March On: Things to Do. Part 2

Everyone having a nice March so far, been alright, innit? I promised, when I featured the first fortnight of events, here, that I would return to complete the last two weeks. I’ve promised this before and totally spaced on it, for which I apologise; not enough hours in the day. Nothing to do with my goldfish memory. Here though, this month, I’ve actually only gone and done it, before the 31st March too! See below if you don’t believe it’s true, the last fortnight in March, stuff to do while waiting for the supermarkets to restock on bog roll, and all that. I know, it scares me sometimes too.

Click on the hare here to see the first fortnight of March

Bear in mind, mind, our calendar is constantly updating, so do check in as more events and gigs are bound to magically appear like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben.

Week 3

Sunday 15th is where we were up to, and I got two fantablous gigs, Burbank are the White Bear in Devizes, while Jon Amor is at the Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon; nice.

Monday, I never know if the Devizes Folk Club is on down the Lamb or not, to be frank, but it’s a place for a beer if I’m wrong and it’s not!!

Tuesday 17th The Stonehenge lecture at the Wiltshire Museum is now sold out. Celebrated cartoonist and artist, Norman Thelwell is at The Merchant’s House in Marlborough, for a fascinating hour illustrated talk, tracing his life, passions and artistic development. Thelwell produced 1,500 cartoons and 60 front covers for the famed Punch magazine alone and some 32 books translated into a dozen different languages. His works were full of beautifully observed detail and mainly of rural subjects, including country and leisure pursuits, sport, house sales and renovation, stately homes, gardening and sailing. Failing that, Cracknakeel provides live music at The Sun in Frome for their St Patrick’s Day celebration.

Wednesday 18th is jam-packed, for a Wednesday! Acoustic jam down the Southgate, Devizes. Bromham’s Farm Cookery School has a Taste of Morocco class, where you could be learning how to make a Briouat which is like a Moroccan Samosa, make your own Khobz and Kefta Mkaouara. £40.00 per person. Over in Marlborough David Evans gives the second of three lectures in The Merchant’s House Study Series, focussing on Reformation in England and the Arts. The Roots Sessions continues at Frome’s Cheese & Grain with the fantastic Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue.


Thursday 19th and you could be back down The Farm Cookery School in Bromham for a Mozzarella & Halloumi Masterclass with Josie. She will teach how to make both cheese which is technical but fun! £35.00 per person. The fantastic Ed Byrne is at the Bath Forum and Moles has a punky/metal night with the Anarchist’s Bookfair, Butter The Pavement and Out Of Reach.


If it’s a slow start to the week, Friday 20th March makes up for it. If, like me, all you know about Jesus Christ Superstar is that he came down from heaven on a Yamaha, and you have doubts with your conviction of that, it’s the opening night for this amateur production by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical portrayal of the last seven days of the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot runs until Sat 28th March and while tickets are still available as I write this, do be as quick, as if you were on a Yamaha yourself; take care not to skid though!


Meanwhile Devizes Town Hall is the place to head for opera fans, as The White Horse Opera presents their Spring Concert. Including Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan and Hadyn’s Creation, this would be the perfect introduction to opera for those, like me, who thought Donizetti was a type of pasta sauce!


If you fancy music more pop, the local supergroup I’m always raving about, the Female Of The Species play Melksham’s Assembly Hall. Fusing all their respective band’s influences, expect the best of rock, soul and ska as the girl’s combine forces for a fun-filled gig; I’ve been to see one of these shows and I’m not hyping it up because they’re all awesome chicks, I highly recommend it!


Day one of two, at the inspiring Shoebox Theatre in Swindon of their FUSE Festival where six emerging artists test a new performance idea over three days. Fuse is about supporting the beginnings of new work before it’s fully developed. Watch, discuss, and be part of the creation of something brilliant. Two performances Kat Lyons’ Dry Season, interweaving music and movement with original spoken word poetry and extracts from medical literature. And the debut one-woman-show from Mighty Mammal Theatre, Swine of the Times, where you can meet the piggies at the troff; they sing songs, say prayers and even mime. Alice Wolff-Whitehouse employs her skills in physical comedy, dance and song to bring to life a series of flawed and quintessentially British characters, looking at the grotesque nature of privilege in the UK through a warped and colourful lens.

Staying in Swindon, Baila Coffee & Vinyl have some Disco Voodoo with DJ Amir, or try indie rock covers with Joli & the Souls at the Vic. Elsewhere, the Leathers play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon, Clannad are at Bath Forum, and Jack Dee’s Off The Telly tour is at Salisbury City Hall.

Saturday 21st then. After the hugely successful free concert in the Market Place last summer, The Full Tone Orchestra have taken their show to Marlborough, and return to town to rave the night away at the Corn Exchange. Taking the most popular section of their show, the club anthems, expect this to be something innovative and all glowsticks, as conductor Anthony Brown’s beloved orchestra reproduce the club classics which defined an era.

The Cavalier go country with the Stone Mountain Sinners, caught these guys before, they’ve a refreshing approach to country-rock which is a cut above the rest. And breezy, original songwriter Ed Witcomb makes a welcome return to The Southgate. For surf beats, odd time signatures, eccentric tunes and irony-fuelled free jazz, try The Barge at Honeystreet, where bonkers surf surrealists Mustard Allegro do their stuff.

Super Trooper Abba tribute, Sensations grace the Seend Community Centre, while Swindon’s Meca has a Whitney Houston tribute. Don’t forget though, it’s day two of the Shoebox’s Fuse Festival too.

Mercy Lounge at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. Recommended ska night at Warminster’s Prestbury Sports Bar with the Train To Skaville, and Paul Carrick is at Bath Forum.

Train to Skaville

Week 4

Head to the Southgate for an afternoon pint or three, on Sunday 22nd, and our fantastic singer-songwriter Vince Bell will entertain you. Meanwhile, Groovelator play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford.


Tuesday, Devizes Film Club at the Town Hall have the latest Ken Loach film, Sorry We Missed You, which you will be if you miss this one film fans. Full of drama, tension and heartbreak. Ricky and Debbie are the parents of teenage children. Ricky joins the ‘gig’ economy with a franchise for a parcel delivery firm. The job is sold to him as one where he will become master of his own destiny. Providing, that is, he complies with the labyrinth of deadlines, rules and conditions imposed by the company, a near impossible task. Debbie is a care worker who wants to care for the old people as though they are her Mam. But her working conditions thwart her in doing the job as she thinks fit. This modern Dickensian story dramatises the conflict between work and family life in contemporary Britain.

Don’t forget Wednesday’s acoustic Jam down the Southgate, and blues-folk singer Elles Bailey is with Phil King at the Chapel Arts, Bath. Thursday you can witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing cinematography on the big screen at The Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour, coming to the Salisbury City Hall. Staying in Devizes on the last Thursday of every month though is no bore, as the regular and celebrated open mic night at the Cellar Bar is something to behold.

Seventies punk bands never had such a great name as Brighton’s Peter & The Test Tube Babies. Still going strong forty years on, they play the Vic in Swindon on Friday 27th. Tenner on the door. Swindon also has an Improv Jam at The Shoebox, and homemade function band Locomotion at the Swiss Chalet.


While it’ll sadly never be possible for the boys to be back in town, Preston’s tribute Twin Lizzy will. They make a welcomed return to the Cavalier, Devizes on Friday. Meanwhile, the Devizes & District Twinning Association take over the town hall to bring us some French Café Music with Jac & Co, tickets are also a tenner for both these diverse evenings.

How much more diverse do you want? A dedicated club night for adults with Learning Disabilities? This Is Me at the wonderful charity youth centre, Young Melksham is precisely that, a night of great music and friendship. There’s a series of these events, first one is Friday.

Another welcomed return to Marlborough Folk-Roots at the Town Hall on Friday, when Steve Knightley explores the themes and stories that inspire him and shows how music and words can become lyrics and chords and notes can meld to create songs that acquire a life of their own.

For want of an authentic tribute band, From The Jam play The Cheese & Grain in Frome, and I’ve heard all good stories about them. If originals are what you want though, The Queen’s Head in Box has a double-booking Friday. Katy Hurt stretches the country music genre in exciting new directions; haunting blues vocals, towering country rock guitars, even a reggae vibe, and she is followed by psychedelic alternative rock band, The Bohemian Embassy.

Saturday night of the 28th March is alright, but no fighting, please. Time for the Devizes Lions’ Spring Concert at St Andrew’s Church, where Ian Diddams comperes Bath Coleman, Bangers & Nash, and the Trowbridge & District Youth Band. Tickets are £10, proceeds to Wiltshire Young Carers.

The Corn Exchange has a Gin Festival. Tribute act, Motley Crude are The Cavalier and local heroes Rockhoppaz play The Black Swan. For high octane original and classic rock mixed with some tasteful Bluesy tracks, check the Mark Smallman Band at the Southgate.

Devizine is the unofficial Tamsin Quin fan club, if you wanna hear why, head to Bromham’s Owl on Saturday. Another Abba Tribute, Swede Dreams play Market Lavington Community Hall.

Tamsin Quin

Highly recommended for the mods, The Roughcut Rebels are at The Pheasant in Chippenham. Also, Blondie & Ska are great fun, they’re at the Wiltshire Yeoman in Trowbridge, checking ahead, they play in Devizes, at the Pelican in May. The Blue Rose Band at The Westbury Conservative Club and an Amy Winehouse tribute at Bath’s Odd Down AFC & Social Club. Level III have a “One Step Beyond-ska and punk club-night.

Elsewhere in Swindon, homemade Damm at Coleview Community Centre and P!nk tribute, Beautiful Trauma play Brookhouse Farm, and a Pearl Jam tribute, Earl Jam at the Vic.

Sophie Matthews explores the links between the visual and the aural in a one-hour presentation at the Merchant’s House, Marlborough. Drawing on the works of great painters including Brueghel, Hogarth and Rigaud, Sophie presents a feast of images featuring historical woodwind instruments in their original social context interspersed with live performances of historical music using authentic instruments.

Sunday 29th – Nearly there, and breath…. Yin Yoga & Gong Bath at Devizes Corn Exchange, The Sunday Sessions continue at The White Bear with Matt Cook and Gary Hall at The Southgate. There’s a Comic-Con at Bath Pavilion, to be frank, it’s a commercial affair rather than a genuine “comic” con, with cosplay, gaming and meeting vague TV actors and ex-Gladiators, but might be fun for the kids.

That’s it, folks, March done, save Bradford on Avon Folk Club have Geoff Lakeman on Tuesday 31st. Let’s regroup in April, but feedback on these articles are needed. Do they work for you? Long-winded I know, but in order to fit it in. Devizine is a work in progress, I enjoy and need to know what’s working and what’s not. So, if you’ve read this far, I salute you! Tell me about it!

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TITCO & Full Tone do Christmas

The Invitation Theatre Company presents an evening of Christmas music, featuring the Fulltone Music School Voices, and we all love Christmas music, at Christmas that is! Fortunately, it’s on 14th December at St Johns Church, which is plenty time to wash the Christmas jumper and check the reindeer nose lights still work from where you spilt eggnog down it last year.

Tickets available online and Devizes Books, are £6, raising money for Frontline Children and Action for Children. “Each year,” TITCO elucidate, “is a sumptuous evening of music, from classical pieces through to popular Christmas toe tappers – brought to you by the most wonderful singers! It’s just the BEST evening!”


Full Tone Festival

The Full-Tone Orchestra sing “Let’s do this, Devizes!” as they plan a Full Tone Festival in July. But they need your help….


The Full Tone Orchestra are putting on a festival of orchestral music in the Devizes Market Place on 20th July 2019, but need your help. Here they are, in their own words:

“Four concerts in one day, with acoustic support acts performing in between, and it’s going to be epic! We want to bring exciting orchestral music to the town in an easy and accessible way. We will have a massive stage, with a superb light show and there will be stalls to give the Market Place a real festival feel.

Wiltshire Council have already very kindly agreed to sponsor us half of the money, we now need to match this from other sponsors/donations.

We start with a family themed concert, The Fulltone Music School Choir will open it, then you’ll hear 50 strong orchestra play themes from Last Night of the Proms. Big, beautiful music in the centre of our town. Albert Hall, eat your heart out!

Our second concert is ‘Iconic Themes’ – epic music from films, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘James Bond’ etc. For those of you who came to our very first concert, you’ll remember it was mind blowing!

‘Classical Rock’ is up next with our friends from The Invitation Theatre Company (TITCO) joining us for a big ‘Queen’ set again – YES! Get in!

As the sun sets, we end with ‘Electronic Themes’, starting in the 1970s with ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Tubular Bells’ moving right through the 1980s, ‘Popcorn’ might make an appearance, then into the 1990s where we turn up the volume and end in Ibiza! It will be utterly AWESOME!

All the musicians are donating their time we need to raise funds to pay for the staging, lights, sound and all the other bits you need to transform a town square into Wembley!

So this is where you come in – this is a free to attend event. But for it to happen we have to raise another £5000. We need to MATCH what we have already! So, whatever you can give, help us make this happen. Think of it, perhaps, as purchasing a ticket for the event. £5, £10, £20 – whatever you can afford or think your ‘ticket’ would be worth, please help.

Businesses, if you sponsor over £100, you’ll get your name on the poster! And we’ll thank you 100 times in all our press!

Punters, if you sponsor £20 or over, you’ll get a free festival T-shirt! What’s not to like?!

IT’S SO EXCITING! The town centre has never seen anything like this before! Help us make it happen!

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Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: The Full-Tone Orchestra get Big, Bold & Russian

By Andy Fawthrop


Well – you can never say with any credibility that “nothing ever happens in Devizes”. Spurning the opportunity to listen to the Buddy Holly tribute in the Corn Exchange (even if just to watch Darren become young again), [I do read these Andy, just sayin’!- ED] The Duskers at The Southgate, and The Billy Walton Band at Long Street Blues Club, for reasons that may need to go forever unexplained, last night I found myself sitting in a church (yes – I know) and listening to a 48-piece orchestra. As you do. Something had happened to my musical sensibilities and I’d come over all classical.

The Fulltone Orchestra were in town, conducted by the wonderful Anthony Brown. The theme of the concert was “Big, Bold & Russian” and that was pretty well what we got. Culminating with Tchaikovsky’s splendid “1812 Overture” (complete with the sound of cannons firing – although no actual canons were harmed during the performance – and the crashing of cymbals), we were treated to several Russian pieces. Earlier we’d heard “A Night On The Bare Mountain” by Modest Mussorgsky, “In The Steppes Of Central Asia” a symphonic poem by Alexander Borodin, “Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, and “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Quite a lot to get through, but the performance was excellent.


The acoustics in the church, with its huge roof-space, meant that the walls of the building fairly vibrated with the brass section in full flow, and the sound of the strings sailed up into the rafters. The noisier sections (famously referred to by Kenny Everett in his heyday as “the bash-y bits”) really took off in these surroundings. The quieter solo sections, however, suffered a little and tended to get a slightly lost at times. However, Dominic Irving’s pieces on piano really shone.

However, bearing in mind that that this is effectively a “scratch” orchestra, only brought together for this one night’s performance and after only about six rehearsals, and that this was the first time that all 48 musicians had been on the same stage at the same time, this was an incredible achievement. Our Tone had worked very hard to bring all this together in just a few weeks and, by and large, pulled it off with aplomb.

Two minor criticisms – it would have been nice to have a programme (so that we knew what we were listening to), and it would have been a good idea to give Our Tone a microphone – some of his introductions were lost to those of us at the back. But these little caveats aside, this was a great performance, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It did exactly what it said on the tin – it was definitely Big, it was definitely Bold, and it was without doubt Russian!

We’re very lucky to have such an orchestra based in our town, and we really should get behind them and support them. Next up for The Fulltone is the Fulltone Festival in Devizes Market Place on Saturday 20th July, from 2pm to 10pm, where they’ll be giving four (yes – four!) concerts in one day!


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