With Andy dispatched to Long Street, I’m left to saunter Devizes this drizzly last Saturday before Christmas. Possibly more than usual, there’s choices to be made. Catching the Real Cheesemakers has been on my to-do-list, yet making it down the Southgate seemed unlikely, as I’d an invite to the Christmas Concert of Chole Jordan and Andrew Hurst, determination not to miss Mike Barham’s Devmas #2 down the Cellar Bar, and as the Black Swan had those Roughcut Rebels I couldn’t resist the urge to check them out too.
No customary Christmas jumper, sore foot, Snively cold a-comin’ and the longest work day of the year looming, expect a critical approach as the want to break my record and visit four gigs turned into two. Down the Cellar Bar first, Devmas time in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Badly timed to miss Jamie R Hawkins, who I met outside for a chat. The Celtic Roots Collective, namely Bran Kerdhynen and Mirko Pangrazzi breezing through their set of Irish folk inside, I swaggered to the bar. Ah, Dirty Old Town; this duo gets better each gig. At the bar Bran was keen to explicate that they treat it as fun, but continuing in depth we rapped on folk’s universal effect, from French square-dances to Tin Pan Alley.
Meanwhile compact pussycat Patrick Goodenough resonated his sublime melancholic echoes through the cellar; man, he loved that dog, but even his Christmas song was forlorn! Managed to catch a couple of tunes from the lively Nerve Endings who followed. Of course, with Mike as host of the evening, and Luke’s family in charge of the Bear Hotel, it’s inevitable they’ll play, but their dynamic and entertaining driven rock is always welcome. I nipped out though, soz, but I was summoned to the Town Hall, in error.
I’m intrigued to hear Chole sing after all the local praise and success stories surrounding her school of music, and even if it’s not to my eclectic taste I merit a performance on delivering “what it says on the tin,” rather than my own preference. Yet while I explained who I was and why I was there, I was met with a condescending reply. My name was not on the list, the patronising lady on the door slurred “yes, she invites a lot of people,” implying I wasn’t one of them, and proceeded to attempt to charge me full price for the service. Not the type to growl “do you know who I am?!” I politely had to leave. Note: if you invite Devizine to review your event, ensuring door staff are aware is essential; I don’t review from the carpark.
Third of four scratched off, as drizzle set in and an aforementioned sore foot wander to the Southgate seemed improbable, time to check the Black Swan. Once a haven for live music, this grand and timeless tavern I’ll confess to missing on my usual agenda and I’m keen to bless it once more with my presence! Fitting, as when our Roughcut Rebels play you need to be around. Met with Britpop performer Bill Green and with those Six O’clock Circus guys showing us how they party Calne style, the atmosphere was electric, matching the Roughcut’s blinding performance.
Through Britpop anthems they sprinted, loud and proudly ringing out a five-decade selection of mod and rock covers, each one treated as gold in their hands. Proficient yet lapping up every minute of their show, The Roughcut Rebels came, saw and conquered. Making use of such a lengthy repertoire, as to be expected Oasis, The Kinks and the Jam were in there, but interestingly an awesome, if rather unseasonal, Summertime Blues and superb version of Jake Bugg’s Lightening Bolt. This was bought to the boil with the Who’s Substitute in a versatile and highly entertaining set.
I edged toward the door reluctantly, the thought of Jon Amor arriving at the Cellar Bar persuaded me and, I rushed back across the Market Place narrowly avoiding the traffic; hey, I’m walkin’ over to see Jon Amor here, buddy! Here’s a man, who while The Roughcut’s deliver a powerful full-band show, Jon can match, thrive and amaze, solo, with just an electric and acoustic guitar, and loop pedal.
The finale to this year’s Devmas had come, Mike was smiling as Jon did his thing. Through “Stitch in your party dress,” to “Red Telephone,” he knocked them out with usual excellence and blithe seasonal delight. Covers included a rousing Tainted Love. His unplugged-wandering-around trick took on a Christmas song, as he handed out the Haribo, and he continued to skilfully loop his acoustic guitar to rapidly switch to electric. But Mike’s expression had changed to mixed emotions as Jon requested his and Luke’s presence on the cobblestone stage. While Luke grinned, as is his carefree persona, Mike relished in the opportunity to jam with Jon, yet the trick to lead them into Wham’s Last Christmas left Mike amusingly in revulsion!
I expressed to them, it would never be Christmas again until such an occurrence is replayed, but with the novel theory this will never be repeated. Herein lies the mood of Devmas, it’s relaxed, cheery and convivially Devizes; don’t miss it next year. Though I did find the time to witness the close of the Roughcut Rebels, completing a marvellous evening of free live music here in Vizes, and long in 2020 may it continue! That’s it though, I’m staying in and munching through a box of Quality Street until I puke. Yes, even the tooth-ripping toffee coins.
© 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.
Adverts & Stuff Like That!