Song of the Day 43: Lollipop Lorry

As promised/threatened (delete as appropriate) I’m continuing on with the pledge to relaunch the Song of the Day feature, and today proves ska is universal.

From Yekaterinburg in Russia, Lollipop Lorry have worked their way to the top of the international ska scene over a twelve year period, getting kudos through a tour of Mexico this year, where the scene is at its apex.

It’s refreshingly fun and carefree sunshine music, as ska should be, and this tune is out today. If anyone could translate I might know the subject, but the amusing speed dating video suggests a frustrating man-hunt! You just have to pick one, Svetlana, we really are all that rubbish, (excluding myself obviously!)

They first caught my attention and affection three years ago when covering the Gaylettes’ rock steady classic, Silent River (Runs Deep) in which one third of Bob Marley’s backing singer trio, The I-Threes, Judy Mowatt takes the lead vocal. Judy’s range is such that this was no easy feat, which front lady Svetlana made a cracking job of, in a sultry and distinctly Russian tinge; I’m smitten, don’t tell the trouble and strife… long distance relationships never work out!

Give their Facebook page a Like!

Song of the Day 41: Captain Accident & Disasters

Meaning to bring back this simple and quick feature for a while now, and what better opportunity than a new tune from Cardiff’s reggae virtuosoes Captain Accident and the Disasters?

Nice mellow rock steady number this one, with a sombre theme and contrasting clown in the video. Bring on those happy, happy clowns, for a band who supported Toots and the Maytals on their 2016 UK tour, who Toots Hibbert liked so much to invite them back to do the same for the follow two tours, it could only be more talent than “accident.”

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on…..


Song of the Day 40: Dry White Bones

Venturing over to the Barge tonight to catch crazy corsets and getars shenanigans with the Boot Hill All Stars. So, to get me in the mood, supporting act Dry White Bones gets our song of the day…. yee-ha!

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on…..


Song of the Day 38: Gecko

Never fails to bring a smile, Gecko breezes the feel good factor once again with this heartwarming, summery song. Backed up with the most wonderful video produced by Cas Janssen out of many quirky self portraits sent in from worldwide fans; how utterly brilliant can you possibly get?!

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on…..


Song of the Day 37: Lady Nade

I could scrutinise my archives, like a minister’s accountant, but without doing so I highly suspect Lady Nade has had a song featured on our Song of the Day feature once before.

Futile to check, as if I’ve implimented a ruling of one song per artist on our feature, which I haven’t. And even if I had, I’m my own boss here, and have every right to override it. And for what? What purpose?

I’ll tell you, shall I? If only to share and spread the word, this is a gorgeous tune, with a video nodding to her home city, Bristol, and its hint of topical affairs, despite the conotations of the song not revealing a similar notion, rather a classic theme of romance.

But the soulful expertise of Lady Nade makes it look so easy, and in this beautifully executed breezy ballad, one can only gasp at her skill and wallow in its splendour.

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on…..


Song of the Day 34: Jon Amor

Here’s a thing, did you know the Michael and Janet Jackson duet “Scream,” is cited as the world’s most expensive music video, totaling a cost of $7 million? And Wacko dished the cash out of his own pocket?

Despite critical acclaim at the time, reaching number 3 in the UK pop charts, and the retaliatory nature of the song against the tabloid assault on Michael after sexual abuse accusations, I thought, and always will think, it was a bit shit, to be perfectly frank!

Look, I mean, okay, bit harsh were the allegations, so MJ thinks, I know, I’ll bag myself a B-movie spaceship, take my sister off the planet, buy us both matching knobbly jumpers, dance about in zero g, and cough up seven million dollars for someone to film it, that’ll convince the fans I’m not a complete fruitcake.

They didn’t even save enough pennies to get it filmed in technicolor. Input sad face emoji.

Compare and contrast to Devizes-own Jon Amor, who, with just the creativity of Lucianne Worthy, a big chunk of inspiration from Jim Henson and some snazzy blue loafers, pulls off this absolute beauty for the track Rider from the latest album Remote Control.

Smashed it, guys, and it’s in colour too. Proof you don’t gotta do a Wacko Jacko and push the boat out as far as Mars to accomplish something all together entertaining.

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 33: Andy J Williams

Having a great album reviewed fairly recently on Devizine doesn’t exclude you from being in the spotlight of our Song of the Day posts. And if it ever does, call me out on it. Just ask me who hell I think I am, Vlad the Impaler, or something similar.

Check the review of Buy All That $tuff by Andy, here, or just enjoy today’s video, Night Terrors, exposing where the band practice, under the beds of children, obviously! Which kinda makes we wish I was a kid again, as there were no bands practicing under beds back then. Just once I’d like to have discovered, I dunno, the Bangles perhaps, practicing under my bed!

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 32: The Lost Trades

Song of the Day hoggers! Yes, they’ve had a song featured on our song of the day feature once before, and yes, they’ve had so many thumbs up on Devizine in general, thumbs are starting to ache, but The Lost Trades have a new song, getting another thumbs up, a sneak from the forthcoming album, and it simply, without question, has to be our song of the day… I’m the editor, what I sez goes, sue me if I’m wrong, I double dare you!

And that’s my song of the day!! Very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 31: Ilingsworth

My classic excuses don’t wash in an online era; the dog ate my Song of the Day blogpost, I’m certain I put it in my bag when I left school, bull like that.

I know, right. It’s been a while since my last Song of the Day, a post I promised on a daily basis but failed, miserably. I got nothing, no excuse that’ll wash. But the moment you hear this tune from John Smith and Jolyon Dixon, the duo known as Illingworth, you’ll understand the need to bring it back.

They’re the Kenco of local music, instantly, each new song comes across as a rock classic, sounding as if it’s always been swimming around in your head.

But Man Made of Glass is emotionally topical and contemporary. Just, go on, have a listen, and I might be persuaded to realign my promise to bring you a song of the day each day, else I’ll have to change the title to song of the month, which is a bit lack lusture of me.

Pulling my finger out, if you’re looking for someone to blame; Netflix. There, it’s out there. Why has every fair idea got to be flipping twelve season series of 200 episodes each, consisting of a drawn-out narrative a better writer could’ve concluded in a hour and half movie? For God’s sake, bring back live music!

Anyway, I’m waffling, feel free to stop me; that’s my song of the day. Very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 30: Maple Glider (A.K.A. Tori Ziestch) 

Naarm/Melbourne-based singer-songwriter, Maple Glider releasesd a new single today, “Good Thing.”

Her striking emotionality is at the centre of her performance, which opens with her light and velvety voice accompanied by a sparsely strummed guitar. She wastes no time in revealing the state of sadness she’s in, offering such tenderness and introspection that the listener feels as though they’re inside her bedroom as she plays for herself. Eschewing a traditional chorus, the repeated refrain is more a bookend to each verse. The emotional apex hits in verse three, turning the song into a spectral folk powerhouse with the revelation that she’s cutting ties before things turn sour.

Ziestch explains: “I wrote this song out of a place of defeat. I was really heartbroken at this point, and very confused. I like the feeling of my independence and I think I was afraid of putting energy into the wrong people. Sometimes we make decisions out of fear and sometimes it’s because we know that it is the best decision to make. Those lines can get very blurry.”

And that’s my song of the day. Very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 27: Emily Capell

We are the mods, we are the mods, we are, we are, okay, you get the gist. Imagine Kate Nash is Doctor Who’s assistant, and they tracked back to Carnaby Street in 1963. If she dressed and performed without raising suspicion that they’re time travellers, you’ve got a general picture of the fantastic Emily Capell.

On one hand, this is fab retrospective meddling, on the other it’s lively and fresh fun, with a beehive hairdo.

There’s nothing here not to like, unless you’re a ret-con rocker and if so, I’ll see you on Brighton beach, pal. All I ask is you aim for the face, so you don’t crease my suit.

And, that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….. oh yeah, nearly forgot to mention, Emily has a live stream coming up Friday 12th March, here; groovy.


Song of the Day 25: Strange Folk

I know, I accept your question, and let me just say, I think it’s a very good question, one which I fully intend to answer in the fullness of time, but first, let me just say this, and this alone, and let us be totally sure that this is the correct time to, indeed, as you ask, for me to answer that question, one which I think is a very good question, as I may or may not have said and I really feel it is a question which needs answering….and so on, and so forth….

Think I’ve got what it takes for national politics?! I can waffle shit for Queen and country, and yes, I promised a Song of the Day feature everyday, and I haven’t delivered on that promise for a few days now, and any excuse I could provide wouldn’t be fully truthful. That’s why I believe I’ve got what it takes, my capacity to lie is acute, and my moral responsibility is pretty much shot, besides I couldn’t possibly mess it up further than it already is anyway, so yeah; I might stand.

The fact you’re probably all watching real politicians waffling about the easing stages of lockdown, is neither here nor there. I’m going to slip our song of the day in now, when you least expect me to.

And it’s wonderful, earthy folk outfit Strange Folk, with a track called Glitter. You may recall them playing the Vinyl Realm Stage at Devizes Street Festival, you may not. But enjoy, it’s gorgeously fantastical, the kind of escapism we need right now.

Back to reality, why they gotta keep calling it a “roadmap,” for crying out loud? Boris navigating for real and you’d end up driving headlong into a lake.

Strange Folk they might be, but not as strange as those leading us, I might add. The announcement will be on all night, while the Daily Mirror managed to sum it all up, hours prior to the conference, in one neat graphic.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on…..


Song of the Day 23: Nigel G. Lowndes

Nigel writes to confirm he’s from the “Devizes side of Bristol!” Had to laugh about the perceived strictness of an obnoxious aging school teacher, and feel I should explain. While Devizine does offer local news subjects, since lockdown we’ve blown up our border control and now rampage internationally when it comes to featuring arts and music. So, it makes hide nor hair what side of Bristol you come from, or even if you come from Bristol Connecticut, if I like it or I think my readers will, I’ll mention it, and despite the title, Boring, yeah, I do.

Seems we’re alike, Nigel, least in the concept don’t judge a book by its cover, because this nugget of quirky art-pop reminds me of Talking Heads and is far from boring. Nigel explained the meaning, “[it’s] written after spending time with people who only seem to like the sound of their own voice – warning, I may be one of them!” Yep, me too. But if we’re not one of them, we all know one who is.

“The song started off as a Stones/Pistols rant,” he continued, “and has developed into a soft indie rock stomp, with an added lyrical twist at the end.”

It’s the first single from a forthcoming album, Hello Mystery, which I think we need to review nearer the time. Until then, that’s my song of the day, very good, carry on….


Song of the Day 22: Kiano Taylee

Can you go twice on our Song of the Day feature? No, certainly not, one shot is all, get over it!

Wha? Cabin fever, me? Getting tetchy, perpetual rain the only visible sign of spring, going to need Google maps to locate my local pub if it ever gets back to normal, whatever normal is, been so long, forgotten, might need retraining in how to order a pint… ah, okay, point taken. I’m calm….

Here we go with the brilliant Big Ship Alliance reggae band, who may’ve had a Song of Day before but hey, when you hear this you’ll realise why I’m making the exception to my steadfast iron ruling.

My Life, it’s called, featuring Mitchell Joseph Thompson, and the Alliance introduces us to the incredible Kiano Taylee. At 13, it’s an emotive and sentimental debut single, capturing teenage anguish, bullying and family issues which bear heavy on modern youth. Moving stuff.

Available for download here.

For the record, I was young once too, you know. But, don’t let me get started on my memoirs, it’s a longwinded tale of nothingness but reading the Beano and eating spaghetti hoops. But, that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on…..


Song of the Day 22: Lady Nade

A tad shocked my car fluked its way through its MOT today, first time. Going on the theory good luck is a positive virus, maybe I should get a lottery ticket.

It’s your lucky day too, Song of the Day needs no introduction; Lady Nade, ’nuff said?

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on…..


Song of the Day 21: Andy J Williams

Ever just float around your favourite social media site with no objective in mind, to unexpectedly find something which pounces on you as utterly brilliant, and wonder why you’ve not heard about it before?

Took a second of watching this to establish it’s one of those rare occasions, and not just a pointless scrolling exercise for your index finger. You know the kind, where you only see your mate’s unappealing dinner, a wonky, windup political opinion, or video of a young prankster posing as a magician hoaxing eye candy on a Florida beach.

Took a further second to confirm it’s not to be confused with senior easy listening giant, Andy Williams, rather an indie-pop Bristol-based singer-songwriter namesake, but with an added middle J, a penchant for a funky riff and eye for a beguiling tune.

Check this cracking danceable video out, where one could ponder if the middle J stands for “Jacko!”

Not that I’m usually one to allow a cracking video convince me, even with dancing stormtroopers. So, you should note, he’s on his third album “Buy all the $tuff,” of which you can, here. I’m reckoning I need a window to review this fully in the near future. For now it came as big as a nice surprise as spotting an unidentified circular yellow object in the sky this morning, for a near halfhour! Amazing.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on…..


Song of the Day 20: Darling Boy

Self-taught multi-instrumentalist, singer and actor, Darling Boy, aka Alexander Gold adds reminisces about his game childhood with this video for his new single “Tea Drinkers of the World.” An unusual move for this brand of indie-pop, but a colourful and entertaining 16-bit retro game fashioned video; enjoy.

And that’s my song for the day. Stream it here. Facebook here. Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 18: The Lost Trades

If you’ve not heard of The Lost Trades before, you must be new to Devizine! Not a problem, we welcome newbies with open arms.

For further information we have a search bar, use it!There are plenty of archived features on The Lost Trades, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins and Tamsin Quin: enough for Devizine to be an official fan club! These Song of the Day posts are brief and are not intended to be full reviews.

They’re also about introducing you to artists we’ve not, or hardly ever mentioned much of before. Today’s case differs.

I should explain, we’ve followed the individual careers of this local vocal harmony trio since the website’s creation, and they’re three out of many in through doing this, have become personal friends.

Naturally, there’s a danger to the bias of honest criticism in a reviewer befriending the creators; mainstream artists use “enemy” as a term to describe NME journalists.

Although they’re aware I’d be critical if there was ever anything to be critical about, this is also, never a problem, because, simply, the awkward situation never arises.

Partly, I believe, this is because Devizine isn’t a job, it’s a hobby, and if I thought for a second I’ll unjustly slag anyone off for kicks, then the whole objective of it is compromised. Though it’s a delicate balance to provide honest content and maintain relationships with the talented subjects, there’s no reason to wreck a career, and I’d sooner avoid scribbling anything on the matter at all.

The fact if you do search for the Lost Trades or the musicians which make the trio up, you’ll find a fair amount of matter on the subject, can therefore mean only one thing: there never is a problem because they’re genuinely awesome, and this would still be the case even if they hated my guts. Which I’m not ruling out, but suspect it’s unlikely; least I can hope for is they think I’m a headcase. A friendly headcase, but a headcase nonetheless!

Still, it’s a great song, as ever, with a fascinating homemade video fusing Jamie’s enthusiasm for stop motion animation. Get it here.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 16: Blondie & Ska

If you came here looking for an original song by upcoming hopefuls, look away. Chippenham’s Blondie & Ska may not be groundbreaking or looking for a mainstream recording contract, a Blondie tribute act who fuse ska and Two-Tone classics into their repertoire, but what they do they do with a barrel load of lively fun. And, in a nutshell, lively carefree fun is the backbone of ska.

Heores of the live stream currently, booking Blondie & Ska for a party or pub gig in the future, and you can gurantee, if fussy music devotees tut, the majority will be up dancing. For this reason enough, I blinking love this duo, but that alone is plentiful. Like their Facebook page for details of future free streams, it’s an entertaining, unpretentious show.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 15: The Emertarians

Anytime is a good time for some roots reggae, Sunday morning, doublely so.

Enter one of my favourite current reggae bands, from Madrid, the Emertarians.

They always remind me of an occasion, at a festival in Andalusia. I watched this great French reggae band. The slighty rotound frontman looked rather like the late, great Jacob Miller. After the performance I noted he was standing close to me, watching the following act. I went over in hope of telling him how much I enjoyed their music, praying they spoke English.

I momentarily regretted my school French lessons, which I spent making homemade comics out of text books, as he replied with an adamant no upon asking if he spoke English.

All the vocabulary my intoxicated mind could conjour was “tres bien,” so I repeated it perpetually in true Del-Boy fashion!

Otherwise the meeting was the awkward silence of communication breakdown, in which I suspected they thought I was completely nuts. Not so far from the truth.

So, I namedropped Jacob Miller and suddenly we had understanding and mutual respect for the man. My point is, sometimes the Emertarians sing in Spanish and sometimes English, often the Spanish ones more emotive, but reggae has no language barriers, because it’s spiritual meaning and uplifting ambiance is universal. As with the French Jacob Miller-alike, we were on the same song sheet….

Naturally at that conjunction, I rolled a joint.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 13: Antoine & Owena

Congratulations go to folk duo Antonie & Owena for winning the G.S.M.C award for Best Album this year. Yet it’s not their first award, winning best duo at last year’s GSMC, and others. Here’s Something Out of Nothing, which I think explains all you need to know about how and why they won it!

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 12: Darla Jade

Even portions of expressive contemporary pop, the ambience of post-goth and downtempo electric blues of trip hop makes this Staffordshire singer, Darla Jade really someone to watch. With a haunting uniqueness about her voice and style, there’s shards of Evanescence fused with Beth Orton. It’s somehow individually chartable but would also appease alternative rock or goth aficionados alike.

Subscribe to her YouTube channel, hear her own stamp on Radiohead’s Creep, and realise, her talent is so very special.

And that’s my song for the day. Very good. Carry on….


Song the Day 9: Emily Lockett

Facebook memories posts a year ago this week we rocked up in the Celler Bar raising money for the Waiblingen Way Fire fund, and makes me stops and think about the years I’ve been smashing out articles on Devizine. So many artists and bands we’ve mentioned, I rarely forget about them, this one I admit I nearly did. Most likely because I didn’t get the opportunity to attend Stoke-on-Trent’s teenage country sensation Emily Lockett’s gig at Dean’s Country Club, then operating at Devizes Cons Club, later at the Cavalier.

So, nice as it is to discover new talent, equally important is to recap. Emily must be nearing her twenties now, and as a musical prodigy from aged 5, her expertise shines through in a matured sense now. This track, Front Porch says it all.

And that’s my song of the day for today.

Very good. Carry on….


Song of the Day 4: Girls Go Ska

Hi, yeah s’me, keeping up the Song of the Day feature like dedication was as word I know the definition of!

No excuses not to, I mean I am of the generation when Roy Castle clasped his trumpet weekly, ready for the signing off of “Record Breakers.” No, it’s not a euthanasim, Google it whippersnappers.

Might also explain my fondness for brass. Brass is class, and a vital element of ska. Yep, four tunes in and I couldn’t resist sharing some ska with you.

It’s a commonly misguided notion that ska is a retrospective cult here in England. It tends to convey a bygone era of Two-Tone records, boots and braces.

Yet today, while said stereotype has a grounding, ska is an international phenomenon, particularly in South America. I did write a piece about this region’s love for ska, and how it’s roots out of Jamaica bare a different tale from our own.

To show you how fresh it can be elsewhere in the world, and it’s not a reminiscence for a
load of overweight balding pensioners as perceived in the UK, here’s all-female bar one Mexican band, Girls Go Ska, who I’m secretly in love with, (so secret they don’t even know themselves….until they use Google translate!) doing an instrumental jam.

Girls and ska; what’s not to like? Have a lovely rest of your day. Very good. Carry on….


  • Tally-Ho for Boxing Day; Avon Vale Hunt Ride Again Admist Protests

    Here we go again, Lacock’s Boxing Day incongruous pageant of corruption and barbarism plans to go ahead this year, despite protests, as The Avon Vale Hunt will gather in showy and shameless glory.….

    Safe in the knowledge the single patrolling WPC, Laura Hughes was a member of the hunt, and it was suggested did little to remain impartial, last year’s Boxing Day fiasco turned nasty, with violent clashes between hunt supporters and protesters. The protesters intend to be in attendance again, for peaceful intent as always, but hoping for safety in numbers.

    While you’d like to think Wiltshire Police have learned a lesson, and this year’s event will be more efficiently manned, no charges or disciplinary was deemed necessary for the officer in question, despite publicly stating “we do accept a potential conflict of interests should have been declared,” and claiming they were unaware of her association with the hunt. Well, they’re aware now, only time will tell.

    We also hope Wiltshire PCC Phillip Wilkinson’s recent crackdown on rural crime strategies, which has seen recent arrests for hare coursing, will extend to hunting, but he has shown little respect for hunt protesters in the past, apparently calling anti-hunt individuals, “balaclava wearing thugs.” In similar logic as Nelson Mandela was a deemed terrorist, no doubt.

    With Conservative MP James Gray accused of being in attendance last year, in support of the hunt, sonething he later denied although photographed there, it would seem there’s a clear aborehence of the Hunting Act within many powers that be, resulting in these clashes, which sadly takes costly lawsuits to justifiably resolve. Something avoidable with proactive policing, me thinks; or is that a tad too bleeding obvious?!

    In April, three hunt supporters were convicted after pleading guilty to using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause unlawful violence.” In September though, the anti-hunt individuals were acquitted. Judge Dickens said, “ultimately, the evidence is pretty thin, wafer thin…While there is just about a case to answer, the evidence is wafer thin and it won’t get any better, and for those reasons I won’t be able to be sure they were not acting in self-defence.”

    What is becoming clearer through this, is the wheels of the ‘trail hunting’ smokescreen are coming off, as the populous accept it’s a charade, and leaving hunters frustrated, and aggressive. I can understand this, they’ve taken their toys away, and in the name of tradition it would seem a shame, if the activity wasn’t a completely unnecessary bloodthirsty and barbaric activity which has been democratically deemed unwanted and unlawful in today’s society.

    It now falls on town and parish councils, landowners and pub landlords to accept the majority’s appeal on this matter, and outright ban all hunting meets and activities on their land, regardless of these petty bogus claims of lawfulness, until such a time they can prove no acts of animal welfare have been breached. Which, and let’s be frank, they can’t, ergo they react in force of vengeance. For if they could, there would be no valid reason to behave with this thuggish mentality.

    So, I cannot advise you attend, for your own safety, but the Boxing Day meet will start at 10am in Lacock, but doing so at your own risk will show support for the rising campaign against this, and, as I said, it is the responsibility of Wiltshire Police to ensure the event runs more smoothly this time. Here’s to a peaceful protest, then, and also to those risking themselves to protect our wildlife, not just on Boxing Day, but throughout the year.


  • Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 7th-14th December 2022

    It’s beginning to look a lot like…. another week in early December; bar humbug! Therefore, here’s what’s doing in and around Wiltshire, all of which can be found on our event calendar, with further info and ticket links.….

    If we missed your event, did you tell us about it? It’s free to be listed on Devizine, just drop us a message.

    Ongoing, is Sustainable Devizes’ Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas on The Little Green, Devizes, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! So many organisations have gathered for this, it’s all very festive, and running until Christmas Eve.


    Wednesday 7th is the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes, while White Horse Opera hold their Christmas Concert at St John’s.


    Thursday 8th, there’s Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library, and the 14th Annual Pound Arts Open Exhibition at Pound Arts in Corsham.

    Find a Vocation Naughty & Nice Drink-a-Long at The Snuffbox, Devizes, Oxbowlake & Shedric play The Tuppenny, Swindon, while Boo Hewerdine’s Understudy Tour happens at Chapel Arts, Bath, with The Wurzels’ Christmas Tour comes to Komedia.


    Friday 9th Southbroom St James Academy in Devizes have a Christmas Fayre from 5-7pm.

    Little Red Riding Hood – The Panto opens at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, running until December 17th, sorry, this has sold out.

    Elsewhere in Devizes though, find a Christmas Celebration Concert with Devizes Good Afternoon Choir at St Andrews, and it’s the grand evening for Longcroft Productions with Lachy Doley at The Corn Exchange. Sour Apple play The Three Crowns, and The Muck & Dunder have a Ten Hides Distillery Tasting session.

    Sandi Thom plays Pound Arts in Corsham, Courtney Pine’s Spirituality is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Severance plays The Three Horseshoes there. The Super Skas at Chapel Arts, Bath. On my must-see list, Ant Trouble, Adam & His Ants tribute plays The Tree House, Frome.

    The Guns & Roses Experience at The Vic, Swindon, while The Britpop Boys takes Level III, Behind Bars at The Rolleston, and the Tuppeny has The Electric Kool-Aid Audio Test. Night one of The Great Gatsby at MECA.


    Saturday 10th, regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm.

    Mark Smallman plays The Southgate, Devizes, while Illingworth are at The Crown, Bishops Cannings.

    Be Like Will play The Talbot, Calne, while Old Friends are at The Wheatsheaf.

    Homer plays The Lamb, Marlborough, while its sound system night at The Barge on Honeystreet, with the Jah Lion Movement Sound System, a fiver on the door.

    Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood by The Cabaret Geek at Pound Arts, Corsham, while The Choir of Clare College Cambridge are at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

    Untamed Burlesque at Chapel Arts, Bath.

    While The Great Gatsby continues at MECA in Swindon, ZambaLando are live at Baristocats, and ravers flock to Level III for the Midlife Krisis Crew will be in effect.


    Sunday 11th Devizes Town Band have a Christmas Party at The Corn Exchange.

    Wiltshire Young Musicians Christmas Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Cydernide & Tharsis play The Three Horseshoes.

    A Winter Union at Chapel Arts, Bath, and Frome Vegan Fair at the Cheese & Grain.


    Monday 12th and Saint Michael and All Angels in Hilperton have a concert; Follow the Star – Doves Peace Choir & Ebonite. And there’s the Rock the Tots Christmas Show at Pound Arts, Corsham


    Tuesday 13th and find Beer & Carols at The Southgate, Devizes, and some Christmas Memories at Melksham Assembly Hall.


    Wednesday 14th regular acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes, a lunchtime harp recital by Lise Vandermissen at Pound Arts, Corsham, and Chuckles Comedy Club at MECA in Swindon.


    And that’s all I got so far, folks, but we do update regularly, so keep one eye on our event calendar. It’s also good for future planning, just keep on scrollin’, dude!

    Things you need to be thinking about for the following weeks ahead: starter for ten, the Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, Devizes Friday 16th and you’ll be hard pressed for tickets to Bublé at MECA or The Sweet at the Cheese & Grain on that day.

    Breathtakingly amazing local soprano Chole Jordan’s Classical Christmas on Saturday 17th at Devizes Town Hall, in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but I’m planning be at Marlborough Memorial Hall for MantonFest are having a Christmas party with Barrelhouse and Slade tribute Slyde, and you know it’s not Christmas until Noddy calls it! Do join me for that one.

    Have a great weekend but behave; he knows if you’ve been bad or good!

  • Alex Roberts at The Barge, Honeystreet 

    by Ben Romain and Victoria Stanley

    We ventured out to the Barge to catch Alex Roberts after first seeing him at The Southgate, Devizes on the highest recommendation of Devizes favourite Vince Bell. That was an introduction to an artist well worth following; so we duly did! 

    The Barge has had its challenges in years past with unique past owners and misplaced concepts of what this particular Inn’s place in the community actually is, but happily this experience was more like earliest memories of folk gigs there twenty years before and a great venue to visit once again.

    There was a warm welcome into a crowd of characters, some from miles away, pleased to follow Alex and regulars of the Inn and many boaters amongst them. A good foil for a talented folk singer, this crowd knowing as many on the cut do, how to sing and encourage willing musicians! 

    Alex loves the Barge, and settled into the ‘stage’ corner with a plethora of instruments, we were treated to interpretations of many great songs in the folk/blues traditions and of course brilliant songs of his own pen. 

    Pyramid – Alex Roberts a fantastic song of his own writing, my favourite from his songbook this gig. Then covers such as ‘Girl from the North Country’, Bob Dylan delivered with such warmth and sensibility and a lifelong Dylan fan (such as myself) was enthralled.

    So a lovely return to a great local venue and a great gig; everything you want from a Saturday eagerly awaited for this very reason. 

    The Barge has a very active Facebook page and many gigs / events, we will certainly be making more of an effort to fit some in following this gig. 


  • Bopping Up Alfred’s Tower; A New Chippenham Band Stronghold

    See, I’m not sure ol’ Alfred the Great would’ve approved of the whopping gurt folly erected in his name near Bruton. He was there to rally Saxon troops for the Battle of Edington, and if you’re planning to go kick some Viking butt you need to be inconspicuous, not have a hundred-and-sixty-foot redbrick tower sticking out like a sore thumb. He might well have liked this though, a new Wiltshire four-piece named after the tower; because good tunes can be a real morale boost when going into battle……

    And good tunes they are, though the group cite from Chippenham on their Bandcamp page, substantial mileage from the Stourhead estate where Alfred’s Tower is situated. Perhaps it’s the connotations of Alfred being the founder of English liberty, as these four tracks they sent us have a Brit “mod” tinge, and mods are patriotic at best. I didn’t like to ask, through fear of coming across all history teacher, and I’m all out of leather elbow patches for my Tweed jacket. The important part is there’s some beguiling original songs on offer here, uplifting in a manner Paul Weller, at his most optimistic.

    Parachute Baby is a prime example, it’s sauntering along on the sunny side of the street of a crazy world, where only the attention of the object of his desires matters to this character, and it’s got that apt harmonica riff to lighten the darkest of moods. Though, if it’s got it, Roy Orbison style, switching to the next tune, Nothing Good and we’re foot-tapping on an offbeat, bouncy one-drop reggae melody, which counteracts the more dejected romantic theme; I’m smitten.

    Though we’re getting ahead of ourselves now, for these two tracks are forthcoming, the first one out around Christmas time and the latter in the new year, but their Bandcamp page has two other songs equally worthy of your attention. This World is their inaugural release, and while uplifting too, it’s tender and mellowed. With a soulful piano intro, it’s certainly anthemic, with an allowance to note the astute writing, and showy in Alfred’s Tower’s potential.

    It is however in the amalgamation of all these tunes which displays their diversity, an EP is a necessity, I feel. The second released single, So Long, is soulful again, along similar lines to This World, but balancing a poignant electric blues element, akin to a meld of The Who at their smoothest and Pink Floyd does pop. And perhaps there’s a clue to the chosen name in this; it’s a tower of variety, influences wise, reaching for the skies in uplifting narratives, strengthened by some skilfully executed original designs. Catchy within a rock classic formula, oh yeah, if this is foundational, the construction of Alfred’s Tower is one to watch. Like ‘em up on Facebook for updates on said progress. We NEED to see them live!


  • REVIEW – Gigspanner @ Pound Arts Centre, Corsham – Tuesday 29th November 2022

    A Night Of Extreme Violins

    Andy Fawthrop

    Yes, I know it’s not in Devizes, but it’s pretty darned close.  And it was definitely worth the trip out on a grim Tuesday night when nothing else was happening.  Folk or football?  Well, as Bill Shankly never actually said, this gig was far more important than mere life-or-death on a soccer field.

    Gigspanner, if you don’t know, is now the full-time musical project of ex-Steeleye Span’s violin genius, Peter Knight.  Having gradually become slightly exasperated with the repetitive nature of Steeleye’s musical repertoire, despite the occasional new album, Peter left in order to pursue his own musical interests.  And boy has he done that in spades over the past ten years or so.  His trio, including guitar and technical wizard Roger Flack, and percussionist Sacha Trochet, has become legendary in folk (and other) circles for their ground-breaking exploration of musical forms, pushing the basics of folk way, way beyond previous known limits.

    The Pound Arts Centre was absolutely packed last night, with every ticket having sold some time ago.  They’d managed to squeeze in two extra rows of seats at the front, and so it was that 120 of us welcomed these wonderful musicians to the stage.  Given the depth of applause, I’d guess that most of them were already big fans of the band and knew what was coming up.  And what came up was absolutely superb.  Building on the basic building blocks of a few “traditional” folk songs and tunes (She Moved Through The Fair, The Constant Lovers, The Bows of London and The Hard Times of Old England), the band built these foundations into something quite spectacular.  They moved these pieces far beyond the normal, extemporising and exploring as they went, and produced some spell-binding passages of music.  It was fascinating, it was beautiful, and it was utterly captivating.  Using violin, guitars, pedals, effects, and a range of percussion, the three of them wove some amazing musical patterns.  It’s absolutely unlike stuff you’ll hear anywhere else, and played live on stage right in front of you, it’s completely gob-smackingly good.  But there was even more.  Not content with re-defining what constitutes live “folk” music, there were some new musical journeys based on Peter’s own contemporary song/ tune-writing skills such as Seagull, Butterfly and (a collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett) I Will Wear Midnight.

    And, as ever, there was laconic commentary and dry humour from Peter as he introduced each piece, followed by one of my favourite pieces of live musical “theatre” in a piece they’ve been playing from the earliest days called Louisiana Flack.  In this party piece, and without the aid of a safety net, Peter plays a very fast fiddle piece, whilst Roger takes up a pair of drumsticks and simultaneously taps out a complementary beat/ tune across the neck and fingerboard, hopefully avoiding Peter’s fingers.  Just watching these two consummate musicians pull this trick off is one of those breath-holding moments where you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing.  And it came off superbly, demonstrating the complete level of trust that these two musicians have for each other.  Truly amazing.

    Altogether we got two good hour-long sets, which seemed to pass in but a few moments, and an outstanding ten-minute long encore of The Faerie King.  With only occasional lyrics (Peter’s singing voice isn’t why you go to see him), it was one very, very large helping of superbly played and presented music. It might have been based on “folk”, but what we heard would actually defy genre or mere pigeon-holing.  What you need to know is that it was very, very, very good.

    Last night was, as it happened, the last night of the trio’s current UK tour, but it’s not all over.  The never-resting Peter Knight is starting a two-week tour on Saturday with John Spiers, then next year it’ll be back to all the other projects in his life – The Gigspanner Big Band (with Philip Henry and Hannah Martin aka Edgelarks), collaborations with other musicians, Feast of Fiddles, as well as his teaching master-classes, composing and recording.  The man never stops.  No wonder he continues to draw plaudits from the musical press and to win so many music awards.  This man is definitely not, as he self-deprecatingly describes himself, “a fool with a fiddle”.

    Chatting with a clearly delighted band after the gig, they told me how much they loved playing The Pound.  CDs were selling like hot cakes, the audience had been great, and it’s such a lovely, friendly venue. They always get treated like royalty (not you Andrew!), so I’m pretty sure they’ll be pencilling in another date sometime next year.  And if they do, then you owe it to yourself to get a ticket and go – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    Their future gigs are listed on www.gigspanner.com/ which includes dates in Swindon and Bristol next February.  And there’s lots of info on their other projects, such as Saltlines, too.

    And, finally, just a word about The Pound Arts Centre.  It’s a cracking little venue, now back in full action, with a complete programme of events across drama, film, music, comedy, children’s activities, art exhibitions, workshops, and classes.  It also has an excellent café & bar just off the foyer.  You’ll have to look on their website for future music artists and online ticket information at www.poundarts.org.uk but (for example), they’ve got Jonny Coppin’s Christmas Show, Bowjangles, Sandi Thom, and John Kirkpatrick, all of them before Christmas.  They show modern films and often carry live telecasts of live performances from London venues.  If you’ve not been over there, it’s definitely worth checking out.


  • Devizes Carnival Returning to Traditional Date

    Something I’m personally impartial about, though DOCA’s carnival consultation flagged it as a major issue for many, the recent date changes of carnival is set to be returned to the original date.…..

    Announced this evening, DOCA said, “based on what we’ve heard, we have made the decision to move the Carnival back to the traditional date, the first weekend of September.”

    Confetti Battle and the Colour Rush will remain on a Saturday, DOCA suggesting it’s “been a welcome change overall,” and will be set two weekends prior to Carnival. This will create the “Carnival Fortnight,” as it was before, alongside some fringe events of entertainment in collaboration with local businesses. The International Street Fair will stay in early summer.

    The key dates for next year look at little something like this:

    International Street Fair – 27th & 28th May

    Picnic in the Park – 18th June

    Colour Rush & Confetti Battle – 19th August

    Carnival Parade – 2nd September

    Hummm, summer; I’m there already!


  • 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.


  • Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 30th November – 6th December 2022

    No point in amending your bad behaviour now, far too late; you’ve got to have been good all year round to get on the good list. So, may as well carry on as usual, as this week sees us in the wintery but festive season. Are you ready, excited? Here’s our rundown of stuff to do this coming week in our local province, walking in the winter Wiltshire….

    Details and Links, and for planning ahead, check our event calendar.


    Last day of November then, tomorrow; Wednesday 30th, acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, and Doric String Quartet at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.


    Starting Thursday 1st December on The Little Green, Devizes and running until Christmas Eve, Sustainable Devizes have the Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! Create a scene or event for one evening during advent on a Christmas story or theme, to be displayed/performed for all to enjoy, and so many organisations have contributed to this. More HERE.

    Meanwhile, Sarah McQuaid plays The Pump, Trowbridge, Martin Harley at Chapel Arts, Bath, The Bob Porter Project at The Beehive, Swindon, and UK’s hottest drag act, Holly Stars presents their first solo show Justice for Holly, at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


    Friday 2nd December, Sour Apple play The Pelican, Devizes, B-Sydes at The Pump, Trowbridge, Train to Skaville at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. There’s also an evening of acoustic country with the Alan West Band at Chapel Arts, Bath.

    Every Friday night from now until Christmas is Christmas Party night at the Exchange nightclub in Devizes, doors at 10pm, free entry before 11.

    Shows include Through the Decades with Roy & Buddy at Melksham Assembly Hall, and Stardust: A Musical Journey at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

    Pink Mac play The Vic in Swindon, while Bone Chapel take The Beehive.

    Oas-is tribute at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while L1nkn P4rk tribute at the Tree House, and for want of an originals band in Frome on Friday, the incredible 41 Fords play The Sun Inn.


    Saturday 3rd, and Devizes Lions have their Christmas Fair at the Corn Exchange, from 9am-2pm. The Churchill Arms, West Lavington also have a Christmas Fayre, from 2-5pm. Regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm. And I’m sure there’s Christmas fairs going off all over the place, but it’s a daunting task keeping up with all of that!

    Onto music, and our Phil Cooper plays The Southgate, Devizes, Alex Roberts is at The Barge on Honey Street. Grant Sharkey plays The Pump, Trowbridge, while Triple JD are at the Old Road Tavern, Chippenham. The Ultimate ABBA Tribute play The Consti Club, Chippenham.

    St Marys, Marlborough host the Marlborough Concert Orchestra Winter Concert, and Barrelhouse on their home-turf at The Lamb. Meanwhile, in Swindon, Oasish & Stereotonics play The Vic.

    Westwards leading and it’s a Boot Hill All Stars pilgrimage to The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Oye Santana at Chapel Arts, Bath, while DJ Dave Pearce presents Dance Anthems at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and Billy in the Lowground take The Tree House.


    Sunday 4th, Seend Community Centre has a Christmas Concert in aid of Alzheimer’s Support, and the Wessex Concert Orchestra play a Winter Concert at Devizes Town Hall.

    Trowbridge Philharmonic Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, and an ultimate Christmas party for the little ones at Meca, Swindon called Calling all Elves.

    It’s not a massive weekend for live music, the build up to the festive period, but if in Bath on Sunday, it must be an afternoon session at The Electric Bar, where you’ll find Concrete Prairie live in session.

    And that’s all folks, have a good weekend. Please do send me some details of your Christmas events, and especially New Year’s Eve, which is looking unusually bare on our calendar this year.


  • Mighty Mighty; The Scribes Storm the Muck!

    Another fantabulous evening at Devizes’ tropical holiday resort, The Muck and Dunder rum bar, where Bristol’s boom bap trio I’ve been hailing since day dot, The Scribes, came, saw, matchlessly interacted with the audience, and tore the place down with a riotous show of incredible skill and talent; secretly, it was foreseeable months ago……

    Again, straw hats off to the Muck, just like previous evenings with the Allergies, Jimmy Needles and recently the BBC Introducing showcase, it’s the like we don’t usually see in our humble market town. Something I’ve been excited about before even leaking the scoop, hyping up here till the cows come home, and still, it exceeded my expectations. It did so with one most important element; Devizes showed their respect loud and proud, attending in full force for this sell-out show, and made me honoured to illustrate what I’d hitherto promised to frontman Ill Literate, and even his dad, Literate senior(!); this is our hometown, it punches well above its weight in knowing how to party.

    For if there are others of this calibre currently on the UK hip hop scene, I’m unaware of them. The Scribes, I find no quarrel in dubbing “our Tribe Called Quest,” for the similar way they can lyrically interchange and bounce off each other, extend their presence further afield from the niche. They’re about spreading their love of hip hop and rap, using an exuberant and carefree east coast old school ethos, blended with contemporary rap techniques, blessing new audiences with what they’ve got, and aside their addictive and inimitable style, they’re having a heap of fun doing it. Just don’t do like I did, and try to capture a snap of them, they move about like Michael McIntyre on fast-forward!

    Tunes played out were tricky to pinpoint, not while jigging and balancing my pina colada! Undoubtedly, they dipped into the vitrine of their latest EP, a forthcoming second in the series of the Totem Trilogy, and I did pick out my dub-inspired favourite, Mighty Mighty. Yet in rap no tune is ever precisely replicated, making an improv live show different every time. What was a highlight of the miscellany was the Doug E Fresh moments of drafting in the single-most amazing beatboxer this side of Barnard Star, which if you’ve never seen the like of in good ol’ Devizes before, it’s equally unlikely you’ve seen the like of anywhere before, if you catch my drift?! What? I’ve had rum!

    With the upmost respect for the influence Mel Bush left on Devizes, the legendary promoter who bought Thin Lizzy to the Corn Exchange, I find it fascinating the same year he did, 1973, across the ocean in a Bronx block-party, Kool Herc isolated percussion “breaks” by switching between two turntables via a mixer, to prolong the beat of the track. Yet to many here, what he fashioned that night is still regarded as new-fangled!

    Albeit progress out of the ghettos of New York for hip hop was sluggish, at best not arriving on our shores until a decade later, hip hop culture is no new thing. So, while this legacy for electric blues and prog-rock is still felt today, through the likes of Jon Amor, who plays the Southgate this afternoon, Innes Sibun and whenever Robin Davey returns, and this marks a blessing on our music scene which I fully appreciate, rum bar The Muck and Dunder aim for diversity, for daring to present dance, club, and hip hop, perhaps reaching out to the twenty and thirty-somethings wanting more than a standard nightclub. And for this, providing they’ll accommodate my aging sorry existence, I cannot thank them enough!

    For me, you see, I loved it since a nipper; the cuts of Grandmaster Flash, the moves of the Rock Steady Crew, the subway graffiti, and right through to Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys, so I believe I’m conversant on the subject to assess the Scribes are the freshest on the block, and I’m glad we showed them what we’re worth in Devizes. Because, here’s my final point, and I feel it’s the most important one, at least in destroying an ill-conceived misconception about the genre which The Scribes highlight with bells on. And that is, the pretentiousness, the bling, guns, and chip on the shoulder stereotype is a product of commercialisation, and is more often than not, an unwelcomed division.

    The Scribes circumnavigated the good ship Muck & Dunder prior to the hoedown, chatting enthusiastically with all. To talk with Ill Literate is to find a kindly fellow with definite goals, a positive agenda, and ardent in the direction he needs to take this. Take his recent solo EP, The Shipwreck as a prime example; here’s a rap record on the level of concept album, akin to prog-rock, with a conscious narrative flowing throughout. This isn’t just rapping to make a noise, this is dedicated writing and production, though on a night like last night at the Muck, it’s also about appeasing the crowd, which they did, sublimely. I walked home in the pissing rain, smiling all the way.


  • 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.


Song of the Day 3: Harmony

Look, right, I’m not at the top yet, but it’s in clear sight. A round number, of the half century kind, awaits me atop the hill, and there’s no stopping the ride to get off.

I guess reaching these milestone ages causes you to analyse your life somewhat, and if there’s one thing I do know in all my years, it’s that I’ve told some colossal pork pies. Some real stinkers. I don’t know why, other than occupational hazard as a journalist, I’ve no excuses, not one which will wash with you clever lot.

Whether it be for the prestige, the glory, or, sometimes just for the sheer hell of it, just because the golden opportunity arose and I couldn’t stop myself, they just slipped out.

I’m not proud, just saying, you know, get it off my chest. Not compulsively, though, I’d go as far to say the majority of what I say is true.

Why do people say, “I’ll be honest with you…” ? Well duh, I sincerely hope you do anyway, it should go without saying. But the phrase immediately raises the alarm; I’m guessing a whopper is on its way. I never use that phrase on principle. The principle I don’t trust myself to keep to it.

See, what with the whopper, the real damaging kind of fib. I consider my track record on that quite good, I tend to lie to big myself up, but not to put others down. I tend to lie to make light of a situation, rather than darken the notion. I tend not to lie to anyone I trust not to lie to me, and I’ve seen too many of them backfire anyway, so, I’m done with lies, filled my quota but retain decency in not being overly destructive with them; quantity not quality!

And anyway, I don’t lie here, cos I trust you all, I really do. This isnt a tabloid, this is me. Clearly you get what you see, which might be a waffling clown but, hey.

So, Harmony, from Chippenham, on the subject of liars; she’s not singing about me, no sir, not when I say with all the honesty left in me, this young singer-songwriter I’ve discovered via Sheer music, has got something really special. And even if I was lying, which I’m not, I’ve shared the video, to prove it.

And that’s Song of the Day, for the third day. It’s become a popular feature, overnight, honest.

Should you choose to believe that!

Have a lovely rest of your day. Very good. Carry on….

Song of the Day 2: The Big Ship Alliance and Johnny2Bad, featuring Robbie Levi and Stones

Newly-formed just a year ago, this Birmingham-based seven piece reggae band, Big Ship Alliance started out as possibly the only tribute act to reggae legend Freddie McGregor, but on track to record their own material they’ve teamed up with the outstanding UB40 tribute act, Johnny2Bad for this gorgeous topical debut single.

Featuring Robbie Levi and Stones, aside from my love of all things reggae, the song’s positive message of togetherness and unification during this era of the pandemic makes it more than apt for my second “song of the day” post. Though I did say I wasn’t intending to write anything like a review on this feature, just let you enjoy the tunes, and this is kinda heading a little bit “reviewy.” Probably cos it’s such a nice tune.

I also promised not to waffle; but I’m here now. Something about having your cake and eating it goes in rather appropriately at this point!

More so than being my song of the day, I believe this should be, as the Big Ship Alliance say themselves, “the anthem for 2021!”

Determined to make this feature a goer, as of yesterday’s pledge to add a song each day, ingeniously titled “song of the day.” I know, right, it scares me at times, I’ll be honest!

So, enjoy this fantastic tune, let the good vibes roll and have a great rest of the day. Same time tomorrow then?

Very good. Carry on….

Song of the Day 1: Atari Pilot

Irregularly I share a music video to our Facebook page with the status “song of the day,” or week, or whenever, as if it’s a daily occurrence. When the reality is it’s a big, fat fib on my part, it’s only when I happen to find such a video and can be arsed to share it. What-cha gonna do, sue me?

So, just in case your lawyer says you have a case, I thought I’d streamline this sporadic idea for 2021, make it an actual feature on the site rather than a Facebook post, and show off that I know what long words like “sporadic” mean.

Little more gone into it than this, you should be used to it by now. I’m not going to review them, just embed them here for your own appraisal and entertainment purposes. Potentially, it’ll be a groundbreakingily breif post, a simple but effective phenomenon, and something I can do without missing the Simpsons.

The challenge is consistency; whether I actually stick to the idea or, like others, it’ll be a flash in the pan. Who knows, this could be the start of something beautiful, this could be the thing they’re talking about in decades to come. A holographic Ken Bruce could be asking “what was the very first Devizine Song of the Day” in a Pop Master 200 years from now.

And you can answer it with who I bestow this honour, Atari Pilot. They’ll be revelling in the triumph of the hour if it wasn’t lockdown, I bet.

History in the making then, the only issue I foresee is I over-waffle any old crap, which is, incidentally, not what’s happening now and rarely does here; I had to explain myself, didn’t I?

Okay, I get message; here it is then, enjoy the tune, enjoy the rest of your evening. Good job, carry on.


  • Tally-Ho for Boxing Day; Avon Vale Hunt Ride Again Admist Protests

    Here we go again, Lacock’s Boxing Day incongruous pageant of corruption and barbarism plans to go ahead this year, despite protests, as The Avon Vale Hunt will gather in showy and shameless glory.….

    Safe in the knowledge the single patrolling WPC, Laura Hughes was a member of the hunt, and it was suggested did little to remain impartial, last year’s Boxing Day fiasco turned nasty, with violent clashes between hunt supporters and protesters. The protesters intend to be in attendance again, for peaceful intent as always, but hoping for safety in numbers.

    While you’d like to think Wiltshire Police have learned a lesson, and this year’s event will be more efficiently manned, no charges or disciplinary was deemed necessary for the officer in question, despite publicly stating “we do accept a potential conflict of interests should have been declared,” and claiming they were unaware of her association with the hunt. Well, they’re aware now, only time will tell.

    We also hope Wiltshire PCC Phillip Wilkinson’s recent crackdown on rural crime strategies, which has seen recent arrests for hare coursing, will extend to hunting, but he has shown little respect for hunt protesters in the past, apparently calling anti-hunt individuals, “balaclava wearing thugs.” In similar logic as Nelson Mandela was a deemed terrorist, no doubt.

    With Conservative MP James Gray accused of being in attendance last year, in support of the hunt, sonething he later denied although photographed there, it would seem there’s a clear aborehence of the Hunting Act within many powers that be, resulting in these clashes, which sadly takes costly lawsuits to justifiably resolve. Something avoidable with proactive policing, me thinks; or is that a tad too bleeding obvious?!

    In April, three hunt supporters were convicted after pleading guilty to using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause unlawful violence.” In September though, the anti-hunt individuals were acquitted. Judge Dickens said, “ultimately, the evidence is pretty thin, wafer thin…While there is just about a case to answer, the evidence is wafer thin and it won’t get any better, and for those reasons I won’t be able to be sure they were not acting in self-defence.”

    What is becoming clearer through this, is the wheels of the ‘trail hunting’ smokescreen are coming off, as the populous accept it’s a charade, and leaving hunters frustrated, and aggressive. I can understand this, they’ve taken their toys away, and in the name of tradition it would seem a shame, if the activity wasn’t a completely unnecessary bloodthirsty and barbaric activity which has been democratically deemed unwanted and unlawful in today’s society.

    It now falls on town and parish councils, landowners and pub landlords to accept the majority’s appeal on this matter, and outright ban all hunting meets and activities on their land, regardless of these petty bogus claims of lawfulness, until such a time they can prove no acts of animal welfare have been breached. Which, and let’s be frank, they can’t, ergo they react in force of vengeance. For if they could, there would be no valid reason to behave with this thuggish mentality.

    So, I cannot advise you attend, for your own safety, but the Boxing Day meet will start at 10am in Lacock, but doing so at your own risk will show support for the rising campaign against this, and, as I said, it is the responsibility of Wiltshire Police to ensure the event runs more smoothly this time. Here’s to a peaceful protest, then, and also to those risking themselves to protect our wildlife, not just on Boxing Day, but throughout the year.


  • Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 7th-14th December 2022

    It’s beginning to look a lot like…. another week in early December; bar humbug! Therefore, here’s what’s doing in and around Wiltshire, all of which can be found on our event calendar, with further info and ticket links.….

    If we missed your event, did you tell us about it? It’s free to be listed on Devizine, just drop us a message.

    Ongoing, is Sustainable Devizes’ Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas on The Little Green, Devizes, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! So many organisations have gathered for this, it’s all very festive, and running until Christmas Eve.


    Wednesday 7th is the regular acoustic jam at The Southgate, Devizes, while White Horse Opera hold their Christmas Concert at St John’s.


    Thursday 8th, there’s Craft and Chat at Chippenham Library, and the 14th Annual Pound Arts Open Exhibition at Pound Arts in Corsham.

    Find a Vocation Naughty & Nice Drink-a-Long at The Snuffbox, Devizes, Oxbowlake & Shedric play The Tuppenny, Swindon, while Boo Hewerdine’s Understudy Tour happens at Chapel Arts, Bath, with The Wurzels’ Christmas Tour comes to Komedia.


    Friday 9th Southbroom St James Academy in Devizes have a Christmas Fayre from 5-7pm.

    Little Red Riding Hood – The Panto opens at The Wharf Theatre, Devizes, running until December 17th, sorry, this has sold out.

    Elsewhere in Devizes though, find a Christmas Celebration Concert with Devizes Good Afternoon Choir at St Andrews, and it’s the grand evening for Longcroft Productions with Lachy Doley at The Corn Exchange. Sour Apple play The Three Crowns, and The Muck & Dunder have a Ten Hides Distillery Tasting session.

    Sandi Thom plays Pound Arts in Corsham, Courtney Pine’s Spirituality is at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Severance plays The Three Horseshoes there. The Super Skas at Chapel Arts, Bath. On my must-see list, Ant Trouble, Adam & His Ants tribute plays The Tree House, Frome.

    The Guns & Roses Experience at The Vic, Swindon, while The Britpop Boys takes Level III, Behind Bars at The Rolleston, and the Tuppeny has The Electric Kool-Aid Audio Test. Night one of The Great Gatsby at MECA.


    Saturday 10th, regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm.

    Mark Smallman plays The Southgate, Devizes, while Illingworth are at The Crown, Bishops Cannings.

    Be Like Will play The Talbot, Calne, while Old Friends are at The Wheatsheaf.

    Homer plays The Lamb, Marlborough, while its sound system night at The Barge on Honeystreet, with the Jah Lion Movement Sound System, a fiver on the door.

    Looking For Me Friend: The Music of Victoria Wood by The Cabaret Geek at Pound Arts, Corsham, while The Choir of Clare College Cambridge are at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

    Untamed Burlesque at Chapel Arts, Bath.

    While The Great Gatsby continues at MECA in Swindon, ZambaLando are live at Baristocats, and ravers flock to Level III for the Midlife Krisis Crew will be in effect.


    Sunday 11th Devizes Town Band have a Christmas Party at The Corn Exchange.

    Wiltshire Young Musicians Christmas Festival at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, while Cydernide & Tharsis play The Three Horseshoes.

    A Winter Union at Chapel Arts, Bath, and Frome Vegan Fair at the Cheese & Grain.


    Monday 12th and Saint Michael and All Angels in Hilperton have a concert; Follow the Star – Doves Peace Choir & Ebonite. And there’s the Rock the Tots Christmas Show at Pound Arts, Corsham


    Tuesday 13th and find Beer & Carols at The Southgate, Devizes, and some Christmas Memories at Melksham Assembly Hall.


    Wednesday 14th regular acoustic Jam at The Southgate, Devizes, a lunchtime harp recital by Lise Vandermissen at Pound Arts, Corsham, and Chuckles Comedy Club at MECA in Swindon.


    And that’s all I got so far, folks, but we do update regularly, so keep one eye on our event calendar. It’s also good for future planning, just keep on scrollin’, dude!

    Things you need to be thinking about for the following weeks ahead: starter for ten, the Butch Hopkins Memorial Gig at The Corn Exchange, Devizes Friday 16th and you’ll be hard pressed for tickets to Bublé at MECA or The Sweet at the Cheese & Grain on that day.

    Breathtakingly amazing local soprano Chole Jordan’s Classical Christmas on Saturday 17th at Devizes Town Hall, in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but I’m planning be at Marlborough Memorial Hall for MantonFest are having a Christmas party with Barrelhouse and Slade tribute Slyde, and you know it’s not Christmas until Noddy calls it! Do join me for that one.

    Have a great weekend but behave; he knows if you’ve been bad or good!

  • Alex Roberts at The Barge, Honeystreet 

    by Ben Romain and Victoria Stanley

    We ventured out to the Barge to catch Alex Roberts after first seeing him at The Southgate, Devizes on the highest recommendation of Devizes favourite Vince Bell. That was an introduction to an artist well worth following; so we duly did! 

    The Barge has had its challenges in years past with unique past owners and misplaced concepts of what this particular Inn’s place in the community actually is, but happily this experience was more like earliest memories of folk gigs there twenty years before and a great venue to visit once again.

    There was a warm welcome into a crowd of characters, some from miles away, pleased to follow Alex and regulars of the Inn and many boaters amongst them. A good foil for a talented folk singer, this crowd knowing as many on the cut do, how to sing and encourage willing musicians! 

    Alex loves the Barge, and settled into the ‘stage’ corner with a plethora of instruments, we were treated to interpretations of many great songs in the folk/blues traditions and of course brilliant songs of his own pen. 

    Pyramid – Alex Roberts a fantastic song of his own writing, my favourite from his songbook this gig. Then covers such as ‘Girl from the North Country’, Bob Dylan delivered with such warmth and sensibility and a lifelong Dylan fan (such as myself) was enthralled.

    So a lovely return to a great local venue and a great gig; everything you want from a Saturday eagerly awaited for this very reason. 

    The Barge has a very active Facebook page and many gigs / events, we will certainly be making more of an effort to fit some in following this gig. 


  • Bopping Up Alfred’s Tower; A New Chippenham Band Stronghold

    See, I’m not sure ol’ Alfred the Great would’ve approved of the whopping gurt folly erected in his name near Bruton. He was there to rally Saxon troops for the Battle of Edington, and if you’re planning to go kick some Viking butt you need to be inconspicuous, not have a hundred-and-sixty-foot redbrick tower sticking out like a sore thumb. He might well have liked this though, a new Wiltshire four-piece named after the tower; because good tunes can be a real morale boost when going into battle……

    And good tunes they are, though the group cite from Chippenham on their Bandcamp page, substantial mileage from the Stourhead estate where Alfred’s Tower is situated. Perhaps it’s the connotations of Alfred being the founder of English liberty, as these four tracks they sent us have a Brit “mod” tinge, and mods are patriotic at best. I didn’t like to ask, through fear of coming across all history teacher, and I’m all out of leather elbow patches for my Tweed jacket. The important part is there’s some beguiling original songs on offer here, uplifting in a manner Paul Weller, at his most optimistic.

    Parachute Baby is a prime example, it’s sauntering along on the sunny side of the street of a crazy world, where only the attention of the object of his desires matters to this character, and it’s got that apt harmonica riff to lighten the darkest of moods. Though, if it’s got it, Roy Orbison style, switching to the next tune, Nothing Good and we’re foot-tapping on an offbeat, bouncy one-drop reggae melody, which counteracts the more dejected romantic theme; I’m smitten.

    Though we’re getting ahead of ourselves now, for these two tracks are forthcoming, the first one out around Christmas time and the latter in the new year, but their Bandcamp page has two other songs equally worthy of your attention. This World is their inaugural release, and while uplifting too, it’s tender and mellowed. With a soulful piano intro, it’s certainly anthemic, with an allowance to note the astute writing, and showy in Alfred’s Tower’s potential.

    It is however in the amalgamation of all these tunes which displays their diversity, an EP is a necessity, I feel. The second released single, So Long, is soulful again, along similar lines to This World, but balancing a poignant electric blues element, akin to a meld of The Who at their smoothest and Pink Floyd does pop. And perhaps there’s a clue to the chosen name in this; it’s a tower of variety, influences wise, reaching for the skies in uplifting narratives, strengthened by some skilfully executed original designs. Catchy within a rock classic formula, oh yeah, if this is foundational, the construction of Alfred’s Tower is one to watch. Like ‘em up on Facebook for updates on said progress. We NEED to see them live!


  • REVIEW – Gigspanner @ Pound Arts Centre, Corsham – Tuesday 29th November 2022

    A Night Of Extreme Violins

    Andy Fawthrop

    Yes, I know it’s not in Devizes, but it’s pretty darned close.  And it was definitely worth the trip out on a grim Tuesday night when nothing else was happening.  Folk or football?  Well, as Bill Shankly never actually said, this gig was far more important than mere life-or-death on a soccer field.

    Gigspanner, if you don’t know, is now the full-time musical project of ex-Steeleye Span’s violin genius, Peter Knight.  Having gradually become slightly exasperated with the repetitive nature of Steeleye’s musical repertoire, despite the occasional new album, Peter left in order to pursue his own musical interests.  And boy has he done that in spades over the past ten years or so.  His trio, including guitar and technical wizard Roger Flack, and percussionist Sacha Trochet, has become legendary in folk (and other) circles for their ground-breaking exploration of musical forms, pushing the basics of folk way, way beyond previous known limits.

    The Pound Arts Centre was absolutely packed last night, with every ticket having sold some time ago.  They’d managed to squeeze in two extra rows of seats at the front, and so it was that 120 of us welcomed these wonderful musicians to the stage.  Given the depth of applause, I’d guess that most of them were already big fans of the band and knew what was coming up.  And what came up was absolutely superb.  Building on the basic building blocks of a few “traditional” folk songs and tunes (She Moved Through The Fair, The Constant Lovers, The Bows of London and The Hard Times of Old England), the band built these foundations into something quite spectacular.  They moved these pieces far beyond the normal, extemporising and exploring as they went, and produced some spell-binding passages of music.  It was fascinating, it was beautiful, and it was utterly captivating.  Using violin, guitars, pedals, effects, and a range of percussion, the three of them wove some amazing musical patterns.  It’s absolutely unlike stuff you’ll hear anywhere else, and played live on stage right in front of you, it’s completely gob-smackingly good.  But there was even more.  Not content with re-defining what constitutes live “folk” music, there were some new musical journeys based on Peter’s own contemporary song/ tune-writing skills such as Seagull, Butterfly and (a collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett) I Will Wear Midnight.

    And, as ever, there was laconic commentary and dry humour from Peter as he introduced each piece, followed by one of my favourite pieces of live musical “theatre” in a piece they’ve been playing from the earliest days called Louisiana Flack.  In this party piece, and without the aid of a safety net, Peter plays a very fast fiddle piece, whilst Roger takes up a pair of drumsticks and simultaneously taps out a complementary beat/ tune across the neck and fingerboard, hopefully avoiding Peter’s fingers.  Just watching these two consummate musicians pull this trick off is one of those breath-holding moments where you’re not quite sure what you’re seeing.  And it came off superbly, demonstrating the complete level of trust that these two musicians have for each other.  Truly amazing.

    Altogether we got two good hour-long sets, which seemed to pass in but a few moments, and an outstanding ten-minute long encore of The Faerie King.  With only occasional lyrics (Peter’s singing voice isn’t why you go to see him), it was one very, very large helping of superbly played and presented music. It might have been based on “folk”, but what we heard would actually defy genre or mere pigeon-holing.  What you need to know is that it was very, very, very good.

    Last night was, as it happened, the last night of the trio’s current UK tour, but it’s not all over.  The never-resting Peter Knight is starting a two-week tour on Saturday with John Spiers, then next year it’ll be back to all the other projects in his life – The Gigspanner Big Band (with Philip Henry and Hannah Martin aka Edgelarks), collaborations with other musicians, Feast of Fiddles, as well as his teaching master-classes, composing and recording.  The man never stops.  No wonder he continues to draw plaudits from the musical press and to win so many music awards.  This man is definitely not, as he self-deprecatingly describes himself, “a fool with a fiddle”.

    Chatting with a clearly delighted band after the gig, they told me how much they loved playing The Pound.  CDs were selling like hot cakes, the audience had been great, and it’s such a lovely, friendly venue. They always get treated like royalty (not you Andrew!), so I’m pretty sure they’ll be pencilling in another date sometime next year.  And if they do, then you owe it to yourself to get a ticket and go – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    Their future gigs are listed on www.gigspanner.com/ which includes dates in Swindon and Bristol next February.  And there’s lots of info on their other projects, such as Saltlines, too.

    And, finally, just a word about The Pound Arts Centre.  It’s a cracking little venue, now back in full action, with a complete programme of events across drama, film, music, comedy, children’s activities, art exhibitions, workshops, and classes.  It also has an excellent café & bar just off the foyer.  You’ll have to look on their website for future music artists and online ticket information at www.poundarts.org.uk but (for example), they’ve got Jonny Coppin’s Christmas Show, Bowjangles, Sandi Thom, and John Kirkpatrick, all of them before Christmas.  They show modern films and often carry live telecasts of live performances from London venues.  If you’ve not been over there, it’s definitely worth checking out.


  • Devizes Carnival Returning to Traditional Date

    Something I’m personally impartial about, though DOCA’s carnival consultation flagged it as a major issue for many, the recent date changes of carnival is set to be returned to the original date.…..

    Announced this evening, DOCA said, “based on what we’ve heard, we have made the decision to move the Carnival back to the traditional date, the first weekend of September.”

    Confetti Battle and the Colour Rush will remain on a Saturday, DOCA suggesting it’s “been a welcome change overall,” and will be set two weekends prior to Carnival. This will create the “Carnival Fortnight,” as it was before, alongside some fringe events of entertainment in collaboration with local businesses. The International Street Fair will stay in early summer.

    The key dates for next year look at little something like this:

    International Street Fair – 27th & 28th May

    Picnic in the Park – 18th June

    Colour Rush & Confetti Battle – 19th August

    Carnival Parade – 2nd September

    Hummm, summer; I’m there already!


  • 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.


  • Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 30th November – 6th December 2022

    No point in amending your bad behaviour now, far too late; you’ve got to have been good all year round to get on the good list. So, may as well carry on as usual, as this week sees us in the wintery but festive season. Are you ready, excited? Here’s our rundown of stuff to do this coming week in our local province, walking in the winter Wiltshire….

    Details and Links, and for planning ahead, check our event calendar.


    Last day of November then, tomorrow; Wednesday 30th, acoustic jam at the Southgate, Devizes, and Doric String Quartet at the Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.


    Starting Thursday 1st December on The Little Green, Devizes and running until Christmas Eve, Sustainable Devizes have the Advent{ure} Reuse Christmas, where you can be part of a living Advent Calendar! Create a scene or event for one evening during advent on a Christmas story or theme, to be displayed/performed for all to enjoy, and so many organisations have contributed to this. More HERE.

    Meanwhile, Sarah McQuaid plays The Pump, Trowbridge, Martin Harley at Chapel Arts, Bath, The Bob Porter Project at The Beehive, Swindon, and UK’s hottest drag act, Holly Stars presents their first solo show Justice for Holly, at the Cheese & Grain, Frome.


    Friday 2nd December, Sour Apple play The Pelican, Devizes, B-Sydes at The Pump, Trowbridge, Train to Skaville at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. There’s also an evening of acoustic country with the Alan West Band at Chapel Arts, Bath.

    Every Friday night from now until Christmas is Christmas Party night at the Exchange nightclub in Devizes, doors at 10pm, free entry before 11.

    Shows include Through the Decades with Roy & Buddy at Melksham Assembly Hall, and Stardust: A Musical Journey at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon.

    Pink Mac play The Vic in Swindon, while Bone Chapel take The Beehive.

    Oas-is tribute at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, while L1nkn P4rk tribute at the Tree House, and for want of an originals band in Frome on Friday, the incredible 41 Fords play The Sun Inn.


    Saturday 3rd, and Devizes Lions have their Christmas Fair at the Corn Exchange, from 9am-2pm. The Churchill Arms, West Lavington also have a Christmas Fayre, from 2-5pm. Regular Lego Club at Chippenham Library from 3-4pm. And I’m sure there’s Christmas fairs going off all over the place, but it’s a daunting task keeping up with all of that!

    Onto music, and our Phil Cooper plays The Southgate, Devizes, Alex Roberts is at The Barge on Honey Street. Grant Sharkey plays The Pump, Trowbridge, while Triple JD are at the Old Road Tavern, Chippenham. The Ultimate ABBA Tribute play The Consti Club, Chippenham.

    St Marys, Marlborough host the Marlborough Concert Orchestra Winter Concert, and Barrelhouse on their home-turf at The Lamb. Meanwhile, in Swindon, Oasish & Stereotonics play The Vic.

    Westwards leading and it’s a Boot Hill All Stars pilgrimage to The Three Horseshoes, Bradford-on-Avon, Oye Santana at Chapel Arts, Bath, while DJ Dave Pearce presents Dance Anthems at the Cheese & Grain, Frome, and Billy in the Lowground take The Tree House.


    Sunday 4th, Seend Community Centre has a Christmas Concert in aid of Alzheimer’s Support, and the Wessex Concert Orchestra play a Winter Concert at Devizes Town Hall.

    Trowbridge Philharmonic Choir at Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, and an ultimate Christmas party for the little ones at Meca, Swindon called Calling all Elves.

    It’s not a massive weekend for live music, the build up to the festive period, but if in Bath on Sunday, it must be an afternoon session at The Electric Bar, where you’ll find Concrete Prairie live in session.

    And that’s all folks, have a good weekend. Please do send me some details of your Christmas events, and especially New Year’s Eve, which is looking unusually bare on our calendar this year.


  • Mighty Mighty; The Scribes Storm the Muck!

    Another fantabulous evening at Devizes’ tropical holiday resort, The Muck and Dunder rum bar, where Bristol’s boom bap trio I’ve been hailing since day dot, The Scribes, came, saw, matchlessly interacted with the audience, and tore the place down with a riotous show of incredible skill and talent; secretly, it was foreseeable months ago……

    Again, straw hats off to the Muck, just like previous evenings with the Allergies, Jimmy Needles and recently the BBC Introducing showcase, it’s the like we don’t usually see in our humble market town. Something I’ve been excited about before even leaking the scoop, hyping up here till the cows come home, and still, it exceeded my expectations. It did so with one most important element; Devizes showed their respect loud and proud, attending in full force for this sell-out show, and made me honoured to illustrate what I’d hitherto promised to frontman Ill Literate, and even his dad, Literate senior(!); this is our hometown, it punches well above its weight in knowing how to party.

    For if there are others of this calibre currently on the UK hip hop scene, I’m unaware of them. The Scribes, I find no quarrel in dubbing “our Tribe Called Quest,” for the similar way they can lyrically interchange and bounce off each other, extend their presence further afield from the niche. They’re about spreading their love of hip hop and rap, using an exuberant and carefree east coast old school ethos, blended with contemporary rap techniques, blessing new audiences with what they’ve got, and aside their addictive and inimitable style, they’re having a heap of fun doing it. Just don’t do like I did, and try to capture a snap of them, they move about like Michael McIntyre on fast-forward!

    Tunes played out were tricky to pinpoint, not while jigging and balancing my pina colada! Undoubtedly, they dipped into the vitrine of their latest EP, a forthcoming second in the series of the Totem Trilogy, and I did pick out my dub-inspired favourite, Mighty Mighty. Yet in rap no tune is ever precisely replicated, making an improv live show different every time. What was a highlight of the miscellany was the Doug E Fresh moments of drafting in the single-most amazing beatboxer this side of Barnard Star, which if you’ve never seen the like of in good ol’ Devizes before, it’s equally unlikely you’ve seen the like of anywhere before, if you catch my drift?! What? I’ve had rum!

    With the upmost respect for the influence Mel Bush left on Devizes, the legendary promoter who bought Thin Lizzy to the Corn Exchange, I find it fascinating the same year he did, 1973, across the ocean in a Bronx block-party, Kool Herc isolated percussion “breaks” by switching between two turntables via a mixer, to prolong the beat of the track. Yet to many here, what he fashioned that night is still regarded as new-fangled!

    Albeit progress out of the ghettos of New York for hip hop was sluggish, at best not arriving on our shores until a decade later, hip hop culture is no new thing. So, while this legacy for electric blues and prog-rock is still felt today, through the likes of Jon Amor, who plays the Southgate this afternoon, Innes Sibun and whenever Robin Davey returns, and this marks a blessing on our music scene which I fully appreciate, rum bar The Muck and Dunder aim for diversity, for daring to present dance, club, and hip hop, perhaps reaching out to the twenty and thirty-somethings wanting more than a standard nightclub. And for this, providing they’ll accommodate my aging sorry existence, I cannot thank them enough!

    For me, you see, I loved it since a nipper; the cuts of Grandmaster Flash, the moves of the Rock Steady Crew, the subway graffiti, and right through to Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys, so I believe I’m conversant on the subject to assess the Scribes are the freshest on the block, and I’m glad we showed them what we’re worth in Devizes. Because, here’s my final point, and I feel it’s the most important one, at least in destroying an ill-conceived misconception about the genre which The Scribes highlight with bells on. And that is, the pretentiousness, the bling, guns, and chip on the shoulder stereotype is a product of commercialisation, and is more often than not, an unwelcomed division.

    The Scribes circumnavigated the good ship Muck & Dunder prior to the hoedown, chatting enthusiastically with all. To talk with Ill Literate is to find a kindly fellow with definite goals, a positive agenda, and ardent in the direction he needs to take this. Take his recent solo EP, The Shipwreck as a prime example; here’s a rap record on the level of concept album, akin to prog-rock, with a conscious narrative flowing throughout. This isn’t just rapping to make a noise, this is dedicated writing and production, though on a night like last night at the Muck, it’s also about appeasing the crowd, which they did, sublimely. I walked home in the pissing rain, smiling all the way.


  • 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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