I Shuffled in Swindon, and I Liked It!

Yep, It’s Swindon Shuffle weekend, and so I thought it best to poke my nose in…..

Voice recognition they call it, I call it defective verbal dysentery. My precise articulation fails on a number of letters and numbers from my vehicle reg, and I’m wound up. Parking apps; pet hate, so, call a number, it says, fuck you, nonhuman Noddy, I’m relocating, to a known carpark where you put these primative nuggets of bronze into a machine, wondering why I, aging country bumpkin that I am, bothered to come to the smoke of Swindon centre in the first place. Though it was a passing aggravation, my only rant about the Swindon Shuffle, and hardly their fault anyways…..

Like a lukewarm sea, once you’re immersed it’s lovely, and if the ground I once frequented is so alien, Swindon College, Regent Circus, now an underground carpark unpermitable for technophobes with a neon multiplex atop, one step up the hill and dependable Old Town greets you. Dependable because other than a few shop facades changing, it’s prettty much the same as it always was, the one safe haven within the roundabout-infested sprawling metropolis with its name derived from “pig hill.” Apologies Swindonites, I’m tetchy only about your carparks, and every large town has them.

So now I’m decending Vic Hill with the pleasent scent of kebab houses, on a misson to cram myself into the sardine tin which is The Beehive. It’s my first port of call, a bee line, (gettit?) after reviewing the singlemost amazing debut album from a local act, I was coming to see Concrete Prairie no matter the machine, urbanisation and rammed public house.

But it’s the most welcoming sardine tin, it has to be, the bustling Beehive is a wonderful no-frills pub making do with the space it has, adorned with quirky decor, and filled with smiling faces there for this legendary fifteenth Shuffle, a multi-venue long weekend testimonial to local live music, in aid of Prospect House. I’m immediately feeling homely in this hospitable watering hole, if a tad sultry.

I have to grab a word with chief coordinator Ed Dyer, in which he reveals this time legwork is reduced by having a promotor at each venue, though every year it’s rammed like this at most of the venues. Took me to pondering if a mere market town of Devizes populas could ever accommodate such a scale event without a severely dispursed crowd in each individual venue, but here, it works.

And it works with half-hour sets, timed somehow, with precision engineering, this colossal musician assemble spanning too many names to mention, let alone amass a comprehensive coverage. But such was yours truly impressed with what I did manage to injest, I’m contemplating if I should make Swindon Shuffle a B&B getaway next year.

It was good to bump into Kelly Adams, of Lacock’s Wiltshire Blues and Soul Club, hosting this venue’s entertainment, old friend and newspaper entrepreneur Jamie Hill, and Joel Rose, whose set I unfortunately missed. The question was if Concrete Prairie could, in this petite space, recreate the magic of said album, and they did, with bells on. One cover, and a few peaches from the album was all it took to convince me this is a band we so desperately need to get into our town, their stage pressence was topnotch, their timing impeccable and original compositions just melt.

One silver lining to the parking botheration is I’m closer uphill to my car once settled in the reliable Victoria, which is where I’m hotfooting it to next. Keen to catch Salisbury’s upcoming recommended CarSick, though skate-metal-punk not my preferred cuppa I’m game for those who do it well. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you; CarSick pulled a sicky, though no reports it was actually in any kinda vehicle.

Instead, Kieran Moore, coordinator for this legendary venue under his stalwart Sheer banner, flew in a young three-piece called InAir, who thrashed it out professionally, in a most pleasing fashion, so one could feel the bass rumble under one’s feet; I like that in any genre.

For where the Beehive is a welcoming but crammed bustling hive, The Victoria has a large pit aback, geared toward gigging. While slightly more conventional, and certainly more spacious, it still holds charm and you know when you decend those stairs into the black magic box, The Vic will pull a rabbit from its hat.

Proir to InAir’s blown away set, I spotted the man himself, fronting the Saturday headliner at the Vic, it’s impossible to miss him. “You’re out of Devizes?!” he cried in mirth; am I not allowed to be?!

Mike Barham towered, chatting enthusiastically, while bassit Rob McKelvey stood smiling, a position he’d compromise before the finale by circular squirming the stage floor while strumming his last notes. Yeah, with missing drummer Luke Bartels, who’d arrive on the scene soonishly, complaining of the after-effects of the pre-gig curry they’d had, the one InAir promised themselves on stage never to do again, ah, bless, the joys of reuniting with the NervEndings lads on neutral ground.

And they did their thing, loud and proud as before, though slightly more professional I hassen to add, with boundry-pushing banter. It’s one hardcore band easy on my acceptance, because there’s a blues influence. Mike nodded to Devizes’ affection for blues, and attempted a tune geared that Jon Amor way, but it fell short of a younger crowd, there to mosh and roll, or whatchamacallit. A quick switch rammed the dancefloor again, and those purveyors of noise were at it, superbly. Something Devizions need not miss when Sheer takes the Bin for free, on the 7th October.

To conclude, for what bore witness to mine eye, Swindon Shuffle is more than worthy bounding over the downs for, and what’s furthermore, you’re best leaving any ill-conceived notions at home. For loutish hooliganism, I saw none, just a mass of widespread age demographic live music aficionados, relishing the moment of strolling Old Town in bliss. Bouncers, I saw one, happily munching on a salmon sandwich.

There’s no prentious big names, no grand finale tribute act wandering around like they’re the real McCoy, no ethos to let the local orginal acts do their thing early and get sloshed awaiting a mainstream headliner. This is wholly dedicated, not just to a worthy charity, but to promoting upcoming local talent, which is precisely the kind of thing we love here at Devizine Towers; go Swindon; it continues today, (Sunday.)


A Baroque Blast at St Mary’s!


Kaffeehaus Culture comes to St Mary’s, Devizes on the 1st of October, bringing you some Bach, Handel & Telemann……

The acoustically rich space of St Mary’s Church, Devizes, will be filled with music from the best-known baroque masters on Saturday, 1st October.

Playing on traditional instruments The Brook Street Band will transport the audience back to the mid-18th century as they perform pieces by Bach, Handel and Telemann – three of the most famous German composers from the period.
The programme reflects the rhythm and harmony of these baroque giants whose music was regularly heard at the famous Zimmerman Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.

The Brook Street Band takes its name from the street in London’s Mayfair where composer George Frideric Handel lived and composed for most of his life.
Since its formation in 1996, the ensemble has established itself as one of the country’s foremost interpreters of baroque music performing at many of the UK’s major chamber music venues, as well as at Early Music Festivals in the UK and Europe.

The group has released eleven CDs, all receiving high critical acclaim; the Band’s debut disc “Handel Oxford Water Music” was selected as Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, as was its “JS Bach Trio Sonatas”.

The St. Mary Project

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Park Street, Devizes, dates from the Norman times and is one of the most important buildings in the town, with the church tower a particular landmark.

The building is listed Grade I, putting it amongst the top 2.5% of listed buildings in the country. The St.Mary Future Group is working hard to turn this wonderful building into an arts and community space that will become a hub for future generations.

Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm; tickets £18. See www.stmarydevizes.or.uk for booking details. email: info@stmarydevizestrust.org.uk


Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 8th-14th September 2022

Slight seasonal changes, wetter but still warm, slight Prime Minister changes, dryer but still a narcissistic numpty; ah well, let’s see, a day later than usual I know and apologise, what’s happening in Wiltshire over the next week……

The one link you need as usual, is our event calendar, where it’s all listed with ticket and info links, and it’s updated (fairly) regularly, so bookmark the beast and remain as you will be after reading this; in the know.  

Thursday 8th and there’s the Swindon Comedy Club at Kioki, with headliner Abi Clarke.

Friday 9th Hedda Gabler begins at the Wharf Theatre, Devizes and runs until 24th September. Hedda Gabler is recognised as one of the world’s great plays written by one of the world’s great playwrights and is generally regarded as Ibsen’s masterpiece. Hedda, on the face of it, is not your archetypal tragic heroine. Starting quietly, and quite humorously, the drama builds to its terrifying and riveting climax, involving the presentation set of pistols that Hedda inherited from her father.

One to watch, Sour Apple play the Pelican in Devizes on Friday, and look out for a new music program called Vamos, at The Old Road Tavern, Chippenham, they’ve got the wonderful Harmony Asia supporting Hoggs Bison. And find Illingworth at The Royal Oak in Marlborough, all free gigs.

“Hurrah, they are back to School” runs the tagline of the end of summer barbeque at Seend Community Centre.

Our renowned house DJ, George G Force is at Marston Park, Frome, while tribute The Smyths play The Cheese & Grain. Festival season hasn’t quite closed yet, it’s The Mucky Weekender Festival at the Winchester Bowl.

Meanwhile, In Swindon, Dangerous Kitchen play The Vic, The Salts at Swindon Arts Centre, and A Country Night in Nashville at the Wyvern Theatre.

Saturday 10th and back by popular demand, the start of the legendary Pewsey Carnival, yay! Procession is next Saturday 17th, with the Wheelbeero race on Thursday 15th, but this Saturday is Pewsey Carnival Wine Race.

Our editor’s pick of the week; Party for Life, Melksham

A world suicide prevention day fundraiser in the Sky Bar at Melksham Town FC. The Soul Strutters, Blind Lemon Experience and Roughcut Rebels play this big one, with DJs and pizza and others; sounds fantastic, we did preview it a while back, and I believe a few tickets are still up for grabs, follow their Facebook page for more details.

Staying in the Sham, The Pilot has a Family fun day with music and, fundraising for MIND, see the poster for details.

Crafts, stalls and entertainment are promised at Devizes Rotary Club’s Health & Wellbeing Showcase on the Small Green from 11am-3pm on Saturday, and for a musical evening in Devizes, rock covers band Black Nasty are at The Southgate, while People Like Us do their awesome thing at the Three Crowns.

Time also, for the Burbage Beer, Cider & Music Festival.

Another upcoming local band to watch is Salisbury indie-kids Carsick, who plan to blow the lid off of Trowbridge Town Hall.

Contrasts in Swindon as Rage Against the Regime play The Vic, while Shape Of You brings the music of Ed Sheeran to the Wyvern Theatre.

You might have caught him at Devizes Arts Festival this summer, Alfie Moore’s show Fair Cop Unleashed comes to Salisbury Arts Centre.

No prizes for guessing who Motorheadache is attributing, they’re at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Dana Gavanski plays their sister venue the Tree House, with Cornelia Murr in support.

And unfortunately, The International Comics Expo, ICE in Birmingham which I’ve still got listed, has been cancelled, I’m just being too lazy to delete it!   

Sunday 11th, after terrible weather last Sunday postponed Devizes Town Band’s Children’s Proms in the Park at Hillworth, it will be combined this week with the planned main Proms in the Park.  

And save a Recital Series at Swindon Arts Centre, also on Sunday, that about wraps it up for the weekend, unless you know different? Unless you dare to tell me that I missed something?! Please do, I don’t bite, at least only a nip, on the bum; it’s free to list stuff on Devizine, just message us, we’re in it for the love.

Through the week I’ve not got much, but you know updates of the event calendar occasionally happens, though I’m currently undergoing the arduous task of getting next year’s calendar up and running, so bear with, bear with.

Tuesday 13th, I’ve got Kaleidoscopic at Salisbury Arts Centre and a RSPB: A Victorian Birder’s Wiltshire at the same venue.

Next week though you can look forward to Pewsey carnival, Swindon Shuffle, and the White Horse Opera is back too, along with lots more events to get your teeth into; I’ll catch you around at one sometime, maybe? What else are you going to do, “Simpsonise” yourself with a phone app; get real?!!


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Keeping Your Feet Dry, with The Lost Trades

New single from The Lost Trades, due out on those streaming sites next Friday, 9th September, but our lovable folk trio decided as it’s the celebratory “Bandcamp Friday,” they’d get it on there early….and I thought I’d get a breather today!

Is this a conspiracy? Is there a secret WhatsApp group where local musicians gang up on me and decide to all release their new material in the same week?! So much new music being pushed my way, I love it, but repetitive strain injury of the typing digits, people, think about that for a second! This, though, is more than worth mentioning.

I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks, holding my breath from mentioning it until next week, seems now I can exhale and tell you just how absolutely awesome this new single from The Lost Trades is. I even, at one point, had it playing in the car when nipping out for Derrick’s Deals at the Spar shop in Devizes, windows down, when I was struck with terror someone might overhear this exclusive early, and like the automatic blinds of the Lego ideas office, I fastened the gap!

Last time around, on All Fools Day, the tune was called Daffodils, and I dubbed it a “lost trades mark,” trying to be clever and play on words, but for the simple reason it summed up everything which was great about their debut album, The Bird, the Book and the Barrel, in one single, stating “this wonderful sunny side of the street tune is a neat little package tallying up the brilliance of the Trades.”

So where do we go from here? I’m going to big it up, you know that, because the trio haven’t yet disappointed, ever, and I’m therefore obviously going in with high expectations. But it had been one of those days, you know the sort, we all have them, and night was drawing near when I remembered I still had the single to listen to, and despite all said prospects, I just fell headlong into it, like tumbling into a blissful dream. It lifted me out of the swirling thoughts of that sort of day, it elevated me above cloud nine, and here’s why….

It’s the production this time around, yes Phil, Jamie and Tamsin’s, while Tamsin takes the lead vocal, least most predominate, voices are truly merged into one harmonious glory, the production of this single, a real step up. The entire mood surrounding it will engulf you, whether or not you’ve been following the progress of this exceptional trio or not. This is the way forward, it knocks spots off of anything which may’ve gone before in their building discography, and that, like Bananrama once said, is really saying something…. not that that’s a comparison, by the way!!

It needs no comparison other than with their own material, now, though it got me contemplating Roger McGuinn’s “Ballad of Easy Rider,” theme-wise, if rivers are a common metaphor in folk; the lyrics Dylan infamously gave to The Byrds, but declined credit in the film as he didn’t like its ending. But, I digress, with a “missing you” theme, Keep my Feet Dry is a boost in the right direction for the Trades, it drifts, a thing beauty, uplifting, with a chorus immediately sing-a-long. The guitar riff sooths, and every element fits together perfectly; wowzers, you only need bring your ears, and they will love you for it!

By the way, Jamie of the Lost Trades is at the Southgate, Devizes, Saturday, while Tamsin is playing the Barge on HoneyStreet; make your own mind up, I can’t help you with this dilemma!


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 1st-7th September 2022

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 2nd is 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!


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Opera Meets House at Devizes Full Tone Festival

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 a bustling collection of food and drinks stalls beyond, and the sun with his hat on, shining down on all the shiny happy people.

It is a remarkable achievement and something to be truly proud of, to have here in our humble market town. The Full-Tone Orchestra taking their show to prestigious venues like Bath Abbey and Marlborough College, returned home, looking even more professional than ever. Conductor Anthony Brown waving his hands around like manual control of the world’s air traffic; it was, in a word, magical.

Highlights came thick and fast, Dominic Irving thrilled, heading a Tchaikovsky concerto on piano, for an opening of obligatory classical elements. The stage emptied as Will Foulstone took control of the keys, solo. Full Tone platforms young talent, like TikTok trumpeter Oli Parker, on Sunday, to an audience majority unlikely to know what TikTok is. Similarly, Will performed some videogame themes among Coldplay and contemporary pop, which is better in reality than it sounds to my generation bought up on ZX Spectrums or Mega Drives!

Will’s finale was an astounding cover of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, and the orchestra realigned for a concentration of movie scores, largely dependent on the western themes of the late Ennio Morricone; liked this.

Then, BBC Introducing DJ skateboarder, James Threlfall took to digital wheels of steel and blasted the zone, and across the road to the chippy, with a set of contemporary and commercial high-energy house; lights came on blazing like the Green was the Ministry of Sound. Here is where I need to revert to my reviewing template, which resides on two major contributories. One is, did the event appease me personally, the second, more importantly is, did it do what it said “on the tin,” i.e., was it everything it posed to be. For the latter, the Full Tone Festival 2022 hit top marks, without a doubt. I watched the joy on hundreds of faces, as they danced the night away to James and the following Full-Tone Orchestra set of “nineties smash hits.”

The grand finale of Saturday night was certainly intrenched with nostalgia, perfected by an orchestra where no penny was left unexpended, no rehearsal was spent playing tiddlywinks, where the professionalism is first rate and the atmosphere was nothing short of sublime. The Full-Tone Festival was superb last year, this time around comes the typical stigma of a sequel, the “how can we ever top that” enquiry, and I’ve a duty to be honest, based upon the imperative Saturday evening, I’m not completely certain they did, on personal reflection, you understand?

Image: Gail Foster

Song choice at this conjunction was the only thing which let it down, for me. Started off okay, the Britpop beginning I can tolerate, but as it progressed to the pop hits of S Club 7, Britney Spears and Cher’s I Believe, et al, these, for me, were the excruciating pop slush of a generation below; I detested them at the time, and retain said detestation.

It was a far cry from the club anthems of last year’s, because that’s the point where creatively, electronic music technology truly challenged the orchestra. But, sigh, it’s all subjective, I told you about the hundreds of faces, didn’t I? They matter, it did what it said on the tin, with high gloss, it just wasn’t my cuppa.

Image: Gail Foster

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to Sunday’s extension, we don’t all have bank holidays y’ know? But I can rest assured with the years of rock n roll experience of Pete Lamb’s Heartbeats, Kirsty Clinch’s angelic country vocals, and the fact Jonathan Antoine has been done BGT, it’d have been alright on the night.

Image: Gail Foster

Feedback on the orchestra’s big band showcase has been fantastic, with particular praise of vocalist Will Sexton. On opera, spellbinding local soprano who could turn even me to opera, Chloe Jordan, said, “it was my dream to sing ‘Song to the Moon ‘Resulka with an orchestra. Thank you so much to The Full Tone Orchestra for allowing that dream to come true!” And that, in a nutshell, is the kingpin to assessing this spectacular; if dreams come true there, you can’t argue how special an occasion it was.

Image: Gail Foster

Though the headcount was slightly lesser-so than last year’s, trouble to many events this, as a sad reflection on economic issues, here’s hoping this awesome weekend on the Green will be enough to convince Full Tone to make this a permanent fixture on our event calendar. Devizes loves you Full Tone, that much is certain.


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12 Bars Later at The Southgate

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 the Crown at Bishop’s Cannings Saturday afternoon, switched to The Southgate later, and Sunday it’s over to Calne to play the Talbot’s mini-fest at 2pm, and the Gurkha Baynjan Restaurant at 8. Given a few more days I reckoned they could’ve shaken the rafters of a further eight!

Why is this narrowboat three-piece Wiltshire blues band fully-booked for gigs this weekend? Proof in the pudding, arm twisted, I nipped to the Gate to find out for myself.

Arriving late due to FullTone, it was immediately obvious, jigging up to the bar like the crows in Dumbo, their sound in its simplicity is irresistible, their stage pressence is immediately likeable. Confident Female fronted bassist, Helen Carter, banters well with the slight crowd and has the gritty vocal range of Joan Jett, while drummer and guitarist work in unison,  and we’re grinding to some down and dirty electric blues.

Yet there’s something more universally appealing here, 12 Bars Later will hook any classic tune duck, and ease it out of the pool with a blues makeover. The prize on the butt of said duck for anyone who books them will be enthused and delighted punters. This could be because they were once known as The Blue Rose Band, a seemingly more function band type name.

So yeah, while Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters and obviously apt Rolling Stones covers were adroitly delivered with passion and a deserved hard-edge, they applied the same ethos to some well-crafted originals, of which they’ve recently recorded for a forthcoming debut, and what was more for the supportive audience, sing-along covers like Elvis’ Burning Love, You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry, and even Eddie Floyd’s Knock on Wood. The latter of which they amusingly claimed was “as close to disco as we get!”

It’s an appropriate rebranding, for a highly entertaining pub band; certainly floated my boat, and likewise the blossoming crowd at The Southgate, as FullTone closed and folk headed over. For me, as acomplished and professional the sound of a full orchestra pushing pop hits is, it was of a generation next, for me, and I couldn’t nostalgically relate to Britney and Spice Girls covers any more than I did at the time. The Southgate was my safe haven, and boy, 12 Bars Later fit there like a glove, cumulative to another fantastic night at our dependable best pub in Devizes for the down-to-earth music aficionado.


September in Swindon; Shuffles and Jazz Knights

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, 24th……

It’s the glorious kind of who’s-who of local music you annually expect from the free festival, Swindon Shuffle, which spans across eight separate venues; The Hop Inn, The Tupenny, The Victoria, The Castle, The Beehive, Baristocats and the Eastcott Community Centre, and all in aid of Prosect Hospice.

This testament to Swindon and Wiltshire talent is simply too large for us to go into every nook and cranny, I’m going to leave the poster below, and I believe you’ll see what I mean. But you’re best following them on Facebook at the moment, as the website isn’t updated; fresh off the press type stuff here at Devizine, y’know?!

See what I mean now? Wowzers, proper job, innit?! 

On a separate note, the renowned alternative folk act, Wildwood Kin are heading to Swindon as part of their UK Tour, the following weekend. They headline the Swindon Folk & Blues Festival, which is the Saturday after the Shuffle, 24th September, at Christ Church.

The launchpad of a brand-new festival for the town is one year late, postponed due to Covid, so be quick to grab a ticket for this one, as original tickets bought for the 2021 event will be granted entry. But wow, it’s another tantalising line-up…. stuff like this didn’t happen all the time I lived in Old Town, we only ever had Eastender’s Ian Beale switching on the Christmas lights!!

Sister event to the already established Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival, organisers are those corduroy-armoured Jazz Knights, who prove you can do jazz-hands with gauntlets, and they’ve a staggering bill including our favourites, Ruzz Guitar Blues Revue, Jon Amor Trio, The Lost Trades and Fly Yeti Fly, along with The People Versus, The Bellflowers, Fay Brotherhood (of Spriggan Mist), Mark Harrison and local talent such as Hip Route, Bob Bowles, SGO, and Bone Chapel

Festival Director Evie Em-Jay from Jazz Knights said, “we are really proud to be hosting Wildwood Kin’s as part of their UK Tour together with a packed line up of nationally known acts as well as local talent and I can’t wait to be back in the stunning venue of Christ Church where our last event sold out. We really hope that the public support live music in what has been a devastating few years for the music industry.”

Co-Director Ed Dyer from Songs of Praise called it “a privilege to be able to host a band as talented as Wildwood Kin. To be able to do it in a venue as spectacular as Christ Church is an added bonus. It is a perfect combination that is sure to create a truly magical musical event.”

All this comes as The My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad announces their 2023 date, in July, and tickets are up for grabs; affirming Swindon on the live music UK map, and demolishing any wonky preconceptions it’s just a collection of roundabouts. Go, Swindon!

For the record, I like all the roundabouts, Swindon, keeps the traffic flowing.


Please click to download; all proceeds go to Julia’s House

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Richie Triangle; Imposter Syndrome

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.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 17th-24th August 2022

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!


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Really Got Me Now; The Roughcut Rebels Storm the Three Crowns

Prince Akeem of Zamunda, that’s the bugger, least the fictional character played by Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, who walks over a shower of rose petals; that’s the Roughcut Rebels gigging in their hometown right now, but replace the petals with “party!” Yes, they dance over a bed of party, waltzing the crowd with them, and punch above their weight for the mod covers championship belt.….

For a band that know they can switch from the Beatles’, Hard Day’s Night, to Jack Bug’s Lighting Bolt, a local crowd will lay the petals for them. More so, they bring the party, as they saunter through them with a breeze of confidence. Confidence in their younger frontman, Fin, but also in the tightness of the knowledgeable band; it’s one not to be missed, as it was in the Three Crowns last night.

In pub with a McDonald’s-paced drinks service, due to its cashless agenda, there’s a marvellous outside venue completely covered with sparkling canope. The boss here knows his customers as he flicks me through his diary; The Three Crowns pays particular attention to accomplished local live cover acts it knows will bring the party, such as People Like Us, Illingworth, Paradox and, as clearly evident last night, those Roughcut Rebels.

They push the boundaries of eras, spanning in comfort any anthem with a mod tinge, and saunter from sixties to eighties, from Rolling Stones to The Jam, yet slide equally as neatly and timelessly as a Fred Perry shirt into Britpop and into contemporary indie sing-a-longs.

Polishing the evening off with the Stereophonics’ Dakota, it’s a scooter rideout through time, from The Who to Oasis, and everything in between. This equates to a highly entertaining show, akin to a Now, That’s What I Call Mod Music compilation album, but live and with Wiltshire hint; I honour Fin doesn’t attempt a cockney accent when reenacting Phil Daniels’ Parklife monologue, because it’s a little west country thing, and it rocks!

With a extensive gourmet burger type menu, The Three Crowns is a golden nugget on our pub circuit, and Finley and Mark of the band are the next stop musically, playing the bank holiday Monday in support of The Reason.

The Roughcuts can be seen again at The Barge in Seend Cleeve on September 2nd, and appear at the highly anticipated Party For Life fundraiser at Melksham Town FC on the 10th September.


Sour Apple’s Kate Goes Diva at The Pelican

Safe to say, I’m reckoning, we’re now back to full velocity for live music and entertainment in Devizes post-lockdown, and once again, for a small town it’s punching well above its weight for choice.

Rare for me to be out on the tiles on a Friday due to real work commitments, but I’m off the hook and starting my adventure in a pub I also rarely frequent, Wadworth’s The Pelican Inn.

An historic stalwart in the Market Place, The Pelican reliably never changes its spots because it needn’t. It’s that testament to the community-led tavern you’d usually find in villages, housing estates or hidden away in a city alley, but in the centre of our market town. It’s welcomingly local, with a maze of decorative and comfy cubby holes, if you’d favour privacy from the lively communal area.

Kate stands close to the bar, singing along to well-known backing tracks, a practical method that while common and not really my cuppa, is a far, far stretch from Karaoke, with such a powerful and soulful voice at the helm. One half of acoustic duo Sour Apple, Kate can deliver a note crisp as if Alison Moyet came after Celine Dion, and affirmed regulars on the circuit, Sour Apple, onto my must-see hitlist.

Power ballads of era-spanning exceptional divas proved no challenge for Kate, and engaged the crowd to join in.

Friday is live music night at The Pelican, as landlady Sarah explained Saturday is a no-go, preventing a rude awakening Sunday morning to prep the kingpin of The Pelican’s agenda, the popular Sunday roast. With a takeaway option, capped under a tenner and with vegan alternative, the Sunday roast maybe the icing on the cake at the Pelican, but weekday specials make for a tantalising tradtional pub grub menu.

Considering comedy, but revealling their live music lineup up till Christmas, there’s a good variety of worthy local talent at The Pelican. On Karaoke, Confetti Battle night, 3rd September, sees the regular and ever popular Krazee Devil Karaoke, but not before Bran and Mirko’s unmissable Irish-folk duo, The Celtic Roots Collective play the bank holiday weekend, on Friday 26th August.

Kate returns as the aforementioned duo Sour Apple on September 9th, and master of all trades, the amazing Adam Woodhouse, regular support act at Long Street Blues Club, pays the Pelican a vist on 30th September.

Saxy local elders, Funked Up arrive on 14th October, followed by Krazee Devil’s Halloween Karaoke on the spooky 29th, again on Lantern Parade night, 25th November, and Funked Up provide a Christmas party on 25th December.

Though the real beauty for my personal tastes comes on Friday 18th November, when Chippenham duo Blondie & Ska play the Pelly. Part Blondie tribute, part classic Two-Tone covers with a hint of Blondie makeover, it’s orginal, progressivly acomplished, but more importantly, a whopping chunk of fun. Throughout lockdown this wonderful duo kept fans entertained prolifically live streaming, and for that alone, I bloomin’ love ’em!

With offerings as good as this, The Pelican is a welcomed return to the live music circuit, aside it’s cracking menu and cheery hospitality.


Broken, with Billy Green 3

Rain after a heatwave can be “refreshing” rather than its normal, “annoying.” Save drizzle, though forecast, we’re still waiting for the storm. If it’s refreshing you want in the meantime, local Britpop trio, Billy Green 3 paid a visit to Potterne’s Badger Set studio, and the result is Madchester in Ibiza….

Melancholically drifting over a subtle Latino riff, Broken is the surprising new single, out tomorrow (Friday 22nd July,) and it’s gorgeously chilled, like lounging on a porch-swing with a touch of bourbon, while mizzle rejuvenates the charred grass. It’s the morning-after pill from a heady beach party, yet don’t rush off with the idea Bill has done gone turned into a bossa nova star or anything rash like that!

Thankfully more air-conditioned Santana than gold bikini-clad Shakira, we’re some way even off what Oakenfold might spin at some Balearic archipelago chillout zone, because Broken retains the model Verve-Embrace come new wave mod indie sound of Billy Green’s past tracks, just with a subtle nod to something retrospectively Latino, akin to Morcheeba’s Big Calm, or Screamadelica; something like that. “Think Cafe Del Mar…in Newcastle,” our Geordie frontman Bill pitches it to me, rightfully.

Phone speaker listening never does a song justice, I must break the habit, but it took me seconds to fall in love with this tune, despite lack of amplification. Fond of this, because it works, key is the simplicity against overthinking, at least with such a style, I put to Bill.

“I think so,” he replied, “I had an idea that I wanted to have a two-chord structure, and the emotion would come through the story in the lyrics, I’m not really had any songs with a complete narrative arc, so that was the very loose plan, once I had that we just build the instrumentals around the lyrics and that ebbed and flowed…” And it has itinerant romantic narrative, as tranquil as the sound, working as a cruising solo song, or maxing-relaxing with a loved one… just don’t try the aforementioned gold bikini-clad Shakira look in an accompanying video, Bill, it’s only going to lower the poignant nuance of a superb tune; well done, guys, very summery!



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Events in Wiltshire Weekly Roundup: 14-17th July 2022

In the words of the King, “lord almighty, feel the temperature rising,” it’s set to be scorchio this weekend; here’s what we’ve found to occupy yourself, but remember the code portmanteau…. sunscreen! I’m a kinda radish colour now as I didn’t listen to my own advice, which you didn’t need to know, but I’m telling you anyway….

I’m also telling you, as usual I ain’t, as ain’t nobody got time for adding links to this here overview, find all the addition info you need and ticket links on our Event Calendar HERE.

Don’t forget Marlborough Open Studios ongoing until 24th July. On Thursday 14th July find Ray Cooper at Marlborough Folk Roots club.

By Friday 15th you should be prepared to get your booties movin’ with a bit of Salsa dancing at The Muck & Dundar, Devizes.

Dan Whitehouse plays the Pump, Trowbridge, Holly Carter at The Royal Oak, Bath, Road Trip at The Vic, Swindon, and this one needs no clarification; MeatLoud – Bat Out of Hades at the Neeld Hall, Chippenham! Ah, and breath, the fabulous Chicken Teddys gig at the Railway Inn, Yatton, The John E Vistic Rock N Roll Sound System at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and there’s outdoor theatre at Trowbridge Town Hall with Wuthering Heights.

Saturday is start of the Market Lavington Vintage Meet & Family Weekend. Rumours about cancelation is rubbish, this is going ahead, deffo, and tickets are still available.

Devizes sees its first Italian Auto Moto Festival in the Market Place on Saturday 16th and take Frunch at The Muck & Dundar with a pop-up kitchen. Staying in that lovely holiday-at-home rum bar, DJ James Threlfall plays a set in the evening. Live music spoiled for choice Devizions can find The Reason playing The Three Crowns, Rockhoppaz at the Southgate, or take a downhill walk to The Cross Keys, Rowde for The Life of Brian band.

It’s good news for Attack! The Wargames Show, as it finally makes a return to Devizes School on Saturday and Sunday. Over 30 trade stands with Military books, brushes, paints, terrain pieces and supplies (good for model railway enthusiasts too), models and figures. They have 100 competitors playing in 8 competitions and 12 participation games, to come and try. Plus, canteen and bar (provided by the British Lion). The show usually brings around 1000 people in so do come and see what the hobby is all about. This is the Facebook group to join for more details.

Or, for a rare opportunity these days; you can go to a record fair at Melksham’s Assembly Hall on Saturday.

Menu and Music at The Crown in Marlborough, Bottfest continues at The Seven Stars, Bottlesford with surfers Hooch, and a beach barbeque, although I’m not sure how a lorry carrying a beach is going to be able to squeeze around Bottlesford corner.

Billy in The Lowground play Trowbridge Town Hall, lovin’ the name, The Invincible Pigs at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Green Day tribute Green Haze at The Cheese & Grain, Frome. BlitzKidz at The Vic, and Miss Kel’s Dance Academy’s Legends at The Wyvern, Swindon.

Pick-of-the-Week

But eyes of Swindon should be on our pick-of-the-week this week, the town’s tribute to Dave Young at the Old Town Bowl, the ingeniously titled My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival.

The Swindon Shuffle, in partnership with South Swindon Parish Council and Dave’s friends and family are very pleased to bring you the 2nd ‘My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Festival’ – a tribute to Dave Young.

The event is once again happening in the beautiful surroundings of Town Gardens Bowl on Saturday 16th July, from midday until 10pm and is being held in tribute to Dave Young, the former landlord of The Victoria and 12 Bar, who sadly died last June at the Prospect Hospice after a hard-fought battle against cancer. Profits from the event are being donated to the Prospect Hospice in Dave’s name – last years totalled over £14,000!

The event will take the shape of an all-day community music festival with a stellar line up of live acts, finished off with the high-energy Rave Against The Regime, a live band who play reinterpretations of synth-heavy dance music classics with no synths…

The rest of the line-up is headed by local alternative pop-rock act All ears Avow and also features Soul band Joli and the Souls, indie act Stay Lunar, Irish folk-punk outfit Mick O’Toole, Swindon Americana stalwarts The Shudders, Wiltshire Folk collective The Lost Trades, indie band Kicking Edgar and more. Plus, on the Bandstand stage acts like Baths Concrete Prairie and Swindon’s own Canute’s Plastic Army and Si & Matt Hall.

Alongside the music there will be plenty of activities for all the family, a huge local maker’s market courtesy of Swindie Makers Markets and food and drink from a variety of locally based vendors like Streets of India and a licenced bar by The Tuppenny.

Tickets are available online via seetickets.com (booking fee applies). Physical tickets are available from The Tuppenny and Holmes Music in Swindon and Tesco’s in Calne.

And that’s about your lot; bit of a quieter weekend, especially in Devizes; save some pennies for Beer Festival the next weekend. Find Marty Wilde & The Wildcats at The Wyvern, Swindon on Sunday, the Infant Voice Festival same place on Monday, with Sarah Millican’s Bobby Dazzler tour on Wednesday.

In Devizes on Tuesday 19th, it’s the Devizes Community Choir’s first performance at The Bear, The Big Sing; break a leg, guys!

Another recommended option for Wednesday is at Wiltshire Rural Music Centre, Trowbridge, where Daisy Chapman & Amelia Wise play an intimate set.

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Jon Amor, Friends, and the Southgate

Jeepers. No one works that hard on a Sunday, surely? Even if your boss shoves a Sunday shift unwillingly on you, you brush as much as you can under the carpet; anything which can wait until Monday, should do. I’ve mentioned it in passing, but not given Jon Amor’s monthly residency at the Southgate full coverage before, because those who know, know anyway.…..

For procrastination isn’t in our Devizes’ blues living legend’s vocabulary, neither is the notion it’s only a free pub gig. Jon Amor and friends blows the Southgate down, every first Sunday of the month. The like you’d happily pay a ticket stub for, and he throughly loves every second of it.

It’s a pub Sunday roast with a difference; you’re the meat. Jon bangs up the heat and cooks like Heston Blumenthal on a promise, usually drafting in a renowned sous chef from his network of astounding bluesmen. On this occasion King Street Turnaround bassist, Jerry Soffe and quickfire drummer Tom Gilkes joined him, along with the single most dexterous keyboardist I’ve had the pleasure to witness, John Baggot.

With more to appease than Devizes blues afictionardos in the middle-aged mosh pit, being footfall decended clockwork from DOCA’s fantastic Picnic in the Park, Jon didn’t concern himself to warm the oven first, sizzling our tender loins with his signature ‘Juggernaut,’ I was assured from start, this was a hip rub with michelin star garnish.

Baggot was the gravy boat, seemingly improv throughout, his sublime skill at the keyboard poured the stock on so thickly, contrails were visible from his hands. Complimenting Jon, Tom and Jerry’s jam, it came together impeccably. We’re looking at the Devizes’ very own juke joint here, the tunes they played through unimportant when you’re going with the flow, the outstanding quality is the only element paramount for mentioning.

See, I’m a world music lover, mightily impressed by DOCA’s ethos of providing our town with these slices of something all together different for these back waters. But due to Dad’s taxi service I rocked up belated enough only to catch the finale of their carnival warmup at Hillworth; beguiling marimba rhythm band, London-based Otto & The Mutapa Calling. Their enchanting tempo breezed through the crowd and trees beyond, contrasting in genre to the familiarity of what was to follow a stone throw away at our Southgate. Yet to palsy-walsyily acquaint with electric blues is to Devizes what Merseybeat is to Liverpool or triphop to Bristol, Jon is the kingpin, and we love it with bells on.

Otto & The Mutapa Calling

The rare occasion timings between events occur in town like this, is fantastic, bit like sauntering between stages at Glastonbury, without the wellies. The sporadic spoils of DOCA or Devizes Arts Festival, Long Street Blues Club or the Wharf truly are blessings to the town when they occur, but the Southgate is that dependable, regular stalwart, something Deborah and Dave should be very proud to have developed.

With such a flowing lineup, it’s never a disappointment, but I recall a day a few years past, when, with glint in her eye, landlady Deborah told me Jon Amor came in and wanted a slot; look how far we’ve come. For if the musical menu is tantalising weekly, this residency is the house special.


Weekend Roundup: 30th June – 3rd July 2022

Full throttle into July, then; here’s what the weekend looks like around these parts. These parts of cultural void, so it’s claimed, we say otherwise…. You want proof?

As usual no links here, the only link you need is here, our event calendar. Have a great weekend whatever you do!

Ongoing from Wednesday until Sunday the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon has got Shrek the Musical. Thursday and Friday, Devizes Musical Theatre presents their Summer Concert, Miss Fortunes at The Wharf Theatre, see the poster, always see the posters!

I’m delighted to hear Devizes LGBTQ+ group’s first big event, Drag Bingo at the Exchange has sold out on Thursday 30th; well done to them and here’s hoping for some similar events in Devizes in the future.

One of folk music’s greatest innovators, Martin Carthy is at Trowbridge Town Hall Thursday, Paul Jones Live in Concert at Christ Church, Swindon while Swindon Arts Centre has a play called Blithe Spirit, running until Sunday.

Friday is pinch punch. Chippenham Comedy Festival at The Old Road Tavern, starts, running all weekend. Limited Weekend Tickets £60, individual shows are all £7 each. Friday 1st July: 7pm Sam Michael & John Matthews: Cister Act, 8.30pm Juliette Meyers: Passport Face,10pm James Dowdeswell: Beers of a Clown. Saturday 2nd July: 5pm Jo Caulfield: Here Comes Trouble, 6.30pm Sooz Kempner: Playstation, 7.45pm Katie Mitchell: She Festers, 9pm Andrew O’Neill: We Are Not In The Least Afraid Of Ruins; We Carry A New World In Our Hearts, 10.15pm Wil Hodgson: Barbicidal Tendencies. Sunday 3rd July: 5.30pm Jessie Nixon, Dannie Johns & Millie Haswell: Dumb Belles,7pm Joe Wells: I am Autistic, 8.30pm Beth Black.

Devizes School Summer School Concert in the main hall. Minety Festival kicks off for the weekend. Melksham’s One Love reggae night has been moved from the Assembly Hall to Spencer’s Club on Beanacre Road, I just haven’t changed the poster, so forget all I said about paying attention to the posters!!

The Ukey Dukes play The New Inn, Winterbourne Monkton. Ska punkers head to The Barge at Honeystreet, for Slageri J headline there, and surfers should wipe-out at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, where they’ll find the highly recommended Palooka 5. Rorke’s Drift play The Vic, Swindon, and fresh(ish) from Glasto, Jo Whiley plays 90s Anthems at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Saturday 2nd, Longleat continues showing off; those who don’t mind standing for hours, with a bottomless wallet and advance planning can see Tears for Fears, the rest of us are not left without options…. like Salisbury Pride at Queen Elizabeth Gardens.

Arts Together fundraise with a day painting at Bowood, see the poster for real this time!

Six O’clock Circus headline The Vale of the White Horse Scooter Rally at The Cooper’s Arms, Pewsey. While there’s a reggae day at The Wheatsheaf, Calne; the Bee Skas play at 3pm!

The Seven Stars in Bottlesford has a Burger BBQ for twenty quid, but you do get The Reason playing.

The amazing Jack Grace is at Southgate, and popular covers band Paradox are down the Cellar Bar in Devizes; yes, I did say The Cellar Bar, glad to see this venue back on our listings.

Band X at the Three Horseshoes Bradford-on-Avon, Siren at the 12 Bells, Trowbridge, with Hatepenny rocking the Town Hall. @Fest mini-festival at the White Hart in Attsworth. Down & Dirty at The Vic, Swindon.

Swindon’s Midlife Krisis sound system was due to setup at The Barge at HoneyStreet, however, due to issues with their secondary camping field it is unfortunately cancelled. We wish the Barge all the best with this issue, and hope it can be resolved as soon as possible.

Sunday 3rd July is DOCA’s Picnic at Hillworth Park. British Blues with Trevor Babajack Steger from 12pm, from 1pm, find some jazz-tinged klezmer and old-world Yiddish folk, from Mozzle Brocha, branch of the collective, Chai for All, who we tried to get to play a Ukraine fundraiser at St Mary’s, but it unfortunately fell through. It will be good to meet you, guys.   

Eastern European folk traditions follow that with East of Eden at 2:40, South African at 4pm with Otto & The Mutapa Calling, finishing off your Sunday entertainment. Also look out for Rose Popay, the “Art Tart,” sounds hilarious, and various carnival workshops, suitable for all ages; see the DOCA website.

Elsewhere, People Like Us headline free live music for Inspire Warminster, preview here. The Cosmic Sausages play The Bell, Bath, The Lost Hills play The Tap & Barrel, Swindon. Blues legend Andy Fairweather Low plays The Cheese & Grain, Frome, with Ruzz Guitar in support, and oh, it’s Aldbourne Doggy Day!

That’s your weekend wrapped up, unless I missed anything? Did you let us know? It’s not too late, I can edit our event calendar, if you’re nice and send cake!


Through the week you can catch a Live Art Demonstration by the wonderful Caroline le Bourgeois at Devizes Conservative Club on Monday 4th, meanwhile David Olusoga presents A House Through Time at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Tuesday sees carparks in Devizes closed for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay; for a whole half-hour! Heaven help us! Keyboard warriors, I’d advise you walk or bus it into town to get your garibaldi biscuits!

The New Forest Folk Festival starts Wednesday, while there’s a bit of Shakey at Bath’s Rondo Theatre, Macbeth; all proceeds go to Marie Curie. Best of luck to the two Devizes actors appearing in this, Lucy Upward and Ian Diddams; break a leg!

Next weekend you need tickets for a fundraising concert for Devizes GAC’s chosen charity, Julia’s House Children’s Hospice, at Devizes School Hall, on Friday July 8th at 7.30pm. Special guests at the concert will be the Pewsey Belles Ladies Choir. Tickets are priced £8 and available from 01761 472468.

Both Readipop Festival and Cornbury Festival, next weekend, and of course, Devizes Carnival and Trowbridge’s ParkFest, both on the Saturday 9th. I believe I’ll be painting the whole village purple at Bishop’s Cannings mini festival at The Crown; please come and support this too. And on Sunday, give our Essex country-rocker favourites, Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective a warm Devizes welcome at the Southgate.

And if you’ve read this far I salute you; people like you who pay attention really need to grab up tickets to the Full-Tone Festival August Bank Holiday, AND Devizes Scooter Rally, AND Devizes Beer Festival too!


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REVIEW – Tamsin Quin & Vince Bell @ The Southgate, Devizes – Sunday 26th June 2022

300 and still counting!

Andy Fawthrop

Is it really (not that) long? Debs suddenly realised over the weekend that this was the 300th gig that she and Dave had put on in The Southgate since taking over in 2018. That’s only four years, and we had a pandemic in the middle when all the pubs were necessarily closed anyway, so that’s a pretty remarkable record! No-one has done more to support live music in D-Town that Debs and Dave, with virtually every weekend supporting at least one gig, sometimes two or three. I do remember one night when there were (for complicated reasons that need not detain us now) two gigs on at exactly the same time – one inside the pub, and one in the skittle alley!

There have been acts from all over the country, and indeed from several other countries. There has been just about every style of music you can think of – rock, prog, psychedelia, blues, funk, soul, folk and every combination thereof that you can think of. Most of it worked too!

So it was really good, albeit perhaps just a lucky coincidence, that gig number 300 should be one of those relaxed Sunday afternoon sessions featuring a couple of the best of our very local singer/ songwriters – Tamsin Quin and Vince Bell. The atmosphere was, as usual, warm and supportive right from the start.

Tamsin was up first, shorn of her Lost Trades buddies, for an occasional solo performance. I’ve known Tamsin since some of her early gigs back in the mists of time at the now-defunct Seend Acoustic. Back then she was chatty, nervous, a little scatty, but clearly a great songwriter and performer. Since then, and I’ve seen her perform many times, she has clearly developed. She’s stronger and more assured in front of a microphone, her singing style is more gentle, and her song-writing has developed in leaps and bounds – intimate, sincere and with a new depth and maturity.

Vince followed her onto the singing stool and showed us, yet again, what a great singer/ songwriter he is. And it was one of those gigs where, instead of being reduced to the “folkie in the corner” everybody (including the dogs) was properly listening. Again we had strong, deep songs, with some occasional Spiderman-pyjama whimsy thrown in, and a captivating performance.

Unfortunately, I had to skip the very last bit where they got to sing some songs together (Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was calling and I didn’t want to get put “on hold”), so as they used to say in The News Of The World “I made my apologies and left”, which was a damned pity because it was such a lovely, homely gig.

There were lots of friends in the audience, and a lot of love in the room. I’m pretty sure I’m right in thinking that both performers enjoyed it as much as we audience did in listening. Wonderful.

So, as I said, a great gig to celebrate 300 and counting. Let’s hope for many more great gigs, and let’s hope that the good folk of D-Town keep on supporting quality live music.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

Saturday 2nd July Jack Grace Band
Sunday 3rd July Jon Amor + Friends


REVIEW – Fulltone Strings @ Town Hall, Devizes – Sunday 26th June 2022

Four Seasons In One Day

Andy Fawthrop


There’s no respite if you’re into your culture in D-Town these days. Fresh off the back of the wonderful Devizes Arts Festival, I headed on a beautiful sunny Sunday evening to a sold-out Town Hall to hear The Fulltone Orchestra in full musical flight. This was FTO’s “taster” event, and an advert for the big event over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Fulltone Music Festival) to be held on The Green on 27th and 28th August….

Anthony Brown (“Our Tone”) had gathered an almost 40-strong string orchestra, with only a very short time for rehearsals, and moulded them together to provide us with a short, but very satisfying musical repast.
To start with, our amuse-bouche if you like, was the short but sweet Adagio in G Minor by Tomaso Albinoni. This 18th Century composer, who was quite famous in his day, and a contemporary of Vivaldi, is less well-known these days. The piece was light and airy, and played with some panache by a clearly enthusiastic orchestra, a perfect Baroque accompaniment to the sunshine flooding in through the open windows, and a piece absolutely suited to the surroundings of the splendid room in which were sitting.

Next up, the real starter, was Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Fantasia on A Theme By Thomas Tallis. Still light but a little more substantial, this was one English composer’s interpretation of an earlier English composer’s work, and is perhaps more recognisable, having been recorded and performed many times over the last century.

And finally, after a short interval, we were onto the main course and, I suspect, the key reason for this concert’s obvious popularity – Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, his violin concerto written roughly 300 years ago in the period 1718-20. For this piece, conductor Anthony willingly ceded the leadership of the strings to guest Russian concert violinist, Elizaveta Tyun. Elizaveta has performed all over the world, and her appearance in Devizes was a real coup for the FTO.

The Four Seasons (“Le quattro stagioni” in Italian) is, by far and away, the best-known of Vivaldi’s works, and is a group of four linked violin concertos, each of which gives musical expression to a season of the year. At the time when they were first performed, they were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds, a shepherd and his barking dog, buzzing flies, storms, drunken dancers, hunting parties from both the hunters’ and the prey’s point of view, frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires. Also unusual for the period, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by the composer himself) that elucidated what it was in the spirit of each season that his music was intended to evoke. The concerti therefore stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to be called “program music” — or in other words, music with a narrative element. Vivaldi divided each concerto into three movements (fast–slow–fast), and, likewise, each linked sonnet into three sections. I’m not going to pretend that I knew all of that, but I Googled it and I thought you ought to know! I did it before I listened, and it certainly helped me to understand much better what I was listening to!

What can I say? It was absolutely wonderful, thrilling, inspiring, and emotional stuff. It was live orchestral music at its very best. Elizaveta played with enormous passion and enthusiasm, attacking the faster, trickier passages with great energy. And the strings of the FTO, probably inspired by such skill in their midst, followed her lead and supported her to great effect. It’s an absolutely fabulous piece of music. No matter how many times I’ve heard it played, it never ceases to amaze me. Despite being used in (literally) hundreds of film soundtracks, adverts, and the inevitable telephone on-hold theme, it always comes through as fresh and original. And it was so good to listen to it properly, all the way through, played by a set of musicians who clearly wanted to play it. Hats off to the lot of them – it was absolutely superb!

Well done to Jemma and Anthony Brown for pulling this concert together, well done to Elizaveta for a stirring rendition of the lead violin role, and well done to the scratch group of musicians who came together to deliver an excellent performance. Oh, and well done to the crowd who came out on a Sunday night to support such great live music and gave the performance exactly what it deserved – a long standing ovation and rapturous applause. Absolutely brilliant!

So – don’t forget to buy your tickets for The Fulltone Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday 27th & 28th August on The Green – available from Devizes Books, and online from www. www.ticketsource.co.uk/fulltone


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