Irregularly I share a music video to our Facebook page with the status “song of the day,” or week, or whenever, as if it’s a daily occurrence. When the reality is it’s a big, fat fib on my part, it’s only when I happen to find such a video and can be arsed to share it. What-cha gonna do, sue me?
So, just in case your lawyer says you have a case, I thought I’d streamline this sporadic idea for 2021, make it an actual feature on the site rather than a Facebook post, and show off that I know what long words like “sporadic” mean.
Little more gone into it than this, you should be used to it by now. I’m not going to review them, just embed them here for your own appraisal and entertainment purposes. Potentially, it’ll be a groundbreakingily breif post, a simple but effective phenomenon, and something I can do without missing the Simpsons.
The challenge is consistency; whether I actually stick to the idea or, like others, it’ll be a flash in the pan. Who knows, this could be the start of something beautiful, this could be the thing they’re talking about in decades to come. A holographic Ken Bruce could be asking “what was the very first Devizine Song of the Day” in a Pop Master 200 years from now.
And you can answer it with who I bestow this honour, Atari Pilot. They’ll be revelling in the triumph of the hour if it wasn’t lockdown, I bet.
History in the making then, the only issue I foresee is I over-waffle any old crap, which is, incidentally, not what’s happening now and rarely does here; I had to explain myself, didn’t I?
Okay, I get message; here it is then, enjoy the tune, enjoy the rest of your evening. Good job, carry on.
- Song of the Week: Sienna Wileman
Okay, I admit it, our Song of the Day feature was too optimistic, and failing every day to post a tune meant it fell by the wayside.
Song of the Week, think I can manage that, just! Let’s reintroduce it now, every Wednesday without fail, pinky promise, and do the first one right about now! Swindon Songstress and actor Sienna Wileman released this gorgeous song, For Nobody Else, this week.
And bonus, the video has some shots of Devizes in it, which doesn’t give her extra points, but then again, it doesn’t need them, it’s a hauntingily angelic song, as is Sienna’s style. You can find her first single, Petals, opening our Julia’s House compilation album, volume 2.
This one echoes that beauty and improves on it, too. Keep up the great work, Sienna!
- REVIEW – Comedy Night @ The Piggy Bank, Calne – Tuesday 31st January 2023
What’s Funny About Tuesday Night?
You know how we’ve previously moaned on and on (and on) on these pages before about the lack of comedy in D-Town? Well – guess what? No – there’s still a yawning gap where the comedy should be in our lovely town. But we continue to live in hope.
So, instead, desperate for a few laughs on a dark Tuesday night, I made my way to the slightly less lovely town of Calne. And more specifically to The Piggy Bank micro-pub in the centre of town for their first ever Comedy Night, presented by Stroud-based Crazy Bird Comedy Club.
The place was absolutely packed, being a sell-out well before the night, and people were in place long before the show started in an effort to get a good seat. It didn’t really matter, as the place is quite small, so every seat in the house was a good one – and that included Yours Truly, doing a shift behind the bar to help the guys out. And a busy old night it was.
Our MC for the evening was the affable Jon Pearson (described as the best MC in the Midlands, whatever that means), who proved to be a great foil for a lively audience that was definitely up for it. Although it’s become almost standard practice these days for comedians to gently take the piss out of the town they’re currently playing in, it was more than entertaining to witness Calne being put to the verbal sword for a change.
First up was Joe Wells, a hunk of a man, who was an immediate hit with the audience. His routine was basically, with many digressions and plenty of raucous audience interaction, a riff on his own autism (or “neuro-divergence”), wherein he took the interesting line of sympathising deeply, in a maximally patronising way, with those who are, sadly, non-autistic. Great stuff.
After a decent interval, and some more audience-rapping from our MC, it was the turn of the diminutive Julia Stenton, describing herself as a “bad case of adult acne”. Some nice observational sketches followed, with material that was both hilarious and near the bone (but without ever resorting to the poor comedian’s escape-clause of sheer crudity). Another class act.
And finally, onto our headliner Nick Page. Here was a big guy who was comfortable on the microphone, relaxed and unhurried, knowing how to play the audience, riding the laughs and timing his pay-offs perfectly. His material on the benefits (or otherwise) of having children was exquisitely judged. Bang-on comedy in my book.
And then we were done. Four acts and, to my comic tastes at least, four absolute winners. You can’t say fairer than that. So, ten out of ten, and well done to owners Malcolm and Karen Shipp for having the vision, the energy, and the determination to put this show on. And proving, yet again, that there’s definitely a taste for live comedy. Let’s face it – there can’t be very much to laugh about in Calne, so they really, really needed this. But the gauntlet has now been thrown down to anyone in D-Town who fancies getting some regular comedy nights going again. Please? Someone?
The next Crazy Bird Comedy is at The Piggy Bank later this month, Tuesday 28th March, featuring MC Harvey Hawkins, and comedians Jethro Bradley, Samantha Day and headliner Andrew Bird. Tickets are already flying out of the door, but if you’re quick there’s still time to bag yourself a great night out with a great atmosphere and some great craft beer.
- On The Wayside with Viduals
Akin to Ghostbuster’s nemesis Slimer when he appears over the hotdog stand, I was squatting a spacious windowsill at Wiltshire Music Centre with an Evie’s burger summoning me to munch, when a mature lady swung open the fire-door to the third stage at Bradford Roots Music Festival a couple of weeks ago. She looked agitated, speechless at the brash raucous reverberations of the next band’s soundcheck, as if this wasn’t what she ordered at a “roots” festival, and not alone in her opinion. Naturally, I smirked….
In this much, I consider, not being Peter Pan established, if there’s something psychologically wrong with me. I’m pushing fifty, and welcome the unforeseen, refuse to join pensioner grumpy club. Hark, I say, to the sounds of youthful post-punk indie rock, retains faith musical progression is eternal, and I’m game for upcoming, fledgling bands to do their worst and try turn me into a fuddy-duddy with progression above my capacity. For try as they might, it doesn’t wash; I’m going in if they’re coming out.
The festival’s age demographic was wider than I imagined, and salute the organisers for supplying wild cards, things to appease younger attendees. There was a couple of bands which fit into this pigeonhole, I’m focussing on the one I managed to catch, Swindon-based four-piece Viduals.
This hard-hitting fury, in-your-face indie rock with flavours of skater punk and post-grunge, but never with an air of melancholy, though awash of surprisingly universal dejected romantic topics is a dish best served at a pub-like venue, known for diversity, if not Reading Festival. Our own Nervendings do it with cherries on, and along with a plethora of bands I cite Devizes-own Nothing Rhymes with Orange. The guys of Viduals know both these bands from gigging at The Vic and elsewhere, as I bought up comparisons chatting to them outside.
What came across from our brief conversation was, although not without a touch of understandable adolescent carefree banter, these young guys are level-headed and have a clear understanding what they want and where they wish to take this. Just mentioned that for the sweeping generalisations of stick-in-the-muds! Because, while the performance suffered somewhat with poor technical engineering, causing the Muppet’s Animal-like drummer to be too upfront and drowning out vocals, there was something which grabbed me about these guys, and their EP The Wayside confirms my suspicions.
Five songs pack a punch, Viduals don’t come up for air, the production on this EP affirms the perfect balance of a united group, working as a unit, and the splendour of Viduals shines through. It kicks off with Separate, like a little toe in the water, Look Away increases this degenerate, dysfunctional youthful amorousness theme, both never faulter to a bridge of forlorn downtempo mood, just rocks loud and proud throughout.
To mumble this general theme is cliché, Viduals do it with finesse. Drums roll like velvet over nimble guitar-thrashed riffs and intelligent lyrics, Embraces perhaps the best example. Here’s a thing though; contemplating the aggression of punk of yore, metal or hardcore, while there’s bursts of adolescent emotion within these upcoming bands, the like of The Karios and Mellor, it’s never as incensed or furious as punk’s roots, it takes you with it rather than sticks two-fingers up at you.
Viduals do this with exceptional balance, it’s tolerable universally, unlike, say, The Sex Pistols’ fashion of deliberately offending. I feel it collates various influences along the way, such as the mod-rock garage bands of the eighties, grunge, and in this it ceases to become a “noise,” living in a limbo between acceptable and unacceptable, a kind of halfway house.
But the thing is, taking hardcore bands like Black Flag, through to grunge, there’s never been a more progressive, and consequently, creative time for this genre than now; it has matured into pop, officially and naturally. Enthusing youths to pick up instruments, motivating them to self-promote and persevere with creativity, is a surely good thing. Coming Back to You, being prime to what I’m getting at, perhaps the politest song on offer here; there’s a need to rock, but not spit at or nick the audience’s belongings while doing it!
The finale Permanent Daylight feels something of a magnum-opus, at least to-date, and is symbolic of my overall valuation; in layman’s terms, it kicks ass!
Ironic EP title, in my honest opinion, playing it down. Viduals are a young Swindon-based band destined not to fall by the wayside, rather stand solid and secure on that highway to hell, likely above one of those massive motorway signs straddling this borderline; if the lane is closed, shit, you’re gonna know about it, blasting their non-harshness sublime sound across the stratosphere! Yeah, love it, it’s unexpectedly refined rather than raw, with bags more potential to boot.
- Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st – 7th February 2023
Thank the heavens we can kick January out of the door! It’s been a warmer week though, hasn’t it? Still wouldn’t reach for the Hawaiian shirts and straw sunhats just yet. The weather is a tease, loves to give you a taster of the potential of the coming season, then reverts without warning or the slightest concern that you risked lobbing your thermal long-johns in the wash!
Some people prefer winter though, apparently; weirdos! Here’s what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire for the rest of us; hermits stay in, covered in blankets, re-watching Wednesday and praying into a bag of cheesy puffs for season two! Get a life, Wiltshire is not a cultureless void, see below if you don’t believe me!
Links and details can be found on our event calendar: here. Just takes ages adding them in here a second time; ain’t nobody got time f’ dat!
Ladies Day continues at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes until Saturday 4th all sold out now, but the next production hosts improvised comedy Instant Wit, for one day and that day being 18th February. Not forgoing the welcome return of Devizes Film Club showing the 2020 film Minari, about a Korean-American family moving from California to a remote Arkansas farm in search of their own American dream. That is on Friday 9th February.
Pinch, punch, Wednesday 1st February it will be then, and Trowbridge’s Pump celebrates Independent Venue Week with The Howlers, Langkamer and Mumble Tide.
Regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes.
Seventh Avenue Arts presents Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at Pound Arts, Corsham. Danny Baker’s Sausage Sandwich Tour comes the Wyvern, Swindon.
The Greatest Magician continues until 4th at Rondo Theatre, Bath, and staying in Bath, Monkey Bizzle meets The Scribes Komedia, Flats & Sharp at Chapel Arts, and Junior Bill at The Bell.
Thursday 2nd Quiz Night at The Devizes Literary & Scientific Institute in aid of Devizes & District Food Bank by Devizes Labour Party.
Moon plays The Vic in Swindon, Truck at The Tuppenny. Ben Portsmouth’s This is Elvis 2023 Tour at the Wyvern, and Limehouse Lizzy at Swindon Arts Centre.
Brennan Reece’s Crowded come to Rondo Theatre, Bath, and for music, find Del Barber & Band at Chapel Arts.
Still Moving DJs at Salisbury Arts Centre, Open Mic at The Winchester Gate, and Jamie Lingham’s regular From The Book at Brown Street, Salisbury.
Friday 3rd and it’s Potterne Cricket Club’s Quiz Night at Potterne Village Hall.
While revellers descend on Weston-Super-Mare for the Incider Festival, Jaz Delorean is at The Pump, Trowbridge, but I believe is near sold out, you’ll need to be quick, or own a time machine for this one!
A new regular feature at The Barge on Honey Street, open mic session continues Friday.
Sophie Duker’s Hag at Pound Arts, Corsham, Phoenix Dance Presents ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.
In the top three flamenco guitarists in the world, Juan Martin is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Malaya Blue Band at Chapel Arts in Bath, some Impromptu Shakespeare at Rondo Theatre, and David O’Doherty’s Whoa is Me at Komedia.
Wow; Fairport Convention play the Wyvern in Swindon, with Lucy Porter’s Wake Up Call at Swindon Arts Centre. Dohny Jep headlines a triple at The Vic, with Nervendings and Riviera Arcade.
Cressers Last Stand’s The Growing up Tour at Brown Street, Salisbury, while The Jonny Phillips Trio play the Winchester Gate.
Saturday 4th, The Shudders come to The Southgate, Devizes, (Update: The Shudders can’t make it on Saturday. To the rescue, they have laid back dude Grizzly Rhys Morgan at The Southgate instead,)while Devizes Scooter Club hold a Back to the 80’s Party at The Cavalier. But the concentration in Devizes should focus on The Corn Exchange, where we are thinking green. Make a hot-water bottle at Devizes Library during the day, and bring it to the Wiltshire Climate Alliance fundraiser with Seize the Day; preview here. Editor’s Pick of the week? Could be!
Damm! play The Bear, Marlborough, meanwhile it will be Vyv & Jackie’s farewell at The Lamb, after over an incredible 43 years they’re retiring and we wish them all the very best. A solemn occasion it refuses to be, as Pants will out! If you don’t know what that means, I suggest you read undoubtedly the funniest interview we’ve ever done, with Pants, last week. Got to be Editor’s Pick of The Week, if Seize the Day is too, I can’t decide this week!
Phoenix Dance presents a second night of ‘We Are Connected’ at The Neeld, Chippenham.
Still Marillion play The Vic, Swindon, with One Chord Wonders at the Queens Tap, The Bellflowers at The Tuppenny, Homer at The Swiss Chalet, and Six O’clock Circus at Coleview Centre. Troy Hawke’s Sigmund Troy’d at the Wyvern, and Paul Foot at Swindon Arts Centre.
Stray Dogs will be ‘Unleashed’ for a Charity Gig for The Music Man Project at Burdall’s Yard, Bradford-on-Avon.
The Roy Orbison Experience at Chapel Arts, Bath, with Akasha at The Bell.
From 11am, Drag Queen Story Time at The Winchester Gate, while the evening in Salisbury gets punked, with Carsick headlining at foursome at Brown Street with Who Ate All the Crayons, Lucky Number Seven, and Seaside Glamour.
Staying punk, The Cheese & Grain hosts the Frome Punk Fest.
Sunday 5th and if you’ve achieved nothing over the weekend all is not lost, the monthly Jon Amor Trio residency at The Southgate, Devizes at around about 5pm, with guest Thomas Atlas.
Also, Julian Gaskell & His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists are at The Bell, Bath, while Stephen Lynch’s The Time Machine Tour arrives at Komedia.
The Psychology of Serial Killers at the Wyvern, Swindon, wraps up our weekend, but do keep a check on the calendar, for updates and planning.
Monday is Monday, not a lot going on. Do a jigsaw puzzle or something.
Tuesday 7th is the Wyvern Theatre Swap Shop at the Wyvern in Swindon, Randy Feltface’s Feltopia at Komedia, Bath, and Wiltshire College FE Student Showcase Samphire at Salisbury Playhouse.
Have a great week, behave yourself, within reason, and don’t forget to keep up-to-date with our calendar, for next week sees aforementioned return of Devizes Film Club, now based at The Wharf Theatre, a triple bill of folk at Pound Arts, Canute’s Plastic Army & Harmony Asia at The Tuppenny, Swindon, Emily Breeze at the Pump, the second stage of Take the Stage 2023 at The Neeld, in which we wish Nothing Rhymes with Orange the best of luck, 50 Years of Fender at Swindon Arts Centre, Ben Borrill at The Three Crowns, Devizes with Junkyard Dogs at The Southgate, and Big Mama’s Banned at the Pilot, Melksham, Adam Ant tribute Ant Trouble at the Vic, the Dub Pistols with Don Letts The Cheese & Grain, Frome, and so much more!
Trust other websites or Facebook pages with what’s to do and you’ll miss truckloads; Devizine is the only one around these darkened backwaters to collate them all; give the man a Twix.
- Marlborough’s Lamb Landlord Farewell Gig Will Be Pants!
Marlborough News reported “in the Seventies, Marlborough boasted well over twenty pubs. Now there are just six,” in an article about the retirement of longstanding landlords of The Lamb, Vyv and Jackie. Marlborough being Marlborough, most of these remaining pubs are aesthetically pleasing, least that’s my apprehensive hypothesis! But for the 100 billion years, or 43 to be more accurate, their stay at the helm of the Lamb is surely a testament to the notion the landlord maketh the pub….
Being local rock comedy band Pants will be playing their farewell gig at this historic testament on to how run a great pub, on Saturday 4th February, I asked their blickum Dan Tozer, and guitarist and paediatric first aider, Fal Carmichael, who is criticised by the other band members as a “thoughtless bastard,” for never trimming the ends of his strings, and leaving them “dangling about like a bunch of sentients, malicious, jangly antennae ready to take someone’s fucking eye out or stab someone in the neck,” if they agreed; I think you can imagine where this interview is heading!
“I would,” Dan replied, adding, “we have had other good landlords in Marlborough, well, when they let us play there! Trevor Stannard was a hero too in that respect. But for longevity, Vyv tops the lot, and never moaned when we trashed the gaff with confetti cannons and other explosive toys! And he still paid us!”
It takes me back to my days in Marlborough, when the Lamb was the choice of watering holes, and in those hazy recollections, I seemed to remember Pants thrashing out a heavy metal version of the Mr Blobby single. For this is their panache and ethos, if they own them; covering cheesy pop songs in a metal fashion. And the result is, while accomplished, highly amusing. They didn’t seem to recall covering Mr Blobby, “although we did once play Bob The Builder,” and thus my diluted memory stands corrected. “Apparently, our first ‘performance’ was 1996……. but we did drink a bit in those days so it might have been earlier.”
Recently the band have covered Boney M’s Rasputin, Cliff’s Devil Woman, and the BBC Snooker theme, I wondered if anything was off limits. “Nobody will let me play the Jim’ll Fix It Theme,” Fal expressed, “bunch of squares!”
To wonder if Pants are more Spinal Tap than Barron Knights, conversant Dan informed, “we try to be a combination of the two. A few old favourites and some new stuff, all bolted together by TV themes and poor-quality heavy metal, plus the occasional Christmas Carol.”
If Scott Garcia recorded speed garage track, “it’s a London thing,” Pants are the Marlborough equivalent; strictly a Marlborough thing. I asked them if anyone else ever booked them, other than the Lamb and the football club, and if so, did they regret it?!
“We did gig outside Marlborough in our earlier years when we had a mate with a van. We’re lucky if we play twice a year these days and, as we all suffer from acute travel sickness, prefer to stay local. And I think anyone who booked us would have regrets!”
As well as Fal and Dan, the band consists of Sean, “sometimes Steve,” with the bonus of Moose Harris, former bassist with New Model Army and The Damned. When the focus of the article centred on Moose, as “Moose’s band,” the exasperated reaction of the band was priceless, so I figured I’d add salt to the wound, enhancing “according to a recent Marlborough News article, it was all Moose’s doing and you others just came along for the ride!” But they didn’t take the bait!
“That’s a little harsh on Moose!” Dan gasped, “I’m sure he wouldn’t want to take the blame! I seem to remember that Fal, Moose and myself were having a quiet lemonade, and decided it might be a laugh. We stole Sean from some other crummy old band that he was wasting his time in.”
See, Pants come across how I promoted my books, this self-mockery banter. If I remember Mr Blobby so vividly, but it was Bob the Builder, it can mean only one thing; they’re a bunch of liars, and essentially, they rock!
It’s a fashion questioned by an American book reviewer who commented on a cover sticker saying in small letters “this will never be a” and in much larger letters “major motion picture.” Their argument was I was deliberately selling myself down, suggesting I was actually a pretty good writer and only using this kind of twisted irony as self-promotion, which I think is a similar ethos to Pants. So, I put this in a two-part question, if Dan and Fal think this reflects Pant’s tenet too, and if they, like me, think twats like that should fuck off?!
“We always think we’re crap,” was the revelation, “but people seem to like it! Well, we can play I suppose, and all of us have for years. We do subscribe to the “by the seat of our collective pants” ethos, and so things do go wrong. I suspect that adds to the enjoyment for the audience as much as us. And I speak for all of us when I say ‘Yes! Fuck Off Twats!’ – which at my age pretty much includes everyone.”
It goes without saying, we wish Vyv and Jackie all the best for their retirement, and thank them sincerely for the wonderful times at The Lamb. Though we hope this will not leave Marlborough pantless, and some nutter will book them. This is legacy we’re talking about here, a very serious issue. So, as a final reflection on the future, I ended noting there’s a trend of all-female tribute acts doing the rounds, wondering if they could you foresee “Knickers,” and if so, what colour would they be, but I believe they got the wrong idea; the knobs.
“We rock like navvies in a cradle using pneumatic drills. It’s dangerous but in a slightly unstable comfortable setting. And we’re bound to have an accident,” Dan expressed creatively, with emojis and everything. “By all means, throw your scanties our way. But only if they’re clean! The only skid marks on our Pants will be ours! (Preferably red!) See you all at the Lamb on Feb 4th.”
Safe to bet, taking all this seriousness on board, the farewell gig will be historical and hysterical in equal measure, as the members in Pants signed off with, “when I said red, I meant the pants, not the skid marks!”
Note they’ve even got merchandise, HERE is their online shop with the slogan “either buy something or fuck off.”
Truly was a class and memorable interview!
- Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 25th-31th January 2023
Oh, hey there, it’s me, here to tell you what we’ve found to do in Wiltshire this week, leading us nicely until the end of January. Second winter month nearly down, one more to go, shorter one, then spring, yay! My feet were so numb from the cold after getting in from work this morning I couldn’t tell if my slippers were on the right feet!
As usual I cannot be bothered spending an age posting links here, you can find them all, with further details on our event calendar: here.
Wednesday 25th Wiltshire Museum in Devizes has The Bookshop Quiz, presented by Devizes Books, where I’m guessing you’ll find tickets! Staying in the Vizes, don’t forget, regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.
The Shing-a-lings play The Bell, Bath, while there’s a Queen Extravaganza at Bath Forum.
Thursday 26th find Jules Hill & Charlie Bath at The Tuppenny, Swindon, and Jim Blair at The Beehive, and the regular Chuckles Comedy Club at Meca.
Stallards in Trowbridge have an open mic night.
National Theatre Live film of Othello, at Pound Arts’ The Crucible in Corsham.
And in Bath we see the opening night of The Greatest Magician at the Rondo Theatre, running until 4th February. A dazzling new magic show, presented by James Phelan, the magician most famous for jamming the BBC switchboards after he correctly predicted the lottery, still he’s charging for tickets! This astonishing, enigmatic, five star rated magic show will leave you aching from laughter and dizzy in disbelief, apparently. Directed by the late Paul “that’s magic” Daniels, the enigmatic show comes to the stage for the first time.
Friday 27th the RSPB will be at Hillworth Park, Devizes, until Sunday, for a Big Garden Bird Watch.
Always great fun, Blondie & Ska play The Pelican in Devizes.
Find the ever-popular Kova Me Bad at The Lamb, Marlborough, while Marlborough Town Football Club has an open mic night from 6pm.
The wonderful Sour Apple are at Old Lane, Chippenham, while there’s one of those grownup pantos of Aladdin at The Neeld; really, though, has anyone been to one of these? Do let us know if it’s any good!
The incredible Jaz DeLorean features at Chapel Arts, Bath, while The Magic of Motown comes to Bath Forum, and Edward Bourne presents Sketchbook, at Rondo Theatre. A play where songs become sketches and sketches become songs as he embarks on his first gig as a jazz keyboardist, only to find the hour overrun by an hour-long string of sketchy flashbacks.
Flow & Hustle play The Winchester Gate in Salisbury.
In Swindon, find Texas Tick Fever at The Beehive, The Jukebox Graduates at The Swiss Chalet, and a triple punk bill at The Vic with Drag Me Down, Mad by Mourning and I See Orange. T-Rextasy tribute at the Wyvern.
Saturday 28th sees Sustainable Devizes at the Corn Exchange for a Think Energy talk from 10-2pm.
The Worried Men play The Southgate, and is quite simply unmissable for you rock fans, whereas B-Sides are at The Three Crowns, and though I’ve not heard these guys before, you’re always in for a great night there anyway!
Find Rob Childs at Woodbrough Social Club, and Josh Kumra at The Bear, Marlborough.
The annual charity 7 Bands in 7 Hours at Calne Liberal Club is happening Saturday, with End of Story, Six O’clock Circus, Homer, Apache Cats, Boston Green, Ukey Dukes and Lonely Daughter; a fiver recommended donation on the door. Think we should make this Editor’s Pick of the Week.
Melksham Rock n Roll Club monthly dance features The Rads, while Sonic Alert play The Pilot.
World Music Club at The Beehive in Swindon, Dury Duty, Mark Colton’s famed tribute to Ian Dury at The Vic, and the most amazing Bob Marley tribute, Legend is at Meca.
From Melbourne, Australia, sister duo Charm of Finches play Pound Arts, Corsham; haunted indie folk, about love, grief and whispering trees, with support from Luke De-Scisco.
Tim Baker plays Chapel Arts, Bath, while a Lucy Lucy and Pameli Benham comedy play, It’s the Hope is what you’ll find at the Rondo.
At Salisbury’s Brown Street find the P45s and Break Cover for a Salisbury Cat Protection fundraiser.
A tad further out, Rage Against the Machine tribute The Machine Rages On play Frome’s Tree House, and there’s the WinterFest at Clevedon.
Sunday 29th and Melksham Assembly Hall have a record fair.
The Film Orchestra play Blockbuster Movie Themes for an audience on Springfield Campus in Corsham.
Comedian Lloyd Griffith presents his One Tonne of Fun tour to Swindon Arts Centre, while at the Wyvern, Buffy Revamped is an Edinburgh Fringe smash-hit fast-paced parody for Buffy the Vampire Slayer aficionados, told through the eyes of Spike.
Rev. James & The Swingtown Cowboys play The Bell, Bath.
Monday 30th is the opening night of Ladies’ Day at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre, running until 4th February, Amanda Whittington play, Directed by John Winterton, previewed here, and tickets selling out fast!
Meanwhile, find Aaron Catlow & Brooks Williams at The Bell, Bath
Tuesday, I got nothing, yet, but do keep a check on our event calendar as updates come in, and check ahead for events in February, here. You need to start thinking about tickets for Wiltshire Climate Alliance’s benefit at the Corn Exchange with Seize the Day, of course, The Festival of Winter Ales, Sheer’s Emily Breeze at the Pump on 10th Feb is another one you’ll need to be quick on, and I like the sound of Adam & His Ants tribute Ant Trouble, who play Swindon’s Vic on the 11th. Seriously though, guys, thinking of trying to bring these guys to Devizes, good idea? Just need a venue, any suggestions?
Have a great weekend, wear an extra pair of socks!
- Beating January Blues, Bradford-on-Avon Roots Style
If the last thing you’d expect as the final sound you hear before leaving a festival carpark is of scraping frost off windscreens, notion of festivals as a summer thing is about to be turned on its head. January blues is curable in Wiltshire, The Bradford Roots Music Festival is your prescription.…
Devizine is not Time Out, writing about our music scene is a personal voyage of discovery, but until now I’d not reached the core. Because Bradford-on-Avon boasts The Wiltshire Music Centre, a modern, purpose-built hub of music and arts, and I’m happy to confirm it’s a wonderful place.
Andy fondly reviewed their past roots festival, on the strength of this and the stunning line-up, it deserved sending my grumpiest of hibernating reviewers, so here I am, with beanie on.
Situated on a housing estate next to a school, first impressions are school-like, by design and decor. Interesting, a festival in a school, even has a coat rack, and fire doors held open by polite teenagers; imagine! If I get a detention here, I’ll be glad.
I believe it’s part-funded this way. Cause and effect are a wide age demographic; yes, a majority are those elders who can afford to fork out £20 in January, but it notably caters for the youngest too, with a vast craft area and workshops, a dinnertime finale of the latter being a Wassail kids’ procession led by Holt Morris Club in the foyer.
Also noteworthy, though I missed this, part of the proceeds goes to Zone Club, an in-house musical programme for learning disabled adults, who’s improv show opened the festival. The other half goes to the centre itself, which has charitable status, and is worth its rather hefty weight in gold.
Wowzers, I was impressed enough already, with plentiful to engage in, yet I’m told this three-stage single day is scaled-down post lockdown, previously housing two other stages and a food court, over three days. Though it was expressed this is the level they’d like to see it return to in future. I’m letting the cat out the bag, you can’t keep it a secret forever, Bradford, the south-west needs to know!
Though if food options were filtered to one, Bradford’s own Evie’s Mac N Cheese wagon is most definitely the one, my burger was to die for! There’s me, stomach-thinking first, when I’ve so much to report, so, so much great music, some completely new to me, others well-grounded in my favourites, and many to tick off my bottomless must-see list.
If I told you what I didn’t love, it’d be quicker, but blank! The only way to do this, is to get chronological, but before I do, it’s crucial to point out what’ll become clear by the end; the logo’s tree growing out of a guitar, and the whole name of Bradford Roots Music Festival can be a tad misconceiving; going in with the preconception it’s all folk, fiddles and hippy-chicks dancing barefoot, though these are present, to assume it’s the be-all-and-end-all is wildly off target. The diversity on offer here is its blessing, its quantity and quality is serious value for money, and likely the most important elements I need to express in order to sell next year’s to you, which I do, because it was utterly fantastic.
Not forgoing the hospitable atmosphere, its easy access under one roof, and its professionalism in staging the best indoor local festival I’ve been to, if not a forerunner for the best local community-driven festival, period. On programming I could point similarities to Swindon Shuffle, in so much as grabbing an international headline isn’t their thing, favouring promoting local acts. But unlike the Shuffle where you wander Old Town pub-to-pub, there’s a treasure behind nearly every fire-door.
Arriving as prompt as possible, unfortunately not as early as I’d have liked, finding Phil Cooper and Jamie R Hawkins packed up and chatting in the foyer, I consoled myself by noting there’s so much happening under this cathedral of music’s roof I won’t miss. Firstly, I found the main stage, a colossal acoustic-heaven seated hall, where came the cool mellow vibes of Chris Hoar’s Lodestone, soon to be renamed Courting Ghosts, with drummer Tim Watts from It’s Complicated, a band booked to headline the third stage, Wild and Woolley, but had to cancel.
Though at this time, I’d not even found said third stage, dragging myself away from the balcony to the foyer, where a smaller makeshift middle stage hosted the duos and acoustic acts. The beautiful folk of Lightgarden currently attracting a crowd.
People tended to settle in one place, I rushed from stage to stage, excited as a sugared-up kid at Disneyland! Discovering the third stage was the best thing I did, as Mark Green’s Blues Collective thrilled with a reggae-riffed version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.
Decided I need to settle down, smooth and accomplished piano-based jazz on the main stage by The Graham Dent Quartet could’ve easily helped, but hot-footing back to the third stage to catch Junkyard Dogs was a must.
Likely my acme of the daylight hours, if it’s nearly as impossible to rank the best thing any more than picking faults in the festival, Junkyard Dogs rocked this stage with sublimely executed Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry timeless classics of the raw RnB origins of rock n roll, (apt for a “roots” festival,) with added amusing originals, a downtempo Suzie Q, and a funky guitar chilled Dusty Springfield’s Spooky.
With fantastic delta blues in the foyer, via Westward, and a Wassail choir workshop in the main room, I tended to hover around the more unorthodox third stage, where Mod-type synths band Aqaba rolled out some damn fine originals.
Meanwhile joyful lounge jazz was blessing the foyer with the Caroline Radcliffe Jazz Trio, as I made my way to way to the main stage once more, to tick Billy in the Lowground off my must-see list. Missed this unique banjo and fiddle five-piece folk ensemble when they’ve graced the Southgate, but though their fiery foot-stomping loud ‘n’ proud scrumpy & western is hard-to-pigeonhole, I won’t be missing them next time.
This is where the stages vacated for dinnertime, and the Wassail children’s parade accompanied an entertaining Morris dance ruled the hour. It may’ve felt as if the festival was slowing pace, but it was only temporary. Outstanding Bristol-based soloist Zoe kicked off the foyer happenings again, a stalwart of the festival, while young Swindon popular post-grunge wild card, Viduals blasted the third stage.
It was great to meet the level-headed youths of Viduals, one to watch on the indie circuit, asserting the third stage now was for younger attendees. Man, they had some upfront drumming I likened to Animal from the Muppets, and some defined originals!
The similarly youthful band, Foxymoron, to grace the headline at the third stage since It’s Complicated’s unfortunate cancellation, sounded prodigious, slightly more accomplished with slithers of retro post-punk, but I confess with so much going on, I didn’t catch enough for a full assessment. Because, I was equally surprised by Karport Collective at the main stage, but in a different way. Didn’t get any info on these guys, only to lean over to the frontman expressing my delight at them daring to cover Outkast classic Hey Ya at a roots event! If a pop repertoire of Fatboy Slim’s Praise You medlied with that Elvis breakbeat rework, wouldn’t fit at a folk festival, they did Bowie’s Let’s Dance too, engaging a mass-exodus to the dancefloor; surely a defining factor in my point about diversity here. Gallant five-piece, Karport Collective pulled a rabbit from their hat, and would be a superb booking for a function or large lively pub with universal appeal.
Dilemmas over what to watch beached, the ultimate decision was the finale, where subtle yet powerful folk duo Fly Yeti Fly took the foyer, and my new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie played the main stage. Let’s get this straight, okay? Concrete Prairie are unmissable by my reckoning, though this is my third time seeing them live, and Fly Yeti Fly is one I so desperately want to tick off my list. The problem is solved by this easy access, we’re only one fire-door away from simultaneously viewing both, which I did; bloomin’ marvellous!
Complete with double-bass accompaniment, predicted gentle positive acoustic vibes from Fly Yeti Fly, if a song about burning the furniture for firewood on a frozen canal boat is gentle and positive! But, oh, how a duo can hold an audience spellbound, Fly Yeti Fly are the enchantment. My night was completed by their tune Shine a Light, which (plug) you can find on our Julia’s House compilation, together with swinging that fire-door to catch the sublime country-folk of Concrete Prairie as they polished off a set of debut album tracks, covers and new songs, with the magnum-opus Devil Dealt the Deck.
Still at 1,000 feet of an impressive mountain; Bradford Roots Festival, I conclude, is faultless.
- Old Wharf Café to Become Meeting Room
The Kennet & Avon Trust today revealed plans to convert the old café on Devizes Wharf, Couch Lane, into a meeting facility; how exciting!
It is now available as a meeting facility, charged out at competitive rates. It also offers the opportunity to service light refreshments.
More specific details on availability and charge-out rates can be obtained from Carolyn Calder at firstname.lastname@example.org and on 07739 330159. There’s plentiful pay carparking, but personally I’d like to think the beautiful space could be better used for arts, events, or charity purposes, but we all need a nice meeting every now and then, don’t we?!
Argh, I’m so excited about this I simply don’t think I can contain myself and I’ve come over all management speak; moving forward to some blue-sky thinking, then….
- Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 18th-24th January 2023
Back to a possibility of snow on Wednesday, the big freeze makes an unwelcome return, so please, if you’re heading out be careful. For those careful few, here’s what we’ve found to be doing this week. As usual you can find more details, links, and whatnots on our event calendar….
Wednesday 18th sees Winter Gems, a Lawrence Society art demonstration evening by Pam Lewis from Marston at Devizes Town Hall, and the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate.
Meanwhile, Amadou Diagne & Group Yakar play The Bell, Bath.
There’s an adult panto at the Wyvern, Swindon, Cinderella & Her Naughty Buttons. And Memory Cinema returns to Swindon Arts Centre screening The Wizard Of Oz. Memory Cinema provides a facility where those living with dementia, their carers, friends, and families can watch a range of films.
Thursday 19th the incredible ZambaLando are live at The Beehive, Swindon, while the Wyvern, Arsenal legends Ray Parlour, Paul Merson and Perry Groves give a talk.
Friday 20th is heat one of local amateur musician’s contest Take the Stage, at The Neeld in Chippenham.
Melksham Assembly Hall plays host to Forbidden Nights, ladies, behave yourselves!
In Swindon the A K Poets take The Beehive, Get Carter play The Vic, and there’s Rave On – The Ultimate 50s & 60s Experience at the Wyvern.
Daytime in Bath, Rock the Tots take their Around the World Tour to the Rondo Theatre, and in the evening they’ve The People’s String Foundation Duo. One on my must-see hitlist, Adam and the Ants tribute Ant-Trouble play at The Royal Oak, and From the Jam are at Bath Forum.
They’ll be dancing in the dark at the Cheese & Grain in Frome with Springsteen tribute, Bruce Juice.
Saturday 21st and rock covers band Beyond the Storm play The Southgate, Devizes. Find Homer at The Cooper’s Arms, Pewsey, and El Toro at The Lamb, Marlborough.
At the Barge on Honeystreet, find NFA-TV and BishBosh presenting a night of “musikal mayhem” with the Radical Dance Faction, MC Basher, Doghouse and MCs, tenner on the door, extra £12.50 to camp.
Editor’s Pick of The Week this week must be the Bradford Roots Music Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, which we’ve previewed HERE and unless completely snowed in, I hope to check it out personally.
Simon & Garfunkel Through the Years at The Neeld, Chippenham.
Devizes-own blues legend, Innes Sibun Blues Explosion play The Bell, Bath, while the Rondo Theatre has Jen Brister’s show, The Optimist.
The Rolling Clones tribute at The Vic in Swindon, Locomotion at The Swiss Chalet, Voodoo Room at Swindon Arts Centre, and ABBA Forever at the Wyvern.
Man of the World presents the Music of Peter Green at The Tree House, Frome, and that’s your Saturday night! Unless you know different? Do let us know.
Sunday 22nd Warmington, Lindley and Webb at The Bell, Bath.
Monday 23rd Eddie Martin’s turn at The Bell, Bath.
Tuesday 24th sees a Fish N Chip Supper & Quiz Night for the RNLI at Devizes Conservative Club.
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls play Bath Forum, while Cirque – The Greatest Show comes to the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon.
Keep on scrolling through our event calendar to see just how 2023 is blossoming with things to do, far sooner than spring I might add! Have a great weekend, stay safe and don’t go changing just to please me.
- Delicate, Like A Psychedelicat
What is a psychedelicat, a tin of magic mushroom flavoured Felix?! His picture on the tin certainly displays some suspiciously dilated pupils, but this exaggeration maybe just artistic licence for commercial purposes. In any case, they’re not as dilated as the kitty on the cover of a new album by Marvin B Naylor and Rebsie Fairholm, a Gloucestershire-Hants duo who operate under the pseudonym Psychedelicat; justice sufficient to take a listen……bring out the lava lamp……
Because, a kindly Manchester chap who was always sending me seriously outrageous noises he dubbed “psychedelic” has finally got the message. I don’t mean to be unfair, but music, whether it be as described, a mess of every known subgenre since rock n roll, or not, it must have harmony and melody, or it is borderline industrial noise. Seriously, listen to it under the influence of a single aspirin will likely find you gripping onto the sofa suffering a psychotic episode!
I felt he lacked the concept of psychedelia, for it is surely supposed to be benign, calming and mellowed, inducing a positive karma, rather than a full-blown Cheech and Chong fashioned freak out. On the other hand, when Marvin sent us the opening track of this album, Like a Delicate Psychedelicat, called Ark, as a submission for our Julia’s House compilation, while I was impressed, I wouldn’t have branded it psychedelic; mellowed and beautiful, but nothing particularly Sgt Pepper about it.
So, in the dark wee hours in a village on my milk round, I wedged the air-pods in with the illusion it wouldn’t be half as psychedelic as it said on the tin, especially with this Anthony Burgess approved cat on the cover, the pet of Alex or his droogs. But the glorious Mike Oldfield chimes and reeling soft vocals of Marvin and Rebsie of Ark are merely characteristics of the anticipation of an LSD trip, and before long I was beginning to suspect another milkman had dropped some liberty caps into my travel-mug of tea!
By track two, Steer by the Stars, you begin to obtain the illusion that you might not be in total control of your own mind, as you would if indulging in hallucinogens, without actually having to. That’s the exquisiteness of this, it’s a beautiful journey, to Itchycoo Park. Unlike the excruciating juxtaposition of random noises of our Manchester friend, this just flows gorgeously, like the perfect mellowed trip. If I go AWOL now, they’ll likely find me swaying cross-legged on the village green with flowers in my hair like it was some 1969 San Francisco love-in! “Oi, where’s my pint of semi-skimmed?”
“Like, hey, man, just, like swirling among the milky way, tee-hee; come, sit, can you see it?!”
A pipes and acoustic guitar instrumental flows for the next couple of minutes, then the soothing vocals of Rebsie returns for Green Adieu, to make The Byrds sound like death metal! “Don’t be deceived by the opening track-Ark,” Marvin messaged me far too late, I’m horizontal now, “there are several different styles!”
With a delicate beating drum, Icy Window is trippy, as we move positively from beatnik to hippy, to the sounds of the renaissance. It’s the little chimes and swirly effects amidst the tunes which exhales this impression of underground counter culture of yore, yet still there’s more going on. Sixteenth century triple-time dance shanty unexpectedly comes into play, with a version of John Dowland’s Captain Digorie Piper His Galliard, which Marvin describes as “complete with a psychedelic freak-out, and lots of harmony singing throughout,” akin to what The Horses of the Gods are putting out.
This is an accomplished eleven track strong album in which Marvin and Rebsie are clear on their approach, and if it’s lost in time against everything since the rise of punk, I suspect that is precisely the aim. As Like a Delicate Psychedelicat settles to a conclusion, you are immersed in its gorgeous portrayals of pliable soundscapes, lost in its forest of musical delights. Of harpsichords, twanging guitar on Promenading to the ambient finale, Bright Hucclecote, the only issue with this superb album for the counterculture bohemian of yore, is what to listen to afterwards.
Drained of inspiration, there’s a comedown on the horizon; abruptly you cannot connect the dots of your modest explanation for the meaning of life involving a dreamcatcher and some leftover twigs, and hey, who dumped that milk-float in the middle of Stonehenge?!