Illingworth Celebrate Their 100th Gig!

Salisbury-based acoustic rock duo John Illingworth Smith and Jolyon Dixon play The High Post Golf Club, between Amesbury and Salisbury this Friday 2nd December, and celebrate that it’s their 100 gig.

Although the duo had been collaborating musically for over three decades, gigs dried out proir to 2019, and they stopped, as Jolyon vaguely explained, “for one reason or another!”

He told of how around the Christmas peroid of that year, “John and I were chatting about how we missed doing gigs, wondering if we should maybe get a set together and have go at performing again as a duo.”

We wasn’t certain if anyone would want to listen,” Jolyon continued, “if we could actually get any gigs at all, or even how to get the songs working with just the two of us playing.” Today it’s still a wonder to us how they manage such a gorgeous sound as a duo, but they do! At Bishop’s Cannings’ CrownFest this summer they stole the stage following two heavy rocks bands, and to see Illingworth stamp their mark on a cover as technical as Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, or The Beatles’ Hey Jude, is something really special.

To maintain a pub circuit, Illingworth have mastered the cover scene with a plethora of memorable and sing-along rock classics, but neither are they strangers to creating originals, knocking out two breathtaking albums to date. This is where their relationship with Salisbury’s Tunnel Rat studio producer, Eddie Prestidge, comes in handy.

Our good friend Eddie encouraged us to give it a try,” Jolyon said, “offered to become our manager and handle the bookings. So, we gladly accepted and sure enough we got our first booking in February 2020, with several more following soon after. Of course, early in March the lockdowns started and we couldn’t go out and play. We were gutted, but, undeterred we used the time to make a new album of original songs and we did gigs whenever the restrictions allowed.”

Well, this weekend will be our 100th gig, So we would just like to say thank you so so much to all the excellent venues that have booked us, the weddings, parties, festivals, celebrations and absolutely everyone who has come to see us along the way! It’s been an absolute blast getting to this point. We still love doing what we do, and hope to make it to our 200th gig!”

With the trajectory these guys are flying on, I estimate that’ll be around spring! What more of an apt venue name, then, for their 100th gig than the High Post?! But seriously, these guys could bring joy to punters and provide a cracking night to any pub. I’d wager they could even raise the morale of the Queen Vic in Eastenders given half a chance!

Congratulations to John, Jolyon and Eddie, and hope to catch you again soon, guys.


Dr John Otway Rocks Trowbridge’s Pump

By Lorraine Briggs

The last time Otway played Trowbridge was in July 2003 at the Village Pump Festival, he returned last night to a gig to raise funds for the same festival in 2023; and what a show it was! Earlier this year Otway played his 5,000th gig at the Empire Shepherds Bush; and his wealth of experience was evident as he masterfully took the audience on a journey of music and laughter……

Recently awarded a doctorate in music, Dr John healed the sell-out audiences’ woes with his madcap antics and deceptively clever lyrics; delighting loyal fans and virgins alike.

As per his live album, ‘The Set Remains the Same,’ there were few changes to either of the two sets except a dedication of ‘Louisa on a Horse’ to his long-term friend and fellow performer Wilko Johnson, who sadly passed away earlier this week.  During this number Otway’s exuberant performance caused the pliable stage to wobble and an amp to tilt forward.  Whilst this was duly saved by Deadly the Roadie before any real damage was done; I smiled to myself that Wilko had also given it a nudge and was chuckling with us.

One of the best parts for me about Otway’s solo shows are the expressions on the audiences’ faces, especially those who are new to the party, as he progresses through the first set with the immortal words “Well if you thought that was stupid, wait until the next song!” and closes it with “You’ll probably need a drink after this, I know that I will!”  From a 12 string guitar that’s hinged in the middle to a human drum machine, Otway certainly knows how to hold the attention of the crowd.

The second set was just as fun, the crowd joined in with the heckling to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ with gusto, and contrastingly Deadly’s lack lustre disco dancing to Otway’s top ten hit ‘Bunsen Burner’ went down a storm.  All good things must come to an end and inevitably it did; finishing with two encores ‘Cheryl’ and ‘Head Butts,’ encouraged by a zealous audience.

For future gigs at The Pump, click HERE.


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REVIEW – Jazz Sabbath @ Corn Exchange, Devizes – Sunday 20th November 2022

You wait for one to come along….

by Andy Fawthrop

After Saturday’s double-header at Long Street Blues Club with the Alex Voysey Trio and Hardwicke Circus, there was hardly time to draw breath on this exciting musical weekend.  A quick shift from the Con Club to The Corn Exchange, and there we were on a rare Sunday night out.  Yesterday evening D-Town hosted Jazz Sabbath as part of their UK tour, a date long in the calendar thanks to the forward thinking of Paul Chandler’s Longcroft Productions.…..

I’m sure Paul had been hoping for a somewhat larger audience to pack out the Corn Exchange, but there were still plenty enough people there to enjoy the club-style layout of dimly-lit tables and a sparsely-lit stage.  And the quality of the music provided was absolutely top-notch.

First up in the Support slot was London-based Billy Watman, who turned out to be an absolute wizz on the guitar.  Having spent his training in classical and flamenco styles, Billy treated us to an absolute master-class in how to get every sound possible out of his instrument.  With the occasional use of loops and pedals, he laid down his own backing tracks before playing some of the most virtuoso acoustic guitar work that I’ve seen or heard in a very long.  Explaining what he was doing as he went along, in modest and understated style, he laid out fingerstyle versions of Back To Black, Boney M’s Rasputin and even Pink Floyd’s Brick In The Wall.  This guy was massively proficient – there’s just no other way to put it.  He had the audience on side right from the get-go.  In fact there was only one thing wrong with his set – it was simply too damned short at only 20 minutes.  I’m pretty sure the audience would have liked a lot more.  Great stuff.

After the interval, and before the main act took the stage, we were treated to….a film!  A short docu-style item, featuring many celebrities, setting up the myth of the band doing their first gigs for 53 years!  (If you go onto their website you can read all the spoof material for yourself).  The joke/ conceit was maintained throughout the evening with further bits of film, and Adam himself pretending to be an 84-year old (he’s actually 48, just be clear).

I don’t know – you wait for years for a Black Sabbath tribute band to play in D-Town, and then two of them come along in a matter of a few weeks (Black Sabbitch played here only a month ago).  And then they were on stage.  Jazz Sabbath featured Adam Wakeman, son of Rick Wakeman, keyboards, Dylan Howe, son of Alan Howe on drums and Jack Tustin (son of his parents I’m sure), on upright bass.

The whole idea was to produce jazz interpretations of Black Sabbath classics.  Sounds mad, but it wasn’t.  Adam has cut his teeth working for many years both with Black Sabbath, and with Ozzy Osborne’s Band, so he’s pretty familiar with the heavy metal basic material.  However his arrangements were an almost unrecognisable world away, and lots of the material was Adam’s own contemporary compositions.  This was very little Sabbath, and very much Jazz.

The two sets, apart from the spoof interruptions, were confident, laid-back, melodic and highly enjoyable.  Adam himself, taking the lead on piano, did all the talking.  It was uncanny to see him sitting in exactly the same place as his father Rick had done almost four years ago when he played the same stage with his KGB band. The audience, who were soon into both the music and the comedic wrap-around, were attentive and appreciative.  There was a richly deserved encore, and the crowd hit the streets happy, having been royally entertained.

And just time for a general shout out to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this gig happen, and to transform the barn of the Corn Exchange into a warm welcoming club atmosphere – from the sound guys, the stage setting/ lighting, the table lay-outs – a perfect backdrop for some great music.  This is the sort of gig that helps to put D-Town on the UK musical map, and further proof that the town can punch above its weight in terms of musical quality.  The gig was a bit of a (financial) risk, and whilst it might not have entirely paid off, it was nevertheless (musically at least) an absolute triumph.  Maybe the tickets were a bit expensive?  Maybe folks don’t like going out on Sunday nights?  Who knows?  But this sort of gig needs all our support.

And there’s a chance to do just that in a couple of weeks’ time when virtuoso keyboard player Lachy Doley (dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond) plays his only UK date in D-Town on Friday 9th December.  Get out and get those tickets – this is going to be a real one-off!


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 17th – 23rd November 2022

Got a proper soaking this morning, fat lot of good it is whinging to you about it, you are here only for the lowdown on autumn happenings this coming week, so I’ll waste no time waffling, don’t worry about me, yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine!

Currently up and running, until Saturday, is TITCO’s Dinner Party at The Wharf Theatre.

Staying in Devizes, Thursday 17th sees the opening of the historic event, Devizes Eisteddfod. Here’s the place to find future local stars of the arts, a five-day festival of over 400 classes of music, speech, drama, dance, writing, art, photography, and composition, for people of all ages, who may enter individually or through a school or group. There are competitive and non-competitive classes. The Music, Speech and Drama classes will be held in Devizes Town Hall. Find out more HERE.

Over in Bradford-on-Avon, check out Dylan Smith who has an official launch gig for his Cruel to be Kind album at The Boathouse.

Also find Ezio playing Chapel Arts, Bath. And for some doom metal and stoner rock, try a double-header at The Vic, Swindon, with Phantom Droid and Dark Prophecy.


Friday 18th is Marlborough’s Christmas Light Switch-On.

After The Rocky Horror Experience, Soul II Soul’s Feel Free Tour comes to Meca. Yes, I said Soul II Soul, wowzers! But if you’ve no tickets get in or check the alternatives in Swindon; The Beverley May Band at The Sun Inn, Coate, Splat the Rat play The Hop Inn for Swindon Folk Club.

In Devizes, it’s pub quiz time in aid of Arts Together at the Cavalier, and I’ve got to recommend the highly entertaining Blondie & Ska duo, who play The Pelican. Chippenham duo, as it says on the tin, do Blondie covers but also include those Two-Tone classics, in a kind of fashion you’d wished Blondie covered them; it’s lots of fun. In fact, it was going to be editor’s pick of the week! UPDATE: sorry to hear this has been cancelled. Postponed until 3rd February.

Drag Show at the Neeld, Chippenham, with The Dazzling Diamonds. Limehouse Lizzy at Salisbury Arts Centre.

After N’Famady Kouyate at Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, they’ve got something on my hitlist, the acclaimed Moments of Pleasure, a Kate Bush tribute. Meanwhile, it’s bonkers at The Three Horseshoes with a triple bill of Hell Death Fury, Lone Sharks, & Monkish.

Craig Charles is on the wheels of steel at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Richard Norris plays sister venue, The Tree House.


Saturday 19th, kids, Lego Club, at Chippenham Museum from 3-4pm. I know I keep mentioning this regular event, but I love the sound of it, wish there was a Lego club when I was a kid, and well, I might go one day anyway. My own kids will be like, “dad, I need a lift to my science book writer’s guild annual general meeting,” and I’ll be like, “fat chance, I’m off to Lego Club!”

Find handmade jewellery, woodwork, hand-poured candles, scented soap, artwork, and handbags at the Mynt Image Craft Fair at Devizes Corn Exchange from 10am-4pm. And in the evening find the Hardwicke Circus and The Alex Voysey Trio at Long Street Blues Club; upcoming talent Saturday, sounds tempting, very tempting! UPDATE: being our Editor’s pick of the season has been postponed, this isnew Editor’s pick of week!

The Southgate promises folky blues with S’Go, a new one on me; Deborah tells me, “They’re an eclectic folky blues collective. They played a few crazy tunes in a circle in the middle of the pub once. Everyone loved it, we booked them!” Cannot argue with that. Ye gods, that sounds tempting, very tempting too, what am I to do?!

Night Jar play Woodbrough Social Club, Miranda Sykes’ Show of Hands is at Marlborough Folk Roots, at the Town Hall, and the local favourites, Humdinger play The Lamb, Marlborough.

There’s a Trowbridge Weavers Christmas Market, and Gaz Brookfield plays the Pump, with Heartwork and Be Like Will in support, but I believe it’s sold out, check their website, but be quick on the flux capacitor. You could always head to the Somerset Arms, Semington failing that, where you’ll find The Beverley Maye Band, or The Buckly Rage at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.

The wonderful seven-piece soul band, aptly named Blue Soul Band play the Contsti, in Chippenham, tributes The Faux Fighters at The Vic, Swindon and Coldplace at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Jessica Fostekew’s Wench runs at Salisbury Arts Centre, and that’s your Saturday night.


Sunday 20th. I’ve checked this over and over, and it definitely says, Jazz Sabbath is at the Corn Exchange, Devizes on Sunday, are we sure it’s not Saturday, people? Damn your eyes, that’s a school night!

Also occurring, Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra with Huw Warren at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Clinton Baptiste tour at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, after a record fair, and tribute L1nkn P4rk at The Vic, Swindon.


And that’s your lot, I got nought for Monday and Tuesday, but don’t forget it’s the regular acoustic jam at the Southgate Devizes on Wednesday, 23rd, and Richard Robbins presents Passage of Time at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, there’s a Willow Reindeer Festive Workshop beginning at Salisbury Arts Centre, which runs until 30th, and Matt Deighton is at The Tree House in Frome.


The biggies next week are of course, the Winter Festival and lantern parade in Devizes, Friday, and the start of the Window Wanderland. Saturday sees the second feast at Soup Chick, of Kashmir cuisine, and The Scribes come to Devizes, at the Muck & Dundar. We love the Scribes here at Devizine and are thoroughly looking forward to this; get a ticket!

John Otway at the Pump, Trowbridge on Friday, and The Moscow Drug Club on Saturday, both worthy of your attention. Then, gawd blimey, it’ll be December. I’m trying to keep up and update as regularly as possible, including getting the biggies up for next year. Have a great weekend, keep a check on our event calendar for updates, and planning ahead.


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 26th Oct – 2nd Nov 2022

So, Rishi Sunak is prime minister, eh, how about that for diversity? Last time, a woman, of sorts, now an Asian chap. A tax-avoiding billionaire Asian chap with a name which sounds like a brand of orange fizzy-pop, but one nonetheless. You’ve got to wonder who it’ll be next week.

My money is on a Klingon, but I must commend the Tories, seems they’re not quite as prejudice as Nazis after all. It doesn’t matter, age, gender, race or religion; providing you’re working class they’ll shit on all of us from a-high, but with a degree of equality.

It would’ve been nice if Liz Truss could’ve stuck around for another week, if only for topical pumpkin carving purposes, because yes, it is the ancient American-over-commercialised Gaelic feast of Samhain, or Halloween to Christian cultural thieves.

After a family outing to pick our own pumpkins on a farm near Rowde in torrential rain last Saturday, confirming I married into a rural family, and kids who consider themselves too matured to trick or treat, I’d like to go out on creepy tiles (see editor’s pick of the week) but tickets are being grabbed fast, and I’m not sure how I’ll feel by the weekend after being brutally attacked last Saturday by a hanging basket.

Where were Wiltshire Police when the attack took place, you cry? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where. Typical, and that hanging basket is still at large somewhere, be warned. Needless to say, I sustained a surprisingly substantial head injury, though not the reason I’m talking complete toilet; I’m always like this.

I did manage to see a doctor. After a reply I pre-empted to be a telephone appointment sometime in May 2023, going by social media rants, I was invited to Southbroom surgery faster than I could change out of my Paddington jimmy-jams, and within the hour I was let back on the street. Not forgoing I retain a sore head with bolts of pain shooting through it upon the slightest of movement, but I’m after no sympathy. It’s the worry of 50 coming like a rocket over the hill at me. Any previous age and I’d have been, like, ah, just a bump to the noggin, be right as reign come morning. But now, any slight aliment and I’m drafting my bucket list; though I’d suspect Kylie Minogue won’t respond favourably in any case.

Onwards with what’s happening this creepy weekend, before I dose myself in more paracetamol. As usual the only link you need for more info and tickets is our event calendar HERE. If there’s stuff going on I’ve not mentioned below, stay tuned to the guide as I might yet update it through the week, and if it’s your event I missed, that’s likely because you didn’t tell me about it.

Wednesday 26th, and it’s the White Horse Opera’s opening night of L’elisir d’amore at Lavington School, which runs until 29th. And the Rondo Theatre, Bath has Female Transport, also running the same dates.


On Thursday 27th Devizes Lgbtq+ hold their Drag Queen Bingo, Halloqueen Edition at The Exchange in Devizes, which was a sell-out last time, so get in quick.

Find reggae at Level III, Swindon with the Erin Bardwell Three, and Grim Slickers at The Vic.


Friday 28th, Halloween Family Disco at The Neeld, Chippenham. LGBTQ+ Halloween night at The Exchange, Devizes.

Violin, rapper and loop artist, Mike Dennis is at The Pump, Trowbridge.

Bit confused as I’ve a poster from the Specialised Project, advertising Monkey Ska at the Vic, Swindon, but listings show Getrz, Vicuals and I See Orange playing there too, so perhaps the first one has been cancelled, unsure. The Terraplanes Blues Band play the Rolleston Arms, though, that much I do know!

Also find Barnstormers Comedy at Salisbury Arts Centre, Muze at The Tree House, Frome, while The Freddie & Queen Experience are at the Cheese & Grain.


Saturday 29th, everything is awesome at Chippenham Museum’s Lego Club, 3-4pm every Saturday. It’s Autumn in the Park at Hillworth in Devizes, see poster, and St John’s Michaelmas Fayre too.

Getting very Halloween now, with Halloween Karaoke at The Pelican Inn, Devizes, Devizes Scooter Club’s Skalloween at the Cavalier, a Halloween party with DJ James Therelfall at the Muck & Dunder, Thriller Halloween party at the Exchange, and The Monster Ball at Melksham Assembly Hall.

Kind of optional creepy fancy dress at Editor’s Pick of The Week: The Female of the Species 7th Annual Fundraising Gig at Seend Community Hall.

Tickets are going like hot cakes for this annual extravaganza from our lovely all-female local supergroup, now packing a punch at Seend, so get in quickly, it is always an amazing show.

Away from Halloween vibes, those masters of vintage blues, Barrelhouse play The Southgate, Devizes, Trash Panda, The Bastard Son of Humdinger & My Mate’s Band play The Coppers Arms, Pewsey. Strange Folk at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon.

Stop Stop at The Vic, Swindon, Judas Rising at the Rolleston.

Congress at Salisbury Cathedral, Spritato – Inspiring Bach at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon. Oh, and The Lightning Seeds play The Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Sunday 30th, The Innes Sibun Band arrive at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, guaranteed knockout.

Spooky stuff continues as Monday 31st is the opening night for Picnic at Hanging Rock at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes; of which I’m hoping to get a review of out by Monday, or Tuesday latest. Running until 5th November, preview here.

And we’re into November, Wednesday 2nd don’t forget, acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, and Jordan Bak is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

Keep on scrolling for future fings to do, hopefully I’ll join you real soon, hanging basket though, I ask you, evil hanging basket; why can’t they just plant flowers in the ground like normal folk? They should be brought to justice! Have a good week, the doctor told me to stay off devices and screens, so I’m outta here, going to take up badminton instead, which is an extreme sport to me!


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PREVIEW – White Horse Opera’s Production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amour”@ Lavington School, Devizes – Wednesday 26th, Friday 28th, and Saturday 29th October 2022

Opera Is Back! – The Elixir Of Love! – Go See This Show! by Andy Fawthrop We’ve said it before, and we feel no shame … Continue readingPREVIEW – White Horse Opera’s Production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amour”@ Lavington School, Devizes – Wednesday 26th, Friday 28th, and Saturday 29th October 2022

Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 19th- 26th Oct 2022

Here’s our weekly summary of things to do over the coming week. It saves you surfing every individual event calendar, and saves me waffling on about some unrelated rubbish, which I admit I have a tendency to do, but in the words of the great philosopher, KC, and, of course, his Sunshine Band; that’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it…… oh, I’m doing it again aren’t I?!

Onwards, not forgetting further details and links can be found on our event calendar, it’s too time consuming adding them a second time, and besides, there you can scroll away until your heart’s content, planning future weekends.


Best way to kick off live music early is Swindon’s experimental dub duo, Subject A, are at The Bell on Walcott Street, Bath, on Wednesday 19th; consider it highly recommended. Meanwhile, Beth Nielsen Chapman plays The Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Thursday 20th sees a Very Hungry Caterpillar, on show at Neeld Hall, Chippenham.

Mr Love & Justice are at The Beehive, Swindon, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage at Chapel Arts, Bath. But the link to Faustus at Salisbury Arts Centre seems to be broken, unsure if that’s still going ahead.


Friday 21st and Trowbridge’s Pump is the place to be, Matt Owens of Noah & The Whale headlines, with the amazing Concrete Prairie in support.

The magical Lady Nade plays Pound Arts, Corsham, The Little Unsaid at Chapel Arts, Bath.

Hatepenny at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, The Reservoir Hogs at The Old Ham Tree, Holt. And in Marlborough you’ll find @59 at The Wellington, and the incredibly good fun, Dr Zebos Wheezy Club at The Bear.

That just leaves me with the tributes, Queen tribute, Majesty at Melksham Assembly Hall, while Fleetwood Bac are at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Devizes, I have got nothing at all for this Friday, unless you know different? When near-on every known pub in town put live music on last Friday night, with a guaranteed crowd-puller from Longcroft at the Corn Exchange too! This town isn’t a competition, guys, please try to coordinate, through us, if you like, but it works better for you all if we do. Rant over!


Swiftly onto Saturday 22nd, it’s Trowbridge Carnival, plus Lego Club at Chippenham Museum, free and at 3-4pm every Saturday; everything is awesome!

There’s an evening of Irish classics with Asa Murphy and Shenanigans at the Devizes Corn Exchange, and the unmissable Eddie Martin Band is back for some blues at The Southgate.

Daz n Chave at Neeld Community & Arts Centre, Chippenham sounds a laugh, and there’s a Melksham Rock n Roll Club dance this week, with Glenn Darren & The Krewkats.

Full-Tone Orchestra presents their Symphonie Fantastique at Marlborough College, and if you check the quote on the poster, yes, I said that! It’s always nice to be quoted, on the rare occasion I say something nice, that is!

Sheer are down the Trowbridge Town Hall, putting on Lucky Number 7 and the Lindup Brothers, with promising local teen band Boston Green in support. Meanwhile The Forgetting Curve play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon. A tribute to Pearl Jam at The Vic, Swindon, Earl Ham, and Tundra plays The Woodland’s Edge.

But if you want to boss the night away with some serious skanking, I cannot recommend Bristol’s legendary ska and reggae skinhead, Ya Freshness, of Strictly Rockers Records enough, who is with his Big Boss Band at Odd Down Football Club in Bath. Fiver a shot for a cracking knees up. In fact, what the heck, let’s make this one Editor’s Pick of The Week!

For a mellower experience in Bath, try The Tom Petty Legacy at Chapel Arts.

The Grief Opera, Love Goes On at St Andrew’s, Chippenham, Shift Social presents I Was Born in the Wrong Decade at Salisbury Arts Centre, and a Vintage Bazaar is followed by Moments of Pleasure, The Music of Kate Bush, at The Cheese & Grain, Frome.


Halloween Scavenger Hunt at Hillworth Park on Sunday 23rd October, PSG Choir hold an autumn concert at Devizes Town Hall, and the Chas Thorogood Trio play an afternoon session at the Southgate.

Kavus Torabi, Richard Wileman & Amy Fry at The Vic, Swindon, Richard and Amy appear on our Julia’s House compilation album, show them your support if possible. Always in for a great night with the Joh Amor Band, who play The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon. And oh, CSF wrestling at the Cheese & Grain finishes our weekend off.


Got nothing through the weekdays I’m afraid, but lots of updating to the calendar still to do, so check in from time to time. That is, of course, until Wednesday, the 26th, when White Horse Opera presents L’elisir D’amore at Lavington School, which is running until 29th October, and also running on the same dates, Female Transport at the Rondo Theatre, Bath.

And that’s your lot for this week, can I go now?!


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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 13th -19th October 2022

Here we are again, happy as can be, but slightly older, opps, soz, missed a C, slightly colder! Though we are a week older too, but that means nothing, only as old as you feel. Quite aggravated by chipping ice of the car windscreen this morning though, it’s only October for crying out loud; who do I need to write to about this diabolical travesty?

Still, going out is the new going out, and here’s a lowdown of local stuff to do this coming week. The link you need is HERE, our ever-updating event calendar; you know the score by now.


There’s Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library on Thursday 13th October, and Beauty the Beast: The Guardians of the Forest at the Neeld.

Meanwhile lots still happening at the Calne Music & Arts Festival, with the Music Scholars of St. Mary’s School, Calne, The Primary School Choirs present: ‘Songs from Disney’, Kingsbury Green Academy Music Department in Concert and Tim Hughes presents ‘120 years of the Blues.’

Dick and Dom, yes, I did say Dick and Dom, are in Da Bungalow at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while Mitch Benn’s It’s About Time tour takes to the Rondo Theatre, Bath.


Friday 14th, there’s an instore session at Sound Knowledge, Marlborough with Rachael Dadd. Sour Apple at The Condado Lounge, Devizes, while Illingworth play The Three Crowns, and Funked Up funk up the Pelican. But all eyes will on the Corn Exchange in Devizes when Longcroft Productions presents the all-female Black Sabbath tribute, Black Sabbitch; if it’s good enough for Dave Grohl it’s good enough for us!

DJ Stevie Mc holds the afterparty at the Exchange below, Friday nights is retro 80s,90s,00s night, free entry before 11pm.

Calne Music & Arts Festival has a piano recital from Helen Davies, and an evening of traditional Andalusian guitar and flamenco dance.

The astounding acoustic rave act, The Showhawk Duo plays Salisbury Arts Centre, while Erlestoke Golf Club has Barry Paull as Elvis!

Billy in the Lowground at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, The Derellas & Liabilities at The Vic, Swindon, The Chesterfields & Mighty One at the Tree House, Frome, while the Rhythm of the 90s bang out at The Cheese & Grain; sorted.

Impromptu Shakespeare at Rondo Theatre, Bath.


Moving on up to Saturday 15th, when the big Marlborough Mop Fair hits, with Grey Smith at The Bear.

Rockhoppaz at The Southgate, Devizes. Exchange has resident DJ Stevie Mc in the mix. Mick Jogger & The Stones Experience are at Steeple Ashton Village Hall, tickets £15 from their village shop.

Lego Club, never forget Lego Club at the everything-is-awesome Chippenham Museum, 3-4pm, every Saturday. While Wiltshire Museum, Devizes has a Building Materials conference on Industrial Archaeology.

Trowbridge has their annual Apple Festival at Emmanuel’s Yard, while NerveEndings play the Pump, with support from The Sunnies; ah yes, loud and proud.

Over in Swindon, the long-awaited Swindon Paint Fest begins; really good this looks, for all street art fans, head into Swindon Centre over the weekend. And The Moonrakers has The Specialized Project holding a ska fest too. Peloton play The Vic, and Hip Replacements at The Woodland Edge.

Tributes in Chippenham, The Tom Petty Legacy at the Neeld, and The Beatles for Sale at The Pewsham.

Siren plays The Talbot, Calne, which leads me nicely onto my editor’s pick of the week, in a minute, because the Calne Music & Arts Festival reaches its crowning, after Chris Dunn and Genevieve Sioka have a ‘Meet the Artist’ session, and a Photographic Talk titled ‘Down the Mekong, Cambodia and Vietnam’ the grand finale is my editor’s pick of the week……

Editor’s pick of the week……

Concrete Prairie at Marden Hall, Calne

My new favourite thing, Concrete Prairie will be at Marden Hall, Calne as part of the Calne Music & Arts Festival, for a full set. It’s a tenner, seated event, which is going to be tricky if I go, I might just break into my jig down the aisle! Review of their album here.

Anyway, Apache Smoke at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Ion Maiden at The Tree House, Frome, while eighties electronica band Blancmange play The Cheese & Grain; no, never heard of them, far too young!!

Mitch Benn is at Salisbury Arts Centre today, and Rob Auton’s The Crowd Show is at Rondo Theatre, Bath.


I mean, there might be more added as time goes on, but that’s all I got for now; smaller venues, please submit your event listings to us asap, as you are the important ones which we really need to get the information out about. If you make me come find you on social media it never works, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really narked off about social media at the moment!


Sunday 16th, then, and Wiltshire Soul & Blues Club have their exclusive monthly jam at the Owl Lodge, Swindon Paint Fest continues, and sax lovers, do check Guinea Lane Saxophones, Pewsey Players and Take Five at Pewsey Heritage Centre.

Highly recommended, Jack Grace Band at the Southgate, Devizss and The James Oliver Band plays The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, and Blackbeard’s Tea Party and Imprints at The Winchester Gate, Salisbury.

Frome Wessex Camera Fair at The Cheese & Grain, with Ned Boulting in the evening.


Monday, I got nought, but nobody likes Mondays anyway. Ban them, ban them all now!!

Tuesday 18th, Assassins opens at Rondo Theatre, Bath, runs until 21st October, Good Luck, Studio at Salisbury Playhouse, and legendary folk at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, with Steeleye Span.

Wednesday 19th, and Swindon’s dub reggae outfit Subject A are live at the Bell on Walcot Street, Bath, Beth Nielson Chapman at The Cheese & Grain, Frome and don’t forget, Wednesday evening acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, ah, yes.

Have a good week, don’t work too hard; that is a direct order!



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Sheer Music Grand Return to Devizes

Ah, it’s on the grapevine alright; godfather of Wiltshire’s millennial live indie scene, Kieran Moore isn’t sneaking in the back door with his tail between his legs like the prodigal son, rather he’s returning to Devizes, the origins of his promotional stamp Sheer Music, in a blaze of heavy rock glory.

Not content with setting the soul of live music in the bright light city of viva Trowvegas on fire, or getting those stakes up higher at Komedia in Bath and legendary venue the Vic in Swindon, he’s
just a devil with love to spare…. for his roots!

It’ll be loud and proud, that much is for sure, when Sheer takes the Corn Exchange on Friday 7th October, and, hold your breath, it’ll be a free gig, yes I said free. When was the last time you got in the Corn Exchange for nought? Obviously as chief blagger I’m not at liberty to answer that question myself, but you catch my drift I hope!

They’ve got that kick-ass skater punk collaboration of Trowbridge, Devizes, Westbury and Wotton Bassett, Start The Sirens as support. A promising upcomer we handsomely reviewed their debut “Just the Beginning,” back in June.

Next up is two-thirds homegrown purveyors of noise NervEndings, who should need no introduction locally, abielt to note the boys are creating quite the stir forever further abound, headlining this Saturday at the very same Victoria, for the Swindon Shuffle.

Plus hard-rocking contemporary punkers Lucky Number Seven, which I’ll confess is a new one to me, but they certainly sound like a belter, featured alongside NervEndings at the Shuffle, and who tore Bristol’s Fleece apart at the beginning of the month.

Kieran labels his promo posts with “shit the bed, Devizes,” leaving me pondering; are you sure you’re ready for this, Devizes? Stage diving all the way to Chick-O-Land?!


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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Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 24th – 31st August 2022

We can’t wait until roundup Tuesday, when we usually roundup the weekly roundup, it’s the last big summer blowout bank holiday, so we’re simply too excited and thought you might wanna plan early, so here it is, hold on to your horses… or just let them run wild, I’m not worried, just too excited, did I say I was too excited?!

Repetition is fine, but there’s no links here, too time-consuming, so please us this link to our event calendar, and you can grab details and ticket links from there, but you knew that already, I hope. Oh, did I say, repetition is fine?

All quiet on Wednesday 24th, but if you’re eager to get the ball rolling, 41 Fords play the Kilminton Home Guard Club in Warminster, entry by donation, and don’t forget Wednesday s are the regular acoustic jam night down our trusty Southgate in Devizes, and is always a wonderful night.


Thursday 25th then, and Honey Fest kicks off at the Barge on HoneyStreet, and banging out the whole weekend; I believe there’s a few tickets up for grabs.

Meanwhile, unmissable rock soloist Adam Masterson plays The Tuppenny in Swindon with Jules Hill in support. Bath Forum have The Billy Joel Songbook, and lots of lucky people will be making their way to either Reading Festival or GoatFest; have fun!


Warming up to Friday, the 26th August, when our brilliant Irish folk duo, the Celtic Roots Collective are at the Pelican in Devizes.

Over in the land of chips and ham, there’s an August Bank Holiday Beer & Cider Festival at the Three Crowns, and ska-punkers Operation77 play The Black Horse, Chippenham.

Illingworth takes on triple gigs this weekend, catch them at Flan O’Brian’s in Bath on Friday, where Komedia have a night with The Ministry of Burlesque’s Cabaret; ding dong!

Mod band Peloton plays The Vic, Swindon, and wow, the Cheese & Grain, Frome have Morcheeba, yes, I said Morcheeba; show offs!


Saturday 27th, is the big one. Shall I start it with the….

Editor’s Pick of Week: The Full Tone Festival, The Green, Devizes

Yep, you probably guessed it, it’s time for the hills of Devizes to come alive with the sound of music. It is the Full Tone Festival Weekend. Hurry and get your ticket, and say hi if you see me wandering around like a lost puppy. Said what needed to be said about this corker, let the show begin.

Over in Devizes Market Place from 9am-1pm there’s a Mind, Body & Spirit Market. There’s free live music all day at the Crown Inn, Bishops Cannings, with 12 Bars Later, Plan of Action, and It’s Complicated. Later, 12 Bars Later nip across to the Southgate, Devizes!

And where do I even begin elsewhere? Holt Scarecrow Trail begins, it’s Aldbourne Carnival, a Rod Stewart tribute at The Pewsham, Near Chippenham, there’s a Summer Party at Westbury Cons Club with Wade Merritt and Jay, followed by People Like Us, and the West of England Youth Orchestra perform at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

A debut performance, at the Gloucester Road Conservative Club in Trowbridge for soul band Dimensions, and that’s free entry. Kurt Vile & The Violators at Bath Forum, Apollo Ghosts at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and in Swindon, the wonderful The Daybreakers are live at The Vic, while The Tin Shack Band play the Woodlands Edge. Oh, and The Swiss Chalet has a Harry’s Heroes fundraiser.


Sunday is where things usually start to calm down, but not this weekend. The 28th sees the second day of Full Tone, Great Cheverall Soap Box Derby and Potterne Festival.

Illingworth play The Churchill Arms in West Lavington today, and a young local band to watch out for, Nothing Rhymes With Orange are in support.

There’s a mini fest at the Talbot in Calne with Six O’clock Circus, People Like Us, Wet Frank, End of Story and others.

LodgeFest aptly at Warminster’s Lodge, an M4 Classic Car & Bike Show in Chippenham, and the Hammervilles have a bank holiday beach party at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.

Swindon is gearing up for the Shuffle next month, but in the meantime, Shades of Seattle plays the Vic, highly recommended Atari Pilot are at the Castle, and for the kids, there’s always Milkshake live at the Wyvern.


If you’re still standing in Devizes on Monday, 29th August, here’s what to do…. Black Rat Monday, down The British Lion, with the Celtic Roots Collective and a jam to follow. Or Finley & Mark support The Reason at the Three Crowns; nice either way!

From 5pm Illingworth will be at the Waterfront, Pewsey, and the Beverley May Band play The Milk Churn, Melksham. It’s the Chippenham River Festival, there’s a massive line-up for a free music festival across the entire village of Box, it is Box Rocks. The Lost Trades and Dolly Mavies headline a mini-festival at The Lamb Yard in Bradford-on-Avon, and Abba tribute 21st Century ABBA play The Bowl in Town Gardens, Swindon.

I’m sure there’s going to be more added as the week goes by, so keep up-to-date with our event calendar. That’s the weekend forecast to date, though.

Tuesday 30th and Gently Tender play The Royal Oak in Marlborough, the regular Jazz Knights at Swindon’s Royal Oak has the Kevin Figes Quartet, during the day there’s a Farmyard Circus at Queen’s Park, and Russell Brand comes to the Wyvern.

Wednesday 31st, look out for the Wind in the Willows at the Corsham Almshouses, and phew, that’s me done, dusted and ready for a nap; have a great weekend!


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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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Tickling Your Fancy with the Hard Rock Lifestyle

You ever have one of those almost comical “you want some, do yer?” type confrontations, whereby your drunk challenger is absolutely determined to fight you? No matter how passive your posture, regardless of complimentary reactions, they only retort the precise opposite, even if it jeopardises their own reputation; as in, “no, thanks for asking, but you look very tough,” and the reply thickens the plot, “no, I’m not!”

Or is it just me, with “one of those faces?!” After seventeen years idle, Bradford-on-Avon rockers Peace return under a new guise called Tickle Your Fancy, to blast the musical “in your face” equivalent, and it absolutely kicks back, residing in retrospective hard rock rather than ear-bleeding all-out grunge or thrash…which better floats my boat, subtle hints of the take-no-prisoners punk attitude, et al.

For five three-minute heroes in this name-your-price download or cassette EP aptly titled “Hard Rock Lifestyle,” never settle, never meanders off up sentimental stairways, or drifts to Mordor, rather similar to an edgy ZZ Top, AC-DC at the top of their game, they don’t come up for air.

Just when I was pondering a possible method of introducing Led Zeppelin to my daughter today, by suggesting while those screamingly gritty vocals might be cliché in contemporary metal, these guys were the originators, they set the bar, Tickle Your Fancy come at it so insatiably, it’s compulsory to toss annotations of platitude aside, like a groupie’s bra, and just rock out in its sublime portrayals of an after-party in the green room of a Kiss concert.

Akin to the irony of their past name, being doubtful if they were ever best described “peaceful,” “Hard Rock Lifestyle,” rarely tackles serious issues “that fill our everyday lives,” as disingenuously claimed, other than suggesting partying through an apocalypse. Yeah, there’s a sample in the finale of a fictional cold war nuclear strike newsreel, which, like the fact it’s released on cassette, only increases the idea we’re living in a time of pre-soft metal yore; hard rock’s finest hour, an era when long-haired men belted out songs about gorgeous ladies carefree of chauvinistic ripostes. I mean, said sample appears in an anthemic song called, Pull Down Your Pantz, for crying out loud; coupled with a cover of a chic businessman skateboarding to the office, it kind of says it all about the tongue-in-cheek nature of this crazy ride.    

Good old, untroubled rock n roll is what’s on offer here, adroitly captured. Predominately themed of fun-loving carnal appreciation, tracks like Hot Blondes and One O’clock Gun reek of ZZ Top’s Legs, and thus said party begins with an eponymous opening tune. Top marks for a release of energy I was unsure of which way would go in appeasing to my personal taste, but I’m locked into this direct-to-audio cassette release from Wiltshire’s Crest Studios, by Garlic Bill of The Raw Data Recording Company. You can’t escape it’s hold; it targets you and won’t give up until you attempt to swing a punch; Tickle Your Fancy will give it yer!


Proper Job; Devizes Beer & Cider Festival is Back!

If I said of the Full Tone Festival, last year, “and in the history of events in Devizes, the magnitude of what The Full-Tone Orchestra achieved yesterday will forever be imprinted,”  it was for two reasons; that it was, and also, aside their free gig in the Market Place, it was inaugural. Still, there’s a number of annual events well established in town, already historically imprinted.

One firm favourite, The Devizes Beer & Cider Festival returned post-lockdown, yesterday, for it’s 21st anniversary, a day which can be best described as monumental, if more expected to be than first timers, like FullTone.

I’ve been to a few drinks festivals, where you can choose from top to bottom, left or right, from the displayed kegs, work your way through the lot and return home a tad tipsy. Not so here, unless you’re Oliver Reed. There was just too many to choose from, and I’m only a cider drinker, beer drinkers would’ve needed Norris McWhirter on standby for a Guinness World Record.

You will need to join Devies branch of the beer trainspotters club CAMRA for some detailed analysis of indivdual brands on offer, I took the pin-in-a-map system and came out on top with such a variety of appley tipples I couldn’t begin to list, unless you have all day? Which you might have, being it’s Sunday, and if you attended, you’re probably not feeling motivated to cut the grass!

The main concentration here should, I believe, be focussed not in review of the contents of my souvenir glass, but in sincere thanks to the volunteers who had this huge beer hall running like clockwork.There must have been a pile of socks around the back, because they sure worked them off, and like robots with charisma programming as standard, they served proper job.

The most common verbal appraisals to Devizes Wharfside being transformed into a beer top-heavy festival, on the day, was, like Christmas day after the Grinch, ones of sheer delight that said monumental occasion has been returned to them after the triple year break.

But it’s far from Devizions just loitering, downing this vast selection and singing the event’s praises. Rather than hoist in hired food vans of varying quality, Devizes Rotary took care of the nosh, superbly. With standard barbecue favourites and king sized woks of meat or vegetable chilli, and the ice cream van was busy too.

Busy is an operative word for the event as a whole. Rapping with organiser Don Jones, I was informed attendance figures were very much governed on how much beer they had to sell. Yet by the end, the approximate 1,700 strong crowd prioritised drinking that colossal beer tent dry, and should you be new to town, welcome to Devizes!

It must take experienced organisers to estimate so precisely how much a crowd of this size will drink without too much waste or predicted riot if underestimated. I have trouble guessing how much pasta to plop into the pan when cooking for four!

Anyhoo, rain didn’t rear its ugly mug, and under shaded skies of tolerable temperature, surrounded by deck chair city, sat the main attraction aside the beer tent, ah, some musical entertainment; twist my arm why don’t you?! Atop transport company Garrbutts’ trailer the stage was set for a host of locally-sourced acts. Devizes CAMRA made a wise move to bring in local music aficionados, Ben and his partner Victoria to arrange the entertainment. Being their first time coordinating they knocked it out of the park, or at least, the wharf!

Devizes Town Band opened. I rolled up to Tom Harris and Claire’s rather sea shanty set, inspired by the neighbouring canal I gather, giving it Chicken on a Raft, and other joyful sing-a-longs, they never fail to please.

Followed quickly by Devizes favourite, unpretentious singer-songwriter Vince Bell, who’s intelligently crafted songs and guitar skills shines with every tune. Not content with showing his spellbinding aptitude with self-penned songs rich in emotion and often topically local, he covered David Gray’s Babylon, and proved talent is hereditary, when his, also all-singing (for Devizes Musical Theatre) partner, Lisa’s daughter, Evie, joined him for a homely enchanting tune, Lisa’s kitchen. The finale was the icing, his audience participation unofficial Devizes theme, which if you know, you know!

New to me, Warminster’s Dr Zebo’s Wheezy Club was up next, proving the timelessness of classic olde timey Americana. They were a highly skilled trio, guitarist, double-bass and fiddle authenticity breathed life in 1920s swing, tango, and a touch of bluegrass. Something different and welcomed, Tom Waits covers and revised banned rarities, shockingly more effective than it sounds.

With the only warning from “voice of Devizes,” compere Ian Diddams, we were next whisked away to Irish taverns with popular flute and guitar combo, The Celtic Roots Collective, who never fail to engage an audience with isometric Irish folk dance, and seem to me to improve tenfold with every day that passes.

Headlining was the rock classic covers band, Triple JD, from Chippenham, yet a welcomed and regular feature of Devizes’ Southgate’s never-ending musical rota. Cover bands aplenty and available for hire, but if you want something mindblowingly above average, Triple JD put the overtime in. Even dropped from four-piece to three on this occasion, sublime covers of Cream, Deep Purple et al, came thick, fast and acutely delivered with unsurpassed accuracy. But it’s the plethora of Hendrix classics which both dominate the set, and astound; any band who can do that without offending the legend is a cut far above the rest, and Triple JD really push the boundaries of what a cover band should produce.

And so came the end of a hugely successful and highly entertaining day here in Devizes, putting The Beer & Cider Festival firmly back on the event calendar, where it so obviously belongs. It’s affordable, enjoyable through variety, and it’s already historically bookmarked, yesterday served only to reaffirm it.

It’s not really a reggae crowd,”  Nick Newman professed to me, “so, we’re just going to play some Bob Marley and popular tunes.” But if the finale was the wildcard, it proved though a show of heavy dubplates might be niche, everybody loves reggae and it moves the crowd like nothing else.

Dancing broke out across the Wharf as Knati P and Nick Razah did their sound system ting. Knati toasting the crowd, a majority perhaps unaware of “rewind” Jamaican DJ methods, but nevertheless feeling the vibes of a set akin to a breif history of everything that’s great about reggae, from Marley to Millie Small, from Two-Tone to contemporary subgenres, like Groove Amarda. In this they showcased the diversity of a misunderstood genre around these backwaters; causing me to uncaringly spill my cider down my t-shirt in gyrating to the Wailers inaugural ska hit, Simmer Down!

And on that point, it surely clarifies my point about Ben and Victoria’s devotion to bring as larger quality and variety to the music program as the selection of beers and ciders, in what was the perfect denouement to a wonderful evening; in my honest opinion, naturally!


Hooch on Streaming

Once a cover band, east Wiltshire’s rootsy four-piece Hooch have moved to writing and recording original material. Their discography goes onto music streaming sites today (Sunday 3rd July,) and if you like your country-rock breezy and uplifting, with a subtle touch of psychedelia and surf, then it’s worthy of your attention…..

The instrumental Eagle Ray is particularly awash with this aforementioned surf-rock style, while all tracks have this sunny-side-of-the-street, retrospective feel about them. Slowburn, for instance, is good time mid-era-Beatles in nature and Voodoo Hair is outright groovy.

Well even if you don’t do the streaming platforms you can get a listen direct from their website.Ten tunes on offer here, enough for an album, guys? An album of ten jumpy, anthemic ballads like Sweet Maria would see us fine, this one in particular is a beguiling peach I could imagine fans chanting back at them after only a few listens.

Live is a bigger part to Hooch, I’m certain you’ll make a beeline for a gig upon hearing these well crafted tunes, they’re at the Seven Stars in Bottlesford Saturday July 16th, tickets are a purple one, I believe this includes a barbecue thrown into the bargin, and a summer mini-fest at the Horseshoe Inn, Mildenhall July 23rd.

Expect “unusual” covers choices, they say, but I’d argue the cited Depeche Mode, Space and The Coral are apt, this upbeat melodic blend from Martyn Appleford, Nesh Thompson, Simon Dryland and Matt Ryan reflects this, with a dash more roots than perhaps, new wave mod, but with a move to electrification enhacing their acoustic roots, they weave perfect pop simplicity into their lyrics, and that’s where it is to pinning an imitatble, memorable style.

If the name derives from the late 19th century abbreviation of Hoochinoo, a North American tribe in Alaska renowned for brewing booze, this is certainly fun time drinking music, but the sound is far more matured than its commonly associated brand of alcopop. Ha, whatever happened to that, do they still sell it? It certainly took the brunt of the blame for underage drinking in the nineties, as if they invented the concept and no kid ever tried alcohol before their ingenious bottle of wobbly lemonade came onto the market!

Sickly sweet though, wasn’t it? Precursor to the Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice, but try the tune Aluna for size, and you’ll see, though there’s elements of the Kinks at their most comical, or subtle Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band at times, it’s a choice for grownups, with no immature persuasion; I love it, and hope they’re encouraged to perform their own tunes live, rather than an all-covers set; the difference between buying spirits and mixing it to your own taste or letting mainstream brewers decide on your sugar levels!


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


Just the Beginning, Start The Sirens

If it’s the beginning, it’s a loud one; kicking punk album release from Start the Sirens out last week has got me potentially stage-diving off the top of wardrobe.…..

A collaboration of members from Trowbridge, Devizes, Westbury and Wotton Bassett, Start The Sirens formed in 2019, hit the pandemic with an acoustic EP, which bassist Leyton Jones, aka Rocky explains was an experimental project to “find our own style, and achieve that upbeat sound.” Just the Beginning is the kicking debut, and a testament to accomplishment; they rock it with bells on.

If Forget What You Heard sets the mood, kick-ass skater punk which takes no prisoners, the second track Sunset to Sunrise breathes an air of carefree ingenuity akin to millennial pop-punk. Three tunes in though, Tell Me hints of traditional punk, well, at me it does! Lead vocalist Holly Harwood in Siouxsie Sioux fashion, especially with the “Whoa Whoa” chorus. It’s beguiling stuff hard to pinpoint but with a wave insensible to pigeonholing; just shut it and rock out.

Keen though I am to shelf this with punk roots, for it has that DIY ethos, Rocky was adamant to cite pop-punk and emo bands like New Found Glory and Blink 182 as obvious influences, and I’m forced to shed my aged perceptions and agree, it’s high-energy vibes and doesn’t come up for air, but cast in positive light rather than the dejected attitude of original punk. Positivity was key, Rocky established with me.

Design by Nikki Noodle

We spoke of tricky placements in local circuit pub gigs, though the band rocked Trowbridge’s Stallards last weekend, play the Old Bear Staverton tonight (2nd June) at 8pm, and support USA’s Hit Like A Girl with Brighton-based I Feel Fine, for a Sheer Music gig at The Village Pump on Friday 17th June. Rocky spelled out their motivation was a labour of love, and based on this showcase album, they should be placed firmly on a touring map of UK punk venues. Though I think Swindon’s Vic should snap them up, Bradford’s Three Horseshoes and Devizes Southgate would love it too.

Seven original three-to-four-minute heroes here, the penultimate This One’s For You perhaps the most enticingly commercially viable, and it finishes with one final name-sake anthem blast; I’m looking forward to catching these guys live. What? No, I’m convinced I still got it, mate! I’ve told you my story of Dad’s taxi to a Bowling for Soup gig at Bristol’s O2 before, haven’t I? I was like leaning on the railings of the upper area when I perchance to spot another glum looking expression on a guy of similar age. Seems like he was also chaperone to his kids, and we did the dad nod. Then I thought fuck it, I’m here, allowed to enjoy myself too and tried to drag that son to the mosh pit!

I may be outdated for the skater punk detonation, but it’s high energy, full of zest and aspiration, that’s my take, and something Start the Sirens has captured here; have a listen, get ’em in your local….  


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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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Worried Men at the Southgate

Glad to find time between running Dad’s taxi to nip over to Devizes’ trusty Southgate, for one reason unworthy of explaing here or another, feels like an age since frequenting our favouritemost tavern, and I’m all smiles to return.

Historically efficient, nonetheless, I’m here to find out what the men are worried about; possibly an ironic namesake for Jamie Thyer’s tradtional electric RnB three-piece, a pub trio very worthy of your attention, should you not have come across them on their 28 years on the circuit.

Sure, I’ve seen The Worried Men’s name about a bit of recent, last time listed at Trowbridge’s Pump with our Tamsin in support. Maybe there’s the reason for my assumption it’d have a folk twinge, but you know what they say about assumption.

Marvellously proficient, in a manner vien of classic sixties and seventies rock bands derived via blues rather than folk, The Worried Men seemed not in the least bit worried to me. Rather brewing in deserved confidence, Jamie’s wealth of experience shows as his fingers glide across those strings, governed, it seemed, from the gods. At one point this guitar virtuoso accepts a mug of tea, drinks it mid-song while continuing to make it look like childsplay.

Treated to the perfect balance of originals and self-stamped covers, they weaved between electric blues and psychedelia rock n roll with a clear nod to its roots. So to blend any subgenre fitted sublimely into a firey set, whether Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water riff, frenzied hints of punk rock, mellowed Flyod-eske moments or reaching further back to rock n roll’s golden era, every experiment in rock history was crafted into their unique style, without the need to metalise. Though Motorhead did get a moment in their repertoire.

What came out the other side was a loud and proud plethora of excellence of which you could only nod your appreciation to, confident you were in the hands of some really experienced long-haired rockers with Cuban heels.

Jamie holds an expression of concentration, occasionally looking up at you through these spellbinding Hendrix fashioned exercursions, as if to ask “is that alright for you?” Like a dentist with his tools stuck in your gum, you feel like responding, “yes, fine, thank you doctor.”

I guess therein lies the beauty of the rather cramped Devizes answer to the 02 arena, virtually perched atop of a band you’d usually witness from a stage distance, makes it an intimate experience, personal. While this may not suit all, The Southgate does it their own way, and they continue to host free gigs you’d happy pay a ticket stub for.

For this, and the clash of similar as The Long Street Blues Club knocking out, I’d suspect, a blinder at the Corn Exchange, last night down the Gate wasn’t as full as it could’ve possibly been for an act so warrent of the highest praise possible. Again, the strive in The Gate to present us with great live music every weekend needs nourishing and respecting, with other local boozers only doing this sporadically, it’s the only dependant offering of entertainment in town, unless of course you keep up with what’s happening via this rather special website, if I do say so myself!

So, if you were in that exclusive club last night, I wager you were as bowlled over by The Worried Men as was I. From moments of intricate guitar picking with amps low, to the frenzied finale where Chuck Berry’s “Bye Bye Johnny,” fused into medley with Muddy Waters’ “Little Red Rooster” with emphasis on the Stones cover, and The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie,” with an audience participation encouraged encore of Them’s “Gloria,” this surely was an astounding performance to satisfy the craving of rock aficionados from any given generation.

Onwards, next Saturday’s offering at The Southgate also takes on a blues edge, slightly east of us, local blues group Barrelhouse take up the legendary alcove, and take it from me, if you like your entertainment as gritty and vintage as the great Howlin’ Wolf, you’re in for a treat.


The Dark Horizon of Sam Bishop

Oh, for the rolling years since Devizes Sixth Form-Hardenhuish collaborated boy band 98 Reasons, time cannot stand still, we know this, we still see the bassist of which, Finely, on the local circuit with cousin Harvey as the Truzzy Boys, and as frontman of astounding mod-rock covers band The Roughcut Rebels. And occasionally we hear from his partner in the duo spin-off Larkin, Sam Bishop, it’s good to hear from him again with an awesome new EP, Dark Horizons; out now……

While still studying music over in Winchester, his unique brand of pop, while momentously contemporary, didn’t agree with me personally one occasion, a couple of years ago, and he took it on the chin; I have to be honest. If something definably “pop” doesn’t agree with my grumpy aging expectations it doesn’t make it bad, just means I’m too old! He rebuked any past criticism with a sublime last EP homing more auditory on my cabbaged ears, but here’s a young singer and musician who just keeps getting better.

Honestly, cast off any doubts, Dark Horizons is another massive progression, enriched with euphoric soundscapes, some often dark in subject, as the EP title suggests, yet all uplifting. It plods open with digital notes, Same Stars, and I’m nodding approval; love it. There’s contemporary pop on offer here, bleached with William Orbit or Moby style soundscapes.

Yet the second track, Playing in Shadows transcends the previous for retrospective influences, think eighties electronica, especially on the intro, virtually Kraftwerk! Yet again, nothing is passé no matter how far the basslines and synth-pop arch back for recollections, as the vocals roll with repetitive elegance, stirringly upbeat and ultramodern, Years And Years fashion.

Clearly there’s vast experiments washing like waves onto the beachy mind of Sam Bishop, yet by the third tune out of four, Stay Close, we hear the accustomed acoustic croon of Sam, a floating love-song which builds with a subtle aforementioned ambience, but essentially retains the guitar riff over chanting backing vocals. It’s the standout track you might’ve been suspecting when you clicked on the link, if aware of Sam’s past work, but herein lies the point; the EP in general a massive advance forward, looking headlong rather than rearward.

To confirm this progression, here’s Sam a few years ago with a drumstick up his nose, of which he’ll kill me for posting!

The finale, Backroads has a piano riff, building into current pop with elegance, like a lot of Sam’s themes it relies on life’s directional decisions, yet it delves deeper into trialling and investigation both musically and lyrically, which intertwine in such a way I’ve not felt so connected to Sam’s solo work than this wonderful EP previously. And before you suggest, that’s cos you is, like, getting old, brah, I’ll have you know I get my teenage daughter DJ on car journeys, so I may not have the gen Z patois of a roadman but I know my Cardi B from my Ariana Grande, and this is as a blend akin to what The Weeknd and The Kid Laroi are putting out; sick, apparently!

ALBUM LINK HERE


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On The Road With Talk in Code!

You know that millennial movie, Almost Famous, set mid-seventies, where Rolling Stone Magazine mistake a nerdy teenager for a music journalist and send him on the road with an outrageous prog-rock band? It was nothing like that. Neither did it resemble 200 Motels, where a man dressed as a vacuum cleaner convinces you Ringo Starr is actually Frank Zappa in some freaky acid flashback. But I did have an awesome adventure yesterday, on the road with local premier indie-pop favs, Talk in Code.…..

There were no campervans with CND slogans painted on the side-door, no sign of Goldie Hawn’s daughter unfortunately, and though my bubbles of anachronistic pre-imaginings burst, it allowed me to chart the regular labour of a touring band, rather than my usual practise of slouching up halfway through a performance with lame excuse. For if I’m going to write on the subject, I need to comprehend the inner workings, and the thoughts of a band going to a gig; even though I’m far from teenage music journalist with an advance from Rolling Stone!

So, by dinnertime I’m lone with guitarist Alastair Sneddon at the steering wheel, hereafter referred to as “Snedds,” with an amp case knocking in the rear of his car, and distracted by my inane waffling, weaving between musical subjects, badly following his sat-nav to Portsmouth.

Likely the eldest of this four-piece band, Snedds is a family man with a wealth of musical experience. He fondly recalls playing in cover bands, jazz and blues groups and our chat swifts across his past, musical influence brushing off on his children, current past gigs and local venues, to the importance, or insignificance of pop culture, the mainstream music industry and current trends of listening to music from streaming platforms to amplification to listening through phone speakers; we could’ve chatted all night on his passionate chosen subject, least it perceived to reduce the travel time.  

Before I knew it, we were awkwardly parked on a busy street in Southsea. Awash with cheesy club type pubs, restaurants, kebab houses and chippies, lies an equally misplaced theatre to our right, and a more traditional looking city tavern, The Lord John Russell, which will be our venue for the evening. Like a true roadie I felt a sense of haughtiness as I assisted lugging equipment through the already bustling pub; make way, yes, I’m with the band, ladies control yourselves!

But nothing felt ostentatious for the band as they amassed their kit in a corner, greeted each other and the promoter; here’s a tight working team despite the geographic distance between them. Talk in Code are part from Swindon, Reading and Devizes, but here they are with an excited air of anticipation brewing. There’s a trio of bands on tonight, Talk in Code are second on, while the first are already sound checking, locally based to Portsmouth, Southerlies are a seven-piece covers band, fusing Americana with punchy hooks into contemporary pop; they proficiently delivered their set with good male-female vocal harmonies, and being local I observe they attracted a fanbase.

Quite eclectic then, to switch to Talk in Code’s more electronica indie-pop, which as I discussed in the car with Snedds, perpetually seemed to fuse conventional nineties indie sound to a more inimitable eighties synth-pop style with every new tune. Yet tricker still was the notion the Talkers insist to play only their originals, which would be unknown to this rather heterogenous crowd. Besides, frontman Chris gets his fill of covers with the Britpop Boys.

Seems Friday live music nights are relatively new-fangled for the Lord John Russell, with a promoter keen to create the venture, the pub also adhered to cater for the pull on it’s street with screens showing sport and archetypical club music between acts. As much as market town pubs like Devizes’ Southgate work here, with a penchant for original live music and solely that, it wouldn’t work in this busy city location judging by the footfall. But a splendid, convivial and dynamic pub it was with a wide demographic.

One thing I was keen to gage from Talk in Code, the priorities and feelings towards playing a gig outside their usual stomping ground as opposed to returning to a venue like Swindon’s Victoria where a fanbase would be welcoming. They stressed the importance of both, and being their recent connection to Regent Street Records, there’s a keenness in the band to grab wider-appeal in anticipation of the forthcoming album. The release of which has been pushed back to accommodate this collaboration.

Still, all the band are united in praising recent local gigs, particularly Trowbridge Town Hall where they supported The Worried Men, and were keen to pick out the importance of the many locally-based festivals they’re booked at, from Minety to Live at Lydiard and IWild in Gloucestershire. And with appearances at places like Oxford’s HMV, things are really looking up for them post-lockdown.

And it’s easy to see why when they bounced on stage last night at the Lord John Russell, after their virtually nail-biting eagerness while the Southerlies launched into their final song, Chris already polishing his guitar and Snedds confessing the waiting game is a pet hate. A technical issue with leads to the backing tracks solved, the band applauded the previous and proficiently executed their thing, introducing themselves and delivering their songs with panache.

For me it was a blessing, being I’m aware of much of their discography, to finally get to witness them do it live, and had to stop to ponder their stage presence is as exhilarating as their recorded work. Yet, my view of the performance differed from the crowd as the band were likely new to them. Still, they got the place jumping, sprightlier, and louder than the previous band. They confessed a spirit of fair competition was unavoidable in them, yet affirmed their ethos to never do their set and bunk, in respect for other bands; Talk in Code come off as outgoing throughout and it was an honour to be welcomed into their web.

Also present, I spent time chatting connections, her background as music journalist and her fanzine making past, with manager Lyndsey. From Milton Keynes she avidly followed the group in their early years, falling in love with their sound it seemed only natural to mutually agree for her to manage. And part-time freelance photographer Helen, whose PolarPix Facebook page is dominated with Talk in Code shots. I put it to her she seems to have another band photographed then a Talk in Code one, then another Talk in Code one, then another random band. She acknowledged most of the other bands were on the same bill as TIC! A true “Talker,” as is their fanbase appellation.

Percival Elliott

A pleasant change from trudging the local circuit, as the finale was a euphoric rock band named Percival Elliott, who, with barefoot frontman on keys, executed a sublime set, the like you’d want Coldplay to achieve. In many ways here was a band apt for our own fond venues such as aforementioned Southgate and Trowbridge Town Hall. Without boast, coming highly recommended by yours truly occasionally has some clout, though there was part of me who, if in control of this triple-bill, would’ve put Talk in Code as the final band, being more upbeat popish.

We give no more review of The Lord John Russell for the sake of it being outside our boundaries, but if you’re Pompy bound this would be an ideal pub to consider, offering a variety of free live music dates on Fridays. Now I’m home, unpacked my Peppa Pig bucket and spade, but while I unfortunately didn’t see the seaside, or Kate Hudson, I was in good company with a band which goes from strength-to-strength.  


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