Paul Lappin’s Broken Record

A cracker of a single from Swindon’s Paul Lappin this week, a Britpop echoing of Norwegian Wood, perhaps, but tougher than that which belongs on Rubber Soul. Broken Record is an immediate like, especially the way it opens as crackling vinyl and the finale repeats the final line into a fade, as if it was indeed, a broken record.

Shrewdly written, the venerable subject of a passionate breakup metaphors the title, “ignore the voice of reason, leave the key and close the door, do you think you’re ready, to become unsteady, like a broken record, you have heard it all before.” Paul does this frankly, with appetite and it plays out as a darn good, timeless track.

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It’s head-spinning rock, intelligent indie. Harki Popli on tabla drum and Jon Buckett’s subtle Hammond organ most certainly attributes to my imaginings of a late-Beatles vibe. Yet if this is a tried and tested formula, as I believe I’ve said before about Paul’s music, he does it with bells on.

For less than a chocolate bar, download this track from Bandcamp, it doesn’t disappoint.


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Atari Pilot’s Right Crew, Wrong Captain

Only gamers of a certain age will know of The Attic Bug. Hedonistic socialiser, Miner Willy had a party in his manor and wanted to retire for the evening. Just how a miner in the eighties could’ve afforded a manor remains a mystery; but that erroneous flaw was the tip of the iceberg. In this ground-breaking ZX Spectrum platform game, the Ribena Kid’s mum appeared to guard Willy’s bedroom, tapping her foot impatiently. Touch this mean rotund mama and she’d kill you, unless you’d tided every bit of leftovers from the bash. Turned out, months after the game’s release, one piece, in the Attic, was impossible to collect. Until this glitch became public knowledge, players were fuming as an intolerable bleeping version of “If I was a Rich Man,” perpetually looped them to insanity.

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I swear, if I hear that tune, even some forty years on I cringe; the haunting memory of my perseverance with the impossible Jetset Willy. Music in videogames has come a long way, thank your chosen deity. Yet in this trend of retrospection I terror at musical artists influenced by these cringeworthy clunky, bleeping melodies of early Mario, or Sonic soundtracks; like techno never happened, what are they thinking of? It was with caution, then, when I pressed play on the new single from Swindon band “Atari Pilot.” I had heard of them, but not heard them. I was pleasantly surprised.

For starters, this is rock, rather than, taken from the band’s name, my preconceived suspicion I would be subject to a lo-fi electronica computer geek’s wet dream. While there is something undeniably retrospective gamer about the sonic synth blasts in Right Crew, Wrong Captain, it is done well, with taste and this track drives on a slight, space-rock tip. Though comparisons are tricky, Atari Pilot has a unique pop sound. No stranger to retrospection, with echoey vocals and a cover akin to an illustration from Captain Pugwash, still this sound is fresh, kind of straddling a bridge between space-rock and danceable indie. Oh, and it’s certainly loud and proud.

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A grower, takes a few listens and I’m hooked. Their Facebook blurb claims to “change the rules of the game, take the face from the name, trade the soul for the fame…I’m an Atari Pilot.” After their debut album “Navigation of The World by Sound” in 2011, a long hiatus took in a serious cancer battle. But Atari Pilot returned in 2018 with an acoustic set at the Swindon Shuffle. The full band gathered once again the following year with live shows and a new set of “Songs for the Struggle.” This will be the title of their forthcoming follow-up album, “When we were Children” being the first single from it, and now this one, “Right Crew, Wrong Captain,” is available from the end of July.

Its theme is of isolation, “and defiance, after the ship has gone down,” frontman Onze informs me. There’s a haunting metaphor within the intelligent lyrics, “you nail yourself to the mast and you pray that everything lasts, you just want to know hope floats, when the water rises, coz it’s gonna rise, take a deep breath and count to ten, sink to the bottom and start again.”

There’s a bracing movement which dispels predefined ideas of indie and progresses towards something encompassing a general pop feel, of bands I’ve highlighted previously, Talk in Code and Daydream Runaways, Atari Pilot would not look out of place billed in a festival line-up with these acts, and would add that clever cross between space-rock with shards of the videogames of yore, yet, not enough to warrant my aforementioned fears of cringeworthy bleeps. Here’s hoping it’s “game over” for that genre. That said, thinking back, when you bought your Atari 2600, if you recall, oldie, you got the entire package of two joysticks and those circler controllers too, as standard; could you imagine that much hardware included with a modern console? Na, mate, one controller, you’ve got to buy others separately.

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So, if decades to come we have a band called X-Box or PlayStation Pilot, I’d be dubious, but Atari gave us quality, a complete package; likewise, with Atari Pilot!


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Talk in Code Taste the Sun

Back in January 2019, I was dead impressed with Talk in Code’s debut album Resolve, and labelled it “sophisticated pop with modern sparkle.” I offered the track “Oxygen,” as best example of how, like classic pop anthems should, its instantaneous catchiness gets stuck in your head. To compare and contrast that favourite from the album with the upcoming release from this Swindon indie-pop four-piece, it’s clear they’ve come an incredibly long way to enhancing and refining that fashion.

Reflecting back, Resolve has the definite “indie” sound of the nineties, only dipping a toe in the pool of eighties synth-pop. I felt this coming, each track they release sounds more like an iconic mid-eighties sugary hit, and Taste the Sun dives right in. It supplements my “sophisticated pop with modern sparkle” label much more.

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Recorded just before lockdown at Studio 91 in Newbury, the band define the theme as “about waking up and smelling the coffee, a feeling that change is coming and the relief when that change is made for the greater good.” Nothing wrong with that inspiring concept, but perhaps nothing original; writing style they stick to a model template, but the sound is invigorating. In a word, it’s refreshing, like the zest of a sparkling iced fruit drink on a humid holiday afternoon, it encompasses all that is glorious about pop. Blooming with good time, summery vibes, Taste the Sun is the sort of lively “Wham” anthem a younger you would’ve retained from a holiday camp disco, and evermore evoke a fond memory of a fleeting romance.

That said in the best manner possible. Talk in Code is a well-oiled machine, refining that classic sound for a new generation and, most importantly, extracting and binning any cliché or cringeworthy elements. You know the sort, listen to any eighties pop now and wince at a particularly ill-thought out component, be it a castoff sample, badly grafted rap or, worse still, a “talky” part; “I thought I told you, Michael, I’m a lover not a fighter!”

Yet I find similar with today’s pop, and hold my daughter accountable! “Why they doing that bit?” I grumpily whinge. “What bit?” she retorts. It’s like a repetitive synthesised single word, or randomly placed high-hat making me shudder. Talk in Code use the acuteness of “indie” to eliminate said pop crime, use pop for catchiness and throw something back at you with universal appeal. It’s true, I concern myself at the prospect of taking my daughter to a pop festival, be it I’m cowering at her modern taste, or she’s dragging me away from something I like the sound of. Talk in Code is something we could both agree is great, and throughout reviewing their singles, Taste the Summer is perhaps the prime example of this notion.

Released on Monday 27th July, on digital download at http://www.talkincode.co.uk and on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and all digital platforms. Go on, you have a listen, and I challenge you to find something bad to say about this sparkling, uplifting nugget of pop; because I can’t!


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Eat Out to Help Out, Locally, Independently

I am listing local restaurants, cafes and pubs who are participating in the “eat out to help out,” scheme and encourage owners in the Wiltshire area to contact Devizine, to be listed freely. Although you know me, have to have a little rant beforehand, so scroll past my waffling if you wish to get direct to the list! Note the list will be updated, so check back in August.

For information on how to apply for the scheme, see here. Note the scheme comes with restrictions. Only available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the 3rd to 31st August 2020, and offers a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.

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“I believe I dust my broom.” Robert Johnson sung that, the bluesman who sold his soul to the devil at the Mississippi Delta crossroads, in exchange for faultless musical flair, so he must know what he’s on about. Although, to dust your broom actually means to make change, derived from the expression “get up and dust,” or get out of town fast. I didn’t need to do that, just get out of B&Q!

Had my old outdoor broom for decades, but timeworn, it finally gave up the ghost. Sunday, I nipped into B&Q and returned home proud owner of a new broom with a screw-on handle. Too loose, one swipe and the head fell off, tighten it and it passes the thread and…. the head falls off. Time passed and my patience caved by numerous attempts to secure the handle on the head. I came to the forgone conclusion, it’s either fate; star alignment’s fault, since NASA claims I’ve moved from Pieces to Aquarius, or, more likely, it’s mass-produced shite.

After hand sanitising, queuing and following the one-way circuit around the entire store, I returned it, swung into town, parked dead outside Mainleys and picked up a far cheaper, better broom. By very design, glued and stapled, it’s old-fashioned, but a coupling method which has worked for centuries. If it’s not broke…. A lesson learned, then; should’ve shopped local.

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Make no mistake, I consider this soundbite “eat out to help out” nauseatingly haughty, coming from a government who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to provide basic meals for school children. Guaranteed, this is yet another move to line the pockets of big business, the mass-producing restaurant chains.

Never forget Boris’s bum-chum, Tim Martin and how he refused to close during lockdown, refused to pay his staff and suppliers. If a Frankie & Benny branch sadly closes, the staff will be the only ones to suffer; that’s sorrowful reality, I’m afraid. Note the variety you think you’re getting with a parade of Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquitito, et all, is false, they’re all the same company and will subside each other; different sauce, same old chicken, pal. If the government are going to open taxpayer’s wallets, I urge the small business and independent eateries, who would otherwise close, lock, stock and barrel, to dip in before the fat cats.

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Unfortunately, I’ve experienced the rubber chicken which bounced off the floor of Wetherspoons first hand, lost teeth on Hungry Horse waffles, and felt famished twenty seconds after eating an air-pumped big mac. Like my broom experience, I’m at my tether’s end; best to shop local.

Not that I’m trying to persuade you, the choice to eat out is your prerogative and risk; many pubs and restaurants are continuing to provide takeaway services, many established takeaways are delivering and continuing to provide an excellent service too. Sometimes though, it’s nice to be able to eat out, remember your mask. If you can, here’s a list, then, of local places participating in the 50% off “eat out to help out” scheme; let’s support them.


If you missed my social media requests for participating places to be included, do not worry, I can update this if you twist my arm with some love…. and remember the best way to a man’s heart! Ah, insert laughing emoji here; only kidding, cheeky blagger that I am. Just message me and I’ll get your café or restaurant added! Do take heed though, while we’re here, overflowing with banter, our foodie reviews are the most popular articles, and we’d love to do one for you.

You can find more participating eateries via postcode search on the Gov site here.  


Devizes

Massimo’s Ristorante

For twenty-seven years Francos was the finest Italian restaurant in Devizes, but with the departure of Sicilian chef, Massimo Pipitone things were never quite the same. Two years ago, Massimo returned to Old Swan Yard to recapture the restaurant’s reputation and with a name change, has succeeded in putting it back on top. Still operating the takeaway service, it begun during lockdown, they’ve now reopened the restaurant, excellently observing social distancing regulations. They serve traditional Italian and Sicilian cuisine, and the pizzas are awesome!

Take it from me, one who loves his tucker, you will not find better service, quality and tastier food this side of Roma!  Booking at weekends is essential. 

The Pelican:

Splendid inn situated at the Market Place, known best for its roast dinners, which can be takeaway too. The Pelican have various cuisine events and has a scrumptious bar menu. An example from this weekend’s roast option:  Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb. Chicken is always an alternative every week with a beautiful Home-Made Vegetarian Option. Vegan or Gluten Free diets also catered for with advance booking. £8.95 per person, £5.95 per child, £4.50 per Home Made Dessert. Please telephone 01380 723909 to book.

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New Society:

Sitting somewhere between glorious pub grub and restaurant, New Society in the Market Place was quickly established as one of our best eateries. Our review last September has always been one of our highest hitting articles, and they were glad to announce reopening on 3rd July. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, or perhaps a coffee stop, New Society is a comfortable setting and serves a large selection.  Operating usual daytime opening hours, but currently evenings are restricted to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is advisable to pre-book for these nights (01380 722288).

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1Spice

One of the newer establishments, it did not take long for 1 Spice in Maryport Street to earn the jewel in the crown of Indian restaurants in Devizes, and rightly so. It’s my chosen place for a knees-under, and is often cited top of majorities’ list. Conventionally, Indian restaurants convey an aptitude of exceptional customer service and etiquette, and 1Spice is of no exception. Expect to be welcomed, but what is more, expect a wide and gorgeous selection, mixing the flavours and spices of India with the finest seasonal ingredients the West Country can offer. It’s driving my appetite for a Ruby just typing this, and I’ve had my dinner already!

The Hourglass:

Tucked away at Devizes Marina, the Hourglass is a perfect location and serves a high-quality pub menu. Options have been restricted since reopening on 4th July, but expanding now, and takeaway service is available. Booking is advisable for food. Subject to change, opening hours are 11am-9pm every day, with food served between 5-8pm, Thursdays through to Sundays. Book online here.

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Tea Inc

A cup of Rosy-Lee for me, I’m not a coffee guy. Still, I’ve not been in Tea Inc in the Ginnel (just off the Market Place) and now in Marlborough, sovereign of tearoom towns. This must change, I’m coming for you guys, ensure you have some custard creams! This humble teashop throws off the doily and delicate fingertip-cup-hold stereotype of tea rooms and prides itself with an eclectic, quirky environment they affectionately call “The Shoppe.”

Serving crumpets (fnarr, yurkk, yurkk) sandwiches, salads and soup, this could just be the essential shopping stop-off for tea drinkers; get away from me with your X-L vanilla Nespresso dripping down your MacBook!

Times Square

Central to Devizes Market Place, Times Square is simply the perfect little coffee shop for a light lunch. Cakes and ice cream, say no more. As the name suggests it may have started by being inspired by American cuisine, yet only in the best possible taste. Times Square is no stranger to hosting the odd event, and is a welcomed shopping stop off.

  Brogans Café

Brogans Café in the Brittox is one I confess I’ve yet to try. Outside space, ice cream, cakes and milkshakes and smoothies, Brogans prides itself on its vegan options. “Vegan Jaffa Cake style cake” as pictured below, might just twist my arm!

Bengal Bite

Throughout my years here in Devizes, Bengal Bite in Sheep Street has always been the tandoori kitchen of choice. The Bengal Bite offers contemporary Indian and Bangladeshi food. It’s comfy and hospitable, a romantic place to woe a prospective love with a mild Korma, or equally a place for you and the lads to blow your pants off with a blistering Vindaloo! The Bengal Bite has been voted the best restaurant in Wiltshire by the readers of the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, and 2014 finalist for Small Business of the Year in the Wiltshire Business Awards.

The Fox & Hound

A little out of town but worth the trek down Nursteed Road, The Fox & Hound is an inviting family pub, offering romantic carriage rides followed by lunch or candle-lit dinner, and successful horse-drawn ghost and historical tours of Devizes start and finish at the Fox.

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The most down-to-earth café you’ll find in Devizes, this is Monday Market Street’s gem; great service, gorgeous homecooked breakfasts and lunches at affordable prices, never had a bad fry-up there yet!

The Bell on the Green

Always a favourite for the location in its title, The Bell has reopened with times and obvious restrictions. Here’s their menu….

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Coffee Etc:

Marvellous little coffee shop in Lamb Yard, just off Kingston Road, serving hot and cold beverages, breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas with great homemade cakes, and vinyl records too. Comfy hideaway this place, perfect for a stop-off when strolling town. I reviewed it a long time ago for Index:Wiltshire, but the site has been taken down now, so you’ll have to take my word for it! Facebook page here.

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Paul Lappin; Awake in the Dark

“Lying Awake in the Dark,” the new single from Swindon’s indie soloist Paul Lappin, drives a breezier and more melodic sound than previous singles, taking me to something Jamie R Hawkins or Phil Cooper might conjure. As his third single to discover on Bandcamp since the upbeat “Life Was Good,” near on a year ago, here’s an indie-pop rock artist I’ve just discovered, worthy of lots of attention.

Though our friend Dave Franklin, over at Dancing About Architecture got there first, describing Paul’s sound thus, “it bridges a gap between the sweeter sounds of the pre-Britpop era and today’s indie creations. This is an infusion of past and present, a blend of indie, rock and pop which is at turns melodic, euphoric and soulful but always honest, relevant, reflective and passionately in love with life.”

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There’s a positively determine, tried and tested formula at work here, which may break no new ground, yet is beguiling nonetheless, and needs no experimentation. While the first two singles prompt me to suggest, though proficient, it’s all quite contemporary indie-pop, joyous and optimistic, Lappin reflects on the more melancholic theme a lost love with “Lying Awake in the Dark,” and to be honest, it suits. Backed by partial exerts of female vocals, provided harmoniously by Emily Sykes, whispering through the melody, the composition is exquisite.

Paul spent some time in rural isolation in France, polishing his song-writing skills, along with painting and sketching. Winning a song-writing competition with his debut single, the aforementioned “Life Was Good,” the story starts here. No stranger to this self-isolation era then, Paul says, “it feels familiar, all be it under very different circumstances. But now I’m confined to my parents’ house in England, where I’ll continue to draw, paint, and write songs. Might as well make the most of it.” Paul strives towards an album release shortly; something to watch out for from him, his handful of backing performers and Swindon’s celebrated Earthworm Studios.

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There’s a kind of rueful honesty and openness about Paul’s building discography, the sort after attending just the single gig I’d imagine you retire with the content notion you know this guy,  hence my comparison to our Jamie or Phil. Tracks are downloadable for a mere quid, for example; there’s no fleecing here. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear the cover art is a self-portrait, here you get the whole package of a person. It is, though, a watermark of a great acoustic musician, and Paul fits that bill.


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Don’t, Ryan!

Okay I confess, in my last article I did, didn’t I, state there was a trend of indie music taming to mass appeal? And yeah, I suggested this is no bad thing. There will, however be exceptions to the rule, and rock will, and should always retain its hard edge; we have room for all here. Swindon’s Ryan Webb, for instance, who’s just dropped a new single, “Don’t,” takes no prisoners.

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This is militantly metal, with spikes. It rocks with edge, it doesn’t hang around with an ambient intro, stop for a melodic break, the bridge is reached in seconds, the rolling guitar riff perpetually quivering your bones. A one-man red-hot chilli pepper, Ryan wrote, produced, sang, wailed his guitar, recorded and mixed the track in his studio. The only collaborator being Dave Collins, the mastering engineer for Metallica’s last album, who mastered this too.

It must be said, this not the template of Ryan Webb, who quotes influences ranging from Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani, and Zeppellin, to Coldplay, Muse, and Kings of Leon. He has the range encompassing any rock avenue, and projects all with comfort and competence.

“Don’t” though, whoa there Ryan, I’m inclined to put my frayed denim jacket over my AC-DC t-shirt and head-bang my way to the highway from hell, and I’m not usually one for all that; haven’t even got an army surplus bag with badly grafted pictures of Eddie the Head and Megadeath logos!

So yeah, if I like it, you iron maidens will love it! What is more, the track is “a plea to anyone contemplating suicide to take a step back and see that they have a lot going on for them in the world. Even when times are really bad, it’s important to talk to those around you.”

Ryan has chosen All Call Signs as the beneficiary for any sales from the single. All Call Signs is a UK organisation set up by two veteran soldiers, Dan Arnold and SJ James, in order to help other vets/serving military personnel who may be finding life difficult. They have also created an app which helps locate those reported missing and in need of urgent support.


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The Onus of Swindon’s Filmmakers

I’ve been invited to watch some horror! After the success of their debut film, Follow the Crows, Swindon filmmakers Alex Secker and Marc Starr have been busy with Onus; I know now what’s behind my sofa…..

Finding it hard to accept it’s been the best part of four years since I received my first “real” journalistic assignment for local news site Index:Wiltshire.

The editor, Craig couldn’t make the press screening for Swindon-made film, Follow the Crows, so with no experience I bumbled my way in with little expectations to find a birthday party-fashioned welcoming to view a compelling dystopian thriller.

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Comparing the team’s new film, Onus, with the latter is inevitable, though through Follow The Crows’ simplicity, this is visually better and more engaging. I’m glad to have been invited to review it and I’m free to assume this time, not just it’s quality, but eerie and divergent conception.

Writer and director, Alex Secker doesn’t settle with convention. For this it receives full marks. Where it differs is in setting and angle. If Follow the Crows goes for a survivalist circumstance within an imaginary post-apocalyptic realm, Onus follows the template of traditional Hammer House horrors of yore, in a sense. If you crave modern Hollywood’s hurtling imagery and non-stop action, this is not for you. Onus creeps up on you, increasingly setting a troubling notion in your psyche. It’s suspense reason for me not to reveal spoilers.

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It certainly achieves what I believe it set out to do; my fingernails are somewhat shorter. This is an unnerving masterpiece which abounds by twisting the cliché of classic horror. Starter for ten, the music, by Graeme Osbourne, assures you an uneasy sitting; I’m shivering before any visual. Yet when it does, despite unsettling sensations, we’re shown a female couple on a car journey through our acceptable local landscape. The driver, haughty Izzy (Erin Leighton) poses somewhat relaxed, taking her subordinate and shy dungaree-wearing girlfriend, Anna, (Daniella Faircloth) to meet her upper-class family. You may know yourself, meeting a lover’s parents can be unnerving at the best of times, with a class difference, doubly so. Izzy asserts her superiority, bantering the nervous Anna by joking her family are “not vampires;” a notion she drives a little too much.

“Onus creeps up on you, increasingly setting a troubling notion in your psyche.”

In true horror fashion the setting is solely the house, the protagonist’s suspicion they’re being deceived builds, and for such, Onus borrows extensively from the chestnut. Secker though is keen to raise social indifferences between classes, the notion of wealth meaning superiority; this only increases the gut-wrenching feeling Anna is out of her depth.

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Suspense drives you to want something to unveil, but it plods on its tension-building ambience for over the hour. Anna’s snowballing anxiety is portrayed perfectly by Daniella with some haunting expressions of despair. You? You’re looking for an escape clause, a knight in shining armour. But if the plot has strands of Little Red Riding Hood, there appears no character who will be Anna’s woodcutter. Izzy’s obnoxiously snobby brother (Alex Pitcher) is clearly in on it, pompously he sniggers at her misfortune; both sibling rivalry and homophonic attitudes abound in his arrogance. The Victorian mother (Karen Payne) is as stiff and a brush, and the ill father (Tony Manders) is shadily the reasoning for her presence at the house. This only leaves the clue-providing maid, (Shaniece Williams) who, treated as a slave of yore, is doubtfully going to heroically strive in. Here within lies the twist, dispelling the cliché horror ending.

So, what begins as a classic horror, ends unexpectedly; like a short story it provides the viewer scope to continue the tale using their own imagination, and for that, Onus rocks.

“Like a short story it provides the viewer scope to continue the tale using their own imagination, and for that, Onus rocks.”

Again, the production of Marcus Starr, the writing, directing and editing of Alex Secker and the acting is sublime. The temperament is undeniably spooky, the setting is dripping with realism, especially being based in the South West. The characters are vivid, Anna is somewhat free-willed rather than helpless, just trapped. The family are genuinely as snooty as you’d expect, and unnervingly mysterious; I feel driven to Facebook message my worries to Daniella, pleading she takes more time in choosing a partner next time, that’s how realistic it is!

And what is more, I think it’s easy to pass my review as flattery, that no locally-based film crew could hope to attain that of the mainstream movie industry, but Follow the Crows is award-winning, Onus deserves to follow suit. I don’t usually do star ratings, as I feel it’s restrictive, but if I did it’d get a four out five at least! You. Need. To. See. It.

The movie has a distributor, High Octane Pictures from LA. “We’re finalising the paperwork,” producer Marc informs me, “they’ll distribute direct in the US and Canada, then sell to the rest of the world.” So, it should be on DVD and blue ray in a couple of months. I’ll keep you in the loop.

“You. Need. To. See. It.”

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© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
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Talking Gravity, and other things, with Daydream Runaways

With some images used by Nick Padmore

How professional of me to create a to-do-list of outstanding subjects for articles, but then spoil said professionalism by dithering to the Daydream Runaways boys about the nineties rave-indie divide and becoming a grandad. The sensible members of the band promptly left the group chat, save guitarist Cameron Bianchi who stayed to endure my inane waffling up as far as the Madchester scene.

Prior to this though we had a great heart-to-heart early in the week, but if the title of this article is misleading, I should add the subject of Sir Isaac Newton never came up, rather Gravity is their latest single, hot off the streaming sites yesterday. It’s quality, as expected, going on their three previous releases, blinding reviews and an appearance on BBC Wiltshire.

It does indeed, as the press release states, “deliver on their brand of retro-modern indie rock,” but while maintaining an emerging signature panache, it pushes firmer towards a heavy rock division. A hasty grinding atmospheric intro with a pause, then the spiralling sonic guitar takes no prisoners. If the last tune, Closing the Line bore topical sentiment with a theme of the town’s Honda Plant closing, Gravity is perhaps more general, but even more powerful. This imminent Swindon-Devizes four-piece really have dug into an emotional slant with Gravity.

The combination of Ben Heathcote’s idiosyncratic vocals, said sonic guitars and class production value, this belts across as a rock anthem to not only scare The Darkness but fight a Foo. They say it comes from “a time of turbulence and explores the burden of life’s toughest decisions.” If I predicted the air of gloom surrounding the era would produce some intensely expressive songs, here is the all the proof you need, if indeed it’s a product of the pandemic. I’m going to find out.

So, I’m wondering, if the recording was done at a distance, or prior to the lockdown. Drummer, Brad Kinsey informed, “it was done in February, in Swindon, with an engineer from Westbury.”

I explained my reasoning, “it sounds heavy, rather darker than usual. So, I wondered if it was a result of the lockdown. Is there a drive to take it that route, I mean slightly darker and heavier, or is just the mood of this particular track?”

Cameron replied “I think it was just the mood of the track. Everything kind of centres around the experience Ben’s lyrics are speaking about. In fact, Ben’s probably the best person to about the story behind the song. But we definitely made a conscious effort to push ourselves on this on to do the song justice.”

It certainly does. “It doesn’t hang around,” I pointed out, “and the vocals are more powerful than before. Seems like a natural progression, a maturity. Not that I’m calling you immature, you understand?!”

Bradley responded, “nah, I get that. I think we gained confidence and are more unified about this sound.”

Cameron interjected, “I think it’s important to all of us to keep pushing ourselves with each release and not churn out the same number. I’m not saying we’re the Beatles or anything, but you know give it some time. We’re still young!”

Bradley bantered, “are you, Cam?!”

Cameron added, “well, some of us are still young…” Laughing emojis are added, but I’m getting paranoid.

“Okay,” I opposed, “spring chickens; don’t rub it in!” But even with any such change, such as the edgier component of Gravity, there’s a distinct signature maintained in all their tunes and this, I feel, sets them apart from many a local band. I could have guessed it was them before knowing it. “Is that important,” I questioned, “to be instantly recognisable?”

Cameron said, “I think it helps that Ben has got a very distinctive and powerful voice. I suppose we’re starting to find our sound as well. Ben & Nath wanted to go a bit heavier with this track but I’m not a massive fan of heavy guitar. So, I opted for a more chimney yet overdriven guitar style that suits me, but also packs a punch. Plus, I got to flex my inner Graham Coxon/Jonny Greenwood with the effects heavy solo part!”

Brad covered this shot too, “I would say so, yeah. It’s good to build a sonic trademark, all the greats have that! It’s a good thing when people can still recognise you, even when you change things. Shows that you’re using that style but without losing the integrity of what you are.”

At this early stage, Daydream Runaways call a good compromise between them, witnessed when they tuned for our Waiblingen Way Fire fundraiser. “There’s always going to be differing opinions,” I pondered, “Bit like marriage!”

Cameron replied, “no relationship comes without some disagreements, a band included. But we’re all good at finding a compromise, which is good!”
Throughout the interview I’m concerned if I should bring the idea of a possible album up, as when we did the fundraiser I asked, and it met with varying opinions between them. However, with the topic running on compromise, it’s now or never! “I wasn’t sure, though wanting to ask, if I should bring it up again!”

Cameron delegated, “Bradley…over to you on the album talk!”

I interjected with the proposal before he did, “I think you should, but accept I’m not thinking about current climate in the music industry, rather an old fashioned ideal.”

Bradley answered, “there was a plan. However, the coronavirus has impacted that. Not going to say it’s completely gone but we’ll wait and see what happens. You can’t really make any plans at the moment.”

Cameron expressed, “it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when is probably all we’ll say for now!”

Brad added, “I’d say doing an album is all dependent on what genre you’re doing. Rock music fans are still very defiant and keeping the album alive. So maybe with this Gravity sound we’ll go down that route.”

It did bring us onto these strange times, and my deliberations on what’s the best approach for artists on how to continue, continues. “What’s best for musicians,” I asked them for their tuppence, “the live stream is simply not the same as a gig, and while charging for it is a bit cheeky, it’s difficult to know where to go to get some revenue for the work you put it. In short, must be a bitch. Let’s not say the word again!”

I couldn’t argue with Brad’s comment, “some bands I follow have rejected the idea and directed people to supporting more pressing causes.”

Meanwhile, Cam elucidated his feelings about the lockdown. “Whilst you really miss that immediate response from a crowd, and the fact you’re in a room where you can play loud and really get into it, they’re still fun to do! We were lucky enough to do one right before the lockdown was enforced. Probably one of the first bands to do it, then Chris Martin came along after with his solidarity sessions. We still haven’t forgiven him for that!”

“Springsteen did one! But not before you!” I supplemented.
Bradley was proud to say, “we were the first UK band to do a self-isolation livestream. There, I said it; Let the feud with Chris Martin begin!”

The topic continued for a while, this dilemma between fan etiquette and revenue for artists. But I wanted to notify how much I enjoyed theirs, “yeah, good it was too. Saw that! Right now, I guess, it’s all we have. That’s the point I cleared with Kieran at Sheer. It’s never going to be the best plan. I think it’s time to get down and write some killer songs, agree?”

Cameron agreed with a feel-good quote, “definitely, but now is also the time to look out for each other, even though we’re all apart. If we can reach out to people with our music or it helps them get through their day, then that’s amazing.”

Bradley approved too, “yeah, and there’s never been a better time to write. Technology’s made it so accessible now to bounce ideas. Who knows, we could even release a song in lockdown without even meeting up.”

It always amazed a younger me, that Paul Simon could collaborate with the South African musicians on Graceland, back in the late eighties, and it sounded like they were playing in harmony in the same studio. It is possible to edit parts and stitch together. Must bugger up the flow of it though, make it sound mechanical or manufactured.”

Bradley replied, “well, if the band records the parts individually themselves and lays off the editing it’s possible to get that organic feel. I wouldn’t be surprise if we start seeing artists jump on this idea and release original tracks.”

It was at this point Ben Heathcote joined us. “It seems like the boys have covered the questions quite well! As Cam said, Gravity comes from a place of uncertainty and pain from circumstances and the decisions triggered from them. A crossroad of the mind. And yeah, lockdown wise we’re hoping it makes people see the value in their freedom before and hopefully will bring out further support when pubs, clubs and entertainment reopen.”

I see Ben’s clarification reflected in the cover art too. With a kind of “stairway to heaven concept,” an impressionist character is looking lost, pondering which road to take. It’s apt for the song.”

Ben welcomed this, “you got it. And again, the artwork is something were really proud of. Provided by ezra.mae.art. We also enjoyed working with Reloopaudio on the production, a friend who we will be working with again. We love this song and we’ve loved the whole creation, writing and everything about it. It’s nice to have developed it from the live sound too.”
For Ben’s benefit, we found ourselves back on the subject of Gravity’s edgier side, “I think it will please the hardcore indie fans, and those which come from a heavy rock side, which is good, there’s a majority of them locally.”

Ben replied, “as you mentioned earlier, with the style sounding fresh, but still us. This is something I’ve always been hot on since the band formed. I’ve never wanted us to be doing the same thing every time. The aim was, and continues to be; to write and produce fresh sounds with hints of varying styles that is still recognisable as us, allowing it to not be boring or repetitive; kind of inspired by many of our favourite artists who keep developing their sound.”

I take off my hat to this, “I might come across pop or soul-ish but I had my day, and do still listen to bands like Zeppelin and Floyd etc. I think Gravity will be boss with that crowd.” With which I asked for their influences, and if they mutual.

Ben reacted, “I’d say our choices are not miles apart, but to pin a group favourite would be impossible as we all have our firm favourite influences.”

Cam agreed, “yeah, I don’t think there was a particular band or artist that inspired the track as such but we all agreed what the sound was we were aiming for. Making sure that each of us brought our own thing to it.”

Laughing emojis made a reappearance, when I teased, “Ed Sheeran it is then!”

Keen to take it back, Brad nods at my sixties psychedelic citations, “Floyd and Zeppelin are timeless though. Prefect example of bands that pushed themselves overtime.” And the Daydream Runaways can relate to that with this progressive new release.

Ben said, “I think before we produced the track, we all knew in our head how it should sound.” It’s definitely a belter. I thank them for their time, with one last question before we headed into our tangent about the rave-indie divide of the nineties! Where do the Daydreamers see themselves in five years?

Ben suggested in five years’ time he would like them to have a steady schedule, “playing to crowds who know our words, filling sold out venues as well as intimate gigs, which we can always remember.”

Cameron felt they’d have “an album or two under our belt, playing to crowds in our favourite venues. Having a slot on The John Peel Stage at Glastonbury is a bit of a dream of mine!” Ah, there’s the source of my waffling, started with seeing Oasis at Glasto but, unbeknown to me at the time, I paid them little attention.

Daydream Runaways though, worthy of your attention, here’s the Spotify link to Gravity, like them up on the book of face, and cross your fingers and toes we’ll be seeing them live soon, if not the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury!


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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Courage (Leave it Behind) New Single from Talk in Code

As predicted, the void where live music reviews used to sit will be filled with an abundance of releases from our local music circuit. I’ve a backlog building at Devizine Tower; here’s the first this week, from Swindon’s indie-pop four-piece Talk in Code, and much as we’ve enjoyed watching streams of Chris in his car, yeah, this is more like it, cool.

Some pensive prose swathed in the upbeat eighties-fashioned synth-pop we know Talk in Code have mastered. Courage (Leave it Behind) offers a “wake-up call,” as the press release defines, yet does so with all the hallmarks of another catchy anthem. This lockdown-themed leitmotif hails what you’re probably questioning yourself, “it’s that feeling of realising something is not right and has to be changed. But, knowing what needs to happen and taking action are two very different things…”

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The world will undoubtedly be the different after this pandemic, the unity binding us could potentially tear us apart; did Joy Division predict this?! If not, there’s a ghost, least an inspiration from those early eighties new romantics fused into this contemporary tune, and again, just like the previous singles, while Talk in Code songs sound as if they’d slot into the background of a John Hughes coming-of-age movie, listen again, they also ring modernism in both production and subject.

From its inaugural piano, through its beguiling beat to this cliff-hanging finale which leaves the question open to interpretation, this is an uplifting song; I expected no less though. “Finding the strength to make a change and every bit relevant to these challenging times,” as the blurb continues, is surely up to us, pop doesn’t preach as it once did, rather stages the dilemma for you to solve, and that, in a way makes it that bit up-to-date, rather than a retrospective eighties tribute.

For that reason, Talk in Code are pushing boundaries rather than dwelling, and the reason which found them on BBC Introducing In The West, on The OFI Monday Show, The Premium Blend Radio Show, Swindon 105.5 and Frome FM. It is the reason why the Ocelot, Dave Franklyn of Dancing About Architecture, The Big Takeover, and oh yeah, us, are singing their praises.

Providing optimism as a theme to this single is a biting reality, and Talk In Code still hope to play some of the fifteen festivals that were booked into this year, including M for, Daxtonbury, Concert at the Kings and Newbury Beer Festival along with a showcase for Fierce Panda/Club Fandango, to be rescheduled for later in 2020; hygienically rinsed fingers crossed, and toes.

COURAGE (Leave It Behind) will be released tomorrow, 30th April, on digital download at www.talkincode.co.uk and on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and all digital platforms.


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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The New Local Blues

Had a nice chat with Sheer Music’s Kieran about acts, live streaming, future plans, and gardening this week… what am I on about? It’s always nice to chat with Mr Moore….

If the beginnings of Devizine was a learning curve in which I realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew, one might be mistaken to think now we must’ve covered every musical talent in Devizes, if not Wiltshire. Not so, as a post from Kieran J Moore of Sheer Music incited me to shudder. Why have I not heard the name Joe Edwards before?

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Joe Edwards

Name does ring a bell, must have posted about the cancelled album launch at the Wharf which would’ve happened this week. Well-travelled, Joe has been touring through Europe as a drummer for Australian band The Wishing Well, plus his debut solo album Keep on Running was mixed in Nashville and mastered in New Jersey with Grammy nominee Kim Rosen; might explain it, and if I have encountered the name I had no idea how renowned and awesome he is.

Hoisted in the help of Kieran for this then, to insure I’m bought up to date; there is a new cool in Devizes, and I’m going to prompt him about it. The initial message on any chat window these days is enquiring of wellbeing, understandably. Mr Moore is positively beaming, “[I’m] getting so much done and achieved,” he explained.

I replied with a question, “Like the gardening?!”

A boundless list of household chores followed which included, “how to programme moving head lights, learned how to live stream, learned how to record and edit videos.” Bless, that’s our Kieran, dedicated to fetching us the best live music and promoting local artists, no matter what the era brings us; you have to tip your hat to the man. Seeking permissions to release sets Sheer recorded from 2012-14 and bootleg them onto Bandcamp being the latest venture.

What of the live stream though? My Virtual Festival started with good intentions, but there’s been so much of it it’s hard to keep up, some may not be appreciative my sharing of their stream; it’s a close call. In these frustrating times, I asked Mr M if he felt “people are going to get bored with the live stream.” I often feel it doesn’t make up for the real thing and enforces my sadness that we’re missing out on live music. Yeah, I know, right; then I apologised for my despondent attitude.

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It’s a close call because artists earning from a live stream is problematic. Some have found methods of a pay-per-view stream, but many rely on a PayPal donation option. While I sympathise with the artists, also I ponder if charging for a live stream is justified when Wi-Fi can drop out, be overloaded, etc. “So,” Kieran added, “live streams have become a necessary evil, in the sense that everyone is doing them, and it’s really difficult to earn from them. Let’s be clear, live streams will never replace the real thing. No need to go into detail, we all know why, it just won’t.”

He believes they have a place in the future, though, after lockdown has ended. “You’d be a dolt not to recognise it! Whilst it may be difficult and lacking for most of us, these streams have enabled many people who wouldn’t usually be present, be it social anxiety, disability, or a myriad of other reasons, be able to take part and fell part of something.”

I gave mention to a stream-festival by Swindon Shuffle, it doesn’t have to be geographically grounded, organisers said people attended as far away as Mexico, and this increases the fandom of the performers to international levels.

In these few short weeks, we’ve seen musicians getting more creative with the concept, nice to see Benji & Hibbs sitting around a fire rather than indoors,Jon Amor climbed onto his roof last night, and Phil Cooper is getting tech with green screens for a Lost Trades stream on 1st May. “A lot of people have invested in the technology,” Kieran expressed, “so why would it stop after? It’s just daft, of course it won’t. Also, the reality is that venues won’t be back and open before 2021. The possibilities are currently being peddled by MVT,” He continued, “and it’s being taken seriously.”

I felt the need to apologise for my grumpiness, it had been a long day at the diary. I would, however, like to see artists getting some releases out rather than live stream, but accept that’s not easy either, for a band, with social distancing. Talking blues though, surely some the most poignant music, particularly blues, comes from feelings of isolation, depression and disappointment; from teenage anguish or working on the chain gang! The lockdown should deliver some interesting content.

“Be prepared for an avalanche of Coronavirus and lockdown blues songs,” Kieran suggested, and yep, seen a few emerging myself and played the “Corona Blues” by The Ragamuffin All-stars on my radio show last week.

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Little Geneva

Talking local blues, though, on top of Joe Edwards, who after a listen to I’m liking to a raw George Harrison or Clapton, what else has Kieran got for me? “Jon Amor likens Joe to JJ Cale, which is nice,” he compliments. “Then we have Little Geneva, who actually do covers, but they’re so obscure, people don’t know them. I actually like that slant.” Ticked that box some time ago, Little Geneva playing the Cellar Bar was knockout, and I’ve nothing but praise for their authentic blues sound.

This said, Little Geneva have since recruited female singer Mariam Maz to add to their already talented gang, and this I have to witness.

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Will Blake

“Then we have Will Blake in Bromham, a honky-tonk 12-bar type of guy,” but I’ve recently bookmarked Will too, sharing this soul cover multi-instrumentalist’s Isolation Sessions, which see him on piano in the middle of a Bromham field giving us a marvellous rendition of Man in the Mirror et all.

And finally, Kieran aims one I don’t know at me, a “swampy and dirty” contemporary Trowbridge four-piece, Sober Son. This is hard-hitting rock and one to watch. Looking to the future, where I predict an aching aftermath for concerts and gigs, many might frivolously suggest we have the party of parties, but Kieran is a doer. Can I spill the beans on his “overall idea?” “Say it’s currently Sheer’s intention to host an event!” he informs, yeah, will do.

Hosting a “Devizes Music Festival” is said idea, when the lock down is over, and to do a multi-stage bill, across the whole venue. Kieran’s dream team would consist of Jon Amor, Sober Son, Little Geneva, Joe Edwards, Will Blake and The Lost Trades, “etc.” I’m saying no more, not to get over-excited too soon, we’ve a long way to go with the lockdown; I could be a pensioner by then and only wishing to listen to Pat Boone!

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Ah bugger, back to the now; do like the Sheer Music Facebook page, currently dedicated to bringing you the best local live streams, “the necessary evil.” But most importantly is the notion I’ve said before and will no doubt say again, unless you want to pop the bubbles of musician’s aspirations and see them pushing supermarket trollies, it’s vital you check out local artists and buy their music, be it from Bandcamp, streaming sites, their sites or send Vinyl Realm a message, as they stock a selection of local music too.


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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“Static” Shuffle; Swindon Shuffle Live Streams This Saturday

If you rarely venture into Swindon, July is the month in which to make the journey. Swindon Shuffle celebrates and backs local music, since 2007 hosting a weeklong town music festival at its hottest venues; namely The Victoria, The Beehive, The Hop, The Tuppenny and Baila Coffee & Vinyl. In association with Swindon Link and the West Berkshire Brewery, last year they presented forty-four bands over the weekend, all free, and supported mental health charity MIND.

I was forgiven in thinking this year would be virtual, saving some petrol money at least, but the organisers inform me this weekend’s Virtual Shuffle is only to breeze over this gloomy, Groundhog Day isolation period, and they cross their fingers for the real thing on the 16th-19th July; crossing my toes too!

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So, yeah, but yeah, whoop-whoop, Swindon Shuffle will indeed fill this gap with plentiful live streams this Saturday 11th April, kicking off at 3:15pm. Streamed direct from their Facebook page, expect to catch all local acts; Jim Blair of Hip Route, the bearer of Devizine’s heart Miss Tamsin Quin, Mr Love & Justice himself, Steve Cox, jazz pianist, singer-songwriter Will Lawton, Harry Leigh, frontman of indie-pop outfit Stay Lunar, experimental Karda Estra project runner Richard Wileman, Onze from Atari Pilot, Joe Rose and Nash.

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Mr Love & Justice, Steve Cox

Our favourite Swindonian music journalist, the one and only Dave Franklin, if there’s another he’s a phoney, is all over helping organise this sofa bash. He states “obviously there’s more important things going on in the world right now than worrying about a local music festival, but it is also at times like these that music, art, creativity in general, helps get us through or at least offers an oasis of calm where we can retreat to and forget the day-to-day worries for a bit.”

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Karda Estra

For me personally, I’m continuing to toil with the worth of the live stream against a real gig, ponder it’s currently all we have, worry either punter or musician are forced onto the ropes when it comes to how they should be arranged and financed and have even encountered and engaged in heated debates as we scramble in the dark trying to make this work best for everyone. This said, if anyone can I’m reckoning the Shuffle team will make an amazing job of it. If there is an upside to it, it is that one can check these artists out for when the gig scene does take off, and boy, I’m predicting it’ll go off like an atomic blast, and it will encourage many to take the journey to festivals such as Swindon Shuffle, in this example.

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In the meantime, enjoy the streams and not let it miff us too much at missing the real thing. I tell myself the scene is dormant; it will erupt again. It should go without saying, but I’m going to spell it out; B, for BUY, U for Yourself (sort of,) Y for some local music, (okay, that didn’t work) Look, just support the artists and buy their music from their websites and Bandcamp sites!

March On: Things to Do. Part 2

Everyone having a nice March so far, been alright, innit? I promised, when I featured the first fortnight of events, here, that I would return to complete the last two weeks. I’ve promised this before and totally spaced on it, for which I apologise; not enough hours in the day. Nothing to do with my goldfish memory. Here though, this month, I’ve actually only gone and done it, before the 31st March too! See below if you don’t believe it’s true, the last fortnight in March, stuff to do while waiting for the supermarkets to restock on bog roll, and all that. I know, it scares me sometimes too.

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Click on the hare here to see the first fortnight of March

Bear in mind, mind, our calendar is constantly updating, so do check in as more events and gigs are bound to magically appear like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben.

Week 3

Sunday 15th is where we were up to, and I got two fantablous gigs, Burbank are the White Bear in Devizes, while Jon Amor is at the Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon; nice.

Monday, I never know if the Devizes Folk Club is on down the Lamb or not, to be frank, but it’s a place for a beer if I’m wrong and it’s not!!

Tuesday 17th The Stonehenge lecture at the Wiltshire Museum is now sold out. Celebrated cartoonist and artist, Norman Thelwell is at The Merchant’s House in Marlborough, for a fascinating hour illustrated talk, tracing his life, passions and artistic development. Thelwell produced 1,500 cartoons and 60 front covers for the famed Punch magazine alone and some 32 books translated into a dozen different languages. His works were full of beautifully observed detail and mainly of rural subjects, including country and leisure pursuits, sport, house sales and renovation, stately homes, gardening and sailing. Failing that, Cracknakeel provides live music at The Sun in Frome for their St Patrick’s Day celebration.

Wednesday 18th is jam-packed, for a Wednesday! Acoustic jam down the Southgate, Devizes. Bromham’s Farm Cookery School has a Taste of Morocco class, where you could be learning how to make a Briouat which is like a Moroccan Samosa, make your own Khobz and Kefta Mkaouara. £40.00 per person. Over in Marlborough David Evans gives the second of three lectures in The Merchant’s House Study Series, focussing on Reformation in England and the Arts. The Roots Sessions continues at Frome’s Cheese & Grain with the fantastic Ruzz Guitar’s Blues Revue.

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Thursday 19th and you could be back down The Farm Cookery School in Bromham for a Mozzarella & Halloumi Masterclass with Josie. She will teach how to make both cheese which is technical but fun! £35.00 per person. The fantastic Ed Byrne is at the Bath Forum and Moles has a punky/metal night with the Anarchist’s Bookfair, Butter The Pavement and Out Of Reach.

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If it’s a slow start to the week, Friday 20th March makes up for it. If, like me, all you know about Jesus Christ Superstar is that he came down from heaven on a Yamaha, and you have doubts with your conviction of that, it’s the opening night for this amateur production by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd at Devizes’ Wharf Theatre. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical portrayal of the last seven days of the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot runs until Sat 28th March and while tickets are still available as I write this, do be as quick, as if you were on a Yamaha yourself; take care not to skid though!

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Meanwhile Devizes Town Hall is the place to head for opera fans, as The White Horse Opera presents their Spring Concert. Including Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore, Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan and Hadyn’s Creation, this would be the perfect introduction to opera for those, like me, who thought Donizetti was a type of pasta sauce!

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If you fancy music more pop, the local supergroup I’m always raving about, the Female Of The Species play Melksham’s Assembly Hall. Fusing all their respective band’s influences, expect the best of rock, soul and ska as the girl’s combine forces for a fun-filled gig; I’ve been to see one of these shows and I’m not hyping it up because they’re all awesome chicks, I highly recommend it!

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Day one of two, at the inspiring Shoebox Theatre in Swindon of their FUSE Festival where six emerging artists test a new performance idea over three days. Fuse is about supporting the beginnings of new work before it’s fully developed. Watch, discuss, and be part of the creation of something brilliant. Two performances Kat Lyons’ Dry Season, interweaving music and movement with original spoken word poetry and extracts from medical literature. And the debut one-woman-show from Mighty Mammal Theatre, Swine of the Times, where you can meet the piggies at the troff; they sing songs, say prayers and even mime. Alice Wolff-Whitehouse employs her skills in physical comedy, dance and song to bring to life a series of flawed and quintessentially British characters, looking at the grotesque nature of privilege in the UK through a warped and colourful lens.

Staying in Swindon, Baila Coffee & Vinyl have some Disco Voodoo with DJ Amir, or try indie rock covers with Joli & the Souls at the Vic. Elsewhere, the Leathers play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon, Clannad are at Bath Forum, and Jack Dee’s Off The Telly tour is at Salisbury City Hall.

Saturday 21st then. After the hugely successful free concert in the Market Place last summer, The Full Tone Orchestra have taken their show to Marlborough, and return to town to rave the night away at the Corn Exchange. Taking the most popular section of their show, the club anthems, expect this to be something innovative and all glowsticks, as conductor Anthony Brown’s beloved orchestra reproduce the club classics which defined an era.

The Cavalier go country with the Stone Mountain Sinners, caught these guys before, they’ve a refreshing approach to country-rock which is a cut above the rest. And breezy, original songwriter Ed Witcomb makes a welcome return to The Southgate. For surf beats, odd time signatures, eccentric tunes and irony-fuelled free jazz, try The Barge at Honeystreet, where bonkers surf surrealists Mustard Allegro do their stuff.

Super Trooper Abba tribute, Sensations grace the Seend Community Centre, while Swindon’s Meca has a Whitney Houston tribute. Don’t forget though, it’s day two of the Shoebox’s Fuse Festival too.

Mercy Lounge at The Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon. Recommended ska night at Warminster’s Prestbury Sports Bar with the Train To Skaville, and Paul Carrick is at Bath Forum.

Train to Skaville

Week 4

Head to the Southgate for an afternoon pint or three, on Sunday 22nd, and our fantastic singer-songwriter Vince Bell will entertain you. Meanwhile, Groovelator play The Three Horseshoes in Bradford.

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Vince

Tuesday, Devizes Film Club at the Town Hall have the latest Ken Loach film, Sorry We Missed You, which you will be if you miss this one film fans. Full of drama, tension and heartbreak. Ricky and Debbie are the parents of teenage children. Ricky joins the ‘gig’ economy with a franchise for a parcel delivery firm. The job is sold to him as one where he will become master of his own destiny. Providing, that is, he complies with the labyrinth of deadlines, rules and conditions imposed by the company, a near impossible task. Debbie is a care worker who wants to care for the old people as though they are her Mam. But her working conditions thwart her in doing the job as she thinks fit. This modern Dickensian story dramatises the conflict between work and family life in contemporary Britain.

Don’t forget Wednesday’s acoustic Jam down the Southgate, and blues-folk singer Elles Bailey is with Phil King at the Chapel Arts, Bath. Thursday you can witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing cinematography on the big screen at The Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour, coming to the Salisbury City Hall. Staying in Devizes on the last Thursday of every month though is no bore, as the regular and celebrated open mic night at the Cellar Bar is something to behold.

Seventies punk bands never had such a great name as Brighton’s Peter & The Test Tube Babies. Still going strong forty years on, they play the Vic in Swindon on Friday 27th. Tenner on the door. Swindon also has an Improv Jam at The Shoebox, and homemade function band Locomotion at the Swiss Chalet.

Locomotion

While it’ll sadly never be possible for the boys to be back in town, Preston’s tribute Twin Lizzy will. They make a welcomed return to the Cavalier, Devizes on Friday. Meanwhile, the Devizes & District Twinning Association take over the town hall to bring us some French Café Music with Jac & Co, tickets are also a tenner for both these diverse evenings.

How much more diverse do you want? A dedicated club night for adults with Learning Disabilities? This Is Me at the wonderful charity youth centre, Young Melksham is precisely that, a night of great music and friendship. There’s a series of these events, first one is Friday.

Another welcomed return to Marlborough Folk-Roots at the Town Hall on Friday, when Steve Knightley explores the themes and stories that inspire him and shows how music and words can become lyrics and chords and notes can meld to create songs that acquire a life of their own.

For want of an authentic tribute band, From The Jam play The Cheese & Grain in Frome, and I’ve heard all good stories about them. If originals are what you want though, The Queen’s Head in Box has a double-booking Friday. Katy Hurt stretches the country music genre in exciting new directions; haunting blues vocals, towering country rock guitars, even a reggae vibe, and she is followed by psychedelic alternative rock band, The Bohemian Embassy.

Saturday night of the 28th March is alright, but no fighting, please. Time for the Devizes Lions’ Spring Concert at St Andrew’s Church, where Ian Diddams comperes Bath Coleman, Bangers & Nash, and the Trowbridge & District Youth Band. Tickets are £10, proceeds to Wiltshire Young Carers.

The Corn Exchange has a Gin Festival. Tribute act, Motley Crude are The Cavalier and local heroes Rockhoppaz play The Black Swan. For high octane original and classic rock mixed with some tasteful Bluesy tracks, check the Mark Smallman Band at the Southgate.

Devizine is the unofficial Tamsin Quin fan club, if you wanna hear why, head to Bromham’s Owl on Saturday. Another Abba Tribute, Swede Dreams play Market Lavington Community Hall.

Tamsin Quin

Highly recommended for the mods, The Roughcut Rebels are at The Pheasant in Chippenham. Also, Blondie & Ska are great fun, they’re at the Wiltshire Yeoman in Trowbridge, checking ahead, they play in Devizes, at the Pelican in May. The Blue Rose Band at The Westbury Conservative Club and an Amy Winehouse tribute at Bath’s Odd Down AFC & Social Club. Level III have a “One Step Beyond-ska and punk club-night.

Elsewhere in Swindon, homemade Damm at Coleview Community Centre and P!nk tribute, Beautiful Trauma play Brookhouse Farm, and a Pearl Jam tribute, Earl Jam at the Vic.

Sophie Matthews explores the links between the visual and the aural in a one-hour presentation at the Merchant’s House, Marlborough. Drawing on the works of great painters including Brueghel, Hogarth and Rigaud, Sophie presents a feast of images featuring historical woodwind instruments in their original social context interspersed with live performances of historical music using authentic instruments.

Sunday 29th – Nearly there, and breath…. Yin Yoga & Gong Bath at Devizes Corn Exchange, The Sunday Sessions continue at The White Bear with Matt Cook and Gary Hall at The Southgate. There’s a Comic-Con at Bath Pavilion, to be frank, it’s a commercial affair rather than a genuine “comic” con, with cosplay, gaming and meeting vague TV actors and ex-Gladiators, but might be fun for the kids.

That’s it, folks, March done, save Bradford on Avon Folk Club have Geoff Lakeman on Tuesday 31st. Let’s regroup in April, but feedback on these articles are needed. Do they work for you? Long-winded I know, but in order to fit it in. Devizine is a work in progress, I enjoy and need to know what’s working and what’s not. So, if you’ve read this far, I salute you! Tell me about it!


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden

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Andy Hamilton Coming to Swindon’s Wyvern

Apparently the UK just cannot live too long without spending An Evening with Andy Hamilton and so he’s back for another short run of his ‘up close and personal’ show this summer, just to keep us happy. A show which comes to Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre on Wednesday 20th May.

In an evening of reminiscence and revelation, one of the most noted comedy writers and directors of the last few decades looks back over his forty years in comedy and sixty(ish) years on the planet.

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Audiences will have the opportunity to ask Andy questions on any topic as he takes a look back at his very extensive professional career in comedy. Beginning in 1976 as a contributor to Radio 4’s Weekending, Andy went on to pick up a raft of awards for co-writing and co-directing such household TV classics as Drop The Dead Donkey and Outnumbered. His TV satires turned up the heat on Westminster with Ballot Monkeys and Power Monkeys, and he and his co-writer Guy Jenkin also penned and directed the hit British comedy feature film What We Did On Our Holiday. In the spring, their latest sitcom Kate & Koji, starring Brenda Blethyn and Jimmy Akingbola, will air on ITV.

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Andy’s numerous TV and radio credits include Have I Got News For You, QI, Andy Hamilton Sort of Remembers, The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Old Harry’s Game.

Andy’s debut novel, The Star Witness, is available via Outbound, and his handwritten (yes, handwritten!) epic novel Longhand will be available in June.


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Mad March: Things to Do. Part 1…

Huzzah, hurrah, hurray, whoop, bravo, hoot, shout, shriek, hosanna, alleluia and other synonyms for expressions of delight which I’ve shamelessly purloined from Word’s dictionary. Do I care? It’s March, time of the Mad March Hare, spring springing, birds a-singing in the blossoming treetops; after such a damp winter it’s refreshing to look forward to the April showers season!

Why do we even call them April showers when they tend to carry through from March to June?! Nevertheless, it’s warmer rain, with momentary lapses of sunshine, those little teasers of spring; don’t blink you might miss them. Still, just like a bear, I’m awakening from my hibernation, and heading downstream for a salmon supper!

In celebration of the feast, here’s some choosiest stuff to do over the coming month, as fished from our event calendar. The list is by no means comprehensive, you know the score by now, it’s updated (nearly) every day, so do try to keep up. Facebook is a good idea, if you do that, our page pumps posts out like Dwayne Johnson on a promise. Also, consider signing up for a weekly email, I don’t spam you, just once a week bulletin of what we’ve done and what’s to come.

First fortnight in March then, here it comes; the second half will follow…… I say that, then like a goldfish it’s a notion that’s gone in three seconds! Also, I can’t provide the links, but it’s all listed on our home page with links; it’ll take till April to do that, computer running at the speed of snail and all!

Devizes: First of the month is Sunday, nice way to ease into it. Georgina, Landlady of the White Bear, is running the London Marathon for Dorothy House, so there’s a pub quiz at 6:30pm to fundraise; £2.50 per person, max. 6 people on a team. Great Scott! St James Church hosts the monthly Devizes Silver Screen Film Club; Back to the Future showing this month. A great social meeting for our elders, and Driving Miss Daisy can provide transport.

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If you’re looking for something wilder, The Three Horseshoes in Bradford on Avon is the place to head, where those Back-Wood Redeemers will be twisting those dark country and blues riffs into their splendid frenzy. Highly recommended from Devizine, tell them we sent you!

PSG has their regular Monday “Devizes session of Pop Soul & Gospel Choir,” at the Parish Rooms on Long Street, from 8pm until 9:30pm. Incredibly welcoming, PSG currently expect between 25 and 30 members on a Monday, and inform us “it’s a fantastic sound!” Join them for a fantastic start to your week!

Tuesday 3rd then, and it’s Devizes Film Club at the Town Hall. The Farewell (PG) from China, 2019. Director: Lulu Wang. To western eyes, this film has a curious plot but it becomes understandable in the telling. Billi has left China aged six, to be brought up in New York. Twenty-four years later, she is called back to attend a wedding that has been arranged purely to conceal from her grandmother that she is dying of lung cancer. Such kindly subterfuge is apparently common practice but Billi finds it hard to accept. She sees again many family members and it is her gradual reacquaintance with her Chinese heritage that provides this compelling, spiky exploration of family duty. A heartfelt, funny, emotional and rewarding film. The screenplay and production are wonderful, prompting The Irish Critic to call it the Best Film of the Year.

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Edgelarks

Wednesday is the regular acoustic jam at the Southgate. Marlborough’s folk-roots club has Edgelarks at the Town Hall; duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin combine exquisite folk with influences as diverse as the blues and Indian classical slide guitar, to create a sound that is “subtle, atmospheric and bravely original” (The Guardian.) Alternatively, one of the most romantic operas ever written, La Bohème is showing at Bath Forum.

Even if not for the weather, Thursday 5th should get heated. Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough debate with MP Danny Kruger at St Mary’s Devizes.

Friday night in Devizes looks loud; hard-edged vintage blues with Barrelhouse at the Southgate will yowl like the Howlin’ Wolf. To contend, AC/DC tribute, Hell’s Bells play the Exchange, but want for a local, loud, classic rock cover-band, the awesome Homer play The Crown at Bishop’s Canning’s, and you’ll probably hear them from the Market Place!

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Buddy Holly and The Cricketers

Lighter rock n roll tributes come from Melksham’s Assembly Hall, where you’ll find Buddy Holly and The Cricketers. Or Bath Forum has Elvis show, The King is Back, and Johnny Walker presents Sounds Of The 70s at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre.

The 7th, first Saturday of the month then, here it is: A songwriter genuinely literate, sometimes almost literary, Ian Parker is an original craftsman. Expressed through a distinctive bitter-sweet vocal delivery, Ian’s songs hold nothing back. His ability and willingness to share with his audience, naked honesty and genuine emotion, is what sets him apart, and The Long Street Blues Club welcomes him and his band back. Meanwhile, a little more light-hearted, Teachers Pet Rock Show comes to The Cavalier Community Hall. If you’ve seen School of Rock, expect an East/West Midlands styled tribute, promising to be a “gut busting, face melting glorious rock show that’s suitable for all ages!”

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There’s acoustic fingerpicking, electric guitar thumping rhythms, harmonica and a loop pedal at the Southgate with Jon Pollard, while Marlborough’s Lamb has the high-energy classic rock covers band, The Electric Troubadours. Down t’other end of that enlarged High Street, The Wellington has its Welly-Fest; check their Facebook page as there’s stuff going on the whole month long. Comes to ahead for reggae fans though, on Saturday  when our friends Razah and Knati P bring their sound system; oh yes.

Tributes in Trow-Vegas with Abbamania at The Civic. Whereas it’s a Britpop tribute double-header at the Melksham Assembly Hall with Oasis Maybe and Ultimate Stone Roses, and always worth catching, The Blue Rose Band play The Talbot Inn, Calne.

Would you Adam & Eve it, Sunday March 8th is my birthday? Thank you, it’s just a number. Not spoiled for choice as I’ve only one gig listed at the moment, but I do love the White Bear, where Phil Jinder Dewhurst continues their regular Sunday Sessions. Talking Sunday sessions, Swindon promoters Songs of Praise do similar at The Tuppenny, find the Richard Wileman & the Amy Fry Experience there this Sunday 8th.

Week 2

Second week of March then, then we’re done and you go vacuum the hallway, or whatever else is outstanding; never ends, does it? Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough holds workshop “Roots of a Regenerative Culture,” Monday 7pm at The Barge on Honey Street. This training demystifies how to make everything we do regenerative and, as such, it is the key to understanding how to build resilience within ourselves and our communities.

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Tuesday 10th there be a Quiz Night at The Vaults, Devizes in aid of Opendoors. And the Devizes Film Club has a Mexican movie, The Chambermaid (15) at the Town Hall. Director Lila Avilés’ first film quietly pulses with life in a multi-storey luxury hotel in Mexico. We see the engrossing work of a young, single mother trying her best to be promoted by thorough work, and to study in what spare time she is allowed. There is no life-saving Hollywood romance, just the drudgery of her daily work, problems with her fellow workers and managers and her efforts to improve her life. Cartol acts with sublime understanding of her role. With persistence and wry humour, she rearranges her tasks for variety, wickedly teases the window-cleaners, goes to evening classes and reads Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A subtle gem of a film, beautifully shot against the boring and colourless back-rooms, lush guest-rooms and the stunning city views.

Wednesday 11th at Marlborough’s Merchants House Michael Hart presents “Protestantism and the English Character.” While one of the most intriguing and exciting collaborations on today’s folk scene, Peter Knight, legendary violinist and ex-Bellowhead member John Spiers brings an evening of improvisation and invention of mysterious tunes to Pound Arts in Corsham. In Devizes, it’s time again for the acoustic jam at the trusty Southgate.

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Blossoms

Blossoms play the Bath Forum on Thursday 12th, revealing their new album, Foolish Loving Spaces. They explain, “The album is a pure celebration of love in all of its splendid and baffling guises, toying with the so-called sins of lust and forbidden infatuation. It’s inspired by a summer spent listening to ‘Stop Making Sense’, ‘The Joshua Tree’ & ‘Screamadelica’.” If you’re in Swindon though, head for The Tuppenny, where the awesome Jake Martin and Jess Silk perform acoustic. Acoustic, made for Thursday, eh? If you disagree, check out the Winchester Gate, Salisbury where top Ramones tribute, The Ramonas are guaranteed to liven it up.

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The Lost Trades

Friday is the night when the county finally gets ready for the debut gig of super-group The Lost Trades. Highly anticipated amalgamation of our good friends, Phil Cooper, Jamie R Hawkins and Tamsin Quin. We wish you the very best of luck, guys. They’ll be supported by Timid Deer and Vince Bell at Trowbridge’s Village Pump.

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Meanwhile, keeping Kalm ‘n’ Kind in Devizes, there’s a Restorative Yoga class with Kim Pierpoint, a Fundraising Quiz Evening for Opendoors at 7.30. Philippa and Declan Morgan are running the quiz at Wiltshire Museum. Tickets £10, including nibbles and a glass of wine. Reserve your ticket online and pay on the door! https://devizesopendoors.yapsody.com/event/index/533176/quiz-evening

On my never-ending list to do is get to “Pelly,” kudos for putting on live music gigs, guys, just got work early in the mornings! Drew Bryant is live at The Pelican Inn on Friday, Lewis Clark & The Essentials with folk, soul, and blues at The Southgate, and there’s a Queen tribute called The Bohemians at the Corn Exchange. Comedy Night at Bradford’s Boat House with Jake Lambert, and the amazing Frank Turner plays Bath Forum.

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Lewis Clark & The Essentials

Tuesday is St Patrick’s Day, but Devizes’ Cavalier can’t wait, and present a St Patrick’s theme weekend with those brilliant Day Breakers in the Community Hall on Saturday 14th. On the other side, three-piece rock originals, the Lightnin’ Hobos play The Southgate, and if you’re not spoiled for choice this Saturday, I don’t know when you will be, as the one and only Pete Gage plays with Innes Sibun and Jon Amor, all backed by Ruzz Guitar Revue at the Sports Club, corrrrr, that’ll be awesome.

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Extinction Rebellion Devizes and Marlborough are back at the The Barge, Honeystreet for a gathering, where the evening presents a stripped back, 3-piece version of Troyka Bristol, Troyka Mala. They play a stormy mixture of traditional and original songs and rhythms from the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans with brushes of Klezmer and the Middle East; intrigued? I am.

Powerhouse Gospel Choir play Melksham Assembly Hall while Jon Hopkins is at Bath Forum. For something more off planet, stoner rock and electro art-punk are promised at the Three Horseshoes, Bradford on Avon, with Head Noise, Conspiracy of Chaplains and The Forgetting Curve.

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That’s about all, we will follow this up with the final fortnight of March, when I get around to it. I do, though wish I’d stop promising these things! One thing you can depend on, Saturday in Swindon will rock with Splat The Rat at The Merlin on Drove Road, unfortunately, I cannot recommend Talk In Code’s new single Talk Like That enough, see our review. Note, the launch party is at the Castle on this particular Saturday, the 14th, and I can’t think of a better way to finish this lengthy roundup off!


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.

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REVIEW – Navajo Dogs @ The Southgate, Devizes –Saturday 8th February 2020

Pub Rock Is Alive and Well

Andy Fawthrop

After the previous night’s superb gig with The Arnie Cottrell Tendency (see other review elsewhere in Devizine), it was back to The Southgate for something completely different. From gentle Americana on a Friday to straight-up pub-rock on a Saturday night. Part of me was concerned that the night just couldn’t be as good, but I needn’t have worried. Different music genre, different vibe, but still excellent.

Navajo Dogs, formed in 2016, are a local blues-influenced rock band. Consisting of Simon Hansen on vocals, Tom Evans on lead guitar, Kieran McLaughlin on rhythm guitar/ vocals, Jonny Wallhouse on drums/ vocals and Graham Hill on bass, these guys are one solid entertainment unit. The music is loud and uncompromising, the performances are hot, sweaty, sweary and in your face.

Covering a wide range of pop/ rock/ blues classics, outstanding numbers for me were Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s A Winner”, Free’s “Fire and Water”, Prince’s “Purple Rain”, The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and Sam The Sham’s “Woolly Bully”, but there were plenty more. The dance-floor was full all night long, and the crowd clearly appreciated their no-nonsense, no-apologies style. This was 4-star leaded, full cream, full fat pub-rock. It was thumping, steady, rocking and totally infectious. Great vocals, nice guitar work.

Two superb gigs on two consecutive nights. This is what live music is all about.

Future gigs at The Southgate:

• Friday 14th February Trevor Babajack Steger
• Saturday 15th February Mike Barham
• Friday 21st February Kent Duchaine
• Sunday 23rd February CRC
• Friday 28th February The Shudders


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Andy Fawthrop)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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A Skandal in Marlborough

Broke my hibernation last night to trek across the downs and catch Swindon’s Skandals play the Lamb in Marlborough; well worth the effort……

“Some proper drum and bass,” yelled frontman of The Skandals, Mark Colton during the break of a Bad Manners’ Special Brew cover, “not like the shit the kids listen to today!” In essence there’s the summary of The Skandals’ ethos, yet with the catchiness of the simple offbeat of ska, you’ll commonly find every generation up dancing together. So, while the attitude is to appease the elder, skinhead, mods and scooterists, I think you’ll find generations too young to personally recall the days of yore a band like The Skandals arrest, still love it.

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This was certainly true in Marlborough’s Lamb last night, as this Swindon ska cover band came to skank, with bells on. It was a squeeze in the crowd, with the aforementioned varied demographic, but none can resist the surge of retrospective ska. Limited to saxophonist Nina as the brass section, and without keyboards, this six-piece still manage to capture the spirit of the era and throw it back in your face loud and proud. I’d wager this comes from experience; the band boasting not just Nina, but both guitarists Jase and Mark, who previously played with Swindon’s legendary Skanxters, and in turn this event brings fond memories to my old watering hole, as those Skanxters skanked here during their nineties reign.

Though frontman Mark also heads a new wave punk cover band, The Rotten Aces, among other projects such as Thin Lizzy tribute, The Lizzy Legacy. This punker angle showed through the playlist, as adroit but only subtly ‘ska’d’ covers of “Echo Beach” and the Toy Doll’s bonkers arrangement of “Nellie the Elephant,” echoed between the more archetypal tunes of Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, et all. I wanted to quiz Mark on what he favours, but when they stated they were taking a ten-minute break, it was far more punctual than most bands!

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Pigeonholing I haven’t time for, and in a hedonistic moment it matters not. Example; they covered Rancid’s Time Bomb, pioneers of the ska-punk crossover that the international third-gen ska-heads thrive on. Yet the Skandals didn’t venture over this border, delivering predominantly eighties Two-Tone they were obviously inspired by, and giving the audience diminutive verbal notations as to why, amidst the usual banter. They were lively, fun and entertaining; everything a ska band should be, and would guarantee to liven up your venue or pub. Specials covers Rat Race, Rich Girl, Little Bitch and their version of Toot’s Monkey Man being the nimblest.

It may be a timeworn formula for a ska band to cover classics like Baggy Trousers, Lip Up Fatty and Mirror in the Bathroom, but like fish n chips, it’s cliché because it never fails to thrill an audience, and The Skandals do it superbly. Interestingly, they added northern soul anthem “Tainted Love,” reggae’s “Pressure Drop” and “Chase the Devil,” into the melting pot, and choosing “Food for Thought,” as their UB40 cover is a wise move; anything post-Red Red Wine and it’s a cover band covering a cover band!

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While Devizes has a thriving music scene, other than sporadic gigs from the scooter club, the pub circuit lacks ska and reggae, and you all know how I feel about that. If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad. It was a delight to pay a visit to Marlborough’s Lamb again, despite remining in Wadworthshire, it’s working formula stands the test of time. “We’re quite lucky in Marlborough,” a regular informed me, rattling off the Bear’s backroom, The Wellington and Royal Oak as fond live music venues, as well as the Lamb. Yes, I nodded my acknowledgment, but when ska comes to town that’s where you’ll find me! “Let me tell about Sally Brown……”


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse, Tigger and Friends All Kicked Out of The Brunel Shopping Plaza This Christmas!

Bureaucracy gone mad, or rightful regulations? Make your own mind up, but kids were upset to see many of their favourite cartoon characters escorted from the Brunel Shopping Centre this Christmas like criminals.

Outcry ensued after Alan Reed posted this video, showing security of the shopping centre harshly directing the characters off the premises. “Every year I organise a visit to the GWH hospital,” Mr Reed explained, “I take all the mascots up there to visit the kid’s wards and give them a present that has been kindly donated. I have a great bunch of friends who volunteer their time to do this. Then, just for some Christmas fun, every year after the hospital we go to the Magic Roundabout, walk about and wave to the cars. The after this we go to the town centre to spread some more fun and Christmas cheer to the people. All the kiddies love it along with their parents.”

Upon asking the reason Alan and friends do this, he told me, “we do all of this free of charge, with no other meaning to it at all.” Perhaps Christmas joy just isn’t enough to warrant such a gesture, not in the eyes of the centre, whose Saturday saw children flock to see Frozen characters Anna & Elsa in aid of Swindon’s Down Syndrome Group. No issue with this, but this impromptu visit is a blunt reminder for Swindonians, despite the shopping centre commonly being regarded as the “town centre,” it’s actually a privately-owned business.

Rob of the Brunel Shopping Centre explained, “as a privately-owned shopping centre it is our duty to ensure that shoppers and their children are kept safe. Therefore, our staff will always politely ask unannounced visitors, who have not sought prior permission to be at the centre, to leave. We regularly work with charities and fundraisers who book in with us and are always happy to work with people to benefit good causes, but we do need to carry out due diligence when booking these people in.”

The issue becomes irate when the organisers question the reasoning, but without an informative response, and security ordered to carry out their task, things become awkward and it doesn’t fair well on the personal relations within the centre. Ah, it happens, but with the children who do not understand the red tape, it has to be said, it’s a crying shame the issue couldn’t have been dealt with diplomatically. I’d suggest the Brunel has a disclaimer form, stating clearly that any repercussions are wholly the responsibility of the organisers, and then, where’s the real problem?

It does remind me of the scene in the classic Pink Panther film, where Inspector Clouseau arrests a blind beggar and his “minky,” whilst a bank robbery is occurring behind them. Forcing me to wonder how many shoplifters or fraudsters happen to be bobbing about the centre during this inconsequential fiasco; maybe it’d make a great decoy!

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In an era when physical shopping is losing the war against online shopping, you’d have thought the issue could have been dealt with diplomatically, if not for the children’s sake but the reputation of the centre. Meanwhile social media exploits the video, shares and comments call to boycott the centre as the witch-hunt progresses. A cruel sign of the times with unsolicited media where anyone can pass comment, when the centre has strived to host similar fundraising events yet the bureaucracy stamps on such a good deed. Not in the spirit of Christmas, and yes, I said Minky; because I’m annoyed by what bureaucratic balderdash has degenerated us into, Merry bloody Christmas!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
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Daydreaming of Closing the Line

After a hushed couple of months for Daydream Runaways, they return with a topical smash single, Closing the Line……

I observed in awe the multitude, at least for Devizes, squeezed between the Town Hall and Vinyl Realm. Ah, what with the perpetual drizzling, wish it could be summer again; street festival time. The highlight for me was undoubtedly Pete and the staff at Vinyl Realm’s second stage; what a totally awesome job.

I did one of my live, wobbly Facebook vids of a band I held in anticipation to finally catch, which earned a comment, “who are they?” Coupled with loitering local musicians inquiring, I was astounded that this dynamic indie Swindon-Devizes four-piece were still fairly obscure. But as the sun shone, I think this photo captured perfectly that the moment of elation was communal, and confirmed everyone present will not forget the name, Daydream Runaways.

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Just to make certain, they rocked the Southgate at the end of August, and what with appearances on BBC Wiltshire Radio and It’s All Indie Spotify playlists, their Facebook page has been quiet recently, save a swanky new logo. On a separate note, the threat of closure at Swindon’s Honda plant looms over its employers. I don’t want to argue the toss, and I think neither does the band, let whatever bias newspaper you believe squabble if this is the result of Brexit, or not, it’s not going to help those losing their livelihood. Such is the passionate subject of Closing the Line, the Daydreamer’s forthcoming single.

Here then is a progressive step in their building discography, which is already teetering with quality, into the realm of local topical subject matter. Personifying the shockwaves felt by a community, this emotive and illustrative indie rock track is akin to Springsteen’s woes of factories shutting. Closing the Line kicks off with an industrial noise effect, which abruptly ceases and this striking riff explodes post-haste. Vocals wail eloquently, questioning if you’ve ever tried with all you’ve got, and you’ve given up with ardent prose, continuing the leitmotif of pending gloom. It’s all very U2, but this street has a name, it’s the Highworth Road out of Swindon.

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If it’s not the dejected subject of a current and local topic which drives this potently catchy tune, what fills me with enthusiasm about Closing the Line, due for release this coming Friday (25th October,) is it matches the excellence of their previous singles and wiggles towards a maturity in sound and production. In an era where pop shies from the expression of political and social stock, favouring to warble about bad relationships and who has the tightest buns, it’s an advancement the band should be very proud of achieving.

For just a year into their journey, self-recording, producing and mixing their singles, Daydream Runaways are never fearful to experiment with different production and song writing techniques. I reckon with this one, they’ve just found a niche. I hope this could encourage an album which would be as characteristic as Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever. Yet amazed, pondering what took Petty ten years of playing with the Heartbreakers to achieve, the diligence and motivation of Daydream Runaways means they could nail this less than a quarter of the time. Then, the world is ready for these kids, and bloody good luck to them.

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Click here to pre-save Closing the Line to the streaming service of your choice, and wake up to little indie rock gift from Daydream Runaways on Friday 25th October!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Mark Thomas comes to Swindon Arts Centre

Images used with the kind permission of Steve Ullathorne

 

I’ve been a admirer of the pragmatic Mark Thomas and his satirical cutting-edge comedy since his days guesting on The Mary Whitehouse Experience at the dawn of nineties, end of this month he’s at the Swindon Arts Centre; could you ask for a more apt date?!

I recall with fond nostalgia how he ridiculed and enraged his local McDonalds, or gambled the entire ten grand profit from the previous show on a hopeless outsider at Doncaster, thanking Michael Grade, chief executive of Channel 4 at the time, for allowing him to waste his money. The notion, he stated, was that it was an exhilarating thrill of washing someone else’s money down the toilet, and likened it to the how the Queen must feel at races.

But it’s been a while since stumbling across his name. Hearing this self-dubbed “libertarian anarchist” comedian is heading to the Swindon Arts Centre on Thursday 31st October as part of a work-in-progress tour, before the real thing kicks off in the New Year, I did a little YouTube catching up type research, and found a decade old stand-up show where he the tackles the fox hunting ban, Tony Blair’s move to the right, and the Islamic extremism hot on the world’s lips. He takes no prisoners, dares to go where other comedians would quiver.

MARK THOMAS 2 - Please credit Steve Ullathorne

I have to ponder if the current affairs of a hare-brained conservative ruling, shifting towards nationalism and abandonment of a unification of Europe, simply to maintain billionaire’s tax-free offshore accounts whist politically dividing the country through media-bias, propaganda and blatant fabrications, thus creating a hatred of alternative thinking which even lambasts the very extinction of all life on Earth simply because it’s voiced by a teenage female, is enough ammunition for this cheeky-faced comedian.

The blurb suggests though, his new show, 50 Things About Us will go beyond this, “Mark Thomas combines his trademark mix of storytelling, stand-up, mischief and really, really well researched material to examine how we have come to inhabit this divided wasteland that some of us call the United Kingdom.”

“He picks through the myths, facts and figures of our national identities to ask how we have so much feeling for such a hollow land. Who do we think we are? It is a show about money, history, songs, gongs, wigs, unicorns, guns, bungs, sods of soil and rich people* in the vein of The Manifesto-meets-sweary History Channel.

*(not the adjective Mark has chosen)

MARK THOMAS 3 - Please credit Steve Ullathorne

It sounds like age and the writing of award-winning plays has only in heightened his crusade and hilarious radical sarcasm. I think we can take it as red; he isn’t going to do a Morrissey on us just yet. With a full tour of this show happening next year, here’s something worthy of your attention for the 31st October, what else you going to be doing on that date, eh? Kowtowing Boris Johnson whilst stockpiling baked bean tins before your meds run out?

With an 12+ Age Restriction, tickets are £15.50. Concessions: £2.00 Off, from here.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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At This Shoebox Stage

Have you ever loved a show so much that you wished you could kidnap the actors, keep them in your basement and get them to perform it again for you? No? Just Rupert?

After a successful three week run at the Miniver Theatre, a troupe of young actors are ready and willing to let go of their most recent production and move on to bigger and better things, but Rupert isn’t going to let that happen. He loves the piece to the point of obsession and can’t let their show die. There are a few things you should know when trying to save a play from death. Thing number one: the actors aren’t gonna like it. Trapped in a basement, forced to rehearse and fearing for their lives, there is only one way for the performers to gain their freedom.

They must act their way out…

The intriguing new drama-thriller work, At This Stage is on at The Shoebox Theatre, Swindon on Saturday 12th October at 7.30pm. Suitable for ages 14+
Tickets are £10 from HERE

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An Interview with Ed Byrne

With my ribs near fully recovered from giggling injuries caused by the one Ed Byrne, it’s nice to note if you missed him at the rescheduled Devizes Arts Festival evening, he’s playing Trowbridge’s Civic Centre on the 26th September, March 13th at the Wyvern, Swindon and Bath’s Forum on March 19th.

Here’s an interview with the man himself, to tempt your taste buds…. 

Jason Barlow

A household name teetering on the brink of national treasure status, award-winning comedian Ed Byrne enjoys worldwide acclaim for his stand-up. With 25 years under his belt, Ed has parlayed his on-stage success into a variety of notable television appearances. A regular on Mock The Week and The Graham Norton Show, Ed has recently co-presented Dara & Ed’s Big Adventure and its follow-up Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay, and managed not to disgrace himself on Top Gear or whilst tackling one of The World’s Most Dangerous Roads. As a semi-professional hill-walker himself and fully paid-up humanist, he also brought a refreshing warmth and honesty to BBC2’s recent hit The Pilgrimage.

But the Irishman is still best-known and best appreciated for his stand-up performances. A quarter of a century at the comedic coal-face has equipped Ed with a highly evolved story-telling ability and a silky mastery of his craft. Yet his wit, charm and self-deprecatory observational humour is often underpinned by a consistently hilarious vitriol and sense of injustice at a world that seems to be spinning ever more rapidly out of control.

Having recently hit a new peak with shows such as the sublime Spoiler Alert and reflective Outside, Looking In, which explored the minefield that is modern parenting and a generational sense of entitlement, Ed’s new show If I’m Honest digs ever deeper into a father’s sense of responsibility, what it means to be a man in 2019, and whether he possesses any qualities whatsoever worth passing on to his two sons. Occasionally accused of whimsy, If I’m Honest is a show with a seriously steely core.

Gender politics, for example, is something Ed readily engages with – deploying his customary comedic zeal. ‘I’ll admit that there are things where men get a raw deal,’ he says. ‘We have higher suicide rates, and we tend not to do well in divorces, but representation in action movies is not something we have an issue with. It was Mad Max: Fury Road that kicked it all off, even though nobody complained about Ripley in Alien or Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Of course, social media means this stuff gets broadcast far and wide in an instant, which emboldens people.

‘The problem with men’s rights activists is that it’s not about speaking up for men’s rights, it’s about hating women. If you’re a men’s rights activist, you’re not going to care about the fact that there’s an all-female Ghostbusters remake. That’s nothing to do with men’s rights or female entitlement. That’s everything to do with being, well, a whiny baby.’

Photo by Idil Sukan

As ever, Ed manages to provoke without being overly polemical, a balancing act that only someone of his huge experience can really pull off.

‘I did stuff about Trump and the Pizzagate right wing conspiracy,’ he says, ‘and a couple of the reviewers said, “Oh, I would have liked to have watched a whole show of this”. And I think, ‘well you might have, but the average person who comes to see me would not like to see that’. I like to make a point or get something off my chest, or perhaps I’m talking about something that’s been on my mind, but the majority of stuff is just to get laughs.

‘People who come to see me are not political activists necessarily, they’re regular folk. If you can make a point to them, in between talking about your struggles with aging, or discussing your hernia operation or whatever it is, you can toss in something that does give people pause as regards to how men should share the household chores.’

He continues, ‘It’s not that I feel a responsibility, I think it just feels more satisfying when you’re doing it, and it feels more satisfying when people hear it. When a joke makes a good point, I think people enjoy it. It’s the difference between having a steak and eating a chocolate bar.’

Ed, who broke through in the mid-1990s when the New Lad became a genuine cultural phenomenon, doesn’t want to submit to any unnecessary revisionism, but admits that if the times have changed, he has changed with them. He reflects a little ruefully on one of his most famous jokes. ‘There’s an attitude towards Alanis Morrisette in the opening of that routine that I’m no longer comfortable with, where I call her a moaning cow and a whiny bint… slagging off the lyrics of the song is fine, but there’s a tone in the preamble that I wouldn’t write today.’

The new show also takes his natural tendency towards self-deprecation to unexpected extremes. ‘I do genuinely annoy myself,’ Ed concedes. ‘But the thing of your children being a reflection of you, gives you an opportunity to build something out of the best of yourself only for you to then see flashes of the worst of yourself in them. It’s a wake-up call about your own behaviour.’

When I challenge him over the degree of self-loathing he displays, he disagrees. ‘Self-aggrandising humour is a lot harder to pull off than self-deprecating humour,’ he insists. ‘A lot of people get really annoyed when Ricky Gervais is self-congratulatory. I always find it very funny when he accepts awards and does so in the most big-headed way possible. I think it’s a trickier type of humour to pull off, talking yourself up in that way.

‘So no, I don’t think I’m being massively hard on myself. The fact is when you’re the bloke who is standing on the stage with the microphone, commanding an audience’s attention, you’re in a very elevated position anyway.’

Photo by Idil Sukan

That said, If I’m Honest brilliantly elucidates the frustration that arrives in middle age – and lives up to its title. ‘I’m bored looking for things, I’m bored of trying to find stuff, because I can never find it, and it is entirely my fault,’ Ed says. ‘Nobody’s hiding my stuff from me. Although my wife did actually move my passport on one occasion’.

He insists that, while the show might have mordant and occasionally morbid aspects, it’s also not without its quietly triumphant moments. ‘I thought I was being quite upbeat talking about the small victories,’ he says. ‘You know, finding positivity in being able to spot when a cramp was about to happen in your leg and dealing with it before it does. I was very happy with myself about that.’

Age, it seems, has not withered him. Especially now that he’s figured out how to head off ailments before they become a problem. ‘You see comics who are my age and older but are still retaining a level of “cool” and drawing a young crowd. I can’t deny that I’m quite envious of that. But there’s also something very satisfying about your audience growing old with you.’

Ed Byrne is touring nationwide, appearing at Trowbridge’s Civic Centre on the 26th September, March 13th at the Wyvern, Swindon and Bath’s Forum on March 19th. For more information, please visit http://edbyrne.com/


© 2017-2019 Devizine -Syndicated with permission from Jason Barlow.
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Gigs and Festivals for September

Ah, nuts, it’s all over. Get your winter coat, hats and snow shovels and bolt down the hatches; it’s September. “We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage.” Back to school though, summer usually kicks in around now. So, gig-wise, here’s what we’ve got to warm your soul.

Note, this is for musical gigs, please keep up. Last month I did this people were arguing I forgot their flower pressing show, foot healing festival and stuff like that. Please consult our homepage for it’s THE most comprehensive event guide in these dark waters, even if I do say so myself. Yeah, no, yeah-no, there’s all kinds of stuff listed to do, family stuff, sporty stuff, arty stuff, stuff with stuff in it and all the stuff between. And what is more, it’s updated nearly every day, so keep your eye on it, ‘n’ stay in the know.

Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th

Starting midweek, as I’ve procrastinated this weekend; man cut lawn. Regular acoustic nights on Wednesdays at our dependable Southgate, Devizes, and there’s an open Mic at The New Inn, Semington.

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Amy Speace

Thursday 5th then, and all I have to date is that American singer-songwriter and one third of acclaimed Americana harmony trio Applewood Road, Amy Speace will be returning to Sound Knowledge, Marlborough to promote her new solo album. Me And The Ghost Of Charlemagne is produced by long-time collaborator Neilson Hubbard and recorded during the final weeks of pregnancy with her first son, capturing Amy at her most honest, with sparsely-decorated songs which double down on her larger-than-life voice and detail-rich song writing. Amy will be playing a short set in the shop and signing copies of her album from 7pm on Thursday 5th September.

Friday, and aside the popular karaoke nights, we’re glad to see The Pelican in Devizes opening up for live music, this should become a regular free venue, and bands are encouraged to get in touch with them. What better way to kick off the proceedings than with Devizes-own Funked Up?

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Now, I know my boss at work has a hand in this one, and going on the thought I’ve never seen anyone more dedicated to one particular band than him, I mean it’s an obsession to the point he talks of little else, I have total faith if you like Thin Lizzy, this will be the ultimate tribute band to catch. 4-piece, Twin Lizzy play The Cavalier on Friday, with all the classics that you would expect, but also, they claim to “mix it up with some key album tracks for good measure.” Including a genre-related disco, this is the ideal opportunity to check out the Cavy. It’s booking get evermore diverse, with country and rock, to kid’s discos and a plethora of top pop tributes.

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Meanwhile in Swindon, those old-time musical hall, sixties psychedelia and new world country blenders, The Astral Ponies storm the Castle. Least they say “the Astral Ponies politely asking if people would like to come along and enjoy some fine and joyous music with them,” is more suitable. If vintage punk-rock is more your thing, try The One Chord Wonders at the Rolly. Metallers think The Queen’s Tap, with Rorkes Drift, or the Vic where Ion Maiden play; stop head-banging for a second a re-read that, yeah, s’ a tribute.

But if you’re still hunting for festivals, Crash the Festival is in Andover direction, KV Brass are followed by Humdinger on the Friday and Kova Me Badd on the Saturday, roundup the Burbage Beer Festival, on the Red Lion field. The other way, Saturday 7th sees a one-dayer at Marshfield; Marshfest brings together popular Hip-Hop act, Stay Hungry, five-piece rhythm & blues combo Haney’s Big House, indie rock with The Temple Keys and Falling Fish, blues band Antalya, soul-funk with Eden, rock with The Clones, to name but a few. If this doesn’t convince you, Devizine favourites, Train to Skaville are also booked.

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Dry White Bones

Devizes, make your way to the Southgate, Dry White Bones accompanied those Boot Hill Allstars last time I saw them, and it wasn’t nearly for long enough. After a stint at Glasto, it’ll be good to see this duo headlining. Larkin play Melksham’s Pilot, and for folky pop songs, Scratchy Black Cat at Stallards, Trowbridge is recommended.

There’s a Big Get Together at the Neeld, which aims to bring over 50 local clubs and organisations together in one place, to provide a showcase of activities that will encourage people to participate, get involved and expand their social life. Free event. Staying in Chippenham, soprano, Susan Coates, Mezzo- Soprano, Marie Elliott and Concert Pianist, Nick Goodall presents a mix of famous solos and duets from the world of Opera, Broadway and The All-American Songbook at the Cause. Or, rock out with Homer at the Black Horse.

Ska-punk in Swindon, as Operation 77 play Level III, or Led-Into-Zeppelin are at The Victoria.

Sunday, Devizes Town Band takeover Hillworth for the Children’s Proms in the Park, or maybe catch The Everly Brothers and Friends Tribute Show at The Neeld.


 

Wednesday 11th – Sunday 15th

Acoustic jam down the Southgate Wednesday, Thursday in Devizes is all about Mirko’s band, 10p Mix-Up, playing the Cellar Bar from 8pm. In aid of Liam’s fund, please support this one if you can. I interviewed Mirko recently, which covers the gig fully, so check here.

10pmixuppost

Meanwhile George Wilding and Plummie Racket support Johnny Lloyd, at The Vic, and Chris Webb does an acoustic set at The Tuppenny, Swindon.

Friday 13th has a good variety of local music, that danceable duo, The Truzzy Boys play The Crown, while our other own indie upcomers, Clock Radio are welcomed by The Southgate. People Like Us nip over to The Seven Stars at Bottlesford, the Chaos Brothers at The Three Horseshoes in Bradford, and The Skandals play The Vic in Swindon.

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Chloe Jordan

For an evening of classical music, try the Corn Exchange on Saturday, where two fabulous local musicians, guitarist Andrew Hurst and soprano Chloe Jordan will take you on a journey through a range of music from the medieval to now. There’s a unique original melodic rock band from Glastonbury at the Southgate called The Truthseekers, and favourite rock cover band, the Rockhoppaz play The Cross Keys, Rowde.

The Pilot in Melksham host a live music event for RUH Forever Friends, including Sound Affects, Burlington Underground, PSG choir, Plan of Action, Sarah Deer, Heather Kerr, Naomi Charles, Chloe Brewer and Tyler Bartlett. Meanwhile, the Assembly Hall has Cliff Richard tribute, Simon Goodall.

While the 2Tone All Ska’s are at The Woodlands Edge, and Level III Punk the Club, there’s a beer, cider and music festival at Wichelstowe, in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, still awaiting the lowdown on this, but rumour has it Lottie J and other Marland favs will be playing. Vinyl Realm is at the helm of this one, and after the amazing show at the Street Festival, I’m expecting this to be a good one.

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Lottie J

Wow, The Human League are playing Bath Racecourse on Saturday, but Reggae though? Check those Urban Lions at the Woodbridge Inn, Pewsey, or Train to Skaville at Warminster’s Prestbury Sports Bar.

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Train to Skaville

Ah, we’ve reached the end of the first fortnight, I’ll update this with the following one later, best get this out now so you can plan ahead. Round it up, Sunday the 15th in Devizes where George Wilding supports The Strays at The Cavalier, or The White Bear continues its Sunday sessions with Andrew Bazeley.

Treat this as a guide, though, not a bible; more gigs and events of all kinds are updated on our homepage and Facebook page too.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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The Judge, Jules Brings Live Band to Swindon

One of the scene’s most best-known names for more than three decades, Judge Jules has never shied away from pushing the boundaries in dance music. And this year, for the first time ever, audiences will be able to experience the iconic tracks that have defined his career through a ten-piece live band with Judge Jules himself at the helm.

 
‘Judge Jules: Live’… will be coming to Swindon’s MECA venue on 25th Jan 2020.

 
Jules’s in-depth involvement in many of the recent wave of “classical” dance events, including Gatecrasher, Colours, Club Class and 2019’s Ministry of Sound tour, inspired the decision to take the impact and emotion of the classical shows, but refine the feeling with a wholly new take on live dance music.

 
With complete creative free rein, Jules curated every element of the performance. Each track has been bespoke reinvented and reworked in a style unique to this live show, featuring a full ten-piece band, with brass, percussion, drums, bass guitar, lead guitar, keyboard, singers, and of course Judge Jules himself. A 90-minute show from start to finish, the music has been selected to represent the breadth and scale of his career.

 
“There is something about music being played live that never fails to send shivers down your spine – it doesn’t matter what the genre is, hearing a track performed by live musicians on stage is something you cannot replicate in the studio, or even on the best nightclub environment. So, I decided to create my own bespoke versions of my all-time favourite records with a specially selected band. It’s taken a long time to put together, but finally we look forward to taking the “Judge Jules Live” tour on the road. This truly is a new take on the ‘live dance music’ phenomenon and the tour bus starts rolling shortly.” – Judge Jules

 
This is not a show to sit down for – combining the energy of specially-chosen outstanding musicians with his own inimitable presence behind the decks, Jules will take the audience on a tailor-made journey through dance music with vocals, hands-in-the-air moments and plenty of basslines that’ll take you right back to your very first rave.

 
With audiences demanding more from dance music and newfound focus on a visual as well as a sonic spectacle, Judge Jules Live is a chance for dance fans to lose themselves in the moment with the kind of experience that you just can’t replicate with a solitary DJ.
The Judge still won’t budge.

 

Judge Jules will play Swindon MECA – 25th January 2020

Doors 8pm – late
£17.00 early bird + BF

Tickets on sale now and available from:
https://www.mecaswindon.co.uk/events-tickets/2020/january/judge-jules-live/


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A Scandal with Tamsin Quin!

There are two sides to every story. We’ve heard Dolly’s angle since 1973, imagine if Jolene had her say. Traditionally, like gallant fables, songs seldom back the underdog, the aberrant. Particularly the rounded narrative of folk or country, usually tales culturally able to be retold, optimistically.

If the last local singer-songwriter you’d expect to be exploring darker tenets is Tamsin Quin, think again. Akin to Springsteen’s Nebraska, in so much it summons no such communal feeling, rather Scandal, the new single from our illustrious local songstress is secluded in a room of a distant, shady and enigmatic place.

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Image: Nick Padmore

A song of who the cap fits, of watching your own back. Tamsin advises “there’s criminals in the shadows, pull your friends a little closer.” But cross examines her own persuasions and faith in the notion, maybe, “we’re all scoundrels deep down inside.”

It’s as if the darker depths of Tamsin’s acute words in previous songs have come to detonation; executed sublimely, and produced with eminence by Phil Cooper. Scandal, out next Friday (30th August) is whole new level of excellence for this already blossoming star. I congratulated her, as vocally it sounds deeper and much more refined than anything before. Is that what she was hoping for?

“Yep,” she responds as ardently as the same ol’ Tammy, “I was totally going for the dark country vibes. Phil did such a great job producing it; I’m really pleased with the outcome. I hope its dramatic!”

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Tis indeed, like Wynette at her darkest; she builds tension around the breakfast table, the penny drops as to why Billie Joe Macalister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge and the protagonist attempts to hide her secret affair. “So,” I asked, “this is for a forthcoming album? Can we expect the others to be similar, or am I divulging too much?!”

“I’m aiming for a new album next year. The plan is for another single in October, then a single in February, and the album in April.” Tamsin expands the answer, “not all of the songs are this dark, although I am working on another haunting one at the moment, but the whole album feels a lot more mature that Gypsy Blood. I feel like I’ve grown into myself, and I’m writing what I want to write, instead of what I think the crowd will love. Writing more for myself I guess, although I really hope others really like it too.”

That personal enlightenment brews Tamsin’s poise when performing live, “writing things for yourself does tend to give you a little more confidence in delivery. Which I guess gives other people faith that its good, if you have faith in yourself and your work.”

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Image: Nick Padmore

I’m certain when reviewing Gypsy Blood, I suggested Tamsin sounded more mature, guessing both are a natural progression, though. “Guess you gotta grow up somewhen!” she laughs. I think you never stop learning and growing artistically, until, perhaps you reach a pinnacle and it doesn’t sound so progressive. Does she fear ever reaching that age where they say, “old Tamsin, just going through the motions?”

After stressing the importance to her of critical feedback, she laughed at the notion. “I guess that’s where the whole ‘writing for yourself’ thing comes in, because if you like your songs then you won’t care what people are saying.” I suspect that time is a long way off, Scandal in a nutshell is poignant, emotive and, perhaps an unanticipated gift to our music scene, and based upon it, I hold my breath for the album.

 

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Click for Tamsin’s Facebook page and like for updates and gigs!

© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Lottie J and You

Fifteen, about to leave school, exam pressure and that dangling feeling of future prospects; I’d give my right arm not to go through all that again! Swindon singer, Lottie J groans at the thought, confesses music is her worst subject at school. Under the elderly assumption schools have changed since my era, where to quote “popstar,” as a chosen career will see you smashed over the head with a wedge of Beethoven song-sheets and told to wake up and smell reality, seems it’s not changed as much as I thought.

“They shared my video on their website,” she explained appreciatively, but slated the philosophy of studying classical music. Yet, Lottie has been in the headlines since she was eight, encouraged by Jamie Cullum when he visited her school and donated his old piano. Music was mapped for her then, with her first song, ‘Kiss Your Old Life Away’ making the final 10 of The Song Academy’s Singer/Songwriter Competition and later, in 2016, she made the Grand Final of Future Music’s Songwriting Competition, at Dingwalls in Camden.

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From a time when I first heard Lottie, delightfully but tensely tapping her keys and singing covers at Times Square in Devizes, yet an angelic voice ringing out, to this latest video for her song “You,” shows a natural ambition to pop stardom that I personally feel is imminent. Our phone conversation today revealed a matured girl, with poise in the prospects of her vocation.

Half the clips in the video connote a narrative of a regular local girl, falling out with a boy in the woods. Yet while it’s saccharinely juvenile, the contrast of a flipside displays a confident and sassy female popstar, dancing on a Chevy in the Las Angeles desert. It licks with all the style and panache of a professional contemporary pop video, and the song rides it like a wave of self-assurance. Is that the suggestion Lottie was hoping to achieve? “Totally!” she expressed.

On note of her education, Lottie continued to express her hopes of studying music at Bath University, where the syllabus will be more to her taste. Just go in there and slap your phone on the desk and show them this video, I ill-advised, yet, it’d work if it was me. Lottie is keen to learn the business side of the industry, as well as the performance and music technology. Herein lies my ignorance at how the biz has changed, when, through the writing and production, being she has independently produced this work, I ask her what comes next.

“The key is to get the music out there,” she elucidates. YouTube and Spotify subscribers are far more important than the idea of creating a physical album, which she disregards from the mere mention of. “This will get me gigs, and support gigs.” It’s a DIY ethos which with her talent, and motivation will see her reach the goal, overlooking the concept of pitching to record companies, and especially poo-pooing the idea of a stab at a Simon Cowell TV karaoke show. “It’s a fake industry,” she sighs, “you’re already down to the fifth round before being aired on television, and I’d probably be kept out for having the wrong hair colour!”

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Standing with George Wilding on Devizine’s birthday bash in November, as Lottie got the ball rolling, the fact we were both aghast at her singing ability not only means I’m not alone in the sentiment. But it showed a skill Lottie can paste into the more pop orientated direction she craves, and with these new songs, Snapped, but more so, You, it’s the kind of song I need a second opinion from my twelve-year-old pop-inspired daughter from. She confirmed my thoughts; it’s dazzlingly good. She taps her Spotify account to subscribe to Lottie’s profile. That’s what Lottie needs, that’s the way forward for aspiring young musicians; sharing is caring, the new break is an accumulation of subscribers and followers.

So do check it out and subscribe, or let your kids show you how to do it. No shame in that, I have to!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Doing it For Dan goes Vegas Style in Blunsdon

After tragedy can come a silver lining; Doing it for Dan encourages children and young adults to engage and partake in sport and leisure activities by awarding grants to individuals and organisations in Wiltshire and the surrounding area.

The organisation was founded in memory of eleven-year-old Daniel Climance, of Bridlewood Primary in Blunsdon St Andrew, Swindon, who was tragically killed in June 2015. He collided with a road sweeper whilst out riding his bike. Something, it is suggested by a witness, caused this stable and proficient cyclist to suddenly panic, and swerve under the sweeper. Daniel died from a traumatic head injury. A police examination found no defects with the road sweeper, and the driver passed a breathalyser test. It’s one of those terrible incidents we may never have an answer to.

Their website explains this caring, considerate boy excelled at a number of sports. It was his first season with Wootton Bassett U11 football team, that he loved and he was so looking forward to the next. He had also just completed his second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, of which he was immensely proud. He had taken part in School football and cricket events and had won the overall gold medal in an interschool sports tournament between four local schools.

How more apt and heart-warming than to create this wonderful charity in his memory, helping so many children get the access to the equipment they need to follow their ambitions.

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The website highlights many great sporting achievements made through the charity’s assistance, from Wiltshire School of Gymnastics, to the 2019 Superhero Tri at Windsor, the UK’s one and only disability sports series. And from Elliot Pinson, who won both of his race heats of the Dickies British Junior Supersport series at Norfolk’s Snetterton, to Katie Ovenden who won the U16 Singles Badminton championships.

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Still, fundraising is always needed and Doing it For Dan have an over 18’s casino night on Friday 27th September at the Blunsdon House Hotel, Swindon. It promises a ‘Night in Vegas’ with fun casino tables, roulette, blackjack, dice and poker. Followed by a hot buffet, raffle and eighties and nineties disco, tickets are £35pp, and include a £5 fun money voucher.

All money raised will enable their charity to continue supporting children with sporting activities in the Swindon & Wiltshire area.


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Spectacular Space-Bots at the Shoebox; Family Performance & Drama Workshop

Swindon’s Shoebox Theatre are getting excited to welcome Edalia Day to the Theatre, as part of their Artist Residency Programme, and invite children aged 7-12 to join in the fun!

Edalia will be developing a new piece of theatre called ‘Spectacular Spacebots.’ It’s a new family show about autism and space adventures. The children will be sharing a relaxed, work-in-progress performance with an after-show Q&A on Saturday the 21st of September.

Join Zee, robot adventurer, as they battle space wizards, gunslingers and a quizzical hippopotamus, asking what does it mean to be human. And how far do you have to go to be accepted as one…

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But the fun doesn’t stop there! There will also be an opportunity for to take part in a FREE pre-show workshop with Edalia.

In this physical workshop, you’ll play improvisation games and learn how Edalia makes theatre. Exploring the voice and movement of digital characters and acting alongside them, using a mixture of wordplay, puppetry, chorus and physical comedy.

Workshop: Saturday, 21st September, 11am-12.00 Midday
How much? FREE!
Suitable for ages 7-12

Work in Progress Performance and Q&A: Saturday, 21st September, 13.00pm
How much: £3

Suitable for all the family aged 5+
Approx. runtime: 45min

Book at www.shoeboxtheatre.org.uk/whatson


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Things to do with your Little Darlings during the Summer Hols!

Have I even got time between running around the house shouting “Pikachu,” and polishing my Minecraft skills to draft this article in time? Yep, take a gulp of wine parents, it’s school summer holidays, again. Take another gulp, it’s forecast to be hot and bothering, heck, give them the whole flipping bottle!

Ease up though, Devizine has bought you a guide of local things to do, which won’t strain your purse too much.

If you send me details of an event or activity I have missed, I can edit this; let’s make a comprehensive guide to everything going on for kids and parents, before they complain they’re bored……the parents that is!


Friday 26th July:

Legally Blonde @ The Wharf Theatre, Devizes

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Mini Fair @ The Rowdey Cow, Devizes

The mini fair is coming to the Rowdey Cow to celebrate the start of the summer holidays- with inflatables, roundabout, hook a duck and football fun and they will be staying with us for a couple of weeks!


End of term disco @ The Cavalier Community Hall, Devizes

5pm – 7:30pm. Admission is FREE, just turn up.

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Saturday July 27th:

Steampunk Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Get creative, take up the gauntlet and sign up for this Steampunk Challenge Workshop! Steampunk inspired refreshments provided. During the workshop, you’ll be making hats, masks and accessories. Bring your own items to upcycle, or let your imagination go wild and make something from scratch; all using our resources! They will provide all resources required.


Bowood’s Summer Garden Party

https://www.bowood.org/whatson/


Sunday 28th July:

Family Fun Day @ Fortune Inn Pub & Chinese Restaurant

https://www.facebook.com/events/295861581331046/


Monday 29th July:

Young Melksham

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Young Melksham’s Summer Holiday Activity afternoons kick off on Monday! So why not come down and join in the fun?! 2pm till 5pm Monday to Friday just £2.50 per session!! For all young people going into year 5 and up! https://www.youngmelksham.org.uk/


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Monday 29th July – Friday 2nd August:

MUSICAL IN A WEEK! @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Whether you were born to be on stage or this is your first step into the limelight, join Felicity Courage for a fantastic five days – jam packed with singing, acting, and dancing – creating a brand-new show-stopping mystery musical. 5 – 14 yrs: £120 child / £110 sibling (five days) Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch.


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This Summer @ Fired Thoughts. Clay Fun Fridays & Ad hoc Saturdays! Call or email, or book online to come and make in clay. Simple projects to get you started or do your own thing. General studio sessions £10 per person per session. Wheel sessions: £22.50 per half hour with 1:1 tuition.


Tuesday 30th July:

Shires Craft, Trowbridge

Pop along to the Shires for fantastic, free crafts. Drop-in 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 3.30. Ages 4+.

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Wessex Water(y) Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Wessex Water provide water to your taps at home and at school. Gillian Smith, Education Adviser will be there to help you create some wonderful watery creations! Please bring your ideas and imagination! Perhaps you would like to make a friendly, fishy mobile to hang in your bedroom? Could you invent a new sea creature? Can you make a diorama to show where the sea creature would live?


Wednesday 31st July:

Free Children’s Boot Camp @ Rowde Playing Field

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Ages 5-16. Reserve your place: rpc.lisayouth@gmail.com


Thursday 1st August:

Kids Summer Sewing for 8-11-year olds @ Franklins, Salisbury.


Friday 2nd August:

Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves!’ outdoor family theatre @ Lacock Abbey


Saturday 3rd August:

Splash Park Grand Opening @ King George Playing Field, Melksham

Free to attend, its beach themed without the sand! Fish & chips, ice cream, deck chairs and water play.. fun for all the family.

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Summer of Fun @ Borough Parade, Chippenham.

Starting Saturday 3rd August and for the following 2 Saturdays at Borough Parade they can enjoy themed family fun for Free from 11am. Why not give our balloon modellers a challenge, have your face painted with your fave character or join in with some of the circus skills on show.


Monday 5th August:

FIDGETY FEET DANCE AND DRAMA @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

9.30AM – 10.20AM / 10.30AM – 11.20AM Join Fidgety Feet for a Pirate and Mermaid themed interactive dance, drama and storytelling workshop. Using props, music and lots of imagination come with us on an exciting journey on and in the high seas. Perfect for little performers! 18 mo – 5 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


Monday 5th – Tuesday 6th August:

NEON DANCE @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM. Join internationally renowned choreographer Adrienne Hart for a two-day contemporary dance course. Morning technique class will be followed by choreography and rehearsal as participants work towards a final showcase. This is a friendly and inclusive course for young dancers to improve their skills. 13 – 18 yrs: £50. Open to all abilities. Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch.


Tuesday 6th August:

A Treasure at Sea for Dragon & Me at Chippenham Library

Dorset & Wilts Fire & Rescue Service story session. Water safety for kids (and dragons!). FREE interactive story time suitable for 4-7-year olds. There will be fun activities and dressing up too! Booking recommended.
https://www.facebook.com/events/856298231403596/


SONGWRITING FOR IMPROVERS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Develop your skills and take your song writing to the next level with songwriter, performer and artist Louise Jordan. 13 – 18 yrs: £15 All instruments welcome but not required


SONGWRITING FOR BEGINNERS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Learn how to write songs and bring your ideas to life with songwriter, performer and artist Louise Jordan. 13 – 18 yrs: £15. Open to all abilities, all instruments welcome but not required.


Tuesday 6th August- Wednesday 7th August:

Dinosaurs and Fossils @ Wiltshire Museum

Art and craft activities for under 11s. There is a different theme each week: Activities to include creating miniature dinosaur lands. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.

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Wednesday 7th August:

Free Children’s Boot Camp @ Rowde Playing Field

Ages 5-16. Reserve your place: rpc.lisayouth@gmail.com


Willy Wonka – Wonderful Wednesday Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre, Bowden Hill.

They’ve got the perfect crafting workshop for you… Willy Wonka inspired Workshop with super Sara, sweets & decorations are the order of the day. Light refreshments served during the workshop.


ANIMATION WORKSHOP @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Create your own stop-frame animation during this fun workshop with film producer and photographer Jamie McDine. You will learn professional film making skills with lots of hands on activities and working within teams you will plan and produce your own stop-motion film! 9 – 14 yrs: £25. Open to all. Bring a packed lunch.


Thursday 8th August:

BEAUTIFUL BUGS & BUTTERFLIES @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 11.30AM Join Chrissie to explore the magical world of creepy crawlies and butterflies through songs, creative art, messy play and a special interactive story. Activities will include making a caterpillar sock puppet, a peg butterfly and junk modelling. 2 – 4 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free. Dress for mess!


BIRDS IN FLIGHT @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Flap your wings and get ready to fly. Come along and make a unique bird mask and wings. Will you choose to be a tame garden bird, an exotic parrot or a soaring eagle? 5 – 7 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision welcome but not required. Dress for mess.


Friday 9th August:

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 11.30AM Join Chrissie on a very messy rainbow journey, explore colour in a variety of ways, using hands and feet, paint and playdough. Sing your way through the morning as you make colourful art to take home. 2 – 4 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free. Dress for mess!


FLAGS AND BUNTING @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

1PM – 3PM. Join Chrissie to make a string of bunting for your bedroom and a rainbow flag for your garden. We will experiment with wax, pens and paints to create special works of art. 5 – 7 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision welcome but not required. Dress for mess.


Saturday 10th August:

Seend Village Fete

Undoubtedly one of the best villages fetes for miles; good family fun!


Summer of Fun @ Borough Parade, Chippenham

Starting Saturday 3rd August and for the following 2 Saturdays at Borough Parade they can enjoy themed family fun for Free from 11am. Why not give our balloon modellers a challenge, have your face painted with your fave character or join in with some of the circus skills on show.


Saturday 10th – 11th August:

Frome Comic Con

https://www.fromecomiccon.com/


Sunday 11th August:

Lark in the Park with Fantasy Radio @ Hillworth Park, Devizes


Monday 12th August:

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A THOUSAND TWANGLING INSTRUMENTS @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Calling all budding musicians, composers, actors and songwriters! Over the course of 3 days, we will put on a Shakespeare play, complete with songs and music written during the course. Work with two experienced professionals to create a unique performance with sound and music. 12 – 21 yrs: £85 Bring a packed lunch.


Monday 12th – Wednesday 14th August:

Create a play in a week! Summer Schools for ages 4-10 @ The Shoebox Theatre, Swindon

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Our drama summer schools are designed to support your child in their creative development. We introduce children to interesting stories, characters and text in an imaginative and fun way. As well as developing their performance skills, students will learn to work with others, build confidence and improve their communication skills.

At the start of the week our two groups (ages 4-6 and ages 7-10) will choose a classic children’s story to bring to life and will then spend the week creating their very own version including the performance, masks and props!

On the final day, we’ll invite friends and family to come and see the final show! Expect a week of learning, friend making, creativity and fun!

All our Teachers are Drama School or University educated and undergo enhanced DBS checks.

When: Monday 12th – Friday 16th of August, 9am-3pm
Cost: £125: https://www.shoeboxtheatre.org.uk/summerschool


DEVISING DRAMA @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Join Beth for an imaginative three days, devising from a variety of different stimuli, developing drama skills, making new friends and creating your very own show. Join us for a brilliant, busy three days of fun! 6 – 11 yrs, £60. Dress for movement / Bring a packed lunch


Tuesday 13th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


JUNGLE FEVER – SQUAWK, RATTLE AND ROAR@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 1.30PM Come and spend a morning making a range of simple instruments with Dave King to create your own Jungle Orchestra to play and take home! Learn how sound is produced using everyday materials and discover the amazing properties of bamboo, the world’s most sustainable plant. 8 – 13 yrs, £18


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Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th August:

Ancient Greek Mythology @ Wiltshire Museum

Activities to include golden head dresses and painting terracotta dishes with mythological designs. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.


Thursday 15th August:

A Musical Zoo! @ Marden House, Calne or Trowbridge Town Hall

Music for Miniatures host concerts for kids, Join them for a musical journey to the zoo and more, with music from oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bass clarinet and piano. Bring your cuddly animals along too, or dress up as an animal! A lively morning of amazing live classical music for you and your little one. Tickets available online or on the door.


Friday 16th August:

LITTLE PICCOLOS@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

9.30AM – 10.20AM. Music Classes specifically designed to make music accessible for younger children. Each session is full of singing, playing instruments, and are entirely acoustic. 1 – 6 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


THE YOGA PATCH@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10.30AM – 11.20AM Yoga comes to life in these fun and creative classes designed to stimulate younger children’s growing curiosity. We use playful yoga poses, animated breathing exercises and imaginative relaxation techniques, to help enhance language development, motor coordination and play skills. 2 – 6 yrs: £7 child / £2 adult. Supervision required, babes in arms attend for free.


Saturday 17th August:

Pirate Family Fun Day @ The Borough Parade & Chippenham Museum

If you’ve a little scallywag then make sure you bring them along on Saturday 17th August for some Pirate themed fun at Borough Parade. The fabulous Clare’s Circus are back with their incredible face painting creations, balloon modelling madness and unbelievable interactive circus skills. The lovely staff at Waterstones have confirmed they’ll also be running storytelling and activities that day to add to the holiday fun. Will you find the treasure or will you be made to walk the plank?
All the activities happening at Borough Parade are FREE and are funded by the generosity of our stores as part of our community engagement scheme.
There will also be lots more swashbuckling activities happening throughout the town thanks to Chippenham Town Council.

Pirate Family Fun Day


Warminster Medieval Fair

This free entry event will bring the medieval times to the historical town of Warminster with knightly combat, living history and historical education. There will also be live acoustic music contemporary to the era, storytelling and falconry as well as a folk market. Living history tents will demonstrate skills and replica items to immerse you into the medieval mindset and lifestyle. https://www.facebook.com/events/309398803255677/


The Hall Family Day, Bradford on Avon

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-hall-family-day-tickets-64958988082


Glow in the Park: Longleat

https://www.longleat.co.uk/whats-on/glow-in-the-park


Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August:

Outdoor Adventure Weekend- Climbing Wall @ Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock

A selection of activities including archery, axe throwing and an 8-metre climbing wall. Experienced instructors are on hand at each event to assist you and all equipment is provided.


Sunday 18th August:

Picnic in the Park @ Hilworth, Devizes


Trowbridge Soapbox Derby

https://www.facebook.com/events/2457145290997609/


Miss Squire at Home @ Sevington Victorian School, Chippenham

http://www.sevingtonvictorianschool.co.uk
Wiltshire’s best kept secret. Homemade afternoon tea, children’s activities and free tours of the school. Admission per head: Adults £2 , Children £1 Family ticket £5


Monday 19th August:

The Fulltone Music School: Summer Holidays Musical Theatre Workshop, Potterne

A fantastic 4-day course on musical theatre for age 11 and up. Learning stagecraft, singing techniques, singing in harmony and singing a selection of fantastic musical theatre songs culminating in a SHOWCASE on the Thursday evening at 5pm! It will be a FANTASTIC few days! £100 email jemmaroberts@hotmail.com to book!


SINGING DAY WITH KATE COURAGE @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Come and sing for a whole day! Learn new songs, make new friends and develop your voice and singing techniques. We will perform a concert at the end of the day of everything we have learned. We will try out new warm-ups, work on performance skills and sing in harmony. 8 – 14 yrs, £25. Open to all abilities. Bring a packed lunch.


Tuesday 20th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


MYTHICAL STORIES WITH MICHAEL LOADER@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM – 3PM Join Michael Loader for an exciting workshop where you will hear and tell stories, play drama games, create theatre and make music. Bring your ideas, enthusiasm and imagination to put into your own creative performance! 7 – 11 yrs, £20. Costumes and instruments provided but you are welcome to bring your own. Bring a packed lunch.


Dinosaur Roar! Story and craft session @ Chippenham Library

Suitable for ages 4-7. Tickets £1.50 for library members and £2 for non-members. Please book at the library desk.


Tuesday 20th & Wednesday 21st August:

Summer Textiles and Craft @ Wiltshire Museum

Activities to include painting fabric bags with summer designs and mini sun and flower design rag rugs. Two sessions per day: 11am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm. Booking essential as there are limited places. £5 per child. Under 8s to be accompanied by an adult please.


Wednesday 21st August:

Let’s Go Fly a Kite Wonder Wednesday Workshop @ Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre

Do you want to experience a truly Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious workshop? Then come and join this Mary Poppins inspired workshop, and make your own kite from all our lovely Scrapstore resources. Light refreshments served during the workshop.


ROCK THE TOTS – SUMMER PARTY! @ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

Gigs for little people… and their grown-ups! With music, puppets, percussion and stories, you and your little one will have a blast. After lots of fun music events across Wiltshire in 2019, this is Rock The Tot’s big summer gig, where all our songs will have a summer theme! 0 – 5 yrs, £7 child / £3 adult. Babes in arms attend for free.


August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet.

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


Thursday 22nd -Friday 23rd August:

REVINYL SESSIONS@ Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon

10AM-3PM Calling all secret bedroom DJs! Hit the decks and learn from industry professionals in this two-day session perfect for beginners. Revinyl Sessions are here to share their love of music and DJing. 13 – 19 yrs, £50.


Sunday 25th August:

Devizes International Street Festival, The Green


Stompers Juniors: Juniors in The Jungle! @ Venom nightclub, Westbury

A Magical rave experience for the whole family in a safe, fun & friendly environment. With DJs Dougal, Miss Special K, Andy Demize, Slic and MCs 3man & Restless.


Children’s Treasure Hunt @ Swindon & Cricklade Railway

An easy day for the kids- spot 30 little engines around the railway and win a prize. https://www.facebook.com/events/1905855732797531/


Monday 26th August:
Devizes International Street Festival, The Market Place


Tuesday 27th August:

August Children’s Holiday Clubs @ The Farm Cookery School, Netherstreet.

We run Children’s holiday clubs throughout August for ages: 5+, 7-9, 8+ & 11+. Every week is a different cooking theme with Mexican, British & Greek food. These are great classes for kids to learn new skills and have lots of fun. Please see our website for more details: https://thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk/childrens-holiday-clubs/


Thursday 29th August:

Salisbury Forest School Holiday Club: for children aged 7-11

Forest School holiday club includes nature-themed activity sessions run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust staff. Activities include: Bird watching- Woodworking- Nature discovery trail- Pond dipping. Cost: £20 per child. Drop off: 8:30amPick up: 5:30pm Children will need to bring a packed lunch/snacks for the day. Please make sure your child comes with the appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. Upon completion of booking an email will be sent to you with Parental Consent form, which must be completed prior to final confirmation. This reserve can be hard to find, so please look at directions before travelling and leave with plenty of time. More information on the reserve and directions can be found here. To book, please contact events@wiltshirewildlife.org or 01380 829070 or book online.


Friday 30th August:

First Aid Training for Children @ Marlborough Rugby Club

Do you want your children to have the confidence to step forward and save a life?

Then book them onto one of my first aid courses on Friday 30th August at Marlborough rugby club. These sessions are fun and practical and teaches them how to save your life, while you enjoy a well earned break in the shops and cafes of Marlborough, or catch up on some admin!

🔹️5-9 year olds at 1030am-12 noon – £18 (£15 for siblings)
🔹️10-14 year olds at 1230-230pm – £24 (£20 for siblings)

Price includes certificate, handout and refreshments.

Details and online booking at https://www.facebook.com/events/440730396483621/


Saturday August 31st:
Devizes Confetti Battle

Little introduction needed for this one, but The Confetti Battle takes place at the finish line of the new Colour Rush 5km route, so expect to see some exceptionally colourful visitors in the crowd.

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Last year saw the introduction of a token system where you can buy tokens to exchange for the confetti before the event, they’ll use the same system again this year. The token stand will be outside the Corn Exchange. Swap your tokens for confetti at the tables near to the front of Times Square. Keep your eyes peeled when collecting your confetti as one lucky person will receive a Golden Ticket in a confetti bag, info about the prize will be announced soon.

Jennings fairground will be in the Market Place on until 11.00pm


Melksham Food and River Festival 2019

The Melksham Food and River Festival is organised by the Festival Committee with support from the Melksham, Calne & Chippenham Branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and the Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club. The Festival seeks to provide a platform for local food and drink producers, community groups, local entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.
Come and visit us during the weekend 31st August – 1st September 2019 entry is FREE and after browsing the stalls and indulging in some retail therapy, you can relax and enjoy al-fresco locally produced food and drink, whilst listening to the live music and watching the boats on the river.


Sunday September 8th:

Children’s Proms in the Park @ Hillworth Park, Devizes

This is a free, family friendly event supported by Devizes Town Council. 2pm-4pm.
Singalong with Devizes Town Band at their annual hugely successful Children’s Proms event as they delight with film and TV themes from past and present; dressing up essential!

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Various Dates Throughout the Holiday!

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Wiltshire Council’s Camp Active

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Summer Fun Activities @ The Neeld, Chippenham

This summer, the Neeld Community and Arts Centre will be offering fun circus skills sessions with Clare’s Circus!
There will be lots of exciting activities for children, and parents will be very welcome to join in with the fun and games! Clare’s Circus can teach you to juggle, you can learn tricks with spinning plates and diabolo and there will be stilt walking and pedal go’s, as well as soft play for the little ones and a tightwire for thrill seekers.
In addition, there will be a great craft making table and the chance to make balloon animals with Mr Twister, the best balloon twister this side of the River Avon! Child (Under 16) £5 Free entry for accompanying adults: http://www.neeld.co.uk/whats-on/summer-fun-activities.


Active Trowbridge @ King George Playing Fields, Melksham

Each Wednesday Active Trowbridge will be in the park with activities, sports and bouncy castles!


Jurassic Farm @ Roves Farm, Swindon

Fire up your imagination on a Roves Farm tractor ride this summer. We’ve got three fun and interactive themed events that the whole family will enjoy, including our Jurassic Farm safari!
Join the Roves Farm ranger as we take a tractor safari through our very own dinosaur territories. We’ll be trying to detect and even discover a brand-new species of dinosaur as we go… What will we find?
Meanwhile back at the farm there’s a whole day of hands-on farm activities to keep you busy including; egg collecting, meet the animals, feed the goats, animal racing and lots more!

https://rovesfarm.co.uk/whats-on/


Family Fun Coaching @ Sleight Valley Golf Range

Family coaching with our Golf Coach is free but you will need to purchase the range balls you use; these start at £4.75 for 50 balls. club hire is free. There is no need to book just turn up.
Our Homefield Cafe will be open so pop in for something to eat and drink while you are here. For more details call 01380 729053. THURS 1st 10:00 – 12:00, FRI 9th 10:00 – 12:00, WED 14th 10:00 – 12:00, WED 21st 10:00 – 12:00, WED 28th.


Wiltshire Scrapstore & Resource Centre: Holiday Art Club

Scrap Modelling at its finest! Bring your mini-Monet’s along to these popular Holiday Art Clubs, and teach them the importance of reducing and reusing our waste; all whilst having lots of fun using the scrap resources! Each session is run by a qualified trainer. Find out more about them here: https://www.wiltshirescrapstore.org.uk/press-media/?v=79cba1185463


Australian Summer @ Longleat, Warminster

20th July – 2nd September
https://www.longleat.co.uk/whats-on/an-australian-summer


Devizes Marina

Looking for something to do over the school holidays that’s a bit different? Why not take our day boat out for the day? Up to 8 people (and a dog) can be aboard for a day exploring the Kennet & Avon Canal. Find out more at http://www.devizesmarina.com


Trowbridge Museum

Has a number of events, activities and workshops taking place over the summer holidays. This summer they take the “Museum on The Move” as they decamp to the Shires for a crafty day, spend a couple of days in the Sensory Garden on their Archaeological Dig, visit Salisbury’s Rifles Museum for some WW2 activities and put on a Summer School of craft demonstrations, local history and more at Trowbridge Town Hall.
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th July, 11am – 3pm: Archaeological Dig in the Sensory Garden
If you’ve ever wondered what lies underneath the Sensory Garden, now is the chance to find out because we are going to dig several large holes to find out. Come along to our archaeological dig and see what treasures we unearth! Suitable for all the family.

WW2 at the Rifles Museum, Salisbury
Come and join us for three days of WW2-themed activities in the beautiful gardens of the Rifles Museum. There’ll be challenges, crafts and dressing up, with something different each day. You can drop in between 11am and 3pm.
Wed 7th August: Rifles
Wed 14th August: Rifles
Wed 21st August: Rifles
Fri 9th August, 2pm: Strange Stroll (Family History Guided Walk)
Discover the weird world of the woollen trade; £2 per person, Ages 7+, children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Walks starts outside Mastershoe.


Town Hall Summer School, Trowbrigde

Trowbridge Museum are working with Town Hall Arts to bring you a summer of art, craft, history, fun and (war) games. Together with our volunteers we’ll be demonstrating a diverse range of art and crafts, putting on some challenging Mouse Hunts, sharing the secrets of Napoleonic war gaming and revealing some snippets of the town’s history. These drop-in activities are free but a donation would be really appreciated – give a little or a lot – it’s up to you!
Mon 29th July, 11am – 3pm: Stick weaving
Wed 31st July, 11am – 3pm: Printmaking
Thu 1st Aug, 11am – 3pm: Felting
Fri 2nd August, 11am – 3pm: Printmaking
Mon 5th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Mouse Hunt
Tue 6th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Fri 9th August, 11am – 3pm: War Gaming Demonstration
Mon 12th August, 11am – 3pm: Crochet
Wed 14th August, 10am – 12pm: Weaving
Mon 19th August, 11am – 3pm: Mouse Hunt
Tue 20th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Wed 21st August, 11am – 3pm: Trowbridge Postcards & Photos
Wed 28th August, 11am – 3pm: Trowbridge Postcards & Photos
Thu 29th Aug, 11am – 3pm: Willow Weaving
Fri 30th August, 11am – 3pm: Felting


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We see Same Days

Extensively featuring Devizine’s friend, Finely Trusler, half of Larkin and The Truzzy Boys, a new single from Same Days, a twenty-year-old London born Swindon performer is out for streaming today. Real name, David Whelpdale is cousins with Fin. He’s built an audience since a debut single in April, trying his hand at producing too. With Funked Up Dad, Martin, and Fin’s other cousin, Harvey, making up the other half of The Truzzy Boys, I had to ask Fin if he has any non-musical relations.

“Not many, mate!” was his answer, simple but to the point. Though this is something altogether different, as Same Days adopts that prevalent merger of singing with rap, popularised by the likes of R. Kelly. Yeah, alright, I’d need to speak to my daughter for more present comparisons! Still, old fart or not, I like it; “You See Me” offers a smooth and confident rap which oozes in and out of adroit boyband vocals. With natural ease this slick contemporary composition lustres authenticity with Fin’s acoustic component, harmoniously breathing air away from any unethical stereotype of rap fuddy-duddies may wrongfully spurt!

The accompanying video also assists with this acoustic measure, taking to the woods and other natural landscapes for locations rather than the banal urban scene. See for yourself, and all the best with it guys!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Big Yellow Bus Project Comes to Swindon

In 2017 truck driver Gerry Watkins raised four grand to buy a double-decker bus which he converted it into a homeless shelter in Cirencester. The project was hailed a success and received media support, and live music fundraisers. With the Cirencester bus now fully refurbished with bed compartments containing timber-framed bunk beds, eating and kitchen areas with a wood-burner, Gerry vowed to bring the concept to other areas in the south west.

Today, he’s proud to bring the idea to Swindon, with a new bus in need of renovation. “I know Swindon needs more than just one bus, but this is a start,” he said.

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Such an inspiring DIY story shows the individual can make a difference, yet Gerry is keen to add, “the whole project relies on the sheer kindness of the community and fundraising events to raise funds to purchase materials.” After a campaign to local businesses, Gerry wanted to purchase the bus for £2,900, and told BBC News, “it’s in pretty good condition for the money I paid for it.”

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In March Charles Martell, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire paid The Big Yellow Bus Project a visit along with a longstanding supporter, Lady Bathurst, to present a cheque for £500. But the funding needs to continue. A variety of events have been arranged in the past to do just that, from seaside coach trips to bingo and raffle nights, fund raisers have also included some great punk and ska nights in Cirencester and Stroud, with the backing of local bands such as The Strays, Shaggy Dog Raconteurs, Train to Skaville, Ska-Bucks, Sugar Motown and Plucking Different. Here’s hoping the support will be continued in this new project.

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All the work carried out for the previous project was checked by the relevant authority and any homeless person using the bus must be signed up to a rehabilitation course. Gerry also hopes to set up training courses to help the homeless get back into work. We wish Gerry all the best with this outstanding contribution to a growing problem in the South West, please, if you can, show some support for this inspirational project, here.

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© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


 

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Two Family Friendly Festivals in Swindon

If family-friendly festivals these days are two-to-a-penny, and you pop with the kids, like you are a kid, one thing is certain, and cool, you don’t gotta trek miles to catch one. Swindon has two upcoming I’d like to mention, if I may?

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Firstly, a massive congratulations to Talk in Code, Swindon’s own indie-pop outfit rising to fame through excellence and dedication, we will be hearing a lot more from them methinks. They open the main stage at M is for Festival in Lydiard Park on 27th July. Alongside a plethora of contemporary pop acts such as Years and Years, Ella Eyre, HRVY, Becky Hill, Phats & Small, Jahmene Douglas and another BBC Music Introducing in the West upcoming band, She Makes War. Oh, not forgetting Top Loader will be dancing in the moonlight.

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Tickets start at thirty quid, under fives go free, which isn’t half bad for such a grand line up, in such a nice setting too.

But if you’re all like Phats and who now, or years and years too far back, you could rustle up some hairspray and don your old leg warmers for Red Sky Promotions may just have the family festival for you, like as early as next week; I don’t think I’ll find my diddy-boppers in time, they’re in the loft somewhere.

Eighties fans, who isn’t? Bookmark 29th June, and grab a ticket for The Back to the Eighties Festival at the Old Town Bowl, in Old Town Gardens.

Throughout the day until 6pm all kids can have festive fun with everything from hair braiding, 80’s neon face paints and glitter designs, hair sparkles and hair chalk colouring, temporary transfer and glitter tattoos to neon nails and more, free of charge. Relax, you’ll even get to create your own T-shirt memento of the day.

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There will be stalls, food, drink and a host of other activities to accompany the musical time machine that the festival promises to be.

The day offers a range of 80’s music delivered in unique ways; opening with Sonore String Quartet rendering classic songs into lush classical sounds, 80:Three deliver two sets of pop gems, Emily-Jane Sheppard will bring her solo singer-guitarist set of classic covers and the headline act is the awesome Ghetto Blasters, a lively brass ensemble popping and rocking their way through the decade. DJ’s will be spinning all the tunes you love from the era; big chart favourites to half-forgotten gems will play between the main acts.

Your ZX Spectrum may not load this page, but tickets are here; £25 for adults, £15 for the nippers, and a price range for groups of four or more. Wham!

 

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