The last time Otway played Trowbridge was in July 2003 at the Village Pump Festival, he returned last night to a gig to raise funds for the same festival in 2023; and what a show it was! Earlier this year Otway played his 5,000th gig at the Empire Shepherds Bush; and his wealth of experience was evident as he masterfully took the audience on a journey of music and laughter……
Recently awarded a doctorate in music, Dr John healed the sell-out audiences’ woes with his madcap antics and deceptively clever lyrics; delighting loyal fans and virgins alike.
As per his live album, ‘The Set Remains the Same,’ there were few changes to either of the two sets except a dedication of ‘Louisa on a Horse’ to his long-term friend and fellow performer Wilko Johnson, who sadly passed away earlier this week. During this number Otway’s exuberant performance caused the pliable stage to wobble and an amp to tilt forward. Whilst this was duly saved by Deadly the Roadie before any real damage was done; I smiled to myself that Wilko had also given it a nudge and was chuckling with us.
One of the best parts for me about Otway’s solo shows are the expressions on the audiences’ faces, especially those who are new to the party, as he progresses through the first set with the immortal words “Well if you thought that was stupid, wait until the next song!” and closes it with “You’ll probably need a drink after this, I know that I will!” From a 12 string guitar that’s hinged in the middle to a human drum machine, Otway certainly knows how to hold the attention of the crowd.
The second set was just as fun, the crowd joined in with the heckling to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ with gusto, and contrastingly Deadly’s lack lustre disco dancing to Otway’s top ten hit ‘Bunsen Burner’ went down a storm. All good things must come to an end and inevitably it did; finishing with two encores ‘Cheryl’ and ‘Head Butts,’ encouraged by a zealous audience.
What of the apostrophe, diacritical, a punctuation marking a possessive case of nouns, a contractive omission of letters, or perhaps, in this case, a leftover smudge on a pub chalkboard?! Taking said chalkboard listing S’Go as the omission would read “S” for something, “go,” which could easily be ill-perceived as ultramodern funky electronica, or something loosly along those lines; not the case for this wonderful Swindon-based five-piece folk assemble.
Debroah, landlady of Devizes’ Southgate afirmed to me earlier in the week,“they’re an eclectic folky blues collective. They played a few crazy tunes in a circle in the middle of the pub once. Everyone loved it, we booked them!” and to know the affectionately dubbed “Gate” is to know never to doubt her word on this subject. So, far from potluck, I dropped in, Deborah was already up dancing with the crowd, while George the pub alsatian slept in the makeshift apron.
Cleared up any band name confusion with the bowler hat attired frontman during their halfway break. Seems the apostrophe is old hat for the band, favouring it as an abbreviation, SGO, of which he may’ve broken down for me but I missed it in the alcohol-infused noisy moment. Regardless, he suggested a dislike of the name was unanimous between its members, so subject to change, ergo; none of this really matters anyway.
What matters is ever the music, atmosphere and levels of enjoyability, and while Devizes hosted another Long Street Blues Club night and the Condado Lounge was brimming with fans of Finley Trusler and Mark, only an adequate houseful graced the dependable tavern, I’ll confirm those who did wouldn’t deny for what matters, SGO skyrocketed all said levels.
Pub dog George seems to detect the impending intoxication levels of the human punters, connecting it to their need of dancing, and, after time prefers to slumber under the bar hatch. But one ponders the attraction in kipping directly in front of the performers is likely the natural heat they give off makes it the warmest spot. Though steady to begin with, SGO certainly gave British Gas a run for their money.
Brimful of sea shanties, hornpipe, parissienne and gypsy jazz, with subtle hints of Americana and country blues, SGO are both charming and accomplished. Melodically harmonising through geetars, fiddle and accordian, they reaffirm folk is the backbone to all modern musical genres, and launch preconceived notions of frumpiness within the modern scene out into the stratosphere. Akin to what Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club are putting down, this is achieved through replicating the timeless sounds of which folk have revelled in for centuries, and validates its worth in modern day.
All tradtions of folk were honoured, SGO covered classics, sporadically upping the tempo, enthused their audience, were amusing with localised ditties and personal prose. Referencing an expedition between their hometown’s landmarks the Richard Jefferies Museum to Coate Water as a sea shanty being a particularly adroit example. Yet they were at best producing some sublime instrumental moments of skillful union. The crowd were swaying in bliss, and perhaps, booze too.
Therefore the demanded encore was aptly Gretchen Wilson’s “You Don’t Have to Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here.”
My lucky dip came up trumps, and a great night was had, although that’s the standard model at the Southgate. You should note Jon Amor’s monthly residency has been shifted to next Sunday, Rockport rocks up there next Saturday, one third Lost Trader, Phil Cooper follows on 3rd December.
For SGO, I’d recommend S’going to check them out, and can be found at Swindon’s The Gluepot on Thursday 1st December, with support from Shedric, and The Hop Inn with support from Canute’s Plastic Army on Wednesday 7th. Follow their social media HERE for updates.
Got a proper soaking this morning, fat lot of good it is whinging to you about it, you are here only for the lowdown on autumn happenings this coming week, so I’ll waste no time waffling, don’t worry about me, yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine!
Currently up and running, until Saturday, is TITCO’s Dinner Party at The Wharf Theatre.
Staying in Devizes, Thursday 17th sees the opening of the historic event, Devizes Eisteddfod. Here’s the place to find future local stars of the arts, a five-day festival of over 400 classes of music, speech, drama, dance, writing, art, photography, and composition, for people of all ages, who may enter individually or through a school or group. There are competitive and non-competitive classes. The Music, Speech and Drama classes will be held in Devizes Town Hall. Find out more HERE.
Over in Bradford-on-Avon, check out Dylan Smith who has an official launch gig for his Cruel to be Kind album at The Boathouse.
Also find Ezio playing Chapel Arts, Bath. And for some doom metal and stoner rock, try a double-header at The Vic, Swindon, with Phantom Droid and Dark Prophecy.
Friday 18th is Marlborough’s Christmas Light Switch-On.
After The Rocky Horror Experience, Soul II Soul’s Feel Free Tour comes to Meca. Yes, I said Soul II Soul, wowzers! But if you’ve no tickets get in or check the alternatives in Swindon; The Beverley May Band at The Sun Inn, Coate, Splat the Rat play The Hop Inn for Swindon Folk Club.
In Devizes, it’s pub quiz time in aid of Arts Together at the Cavalier, and I’ve got to recommend the highly entertaining Blondie & Ska duo, who play The Pelican. Chippenham duo, as it says on the tin, do Blondie covers but also include those Two-Tone classics, in a kind of fashion you’d wished Blondie covered them; it’s lots of fun. In fact, it was going to be editor’s pick of the week! UPDATE: sorry to hear this has been cancelled. Postponed until 3rd February.
Drag Show at the Neeld, Chippenham, with The Dazzling Diamonds. Limehouse Lizzy at Salisbury Arts Centre.
After N’Famady Kouyate at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, they’ve got something on my hitlist, the acclaimed Moments of Pleasure, a Kate Bush tribute. Meanwhile, it’s bonkers at The Three Horseshoes with a triple bill of Hell Death Fury, Lone Sharks, & Monkish.
Craig Charles is on the wheels of steel at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Richard Norris plays sister venue, The Tree House.
Saturday 19th, kids, Lego Club, at Chippenham Museum from 3-4pm. I know I keep mentioning this regular event, but I love the sound of it, wish there was a Lego club when I was a kid, and well, I might go one day anyway. My own kids will be like, “dad, I need a lift to my science book writer’s guild annual general meeting,” and I’ll be like, “fat chance, I’m off to Lego Club!”
Find handmade jewellery, woodwork, hand-poured candles, scented soap, artwork, and handbags at the Mynt Image Craft Fair at Devizes Corn Exchange from 10am-4pm. And in the evening find the Hardwicke Circus and The Alex Voysey Trio at Long Street Blues Club; upcoming talent Saturday, sounds tempting, very tempting! UPDATE: being our Editor’s pick of the season has been postponed, this isnew Editor’s pick of week!
The Southgate promises folky blues with S’Go, a new one on me; Deborah tells me, “They’re an eclectic folky blues collective. They played a few crazy tunes in a circle in the middle of the pub once. Everyone loved it, we booked them!” Cannot argue with that. Ye gods, that sounds tempting, very tempting too, what am I to do?!
Night Jar play Woodbrough Social Club, Miranda Sykes’ Show of Hands is at Marlborough Folk Roots, at the Town Hall, and the local favourites, Humdinger play The Lamb, Marlborough.
There’s a Trowbridge Weavers Christmas Market, and Gaz Brookfield plays the Pump, with Heartwork and Be Like Will in support, but I believe it’s sold out, check their website, but be quick on the flux capacitor. You could always head to the Somerset Arms, Semington failing that, where you’ll find The Beverley Maye Band, or The Buckly Rage at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.
The wonderful seven-piece soul band, aptly named Blue Soul Band play the Contsti, in Chippenham, tributes The Faux Fighters at The Vic, Swindon and Coldplace at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Jessica Fostekew’s Wench runs at Salisbury Arts Centre, and that’s your Saturday night.
Sunday 20th. I’ve checked this over and over, and it definitely says, Jazz Sabbath is at the Corn Exchange, Devizes on Sunday, are we sure it’s not Saturday, people? Damn your eyes, that’s a school night!
Also occurring, Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra with Huw Warren at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Clinton Baptiste tour at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, after a record fair, and tribute L1nkn P4rk at The Vic, Swindon.
And that’s your lot, I got nought for Monday and Tuesday, but don’t forget it’s the regular acoustic jam at the Southgate Devizes on Wednesday, 23rd, and Richard Robbins presents Passage of Time at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, there’s a Willow Reindeer Festive Workshop beginning at Salisbury Arts Centre, which runs until 30th, and Matt Deighton is at The Tree House in Frome.
The biggies next week are of course, the Winter Festival and lantern parade in Devizes, Friday, and the start of the Window Wanderland. Saturday sees the second feast at Soup Chick, of Kashmir cuisine, and The Scribes come to Devizes, at the Muck & Dundar. We love the Scribes here at Devizine and are thoroughly looking forward to this; get a ticket!
John Otway at the Pump, Trowbridge on Friday, and The Moscow Drug Club on Saturday, both worthy of your attention. Then, gawd blimey, it’ll be December. I’m trying to keep up and update as regularly as possible, including getting the biggies up for next year. Have a great weekend, keep a check on our event calendar for updates, and planning ahead.
So, Rishi Sunak is prime minister, eh, how about that for diversity? Last time, a woman, of sorts, now an Asian chap. A tax-avoiding billionaire Asian chap with a name which sounds like a brand of orange fizzy-pop, but one nonetheless. You’ve got to wonder who it’ll be next week.
My money is on a Klingon, but I must commend the Tories, seems they’re not quite as prejudice as Nazis after all. It doesn’t matter, age, gender, race or religion; providing you’re working class they’ll shit on all of us from a-high, but with a degree of equality.
It would’ve been nice if Liz Truss could’ve stuck around for another week, if only for topical pumpkin carving purposes, because yes, it is the ancient American-over-commercialised Gaelic feast of Samhain, or Halloween to Christian cultural thieves.
After a family outing to pick our own pumpkins on a farm near Rowde in torrential rain last Saturday, confirming I married into a rural family, and kids who consider themselves too matured to trick or treat, I’d like to go out on creepy tiles (see editor’s pick of the week) but tickets are being grabbed fast, and I’m not sure how I’ll feel by the weekend after being brutally attacked last Saturday by a hanging basket.
Where were Wiltshire Police when the attack took place, you cry? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where. Typical, and that hanging basket is still at large somewhere, be warned. Needless to say, I sustained a surprisingly substantial head injury, though not the reason I’m talking complete toilet; I’m always like this.
I did manage to see a doctor. After a reply I pre-empted to be a telephone appointment sometime in May 2023, going by social media rants, I was invited to Southbroom surgery faster than I could change out of my Paddington jimmy-jams, and within the hour I was let back on the street. Not forgoing I retain a sore head with bolts of pain shooting through it upon the slightest of movement, but I’m after no sympathy. It’s the worry of 50 coming like a rocket over the hill at me. Any previous age and I’d have been, like, ah, just a bump to the noggin, be right as reign come morning. But now, any slight aliment and I’m drafting my bucket list; though I’d suspect Kylie Minogue won’t respond favourably in any case.
Onwards with what’s happening this creepy weekend, before I dose myself in more paracetamol. As usual the only link you need for more info and tickets is our event calendar HERE. If there’s stuff going on I’ve not mentioned below, stay tuned to the guide as I might yet update it through the week, and if it’s your event I missed, that’s likely because you didn’t tell me about it.
Wednesday 26th, and it’s the White Horse Opera’s opening night of L’elisir d’amore at Lavington School, which runs until 29th. And the Rondo Theatre, Bath has Female Transport, also running the same dates.
On Thursday 27th Devizes Lgbtq+ hold their Drag Queen Bingo, Halloqueen Edition at The Exchange in Devizes, which was a sell-out last time, so get in quick.
Find reggae at Level III, Swindon with the Erin Bardwell Three, and Grim Slickers at The Vic.
Friday 28th, Halloween Family Disco at The Neeld, Chippenham. LGBTQ+ Halloween night at The Exchange, Devizes.
Violin, rapper and loop artist, Mike Dennis is at The Pump, Trowbridge.
Bit confused as I’ve a poster from the Specialised Project, advertising Monkey Ska at the Vic, Swindon, but listings show Getrz, Vicuals and I See Orange playing there too, so perhaps the first one has been cancelled, unsure. The Terraplanes Blues Band play the Rolleston Arms, though, that much I do know!
Also find Barnstormers Comedy at Salisbury Arts Centre, Muze at The Tree House, Frome, while The Freddie & Queen Experience are at the Cheese & Grain.
Saturday 29th, everything is awesome at Chippenham Museum’s Lego Club, 3-4pm every Saturday. It’s Autumn in the Park at Hillworth in Devizes, see poster, and St John’s Michaelmas Fayre too.
Getting very Halloween now, with Halloween Karaoke at The Pelican Inn, Devizes, Devizes Scooter Club’s Skalloween at the Cavalier, a Halloween party with DJ James Therelfall at the Muck & Dunder, Thriller Halloween party at the Exchange, and The Monster Ball at Melksham Assembly Hall.
Kind of optional creepy fancy dress at Editor’s Pick of The Week: The Female of the Species 7th Annual Fundraising Gig at Seend Community Hall.
Tickets are going like hot cakes for this annual extravaganza from our lovely all-female local supergroup, now packing a punch at Seend, so get in quickly, it is always an amazing show.
Away from Halloween vibes, those masters of vintage blues, Barrelhouse play The Southgate, Devizes, Trash Panda, The Bastard Son of Humdinger & My Mate’s Band play The Coppers Arms, Pewsey. Strange Folk at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.
Stop Stop at The Vic, Swindon, Judas Rising at the Rolleston.
Congress at Salisbury Cathedral, Spritato – Inspiring Bach at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Oh, and The Lightning Seeds play The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Sunday 30th, The Innes Sibun Band arrive at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, guaranteed knockout.
Spooky stuff continues as Monday 31st is the opening night for Picnic at Hanging Rock at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes; of which I’m hoping to get a review of out by Monday, or Tuesday latest. Running until 5th November, preview here.
And we’re into November, Wednesday 2nd don’t forget, acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, and Jordan Bak is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.
Keep on scrolling for future fings to do, hopefully I’ll join you real soon, hanging basket though, I ask you, evil hanging basket; why can’t they just plant flowers in the ground like normal folk? They should be brought to justice! Have a good week, the doctor told me to stay off devices and screens, so I’m outta here, going to take up badminton instead, which is an extreme sport to me!
Here’s our weekly summary of things to do over the coming week. It saves you surfing every individual event calendar, and saves me waffling on about some unrelated rubbish, which I admit I have a tendency to do, but in the words of the great philosopher, KC, and, of course, his Sunshine Band; that’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it…… oh, I’m doing it again aren’t I?!
Onwards, not forgetting further details and links can be found on our event calendar, it’s too time consuming adding them a second time, and besides, there you can scroll away until your heart’s content, planning future weekends.
Best way to kick off live music early is Swindon’s experimental dub duo, Subject A, are at The Bell on Walcott Street, Bath, on Wednesday 19th; consider it highly recommended. Meanwhile, Beth Nielsen Chapman plays The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Thursday 20th sees a Very Hungry Caterpillar, on show at Neeld Hall, Chippenham.
Mr Love & Justice are at The Beehive, Swindon, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage at Chapel Arts, Bath. But the link to Faustus at Salisbury Arts Centre seems to be broken, unsure if that’s still going ahead.
Friday 21st and Trowbridge’s Pump is the place to be, Matt Owens of Noah & The Whale headlines, with the amazing Concrete Prairie in support.
The magical Lady Nade plays Pound Arts, Corsham, The Little Unsaid at Chapel Arts, Bath.
Hatepenny at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, The Reservoir Hogs at The Old Ham Tree, Holt. And in Marlborough you’ll find @59 at The Wellington, and the incredibly good fun, Dr Zebos Wheezy Club at The Bear.
That just leaves me with the tributes, Queen tribute, Majesty at Melksham Assembly Hall, while Fleetwood Bac are at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Devizes, I have got nothing at all for this Friday, unless you know different? When near-on every known pub in town put live music on last Friday night, with a guaranteed crowd-puller from Longcroft at the Corn Exchange too! This town isn’t a competition, guys, please try to coordinate, through us, if you like, but it works better for you all if we do. Rant over!
Swiftly onto Saturday 22nd, it’s Trowbridge Carnival, plus Lego Club at Chippenham Museum, free and at 3-4pm every Saturday; everything is awesome!
There’s an evening of Irish classics with Asa Murphy and Shenanigans at the Devizes Corn Exchange, and the unmissable Eddie Martin Band is back for some blues at The Southgate.
Daz n Chave at Neeld Community & Arts Centre, Chippenham sounds a laugh, and there’s a Melksham Rock n Roll Club dance this week, with Glenn Darren & The Krewkats.
Full-Tone Orchestra presents their Symphonie Fantastique at Marlborough College, and if you check the quote on the poster, yes, I said that! It’s always nice to be quoted, on the rare occasion I say something nice, that is!
Sheer are down the Trowbridge Town Hall, putting on Lucky Number 7 and the Lindup Brothers, with promising local teen band Boston Green in support. Meanwhile The Forgetting Curve play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon. A tribute to Pearl Jam at The Vic, Swindon, Earl Ham, and Tundra plays The Woodland’s Edge.
But if you want to boss the night away with some serious skanking, I cannot recommend Bristol’s legendary ska and reggae skinhead, Ya Freshness, of Strictly Rockers Records enough, who is with his Big Boss Band at Odd Down Football Club in Bath. Fiver a shot for a cracking knees up. In fact, what the heck, let’s make this one Editor’s Pick of The Week!
For a mellower experience in Bath, try The Tom Petty Legacy at Chapel Arts.
The Grief Opera, Love Goes On at St Andrew’s, Chippenham, Shift Social presents I Was Born in the Wrong Decade at Salisbury Arts Centre, and a Vintage Bazaar is followed by Moments of Pleasure, The Music of Kate Bush, at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt at Hillworth Park on Sunday 23rd October, PSG Choir hold an autumn concert at Devizes Town Hall, and the Chas Thorogood Trio play an afternoon session at the Southgate.
Kavus Torabi, Richard Wileman & Amy Fry at The Vic, Swindon, Richard and Amy appear on our Julia’s House compilation album, show them your support if possible. Always in for a great night with the Joh Amor Band, who play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon. And oh, CSF wrestling at the Cheese & Grain finishes our weekend off.
Got nothing through the weekdays I’m afraid, but lots of updating to the calendar still to do, so check in from time to time. That is, of course, until Wednesday, the 26th, when White Horse Opera presents L’elisir D’amore at Lavington School, which is running until 29th October, and also running on the same dates, Female Transport at the Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Amidst the number of other suspicious, much less futilely brutal activities, in the pursuit of rural blood sports, we’re currently knee-deep in the badger cull, … Continue reading “Wiltshire Against the Badger Cull Expresses Outrage as Farmer Buried an Active Badger Sett”
So, it was a most memorable evening in Calne last night, and that’s everyone from Devizes leaving the site with insular mumblings of ‘ah, you dunt wanna go down thar, probably get licked in a drive-by shooting!’ Now, I’m not one to get fanatical, but if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, I’ll risk it for the biscuit that is the finale of Calne Music & Arts Festival, because my new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie rang out the rafters with their exemplary blend of Americana.
Witnessing nothing of the preconceptions of smalltown rivalry, Marden House is an architecturally idyllic hall of gardened central location, with grand acoustics to boot. Beneath a plethora of submitted paintings which make up the gallery viewable throughout the fortnight of this long-founded festival, including one particularly striking image from our good friend Clifton Powell, Concrete Prairie played through their exquisite debut album, gave us a taste of what’s to come, and sprinkled it with a few apt covers. In such, they confirmed, short of me pressing my ugly mug on their limo windscreen as they leave a stadium, screeching “I love you, Concrete Prairie,” I’ve, in a relatively short time period, become somewhat obsessive about the wonderful local five-piece; and Americana of this country-inspired landscape isn’t usually my preferred cuppa!
Not wanting to scare them too much, I don’t do fanboy stalker, not with my eclectic tenet of promoting the entire local live music scene and the overabundance of talent here. Like my kids, I never announce my favoured drowning in car scenario preferences, but Concrete Prairie, I’d absolutely jump back in. And it was a more complete concert, rather than the half-hour gig at the sardine tin Beehive during the Swindon Shuffle. Though I mutually agreed with frontman Joe Faulkner, that was a blinding gig, bursting with atmosphere, you wouldn’t want to display your prize paintings on the walls there for the duration! Despite this more concert-based event may’ve been principled and lesser-so unruly, they met with an encore and rousing applause.
It also gave the chance for the band to really push the album tracks, express their thoughts behind the songs and give a more comprehensive show. None of this prior to student friend of Joe’s, M Butterfly, a Brighton-based soloist as support, providing some lush acoustic self-penned songs.
Kicking off with an instrumental guitar and fiddle combo, the drums rolled in for the opening track of their album, Pick up Pieces, after which Joe ate humble pie for the usage of the word “shit,” and livened the mood with the upbeat People Forget, which they did, or least forgave. If the audience were informed the opening song was about fatherhood, the second was more coming of age. Then two covers excellently unfolded, Loudon Wainwright’s Swimming Song, and The Waterboys’ finest hour, Fisherman’s Blues.
The mental health wellbeing themed Bury My Blues followed, and Hard Times took us nicely to an interval. What I didn’t catch at the Beehive was the diversity of Concrete Prairie, all members save drummer Tom Hartley and violinist Georgia Browne, swapping roles and instruments, all taking vocals, particularly the edgier Cash style of Adam Greeves, and accompanying, yet ever as tight and accomplished as they dared. Chatting to them later it was revealed to be too cramped conditions to do such at the Beehive. Here we could really get a better taste of the band, and they exploited this to the full, showing true professionalism in their stage presence and banter.
So, Wine on my Mind bought us back to the stage, with a new song Bound for Heaven, of equal and interesting composition, a solid taster for the sequel album. Joe then revealed a narrative of equality behind I Wish you Well, explaining the Annabel character mentioned was a personification of respect for anyone “different” from them. I mention this to detail the depth of concept in the band’s riddled writing, perhaps part of a job description for country artists, but they do this with the strength of the classics. Talking of which, a pleasing cover of Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman followed; sweet as.
Apologies for losing track at this conjunction, the spellbinding nature took hold, as they drove out their passionate fables with the attention to detail of Springsteen, or mentors, Guthrie and Segar. Often morbid subjects which other bands would refuse to attempt, yes, it can be dark at times. The album’s penultimate Winter Town being a prime example, yet carried off with such sublime precision, it awe-inspiring, Adam taking lead on this one beautifully.
The finale was, what I consider their magnum-opus, at least to-date, The Devil Dealt the Deck, and it came with a lighter explanation then I’d have imagined, but still, it stands as a testament to blanket Concrete Prairie’s range, it’s morose, yet builds in layers to danceable proportions of folk. Though of the ending, an encore was unanimous, and surprisingly, they arrived back on stage for a quick version of the Coral’s uplifting Pass it on, led by birthday boy bassist, Dan Burrows.
I was thrilled to catch this band in Calne, of whom Americana UK awarded a ten-out-of-ten album review, because all praise is thoroughly deserved, and their link to the wonderful Calne Music & Arts Festival was revealed by resident violinist, Georgia Browne, stating her mum was a chief organiser, and she appeared here since she was eight. The ethos remains for the festival, earlier events promote school choirs and young talent. This was also a marvellous accolade and association, resulting in something of a homely atmosphere, where respect was given. Outside, my opening line in meeting the other band members, aside Joe who I already met, was we really need to get you in Devizes, and they leaked a secret they’re booked somewhere in town very soon. The Southgate I havered a guess, and I believe, without quizzing Deborah, tis true. When they do, wow, I thoroughly recommend you attend and show them what we’re made of!
Here we are again, happy as can be, but slightly older, opps, soz, missed a C, slightly colder! Though we are a week older too, but that means nothing, only as old as you feel. Quite aggravated by chipping ice of the car windscreen this morning though, it’s only October for cryingout loud; who do I need to write to about this diabolical travesty?
Still, going out is the new going out, and here’s a lowdown of local stuff to do this coming week. The link you need is HERE, our ever-updating event calendar; you know the score by now.
There’s Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library on Thursday 13th October, and Beauty the Beast: The Guardians of the Forest at the Neeld.
Meanwhile lots still happening at the Calne Music & Arts Festival, with the Music Scholars of St. Mary’s School, Calne, The Primary School Choirs present: ‘Songs from Disney’, Kingsbury Green Academy Music Department in Concert and Tim Hughes presents ‘120 years of the Blues.’
Dick and Dom, yes, I did say Dick and Dom, are in Da Bungalow at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Mitch Benn’s It’s About Time tour takes to the Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Friday 14th, there’s an instore session at Sound Knowledge, Marlborough with Rachael Dadd. Sour Apple at The Condado Lounge, Devizes, while Illingworth play The Three Crowns, and Funked Up funk up the Pelican. But all eyes will on the Corn Exchange in Devizes when Longcroft Productions presents the all-female Black Sabbath tribute, Black Sabbitch; if it’s good enough for Dave Grohl it’s good enough for us!
DJ Stevie Mc holds the afterparty at the Exchange below, Friday nights is retro 80s,90s,00s night, free entry before 11pm.
Calne Music & Arts Festival has a piano recital from Helen Davies, and an evening of traditional Andalusian guitar and flamenco dance.
The astounding acoustic rave act, The Showhawk Duo plays Salisbury Arts Centre, while Erlestoke Golf Club has Barry Paull as Elvis!
Billy in the Lowground at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, The Derellas & Liabilities at The Vic, Swindon, The Chesterfields & Mighty One at the Tree House, Frome, while the Rhythm of the 90s bang out at The Cheese & Grain; sorted.
Impromptu Shakespeare at Rondo Theatre, Bath.
Moving on up to Saturday 15th, when the big Marlborough Mop Fair hits, with Grey Smith at The Bear.
Rockhoppaz at The Southgate, Devizes. Exchange has resident DJ Stevie Mc in the mix. Mick Jogger & The Stones Experience are at Steeple Ashton Village Hall, tickets £15 from their village shop.
Lego Club, never forget Lego Club at the everything-is-awesome Chippenham Museum, 3-4pm, every Saturday. While Wiltshire Museum, Devizes has a Building Materials conference on Industrial Archaeology.
Trowbridge has their annual Apple Festival at Emmanuel’s Yard, while NerveEndings play the Pump, with support from The Sunnies; ah yes, loud and proud.
Over in Swindon, the long-awaited Swindon Paint Fest begins; really good this looks, for all street art fans, head into Swindon Centre over the weekend. And The Moonrakers has The Specialized Project holding a ska fest too. Peloton play The Vic, and Hip Replacements at The Woodland Edge.
Tributes in Chippenham, The Tom Petty Legacy at the Neeld, and The Beatles for Sale at The Pewsham.
Siren plays The Talbot, Calne, which leads me nicely onto my editor’s pick of the week, in a minute, because the Calne Music & Arts Festival reaches its crowning, after Chris Dunn and Genevieve Sioka have a ‘Meet the Artist’ session, and a Photographic Talk titled ‘Down the Mekong, Cambodia and Vietnam’ the grand finale is my editor’s pick of the week……
Editor’s pick of the week……
Concrete Prairie at Marden Hall, Calne
My new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie will be at Marden Hall, Calne as part of the Calne Music & Arts Festival, for a full set. It’s a tenner, seated event, which is going to be tricky if I go, I might just break into my jig down the aisle! Review of their album here.
Anyway, Apache Smoke at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Ion Maiden at The Tree House, Frome, while eighties electronica band Blancmange play The Cheese & Grain; no, never heard of them, far too young!!
Mitch Benn is at Salisbury Arts Centre today, and Rob Auton’s The Crowd Show is at Rondo Theatre, Bath.
I mean, there might be more added as time goes on, but that’s all I got for now; smaller venues, please submit your event listings to us asap, as you are the important ones which we really need to get the information out about. If you make me come find you on social media it never works, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really narked off about social media at the moment!
Sunday 16th, then, and Wiltshire Soul & Blues Club have their exclusive monthly jam at the Owl Lodge, Swindon Paint Fest continues, and sax lovers, do check Guinea Lane Saxophones, Pewsey Players and Take Five at Pewsey Heritage Centre.
Highly recommended, Jack Grace Band at the Southgate, Devizss and The James Oliver Band plays The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Blackbeard’s Tea Party and Imprints at The Winchester Gate, Salisbury.
Frome Wessex Camera Fair at The Cheese & Grain, with Ned Boulting in the evening.
Monday, I got nought, but nobody likes Mondays anyway. Ban them, ban them all now!!
Tuesday 18th, Assassins opens at Rondo Theatre, Bath, runs until 21st October, Good Luck, Studio at Salisbury Playhouse, and legendary folk at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, with Steeleye Span.
Wednesday 19th, and Swindon’s dub reggae outfit Subject A are live at the Bell on Walcot Street, Bath, Beth Nielson Chapman at The Cheese & Grain, Frome and don’t forget, Wednesday evening acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, ah, yes.
Have a good week, don’t work too hard; that is a direct order!
Here’s what we’ve found to do round and about Wiltshire this coming week, unless you like staying home, scowling at your electric smart meter as it ticks down pounds like a stopwatch attached to a timebomb.…..
In a week where our illustrious MP Danny K’s words of reassurance blazed a rim-job op-ed in the trustworthy journal Gazelle & Herod, that we need not worry, he doesn’t think the illusory budget car-crash will affect votes for the Conservative Party next election, and he’s probably right too, there’s much slander of opposition to be done, lots of backhanding persuasive mainstream media to convince you starving to death is all for the best for Britain.
One point I would like to make, for all in Devizes, is we are saddened to hear about the violence last Saturday. Devizine is not here to report such incidents, but we wish the victims well. I was shocked, though, by the Gazette’s completely superfluous reasoning to use a stock image of the British Lion free house, as the event did NOT even happen there, rather further along the road.
If a bike was nicked in the same area, would they post a piccy of Bikes N Boards, or if a dog bit a cat, would they pin it on the vets? What if a Hawaiian pizza started chucking its pineapple onto an unsuspecting pepperoni one, would they launch an attack on Dominoes?! I hope you get my point, The British Lion is a wonderful pub, and for numerous times I’ve visited, over decades, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once seen the slightest bit of trouble there, not so much as one fellow tickling another inappropriately with a feather! The British is a great and safe pub, don’t be persuaded by wonky journalism, they didn’t even get the name right and called it the Red Lion, for crying out loud into a sick bucket!
These days, provided you take Shanks’s pony, it’s probably cheaper to go out than heat your home, so on we go. Don’t forget all details and links can be found on our magical updating event calendar, HERE.
And just to note, my plug-in crystal ball is whacking up leccy bill, so excuse me if I didn’t have a premonition of your event, perhaps tell me about next time, eh?! It’s free to be here, we’re all friends…. most of the time. Of the few Karens I did joyfully nark on Facebook this week, one had the audacity of calling me a snob, which was so funny I had to get all Iain Wallis on her!
Now I’m waffling, don’t mind me. Thursday 6th October, find Jambon Chapeau, a new duo of Mike Pickering and Derrick Jepson of Paradox at the Three Crowns, Devizes for a Fantasy Radio Live Lounge from 7-9pm.
Chippenham Community Conference in the Neeld. Two days of guest speakers, networking, priority setting and celebrating the work of the community and voluntary sector in the Chippenham area.
If not, The Moscow Drug Club play The Cheese & Grain, Frome; you may’ve seen these guys at Devizes Arts Festival.
Friday 7th and Calne Music & Arts Festival opens, a fortnight with lots going on, and ending next Saturday with the amazing Concrete Prairie, more on individual events with this as we go.
The London Philharmonic Skifﬂe Orchestra play at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, and staying in town there’s options, options, people.
Sheer Music is back in town with a freebie at The Exchange, our very own NervEndings with Lucky Number 7; that will be loud, and I’ve rumour you might be able to remain hiding in a corner when the nightclub kicks in afterwards!
Meanwhile the wonderful Sour Apple play at The Pelican, a gig postponed after the Queen’s Funeral.
Over in Trowbridge, Jol Rose supports the Often Herd at the Pump, while The Soul Strutters strut to The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, tribute All Floyd play Salisbury Arts Centre, and Beatles tribute the Prefab Four play The Vic, Swindon.
Staying in Swindon, Coleview Music Festival has sold out for the Saturday, but there’s still some Friday tickets and Sunday is pay on the door with families’ welcome. Friday has Go Span Duran, Tasha Leaper as Madonna and Talk in Code, Sunday find Pink Mac, Splat the Rat, Disco Dollz and Busy Fools.
Saturday 8th, and Chippenham Museum’s Lego Club is from 3-4pm, every Saturday. Happy 40th to The Royal Wotton Bassett Orchestra, who play at St Bartholomew’s Church.
The first Mop Fair in Marlborough, the following is next Saturday 15th.
Time for some Long Street Blues Club in Devizes, when Eddie Martin brings his full Big Blues Band to the Conservative Club. Over the road, the wonderful The Hoo-Doos play The Southgate. Things promise to get ska, a little way down the hill, at Potterne Social Club, when Andy McGowan does his One-Man Nutty Boys Tribute.
The Britpop Boys are booked to play The Consti Club, Chippenham, but do check ahead on this one, The Consti Club have been going through some changes, have sadly axed some event organisers from their books, and I’m not to speculate the reasoning, but some events might not be going ahead. Back to Calne Music & Arts Festival, they have a Family Day, and Opera Anywhere presents The Magic Flute.
In Trowbridge the Pump presents the Finn Collinson Band, and Sonic Alert are at Stallards. The Blunders at the trusty The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and if you’re in Bath, well, I’d highly recommend Rosalie Cunningham at Bath Arts Centre.
The Rondo Theatre has an Andrew O’Neill tour, with the strapline, “we are not in the least bit afraid of ruins; we carry a new world in our hearts.” Jen Brister tour, The Optimist at Salisbury Arts Centre.
Mad Dog McRea at The Cheese & Grain, and Sweet Machine at Tree House, Frome.
Operation 77 @ The Woodland Edge, Swindon, and staying in Swindon, do check FatFest at Level III. Fatfest rock event is in support of Fatboy’s Charity, raising money to help kids dealing with cancer and leukaemia. Confirmed to appear so far are Dan Reed Trio, Revival Black, Twister and local band Fall From Ruin.
Onto Sunday the 9th, and Pewsham Scarecrow Trail begins, The Worried Men play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Herman Dune plays The Cheese & Grain, Frome.
For Calne Music & Arts Festival, there’s The Serenata Guitar Trio, and Even Song at St. Mary’s Parish Church. The festival continues Monday, with The Yehudi Menuhin School In Concert, The Kassia Trio, Louis Stephenson Piano Recital, and a Drink & Draw.
Tuesday 11th and find the regular Improvers Art course at The Cause, Chippenham. Calne Music & Arts Festival brings you Music Scholars of Marlborough College In Concert, and Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow at Marden House.
Bird watchers might like RSPB: Pura Vida – Costa Rica’s Magical Birds at Salisbury Arts Centre.
Wednesday 12th, Calne Music & Arts Festival has the Calne Singers ‘Songs from the Shows,’ and The Roaring Trowmen.
Don’t forget Wednesday night is acoustic jam night at the Southgate Devizes.
Salisbury Playhouse has The Wellspring, and Rondo Theatre, Bath has The Greatest Magician, and no, that’s not Kwasi Kwarteng…. A snob, honestly, did you see them call me that, on the book of Face?! Oh, my years, could you get any less snobby than me, I’m picking my butt crack as I write this shit?! Hey, you have a good weekend now, take care out there.
A little late for the party, as ever, I’ve been procrastinating, and my computer is equally as listless; failing to save my original words on this. Meanwhile Newbury good guy, but welcomed regular on our circuit, Joe Hicks has been busy with a debut album launched yesterday, worthy of a rewrite……
Titled The Best I Could Do at The Time, Joe is seriously playing it down, like the nerd at college who tells you they “haven’t done much” for their assignment, so you follow suit only to find them offering a feasible cure for all known diseases in a presentation with U2 providing the soundtrack, while the best you can offer is a scribbling of your pet cat, which you did on the bus journey there.
The opening tune, Sail Away, for example, is far punchier than David Gray’s appellation of the same name, and we won’t contemplate sailing down the Rod Stewart route. Though it’s best pigeonholed like Gray’s, as folktronica, there’s a whole lot more going on here from this stalwart who could just as easily fit comfortably into a blues dance as he could a folk festival, and does.
The blurb suggests The Best I Could Do at the Time is “a journey through many of the emotional peaks and troughs we go through as humans,” Joe explained, “and more specifically me as a musician in such uncertain times. It’s about acknowledging them, living in those feelings for a while and ultimately finding the hope we all have within us to take control and rise above the worst of them. It’s about doing the best we can with the tools that we have.”
The first thing to hit you is the sheer production quality, a euphoric yet upbeat anthemic joy from the off, Sail Away, sustains the timeless pop formula, making him balance on the edge between aforementioned folk and blues, and allowing this album to flow tidy, but traverse any given pop subgenre at will, while retaining originality and stylised inimitability.
If One More Step, the timeless pop second track is a prime example, it builds on layers like a contemporary hit of say a George Ezra-Bruno Marrs hybrid, Maybe When It’s Over follows, and this stretches back further, reeking of unruffled seventies soul, like Curtis Mayfield.
Four tracks in and you’re safe in knowledge to accept anything, Pieces is sublime acoustic fluff, and there was a line in the subtle skank of Lost in Love, “oh, such a reckless emotion,” where I paused for thought on a comparison which I couldn’t quite put my finger on, until it came to me; the velvety vocals of Paul Young, especially when he sang Come Back and Stay.
Mirror Mirror reflects an indie side-order, while Out of My Mind surprisingly nods of township jive, designating a hint of Paul Simon’s Graceland. Hand in Hand settles the pace once again to this euphoria, so that even if the narrative traverses the downhearted at times, it’s always a musical ride with the glass half full. And herein is my point; this is ageless pop goodness, borrowing from what went before, but fresh and contemporary throughout, which is the even balance of magnitude.
The final trio of tracks on this eleven-strong album returns to the early eighties pop formula with, Alive, folktronica goodness with the inspiring Make It Home, and Weightless polishes it off with the pop roll of The Corrs, or something along those lines, though the whole shebang holds itself in its own pocket.
It’s a wonderful album, deservedly to be considered a remarkable achievement; The Best I Could Do at The Time huh? Well, the time is nigh. Having made a name for himself as a session guitarist, Joe Hicks was ‘BBC Introducing Artist of the Week’, directly from his first solo single in 2017. Since he’s built up a sizable online following, touring the UK and Europe, appearing at CarFest, The Big Feastival, Are You Listening? Festival, Pub in the Park, over thirty Sofar Sounds shows and slots supporting Sam Fender, James Walsh and Starsailor.
Here in Devizes, he’s regularly appeared at Long Street Blues Club and Saddleback, and is always a delight to chat with; just a genuine modest talent, of which this album truly blows the lid off his cover. I got your number, Hicks; bloomin’ amazing album, my son!
Some albums are an immediate love at first listen, but as time passes you start to see holes. Others take time to digest, growers; you learn to love them. Going in blind on this one, I’ve seen the Swindon-based band name floating around locally, favourites at The Tuppenny, Trowbridge’s Pump, and they knocked it out of Town Gardens at My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad. I’ve listed them on our event calendar, and well, guess I just liked the ironic rootsy name, Concrete Prairie, reminding me of Marley’s Concrete Jungle. I was more than pleasantly surprised.…..
It did both, an immediate love, ever-growing. There’re no holes here, their self-titled debut album, out tomorrow (2nd September) is made from solid rhinestone. Solemn when needed, indignantly peppy otherwise, but always chiaroscuro and earnest. Americana, folk noir, of the like of Johnny Cash, vocally akin, with the depth and command of Jim Morrison, and, I kid you not, dammit it’s on that greatness level too.
There are secret treasures buried here, though lyrics chant, “you know when shit hits the fan, I’ll be the man who’s picking up pieces,” its humble Nashville-esque beginnings doesn’t prepare you fully for the finale. The Devil Dealt the Deck is an ambitious tragedy-come-rhapsody ending, it is their Stairway to Heaven, bronc-riding Othello, sublimely moreish.
Betwixt them are eight other solid and lengthy tunes, caringly crafted, exceptionally well delivered. Ballads of Bakersfield backbeat like I Wish you Well roll into the particularly Cash sounding Day by Day, merging into acoustic fingerstyle backwood blues rock by the haunting Hard Times, when things suddenly head foot-stomping bluegrass. By the upbeat People Forget you’re fully immersed in its evocative depictions, as it weaves and blends all subgenres in-between, wonderfully wrapped in this aforementioned dark prose.
Astonished I messaged them, to confirm this was their debut album, all too easy to perceive this as the project of legendary rock stars who hoisted in the best producer to reconnect their roots after decades of golden discography. They did in fact, find the ears of John Reynolds, producer for The Indigo Girls, Damien Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor.
Take the forlorn howl of Guthrie in his darkest moment, there’s broken characters of Springsteen’s Nebraska in the narrative too, yet somehow those desperate nuances here rise above both their melancholic murmur; it’s got edge but at best times it rides it frenetic and fierce; rootin’, tootin’ and a-shootin’!
Joe, from the band tells me, “It’s been a few years in the making due to some somewhat global delays!” But comparable to an artist who cannot leave a painting alone for finishing touches, it’s obvious after a listen, there’s a serious amount of work gone into this. Yet no one creates their magnum opus so early, surely? I confess I liked Springsteen’s inaugural The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, or Floyd’s Meddle better than the matured Born to Run or Dark Side of the Moon, but I accept their place is lesser popularly; if this then is the par of those, I want to be around when they do their masterwork.
There’s a fair bit of cliché Americana around and about, wishy-washy mediocre, but these guys aren’t sitting around a campfire with a can of beans playing the fart game here, this is concentrated, solid material, a real sheriff’s badge. This is how it should be done, if you catch my drift, and its equal distance away from Achy Breaky Heart as acid-techno is!
Launch day is tomorrow, across streaming platforms. CDs are up for pre-order on Amazon and the album will also be seeing a vinyl release: link here.
They’re play Swindon Shuffle, and there’s an album launch at Moles, Bath, Saturday 3rd September with Barney Kenny in support. Tickets here, are just a fiver.
Arriving just in time to catch Swindon schoolteacher Garri Nash by weekday, ambient acoustic musician N/SH by gig-nights, at one of the early mini-festivals of The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings this summer, I’d missed local covers band Paradox play before him. It perhaps wasn’t the most appropriate follow, Paradox roused the audience with lively renowned … Continue reading “Recreational Trespass with N/SH”
In the distressing event of a relationship breakdown some take to drinking their sorrows away, others might venture off to “find themselves,” whereas creative types often channel their innermost moods into their art. Themes of love lost are commonplace, arguably cliché, but where Phil Collins sang, “take a look at me now, there’s just an … Continue reading “The Scribes on a Journey”
It’s been a few months since we announced Party For Life are back in the biz of vital fundraising, with a Suicide Prevention Day fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on Saturday 10th September. So, take this as a gentle reminder, this event looks awesome, and besides, organiser Clare McCarthy has just sent us the final … Continue reading “Party For Life Reveal Final Lineup”
The wonderful Wharf Theatre in Devizes is reopening this month for a new autumn-winter season; I know, don’t say “winter,” not yet! Hedda Gabler is the first production, running from 19th to 24th September. It’s written by Henrik Ibsen with a translation by Michael Meyer. The Wharf’s chief director, Lewis Cowen is on this one, and it’s … Continue reading “Wharf Theatre Opens For Autumn/Winter Season with Hedda Gabler”
Featured image above by Gail Foster It has been undeniably a variety music show at the Full Tone Festival this bank holiday weekend on the Green in Devizes, of tremendous proportions and matchless quality. The stage I’ve previous dubbed “like something out of the Jetsons,” was once again erected, deckchair city assembled around it, with … Continue reading “Opera Meets House at Devizes Full Tone Festival”
Could be a pub crawl, more likely the chord progression of blues, but my drunken jesting query met with a shrug from the guitarist, the name 12 Bars Later means either, whatever! I might not have been so far from a truth, in that over this bank holiday 12 Bars Later nail four bars; played … Continue reading “12 Bars Later at The Southgate”
Wowzers, someone’s put a musical rocket up Swindon’s you-know-where, and is due to ignite it over September! You’ve never had it so good, Swindonites, as Swindon Shuffle announce their line-up ahead of the weekend of 15th-18th September AND an inaugural Swindon Folk & Blues Festival is announced by The Jazz Knights the very following Saturday, … Continue reading “September in Swindon; Shuffles and Jazz Knights”
Coming around to Devizine’s fifth birthday has got me reminiscing on how all this started in the first place, who is really to blame?! It wasn’t Richie Triangle’s fault, really, for he cannot help who comes to see him play, but as for our mainstay support of local live music, a hefty portion transpired from … Continue reading “Richie Triangle; Imposter Syndrome”
It might not be bank holiday, but it’s not blank holiday, if you see what I mean? Nah, forget it; here’s what’s happening over the next week in Wiltshire.
Pinch punch, Thursday is the first of September, and I’ve got nothing, yet! Do keep a check when updates come into our event calendar, the one link you need for info on all the stuff below and for planning future events.
Friday 2ndis the Wax Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival in Erlestoke, ravers, there’s also the End of the Road Festival, Salisbury way on the Dorset border, and the Punchbowl Festival in Codford.
Closer to us, The Devizes Living Room has a “bloc-party,” on the Green, all welcome. Potterne Social Club has People Like Us, The Roughcut Rebels play The Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve, Navajo Dogs are at The New Inn, Winterbourne Monkton.
Comedy at The Boathouse, Bradford-on-Avon with Sally-Anne Heywood.
And over in Swindon, you’ll find the Groove Club Collective at The Vic, Mac N Cheese at the Queen’s Tap, and The Total Stone Roses playing Level III.
Saturday 3rd, and it’s the start of Salisbury Art Trail, running until 18th September.
It’s Malmesbury Carnival, the Melksham Food & River Festival, and Tripwire Presents Bristol Comic Con over the weekend. Lego fans check out The Cheese & Grain, Frome where there’s a Lego show and market, Brickin’ It!
Editor’s Pick of The Week
In Devizes it’s Confetti Battle time, and the Colour Rush, yay! No tokens this year, so you will just need to line up to buy you confetti so arrive early to avoid the queues. You’ll still need to line up to collect your confetti prior to the 8pm kick-off.
As far as we know Devizes is the only town in the world that has a Confetti Battle tradition. No one can remember the first official battle but we know its roots date back to the old Devizes Carnival in 1913, where confetti and rose petals were thrown by the crowd at people in the procession. The tradition evolved into a fully-fledged battle around 1955 when it was started by Jim Jennings; should make it my editor’s pick of the of the week really.
This year the Confetti Battle continues to grow and the colourful chaos has been added to with the introduction of the Colour Rush, an amazing 5 km mixed terrain fun run – what better way to arrive at a Confetti Battle than covered in multi-coloured powder!
There is no ‘battle’ as such, just a very silly half-hour during which a lot of fun is had, and a lot of confetti is thrown about. Expect to get ‘attacked’ by complete strangers throwing paper! The Battle continues to gain popularity and 2017 saw over 3500 people take part. The event takes place at the finish line of our new Colour Rush 5k run so expect to see some exceptionally colourful visitors in the crowd.
Jennings funfair is in the Market Place on Friday 2nd September until Sunday 3rd of September operating between 5.30 pm until 11.00 pm.
The DOCA website says “keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag,” it continues so say, “this will entitle…” and then it ends, so I’ve no idea what the golden ticket entitles you to! Maybe they need to keep their eyes peeled on their typos, but I guess they’re too busy making fun for us all, and I, for one, bless them for it.
Staying in Devizes for confetti free events, Jamie R Hawkins will be at The Southgate, while Paradox plays The Cellar Bar of the Bear Hotel. Tamsin Quin plays the Barge on HoneyStreet.
Wiltshire BKA Honey Bee Health Day at Market Lavington, some Carnival Music by Jenny Bracey at The Crown in Aldbourne. Local Heroes Inc play Prestbury Sports Bar, Warminster.
In Swindon Moonwire and Lung at The Vic, Dragon Eye at The Rolleston, Larkhill at the Queens Tap, Echo at Coleview Community Centre and Dreuw & Will Killen at The Hop Inn.
Sunday 4th September, and there’s a RSPCA fun dog show on the Green in Devizes, and the monthly residency of Jon Amor at the Southgate at 5pm, featuring guest Nat Martin.
Composer-pianist and creative coder, Larkhall will be taking his innovative live show to venues across the UK this year, he comes to Schtum in Box on Sunday, and playing Pound Arts in Corsham on the 9th.
White Horse Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show in Westbury, and Minety has a Beer & Cider Festival.
Rainbow Fest at The Olive Tree Cafe in Swindon, promises crafts, live Music and poetry for £2 entry (under 12 free) with all funds going to charities supporting LGBQIA+. Meanwhile, local acoustic duo Sweet Nightingale play Queens Park.
And that’s your weekend, folks. Monday 5th sees a live art Demonstration by Artist Paul Oakley at Devizes Conservative Club, organised by the Lawrence Society of Art. And that for now is all I have for midweek, but I promise to do some digging and update the event calendar more often, pinky promise.
Okay, that leaves me with stuff to get prepared for, that means buying tickets, dammit! September 10th sees the Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC, details here, get yourself a ticket for this, raising funds and awareness of Suicide prevention.
Also, the Wharf Theatre opens for its Autumn/winter season with Hedda Gabler running from 9th to the 24th. Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Devizes Food & Drink Festival, Swindon Shuffle and Swindon Folk & Blues Festival; it’s still happening, summer isn’t through…. yet!
And if you’ve still found nothing to interest you, stay in and listen to our new volume of the 4 Julia’s House compilation album, which we released last week. 35 amazing, locally-sourced songs, and all the proceeds go to Julia’s House Children’s Hospices; thank you!
Coming around to Devizine’s fifth birthday has got me reminiscing on how all this started in the first place, who is really to blame?! It wasn’t Richie Triangle’s fault, really, for he cannot help who comes to see him play, but as for our mainstay support of local live music, a hefty portion transpired from a rare occasion the better half and I dropped into the Black Swan and was surprised and blown away to hear some live music in town, this good.
Here’s the thing, there is and always was a lively music scene in Devizes, I know this now, but I went from the raver-clubber into parenthood and neither of them warrant the angle to have gone searching for a band in a pub, not that it was something I disliked, far from it. At the time my local rant column for Index;Wiltshire was becoming tiresome and heavily edited, it was time to spin it around, reflect on what was good about living in Devizes. Richie Triangle’s residency at the Black Swan was the catalyst, and I ventured off to find Tamsin Quin, and the rest erupted from there.
Times move on, landlords of pubs do, and so did Richie, now residing on the Kent coast, yet, I still think we owe it to him to mention his latest album, Imposter Syndrome, released this week. It’s a far cry from the acoustic young man belting out Irish folk songs and pop covers in the same format. Richie is a force to be reckoned with, an intricately weaver of wordplay and original compositions, and if David Gray coined the term folktronica, Richie has epitomised it.
Here’s your for instance; twelve songs blending acoustic goodness into pop, with echo-delays of dub, an acapella intro with oddities of voice synthesisers, followed by The Tide, a modish-come-country angle, much in the flavour Elvis Costello, or what Jon Amor achieved with Red Telephone. From there there’s really no pigeonholing, Trying to Get Home rolls with a slither of old eighties soul-disco, and Richie’s not afraid to add a rap.
It gets a deeper melting pot track by track, Hope in your Eyes, definitely electric blues rock, while Sign of Times, hints of electronica of yore. From there one’s ear settles on this wavering style, but there’s surprises again towards the ends, nothing is off the cards as folky goes rap and a non-compliance theme and jazzy piano bridge. It’s systematic, purposely blending and experimental, the finale characteristic of Adrian Sherwood’s On U Sound, who while I’m unsure if this is produced by them, Richie has worked with them in the past.
All I do know is, even if you recall attending Richie’s regular gigs at the Black Swan as he camped out the back of the Devizes pub, or not, here’s a upcoming marvel, who once graced our town with his presence, and proved himself as a inimitable talent then, this album is a pleasure to listen to; it’s long overdue you checked in on him again.
We can’t wait until roundup Tuesday, when we usually roundup the weekly roundup, it’s the last big summer blowout bank holiday, so we’re simply too excited and thought you might wanna plan early, so here it is, hold on to your horses… or just let them run wild, I’m not worried, just too excited, did I say I was too excited?!
Repetition is fine, but there’s no links here, too time-consuming, so please us this link to our event calendar, and you can grab details and ticket links from there, but you knew that already, I hope. Oh, did I say, repetition is fine?
All quiet on Wednesday 24th, but if you’re eager to get the ball rolling, 41 Fords play the Kilminton Home Guard Club in Warminster, entry by donation, and don’t forget Wednesday s are the regular acoustic jam night down our trusty Southgate in Devizes, and is always a wonderful night.
Thursday 25th then, and Honey Fest kicks off at the Barge on HoneyStreet, and banging out the whole weekend; I believe there’s a few tickets up for grabs.
Meanwhile, unmissable rock soloist Adam Masterson plays The Tuppenny in Swindon with Jules Hill in support. Bath Forum have The Billy Joel Songbook, and lots of lucky people will be making their way to either Reading Festival or GoatFest; have fun!
Warming up to Friday, the 26th August, when our brilliant Irish folk duo, the Celtic Roots Collective are at the Pelican in Devizes.
Over in the land of chips and ham, there’s an August Bank Holiday Beer & Cider Festival at the Three Crowns, and ska-punkers Operation77 play The Black Horse, Chippenham.
Illingworth takes on triple gigs this weekend, catch them at Flan O’Brian’s in Bath on Friday, where Komedia have a night with The Ministry of Burlesque’s Cabaret; ding dong!
Mod band Peloton plays The Vic, Swindon, and wow, the Cheese & Grain, Frome have Morcheeba, yes, I said Morcheeba; show offs!
Saturday 27th, is the big one. Shall I start it with the….
Editor’s Pick of Week: The Full Tone Festival, The Green, Devizes
Yep, you probably guessed it, it’s time for the hills of Devizes to come alive with the sound of music. It is the Full Tone Festival Weekend. Hurry and get your ticket, and say hi if you see me wandering around like a lost puppy. Said what needed to be said about this corker, let the show begin.
Over in Devizes Market Place from 9am-1pm there’s a Mind, Body & Spirit Market. There’s free live music all day at the Crown Inn, Bishops Cannings, with 12 Bars Later, Plan of Action, and It’s Complicated. Later, 12 Bars Later nip across to the Southgate, Devizes!
And where do I even begin elsewhere? Holt Scarecrow Trail begins, it’s Aldbourne Carnival, a Rod Stewart tribute at The Pewsham, Near Chippenham, there’s a Summer Party at Westbury Cons Club with Wade Merritt and Jay, followed by People Like Us, and the West of England Youth Orchestra perform at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.
A debut performance, at the Gloucester Road Conservative Club in Trowbridge for soul band Dimensions, and that’s free entry. Kurt Vile & The Violators at Bath Forum, Apollo Ghosts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and in Swindon, the wonderful The Daybreakers are live at The Vic, while The Tin Shack Band play the Woodlands Edge. Oh, and The Swiss Chalet has a Harry’s Heroes fundraiser.
Sunday is where things usually start to calm down, but not this weekend. The 28th sees the second day of Full Tone, Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby and Potterne Festival.
Illingworth play The Churchill Arms in West Lavington today, and a young local band to watch out for, Nothing Rhymes With Orange are in support.
There’s a mini fest at the Talbot in Calne with Six O’clock Circus, People Like Us, Wet Frank, End of Story and others.
LodgeFest aptly at Warminster’s Lodge, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, and the Hammervilles have a bank holiday beach party at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Swindon is gearing up for the Shuffle next month, but in the meantime, Shades of Seattle plays the Vic, highly recommended Atari Pilot are at the Castle, and for the kids, there’s always Milkshake live at the Wyvern.
If you’re still standing in Devizes on Monday, 29th August, here’s what to do…. Black Rat Monday, down The British Lion, with the Celtic Roots Collective and a jam to follow. Or Finley & Mark support The Reason at the Three Crowns; nice either way!
From 5pm Illingworth will be at the Waterfront, Pewsey, and the Beverley May Band play The Milk Churn, Melksham. It’s the Chippenham River Festival, there’s a massive line-up for a free music festival across the entire village of Box, it is Box Rocks. The Lost Trades and Dolly Mavies headline a mini-festival at The Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, and Abba tribute 21st Century ABBA play The Bowl in Town Gardens, Swindon.
I’m sure there’s going to be more added as the week goes by, so keep up-to-date with our event calendar. That’s the weekend forecast to date, though.
Tuesday 30thand Gently Tender play The Royal Oak in Marlborough, the regular Jazz Knights at Swindon’s Royal Oak has the Kevin Figes Quartet, during the day there’s a Farmyard Circus at Queen’s Park, and Russell Brand comes to the Wyvern.
Wednesday 31st, look out for the Wind in the Willows at the Corsham Almshouses, and phew, that’s me done, dusted and ready for a nap; have a great weekend!
Ah this is more like it, the English summer we know and love! Tad wet, but here’s what we have to do this week and the last weekend before the big summer blow-out which is the August Bank Holiday.….
Don’t forget, more info and all links for bookings are on our event calendar, where you can also plan ahead, so long as it keeps updating, which I’m trying my best to, honest!
There’s a floral demonstration at Devizes Town Hall on Wednesday 17th August, by the Devizes Flower Club; opens at 7pm, £5.
Parents head for the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon where there’s a messy art session and a singing day ahead.
Manchester’s noughties art rock band Everything Everything play the Cheese & Grain, Frome.
Thursday 18th, and again, kids can visit The Musical Zoo at the wonderful Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Three bands at The Beehive, Swindon on Thursday, The Acoustic Buzz 52, Larkham & Hall and Jol Rose. Also, at The Vic the have Monasteries, Creak, Persadian & Chasing Dolls. The Summer Youth Project performance of Legally Blonde is at the Wyvern.
Onto Friday 19th, and it’s the Wine Tasting event at St Mary’s Devizes, previewed here.
If you’re lucky you can still book a fantastic Survival Camp for any young adventurous children who are aged between 10 years old and 12 years old, with the Wild Edge Survival Camp at West Lavington.
Folk duo Fly Yeti Fly are at The Bear Inn, Bradford on Avon, The Beverley May Band at The Kings Arms, Melksham, Hayden Lloyd at Komedia, Bath. @59 play The Wellington in Marlborough.
In Swindon, Judas Rising plays the Vic, while Bobbi Nicholles is at Woodlands Edge.
Saturday 20th, it’s my pick of the week; the Bath Comic & Gaming Festival at Bath Uni. Full of UK based comic artist guests, some film and tv guests and cosplay guests, a dinosaur zone, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Star Wars props, and lots of stuff for kids to empty fanboy dad’s wallet! Lord, help me!
Roots and folk at the Southgate Devizes, with Barney Kelly, and the welcome return of Long Street Blues Club with Skinny Molly, I believe is a sell-out. Worth checking though, I might be wrong, as, I sometimes am; I said sometimes!
Dutty Moonshine Big Band play The Barge, HoneyStreet, Emily Barker is at The Pump in Trowbridge, and another successful Pipe & Slippers Rave at Trowbridge Town Hall goes off; I have to see this for myself; dust off the old whistle and white gloves! Oh, and if Sausage & Cider is more your thing, there’s a Day of it at The Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve.
Shame Live at Lydiard had to cancel, but People Like Us play The Swiss Chalet, Swindon and Click! are at Woodlands Edge.
Sunday afternoon on the 21st August then, has another Fantasy Radio Lark in Hillworth Park, Devizes, though I’ve no idea who’s playing, because they never say. But Chaz Throughgood is at the Southgate.
It’s the August Jam for the exclusive Wiltshire Blues & Soul Club, in their hiding place at Lacock, while the fantastic Sarah C. Ryan Band play a lazy afternoon at Richard Jefferies Museum, Swindon, and Jim Blackmann plays Komedia, Bath.
And that’s your weekend over. On Tuesday 23rd Radio Banska play Jazz Knights at The Royal Oak, Swindon, and at this moment in time I’ve nought else in the week until Thursday’s opening of HoneyFest at the Barge on HoneyStreet.
But it will be bank holiday next weekend, and there’s much to be looking into and planning. We’ll be at The Full Tone Festival on the Green in Devizes, and that one, I promise you, will be awesome, but not the same without you, so get your ticket as soon as possible!
But yeah, same weekend you can find Reading Festival, GoatFest, Potterne Festival, Holt Scarecrow Trail, the Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby, Mini Talbot Fest at The Talbot, Calne, LodgeFest at The Lodge, Warminster, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, Chippenham River Festival, a live music festival at the Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, 21st Century ABBA at The Bowl, Town Gardens, Swindon as well as multitude of smaller gigs at just about every local pub and venue you can mention; and it’s all here on our event calendar, just hope the rain gives it a break!
For want of content during lockdown I broke borders and publicised about music worldwide, gradually crawling Devizine back to its original ethos of focussing on local happenings. Pardon me if I don’t get all Royston Vasey on this EP, recorded in the South of France, for the reasoning is twofold; Paul Lappin originates from Swindon only partially significant, mostly it’s because for music this good I’m willing to break any rules about content I might’ve once made!
Through the album The Boy Who Wanted to Fly, if in October 2020 I raved about the Britpop goodness of Paul and his band, the Keylines, a following live unplugged and largely acoustic release Christmas last year, Live at Pink Moon Studiossimply knocked it out of the park for me. Stripped back and set within an intimate lockdown performance, Live at Pink Moon Studios not only reinforced the absolute brilliance of Lappin, it earmarked its place in my all-time favourites, outside the confines of what we review here.
No pressure then, Paul, if I don’t compare this new release to other items currently in review, rather provide assurance to our readers, this again dreamy, mostly acoustic new EP Flowers in the Snow, is immediately enchanting, best paralleled with John Martyn, Jeff Buckley, or Nick Drake, the latter of whom I’d imagine Paul to cite, being the studio name refers to a Drake album.
Though, I feel at times, aforementioned comparisons are somewhat lost in their own era, Paul reflects this too, his work never retrospective, it sounds fresh for the now, as Britpop comes of age, this is matured indie, favourably over a beechwood fireplace in a cabin recollecting times past, with a customary glass of wine.
Three average-length tunes make up this EP, though as suspected, that’s all which is average here. A tale of better times on their way begins the proceedings, a best served acoustically title track. It smooths the soul, quite literally. Moodier soundscape introduction of subtle guitar riff following for track two, Blue and Gold, brings out the best in Johannes Saal’s drums and bass, and Thomas Monnier’s subtle congas.
“The rest of my band were busy with other projects,” Paul explains of springtime, “I spent a week at Pink Moon residential studios in the south of France working on some new ideas with producer and recording artist Saal.” The result is this EP; three songs loosely linked by the theme of the seasons and mixed on a beautiful 1980’s GDR era broadcast desk. “The download includes a 14-minute bonus track of all three songs linked together, as was originally intended.”
Okay, so I’m guessing spring on Flowers in the Snow, dead reckoning Blue and Gold is summer, but the last tune confirms, it’s winter; Not Hiding Just Sliding is perhaps the most experimental, such a beguilingly unassuming melody, holding you out to dry in want for more. This is an exceptional set of flowing songs, no two-ways about it, if the seasons really came and went as smoothly as this, I’d still be wearing a t-shirt and khaki shorts through the bleak midwinter!
Sitting by a controversially purple outside bar, contemplating my debatable definition of the term “festival,” yesterday in Bishop’s Cannings, while Freddie Mercury sauntered past and … Continue reading “Top Marks For CrownFest”
Once a cover band, east Wiltshire’s rootsy four-piece Hooch have moved to writing and recording original material. Their discography goes onto music streaming sites today … Continue reading “Hooch on Streaming”
If I said of the Full Tone Festival, last year, “and in the history of events in Devizes, the magnitude of what The Full-Tone Orchestra achieved yesterday will forever be imprinted,” it was for two reasons; that it was, and also, aside their free gig in the Market Place, it was inaugural. Still, there’s a number of annual events well established in town, already historically imprinted.
One firm favourite, The Devizes Beer & Cider Festival returned post-lockdown, yesterday, for it’s 21st anniversary, a day which can be best described as monumental, if more expected to be than first timers, like FullTone.
I’ve been to a few drinks festivals, where you can choose from top to bottom, left or right, from the displayed kegs, work your way through the lot and return home a tad tipsy. Not so here, unless you’re Oliver Reed. There was just too many to choose from, and I’m only a cider drinker, beer drinkers would’ve needed Norris McWhirter on standby for a Guinness World Record.
You will need to join Devies branch of the beer trainspotters club CAMRA for some detailed analysis of indivdual brands on offer, I took the pin-in-a-map system and came out on top with such a variety of appley tipples I couldn’t begin to list, unless you have all day? Which you might have, being it’s Sunday, and if you attended, you’re probably not feeling motivated to cut the grass!
The main concentration here should, I believe, be focussed not in review of the contents of my souvenir glass, but in sincere thanks to the volunteers who had this huge beer hall running like clockwork.There must have been a pile of socks around the back, because they sure worked them off, and like robots with charisma programming as standard, they served proper job.
The most common verbal appraisals to Devizes Wharfside being transformed into a beer top-heavy festival, on the day, was, like Christmas day after the Grinch, ones of sheer delight that said monumental occasion has been returned to them after the triple year break.
But it’s far from Devizions just loitering, downing this vast selection and singing the event’s praises. Rather than hoist in hired food vans of varying quality, Devizes Rotary took care of the nosh, superbly. With standard barbecue favourites and king sized woks of meat or vegetable chilli, and the ice cream van was busy too.
Busy is an operative word for the event as a whole. Rapping with organiser Don Jones, I was informed attendance figures were very much governed on how much beer they had to sell. Yet by the end, the approximate 1,700 strong crowd prioritised drinking that colossal beer tent dry, and should you be new to town, welcome to Devizes!
It must take experienced organisers to estimate so precisely how much a crowd of this size will drink without too much waste or predicted riot if underestimated. I have trouble guessing how much pasta to plop into the pan when cooking for four!
Anyhoo, rain didn’t rear its ugly mug, and under shaded skies of tolerable temperature, surrounded by deck chair city, sat the main attraction aside the beer tent, ah, some musical entertainment; twist my arm why don’t you?! Atop transport company Garrbutts’ trailer the stage was set for a host of locally-sourced acts. Devizes CAMRA made a wise move to bring in local music aficionados, Ben and his partner Victoria to arrange the entertainment. Being their first time coordinating they knocked it out of the park, or at least, the wharf!
Devizes Town Band opened. I rolled up to Tom Harris and Claire’s rather sea shanty set, inspired by the neighbouring canal I gather, giving it Chicken on a Raft, and other joyful sing-a-longs, they never fail to please.
Followed quickly by Devizes favourite, unpretentious singer-songwriter Vince Bell, who’s intelligently crafted songs and guitar skills shines with every tune. Not content with showing his spellbinding aptitude with self-penned songs rich in emotion and often topically local, he covered David Gray’s Babylon, and proved talent is hereditary, when his, also all-singing (for Devizes Musical Theatre) partner, Lisa’s daughter, Evie, joined him for a homely enchanting tune, Lisa’s kitchen. The finale was the icing, his audience participation unofficial Devizes theme, which if you know, you know!
New to me, Warminster’s Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club was up next, proving the timelessness of classic olde timey Americana. They were a highly skilled trio, guitarist, double-bass and fiddle authenticity breathed life in 1920s swing, tango, and a touch of bluegrass. Something different and welcomed, Tom Waits covers and revised banned rarities, shockingly more effective than it sounds.
With the only warning from “voice of Devizes,” compere Ian Diddams, we were next whisked away to Irish taverns with popular flute and guitar combo, The Celtic Roots Collective, who never fail to engage an audience with isometric Irish folk dance, and seem to me to improve tenfold with every day that passes.
Headlining was the rock classic covers band, Triple JD, from Chippenham, yet a welcomed and regular feature of Devizes’ Southgate’s never-ending musical rota. Cover bands aplenty and available for hire, but if you want something mindblowingly above average, Triple JD put the overtime in. Even dropped from four-piece to three on this occasion, sublime covers of Cream, Deep Purple et al, came thick, fast and acutely delivered with unsurpassed accuracy. But it’s the plethora of Hendrix classics which both dominate the set, and astound; any band who can do that without offending the legend is a cut far above the rest, and Triple JD really push the boundaries of what a cover band should produce.
And so came the end of a hugely successful and highly entertaining day here in Devizes, putting The Beer & Cider Festival firmly back on the event calendar, where it so obviously belongs. It’s affordable, enjoyable through variety, and it’s already historically bookmarked, yesterday served only to reaffirm it.
“It’s not really a reggae crowd,” Nick Newman professed to me, “so, we’re just going to play some Bob Marley and popular tunes.” But if the finale was the wildcard, it proved though a show of heavy dubplates might be niche, everybody loves reggae and it moves the crowd like nothing else.
Dancing broke out across the Wharf as Knati P and Nick Razah did their sound system ting. Knati toasting the crowd, a majority perhaps unaware of “rewind” Jamaican DJ methods, but nevertheless feeling the vibes of a set akin to a breif history of everything that’s great about reggae, from Marley to Millie Small, from Two-Tone to contemporary subgenres, like Groove Amarda. In this they showcased the diversity of a misunderstood genre around these backwaters; causing me to uncaringly spill my cider down my t-shirt in gyrating to the Wailers inaugural ska hit, Simmer Down!
And on that point, it surely clarifies my point about Ben and Victoria’s devotion to bring as larger quality and variety to the music program as the selection of beers and ciders, in what was the perfect denouement to a wonderful evening; in my honest opinion, naturally!
Another day, and yet another Arts Festival presentation at a different D-Town venue. This afternoon it was the turn of The Three Crowns to host a Free Fringe presentation in their wonderful courtyard. And what a delicious Sunday afternoon treat it was.….
Florian Felcitta is a young man who, in my mind at least, is going places. An extremely accomplished guitarist, who plays modern folk/ gypsy/ jazz, gave an absolute masterclass in how to engage and entertain a Sunday afternoon audience. Modest, self-deprecating, and thoroughly charming to boot, he worked his way through two superb sets of material. With no vocals, but merely relying on his sheer artistry of the guitar strings to produce accomplished instrumental versions of some great pop and rock tunes, the performance was absolutely captivating. Challenging his audience from the outset to effectively “name that tune”, he largely lost his £1000 per tune bets as his listeners homed in on the key melodies. We had hits from Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran, Django Reinhardt, Michael Jackson, Guns & Roses, Tom Petty and many others. But absolutely like you’ve never heard them before.
His guitar skills were superb. Aided by a modest use of loops and pedals, which he never allowed to dominate, he managed to produce a beautiful and very laid-back performance. The audience, despite being in the middle of a very busy pub serving lunches, were never distracted and paid full attention to every song and every introduction. It was stripped back, it was accomplished, and it was very, very good indeed. Hopefully we’ll see and hear much more of this wonderful artist in the future. I’m old and cynical, and not easily impressed these days, but this performance was absolutely spot-on. Highly recommended.
And, yet again, well done to DAF for putting this event on. The fact that it was FREE was just the icing on the cake!
The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town. Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk