Timid Deer; back with more Melodies for the Nocturnal

Salisbury may be a grey area for us, we don’t get to hear a great deal about the music scene there. I guess they have their own media, magazines and blogs covering it, but it is something I realise I must work on. For all I know, Timid Deer could be huge there, but they should be widely known, everywhere, in my honest opinion. So even if this is erroneous, I stand my ground when I’ve said in the past, they’re one of the most underrated bands around these parts, and this follow-up EP to vol one of Melodies for the Nocturnal proves their worth…….

If, like me, you find it hard to come to terms with the notion the melodic Bristol-led trip hop scene for the matured raver is a generation past, and cannot get over how luscious Portishead, Massive Attack and, particularly, Morcheeba were, or if your indie side still relishes in the mellowed ambient soundscapes of Celtic goth, of Clannad, or All About Eve, this sits comfortably, somewhere in the middle, yet, for all the random comparisons I’m flinging, it’s unique for not applying the electronica “dope beats” of trip hop or the often gloomy outlook of goth. It is, in essence, uplifting indie.

Uplifting because Timid Deer captures your mood and whisks it away on a smooth airborne expedition across a fantasy realm, akin to Enya or Evanescence, or which seems to be trending recently, Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.

Unsure quite why every kid is listening and every mainstream radio station is playing Running up that Hill at the moment, but I’m happy it has, going on the grounds it makes those little hairs on the back of your neck stand up, Timid Deer has the same effect.

I’ve fondly reviewed the first two tracks, Crossed Wires and Run upon their single release in March and December last year, respectively, but the EP contains two more beautiful songs, Wrapped Around Your Heart, and Promises. I said of Run, at the time; “a grand piano opening, their evocative part-indie-part-trip hop ambience is accomplished to a new standard here, with Naomi Henstridge’s both soothing yet haunting vocals embracing howling strings and, wow, this rolling piano. It’s reflective of nineties nu-cool, the brilliance of Morcheeba or Portishead, yet without so much inspired of acid jazz or trip hop to make it cliché, rather it’s owning this refreshing edge to appeal to the more guitar-laced indie fans, too.”

And I described Crossed Wires as, “An uplifting piano three-minute masterwork, engulfing your soul and building layers with smooth electronic beats. Evocative as Enya without the orchestrated strings, as expressive as Clannad without the folk roots, and closer to Yazoo via electronica, rather than the aforementioned influences of Portishead and Morcheeba. Ticks all my boxes.”

These two new tunes follow suit. The rolling piano, is blissful and lyrics beguiling, Wrapped Around your Heart is another winner, perhaps a smidgen more marketable than the previous two. The four-track EP ends with the ballad Promises, exemplifying everything that’s gorgeous about the sound they’ve captured, the strings and piano work in harmony, entreat the euphoric mellifluousness. It’s the standing motionless mouth aghast kind of music which reaches the soul.

I discovered Timid Deer supporting the Lost Trades’ launch night at Trowbridge’s Pump, a gig I unfortunately had to miss but despatched a roving reporter to in my absence, and upon checking out their slight recorded output I was shocked as to why Timid Deer doesn’t have greater recognition. Perhaps a clue in the band name, they play Swindon Shuffle but rarely we see them gig otherwise; it’s a sound to relish, a sound for home comforts, for “chilling in your crib,” and Melodies for the Nocturnal Pt. 2, showcases that brilliance. Absolutely enrapturing…..


The World Under the Wood Will Put a Smile on Your Face

A dollop of Lewis Carroll, shards of C. S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and perhaps even nicer elements of Tolkien, The World Under the Wood will put a smile on your face and bring out the inner child in you.…..

Being honest, it doesn’t take too much to bring out the inner child out in this grumpy old man, but more to cheer me up, and this did both, delightfully!

Running until Sunday, with matinees and evening performances at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, this simply charming hour-long play, written and directed by Helen Langford is so whimsical, such a delight, you will be captivated by its magical cross-realms. Ideally you need a child aged six plus, but anyone into fairytales you can drag along, I suggest you do. Break out some glitter!

Yet while citing the obvious influences of classic children’s literature combines the settings and themes, it overlooks the subject, a contemporary feel of industry versus nature, the environmental angle on everyone’s lips, especially children. And it presents it in such an easy, fantastical way, without complication or ‘rubbing your face in it’ any age will be absorbed by the moral. Anymore synopsis and I’m verging on spoliers!

All homegrown talent, The World Under the Wood is an unmissable Wharf exclusive. The protagonist, Jodie, a kind of Dorothy-Dora hybrid is played confidently and spectacularly by Georgina Claridge, and her interactions with archetypal characters manage to retain the charm of those they pastiche, a talking tree, played gracefully by Chris Smith, pet dog by Carolynn Coomer, and Louise Peak as the queen-like Great Leader of an industrial underworld of robotic oompa loompa-like humans adds pantomime humour to the show.

Yet, it is not pantomime, in so much its zany or sing-along element is slight above the morals, but it is partially musical, with simple but effective original songs. If I’m honest, I huffed at the thought of going to see a “family” show, but I came out the other end chuffed, sprinkled with psychological fairy dust and mused with an emotion of sustainability on equal terms.

Your kids will love it, you might love it more! The World Under the Wood is running now, ending Sunday 26th June at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes. Tickets HERE.

What to Do; Weekend Roundup for 24th-27th June

Okay, here we go for our weekend rodeo roundup, for those who it’s too much energy to scroll our event calendar for. No time for links, I’m a busy bee, find the links on the aforementioned event calendar, forcing you scrolling, and also updates as they come bounding in…..

Build-up to the weekend….

Another week of Devizes Arts Festival events prior to the finale at the weekend. Wednesday 22nd sees the Darius Brubeck Quartet at the Corn Exchange. Meanwhile, local legend Nick Harper showcases Phantastes at Marlborough Town Hall, there’s The Carpenters Story at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, and many will start making their way to Glastonbury, hopefully not relying on the railway.

Thursday’s Devizes Arts Festival offering is Liz Grand at The Merchant Suite with a frank, humorous and revealing monologue about Shakespeare and Hathaway’s bed. While over at the Wharf Theatre there’s the opening night of the family play, The World under the Wood, directed by Helen Langford, where I hope to meet a talking tree and report back my findings. This one will close Saturday night, and is ideal for everyone aged six plus.

Electric Ladies of the 80s at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, Thursday, YouTube weekly That Pedal Show comes to The Tree House, Frome, with Andy Timmons, and Playgroup Open Mic sessions at The Bell, Bath, takes us neatly to Friday.


The 24th day of June is a Friday, and you’ll find Finley Trusler at The Condado Lounge, while Radio 4 cop-comedian Alfie Moore presents his stand-up show at the Corn Exchange Devizes, as part of the Arts Festival. On comedy, there’s a stage show of Keeping Up Appearances at Neeld, Chippenham, running over the weekend.

Band of Pilgrims with Sour Apple in support at The Pump, Trowbridge, Death is a Girl at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon and Alex Rex & Mighty One at The Tree House, Frome.

Marlborough Town FC have an open mic night, and psychic medium Craig Morris is at Swindon Arts Centre, Monastries & Creek & Chasing Dolls at The Vic, but if in Swindon, I recommend the Ruzz Guitar Trio at The Rolleston Arms, obviously!

Oh yeah, and Simply Red play Longleat, if you want to cough up a small fortune and be charged extra for a seat; camping chairs are not allowed at these gigs, go figure. Taste my deckchair Hucknall!


Anyways, Saturday 25th June, is MantonFest Day, yay! Get your ticket, hope to see you there at this brilliantly professionally organised yet exceptionally welcoming festival near Marlborough, got to be highlight of the weekend. Firstly though, I’ve got to nip over to Trowbridge’s Carnival Fair in the town park, lots going on there, see the poster.

Bromham Carnival’s Teddy Bear Trail starts Saturday, and continues Sunday, with the theme ‘Someone Beginning with B.’ Forty-plus teddies around the village, created and generously sponsored by local businesses and individuals. See how many you can guess, and enjoy a walk round their beautiful village at the same time.

The wonderful Swindon Hub has their Monthly Craft Market, and the Spotlight Rooms hosts a Mamma Mia & More Dinner Dance. Elsewhere in Swindon, check Down & Dirty at The Queen’s Tap, Myra DuBois at Swindon Arts Centre, Italia Conti Newbury at The Wyvern Theatre or A Night At The Opera at the Old Town Gardens Bowl.

Let’s get the 49 to Devizes then, I know you want to! Because Devizes Arts Festival has an afternoon Organ Recital by Claudia Grinnell at St Johns Church, followed by their grand finale, a Celtic party night with a band called Absolute at the Corn Exchange.

Spoiled for choice again you are though, The Sarah C Ryan Band comes highly recommended by yours truly, and they play The Southgate. Over in the Sham, the monthly Melksham Rock n Roll Club have Shane & The Korrados.

Life in Mono come to Trowbridge Town Hall, and with one our fav Bath indie-pop bands, Longcoats in support, it’s guaranteed to be great. Marty’s Fake Family at Stallards, Biaritz at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Siren at The Rose & Crown, Warminster; all good, good stuff.


Come on back to Devizes Sunday, and find Vince Bell and Tamsin Quin live at The Southgate, but don’t forget, The FullTone pre-festival warm up at the Town Hall, presents Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, or Riding Lights Theatre Company comes to St Marys with a play called My Place.

Heading slightly westwards to the Owl Lodge near Lacock, and the exclusive Wiltshire Blues and Soul Club celebrate their first anniversary with what they do best, a jam; happy anniversary, guys! Oh, and watch out for the Lacock Road Races while you’re there!

To end our weekend with a blowout, Below the Salt play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon


A quiet week follows, at the moment, but you should be browsing July on our calendar, and looking to grab up tickets for Devizes Musical Theatre’s Musical Fortunes at the Wharf on Thursday and Friday, and I’m delighted to say the Devizes LGBTQ+ group has sold out Thursday’s Drag Queen Bingo Night at the Exchange already; that is fantastic guys, well done!

That’s all folks, have a great weekend.


Devizes School Summer Concert – Celebrating our Local School Community

Devizes School students will be showcasing their artistic and creative abilities at the school’s first public concert since the end of the Covid-19 lockdowns on Friday July 1st from 7:30pm.

With performances and pieces from across the arts, the student community of Devizes welcomes local people back to their school with an evening to remember. A mix of dramatic excerpts, dance recitals across multiple disciplines and a mix of musical styles will be sure to engage and enthral attendees, as well as celebrate the young creatives ushering in the next generation of the arts in our local area and possibly beyond. The stars of the future could very well be born on the Devizes School stage!

Tickets are available now via Devizes School or alternatively on the door on July 1st. 

Adults – £3

Children – £2

Under 5s – FREE

Any further information can be found by emailing Devizes School – devizes_school@devizes.wilts.sch.uk. Or by calling 01380 724886

What to Do; Weekend Roundup for 16th-19th June

Ah, the Ashes, about the only international sporting event where England can get a second place! It’s gonna be another scorcher weekend, folks, so here’s your sunscreen-advised roundup….

Don’t forget, details and links and stuff like that can be found on the only link you need, our event calendar, and be advised this post is NOT comprehensive, more stuff is added all the time, try to keep up. And if you’re way ahead of us and there’s something we missed all you got to do is tell us about it.

Now, I don’t want to get political, let’s leave whether it’s deliberate or coincidence at the door, just to note everyone’s trying to do their thing over the summer months and perhaps it’s no bad thing to have options. Options, people, options, yeah, there’s three “festivals” happening in the market town of Devizes, incredibly. Ongoing Devizes Arts Festival has been going well, and continues over the next week (more on that as we go through.) Meanwhile over at Devizes Sports Club there’s the welcome return of Saddleback. Yes, it’s back, Ruzz Guitar, Jon Amor and plenty of others will be there, with an added “LottieFest,” meaning some seriously top-notch DJs will take you through the night. We’ve previewed this one already, which is HERE.

Now, if anyone can organise a piss-up in a brewery, Wadworth is your safest bet around these parts, and they’ve a free festival ingeniously titled “WadFest” on Saturday from midday, in the brewery tap shop carpark. The Woodland Pizza Kitchen and Wiltshire Hog Roast are serving, and if you join the “Waddies Waddle” as soon as possible, you’ll receive a free t-shirt and entry in the free raffle to win a pair of tickets to an Autumn international rugby game in Cardiff.

Acoustic folk opens the show at midday, with the wonderful Susan Harding. Jamie R Hawkins takes over at 1pm, Vince Bell follows at 2pm, and Ben Borrill at 3. Then Wadworth’s own RockHoppaz are the first band, on at 4pm, The RoughCut Rebels headline from 6pm till an early close at 8. There is not one single act playing this that I wouldn’t thoroughly recommend, and I praise Wadworth’s for their local circuit support on this one.

Ongoing this week….

But whoa there, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s build this weekend up with a drumroll of ongoing stuff. Have you been to Chippenham yet, to check out the Art Heist exhibit of alternative art? I suggest you do, it’s running until 21st June, review HERE.

For the kids, The Wyvern has an ongoing interactive family Jurassic adventure, Dinosaur World Live runs up till tomorrow, Wednesday, so be quick on this. Also, running Wednesday till Friday, Darkroom Theatre Company are at The Wyvern with a play called Cougar, while there’s a Western Players domestic comedy a comedy by Eric Chappell and directed by Karen Evans at Swindon Arts Centre, called Haywire, running until Saturday.

Wednesday 15th

Wednesday then, and a solo show for Devizes Arts Festival, Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope has toured the UK ever since it was first previewed in Edinburgh in 2014. Quentin surveys a lifetime of degradation and rejection for being flamboyantly gay, from his filthy Chelsea flat, to a transition in NY where Quentin is finally embraced by society. Naked Hope is a glorious, truthful and uplifting celebration of a genuinely unique human being, and of the urgent necessity to be yourself.

On a similar note, well done to Melksham Proud, who raised £1782 with their first Pride in Melksham on Sunday, we didn’t hear about this until late, please keep Devizine in the loop, guys.

Patron of Autistic Inclusive Meets London, professional author and five-star Edinburgh Fringe act, Aida H Dee is at Pound Arts’ The Green Sky Festival in Corsham, reading her own children’s LGBT books.

Thursday 16th

Two Devizes Arts Festival events today, Borealis Saxophone Quartet at St Andrews Church, midday, and The Scummy Mummies Show at the Corn Exchange in the evening; break out the wine, mums, that will go off like a nappy change.

Then, okay, I did tell you about George Ezra, but now, if you want a ticket you’ll have to resort to murder; it is a terrible time to be alive if you’re prone to overthinking and under planning anyway. Courtesy of Sound Knowledge, Marlborough, he plays The Civic, Trowbridge, the only venue big enough around here for him, in a matinee and an evening CD-flogging exercise where you’ll be lucky to be riding shotgun for a mere half-hour set. For an easier evening, join the Playgroup Open Mic sessions at the Bell in Bath.

Friday 17th

The Yate & Sodbury Scooter Club “Back to Bedrock” Scooter Rally begins, while there’s an alt-country revival with The Homing, part of Devizes Arts Festival, at Devizes Conservative Club on Friday, meanwhile happy anniversary to Debs, landlady at Market Lavington’s Green Dragon, they’ve got People Like Us playing.

Rock covers done in style, with @59 at Marlborough’s Green Dragon, while Mollys Chambers is recommended at The Rose & Crown, Warminster. All Trowbridge eyes on the Pump, where Sheer have Hit Like a Girl, support from I Feel Fine and Start the Sirens. We like Start the Sirens, but if you need a heavy cover instead, Metallica Reloaded at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

A Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde play maybe at Neeld, Chippenham, but for the little children, try Catch That Beast at the Corsham Almshouses; FREE, a magical, deliciously silly show exploring how we interact with wild things. It’s full of offbeat humour, live music, inventive puppetry, and audience participation. Staying in Corsham, Ellie Gowers plays Pound Arts.

Saturday 18th

Happy anniversary to Trowbridge Museum, they’ve got free cake, music, crafts & demos during the afternoon, when they launch of their summer exhibition. Or stroll through the streets of Chippenham town centre at your leisure and find local art in local venues, yes, Chippenham Art Trail is on Saturday.

If Devizes folk can recall the fantastic Buddy Holly Lives show from a few years back, a tribute to Bruce Hopkins, they’ll be aware of how fantastic Asa Murphy is, and he’s ferrying across the Mersey to return to town, as part of Devizes Arts Festival; expect a night of swing with his The Song-Writing Years at The Corn Exchange. Then there’s our aforementioned Saddleback Music Festival and Wadfest happening Saturday. If you can’t pick or choose, the brilliant Hip Route frontman Jim Blair is at The Southgate.Sharon Lazibird plays the Pump, and the Boot Hill All Stars boot up The Three Horseshoes in Bradford-on-Avon. Papa Shango at The Vic, Swindon, Good Times at The Queen’s Tap.

Whitney Houston tribute I’m Every Whitney at Neeld, Chippenham, and Pound Arts in Corsham continue their Green Sky Festival with a Southampton Ukulele Jam, Corsham Windband, a Silent Disco and comedy from Sarah Smout & Natalie Holmes.

Check this out though, are you ready? Eighties two-tone The Beat play the Cheese & Grain, Frome; Full Stop!

Sunday 19th

Devizes Arts Festival go for a walk, then onto Three Crowns for a free fringe event, Florian Felcitta; what a way to end the weekend.

Tell Tale Twit with Gav Cross at Pound Arts, Connor McLeod plays the Grapes in Bath, but never to be missed, Strange Folk are at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.

Then it’s Monday, back to work!

There are more Arts Festival events ongoing through the week, An Audience with Adam Frost on Monday, Simon Calder on Tuesday, Darius Brubeck Quartet on Wednesday.

Our “where everyone matters” county council have already been aggressively unaccommodating to the disabled and alternative tourism, arriving at Avebury for Tuesday’s solstice, by blocking every byway and carpark to campervans, and if you’re going to Glastonbury, you need not read on.

Things to book, The World under the Wood starts at the Wharf Theatre, Devizes, Thursday, runs until Sunday. Bromham Carnival’s Teddy Bear Trail starts next Saturday, and it is Manton-Fest time in Marlborough, get your tickets for that. Also coming soon, check the posters, always check the posters! And have yourself a great weekend.  


Baila La Cumbia; Devizes Arts Festival Brings Columbia to the Corn Exchange

Well, Devizes Arts Festival pulled it out of the bag at the Corn Exchange last night with something entirely new and different from usual musical offerings in Devizes……

If Ry Cooder popularised the Cuban styles of son and bolero in the nineties with the Buena Vista Social Club project, since English New Yorker Will Holland, aka Quantic, spent twelve years in Colombia, he’s doing similar with cumbia.

But if Quantic’s Flowering Inferno was my avenue into this infectious genre, via fusions of dub and global beats, I never imagined I’d be listening to cumbia at Devizes’ Corn Exchange!

It was an unmissable rare opportunity, provided by Devizes Arts Festival, absolutely sparkling their opening weekend. A six-piece version of Bristol-based Baila La Cumbia expertly transported the Ceres Hall to South America last night with the colourful sounds of a more traditional cumbia.

The hall was adequately filled, many I’d imagine curious of what they were to hear, others perhaps lucky enough to have travelled. Salsa Club dancers immediately took to dancefloor, yet this is a completely different rhythm. Something I’m merely teetering on the edge of.

Though contagiously danceable, this contemporary sound of Columbia is a blend of traditional Latino, Afro and native American folk, and Baila La Cumbia export it as gospel, not deviating from the style. In a word, it was gorgeous.

Folkloric, and spreading to neighbouring countries since recorded sound in the 1940s, the African influence of cumbia is a subject often open to debate. Baila La Cumbia though, used double drummers, with a selection of caja, used like djembes, and a set of metal snares, to keep a consistent percussion. I quizzed the frontman and electric guitarist afterwards, suggesting I thought they’d up the tempo, as common in Caribbean styles. But a Colombian himself, the reply was interesting, that the Afro-American slaves working on the railroads worked consistently to a steady pace, the music stridden to suit, so he clearly cited the African influence.

And that’s how it was, not frenzied, rising or falling, more comparable in western fashion to trance than samba and salsa, in so much as it was a hypnotic sound, as completely absorbing as African drumming. And akin to modern dance music, vocals were sparse, some more single word shout-outs, while other songs adopted some Latino narrative. In fact, the spread of cumbia to Mexico has seen a contemporary subgenre, tecnocumbia, rise, using electronica, though tonight felt strictly traditional Colombian.

Yet more conventional by our expectations, instruments such as trumpet (by Joe Longridge), keys and double-bass were heavily involved, providing a sound wholly original to our untrained ears, almost jazz, tropical flavoured, and it made for a memorably disparate evening; you don’t hear much world music on our local circuit, cumbia, erm, ever!

I imagine these were original compositions, perhaps I’m wrong and they played traditional songs, it was one question I forgot to ask, being spellbound by the moment, and maybe the odd cider!

So, a massive thank you and congratulations go to Devizes Arts Festival, for putting on such a rarity around these parts, it was a most infectious musical experience. Though we’re only the edge of the fortnight of an amazing array of diversity; the Arts Festival have more up their sleeve. Most prominently this coming week, musically speaking, is Tuesday night when groovy Soho heavy rock and New Orleans swing fusion Tankus the Henge stop by on their way to Glastonbury. But check their website for details of the amazingly diverse programme of talks, country-rock, saxophone quartets, comedy, jazz and swing, lots more.


Weekend Roundup 9th-12th June 2022

Despite all you have to do is scroll our event calendar, I thought I’d make it even easier for you, with a new weekly regular feature rounding up the forthcoming weekends; you’ve never had it so good. Well, you might have, if you’re on Facebook, as I usually post a roundup there, but I figure not everyone does Facebook, so this will transcend your favourite social media sites.

Although the queen’s jubilee may’ve passed and this “cost of living crisis” was slumped to the backburner while we all bought bunting and got sloshed as per Bojo’s order, this following weekend is burgeoning with stuff to do. So, let’s all forget about the overkill of last weekend and get on with what’s going on this one, shall we?!

Quick note though, I’ve not the time to add links here, so if you see something that fancies your tickle, nip to the event calendar for more details and ticket links; I’m a busy fellow y’know.

Firstly, I’d advise you pay a visit to the Yelde Hall in Chippenham or the Art Heist show of alternative art, here’s my review of it from Monday. It’s running until 21st June.

Also currently running is four nights of amazing comedians appearing at Pound Arts, Corsham, with their new work before heading up to the Edinburgh Festival. Simon Brodkin tomorrow, Thursday, and Bella Hull & Glenn Moore on Saturday.

Thursday 9th June sees Keith James play the songs of Leonard Cohen at The Pump, Trowbridge, The Zoots at Swindon Arts Centre, and Giant Walker at The Vic, Swindon.

Friday 10th June is the opening night of two weeks of fantastic events from Devizes Arts Festival, I’ve got them all listed on the calendar, check them out. It starts with A Diva and a Piano with Lesley Garrett at Devizes Corn Exchange, Friday, Agatha, Poirot & Me – Sophie Hannah at Devizes Town Hall on Saturday, and Saturday night there’s cumbia at Devizes Corn Exchange with Baila La Cumbia, which I did have to explain to someone the other day, is the music of Colombia, and not Cumbria. Why must Wiltshire folk add an R into every word is beyond me!

Hanging on Friday, those Truzzy Boys are at The Barge Inn, Seend, Greg “the Axeman” Winters plays The Wellington Arms, Marlborough, Ben Osborn with Ravetank, and Follow The Sun at the Pump, Trowbridge, The Junkyard Dogs at The Rose & Crown, Warminster, or musical comedy at Pound Arts, Corsham with There’s Jonny & The Baptists: Dance Like It Never Happened

In Swindon, check out Barrelhouse & Lonely Road Band at The Vic, “ZambaLando” at “Fiesta de Cuba,” or Steve Bugeja at Swindon Arts Centre. T-Rextasy play The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Saturday 11th then, here we go; free entry for a two-day festival at The Lamb, Marlborough with an awesome line up there, and there’s also a Family Festival at St Katherines, Marlborough.

Sustainable Devizes will be in the Shambles for a Sustainability Day from 10pm until 2pm, Vinyl Realm are at the Devizes Literary Club with another Vinyl Listening Session. The Daybreakers play The Southgate, which is always a great fixture.

Party on the Pitch at Calne FC, Perry Grant’s “It’s great to be 30” Celebration Birthday Concert at Neeld, and the North Wiltshire Symphony Orchestra have their Summer 2022 concert at St Andrew’s Church, also in Chippenham.

One of favourite bands on the local circuit, Daydream Runaways play Trowbridge Town Hall, while The Cheese & Grain, Frome have only gone and got The Feeling; good luck finding a ticket for that!

Aside the Wiltshire Steam & Vintage Rally at Lydiard Park, Swindon also has a massive Ukraine fundraiser at Level III, with Talk in Code, SexJazz, the Celtic ska-punk Liddington Hill and others, while    AC/DC tribute Whole Lotta DC play The Vic, The Roughcut Rebels are at The Castle, and The Wyvern Theatre has Hits Out Of Hell – The Meat Loaf Songbook, while Sam Avery: Role Model is at Swindon Arts Centre.

Sunday 12th, and There’s a Chocolate Experience at Vaughan’s Kitchen Cookery School, Open Farm Sunday at The Gourmet Goat Farmer near Avebury, and Kitty Langan Studio – Unstoppable at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.

Devizes Lions will be on the Green with their fantastic car show plus from 10am-4pm; always a great family day. Devizes Arts Festival go for a Festival Walk, and it’s all down to the British Lion for a free fringe event, where Rockin Billy will rip It up.

Other music this Sunday, check out Lazy Sunday Afternoon with Mr Love & Justice & Friends at Eastcott Studios Arts Courtyard, Swindon, and Chris Murphy at The Tupenny.

That’s all folks! See our calendar for what’s happening over the week, as it’s a busy week in Devizes with the Arts Festival happening, and lots of great stuff to book, including Tankus the Hedge on Tuesday; wow! Yes, showing off, I will be going to see George Ezra on Thursday, gigging with daughter and her friends; wish me luck!

Things in the near future you need to be considering wiping the cobwebs off your wallet for; Sheer’s Hit Like A Girl at the Pump, Friday 17th, Saddleback, Saturday 18th June, Pound Arts’ Green Sky Festival, and The Beat at The Cheese & Grain, The World under the Wood at Wharf Theatre, MantonFest too; I swear, it never stops!!

Chippenham Art Heist

If Devizine was a voyage of discovery to begin with, I still manage to find talented folk hiding in this rural county, but often it’s nice to return to recurring events we’ve featured before….

Like yesterday, I put up a preview for the annual Female of the Species fundraiser, today I paid a worthwhile trip to the Yelde Hall in Chippenham, where a group of local artists have annually exhibited their wares since 2019, in what can be best described as “alternative art.” It’s become something of a fixture on our calendar.

Art Heist is this year’s title, Breakout was last years, and while there’s one new artist, Rae Melody from Trowbridge, exhibiting her colourful typographical graffiti-fashioned pieces, the returning artists have some spectacular new works too, you really need to see firsthand to get the full impact of.

A worthwhile visit then, particularly if you’re a fan of either pop art, graffiti, underground comix, or just desire a contemporary and thought-provoking experience from a gallery. The show opened today Tuesday 7th, and runs until 21st June, open from 10am-4pm daily, except Sundays.

So, totalling eight artists now, the Yelde Hall is chockful of some impressive art for those thinking outside the box. Expressionist Emma Sally, clown themed underground comix styled Si Griffiths, the weird and wonderful world of Montague Tott, the pop art meets Chagall of Mike Long, the impressive and poignant paintings of Clifton Powell, the awesome masks of Helen Osbourne-Swann, aforementioned Rae Melody and the only artist here not local, US’s amazing Jimmer Willmott, with his obsession for donut-headed cops!

At times amusing, at times poignant and thought-provoking, there’s meaning and depth to everything on display, sometimes clear to comprehend with a powerful message, or open to the viewer’s interpretation, it’s the stimulating ride through art you rarely get with average portraits and landscapes. Think 3D masks protruding from the canvas, think explosions of cultural references, think social comment, think of a serial killer Charlie Brown, or psychedelic swirls of reading a 3D comix without the specs, and you’re only teetering on the edge of what you’ll find there.

If you’re feeling wealthly bring a cheque book, as pieces are reasonably priced, but window shoppers are encouraged, and it simply refuses to come off as the hoity toity confines of an archetypal gallery. Here’s a group of exceptional local artists cutting out the middle man, high-fiving the DIY ethos of counterculture and putting on their own show for the love of it; which ticks all my boxes.

I’m keeping it brief to avoid spoilers, but have to say, this is a free art show worthy of your attention even if you’ve only a passing interest in art. To be honest, I’ve not got the tits to be what social media defines as “an influencer” but I know what I like, and I like telling you about it! So, do yourself a favour and pay it a visit.

Female of the Species Back For Halloween

The annual all-female local supergroup get-together is annouced for the Halloween weekend, at a new venue, Seend Community Centre.

Nicky Davis from People Like Us and The Reason, Julia Greenland from Soulville Express & Delta Swing, Claire Perry from Big Mamma & The Misfitz, solo artist Charmaigne Andrews, and Julie Moreton from Trowbridge’s Train to Skaville and Jules & The Odd Men, form the Civic Award-winning supergroup The Female of the Species. I’ll let you in on a secret if you’ve not been to one of their six annual gigs, it’s a party not to be missed.

Halloween costumes optional, but you can guarantee the girls will be dressed up for their annual fundraising extravaganza.

Last year’s event raised a staggering £1,763 for the Therapy Fund of Devizine’s other superheroine, Carmela Chillery-Watson. This time around the girls said, “it’s so difficult to choose from all the incredible charities that apply to us every year, but this year, with the way mental health has been such a huge topic, particularly amongst our younger generations, we have gone with TeenTalk.”

TeenTalk is the early help and support service, run by Young Melksham. TeenTalk’s mission is to reduce and relieve the suffering and distress, and to improve the emotional wellbeing, of young people and their families throughout North and West Wiltshire.

The date for this seventh spectacular is set for Saturday 29th October 2022, now moved to Seend Community Centre, famous for their epic beer festivals.There will be a support act, yet to be confirmed, but doors open at 7pm for drinks, and Female of the Species take to the stage at 8:30pm. Get your tickets here.

Is Devizes Ready for The Strong Lady?!

Featured Photo Credit: Sean Longmore

How strong is strong lady Charmaine Childs? Strong enough to be a circus strong-lady of Strong Lady Productions, and that sounds strong enough for me not to dispute the claim. The good folk of Devizes have the opportunity to find out for themselves, this Thursday, 26th May when Charmaine brings her latest work, Power to St Andrews Church, courtesy of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts.…..

Australian-British artist Charmaine has internationally toured her solo, highly physical circus shows for over twenty years, describing her show as “a playful mix of muscle, comedy, optimism and elegance that invites audiences to reflect on their own strength.” I can confirm now, mine just so happens to be, smell!

“I am passionate about the development of physical, mental and emotional strength,” her bio, which exhausts me just to read, explains, “and the ways they impact on each other.  All my work is dedicated to uplifting and empowering people, creating connection and celebrating diversity.  This has led me to a delightfully wide-ranging arts practice that also includes: creative engagement projects (Stories of Strength), event speaking, teaching and workshop facilitating and producing.”

Yet, intriguingly Power sounds more than circus act, through voice-over soundtrack it has narrative, stories recorded by people talking about their experiences of feeling strong and powerful. These stories are the heart of the work. Their stories intersect with the autobiography of a Strong Lady wrestling with uncertainty.

Initially striving to feel powerful, by being invincible and in control, the show finds its way to accepting the mess of uncertainty and finding strength in the places where we wobble. Trading invincibility for resilience, it celebrates the power we have to choose the next step through the mess. Apparently, this leaves the audience “energised and hopeful,” which is just as well, as I have work early next morning!

Power starts at 7pm and runs without an interval until 8:10pm, giving you twenty minutes to arm-wrestle any gorillas which may be passing by St Johns Street, before a post-show conversation at the Lamb Inn commences at 8:30pm. Tickets are just £5, online, or cash only on the door. See you there, if you think you’re hard enough!


Wiltshire Council Leader Richard Clewer Condemns Election Results as “Very Concerning.”

Ever wondered if our county council actually gives a hoot about you? Here’s window into the philosophy of Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer, his comments to the Gazette & Herald this week reveal his want for Conservative totalitarianism and his abhorrence at democracy; perhaps why they dropped the slogan where everybody matters in 2019, because clearly to Mr Clewer, only Tories do.…..

In the article he slams the local election results as “not good,” and “very concerning,” as elsewhere in the country, including some key conservative strongholds, Tories have lost control of eleven councils in total, and almost 500 councillors. Though Conservatives held onto our closest council, Swindon Borough, by the skin of its teeth, they lost four wards to Labour, and the Liberal Democrats took Somerset.

Snubbing the political etiquette of impartially congratulating new councillors, like Trump’s final hour of shame, Clewer whimpered on Friday, “they are not a good set of results, and are very concerning, especially in somewhere like Somerset.”

I beg to differ, there’s only two things “very concerning” to all of this, firstly is that our next elections aren’t scheduled until 2025; plenty of time to brush the daily newsfeed of scandal, nation neglect and barefaced fabrications under the carpet and uphold this Tory safe seat, if they can prevent the cabinet from acting like teenage delinquents for more than twenty-four hours.

Secondly, it is “very concerning” the leader of our county council’s vision is so utterly polarised and indoctrinated, he cannot see other people might just have a differing opinion to him.

The article goes onto suggest “Cllr Clewer added that it must be “heart-breaking” for those Tory councillors who have lost their seats in places such as Wandsworth – which has been a Conservative stronghold since 1978.”

Bless, my heart bleeds for them, no, really. Maybe they should’ve thought about this while their precious clown prime minster trudged us through the economic suicide of Brexit, the horrific impact of which is only now being revealed through hyperinflation, border control, and the breaking apart of the United Kingdom.

Maybe it should have crossed their minds when their precious prime minister failed to attend Cobra meetings, ignored the World Health Organisation’s advice to lockdown prior to certain money-making sports events, causing the virus to spread and made us the worst affected country in Europe. Then insisted on partying through lockdown while all around us families were dying.

Maybe there could’ve been an inkling something was amiss every time their precious prime minster failed, on every single count, and while I could go on with the perpetual cycle of car-crashes this government has dragged us through. The threadbare reality of this constant shit-show is becoming visible to even the knuckle draggers; “A hungry man is an angry Man.”

Change is certain; I bet your bottom dollar Wiltshire will be at the back of that queue.

Cllr Clewer also said that he was relieved that Wiltshire Council was not holding an election this year, as “it would have been very tough.” No shit, Sherlock. In a word; good. It is a good thing to have a council of varying opinions, one which can present answers in response to the public, rather than one blindly following arrogant crooks. The opposition is just an opposition, it may vary from your insufferable judgements, but it doesn’t make them wrong, or some demonic uprising, or even something to be concerned about. It just means “Your old road is rapidly agin’……”

“Please get out of the new one,

If you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’,” and you better like it or lump it!


The Big Ones; Forthcoming Summer Events in the Devizes Area

Woe is me; tis a fortnight did pass since the beloved Devizes Street Festival. I did happen to saunter through the market lodging Saturday, peered ov’r to whither the main stage once gallantly did stand, but ‘t wast just parked cars and a bank façade; insert depress’d visage emoji…..     

Because that’s it, folks, that’s your bloomin’ lot; there is nothing else happening in Devizes this summer, nought, nada….

Okay, that probably didn’t work, you’re nobody’s fool, and you probably know these already, but here’s a quick guide to the BIG events in Devizes and surrounding villages over the summer months; you know, so bods don’t whinge on social media, “I didn’t hear about this, I took my dog out for a poo and ka-blamo, without so much as a warning some kind of social event hit me square in the chops.”

Oh, and before I commence the proceedings be aware there’s always something on, some little events here and there, like free music at The Southgate every Saturday for instance, do keep in tune with our event calendar, but for this particular outing, we’re thinking BIG (ooh, matron.)

Sunday 15th May: Devizes Town Band’s Fantastic Journey at the Corn Exchange.

Their first outing of the year, Devizes Town Band plan to get all Phileas Fogg and beyond, taking the Corn Exchange on a fantastic journey from the depths of the ocean into space and everything in between, and you could onboard! Tickets are £10 here: http://devizestownband.com/

Saturday 21st May: Indecision’s Last Hoorah Tour at the Corn Exchange.

Popular covers band on the local circuit and beyond, Indecision, has indeed made a mutual decision to split up, but not without going out with a bang; they’re hosting a “Last Hoorah” gig at Devizes Corn Exchange. Proceeds go to Wiltshire Search and Rescue and the Fatboys Charity.

Monday 23rd May: Lovesong @ Wharf Theatre, Devizes

Running till May 28th, Lovesong is the story of one couple, told from two different points in their lives, as young lovers in their 20s and as worldly companions looking back on their relationship. Their past & present selves collide onstage as we witness the optimism of youth becoming the wisdom of experience | Love is a leap of faith. Freddie Underwood brought Things I Know To Be True to the Wharf stage in 2019. Movement has become Freddie’s personal stamp within her productions and Lovesong will be similar to her previous work which fuses movement & music, partnering within the work of the text.

Saturday 28th May: Hardy’s Wessex: The Landscape Which Inspired a Writer, Exhibition at Wiltshire Museum

Running until 30th October, this exhibition opens 28th May, and will explore how Hardy’s writing merged his present with the past. Within this ancient landscape, old beliefs died hard and Hardy’s plots are set against a background of superstition. Hardy felt that these past ways of life were important, helping us understand ourselves and our relationship with the environment; he also made a film outside the Bear Hotel, like a TikTok-obsessed teenager up for a rumble. Okay, that last bit isn’t strictly true!

Note: The first week of June is the Jubilee, where there’s so many village or town street parties to list here, so check your village magazines and social media sites for archetypical clipart bunting posters, and gawd bless ‘er, guvnor.

Thursday 2nd – Monday 6th June: Honey Folk Festival @ The Barge Inn, HoneyStreet

Bit of prequel to July’s HoneyFest, as you might expect from the trusty Barge, it’s a folk fest with a difference. Acts here range globally and incorporates the loose pigeonhole world music too, so much so it’s like a mini-Womad!  

Saturday 4th June: Bromham Carnival

Friday 10th – Sunday 26th June: Devizes Arts Festival

A fortnight long arts festival on your doorstep! Including Baila La Cumbia, Rockin Billy, Tankus the Henge, The Scummy Mummies Show, Asa Murphy and so, so much more; we do love Devizes Arts Festival. Do check our preview, and links to The Devizes Arts Festival for more details of separate events and tickets.

Saturday 11th June: Sustainability Fair

Arranged by Sustainable Devizes, there will be a day celebrating all things sustainable in the Market Place and Shambles; let’s get green.

Sunday 12th June: Lions on the Green

Talking of green, it’s always a fantastic free day out with the Devizes Lions, on the Devizes Green, with a car show, beer tent, and whole lot more.

Sat 18th June: Saddleback Music Festival with LottieFEST

Yes, Saddleback is erm, back! This one stealthily popped up out of nowhere, which is good if you’re a Shaolin assassin but not if you want people to come to your festival; a little bit of notice on this wouldn’t go amiss, guys, like a marketing strategy and erm, telling your friendly neighbourhood Spider-event guide!

So, you may not have heard; Devizes Sports Club in full force with a blues extravaganza. Jon Amor & King Street Turnaround, Ruzz Guitar Blues Revue, Joe Hicks, No Manz Land, Carolyn McGoldrick & Friends, Matt Peach, Public Eye and The Best of Ratcat feature, with DJs until the early hours, which is different but I guess that’s where the Saddleback incorporates LottieFEST too, a celebration of the life of Lottie Rapson, who sadly passed away aged just 27 from Friedreich’s Ataxia. Tickets are £30, with £5 donated to Ataxia UK & the Lily Foundation.

Thurs 23rd June: The World under the Wood @ Wharf Theatre, Devizes

Running until June 26th; Jodie meets a magical talking Tree, as you do, who asks for her help, as they often do. The wood seems to be dying and Tree thinks the incredible World under the Wood may hold the answer… Jodie is whisked away to a super-world where life moves super-fast. But she discovers that this world is failing too; the super-humans have been collapsing and productivity is down. Jodie and Harley the dog must now journey between worlds to find an answer. Can the mega-multiplier plants restore the wood? And what is the mysterious ‘Source’?

A magical story of courage, friendship & unity to inspire a greener generation – For everyone 6+; of which I fall into this age-group, just.

Saturday 25th Sunday 26th June: Bromham Teddy Bear Trail

Always a lovely carnival in a lovely village, that’s on the 4th June, but bon’t forget their Teddy Bear Trail from 25th – 26th June, this year’s theme will be ‘Someone Beginning With B,’ with 40+ Teddies around the village, created and generously sponsored by local businesses and individuals. See how many you can guess!

Saturday 25th June: MantonFest

A tad further out, this side of Marlborough, but always worth a big mention, cos it’s such a well-organised community-driven yet professional one day music festival; certain I did a preview about it, here, and yeah, I might be going too but don’t let that put you off; you don’t have to talk to me if you don’t want to.

Saturday 3rd July: DOCA Picnic in the Park @ Hillworth Park

Picnic in the Park is DOCA’s traditional start to the festival week. It’s a chance for the community to get together in the beautiful surroundings of Hillworth Park. There’s top quality music, stalls and a bar. You can also buy snacks, ice-creams and hot drinks from the café on the park. Bring your friends and a picnic, for the perfect Sunday afternoon.

Acts include a travelling duo of a Dubliner and a songwriter in the vein of Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, called The “Grave” Diggers, bluegrass Americana with The Stemville Ramblers and Bristol based trio Boogaloo String Band.

Artist and performer Boogaloo Stu, too, while we’re on boogaloo, who promises to gets up-close and personal with Puppet Paramour, a one-to-one session of craft activity and psychic surgery to create your ideal partner in sock-puppet form.

And resident artist Libertine, a free-motion embroider who specialises in social commentary and out of the box thinking which is reflected in her work. She will take up residence at the Picnic and gather your musings on the last year, the year ‘we’ missed, she will commit them to fabric and thread.

Saturday 9th July: Devizes Carnival

Devizes comes alive carnival day, need I say more?

Saturday 9th July: CrownFest @ the Crown, Bishops Cannings

Queen tribute Real Magic headline this mini-festival with serious clout, not so far from carnival, in Bishops Cannings. Some awesome acts, check the poster, Including Illingworth, George Wilding, Humdinger and local legend Pete Lamb & the Heartbeats. This is such a nice setting; it has to be done.

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July: Market Lavington Vintage Meet Family Fun Weekend

Ah, big steam engines, proper job!

Saturday 23rd July: Devizes Beer & Cider Festival

Details of this still in the pipeline, but that’s no excuse for not putting the date in your diary for this historic wharf-side beer fest; I’ve still got my half-pint glasses from the early noughties!

Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July: Devizes Scooter Rally

The Devizes Scooter Club have worked tirelessly through lockdown postponements and beyond to recapture the magic of their first scooter rally in 2019, which went way beyond the archetypical scooter rally and border-lined festival with the supreme acts it booked; here’s hoping they achieve this again, but I can pre-empt it will just by the line-up, most of which have been tried and tested at former Devizes Scooter Club gigs, the poignant Motown covers band All That Soul, Orange Street, who were the pivotal act at the last rally, The Specialized Specials tribute, local sure-things, The Roughcut Rebels, and a wildcard; Slade tribute Sladest!

Saturday 13th July: Seend Fete 2022

Always a real community-feel to Seend’s fete, a great family out!

Thursday 25th till Sunday 28th July Honey Fest @ The Barge Inn, HoneyStreet

Again, the annual kingpin at a campsite, wharf and pub which is like a mini-festival all year around! You can guarantee this will be amazing.

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August: Fulltone Music Festival

OMG Super-Proms….Can they do it again? Go compare, I think they can! The funding and effort put into last year’s Full Tone Festival on the Green was truly the jewel in Devizes’ event calendar, a memorable history in the making. To help replicate the magic there’s a bigger line-up of other acts as well as the Full Tone Orchestra. Including our favourite country solo singer Kirsty Clinch, Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats again, DJ James Threfall and it’s great to see local piano virtuoso, young Will Foustone heading the bill.

Also note my pun above, as an opera section with a host of guests including local music school owner, the breath-taking Chloe Jordan and Welsh soprano Wayne Evans, better-known to gogglebox slouchers as the Go Compare man!

Saturday 3rd September: Devizes Confetti Battle and Colour Rush

If you don’t know what this most bizarre event of Devizes calendar consists of, you’re not from Devizes!

For those who aren’t, please come and see what it’s all about: 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.

Enjoy yourself on Jennings funfair in the Market Place on both Saturday 31st of August and Sunday 1st of September operating between 5.30 pm until 11.00 pm.

Buy tokens to exchange for the confetti before the event – look out for our stand and get your tokens in advance to reduce queuing time during the event. You’ll still need to line up to collect your confetti prior to the 8pm kick-off.

Keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag, info about the prize will be announced soon.

Saturday 24th September 2nd October: Devizes Food & Drink Festival

More food than I can reasonably stuff into my oversized cakehole, and trousers for afterwards, and that’s really saying something more than Bananarama. Saturday 24th kicks straight off with the free market in the Market Place, and there’s a packed lunch full show of events, including designing a sandwich fit for the Queen, workshops, talks, meals, foraging, Come Dine with Us, and a Teddy Bear’s picnic; details of which are on their website.

And that’s about it, summer over, batten down the hatches for autumn; unless you know any different? Something we missed? Why didn’t you tell us about it? Too late now…..unless you twist my arm, editing on this article is strictly and unashamedly governed on favouritism!  


Hip Hop Hooray; The Scribes Rock Trowbridge Town Hall

Pleased as Punch I’ve managed to tick three Bristol-based musical acts off my must-see list in as many weeks; Boom Boom Racoon, Mr Tea and the Minions, and this Saturday night saw me boom-bap bouncing to The Scribes in the most unusual of places to find hip hop, Trowbridge Town Hall…

And bouncy it certainly is, an irresistible, partially old skool sound which embraces all the positives of UK hip hop, and none of the negative stereotypes. If we were the other side of the pond, it’d be classed east coast rap, surely(?) as the Scribes find the perfect balance between carefree and enjoyable, the like of De La Soul, the concentrated harmonising of A Tribe Called Quest, and the tongue-twisting proficiency of The Fu-Schnickens.

It’s poignantly layered with denotation, when it needs to be, yet it remains without the pretentious bravado and bling; there wasn’t a gold bikini-clad hoard of chicks sprawled across a white stretch limo (partly a shame), there wasn’t a single baseball cap on back-to-front, or a gold chain large enough to anchor a cruise ship. In chatting with Ill Literate outside, he was keen to cast off those preconceptions for his trio, and UK hip hop in general.

In fact, he was tremendously outgoing, sociable and articulate, this common association of a chip on shoulder was non-existent. What there was where truckloads of intelligent lyrics, executed so incredibly intricately, precise and with a skill way, way beyond the average; dope is the appropriate term, apparently!

But from listening to their tracks, I gathered this long before the show, I’ve been waffling about their talent for some time now, trying to get the message out there; the Scribes are the most promising hip hop act currently on the UK circuit; I’ll call it.

Though if last night proved my point, the crowd at the Town Hall was minimal and disappointing, but one talent I hadn’t predicted was their stage presence. The Scribes have a natural ability to entice, encourage and involve the crowd; it was virtually holiday camp entertainment fashioned at one point, where they divided the room in two for heckling humour, but if this was cliché, they united the sides again in harmony; nicely done.

There could be many factors as to why numbers were down, perhaps the Town Hall has a stigma for younger local hip hop fans, perhaps the publicity didn’t reach the required audience, maybe, it was pointed out by an attendee that the scaffolding obscures the wealth of events happening inside. I’d favour some marketing brainstorming might be an idea, the poster designs are rather formulated, this one hardly spelt out the awesome hip hop gig it was. Outside, a popular nearby bar’s DJ blasted out Wham’s Wake me up Before you Go-Go to a busy crowd; you can’t train stupid!

What Trowbridge and neighbouring villages need to twist their melon around is the venue is offering a vast variety of affordable events, and with the incredibly motivated Sheer Music promoter, Kieran Moore at the helm, it’s quality not quantity. Twist to the predictable preconception is, Trowbridge Town Hall is a wonderfully welcoming and aesthetically pleasing venue, pushing the boundaries. And in this notion, The Scribes were in fact the perfect act, as they too clearly push boundaries.

The Scribes are booked to many festivals, from Shindig to Boomtown, and are popular regulars at Salisbury’s Winchester Gate. As I peered inward and ignored the lack of audience, I could imagine they’d handle a huge crowd with similar ease, and the whole house would be jumping like House of Pain on trampolines in zero G.

Support came from Salisbury-based Mac Lloyd, a solo artist impossible to pigeonhole. With a sensationally emotive voice he cast some original compositions to the crowd, using ambient and breaks backing tracks, but at times incorporating electric guitar and sporadically rapping. I could suppose it’s intelligent hip hop, at base level, but it’s too unique to categorise and played out with such skill and passion, let’s roughly liken him to what Pewsey’s Cutsmith is putting out, and open a whole new pigeonhole for them; now that’s experimentally creative and interesting. Keep your eye on Mac Lloyd.

But look, it’s Sunday; permission granted for me to go out on a whim, get a little rant off my chest?! Concerning today, not for The Scribes’ sake, more so for the general misconception of this genre, quintessentially the new rock n roll? And for it we need to go back, way back, back into time, back to legwarmers and BMX….

I grew up in dog-turd-paved suburbia, bin bag mountains on the streets, where binmen were on strike, hardly anyone under the age of 25 had a job, and a frustrated generation hostage to a Conservative regime caused white to blame black and only unite to bash the Asians. Yet gradually, Skinhead and teddy-boy gangs dwindled as we joined hands in primary school, and body-popped; I was too chubby to breakdance!

Just as a decade prior in New York’s ghettos, racially segregated warfare came to an end through the invention of block parties heralding a mixture of musical genres to appease them all. Just as rock n roll united black and white, hip hop dragged everything into its melting pot.

Now, exported to Britain a short-lived fad arrived, quickly as ever commercialised. It was carefree party vibes; Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s The Message was the exception to the rule, ground-breaking it displayed conscious prose, just as Gill Scott Heron, which warped into a freedom of expression ethos whereby frustrations of ghetto life could be voiced; enter Public Enemy and NWA.

Consequently, it became aggressive, angry and as it spread across the States rivalry got heated. It took us to the late eighties whereby the backlash returned us to a carefree offshoot. The likes of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Arrested Development put the hippy back into hip hop.

The genre ruled the day, but the commercialism only resisted and what rebelled was slackness in lyrics, this polarised philosophy of do or die; gold, guns and hoes; that sort of macho bullshit.

Afraid it is so, but so too does rock and ska have their extremities, and we don’t single them out with a narrow-minded preconception, we accept there’s that part to them but it doesn’t represent a majority, why do we do it with hip hop?

The roots of hip hop are not lost, just obscured like a flower in bracken. The original ethos was more akin to the carefree spirit of early rave, a generation on, than it is to a modern commercial hip hop market. We see this now through the later nineties’ association with the big beat sound of Skint and Wall of Sound, using breakbeat to throw jazz, blues, rock, and reggae into a melting point; what-cha gonna do when the fat boy’s trippin; that kinda Brighton rock!

One good reason why The Scribes are ahead of their game, they can fit into this, and unlike the nonsensical chanting of an MC, they lyrically supply something sublime.

This may play off well in the cities and festivals, but by the end of the night I tried to convince Ill Literate not to give up prompting The Scribes to the smaller, more rural backwaters, as there are pockets of resistance; there are hip hoppers doing crazy legs in the fields! Secret is, they come to Devizes via our tropical holiday-at-home rum bar, The Muck & Dundar in November; I’d sincerely hope we can show them some serious support, because believe me, the Scribes, and Mac Lloyd rocked da house, aka, Trowbridge Town Hall last night, and this thoroughly deserves our attention.

The Scribes


Bird is the Word; Birdmens at Long Street Blues Club

See, you know I ain’t gonna bullshit you, too hungover for that. To hell with advertorials; we’re the review equivalent of Catchphrase, we don’t abide by them here, we say what we see. Be warned, being I’ve bunked the morning off work, you’ve got me to cast my punitive opinion the Birdmens night at Long Street Blues Club, our usual Long Street reporter and part of the furniture there, Andy, I’ve demoted to photographer just for this occasion.….

Of course, it’s nice to return to any venue I’ve not poked my bulbous snout into for a while, and yeah, I was tipped off by the one band guitarist, Dave Doherty, there would be no holding back at this here gig, but nah, no money changed hands for me to plug it, other than they’d be space on the dancefloor for me to shake my scraggly rump, obscuring the view of members of the blues appreciation society that is Devizes’ Long Street Blues Club. Which I did so, cos the Birdmens gig was everything they said it would be, and a little bit more.

We could ask for Howlin Wolf meets Jimi Hendrix, but a Birdmens in the hand is worth two in the bush; when isn’t Long Street Blues Club a safe bet? For crying out loud, that town councillor is bring Errol Linton to town next occasion, 4th June: is Liz Debbie McGee, cos that’s magic?!

In fair exchange for said honesty, if you did attend, you’ll know where I’m coming from; it was simply a sublime night. Birdmens was a lockdown project, a potential supergroup trapped indoors with nought else but to produce a beguiling album, but, quite clearly by last night’s performance, aching to get out and play together, despite various collaborations in the past, in this new official guise; I get that.

Something of an exclusive then; they came, saw, kicked into touch the most blinding set of authentic sixties-fashioned swampy delta blues to have ever graced my widening eardrums, and left the spellbound Devizes’ blues aficionados to trek onto Holland for the Moulin Blues Ospel festival, their only other date to erm, date; show offs!

Long Street signifies everything crucial to punching a Devizes pushpin into the global blues map. Yet rather than hosting an established name as usual, the Birdsmen gig was a risk, if a bulletin wasn’t spread of its legendary line-up. Anyone with a slight acquaintance of the local blues scene will know any one of these musicians could give a breath-taking performance solo, armed with just a xylophone. Absent off the Birdmens roster were guitarist Joel Fisk, keyboardist Bob Fridzema and Giles King on harmonica. The remaining crew of lead & rhythm guitarists, Ian Siegal, Jon Amor, and Dave Doherty, with bassist Rob Barry and Jonny Henderson pushing the keys was more than plentiful.

With more pizazz than 007, Ian Siegal is the spark and definitive frontman, he is to UK blues as Ray Winstone is to UK gangster movies; just naturally fits like a glove. Though fronting was divided between him and Jon Amor, who needs no introduction. I’m supposing its professionalism and comradeship which allows them to slot into routine so superlatively, rather than time to perfect this live act, which they’ve not really had much of.

They started as is their album, with “Cat Drugged Up,” and must have featured most of the eleven tracks with a finale of the funkiest “Diggin’ That Rut.” With time spare for Jon take centre-stage for his magnum opus “Juggernaut,” and his Costello-esque “Red Telephone,” and for Ian to hold a mellowed homage to classic blues in the key of The Whispers’ You Never Miss Your Water, executed akin to Otis Redding, I swear on my cat’s life. It was at this point Ian unnecessarily excused himself elucidating his two broken ribs, but no one was complaining. It was an enraptured show from start to finish; upbeat when it needed to be, emotive and precisely accomplished.      

Inexcusably, I’ve got that eighties Elton John song stuck in my head this morning, I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues; no guessing about it, Reg, Devizes had itself a night to remember. Based on this, if Dave Doherty recommended a flower pressing workshop, I’d attend without question.

But none of this occurred before Tom Harris donned his blues Stetson in support of this memorable gig. Something unique about our Tom, his wailing vocals, just as his smiley face could’ve been the work of Harvey Ball. He’s supported at Long Street annually at least, for a decade. He rinsed his original compositions in style, with a self-penned scatological festival-toilet blues song, followed by a gritty version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence, hinting at his extreme metal band Kinasis, yet not straying from appeasing the blues aficionados; we like Tom.

Long Street Blues Club yet again pulled off a blinder; yeah, there’s dynasties of dedicated blues obsessives, regulars there with the habit of inspecting as if it was opera, but it’s far from cliquey, most welcoming to newcomers, and when a band like Birdmens thrust some life into it, it goes off.


Tree People, a Gold Postman, Tea, Minions, Pet Camels, Red Carpets, Old Time Sailors and More; Who’s Excited About Devizes International Street Festival?

Pushed forward to Mayday bank hols, who’s getting excited about Devizes International Street Festival? I am, I always am, it’s been the best weekend of … Continue reading “Tree People, a Gold Postman, Tea, Minions, Pet Camels, Red Carpets, Old Time Sailors and More; Who’s Excited About Devizes International Street Festival?”

Devizes Street Festival; Day Two and Overall

All images used with the kind permission of Simon Folkard Photography

That’s overall, as in “taking everything into account,” and not the all-in-one pac-a-mac kind, I thought you should know before I commence waffling…

Do they even sell pac-a-macs now? Google it if you feel the need, but keep the results to yourself; ah, off I trek… Sunday, the second day of Devizes Street Festival, and the main stage had a little hat; unfortunately, weather turned more appropriate for April and I’d wager combined with fragments of hangover, it resulted in a slightly lesser crowd.

Nevertheless, the show marched on unperturbed. I confess, due to Dad’s taxi on call, I rocked up far too late to justify a precise evaluation, but you know me, I relish in the attention giving my tuppence brings, so I will, thank you.

Firstly, I’ll apologise if Saturday’s thoughts came across a tad preachy, about volunteering and playing your part, but my reasoning was concern. It is critical younger volunteers take up these posts as the years pass; I worry if generation next doesn’t replicate what DOCA have achieved, it could go all village fete fashion, rather than what we have now, the colourful array of variety, the festive-style we rarely see the like of around these backwaters.

Though I accept how it is, folk are busy, working, have other priorities (like dad’s taxi) and want the occasion to unwind and enjoy themselves, that is, after all, its purpose. I found myself caught in this dilemma helping out Saturday. Self-assigned myself to wheelie bin patrol, I figured I could keep one eye on them from the bar area! Anyhoo, let’s drift away from that thought and look at what an utterly fantastic show it was; don’t wanna jinx it.

An assessment of social media commentary hailed it a success, aside one ironic Facebook jester. Many suggested it was the best yet, though it came to us at a light at the end of a biennial tunnel, void of much entertainment at all, so a Jim Davidson tour would sound fantastic by comparison. But I agree, taking heed of various attendees’ observations, yeah, it was equally if not better than previous street festivals. I believe the change of stage positioning, binding food stalls into a horseshoe was a benefactor for this, but aside design the surprise icing on the cake had to be the Ceres show, the splendour of which was covered in my previous article. The local folklore subject breathed a sense of inimitability and distinctiveness to the whole shebang, it really did.

I confess, when I first read about the idea, I was sceptical, even at its commencement I doubted but now, the more I consider it the more astonished and overwhelmed I become with its magnificence. Sunday for me though had one highlight I simply couldn’t miss; I’ve been raving Bristol’s folk-Balkan ska ensemble Mr Tea & The Minions since I fondly reviewed their album Mutiny in 2019. So much so I’ve been trying to convince anyone and everyone to book them somewhere local since; you should’ve seen my little chubby chops light up when I noticed their name on the schedule, the like of a toddler at Christmas. Why did I then go about, recommending them to every passer-by? The proof was in the pudding, they didn’t disappoint despite the pedestal I put them on, as their album they were lively, jubilantly danceable, the perfect match for the spirit of the street festival.

With some brilliant new tunes and a handful from their album they won the audience over with their stylised formula of blending localised folk into this already deeply fused south-eastern European genre which reflects its own roots with the off-beat of Jamacia’s finest musical export. As an enthusiast of ska keen to ascertain its contemporary global progression, I’m resolute we castoff the polarized presumption it belonged to a time of yore, of eighties skinheads and Two-Tone. Memorable and fantastically beguiling though Madness, The Specials, et al were, developments internationally offer us a much wider variety often overshadowed by the aforementioned retrospective cult in the UK. I think Mr Tea & the Minions represent this, but as the tradition presides, they have a truckload of carefree fun while doing it.

I could chew your ear off about how much I enjoyed that particular act, but it is the combination of all which really made the weekend something special. Equally as much as I love the wealth of local talent, and do believe they too should be represented at the Street Festival, director Loz’s determination to present us with a variety of sounds unconventional to our usual local circuit, the liveliest and most colourful array of world music, is something I welcome with open arms. Just like the South American vibe of Mariachi Las Velentinas, Simo Lagnawi’s Gnawa Blues All Stars, on one act prior to Mr Tea, was the perfect example; you don’t get to hear Gnawa, the scared trance music of Morocco in the pubs around here, and they played it sublimely for our alternate jiffy.

In this, the most conventional act on the main stage was perhaps the Brass Junkies, and by our usual expectations they were pretty much unconventional! I note them because while a covers band, where I usually assess with their attention of making a cover their own, this Bristol-based versatile brass band of New Orleans style do this so absolutely proficiently. So, to appease the populace, covers of contemporary, foot-tapping pop hits, such as Daft Punk’s Get Lucky get a brass makeover, and they refined this angle with bells on.

But more so on this variety point is the vast array of circus and street theatre, too many to cover, they just go on, around you, in a breath-taking inclusive show you dare not blink at. If one constructive criticism I heard bounding about requested DOCA add more music to the main stage, the answer would have to be, aside the sheer cost and the time needed to soundcheck for these multi-instrumental seven- or eight-piece bands, is that DOCA want you to explore the Market Place and take in the variety of side-shows, and to have a continuous rave at the main stage would both distract the crowds and drown out the sounds of them too; and you know what? I think that’s fair point.

The combination of all these elements meant the Street Festival is restored post-lockdown, better than it ever was and is continuing to better itself through continued assessment and experimental changes; something we are very lucky to have here in Devizes. Though the smiles in the crowd said it all, then the topical and uniquely Devizes narrative of this added element, this sublime finale, combing dance, acrobatic performance, poetry and music truly was the binding component which confirms my assertion and made it, undoubtedly, the finest street festival yet. Thank you once again, all the organisers and volunteers of DOCA.

Onwards, carnival is July 9th, the Confetti Battle and Colour Rush are on 3rd September, but next up is The Picnic in the Park at Hillworth Park, Devizes, on Sunday 3rd July, all the info you need is at the DOCA website; enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.


Belthane: What’s Happening May Bank Holiday in Wiltshire?

I don’t want to be the burden of bad news, you can blame my stupid, stupid phone weather app; Friday looks okay, 12% chance of drizzle on Saturday, 50% on Sunday…. But honestly, right, you don’t want to believe that, I don’t trust it one iota and I don’t even know what an iota is. Subject to change, inconsistent, and just, well, blinking annoying, weather apps are for people who can’t be bothered looking away from their phone and up into the sky anyway, it’s the bank holiday weekend, it’s time to party, so get up, come on everybody.……

Ill-perceived as dull, there’s more events going on in Wiltshire over the weekend than people! So, rather than my Facebook rundown, I need to draft it into an article… here’s what we’ve found to do over the Belthane, or May Day Bank Holiday. Bear in mind, it’s time consuming to add links to all the events, and for those still undecided what to do, I need to push this out today. Therefore, there’s only one link you need, and that’s to our event calendar, where all the details and ticket links are. Be fast though, stuff is selling out!

Click HERE!

For the hardcore, eager to get out and about, Thursday 28th April looks like this:

Leading up to DOCA’s weekend festivities in Devizes, the Festival Quiz Night is happening in The Shambles, with quizmaster Don. In Swindon, Hannah Rose Platt plays with full band and Jules Hill in support at The Tuppeny, it’s comedy night at the Victoria, and finalist in 2016’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, who moved onto to then hosting, Joel Dommett, presents his Unapologetic tour at the Wyvern.

Friday 29th, here we go, little toe in the water:

Live music options aplenty, Calne’s brilliant Britpop covers Six O’clock Circus play the Three Crowns Devizes, and equally, for all things mod, The Roughcut Rebels are at The Barge in Seend Cleeve.

We loved these guys at the Gate a few weeks ago, for blues-rock check out The Worried Men at The Barge on HoneyStreet. Megson play Marlborough Folk Roots Club at the Town Hall, in, as you might guess, Marlborough, but for more punky vibes check out Blunder & Bluff at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon, or legendary Peter & the Test Tube Babies at the Vic, Swindon.

The Teddy Rocks Festival kicks off in Blandford, there’s a celebration of Luther Vandross at the Wyvern, Swindon and it is also the local talent show final time at Chippenham’s Neeld Hall, Take The Stage.

Saturday 30th April is firing on all cylinders:

There’s the monthly Kids Cookery Class for ages 11-16 at Vaughan’s Kitchen Cookery School, but eyes are on Devizes as DOCA’s Street Festival will be in the Market Place; it’s free, it’s fantastic, it’s the best day out you’ll have in Devizes. Further along the Brittox, it’s also the Born2Rum Festival at our glorious rum bar, The Muck & Dundar, and The Leon Day Band play The Southgate.

Either side of Devizes is looking awesome too, with the Urchfont Scarecrow Festival one side, and SOLD OUT Seend Beer Festival on the other. There’s also the Wiltshire Spring Sing with PG Choirs at Neeld, Chippenham.

John Langham is at The Barge, HoneyStreet, Tom Jenkins at Trowbridge Town Hall. Six O’clock Circus play The Jenny Wren, Calne, Alkahest Meeking & Bad News First at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon, and the Bee Ska’s at Swindon’s The Woodlands Edge. Staying in Swindon, the Wyvern has Paul Merton, show offs!

Sunday 1st May; pinch punch:

Devizes International Street Festival continues in the Market Place, be there, or don’t forget around 5pm, Jon Amor does his residency at The Southgate, this week featuring Marcus Bonfanti.

The Vine Tree Inn, Norton has a mini-festival, VineFest, and Trowbridge’s Pump presents The Rider. Crash UK play The Lamb, Marlborough, and The Mike Hoddinott Band at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.

It’s the start of Cloth Road Arts Week at Trowbridge Town Hall, and The Bootleg Shadows play Swindon Arts Centre, while Balletboyz are at the Wyvern Theatre.

Monday 2nd May, and it’s not quite over:

Marlborough Rotary have a Bank Holiday Boot Sale on The Common, and Swindon Festival of Literature kicks off with a fortnight of events for your book worms: Isabel Hardman & Caroline Williams at Lydiard Park Conference Centre, and Charlie Corbett at Lower Shaw Farm.

Tues 3rd, you thought it was all over, but it’s not now:

Crazy For You starts a run at Bath Royal Theatre, ending on the 7th, and Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous too, running Wednesday too. Then, there’s heap of Swindon Festival of Literature events, with Naomi Shragai, A.C. Grayling and Jon Alexander all at Swindon Arts Centre, and Sue Birley at the Central Library, Regent Circus, and An Evening with Gill Sims at the Wyvern Theatre.

Wed 4th and May just doesn’t come up for air:

Reef, yes Reef plays The Oak in Marlborough, thanks to Sound Knowledge, and Corinne Bailey Rae is at Bath Forum. An interesting Stephen Lowe play at Bath’s Rondo Theatre called Touched, running until 7th May. Swindon’s Literature Festival continues with Abigail Williams, Benedict Allen and Xanthi Barker & Charlie Gilmour, all at Swindon Arts Centre, and there’s a Lunchtime Recital at the Wyvern.

And before you know it, it’ll be the weekend again, and there are loads of great stuff, including one-liner genius Gary Delaney coming to Devizes Corn Exchange, while Marti Pellow is at Bath Forum on Thursday. Birdsmen at Long Street Blues Club in Devizes, The Skandals at the Vic, Swindon, both on Friday. The Devizes Cancer Research fundraiser, Stert Car Boot Sale on Saturday 7th, and Saturday, hip hop fans, the Scribes are playing Trowbridge Town Hall, and that is not to be missed!

There’s so much going on locally, if you browse other websites which wait for organisers to contact them to add listings, you’ll be left in the dark. Devizine goes out of its way to search for the best events, of all kinds, in our local area and this makes it the most comprehensive and probably the silliest too! Have a great Belthane; I’m going to keep calling it that, so you’ll all turn pagan overnight!


REVIEW – Billy Bremner’s Rockfile @ LSBC, Devizes – Friday 8th April 2022

Old Skool

Andy Fawthrop

Another night at Long Street Blues Club but on this particular evening we had an enforced change of venue from the Con Club – downstairs at the Corn Exchange.  Yes – in The Bin!

The support act James Oliver and his band was well chosen in terms of style.  He played the same sort of stuff as the main act that was to follow.  Unfortunately his performance relied more on speed and volume, and self-deprecation of his own Welsh-ness, rather than on any particularly musical ability.  His set was very same-y, apart a fairly pleasant and accomplished version of Peter Green’s “Albatross”.  But otherwise it was all high energy, but low talent.  Sorry, but best forgotten.

Then onto the main act.  Not to be confused with namesake feisty former Leeds United midfielder (if you don’t know – ask your dad), Billy Bremner started life as a member of Lulu and the Luvvers (oh – better ask dad again).  However, he’s best known for being with Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Terry Williams, one quarter of Rockpile, one of the finest bands ever to emerge from the United Kingdom music scene. A fearsomely accomplished guitarist, he has also been an occasional lead vocalist, as well as a great songwriter.  Since the break-up of Rockpile he’s had an illustrious career as a solo performer (four albums), and as a member of the Pretenders (that’s him playing the lead guitar on Back On The Chain Gang).  He’s also played with Shakin’ Stevens, Carlene Carter, and The Coal Porters.  Most recently he’s worked as a producer and all round living legend in his adopted home, Sweden.

Now aged 75, this is the Farewell Tour for one of Britain’s finest guitarists and, as expected, the evening was dedicated to the music of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile.  The four-piece played two sets, kicking off without introduction or pre-amble.  In fact there was extremely little in the way of between-song chat, and little attempt to engage with the audience.  Dressed all in black, and rarely cracking a smile, they presented a rather dour stage presence.  We had the classics like “I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock & Roll”, “I Hear You Knocking”, “Cruel To Be Kind” and even Kirsty McColl’s “There’s A Guy Down The Chip Shop”, interspersed with other material.

To be honest, it wasn’t the great performance I’d been expecting.  It seemed a step down from last time I’d seen the band a few years back at the Con Club.  It was all rather single-paced, one-dimensional stuff, with little variation to leaven the mixture.  As good old pub-rock, rockabilly, power-pop, it was OK but, frankly, difficult to get too excited about.  It was chunky, but at times it was plodding.  Billy’s vocals sounded rather reedy and thin.  And not at any stage of the night did any of the band actually look as if they were enjoying what they were doing – more a case of going through the motions.  It was competent, and it was professional, but it just wasn’t engaging or exciting.  It seemed as if the spark had gone.

I can’t say it was a bad gig, because it wasn’t.  But somehow it just never seemed to really take off.  The crowd, being unusually rather small for an LSBC gig, just couldn’t quite generate much atmosphere.  I guess you can’t like every performer and every gig – and this was just one of those that didn’t click with me.

Future Long Street Blues Club gigs:

Saturday 16th April 2022                               Billy Walton Band

Friday 6th May 2022                                        Birdmens

Saturday 4th June 2022                                   Errol Linton Band

Saturday 17 September 2022                      CSN Express

Saturday 8th October 2022                            Eddie Martin Big Blues Band

Saturday 5th November 2022                       Alastair Greene Band


Daydream Runaways, with Butterflies

Daydream Runaways have released their first single for a while, and it’s got superpowers!

Being a little over four years old, Devizine has grown up with a number of young bands and acts on the local circuit and it’s always nice to hear back from them. I overuse the word “matured” to describe the progression they’ve made since we first met, but it’s not a word I’d use today, as part Swindon-based part Devizes-based indie-pop fourpiece Daydream Runaways, release their first single since their amalgamation EP Dreamlands in November 2020.

Benjamin Heathcote, Nathaniel Heathcote, Cameron Bianchi and Bradley Kinsey promote the new single, Butterflies with images of them head locked into golden age American comics. I spammed the social media post with a selfie of me reading an antique Dandy, one nearly as antique as me!

It’s not the first time the band have used imagery conveying what some might deem nerdy or adolescent pop culture references, from childlike depictions of fairgrounds, cuddly toy mascots etc, and though, in some ways the retrospective nods to the eighties power-pop of a John Hughes soundtrack and youthful themes of unrequited love and romantic obsession might return us to our coming-of-age era, there’s nothing technically in this new song to suggest they’ve matured necessarily, because that air of ripened quality and proficiency in their sound has been there since day-dot.

Akin to Robert Johnson, did they sell their souls to the devil at a crossroads to be, like, automatically this good?! Doubt it, it takes time and dedication, two elements really on show here.

So, I put them on a pedestal and they knock it right over, Butterflies is an absolutely awesome song, I expected nothing less. I’ve called them one of the most underrated bands around these waters, I stick by that. Again, it’s this delicate balance between sounding fresh and replicating a fond era, fused with a sturdy appetite and palpable passion which creates these eternally sublime indie-pop belters, the like I praise Talk in Code, The Dirty Smooth and the Longcoats with too. Ah, it’s like the eighties never ended, just got better, cos, as with their others, perhaps even more so with Butterflies, you could fit these on an eighty’s movie soundtrack, or Now compilation and they’d blend perfectly with the likes of Simple Minds, U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, et al.

I hope you catch my drift, Butterflies certainly is skilfully progressive, the band seem tighter than ever before, the timeless subject of unrequited obsession has been used to full efficiency, and it just works on all levels, but Daydream Runaways always had that in them, ergo it’s not worthy of the term matured. Beguiling via hook-laden layers, building and crashing drums and guitars, it drives with optimistic emotion and screams authority till the point it’s impossible to deem this anything other than anthemic.

It’s also embracingly DIY, sticking with their indie roots, they release Butterflies completely independently. Recording, mixing and mastering was the task of drummer Bradley Kinsey, and the artwork designed by frequent collaborator and friend ‘Ezra Mae Art’.

The band suggest the lonely heart theme, has a twist; the lyrics are written from “the perspective of the titular superhero, Butterfly Boy.” Wanting to write a song fit for a comic book hero, they created their own rather than “going the route of existing meta-humans from the likes of comic giants Marvel & DC.” Maybe I need to align my spidey-senses, or just give it a few more listens to see the connection, but that’s easy to do with a track so invitingly good.


Daffodils; A Lost Trade-Mark!

A classic scenario for the creative is repeating the magic of a debut piece, as pressure mounts from admirers and time is of the essence. Whereas prior, they had all the time in world to perfect an inauguration, the sequel risks hasty yield or unoriginality. I’ve been enjoying The Lost Trades new single Daffodils for best part of a month, and I’m happy to report this is far from the case with our lovable award-winning folk harmony trio.

Rather they’ve smashed the problem, managing, with just a single, to sum up everything which was great about The Bird, the Book and the Barrel, and that little bit more. Hence the title of my review, this wonderful sunny side of the street tune is a neat little package tallying up the brilliance of the Trades, virtually a lost-trademark, geddit?!

Though with signs of spring popping up really rather early this year, ergo the feel of Daffodils might be a tad overdue, this would’ve put a spring in your step and sunglasses on your head if released in the bleak midwinter!

The when the chips are down, you’ve got a friend with a remedy leitmotif is model hand-me-down, but with a delivery so perfect it’s the mint jersey in the jumble sale. Themed like when Toy Story first blessed your ears with Randy Newman’s You’ve Got a Friend in Me, yet with the retrospective banjo riff and vocal harmonies of the Carter Family, a closer comparison technically, and one which I believe the trio strive towards, this has the timelessness of Will the Circle be Unbroken.

Such are the vocal harmonies, Jamie takes the lead, yet I detected Phil’s slip in virtually unnoticed; the trio are this tight now, the camaraderie highlighted here, their three celebrated solo voices are merged and what comes out the end is multiple times what should.  

Their debut album The Bird, the Book and the Barrel, reached the Official Folk Album Chart in both September and January, as well as winning Album of the Year at the GSMC Music Awards; if this is a teaser for a follow-up album, the future is looking intensely all things bright and beautiful.

You’re a newcomer to Devizine if you ask who the Lost Trades are, we might well be the official fanzine, but I swear, cos swearing makes me big and clever, that every smidgen of praise is thoroughly honest and deserved, and this single clarifies it. It’s out on Friday 8th April, bottle any burden till then and this’ll be the sunny respite of deliverance blowing clouds apart!