album. Jemma, naturally was aiming my attention to her productions, as the TITCO theatre company. I wrote of my findings in an ever-increasingly heavily edited version of my rant column, claiming I was spinning the negatives around, though it was lagging in ethos, because to know me is to know I’m happy-go-lucky, and I couldn’t keep the pretence of being some kind of left-wing Alf Garnett any longer.

The column suddenly became more about what events were forthcoming in Devizes, rather then ranting about how rubbish everything was. I think at one point I joked, “what do I look like, some kind of event guide now?!” Not realising I’d predicted the outcome.

Frustrated the column was so heavily edited, now a new editor took over, I took to publishing them on a personal blog, but blogs need love and attention, in other words shameless self-promotion. Devizine though, as I came to knock up a new blog with the idea of doing precisely what we do now, promotes itself, as featured creative types share the fact they’ve been featured, and generally, people seemed to flock to this gap in the market. The first ever article was an unedited version of the that week’s column, the second was about Tamsin’s Crowdfunder.

I never understood, and probably never will, why aside perpetual splashes on national news stories as an aid to fund submissions to scoop sites, regional newspapers here couldn’t at least mention, or give credit to all the talented people here too. There’s room in a newspaper for both surely? But their downfall is our triumph. Devizine is now the go-to to what to do, the rest of it is me just mucking about!

This, coupled with our policy of brute honesty, will always be why Devizine has become something of a (slightly) respectable local institution. Though it may not have started out this way, because a few who were supposed to be responsible for what’s on sections of local media outlets fell short of lifting a finger, and thought it better to sought to trash Devizine’s pending reputation. Funny world, I thought Devizine would be welcomed, and I opened, and still do, my arms to the chances to work with them regardless; c’est la vie.

I believe it’s levelled now. Hardly anyone posts on local Facebook groups, “any live music going on tonight?” And if they do, rather than being directed to Devizine by yours truly, someone else beats me to the recommendation. Which brings me nicely on to the ten zillion quintillion thank you accreditations.

For aside my waffling, the bulk of this article is nothing more than a tedious clip show, which has taken longer to load up than I planned, probably be the sixth birthday by the time I publish it! Maybe we’ll refer to it as a “photo gallery in dial-up connection speed!”

Cider in one hand trying applause without spillages, my photography skills are best avoided whenever possible. Though I do believe I’m getting better, nothing illustrates a review better than a professional or semi-pro photographer. We’ve used and abused so many, and other than Nick Padmore, who makes me sit on his knee, most of them allow us to use their wonderful snaps for free! Which is handy, cos Devizine has not made millionaires out of us, quite yet.

So, a massive thank you, which would deserve a huge hug, if I wasn’t to wonder if that was a zoom lens in their pockets, rather than them being pleased to see me, and also an apology, there’s so many photos here it’d be a minefield wracking my miniscule mind recalling who took what, so excuse me, I hope that you don’t mind, I’ve not been able to credit them individually. Take it as red, though, the out of focus ones are likely from me. The rest I owe to so many photographers, some mentioned here and now: Gail Foster, Nick Padmore, Simon Folkard, Helen PolarPix, Ruth Wordly, Matthew Hennessy, Abbie Asadi, and Chris Dunn of Inscope Design. Please give them a virtual applause and go check out their work via their websites and social media.

But everyone needs a thank you, don’t they? So many good people have come to my rescue, submitted reviews, scoops and content, to make Devizine both comprehensive, and how I see it; a community-led, erm, thingy. I’d appreciate any help I can get, I’m totally overloaded here, and apologise to things I’ve missed, but Mrs Miggins has to get her pint of semi, also. You know you run a what’s on guide when Facebook pings the notification, “you have 55 events this weekend!”

Sporadically then writers have contributed, and I have Ian Diddams, Jemma Brown, TD Rose, Jenny Dalton, Phil Bradley, and Helen Robertson to sincerely thank too. But none more than our esteemed man in the field, the brilliant Andy Fawthrop, for his constant bombardment of most excellent reviews have been a godsend, to the point we need a statue of the good fellow here, front and centre of the lobby in the prestigious Devizine Towers. Seriously, if I cannot get hold of any marble, though, it might have to be made of paper cups.

All I have to say now is thanks everyone, everyone who has supported us, everyone I missed on the roll-call, contributed in some way, and that’s a long list, folk like the ones who’ve helped us out with technical bobs and bits; Ida McConnell, and musically, Dean Czerwionka, Mike Barham, Cath, Gouldy and the DayBreakers, Clifton Powell and Nick Newman, Daydream Runaways and The Roughcut Rebels.

Or those who’ve given their time to play for us at one of our fundraising gigs, the above mentioned, plus, Chole Jordan, Will Foulstone, Tamsin Quin, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins, George Wilding, Bryony Cox, Lottie Jenkins, Mirko Pangrazzi, Bran Kerdhynen, Finley Trusler and Sam Bishop.

And I think I’ve waffled enough; sorry if I missed anyone, but they know who they are. Bloody love ’em too, I do; group hug.

Being the Wiltshire Air Ambulance bear, touring homemade breweries, the Palace cinema, spending a day with Clifton Powell with Arts Together, going behind the scenes with DOCA, a day on tour with Talk in Code, press screening of Follow the Crows, riding an E-bike with Sustainable Devizes, meeting Neville Staple backstage, plus all the event invites, and so much more my brain is aching, there’s been so many fond memories, but I think, if you had to ask me to pick just one, it’d have to be the time I did my milk round in my Spiderman onesie and met with Carmela Chillery-Watson and her lovely family. A day I’ll never forget.

It leaves me now, to sign off, you must be tired looking at all those people having fun, but I did pre-warn you about my waffling! Enjoy the remaining pictures in our picture show, maybe you’ve spotted yourself in there, five or less years younger. If so, I want you to know, you’re still that gorgeous, gorgeous for showing us your support and partying with us; here’s to another five years, gorgeous!!

Trivia: What is the most popular article on Devizine to-date?

A: The April Fools Day joke 2021, when I announced, McDonalds was coming to Devizes. I believe that one broke the internet! Sad, but true.

Trivia: When did you first force Andy Fawthrop against his will and better judgement, to write reviews?

A: I believe it was October 2018, and the first review was Joe Hicks at the Three Crowns; I maybe wrong, I often am.

Trivia: Who was that country looking gent who used mascot on Devizine?

A: I don’t know, stop hassling me with inane questions like a fanboy at a Star Trek convention!

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 8th-14th September 2022

Slight seasonal changes, wetter but still warm, slight Prime Minister changes, dryer but still a narcissistic numpty; ah well, let’s see, a day later than usual I know and apologise, what’s happening in Wiltshire over the next week……

The one link you need as usual, is our event calendar, where it’s all listed with ticket and info links, and it’s updated (fairly) regularly, so bookmark the beast and remain as you will be after reading this; in the know.  

Thursday 8th and there’s the Swindon Comedy Club at Kioki, with headliner Abi Clarke.

Friday 9th Hedda Gabler begins at the Wharf Theatre, Devizes and runs until 24th September. Hedda Gabler is recognised as one of the world’s great plays written by one of the world’s great playwrights and is generally regarded as Ibsen’s masterpiece. Hedda, on the face of it, is not your archetypal tragic heroine. Starting quietly, and quite humorously, the drama builds to its terrifying and riveting climax, involving the presentation set of pistols that Hedda inherited from her father.

One to watch, Sour Apple play the Pelican in Devizes on Friday, and look out for a new music program called Vamos, at The Old Road Tavern, Chippenham, they’ve got the wonderful Harmony Asia supporting Hoggs Bison. And find Illingworth at The Royal Oak in Marlborough, all free gigs.

“Hurrah, they are back to School” runs the tagline of the end of summer barbeque at Seend Community Centre.

Our renowned house DJ, George G Force is at Marston Park, Frome, while tribute The Smyths play The Cheese & Grain. Festival season hasn’t quite closed yet, it’s The Mucky Weekender Festival at the Winchester Bowl.

Meanwhile, In Swindon, Dangerous Kitchen play The Vic, The Salts at Swindon Arts Centre, and A Country Night in Nashville at the Wyvern Theatre.

Saturday 10th and back by popular demand, the start of the legendary Pewsey Carnival, yay! Procession is next Saturday 17th, with the Wheelbeero race on Thursday 15th, but this Saturday is Pewsey Carnival Wine Race.

Our editor’s pick of the week; Party for Life, Melksham

A world suicide prevention day fundraiser in the Sky Bar at Melksham Town FC. The Soul Strutters, Blind Lemon Experience and Roughcut Rebels play this big one, with DJs and pizza and others; sounds fantastic, we did preview it a while back, and I believe a few tickets are still up for grabs, follow their Facebook page for more details.

Staying in the Sham, The Pilot has a Family fun day with music and, fundraising for MIND, see the poster for details.

Crafts, stalls and entertainment are promised at Devizes Rotary Club’s Health & Wellbeing Showcase on the Small Green from 11am-3pm on Saturday, and for a musical evening in Devizes, rock covers band Black Nasty are at The Southgate, while People Like Us do their awesome thing at the Three Crowns.

Time also, for the Burbage Beer, Cider & Music Festival.

Another upcoming local band to watch is Salisbury indie-kids Carsick, who plan to blow the lid off of Trowbridge Town Hall.

Contrasts in Swindon as Rage Against the Regime play The Vic, while Shape Of You brings the music of Ed Sheeran to the Wyvern Theatre.

You might have caught him at Devizes Arts Festival this summer, Alfie Moore’s show Fair Cop Unleashed comes to Salisbury Arts Centre.

No prizes for guessing who Motorheadache is attributing, they’re at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Dana Gavanski plays their sister venue the Tree House, with Cornelia Murr in support.

And unfortunately, The International Comics Expo, ICE in Birmingham which I’ve still got listed, has been cancelled, I’m just being too lazy to delete it!   

Sunday 11th, after terrible weather last Sunday postponed Devizes Town Band’s Children’s Proms in the Park at Hillworth, it will be combined this week with the planned main Proms in the Park.  

And save a Recital Series at Swindon Arts Centre, also on Sunday, that about wraps it up for the weekend, unless you know different? Unless you dare to tell me that I missed something?! Please do, I don’t bite, at least only a nip, on the bum; it’s free to list stuff on Devizine, just message us, we’re in it for the love.

Through the week I’ve not got much, but you know updates of the event calendar occasionally happens, though I’m currently undergoing the arduous task of getting next year’s calendar up and running, so bear with, bear with.

Tuesday 13th, I’ve got Kaleidoscopic at Salisbury Arts Centre and a RSPB: A Victorian Birder’s Wiltshire at the same venue.

Next week though you can look forward to Pewsey carnival, Swindon Shuffle, and the White Horse Opera is back too, along with lots more events to get your teeth into; I’ll catch you around at one sometime, maybe? What else are you going to do, “Simpsonise” yourself with a phone app; get real?!!


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Keeping Your Feet Dry, with The Lost Trades

New single from The Lost Trades, due out on those streaming sites next Friday, 9th September, but our lovable folk trio decided as it’s the celebratory “Bandcamp Friday,” they’d get it on there early….and I thought I’d get a breather today!

Is this a conspiracy? Is there a secret WhatsApp group where local musicians gang up on me and decide to all release their new material in the same week?! So much new music being pushed my way, I love it, but repetitive strain injury of the typing digits, people, think about that for a second! This, though, is more than worth mentioning.

I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks, holding my breath from mentioning it until next week, seems now I can exhale and tell you just how absolutely awesome this new single from The Lost Trades is. I even, at one point, had it playing in the car when nipping out for Derrick’s Deals at the Spar shop in Devizes, windows down, when I was struck with terror someone might overhear this exclusive early, and like the automatic blinds of the Lego ideas office, I fastened the gap!

Last time around, on All Fools Day, the tune was called Daffodils, and I dubbed it a “lost trades mark,” trying to be clever and play on words, but for the simple reason it summed up everything which was great about their debut album, The Bird, the Book and the Barrel, in one single, stating “this wonderful sunny side of the street tune is a neat little package tallying up the brilliance of the Trades.”

So where do we go from here? I’m going to big it up, you know that, because the trio haven’t yet disappointed, ever, and I’m therefore obviously going in with high expectations. But it had been one of those days, you know the sort, we all have them, and night was drawing near when I remembered I still had the single to listen to, and despite all said prospects, I just fell headlong into it, like tumbling into a blissful dream. It lifted me out of the swirling thoughts of that sort of day, it elevated me above cloud nine, and here’s why….

It’s the production this time around, yes Phil, Jamie and Tamsin’s, while Tamsin takes the lead vocal, least most predominate, voices are truly merged into one harmonious glory, the production of this single, a real step up. The entire mood surrounding it will engulf you, whether or not you’ve been following the progress of this exceptional trio or not. This is the way forward, it knocks spots off of anything which may’ve gone before in their building discography, and that, like Bananrama once said, is really saying something…. not that that’s a comparison, by the way!!

It needs no comparison other than with their own material, now, though it got me contemplating Roger McGuinn’s “Ballad of Easy Rider,” theme-wise, if rivers are a common metaphor in folk; the lyrics Dylan infamously gave to The Byrds, but declined credit in the film as he didn’t like its ending. But, I digress, with a “missing you” theme, Keep my Feet Dry is a boost in the right direction for the Trades, it drifts, a thing beauty, uplifting, with a chorus immediately sing-a-long. The guitar riff sooths, and every element fits together perfectly; wowzers, you only need bring your ears, and they will love you for it!

By the way, Jamie of the Lost Trades is at the Southgate, Devizes, Saturday, while Tamsin is playing the Barge on HoneyStreet; make your own mind up, I can’t help you with this dilemma!


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Recreational Trespass with N/SH

Arriving just in time to catch Swindon schoolteacher Garri Nash by weekday, ambient acoustic musician N/SH by gig-nights, at one of the early mini-festivals of The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings this summer, I’d missed local covers band Paradox play before him. It perhaps wasn’t the most appropriate follow, Paradox roused the audience with lively renowned covers, and N/SH is at best a niche market of downtempo original compositions.

Though it’s in the recording studio, or at a music venue geared towards original and acoustic artists where we see him shine. Recreational Trespass is out today, up on Bandcamp with pressings forthcoming from Genepool Records in Plymouth. It’s an album amidst a prolific discography, though Garri himself states he’s “still the ‘new boy on the block’ out there as far as music is concerned.”

And what he does is new, not least unique, if the track Afterstorm on this release gives you goosebumps about the intro to U2’s The Streets Have no Name, yes, it sounds similar, but stays with that intro’s mood, symbolically N/SH’s style, it doesn’t bang into the heavy rock riff, it rarely “goes off.” Neither is dub a component, with its wildly adjusting tenors and erratic tempo changes. This just softens, simple as electronica outfits such as Tangerine Dream, but with rock’s ingredients to boot.

They all glide mellowly, fragments of abstract thought, and also, unlike the ambient house of The Orb, or KLF, I find myself scrambling for comparisons with, neither do they linger too long. There’s no soundscape of winds blowing, or a dog barking in the distance for twenty minutes prior to a beat kicking in, they’re comparatively shorter, clips, often hazy and artistically composed; when one chain of thought expires, the song does too, occasionally abruptly, and it’s onto the next, like a rough book of juxtaposed ideas.

If I’m to make comparisons, you’d have to imagine Cat Stevens with modern tech. N/SH’s innermost mind must be a perpetual swirl of ideas, if he wrote comedy, it’d a sketch show rather than a sitcom. But comedy doesn’t come into play here, dunno why I mentioned it really! Solemn and dejected the themes wallow, often hinging on limb, lo-fi and distant, as if you’re only a passer-by in this reverie.

I tried to address where this inimitable style came from. Passing off my ambient house acquaintance, of student days of yore, Garri explained “for me, the ambient is more influenced by Sigur Ros, Fink, etc, which is more chilled. I know Ambient House has its own genre but I’m told mine is indie, alternative. BBC use this for my genre, and now some electronic.”

“Folktronic,” I said was a term penned by David Gray, and I like this tag, but N/SH felt it sounded too Americana to suit. “I’m definitely not that,” he expressed, “or folk, which I’ve been labelled with before but hey, it’s what people hear.” Though a lengthy conversation pursued around precise genre-labelling, we found common ground on the ethos of nah, mate, against pigeonholes, they’re for pigeons only; I’m just trying to pin it down for descriptive purposes here.

Yet I find myself troubled in pinning it, it’s acoustic with soundscape backing tracks, it’s artistic expression equally as much as music, and I’m a sucker for the alternative rulebreakers. For others, I guess it’s Marmite; that said, I blow their advertising slogan out of the window, because I can take it or leave it!

Engulfed in this album though, it takes a few listens, adjustments from the norm, and there’s a lot going on subject matter-wise, poetically dishevelled and sporadically misplaced, it makes for an interesting listen. Alone on a showery eve, it’ll make your cup of tea go cold, as you stare at raindrops descending down the window, consenting it to draw you into its melting portrayals.


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The Scribes on a Journey

In the distressing event of a relationship breakdown some take to drinking their sorrows away, others might venture off to “find themselves,” whereas creative types often channel their innermost moods into their art. Themes of love lost are commonplace, arguably cliché, but where Phil Collins sang, “take a look at me now, there’s just an empty space,” Bristol’s multi-award-winning hip-hop trio, The Scribes, geographically map that space, using the metaphor of being shipwrecked on an island, in a new four-track EP called “The Journey.”

We love the Scribes here at Devizine, but this really is frontman Ill Literate solo and on top form. It’s out today, 2nd September, folks, forming a continuous narrative over four tongue-twisting tracks, the first of which, The Shipwreck is out as a 7″ picture vinyl and has the perfect accompanying music video. Forget the Streets’ Dry Your Eyes, this is a punchy boom-bap emblematic work of art, this is as if Wu Cheng’en teamed up with Emily Bronte and wrote Nas’ Undying Love after being dumped by TikTok video, perhaps add a dash of Robert Louis Stevenson on samples!

As said, the character associates their breakup with being shipwrecked, track one, waxing lyrical like the rolling waves, it’s knee-deep in similes crafted with perfection, and it moves onto the second tune, The Desert, with a snake-charming pungi the condition of lostness beats our poor character down. Then it’s onto the Forest, perhaps the darkest of beats on offer here, as the “pull yourself together” stage takes hold, using a slice of Grandmaster Melle Mel’s it’s like a jungle. The finale elements on “moving on,” rather than revenge, time is a healer, and the Return compiles the previous songs, headlong into facing the future positively. Yeah, he stuck on the island but he’s climatised.

Created with GIMP

This hip hop odyssey is both written and performed by The Scribes frontman Ill Literate and produced by digger and producer Risk1 Beats, from Pontypridd. The EP will be available on Spotify and online retailers from Friday September 2nd, and it is a journey worth making, the quality of hip hop is sublime, of which we’ve come to expect, but the “concept album” complement takes it to a whole new level.


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Ace-High Debut Album from Concrete Prairie

Some albums are an immediate love at first listen, but as time passes you start to see holes. Others take time to digest, growers; you learn to love them. Going in blind on this one, I’ve seen the Swindon-based band name floating around locally, favourites at The Tuppenny, Trowbridge’s Pump, and they knocked it out of Town Gardens at My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad. I’ve listed them on our event calendar, and well, guess I just liked the ironic rootsy name, Concrete Prairie, reminding me of Marley’s Concrete Jungle. I was more than pleasantly surprised.…..

It did both, an immediate love, ever-growing. There’re no holes here, their self-titled debut album, out tomorrow (2nd September) is made from solid rhinestone. Solemn when needed, indignantly peppy otherwise, but always chiaroscuro and earnest. Americana, folk noir, of the like of Johnny Cash, vocally akin, with the depth and command of Jim Morrison, and, I kid you not, dammit it’s on that greatness level too.

There are secret treasures buried here, though lyrics chant, “you know when shit hits the fan, I’ll be the man who’s picking up pieces,” its humble Nashville-esque beginnings doesn’t prepare you fully for the finale. The Devil Dealt the Deck is an ambitious tragedy-come-rhapsody ending, it is their Stairway to Heaven, bronc-riding Othello, sublimely moreish.

Betwixt them are eight other solid and lengthy tunes, caringly crafted, exceptionally well delivered. Ballads of Bakersfield backbeat like I Wish you Well roll into the particularly Cash sounding Day by Day, merging into acoustic fingerstyle backwood blues rock by the haunting Hard Times, when things suddenly head foot-stomping bluegrass. By the upbeat People Forget you’re fully immersed in its evocative depictions, as it weaves and blends all subgenres in-between, wonderfully wrapped in this aforementioned dark prose.

Astonished I messaged them, to confirm this was their debut album, all too easy to perceive this as the project of legendary rock stars who hoisted in the best producer to reconnect their roots after decades of golden discography. They did in fact, find the ears of John Reynolds, producer for The Indigo Girls, Damien Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor.

Take the forlorn howl of Guthrie in his darkest moment, there’s broken characters of Springsteen’s Nebraska in the narrative too, yet somehow those desperate nuances here rise above both their melancholic murmur; it’s got edge but at best times it rides it frenetic and fierce; rootin’, tootin’ and a-shootin’!

Joe, from the band tells me, “It’s been a few years in the making due to some somewhat global delays!” But comparable to an artist who cannot leave a painting alone for finishing touches, it’s obvious after a listen, there’s a serious amount of work gone into this. Yet no one creates their magnum opus so early, surely? I confess I liked Springsteen’s inaugural The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, or Floyd’s Meddle better than the matured Born to Run or Dark Side of the Moon, but I accept their place is lesser popularly; if this then is the par of those, I want to be around when they do their masterwork.

There’s a fair bit of cliché Americana around and about, wishy-washy mediocre, but these guys aren’t sitting around a campfire with a can of beans playing the fart game here, this is concentrated, solid material, a real sheriff’s badge. This is how it should be done, if you catch my drift, and its equal distance away from Achy Breaky Heart as acid-techno is!

Launch day is tomorrow, across streaming platforms. CDs are up for pre-order on Amazon and the album will also be seeing a vinyl release: link here.

They’re play Swindon Shuffle, and there’s an album launch at Moles, Bath, Saturday 3rd September with Barney Kenny in support. Tickets here, are just a fiver.


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Future Lionesses? Where to Kick off into Local Football….

Whatever the outcome of today’s Women’s Euro final at Wembley, it’s undoubtedly history in the making for the Lionesses, and in turn for English football. A victory would not only be the first major trophy for the England women’s team, but the first football honour for England since 1966. Should three lionesses on a shirt … Continue reading “Future Lionesses? Where to Kick off into Local Football….”

Tickling Your Fancy with the Hard Rock Lifestyle

You ever have one of those almost comical “you want some, do yer?” type confrontations, whereby your drunk challenger is absolutely determined to fight you? No matter how passive your posture, regardless of complimentary reactions, they only retort the precise opposite, even if it jeopardises their own reputation; as in, “no, thanks for asking, but … Continue reading “Tickling Your Fancy with the Hard Rock Lifestyle”

20 Years for 20 Things; Bromham’s Adam Dempsey’s Fundraisers

Good to hear from Adam Dempsey, organiser of many events at Bromham’s Social Club, and neighbouring bar,The Owl, which tragically caught fire last year, to tell me about a Coffee Morning and Family Fun Fete, to be geld on Saturday 6th August, from 10:30 – 1:30pm. “I couldn’t decide wether to call it a Family … Continue reading “20 Years for 20 Things; Bromham’s Adam Dempsey’s Fundraisers”

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 27th July – 3rd August 2022

Fire up those Vespas and Lambrettas, because we’re revving into August scooter style! If last weekend in Devizes was all about beer, this one’s all about scooters….and beer! See our editor’s picks section for more details about that, otherwise, here’s the lowdown on everything we’ve found to do this coming week and weekend.…. As usual … Continue reading “Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 27th July – 3rd August 2022”

Broken, with Billy Green 3

Rain after a heatwave can be “refreshing” rather than its normal, “annoying.” Save drizzle, though forecast, we’re still waiting for the storm. If it’s refreshing you want in the meantime, local Britpop trio, Billy Green 3 paid a visit to Potterne’s Badger Set studio, and the result is Madchester in Ibiza…. Melancholically drifting over a … Continue reading “Broken, with Billy Green 3”

Party For Life Reveal Final Lineup

It’s been a few months since we announced Party For Life are back in the biz of vital fundraising, with a Suicide Prevention Day fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on Saturday 10th September. So, take this as a gentle reminder, this event looks awesome, and besides, organiser Clare McCarthy has just sent us the final line-up details…. looky here, below; need I say more?!

Using the hashtag #STAY, Party For Life is hoping to make this a series of events, “because,” Clare explained, “those impacted by suicide have one big wish…that their loved ones #STAY another day.” Like their Facebook page for details. Tickets are £25, book via email to: tickets@partyforlife.co.uk or by Text: 07786 344 553.

Let’s help this event be a sell-out!


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st-7th September 2022

It might not be bank holiday, but it’s not blank holiday, if you see what I mean? Nah, forget it; here’s what’s happening over the next week in Wiltshire.

Pinch punch, Thursday is the first of September, and I’ve got nothing, yet! Do keep a check when updates come into our event calendar, the one link you need for info on all the stuff below and for planning future events.

Friday 2nd is the Wax Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival in Erlestoke, ravers, there’s also the End of the Road Festival, Salisbury way on the Dorset border, and the Punchbowl Festival in Codford.

Closer to us, The Devizes Living Room has a “bloc-party,” on the Green, all welcome. Potterne Social Club has People Like Us, The Roughcut Rebels play The Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve, Navajo Dogs are at The New Inn, Winterbourne Monkton.

Comedy at The Boathouse, Bradford-on-Avon with Sally-Anne Heywood.

And over in Swindon, you’ll find the Groove Club Collective at The Vic, Mac N Cheese at the Queen’s Tap, and The Total Stone Roses playing Level III.

Saturday 3rd, and it’s the start of Salisbury Art Trail, running until 18th September.

It’s Malmesbury Carnival, the Melksham Food & River Festival, and Tripwire Presents Bristol Comic Con over the weekend. Lego fans check out The Cheese & Grain, Frome where there’s a Lego show and market, Brickin’ It!

Editor’s Pick of The Week

In Devizes it’s Confetti Battle time, and the Colour Rush, yay! No tokens this year, so you will just need to line up to buy you confetti so arrive early to avoid the queues. You’ll still need to line up to collect your confetti prior to the 8pm kick-off.

As far as we know Devizes is the only town in the world that has a Confetti Battle tradition. No one can remember the first official battle but we know its roots date back to the old Devizes Carnival in 1913, where confetti and rose petals were thrown by the crowd at people in the procession. The tradition evolved into a fully-fledged battle around 1955 when it was started by Jim Jennings; should make it my editor’s pick of the of the week really.

This year the Confetti Battle continues to grow and the colourful chaos has been added to with the introduction of the Colour Rush, an amazing 5 km mixed terrain fun run – what better way to arrive at a Confetti Battle than covered in multi-coloured powder!

There is no ‘battle’ as such, just a very silly half-hour during which a lot of fun is had, and a lot of confetti is thrown about. Expect to get ‘attacked’ by complete strangers throwing paper!  The Battle continues to gain popularity and 2017 saw over 3500 people take part. The event takes place at the finish line of our new Colour Rush 5k run so expect to see some exceptionally colourful visitors in the crowd.

Jennings funfair is in the Market Place on Friday 2nd September until Sunday 3rd of September operating between 5.30 pm until 11.00 pm.

The DOCA website says “keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag,” it continues so say, “this will entitle…” and then it ends, so I’ve no idea what the golden ticket entitles you to! Maybe they need to keep their eyes peeled on their typos, but I guess they’re too busy making fun for us all, and I, for one, bless them for it.

Staying in Devizes for confetti free events, Jamie R Hawkins will be at The Southgate, while Paradox plays The Cellar Bar of the Bear Hotel. Tamsin Quin plays the Barge on HoneyStreet.

Wiltshire BKA Honey Bee Health Day at Market Lavington, some Carnival Music by Jenny Bracey at The Crown in Aldbourne. Local Heroes Inc play Prestbury Sports Bar, Warminster.

In Swindon Moonwire and Lung at The Vic, Dragon Eye at The Rolleston, Larkhill at the Queens Tap, Echo at Coleview Community Centre and Dreuw & Will Killen at The Hop Inn.

Sunday 4th September, and there’s a RSPCA fun dog show on the Green in Devizes, and the monthly residency of Jon Amor at the Southgate at 5pm, featuring guest Nat Martin.

Composer-pianist and creative coder, Larkhall will be taking his innovative live show to venues across the UK this year, he comes to Schtum in Box on Sunday, and playing Pound Arts in Corsham on the 9th.

White Horse Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show in Westbury, and Minety has a Beer & Cider Festival.  

Rainbow Fest at The Olive Tree Cafe in Swindon, promises crafts, live Music and poetry for £2 entry (under 12 free) with all funds going to charities supporting LGBQIA+. Meanwhile, local acoustic duo Sweet Nightingale play Queens Park.

And that’s your weekend, folks. Monday 5th sees a live art Demonstration by Artist Paul Oakley at Devizes Conservative Club, organised by the Lawrence Society of Art. And that for now is all I have for midweek, but I promise to do some digging and update the event calendar more often, pinky promise.

Okay, that leaves me with stuff to get prepared for, that means buying tickets, dammit! September 10th sees the Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC, details here, get yourself a ticket for this, raising funds and awareness of Suicide prevention.

Also, the Wharf Theatre opens for its Autumn/winter season with Hedda Gabler running from 9th to the 24th. Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Devizes Food & Drink Festival, Swindon Shuffle and Swindon Folk & Blues Festival; it’s still happening, summer isn’t through…. yet!

And if you’ve still found nothing to interest you, stay in and listen to our new volume of the 4 Julia’s House compilation album, which we released last week. 35 amazing, locally-sourced songs, and all the proceeds go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospices; thank you!


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Opera Meets House at Devizes Full Tone Festival

Featured image above by Gail Foster

It has been undeniably a variety music show at the Full Tone Festival this bank holiday weekend on the Green in Devizes, of tremendous proportions and matchless quality.

The stage I’ve previous dubbed “like something out of the Jetsons,” was once again erected, deckchair city assembled around it, with a bustling collection of food and drinks stalls beyond, and the sun with his hat on, shining down on all the shiny happy people.

It is a remarkable achievement and something to be truly proud of, to have here in our humble market town. The Full-Tone Orchestra taking their show to prestigious venues like Bath Abbey and Marlborough College, returned home, looking even more professional than ever. Conductor Anthony Brown waving his hands around like manual control of the world’s air traffic; it was, in a word, magical.

Highlights came thick and fast, Dominic Irving thrilled, heading a Tchaikovsky concerto on piano, for an opening of obligatory classical elements. The stage emptied as Will Foulstone took control of the keys, solo. Full Tone platforms young talent, like TikTok trumpeter Oli Parker, on Sunday, to an audience majority unlikely to know what TikTok is. Similarly, Will performed some videogame themes among Coldplay and contemporary pop, which is better in reality than it sounds to my generation bought up on ZX Spectrums or Mega Drives!

Will’s finale was an astounding cover of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, and the orchestra realigned for a concentration of movie scores, largely dependent on the western themes of the late Ennio Morricone; liked this.

Then, BBC Introducing DJ skateboarder, James Threlfall took to digital wheels of steel and blasted the zone, and across the road to the chippy, with a set of contemporary and commercial high-energy house; lights came on blazing like the Green was the Ministry of Sound. Here is where I need to revert to my reviewing template, which resides on two major contributories. One is, did the event appease me personally, the second, more importantly is, did it do what it said “on the tin,” i.e., was it everything it posed to be. For the latter, the Full Tone Festival 2022 hit top marks, without a doubt. I watched the joy on hundreds of faces, as they danced the night away to James and the following Full-Tone Orchestra set of “nineties smash hits.”

The grand finale of Saturday night was certainly intrenched with nostalgia, perfected by an orchestra where no penny was left unexpended, no rehearsal was spent playing tiddlywinks, where the professionalism is first rate and the atmosphere was nothing short of sublime. The Full-Tone Festival was superb last year, this time around comes the typical stigma of a sequel, the “how can we ever top that” enquiry, and I’ve a duty to be honest, based upon the imperative Saturday evening, I’m not completely certain they did, on personal reflection, you understand?

Image: Gail Foster

Song choice at this conjunction was the only thing which let it down, for me. Started off okay, the Britpop beginning I can tolerate, but as it progressed to the pop hits of S Club 7, Britney Spears and Cher’s I Believe, et al, these, for me, were the excruciating pop slush of a generation below; I detested them at the time, and retain said detestation.

It was a far cry from the club anthems of last year’s, because that’s the point where creatively, electronic music technology truly challenged the orchestra. But, sigh, it’s all subjective, I told you about the hundreds of faces, didn’t I? They matter, it did what it said on the tin, with high gloss, it just wasn’t my cuppa.

Image: Gail Foster

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to Sunday’s extension, we don’t all have bank holidays y’ know? But I can rest assured with the years of rock n roll experience of Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats, Kirsty Clinch’s angelic country vocals, and the fact Jonathan Antoine has been done BGT, it’d have been alright on the night.

Image: Gail Foster

Feedback on the orchestra’s big band showcase has been fantastic, with particular praise of vocalist Will Sexton. On opera, spellbinding local soprano who could turn even me to opera, Chloe Jordan, said, “it was my dream to sing ‘Song to the Moon ‘Resulka with an orchestra. Thank you so much to The Full Tone Orchestra for allowing that dream to come true!” And that, in a nutshell, is the kingpin to assessing this spectacular; if dreams come true there, you can’t argue how special an occasion it was.

Image: Gail Foster

Though the headcount was slightly lesser-so than last year’s, trouble to many events this, as a sad reflection on economic issues, here’s hoping this awesome weekend on the Green will be enough to convince Full Tone to make this a permanent fixture on our event calendar. Devizes loves you Full Tone, that much is certain.


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12 Bars Later at The Southgate

Could be a pub crawl, more likely the chord progression of blues, but my drunken jesting query met with a shrug from the guitarist, the name 12 Bars Later means either, whatever!

I might not have been so far from a truth, in that over this bank holiday 12 Bars Later nail four bars; played the Crown at Bishop’s Cannings Saturday afternoon, switched to The Southgate later, and Sunday it’s over to Calne to play the Talbot’s mini-fest at 2pm, and the Gurkha Baynjan Restaurant at 8. Given a few more days I reckoned they could’ve shaken the rafters of a further eight!

Why is this narrowboat three-piece Wiltshire blues band fully-booked for gigs this weekend? Proof in the pudding, arm twisted, I nipped to the Gate to find out for myself.

Arriving late due to FullTone, it was immediately obvious, jigging up to the bar like the crows in Dumbo, their sound in its simplicity is irresistible, their stage pressence is immediately likeable. Confident Female fronted bassist, Helen Carter, banters well with the slight crowd and has the gritty vocal range of Joan Jett, while drummer and guitarist work in unison,  and we’re grinding to some down and dirty electric blues.

Yet there’s something more universally appealing here, 12 Bars Later will hook any classic tune duck, and ease it out of the pool with a blues makeover. The prize on the butt of said duck for anyone who books them will be enthused and delighted punters. This could be because they were once known as The Blue Rose Band, a seemingly more function band type name.

So yeah, while Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters and obviously apt Rolling Stones covers were adroitly delivered with passion and a deserved hard-edge, they applied the same ethos to some well-crafted originals, of which they’ve recently recorded for a forthcoming debut, and what was more for the supportive audience, sing-along covers like Elvis’ Burning Love, You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry, and even Eddie Floyd’s Knock on Wood. The latter of which they amusingly claimed was “as close to disco as we get!”

It’s an appropriate rebranding, for a highly entertaining pub band; certainly floated my boat, and likewise the blossoming crowd at The Southgate, as FullTone closed and folk headed over. For me, as acomplished and professional the sound of a full orchestra pushing pop hits is, it was of a generation next, for me, and I couldn’t nostalgically relate to Britney and Spice Girls covers any more than I did at the time. The Southgate was my safe haven, and boy, 12 Bars Later fit there like a glove, cumulative to another fantastic night at our dependable best pub in Devizes for the down-to-earth music aficionado.


September in Swindon; Shuffles and Jazz Knights

Wowzers, someone’s put a musical rocket up Swindon’s you-know-where, and is due to ignite it over September! You’ve never had it so good, Swindonites, as Swindon Shuffle announce their line-up ahead of the weekend of 15th-18th September AND an inaugural Swindon Folk & Blues Festival is announced by The Jazz Knights the very following Saturday, 24th……

It’s the glorious kind of who’s-who of local music you annually expect from the free festival, Swindon Shuffle, which spans across eight separate venues; The Hop Inn, The Tupenny, The Victoria, The Castle, The Beehive, Baristocats and the Eastcott Community Centre, and all in aid of Prosect Hospice.

This testament to Swindon and Wiltshire talent is simply too large for us to go into every nook and cranny, I’m going to leave the poster below, and I believe you’ll see what I mean. But you’re best following them on Facebook at the moment, as the website isn’t updated; fresh off the press type stuff here at Devizine, y’know?!

See what I mean now? Wowzers, proper job, innit?! 

On a separate note, the renowned alternative folk act, Wildwood Kin are heading to Swindon as part of their UK Tour, the following weekend. They headline the Swindon Folk & Blues Festival, which is the Saturday after the Shuffle, 24th September, at Christ Church.

The launchpad of a brand-new festival for the town is one year late, postponed due to Covid, so be quick to grab a ticket for this one, as original tickets bought for the 2021 event will be granted entry. But wow, it’s another tantalising line-up…. stuff like this didn’t happen all the time I lived in Old Town, we only ever had Eastender’s Ian Beale switching on the Christmas lights!!

Sister event to the already established Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival, organisers are those corduroy-armoured Jazz Knights, who prove you can do jazz-hands with gauntlets, and they’ve a staggering bill including our favourites, Ruzz Guitar Blues Revue, Jon Amor Trio, The Lost Trades and Fly Yeti Fly, along with The People Versus, The Bellflowers, Fay Brotherhood (of Spriggan Mist), Mark Harrison and local talent such as Hip Route, Bob Bowles, SGO, and Bone Chapel

Festival Director Evie Em-Jay from Jazz Knights said, “we are really proud to be hosting Wildwood Kin’s as part of their UK Tour together with a packed line up of nationally known acts as well as local talent and I can’t wait to be back in the stunning venue of Christ Church where our last event sold out. We really hope that the public support live music in what has been a devastating few years for the music industry.”

Co-Director Ed Dyer from Songs of Praise called it “a privilege to be able to host a band as talented as Wildwood Kin. To be able to do it in a venue as spectacular as Christ Church is an added bonus. It is a perfect combination that is sure to create a truly magical musical event.”

All this comes as The My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad announces their 2023 date, in July, and tickets are up for grabs; affirming Swindon on the live music UK map, and demolishing any wonky preconceptions it’s just a collection of roundabouts. Go, Swindon!

For the record, I like all the roundabouts, Swindon, keeps the traffic flowing.


Please click to download; all proceeds go to Julia’s House

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