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 – 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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REVIEW – Sarah C Ryan Band @ The Southgate, Devizes – Saturday 25th June 2022

Another Great Find

Andy Fawthrop

Ah – you never know what life is going to throw up at you till it smacks you right in the face.  Coming off the back of two weeks’ worth of fare from Devizes Arts Festival, I poked my head in to The Corn Exchange to catch their very last act – Absolute with their Celtic Party Night.  I managed to stay for the first half (and very it good it was too as the crowd began to thaw and fill the dance-floor), but to be honest, there’s only so much diddley-diddley music that one man can take.…..

And so it was, as a late call, I decided to head up the hill to The Southgate to check out the Sarah C. Ryan Band.  And boy am I glad I did.  These guys were a new band to me, despite being quite local (they even rehearse in Devizes), and I couldn’t believe that I’d never run into them before.

In short they were beltingly good – several notches above most pub bands.  But that judgement is kinda unfair – they were much more than a mere “pub band”.  They played mostly self-penned numbers, with just the occasional leavening of covers.  Being a five-piece, and including three guitars, drums, keyboards and the occasional woodwind, gave them a depth and a richness in their sound.  The songs were clean, sharp, unfussy.  Sarah’s singing in particular lifted the performance with her sweet, clear voice, but the whole thing was a complete pleasure to listen to.  Number after number rolled off their set-list, each one bringing huge applause from a very enthusiastic audience.  Their versions of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and the Cranberries’ “Zombie” were absolutely spot-on, working with the crowd and feeding off their energy.

Really good band – best I’ve seen in ages.  And really nice folks to talk to as well.  They told me that they don’t actually gig very much, but I really can’t understand why – they’ve got the right package – good songs, good playing, good sound and an ability to connect with their audience.  Let’s hope we see much more of them in the future!

Well done to Debs for another great booking, and a good night at The Gate.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

Saturday 2nd July                               Jack Grace Band

Sunday 3rd July                                  Jon Amor + Friends


Editor’s Top-Secret Information! I’m sorry to have missed this gig at our trusty Southgate, for although I’ve not had the chance to catch The Sarah C Ryan Band live, yet, I can leak some top-secret information, or, at least, procrastination being the reason I’ve not mentioned it sooner: I’m fully aware how absolutely awesome The Sarah C Ryan Band are, as they’ve kindly donated a tune called A Woman in White, to the forthcoming second volume of our Julia’s House compilation. And you HAVE to hear it!

We just need a few more songs to make this happen; don’t make me beg!

We want your band name on our desk!
You can download the first Volume here!

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Inspire Warminster; Free Live Music on Sunday

Skewered, the adverse replies to my Facebook post a month ago, asking for suggestions on how to kill a few hours in Warminster; it was as if I’d wandered into the outback! Skewered by banter, neighbouring rivalry, perhaps, but I also have to take into account the town’s proximity to funky freewheeling Frome, and the fact any town name with the word “war” in hardly connotes an approachable kind of place..but, is it?

But what’s in a name, military links aside? I set about a little research project to suggest Warminster is not a cultural void, and any accusation it is, is obscured by ignorance, surely? They probably say the same about us; all’s fair in love and war, minster….see what I did there? A little Sunday pun to break the ice! Okay, I’ll get my coat.

Already aware both the Rose & Crown and Prestbury Sports Bar host a regular live music programme, supporting local live music, I also came across a group aptly titled Inspire Warminster. Coincidently, they’ve a free community festival happening Sunday 3rd July from 1-7pm in the town park. I suggest if you suffer from Warminster-phobia you check it out, overcome your negative presumptions!

The brainchild of Pete Bartley and Doug Halls, Inspire Warminster started out in 2013, when their Town Council approached them with their idea to put on an annual live music event in the park to showcase local talent, and more specifically to encourage young people to take up a musical instrument. Doug and Pete wanted to put on a daytime family event where parents could bring their children and enjoy a family day out listening to the music, which is precisely what they did!

Okay, so there’s a guy clearly scratching his butt in their featured Facebook photo, what of it?!

I spoke to Tom of the group, whose job it is to organise the bands. “We’ve nine very diverse bands booked for this year,” he tells me, “All of whom local to Warminster, so it really will be a wonderful showcase of the talents in the town.” This is exactly what I was after, evidence!

Coyote Country starts the music at 1pm, followed by Wade Merritt, Junkyard Dogs, Grumpy Dog, and Brakelight. Then the Warminster Community Choir are on at 4:20, followed by Dr Alibi, The Frontman and our good friends, People Like Us headline at 6. “With the amount of talent on during the course of this event,” Last playing Inspire in 2017, People Like Us announced, “we are stunned, thrilled and humbled to be headlining this brilliant community event.”

Old stock photo of PLUS, knocks a couple of years off, guys!

“PLUS were instrumental in reuniting our community,” Inspire explains, “as we emerged from lockdown, reigniting our spirits and reminding us that good times could exist again. All that remains is to let them do their thing, so come, dance and sing!”


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REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival FREE FRINGE –Florian Felcitta @ Three Crowns 19th June 2022

Superb Talent In The Afternoon

Andy Fawthrop

Another day, and yet another Arts Festival presentation at a different D-Town venue. This afternoon it was the turn of The Three Crowns to host a Free Fringe presentation in their wonderful courtyard. And what a delicious Sunday afternoon treat it was.….

Florian Felcitta is a young man who, in my mind at least, is going places. An extremely accomplished guitarist, who plays modern folk/ gypsy/ jazz, gave an absolute masterclass in how to engage and entertain a Sunday afternoon audience. Modest, self-deprecating, and thoroughly charming to boot, he worked his way through two superb sets of material. With no vocals, but merely relying on his sheer artistry of the guitar strings to produce accomplished instrumental versions of some great pop and rock tunes, the performance was absolutely captivating. Challenging his audience from the outset to effectively “name that tune”, he largely lost his £1000 per tune bets as his listeners homed in on the key melodies. We had hits from Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran, Django Reinhardt, Michael Jackson, Guns & Roses, Tom Petty and many others. But absolutely like you’ve never heard them before.

His guitar skills were superb. Aided by a modest use of loops and pedals, which he never allowed to dominate, he managed to produce a beautiful and very laid-back performance. The audience, despite being in the middle of a very busy pub serving lunches, were never distracted and paid full attention to every song and every introduction. It was stripped back, it was accomplished, and it was very, very good indeed. Hopefully we’ll see and hear much more of this wonderful artist in the future. I’m old and cynical, and not easily impressed these days, but this performance was absolutely spot-on. Highly recommended.

And, yet again, well done to DAF for putting this event on. The fact that it was FREE was just the icing on the cake!

The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town. Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk


REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival –The Homing @ Conservative Club 17th June 2022

A Game of Two Halves

Andy Fawthrop

Another day, another Arts Festival presentation. Following classical, rock, comedy, it was time for something completely different – this time it was alt-country/ folk/ Americana from London-based The Homing, and yet another different D-Town venue. We were up at the Con Club in Long Street, normally home to the very successful Long Street Blues Club. The place was pretty full and, due to the lack of any air-conditioning, a very hot place to be.

The Homing are: Dani Somerside (vocals, percussion), June Brawner (vocals, keyboards, guitar, mandolin), with Abraham Kane (acoustic and electric guitars), Rob Navrati (drums, vocals) and
Arnold Carrete (bass).

This concert, for me at least, was a game of two halves. In the first half the band struggled to reach its stride and to generate much enthusiasm, either on stage or in the audience. The songs were pleasant enough and competently performed, but the vibe was steady and plodding, rather than exciting. Slow and medium tempo numbers ran into one another, and it was a relief to get to half time.

After the break things were different. I don’t know if there was a hairdryer moment in the dressing room, or whether this is just how their shows usually run. But suddenly there was a flash of that missing spark. They lifted the tempo a few notches and, hey presto, the dance-floor quickly filled up. There were still the odd mis-steps in the set-list as the band, inexplicably, twice cleared a busy dance-floor by doing a long rambling intro, followed by another slow one. However, they kept rescuing it, and we just about reached the finishing-line with a guarded thumbs up.

Not the best gig I’ve been to, to be honest, but you can’t like everything. A better-ordered set-list, a couple more upbeat numbers, and slightly less chat might have lifted this performance to “good”. It was an enjoyable night out (just), but I was left feeling that it could have been rather better than it actually was. Oh, and I wouldn’t have called this Americana or alt-country either – more like soft/ folk-rock. Not massively important in the grand scheme of things, but we do worry about our labels don’t we?

The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town. Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk


REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival –Borealis Saxophone Quartet @ St Andrew’s Church 16th June 2022

Sax in Church

Andy Fawthrop

OK it’s a clickbait headline, but now you’re here, there’s more good news to report.

If you look upon The Devizes Arts Festival as a box of chocolates, this particular concert was a sweet little surprise – an additional lunchtime treat if you will, a chocolate to be enjoyed with a nice cup of (free) tea or coffee (thanks to the grand volunteers at St Andrew’s).

St Andrew’s church is a light, pleasant airy space, and an ideal venue for this sort of lunchtime concert, and it was good to see the Festival making good use of additional venues around the town.

The Borealis Saxophone Quartet is an award-winning chamber ensemble, led by Alastair Penman (soprano saxophone), with the other three members on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.  They played a varied hour’s programme featuring contemporary & recently commissioned pieces, together with more well-known items by Bach, Gershwin, Rossini and Bernstein/ Sondheim.  Hence we had extracts from West Side Story, and the William Tell Overture (the “Lone Ranger” theme for our more childish readers; Editor’s Note: That’s a-me!)

As one might have expected from such experienced and professional musicians, this was an immaculately performed concert, full of brightness and verve.  All the pieces were well received by an appreciative audience, and the final applause was justifiably fulsome.

All of DAF’s offerings so far have been exceptionally good, and this one just kept their good run going.  Short and sweet, but an excellent concert. 

The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town.  Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk 


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REVIEW – Devizes Arts Festival – Tankus The Henge @ Corn Exchange 14th June 2022

Absolutely Stonking!

Andy Fawthrop


The Devizes Arts Festival stepped up several gears last night with an absolutely explosive performance from the musical phenomenon that is Tankus The Henge.…..

The powerhouse 7-piece hit the stage running, immediately injecting energy, noise, fun and bombast into a dull Devizes Tuesday night. This is a band that is almost impossible to categorise, but why on earth should that matter?

“Eclectic” is probably the best I can come up with, combining influences from all over the musical spectrum, and all over the world. There’s soul, funk, blues, jazz, psychedelic all there in the mix, one minute evoking the stinking swamps of New Orleans, the next minute a Berlin bordello, and then on to vaudeville and cabaret. You can hear Tom Waits, Dexys, Madness, Audience and the late and long-missed Alex Harvey.

Up front Jaz Delorean was the ultimate showman, not only leading the band on vocals and piano, but egging on his band-mates to greater and greater efforts. His boogie-woogie piano, often shifting into almost ragtime, combined with physical and actual pyrotechnics – the tilting piano, the clouds of smoke, the climbing acrobatics – provided an arresting front-piece to a very, very good band. These guys were happy to give out the appearance of a ramshackle, fun-loving, loose band, but make no mistake, they were an extremely tight and well-rehearsed unit. The rhythm section drove the juggernaut, and the three-man brass section did all the wheelies. The moves were dramatic and choreographed, theatrical and expressive, and a grand visual foil to the musical shenanigans.

But, like any really good band, they were no mere one trick pony. Never afraid to dial it down for a while, drop the tempo and the volume, they took the audience with them every step of the way. Love songs were mixed with crowd-pleasing call-and-response anthems, before the full wall-of-sound came belting back at you again.

Tankus themselves describe what they do as “Gonzo rock & roll”, and I guess that summed it up – – bonkers, anarchic, fusion, bizarre, batshit-crazy stuff. And it was absolutely wonderful, drawing enormous applause from the dancing crowd.

And so good to see people of all ages and generations there amongst the crowd. I suppose with such a catalogue of styles it would be hard not to at least please some of the people some of the time. With a full 90-minute rollercoaster, high-energy set, Tankus have certainly lifted the bar in D-Town for sheer enjoyment and entertainment.

I’ve no idea how much these guys got paid (and I’m not asking) but whatever it was, Tankus absolutely earned their money. They must be one of the most hard-working bands on the circuit. This wasn’t so much a performance, as complete on-stage energy blow-out. It was a musical statement made in the boldest of colours and loud sounds. It was never subtle, but OMG it was soooo good! Bonkers but brilliant!

The Devizes Arts Festival continues every day until 25th June at various venues across town. Tickets can be booked at Devizes Books or online at www.devizesartsfestival.org.uk


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Female of the Species Back For Halloween

The annual all-female local supergroup get-together is annouced for the Halloween weekend, at a new venue, Seend Community Centre.

Nicky Davis from People Like Us and The Reason, Julia Greenland from Soulville Express & Delta Swing, Claire Perry from Big Mamma & The Misfitz, solo artist Charmaigne Andrews, and Julie Moreton from Trowbridge’s Train to Skaville and Jules & The Odd Men, form the Civic Award-winning supergroup The Female of the Species. I’ll let you in on a secret if you’ve not been to one of their six annual gigs, it’s a party not to be missed.

Halloween costumes optional, but you can guarantee the girls will be dressed up for their annual fundraising extravaganza.

Last year’s event raised a staggering £1,763 for the Therapy Fund of Devizine’s other superheroine, Carmela Chillery-Watson. This time around the girls said, “it’s so difficult to choose from all the incredible charities that apply to us every year, but this year, with the way mental health has been such a huge topic, particularly amongst our younger generations, we have gone with TeenTalk.”

TeenTalk is the early help and support service, run by Young Melksham. TeenTalk’s mission is to reduce and relieve the suffering and distress, and to improve the emotional wellbeing, of young people and their families throughout North and West Wiltshire.

The date for this seventh spectacular is set for Saturday 29th October 2022, now moved to Seend Community Centre, famous for their epic beer festivals.There will be a support act, yet to be confirmed, but doors open at 7pm for drinks, and Female of the Species take to the stage at 8:30pm. Get your tickets here.


Talk in Code get Illogical

The only person who isn’t going to love this is Mr Spock! Swindon’s Talk in Code released a new single today, Illogical, their first release on Regent Street Records, since signing at the beginning of the year……

Only seconds of a Tangerine Dream fashioned intro elapses before the boys’ flare that uniformed indie-pop at you; the kind they’ve grown into and we’ve come to love them for. Again, Illogical sums up their undeviating style, upbeat and optimistic, each new title shimmeringly fresh and more astute to the “code.”

Built-in euphoric backing consecrates this imitable style; yeah, there’s tinges of eighties pop while retentive of the contemporary knowhow, so to have discovered it on an “Hits Album” of the era would’ve likely caused a seizure of excitement for the listener, and a technical enquiry call from Kraftwerk for the band.

Recorded and produced with Sam Winfield and Tom Millar at Studio 91 (Amber Run, The Amazons, Fickle Friends), the ‘guilty by design’ theme connotes relationship complexity, contradiction and confusion. Yet, as with universal pop formula, their leitmotifs pale by the energetic beat, until the bridge which winds down and highlights subtle narrative. Talk in Code find that perfect balance, which I why I tip them one of the very best on our local circuit. More so, the theme of the song seems to suggest this.

But their strive for wider appeal is deservedly paying off independently amassing 170k streams and over 600 Spotify playlist adds, radio airplay from Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing, and thriving festival appearances.

If you’re expecting covers at their gig, you might be disappointed, but Talk in Code’s beguiling singles are immediately palpable by effect, and will have you thinking you’ve heard them before; “catchy” is a word I try to avoid, but is apt. Illogical is perhaps more danceable then their power-pop previous single, Young Love’s Dream, and more akin to 2020’s Talk Like That. With such an amazing discography gradually building, probably best now to compare Talk in Code singles with Talk in Code singles rather than cite influences. Progression is the only issue here is, each one seems to better the previous and each new one binds this aforementioned uniform style.

“Analysis please, Mr Spock……”

“Given variables, Captain, it would be illogical to find fault with this new Talk in Code single!”    

Showing off the day I made a rubbish roadie on the road with Talk in Code!

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PREVIEW – 49th Chippenham Folk Festival – Friday 27th to Sunday 29th May 2022

The Boys (And Girls) Are Back In Town!

By Andy Fawthrop


Yes – we know it’s not in Devizes, but it’s just up the road in Chippers – a quick trip in the car or on the exciting ride that is the 33 bus. And Chippenham is one of the biggest (and oldest) folk festivals on the national circuit, and it’s right here in Wiltshire.

Well, it’s been two years since the last proper Chippenham Folk Festival (due to You-Know-What), but at last it’s back again this year. This time it’s been shortened from its traditional three and a half days to just two and a half days, starting on Friday night, a necessary and prudent economic step to keep the event on a sound financial footing for the future, as the traditional audience begin to peek their heads out of their tents and caravans. So we’ve lost the traditional Bank Holiday Monday big parade and street market, so the rest of the programme has been carefully pruned and trimmed to try and fit everything in. Nevertheless there’s still plenty going on.

The festival, if you’ve not been before, runs right across the town and features over 20 venues (from the large Constitutional Hall, the Neeld Hall, the Olympiad, The Town Hall and The Cause through to various pubs and cafes), over a hundred timetabled events, and several streams of entertainment (concerts, ceilidhs, dance, Morris, displays, children’s entertainment, workshops and tutorials, meet-the-artist) – so there really is something for everyone. All the formal events and concerts are entry by ticket (available online or at the Box Office), but there’s plenty of events that are via “the hat” on the day, and many free fringe events too. There’s poetry, there’s story-telling, there’s music of many types. The streets will be filled with Morris Dancers, display teams, musicians and other performers.

Headliners are Belshazzar’s Feast, 3 Daft Monkeys, Sean Fitzpatrick and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, ably supported by folk veterans such as Tom McConville, Keith Donnelly, Si Barron, Bob & Gill Berry and many, many others.
With so much going on, it’s definitely worth the trip up the road from D-Town – you’re bound to find something you like! It’s great value for money – whether a day ticket, or the whole weekend. So go on – get your inner Morris on, and get up the road!

The full timetabled programme, together with plenty of other information, and tickets are all available on the Festival’s website at www.chippfolk.co.uk


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Cookie Cutting with Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst appears at St Johns House in Devizes this Saturday, 27th May, courtesy of Devizes Rotary, for a Ukraine fundraiser, the same day he releases the solo piano album, Cookie Cutter Island [Do you know the way to], of which we’ve taken a sneaky preview of…….

I go to gigs, where the archetypal though talented acoustic musician prior to a headlining full band is kind of diluted by the memory of the band. Such is power in numbers, the combination and bearing of a band, or more so, an orchestra. Yet it takes a special someone who can hold you spellbound in the same manner, solo. But if you’re going to attempt it, piano is your friend.

Akin to a Scott Joplin recital, which you can envision ragtime of yore, of boxcars and trams running through New York’s bustling 19th century streets, Andrew Hurst undoubtedly has that skill to paint a masterpiece with sound.

Another textbook example is film-scoring, though the image is pre-nourished. There was a fascinating series of social media videos where renowned movies had the score taken away, and suddenly the impact is lost; the horror is hardly horrific at all, there is no thrilling suspense in that thriller. Shows how important the music is in film, and in turn the influence music has over us in general.

Andrew Hurst appears at St Johns House in Devizes this Saturday, 27th May, for a Ukraine fundraiser, where multi-instrumental goodness is promised. Yet while Andrew can make a guitar sing, whether filling a concert hall or busking in the Brittox, I’ve a sneaky peek at his strictly piano-based album Cookie Cutter Island [Do you know the way to], which, double-whammy, is released on the same day.

It’s as captivatingly emotive as a film score, and in a way, kind of is. This album is a sketch of music for a potential anime film Andrew has in mind. Now, I’m going to find it somewhere between difficult and impossible to write customary comparisons on this, my knowledge on classical piano is limited, but I know what I like, and that’s my angle! Cookie Cutter Island paints such a picture in one’s mind; a musical dreamcatcher, surreal, pensive and evocative, lingering in suspense and mood.

Andrew describes his vision similar to Disney’s Fantasia, I could argue against this, being Fantasia uses established classics, while Andrew has created his own. “Music first,” he explains, “and the plot came from the owner of Chard Bookshop, who sent a bizarre message; ‘do you know the way to cookie cutter island?’ My reply to her was the flow of the plot, that since has crystallised. Then the music was a case of arriving at the studio every two weeks with “I’ve no idea what I’m doing” but leaving that day with a track I wasn’t “allowed” to revisit: a sort of “enforced creativity” …. though each week later on I couldn’t stop preparing stuff once impetus caught up!”

This bout of when inspiration strikes, has the concentrated oriental narrative of Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West, with a fantastical and childlike expedition synopsis, involving Mitsuki, following her grandmother’s conspiratorial message to meet on “Cookie Cutter Island.” The tracks follow her progress, as she journeys to this mysterious place.

A fable filled with place-names associated with her mood, which also act as track listings, Temple of Regret, Tower of Fallen Heroes, or Sanctuary at Galaxywatch, the story is awash with samurai folklore, brimming with morals of love and honour. Such is the refined concept, it is an ambitious project, and animation is such a tedious process. Even if this vision doesn’t materialise, you can use the narrative in the sleeve notes, and almost see the animation flowing behind closed eyelids. The music commands this of you; as if I could reach out and immerse in it, at least how I would interpretate the music if I only had the artistic skill it warrants.

If forced to make comparisons, I’d offer movie themes, the Tangerine Dream fashioned Krzysztof Penderecki adaption for the Exorcist Theme immediately springs to mind, though Cookie Cutter Island is more graceful mood than chilling, and shards of Chopin, Schubert and particularly Debussy come into play. It ends on a high note, Bulls of Triangle Bridge is uplifting, and the finale Sanctuary at Galaxywatch precisely as the title suggests. Overall, it needs no visual stimuli, it’s enchanting and inspiring.

Pre-order Cookie Cutter Island [Do you know the way to]

Tickets for The Devizes Rotary Club Ukraine Fundraiser with Andrew Hurst, Saturday 27th May at St John’s House are £15, and include a glass of wine; available here


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Tree People, a Gold Postman, Tea, Minions, Pet Camels, Red Carpets, Old Time Sailors and More; Who’s Excited About Devizes International Street Festival?

Pushed forward to Mayday bank hols, who’s getting excited about Devizes International Street Festival? I am, I always am, it’s been the best weekend of … Continue reading “Tree People, a Gold Postman, Tea, Minions, Pet Camels, Red Carpets, Old Time Sailors and More; Who’s Excited About Devizes International Street Festival?”

Half a Review: James Hollingsworth @ The Southgate

It was only a whistle-stop for me at Devizes’ best pub for original live music on Saturday, but long enough to sink a cider and assess; James Hollingsworth is fantastic….

Our roving reporter Andy informed me James is a blessing on the folk circuit, but this occasion, armed with enough loop pedals to make The Southgate’s alcove resemble the Millennium Falcon, he summoned his inner “progness” to embark upon a journey beyond three chords.

A captivating solo show, where pre-recorded backing tracks were not welcome, Frome-based James worked steadily and proficiently through his own compositions, as well as some covers, with complex arrangements built via hand percussion, voice and guitar effects.

James, with additional Southgate’s regular answer to Pan’s People!

Prominsing classics from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, The Beatles, Roy Harper, Jeff Buckley, Marillion and more. If I couldn’t stay for long, because I’m as not as omnipresent as I need to be, I picked out Hendrix’s Castles Made of Sand, and it was sublime.

So, only a quick note to say, for any music lover from folk to prog-rock, from the era of mellowed Flyod-eske goodness, James Hollingsworth works some magic. I’ll be making a bee-line next time he arrives at The Southgate, and so should you!


Indecision’s Final Incursion of Devizes Corn Exchange

The grand finale of popular local covers band, Indecision stormed Devizes Corn Exchange last night, Saturday 21st May, for one last hoorah. A hugely successful turnout in the-hard-to-fill Ceres Hall……

From Seend Beer Festival to Potterne Cricket Club’s, Indecision has been a firm favourite for many-a-year now, playing across the south west from Bromham’s long lost Owl community centre to as far away as Portsmouth, the six-piece Potterne-based band have demanded many to the dancefloor, but last night the time was nigh to say farewells.

Keyboardist Martin Spencer, who also owns Potterne’s Badger Set studio, gave me a never-say-never shrug when I asked him if it was really the end, but for now, he assured me it was.

They came out all guns firing, kicking off with Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle, and preceded to knock out every timeless classic you could name, weaving from Johnny be Goode to The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary as if they were recorded in one session! There were nuggets of phone torch waving, particularly adroit was The Stereophonics’ Dakota.

Here is, essentially, a function covers band, but if you had them at your function it’d make it night to remember. Proof of this was evident in the huge crowd, with such a wide demographic, it seemed like everyone who had ever attended a function or event where they had played descended upon Devizes’ Market Place, and in knowing what was coming, flooded the dancefloor in anticipation. That’s one mighty accolade.

Yes, they smashed the predictable, and cliché covers apexes at Wonderwall, a point lovers of original compositions will no doubt sigh at, but for a covers band, it sure was accomplished, and they stood confident and experienced, raising funds for the Fatboys Charity and Wiltshire Rescue.

For me personally, my impressed expression didn’t falter, at times though I felt this collective had the skill and ability to create some tunes of their own, but in this consider they know their audience and give them what they want; they came here to dance the night away to the tunes they love, and who am I to deny them their enjoyment?

But I confess, I slipped out for a short while, for a pint down the Gate, because my focus and first love is the creativity of an original act, and there’s only so much disco swinging classics I can handle, no matter how skilfully handled. This, coupled with the fact I knew no one there, astonished as to how they can ram such a vast venue and not see one recognisable mug of town’s usual live music aficionados.

The audience reaction was upstanding, as if the Beatles were on stage, ergo my dilemma is to rate this highly upon the tenet just because it wasn’t wholly my cuppa, Indecision do what they say on their tin. Disgruntled at what appeared to me to be a village-fashioned clique with some audience members, upon trying to take an empty seat for the temporary moment I wished to sit, as this was so danceable, I was waved off with a warning the seat was reserved, despite the fact no one was obviously sitting on it, as if I was going to take the chair with me; bit weird and uncalled for, an eighties cheesy nightclubber come of age?! No, kind sir, I didn’t look at your girl!

Still I intended to return, but when I did the band had finished and a DJ was spinning Tiffany and other terrible pop mush, but they liked it, and that’s what’s important here, sadly I winced and escaped! Which was a shame, Indecision certainly tore the house down, were professional and beguiling, and I hope raised some serious wonga for the charity. Ah, the fault isn’t there’s, it’s all me! A massive congratulations to Indecision for staging a vibrant evening, of which the delight of their audience reviewed itself.


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Castlemorton Wasn’t the Best Rave Ever!

Featured Image ©Alan Lodge Photography

Okay, I confess, that’s a clickbait title, forced to make you shout, pantomime style, “oh yes it was!” On this, the thirtieth anniversary of The Castlemorton Free Festival I’m predicting vast quantities of media coverage, hailing its significance in the counterculture of the nineties, and indeed it was the largest illegal gathering in the UK, comparable with the Stonehenge Free Festivals a decade prior.….

And indeed, due to the knickers of a local Tory councillor getting in a twist, it heralded an act of law to prevent so much as four pixies gathering and listening to “repetitive beats,” a desperate last stand from fraying Thatcherism.

But arriving on the scene Friday, dusk had already befallen and we hadn’t a clue just how much it had blossomed. From its epicentre it seemed like just another, typical weekend for us, and in personal reflection, it was not my most memorable rave at all.

In the late eighties acid house was a secret, an exclusive collective no more than a couple of thousand strong. Pyramid promoting, predominately via word-of-mouth, but also by media overexposure, had created a monster; a burgeoning culture trend, an apolitical rebellion whose only ethos was carefree dance. But authorities could neither control it nor let it be. No one made any money from it, that infuriated them, so government made it political, the aftermath of Castlemorton was their Empire Strikes Back.

What was more important to me this weekend thirty years ago, was I finally passed my driving test; a catalyst to seeking raves easier than our only previous methods of blagging lifts or hitchhiking, both of which had unpredictable results. Devastating irony was this particular weekend would be the last of the great raves!

I had my Ford Escort, which I hadn’t fully paid my mum for, so it was legally still hers, and we headed off to Malvern in it; no motorway lesson nor taking-it-steady-on-local-roads starter kits for me!

This legendary party line phone message the Beeb published this week I never heard. On this occasion the usual method of a reliable source phone call was not needed; HTV broadcasted a bulletin about it, they made it too easy for us!

The common was positively buzzing, as more sound systems bolted on and revellers flocked to explode the population to city status. Just how many attended is the query for great debate, safety in numbers was our philosophy, but when we staggered up the hillside at sunrise, our rural chillout zone, the penny dropped.

I recall duly and rather dully contemplating, “they’re never going to live this one down, they’ll never let us get away with it,” it didn’t take Nostradamus, as this sprawling linear development metropolis of o’ bangers and hippy buses expanded like a Sim City game along across a single country track.

Yet the first evening proved unsuccessful in purchasing “rave necessities,” we were ripped off with duff “red & blacks,” soon to be aptly dubbed, “Dennis the Menaces.”

Financially this put us in deficit, and while the upside wasn’t so up, the downside seemed to be equally as prominent, as if the upside had of happened. Supply and demand reduced the potency, these were changing times. But we did it to ourselves, our own worst enemy in so effectively promoting this new way of life. Such was the effect of ecstasy, coming complete with an uncontrollable desire to share the experience, as standard. In this much, that is why we had come to this final kaboom; Castlemorton was the rave to end raves in the UK, least on the same scale.

Second downer for me was when a friend of a friend was badly injured, hanging off the side of a bus which was being pursued by police. The deep graze on her leg needed medical attention, a clean dressing, but the only car available was sporty without adequate room on the backseats. I was in no fit state to drive, so in a flash of unnerving planning, a friend had whisked away to an accident & emergency ward, in my car. We were stranded here for inestimable period. The sun was blazing with little shade, I couldn’t contemplate straying too far, eager to see my little red car returned safely.

I needn’t have worried, but understandably I did, I was a naïve 18-year-old, laughable now that I considered myself grownup. Feelings of doubt haunt the intoxicated teenage mind, but to give this story a happy ending, the car returned with injured passenger in fine fettle, and I was rewarded a gift for my assistance, the pick-me-up I sorely needed. So, because my friends didn’t receive a similar package, I had no choice but to temporarily abandon them, and head to the DIY tent for a dose of their celebrated trancey house grooves.

And for that moment it was an amazing experience, yet I’d argue no more than previous raves, like Lechlade the previous weekend, and so, so many others. Every time it just got bigger, but not necessarily better, Castlemorton was the breaking point, and for this, it deserves to be the one historically recorded and remembered. Though in turn we should use the anniversary of it to reminisce on the era as a whole, and the “happy daze” of our youth.

Rave continued regardless of the Criminal Justice Bill, albeit it took a shot in the leg, dispersing the scene into localised events, or, more agreeable to society, the great pay raves. But the most important factor of the importance of Castlemorton was the international media exposure, and the new ruling forcing sound systems to exile into Europe, for this only caused Britain’s enthusiastic tenet and attitude toward rave to go global.

In turn its effects on musical progression, the aesthetics of festival design, fashion, politics, and resurgence of counterculture are undeniably prominent today, and for those who attended this particular eruption, they’ll always make some fucking noise about Castlemorton; a raver’s Mecca; deservedly.


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Cobalt Fire’s Butterfly

In the words of the great Suggs, “but I like to stay in, and watch TV, on my own, every now and then,” after three gigs on the previous weekend, I opted a weekend off, albeit I was with the family, and succumbed to Britain’s Got Talent for my entertainment, one little part of me wishing I’d headed down the Southgate.….

To rub salt in the wound, Swindon-(I think)-based Cobalt Fire, who were providing the sounds at Devizes most dependable pub for original music last Saturday, also released a debut album called Butterfly, so naturally I wanted to hear what I missed.

Self-defined as a fusion of “the retro sound of 90’s grunge and post-punk with a modern take on folk,” I can see where they’re coming from, and it’s no new thing for them, formerly known as Ells and the Southern Wild, the band developed their fresh sound from acoustic roots, and yes, there’s tinges of this still in them. Though their bio suggests they formed in 2103, I gather there’s either a typo or a gothic timelord in there! But in their switch to electric they strive to retain the core features of the songs, “creating a more muscular beast in the process,” they put it.

And they’ve certainly achieved this, Butterfly, usually more bug than beast, is a boom of emotional overdrive, as grunge commands, with echoes more of Evanescence than Nirvana, what with Ells Chadd’s haunting vocal range. It packs punches from beginning to end, the finale of which, Another Round, particularly poignant to this nod to acoustic roots, middle tracks like His Words Lie Heavy breath an air of eighties post-punk, ah, goth tinge, Siouxsie Sioux style, while it begins strictly grunge, with those rising and falling echoes of emotive authority.

The magnum opus, though, is three tracks in, Crimson Red summarises everything great about this potent four-piece, it’s dynamitic, driving.

It’s basically ten professionally executed, blindingly touching three-minute heroes, in a fashion not usually my cuppa. But if I sing praises for a genre more me, that’s easy work, for music to make me consider oh yeah, I like this though pigeonholing obligation says I shouldn’t, the result is even more impressive, and with Butterfly I’m near to breaking out some multi-belt buckle platform boots, growing my hair and dying it black!

This is a powerful and emotive creation, indulgent of all rock subgenres, yet beguiling grunge, and it never strays from its unique sound. See now, I’m sorry I missed you guys, another time and I’m beeline; embarrassingly for BGT too, though I’ve given my best cat ate my homework excuse, and though I doubt you’ll turn Simon Cowell’s frown upside-down, going on this album, you’d have got my golden buzzer.

Ah, it’s all lies, anyway; not sure my hair will grow back!


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Billy Green’s Garden

To deal with my forgetfulness I have a to-do-list. The only issue with my to-do-list is I forget I started it; Billy Green released a new single last month, it’s a poetic stonker of indie-rap, with his usual nod to Britpop, and still it fell through the floodgate. Apologies to Bill, but it’s a convenient time to bring it up, as he gigs at Trowbridge’s Pump next Friday, May 27th, for Sheer Music.…..

What makes it even more exasperating for me, is that I was gossiping about the man himself, with Pip Phillips of People Like Us at Long Street Blues Club, what was it, just last week?! All good things, reminiscent of when they were in the nineties indie band, Still, together. Because Billy Green has a history, and it’s savoured in a nimble and accomplished style of the time; zip your tracksuit jacket up to the chin and hide your swirly pupils under a Kangol bucket cap!

The impression of Still remains a forefront for Bill, who named his 2020 album after the band, and followed it with a preceding collection of lost demos, made with the band mid-nineties. Tales of musical happenings in times of yore, before I landed on planet Devizes, always fascinate me, and I never tire of hearing about the blues bands of an era long past, with good folk like Exchange-owner Ian James. Yet Billy echoes out his antiquity, The Pump gig will incorporate his songs from the Still album, which relish in this bygone fashion, adroitly.

Billy Green @ Still

Surprised I was to note the quasi-rap poetry of this new tune, Garden, but twas a pleasant one. Teetering with his Geordie mockery it holds an ironic slate against the charade of social media embodiment, “people posting inspirational memes in one post, and ruining people in the next,” Bill describes it to me; I know that sentiment, probably a smidgen guilty myself, Bill, you bloody stickler!

Though hints of the everyday rap style of The Streets, it’s wrapped rather in the upbeat jaunty attitude of Blur, awash with Britpop influences of acts like James, for example. But don’t take my word for it, ere, have a listen yourself mate, and you’ll be mad-for-it too; sorted.


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George Ezra in…. Trowbridge!

Dad’s taxi drops off, and the driver impatiently awaits his off-spring to exceed the bluetooth boundary; ha, I’ve got of my car stereo back. It’s not all bad, just a majority of my daughter’s playlist is, coupled with her insistance it’s played; control freak!

Yet we can agree on somethings, the acoustic genius of George Ezra is perhaps the most mutual. Thanks to Marlborough record store, Sound Knowledge, I’m more than happy to go gigging with her and her mates.

He’ll be playing a short, intimate set to promote the release of his highly anticipated third album ‘Gold Rush Kid’ at 8pm on Thursday 16th June at The Civic in Trowbridge, Sound Knowledge’s first event in the venue.

Update:

Due to overwhelming demand a 2nd GEORGE EZRA show has been added for 6pm on Thursday 16th June.

Tickets will be on sale 10am tomorrow EXCLUSIVELY from http://www.sound-knowledge.co.uk ONLY. Please do not call The Civic to try to book tickets.

Tickets for the later show sold out in seconds, be quick on the fingers to get in!

The Brit Award-winning singer-songwriter first played Marlborough back in 2014 before the release of his debut ‘Wanted On Voyage’, his first chart-topping album. Its follow-up ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ hit No. 1 on both the Albums and Singles Chart with the mega track “Shotgun“. His new album was written and produced entirely in London with longstanding collaborator Joel Pott. “The Gold Rush Kid? That’s me,” says George, reflecting on the title of his third record, a twelve-strong suite of marvellous, transporting, elevational songs, that more than anything “sound like me. That’s what ties them together.”

Gold Rush Kid‘ is released on 10th June. Tickets and bundles are available exclusively online from Sound Knowledge RIGHT NOW, from 10am on Friday 20th May.

If you have any queries about the event, you know, prone to overthinking, please contact them in-store or over the phone on 01672 511106 but please note that tickets and bundles can only be purchased via the website.

CD & ticket bundle – £19.50
LP & ticket bundle – £25
Blue LP & ticket bundle – £28
Ticket-only *max 1 per customer* – £16.00

Sound Knowledge has become renowned for these instore events, while it’s great promotion for new releases from the artists, they’re also an affordable opportunity for locals, particularly younger, to get to meet, greet and hear them play, which would usually involve trekking to a festival or city-based gig. Though while Sound Knowledge have hosted all manner of artists in the past, George Ezra has top the lot, hence a larger venue is needed. Of course, this puts something of a tag on Trowbridge too, and I’m hopeful it’ll really lift an already blossoming reputation for the town’s live music scene, of which Kieran Moore and others has worked so tirelessly to attain.

And afterwards, perhaps my daughter and I can slip his CD in my car stereo and finally find some common ground!

Live Jam Sessions at Swindon Hub Looking for Musicians

Central at The Parade, Swindon Hub, an accessible, friendly community space which opened in October are aiming to host regular Saturday jamming sessions, to promote local artists and give them a platform where they can perform……

The Hub is a comfortable volunteer-led centre trying to bring the community together. They’ve an affordable café where they invite you to relax in their “snug,” read and share books in their bookshop, browse items for sale from local retailers and upcycled furniture by Renew Men’s Shed. The profits of any surplus of stock items donated from shops for sale go to Swindon Night Shelter.

They are currently building a calendar of regular events including a monthly craft market, weekly knitting circle and writer’s club, as well as art workshops and regular music jams on the weekends. They’ve just hosted Swindon ZineFest, which I’m sorry to hear I missed, and from a Women’s History Month exhibition or a Ukraine fundraising jumble sale to Dub in the Hub sessions, the last one by Suitcase Sound System, there’s something for everyone here, especially those who like cake!

Music last Saturday came from The Thieving Magpies, but it was far from the be-all-and-end-all of activities at the Swindon Hub, as well as the aforementioned zine festival, there was a kid’s comic workshop too; it really caters for all.

“The Jam is a Community project as much as a Music one,” organiser Claire told me.

It focuses on confidence building, teamwork, social interaction and collaboration.

The Jam has been running already since September last year and there have been hundreds of people who have taken part.

There are loads of people who take part who have no background in music or performing to an audience and it creates an opportunity for people to get involved with music without the traditional barriers that stop so many people from taking the first step.

That said there are also many talented musicians who take part and it creates a wonderful mix of experience and enthusiasm that allows people of all experience levels to have a meaningful musical and emotional experience.

The key to creating a successful jam is building a relaxed atmosphere with little pressure or expectation that allows people to share without fear of criticism, ridicule or humiliation.

The Hub has a great atmosphere for this kind of activity due to the warm, friendly and supportive nature of the volunteers and visitors to the space.

There are already some fantastic success stories of people who have had their confidence built up by attending the event.

Post lockdown has seen a real boost in community spirit, and such volunteer-based projects like this are a lifeline, in rural areas and debatably more crucial in urban areas too; the larger the population doesn’t necessarily mean the large scope for friendships to occur, in fact it can be harder. So, a massive congratulations to the good folk at Swindon Hub, this looks like an amazing space doing some amazing work, and I might add for a wide-spanning age demographic.

They always need volunteers, if you want to join and help shape the future of communities in Swindon, and any musicians interested in performing for their day sessions should contact them. Facebook Page here.


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Music For a Royal Celebration at St Mary’s Devizes

Get into the musical mood of the Platinum Jubilee with a concert in St Mary’s Church, Devizes, that showcases the Queen’s favourite music.

Talented sisters Katja and Laura, who play the cello and violin respectively as the Serenity String Duo, have put together a selection of music for a special programme marking this milestone anniversary on Friday, 20th May.

Classical favourites by composers including Bach, Handel and Vivaldi together with a medley of hymns the Queen enjoys will feature in the first half. The second part of the evening will focus on a range of pop classics from Abba and The Beatles to Queen; to be honest, if the Queen doesn’t like Queen, what chance have we got?!

It’s the perfect playlist to serenade the country’s longest serving monarch!