George Wilding; Sunday Session @ The White Bear

Marc singing off the same song sheet as me, when he explains he encourages original material from the performers at his Sunday sessions at the White Bear in Devizes, yet covers which the artist “make their own” are always crowd pleasers. Who could be more apt than George Wilding?

Yeah, car troubles caused his slight delay, but the fireplace was warming, the denizen atmosphere matched. Convivial and geniality are prevalent at this earliest of Devizes inns, still going strong; I do like the White Bear. Last time I was here, George Wilding coincidently blessed the alcove, while others such as Wade Merrit, Andrew Bazeley, Vince Bell, Jon Walsh, Ian O’Regan, and Cutsmith have all graced the sessions, to name but a few; I’ve just been a bit rubbish in attending. Though our man Andy has been there to review most, I see why. It’s a comfortable and welcoming central pub.

Andy was there, to breath a sigh of relief upon seeing me; I’ll delegated myself to write a little something and he knows it. Though there’s not a great deal to say, especially nothing negative; I didn’t even snap a photo through nattering. If you’ve not heard how unsurpassed George’s every performance is then you’re both new to Devizine and to the area. In a peak cap he breezed through sublime covers and proficient originals like it was child’s play, and maintains his audience with genuine and sincere affability.

Hidden between Simon & Garfunkel, The Animals and even Abba classics, he slipped a refined version of his own My Backwards Head, doing as he always does, brilliantly. With right here, and naturally, The Southgate adding end-of-weekend live music too, Sunday afternoon in Devizes has never been so good. If the value of a pub is the sum of its landlords and its atmosphere, Marc and Georgie have done wonders. It’s Wadworth but with its own stamp. Sunday sessions continue for a while, check our event calendar of their Facebook page. Sunday roasts are also popular here; Mark tells me about plans to open some outside space, but while it’s February, we’re here, nice and warm.


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Great Night at The Cellar Bar, for Devizes Open Doors

Images nicked from Nick Padmore, cos we love him, and his new lens!

Local musicians, George Wilding, Vince Bell and the Celtic Roots Collective united for a Devizes Open Doors Christmas fundraiser down in that Cellar Bar on Friday night, dragging me kicking and screaming from my outings on Friday nights embargo; least I still made it to work notwithstanding the inclination to slip away quietly before Mr Wilding done his thang! Trust in me then, to produce half-a-review, yet despite what they say about assumption, given the high standard of every past appearance of George I’ve witnessed, I know a supposition of the finale is justified.

Upon my arrival Mirko and Pete were bearing the cobblestone dais, since a split between the four-piece 10p Mixup, the duo now forms The Celtic Roots Collective to deliver what it says on the tin; a jubilant, toe-tapping assortment of Irish folk. And a grand job they make of it. If you missed this, bookmark Feb 23rd, aptly at the Southgate.

Under the impression sixteen-year-old environmental campaigner, Joe Brindle was to make a quick speech, again an assumption he kicked the evening affair off while I still had my hands in the kitchen sink! But before I’d made it to the bar, our often-underrated singer-songwriter Vince Bell tuned. I believe Vince favours it this way, there’s no pretence in his performance, yet his songs hold you spellbound by their accomplished guitar melodies, intelligent lyrics and unbridled delivery of them. Often emotionally poignant subjects, some locally witty, you can never tire of either; let’s hope he really is never leaving Devizes!

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And that’s me done, over and out. Guessing if George Wilding gave a bad performance, I’m the Queen of Sheba. Safe in knowledge, I had to slip out through fear of the fury of old ladies when they didn’t receive their pint of semi-skimmed. A massive well done to the organisers, Mirko and the Devizes Labour Party, including Steve Osborne manning the door. I believe between £200 and £240 was raised for homeless charity Devizes Open Door, with the promise of more such gigs in the pipeline.

As crazy as it sounds upon sharing news of this event, I was subject to one of those pathetic Facebook mini witch-hunts, as if the mere utter of Labour is a swear word in Tory Town; get over yourselves! Devizine, I should point out, is here to promote all events regardless of the political viewpoint of the organisers, and I will not adhere to insular remarks against this ethos. It came to ahead when I was asked why similar Conservative Party events have not been promoted. Upon my response, to notify me of any such events as I was unaware any existed, being left unanswered, I think proves my point at how pitiable this outcry was.

Ironically, I suspect there are no such events, in fact, seems to me the current Government have done nothing to reduce poverty and any of us are at real risk of losing our homes; put that in your pipe when considering this forthcoming election. In which case, we must and will uphold the brilliant work of Angie Carpenter and all the volunteers at Devizes Open Door. I’ve seen first-hand how worthy this charity is, and we’ve raised funds from events at the Cellar Bar ourselves earlier this year.

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All fair in love and war; while local candidate Rachael Schneider Ross and members of Devizes Labour organised and attended, nothing politically motivated took shape throughout the evening, save Rachael’s reminder to me that this gig was organised before this badly-timed election was called. I’d like to remind people, Open Doors is a worthy charity, and aside national affairs, one which known local Conservatives also take an active role and support. If anyone plans to hold a local fundraising event, it is valid (unless it’s for Boris Johnson’s Dom Perignon fund,) welcomed and promoted freely here, but if I’m not made aware of them do not tighten your collar at me! It’s all getting really rather silly now, the premise of the review should be the music, perhaps the venue, a few excuses as to why I couldn’t stay, and that should be it, so let’s keep it that way, please; negative political responses will be deleted, don’t waste your time.

Here’s looking forward then, to a possible series of such events, in which I encourage them to consider holding on Saturday, that is, if they want to see me up dancing! I cut a rug like a carpet layer on a four-day week; just saying!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden


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Our Sunday Live Music Stroll Around Devizes, Relay!

Andy’s usual Sunday stroll around Devizes, hunting live music, took a different turn this weekend, as I interfered! In order to save time, treat this article as a roundup of all that happened to us both; a kind of music relay race!

Andy spent the early afternoon down our trusty Southgate, I met up with him on my maiden voyage to the White Bear. There is no apparent reason for my never having been to the White Bear, and now I realise neither was there an excuse. I immediately got my feet under the table; proper gorgeous pub, and what is more, George Wilding, sat in the alcove, doing his thing. But before that, here’s Andy’s start, before he handed the baton to me. Double-whammy, you lucky, lucky people!


REVIEW – Paul Cowley @ The Southgate, and George Wilding @ The White Bear, Devizes – Sunday 27th October 2019

Fantastic Afternoon’s Entertainment

Andy Fawthrop

Sunday afternoons have been a happy hunting ground recently, and this week was no exception.

First up to the Southgate to see bluesman Paul Cowley. Originally from Birmingham, Paul now resides in France. He was paying the UK a visit with a few dates, so would have been a shame to miss him. What we got was a singer, a songwriter and a guitarist playing acoustic fingerstyle and slide guitar. Playing a mixture of his own compositions from his recent album “Just What I Know” and a number of Delta blues covers (from such luminaries as Lightnin Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Son House and the Memphis Jug Band), Paul served up the perfect afternoon of laid-back, moody and melodic blues. There was always a nice driving rhythm from the stomp-box and guitar, accompanied by a gravel-voiced lyric. And there was a good crowd to appreciate some fine entertainment.

Nice vibe, nice atmosphere, nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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But there was still more to come. Next on to The White Bear to listen to the incomparable George Wilding. George will probably be familiar to Devizes audiences, but I personally never tire of listening to the guy. Every show is completely different, since George tends to feed on the atmosphere in the room and requests from the audience for his next song, rather than relying on anything as mundane and organised as a written set-list. And I think he’s getting better as he goes along. He’ll have a go at just about any song (whether or not he knows all the words), and there’s no style he won’t cover – pop, rock, blues, easy listening. His rapport with the audience is genuine, and would be a great lesson to many other performers. His wry, sardonic and self-deprecating humour goes an awfully long way towards winning people over.

On this occasion it was also great to hear him singing a few of his own songs, mostly in response to requests from the audience, which he often puts in the background in favour of covers. Personally, I think he should be more confident in his own material, and serve up more of it.

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Suffice to say, long before the end of his set, he had the whole pub singing along, and the calls for an encore were fully deserved.

Another great atmosphere and superb, great-value entertainment.


Future Gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 1st November John E. Vistic
• Saturday 2nd November Alabaster Queen
• Sunday 3rd November Kent Duchaine
• Friday 8th November Triple JD Rock Band
• Saturday 9th November Jamie Willians & The Roots Collective
• Sunday 10th November Phil Cooper & The Slight Band

Future Sunday Sessions at The White Bear:

• 10th November Wade Merritt
• 17th November Ian O’Regan
• 15th December Phil Jinder Dewhirst
• 22nd December Vince Bell


Yep, agree with Andy’s words, yet I expect no less from George Wilding. His charisma and charm, coupled with passion and natural ability will satisfy an audience no end. I feel the confidence point is part of George’s appeal, almost a hallmark. George plays on this bashfulness, always with an excuse why this particular performance may not be up to his usual, then knocks it out of the park! While he nods appreciation to other’s songs, he wished he written, many anticipate the moment he’ll perform his originals.

 
Audience participation, isn’t it? He never shies to a request, even if he doesn’t know it. A question was fired at him, what’s his guilty pleasure? He confessed a liking for the song-writing of Abba, even if he deplored the production, expanding he never dared play one, as it was uncool. Dancing Queen fell forth, he owned it as well as other spoofy adaptations he’ll willing crowd please with. No other so apt this specific Sunday than Swing Low Sweet Chariot; the audience yelled along.


Devizes in the Round @ The Cavalier Community Hall

I thought I’d complete the evening with a journey to the Cavy, where Dean held a “Devizes in the Round;” a country music play-off between a selection of his favourites, all in aid of Lupus UK. The event only come to my attention hours beforehand. Melon twister as to how I missed it, gave Dean the usual spill about ensuring we’re alerted, he told me he had; shucks, many apologies to him.

 
Never an easy task, a niche, country, a Sunday night in Devizes too. Sadly, turnout was not great. Something crossed off my perpetually increasing to-do-list, to see how Dean had transformed the just adequate pub function room, into a club; but he has, and it’s impressive. There’s a secondary bar in the hall, and the stage is ample.

 
Here’s a Devizes gem you may’ve missed, and if country music is not your thing, although it’s Dean favourite, it’s still only a small section of all that goes on here. The Family Club ethos is that of the Northern working clubs, where variety is blessed by a pragmatic atmosphere. Tribute acts abound, Dean informs me the UB40 one, Johnny 2 Bad went down particularly well.

 
Do yourself a favour and keep an eye for future events at the Cavy, it’s a community-fuelled pub, as it ever was, and striving to provide diversity, and very often for a worthy cause.

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All said and done, our heroine Tamsin Quin appeared. Playing to a slight crowd in her hometown, now she’s booked throughout the southwest and beyond, is a little shameful, Devizes. Nevertheless, Tamsin gave a stunning performance, as ever. I also welcomed a chat about her progress, and how a trip to Nashville inspired her.

 

This Nashville subject arose again when shuffling my chair across to meet another two acts, Josh Beddis and Danny McMahon, they told me of their customary pilgrimages and how well they’re received there. Both tremendously gifted fledgling acoustic performers in this field, blasts the erroneous stereotype country is for an older crowd. These guys treated us to a spectacularly sentimental set of originals, as country music will, alternating songs between them. Such, I was informed, was the nature of this “round” idea!

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In the same light, Tamsin stepped forth after the break with another of Dean’s favourites, Zenne. Zenne’s talent knows no bounds, a matured confidence saw a worthy corporation with Tamsin. Country music may not be my favourite, but I was satisfied, and held spellbound by the music and lyrics of all these acts.

 

If we’re spoiled for choice on a Friday and Saturday in town for live music, I think we’ve proved it continues till Sunday too. Sometimes it needs a little support though, understandably being Monday looms, I’m guilty too, but hats off to the Southgate, White Bear and Cavalier for extending the weekend; bit less drizzly on Sunday too, wasn’t it?!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow and Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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REVIEW – George Wilding @ Cellar Bar, Bear Hotel, Devizes

Andy Fawthrop

Images by Gail Foster

George Goes Wild For Charity

 

We all have different approaches to raising money for charity. Some of us lie naked in a bath full of cold baked beans. Some of us shave off all our hair. And some of us choose to terrorise the local neighbourhood by driving a milk float dressed in a Spiderman onesie. [what kind of idiot would even contemplate that?! ED] Each to their own. But some people go for a more straight-forward approach and simply put on a musical benefit night (so as not to frighten the neighbours).

And so it was that Mirko Pangrazzi put on a concert to raise funds for specialist treatment for brain damage for his son Liam. And so it was that we all dutifully piled in to the Cellar Bar last night to support him. Of course The Cellar Bar as a venue would have been a pretty poor attraction in its own right, but thankfully there was the irrepressible George Wilding to light up the evening for us.

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You’ve got to admire George for his sheer versatility. Not only did he showcase some of his own (very good) material, but he belted out covers from right across the musical spectrum. I love the way he’s prepared to have a crack at almost anything, sometimes discovering half-way through a number that he can’t remember the rest of it. But it doesn’t matter. Every number is good fun anyway. I’ve recently started to think of him as a sort of human juke-box, such is his range. And he delivers it all with enormous energy and great good humour.

To be honest – he was playing to a good roomful of friends and fans, but I don’t think it would have made the slightest difference – the boy would’ve been super-good whatever the circumstances.

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But amid all the great music, the wonderful atmosphere, and the cracking-good entertainment, it would have been easy to forget why we were all there. Turns out that financially it was a great success, with over £300 raised for Liam. So the crowd were not only enthusiastic, but also very generous.

It was good to see Mirko back at the helm in the Cellar Bar again, good to see George on absolute top form, and great to see a good crowd enjoying themselves. Great night.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop/Gail Foster)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Soul Sucker

I am a bit, yeah, but I’m talking more about the debut EP from George’s band, Wilding…

 

Images by Nick Padmore

 

It was all going swimmingly in the wee hours of this morning, until I backed the milk float into a ditch. Wedged firmly in the bracken which now resembled a milk bottle tree, wheel-spinning, I sat slanted at the helm like a scene from the sixties Batman series with my head in my hands, soul in the dark; what a sucker.

 
Prior I was bobbing along, minding my own and all was fine and dandy. To add to my general satisfaction I’d Soul Sucker, the debut EP from George Wilding’s band Wilding ringing proficient vibes through my headphones and blessing my ears with its unique and curious composition.

 
Out today, I confirm it’s a foursome of awesome you’d expect from Mr Wilding, yet perhaps too fresh in my mind to make an exhaustive analysis; but here’s my best attempt; better, one hopes, then my reversing skills today.

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Everything about it detonates with George Wilding; his exclusive angle and unusual enchanting bearing, yet rings competent backing and expertise meticulousness the like we’ve been building to with Lunatic and Being Ragdolian. With a rearward melody at the introduction, Mouth Wide Open instigated pondering of post-punk, Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with a smoothed contemporary Velvet Underground developing and moving into a riff distinctly Stereophonics in fashion, with its everyday references to smoking at the bus stop, yet always, unquestionably, George Wilding.

 
The Other Side of Fence, dramatically and wittily lounges through like that Lazy, Lazy River with drunken swagger. Like Jim Morrison sliding over to the next Whiskey Bar, or finger-snappy, easy listening curve of Paul’s When I’m Sixty-Four while surrounded in Sgt Pepper’s psychedelic twirls and soundscapes, it’s equally refreshing and boldly different; blinkin’ marvellous.

 

Though maybe less experimental and free flowing then it’s previous neighbouring tracks, Slip Away is archetypical Wilding on form, current but nodding at nostalgia with the potential to plod into becoming a sozzled man-bonding, swaying-in-the-pub type anthem.

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A delicate acoustic guitar riff, under ambient soundscape introduces the mellowed finale, Dirty Dream Balloon polishes this EP with a dreamy porcelain-doll-ballad, and, as is the rest, an experience beyond confines of “local music,” and into its own autonomous realm; in a word; it’s gorgeous.

 
It’s if Lou Reed could hold a note, its if psychedelia met Britpop, it’s a crumbly Flake chocolate bar spreading across your beatnik mum’s Meerabai sofa throw, no matter how much you try brush it off with unsteady hand, you cannot escape that its visible; this timeless EP will stain your music collection forevermore with a benchmark of creative genius.

 

Out today across all platforms: Bandcamp —– Spofity —– Amazon

 

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Mike and the Local Area Invasion Descend Upon The Swan

It was over a couple of years ago I stepped cautiously into the Black Swan, only to receive the pleasant surprise at its renovation and complete change of style. Since this time Devizes takes the alteration as red, and it thrives with eccentricity, vintage chic, quality tucker and music. However, its future is now uncertain as it closes its doors for a refurb and Waddies bring new landlords in.

We hold out for a silver lining, but for the time being, the Black Swan’s current incarnation ends next week. To celebrate its time at the helm of all things unconventional in town, the landlord has requested the presence of the big man, Mike Barham, whose prolific raw dynamism currently reverbs throughout our great county.

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His giant steps certainly get him around, playing the London Road Inn in Calne on Saturday 7th, he’s at the Hare & Hounds in Corsham on the 12th and on the 14th he crosses the border to Frome. In between though, he returns to his hometown for this closing gig at the Black Swan, but he’s inviting a self-labelled “Local Area Invasion,” with him, an amalgamation of our finest local musicians who’ll get to play a couple of songs each, prior to Mike blasting the place with oomph.

 

Yeah, save the date, Wednesday 11th October, where you’ll find at the very least, Jamie R Hawkins, Vince Bell, Larkin, Jack Moore, George Wilding, Jordan Whatley and Tamsin Quin; incredible line-up, for a school night, a virtual who’s who of the Devizes pub music scene sampler; Free!

Here are the details, the rest up to you: https://www.facebook.com/events/282938928863398/

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