2014 was a vintage year for music, local and for me getting out of Wiltshire a little! So here’s my favourite shows that I put on and why…
5. White Knuckle Bride, Corn Exchange, Devizes. Saturday 30th March – White Knuckle Bride were performing their last show, little did we know. Prior to the event, the whole scene came together to put on a great gig. Main room, effectively sold out show and frankly an excellent head line slot!
4. New Model Army, Corn Exchange, Devizes. Friday 21st June – Incredible PA, ridiculous volume, amazing band, packed audience. This show was everything Devizes and the Corn Exchange CAN be. An atmosphere second to none, receptive audience and a belter of a gig!
3. That Fucking Tank, Bell By The Green, Devizes. Friday 12th July – I had wanted this band for yeeeeeeears, they finally came as a warm up to 2000 Trees Festival, and I managed to for fill a dream! A rare show that I had to charge at, was still well attended. The band performed without any PA and just rocked it. Simple as.
2. CHRIS T-T, The Lamb, Devizes. Friday 20th December – Such a great end to the year, the ever lovely Chris came and played a faultless set, to a busy, expectant crowd. There was jokes, there was an open log fire, there was friends a plenty, great support acts and I’ve never felt so good at one of my gigs, this was it!
1. GNARWOLVES, Corn Exchange, Devizes. Monday 9th December – OK so I lost £200, but what a way to lose £200. I could of actually spent the money on hitting the road, staying in a hotel and getting pissed up else where, without having any of the worry of actually organising a gig myself, but where would have been the fun in that?
Gnarwolves SMASHED it, Devizes was for the briefest of moments, the coolest place in Wiltshire, and we all had a good sing-a-long! My own stand out gig of the year!
So, without even considering it, my top 5 shows, featured 3 from the Corn Exchange, I really didn’t expect that! The Bell managed to creep in, but we still know that the home of good local music, national touring acts and atmosphere is….. The Lamb, right? Right. Right!
The best shows I went to were mainly festivals, but here goes…
5. Frank Turner, Academy, Bristol – Back in March, or April old Mr Turner toured, and I managed to get myself invited to hook up with his FOH engineer, Graham. A guy I had met in passing but never really got chatting to. I was there to talk gear, I ended up watching a soundcheck and learning a great deal, from a great man! The show, well it was everything you’ve come to expect from a Turner show, sing-a-longs, punch drunk, punk rock, dancing, energy the works. And lots and lots of friends and family!
4. Future Of The Left, Bournemouth – The day after the band had played Heaven to 900 people, they came to 60 Million Postcards and played to 80 – 100. Little did that stop them making a glorious noise! The ever so important atmosphere was there, that Falco requires to really let loose, and that he did. No real stage or audience definition meant half the band played in half the audience at anyone given time, always a good sign of a great show.
3. 2000 Trees Festival, Gloucester. – I only went for the Thursday night, pre festival set of gigs, since I had TFT in Devizes on the Friday night, but even that was enough to secure a place in my top 5! What a festival, an amazing bunch of organisers AND it won a much deserved award this year! Frank’s solo Love Ire & Song set was magic, FOTL were a messy cacophony of noise, The Xcerts were alt pop brilliance, the hot chili food flowed, as did the beer, oh and my kids enjoyed their first festival too! They got to see Frank in his proper electric set too! Mint!
2. JETPLANE LANDING, LEXINGTON, LONDON – For what ever reason, I managed to miss tickets for their tour, but just about managed to work my way onto a guest list. A glory was their return to the live circuit! Old songs, new songs, sing-a-longs, Cahir in his right place, I hadn’t seen Jamie since their penultimate show before the hiatus, and Andrew. Wonderful, inspiring Andrew. The band filmed the show, and made a video for the stand out track from their album, you can see that here.
1. CUT THE TRANSMISSION, DERRY, IRELAND. – Home of my favourite label, and bunch of musical friends, Small Town America. Last ever Fighting With Wire show. My first La Faro experience. First time visiting Ireland. City Of Culture. Guinness. Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls. Basically no other gig came close, and 2000 Trees won an award!!
Here’s to 2014, and whatever it has in store for us!
We’ve been mega busy in Devizes, and it’s flown by in what seems like a blink an eye, but for what it’s worth, here’s my quick round up!
We went through an Autumn slew of shows, which featured a lot of the peripheral acts from the scene I love most – We had Retrospective Soundtrack Players kicking us off at the end of October, in fine, rather modest style – A well attended show with a great performance!
Beans On Toast followed shortly after, which is always a great gig, but really good for me to get more of the gossip from what’s going on else where with other friends! Turned out the Salisbury show on that tour, was rather naff.
Andy Oliveri continued our strong series of gigs, and he played a blinder, with his backing vocalist and g/d of Jim Locky & Solemn Sun tour manager / bassist Phil. Was great to get more of these people from the wider scene into Devizes – That night was backed up from Henry Green too, who stole the show!
Gaz Brookfield brought the penultimate show of this programme to an end, stuffing the venue to bursting point, and he managed to bring with him Joe McCorriston too, another guy I was more than happy to have! This gig was extra special, as we managed to have Ellen Cox AND Mark McCabe in there too – That is definitely going to be a show that we look back at and go, “Wow, they were all there on the same bill, crazy!”
Finally Dave Hughes bought what I thought was going to be an acoustic set, electrically – but actually proved a fitting finale to that run of shows and again, was an absolute pleasure to work on, watch and hang out with!
Thus ended probably our most consistent run of gigs ever!
December kicked off with “Rockxegyn Thief” the Oxygen Thief full band show, which actually counted member of the previously mentioned Retrospective Soundtrack Players in their ranks. I can now count half the members of that band, off my list. Swindon proving that it too can come up with the goods, even on a Wednesday night!
Finally it all boiled down to last nights gig with GNAWOLVES at the Corn Exchange. Again, another unashamedly successful night! Well attended, sounded ace, good bands, people and atmosphere!
The fear of the new electric system was dealt with easily, though having to get everything PAT tested, wasn’t just a ball ache, but expensive too! Though the curse of the venue did strike again, as it’s bloody expensive hire costs, and security demands means I actually walked away with a £200 loss. Still the band got paid, had an absolute riot and want to work with us again, so wins all round – and perhaps I’ll make that loss up at some point!
SO looking forward to 2014?
We open next years programme, with another act from my preferred underground scene – B SYDES. aka Benjamin Sydes, this dude is a friend of friends and really deserves a show in our venue (The Lamb) support comes from Bath’s Georgie Vale – who hasn’t been back for a while, and recent newie to me, Kirsty Clinch. Opening the night will be Mike Barham from Old Crows, who has returned to Devizes after finished Uni! Welcome back Mike! Look forward to your first solo set!
Further down the line I have a similar sized punk show for the Corn Exchange, a gig in a Church to be announced (St Mary’s), perhaps a Mr B show (or two) and I want to bring Gnarwolves back to the area, and I want to redesign the website too, so plenty to look forward to, BUT ALL OF THIS MATTERS NOT, if you don’t come to our Xmas and Final show of the year –
CHRIS T-T @ The Lamb, Friday 20th December – Facebook over there>> https://www.facebook.com/events/469489329832472/?ref=ts&fref=ts
You can read what Chris thinks of the gig here, and see his own words about a “Special Guest” over on our sister site, ColourOfVinyl – http://thecolourofvinyl.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/a-conversation-with-chris-t-t/ – We don’t know who the guest is, but Chris has recently had people like Jim Bob from Carter USM as a guest, so whoever it is, it’s guaranteed to be very special indeed!
Thanks one and all for your support over the past year, it’s been one of the best,
Ben Marwood has a new album out, and I love it – Here’s why.
It’s not because he comes from my family home town of Reading, or that we met through a mutual appreciation of the band Jetplane Landing, or that we took that “meet someone off the internet” risk, which panned out nicely, rather than a bloody and viscous death rape.
No, I love Ben, because from the first instant I heard his music, I believed in it.
Listening back to the first EP I heard, his second “Give Up“, I’m still struck that this songwriter, appears to be writing songs straight from my own heart. I literally felt like, YES! I’ve Felt Like THAT, or I Believe That! (and listening back now, and comparing with the new album, his voice has improved too)
His honesty, not only in his music, but when we spoke about stuff was always genuine, it was like meeting a musical kindred spirit.
It was exactly all that, that led me to invite Ben to perform on a bill with Small Town America‘s (STA) indie-Scot’s Fickle Public in Devizes. STA are a label run by the previously mentioned Jetplane Landing.
I loved how even in his early stages still, Ben had a dedicated fan base, who would travel long distances to watch him – one such fan, Jacqui Sadler, actually filmed his performance and gave me a copy. These days were my formative promotion days too, at only my 4th or 5th gig, I was already meeting all kinds of good and honest person, the kind of people that help foster and inspire my love for putting on live music.
To this end, I grabbed the first chance I could, to give Ben a significant support slot – Opening for personal favourite musician, Frank Turner. Frank was similar to me in a sense that I related to, or was inspired by his style, his words and his whole genuine approach.
Ben and Frank hit it off right away. A few more supports for me down the line, and they are firm friends. Frank actually wrote a song called PASS IT ALONG, in which he name checks Ben and states “Here’s to the ones, who have to take the stage,and sing the truth”. Frank clearly saw what I saw, and had a much better way of expressing it. I can only express it, by my love for that song and Ben’s own music.
Other people saw it too, and Ben has since got the title of nicest man in music, a thoroughly deserved one. The only reason Mr Grohl has the edge, is because his fans haven’t met Ben.
Fast forward a few years, and Ben’s on his 2nd full length. He’s played some amazing shows, toured some fantastic tours and seen some incredible sights. He’s been able to release music he believed in, bringing Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief and Jim Lockey to my attention. Two further acts I’ve since fell in love with and given shows to.
His new album BACK DOWN, for me is some of his best and most important music, the culmination of nearly 9 years work – which has seen Ben perform over a dozen times for me in Devizes alone.
I don’t need to waste too much time telling you it’s an album really worth checking out. The sleeve notes did that within 30 seconds, stating that he canned the first batch of songs. Literally nothing short of brilliance made it through.
It comes in under 40 minutes too, another sure fire sign of quality. It flies past and you instantly hit play again. It has comedic moments and some dark bits, chucking in some glockenspiel and pedal steel guitar for giggles too. It’s the sound of someone having fun and making music, and frankly, It Rocks.
10/10. Sheer Music.
Here’s a nostalgic video of my first Lamb shows (The room has changed A LOT since!)
1) First business of order, Friday nights shit hot punk / metal show at The Bell. It was a long time coming, but Roads To Nowhere finally played town again, even with a new line up, they absolutely nailed it. Circle pits and walls of death all round. Well done.
Orcryst opened that show to much the same crowd participation straight from the off! A big shout out to their drummer for playing the best set I’;ve seen him play. Taught and professional – he really looked like he was pushing himself, and having fun.
Had Deliverence, played a different bill or to a more rock crowd, I believe their almost LostAlone style riffs would of impressed anyone – I was certainly impressed with the slightly new direction!
It was left to BROKEN JAW to finish the show, and they turned an already happy, bouncy crowd into a Fucking PARTY. Front man, with a wireless mic – often an over indulgence in such a small venue, was put to good effect with him standing, and sitting on tables all over the room, sitting perched a top chairs on tables, in fact climbing anything that he could muster. He even stripped down to the bare essentials and got the crowd to put money in his briefs. I shit you not – this one was superb performance.
The only thing that band lack is a studio recording, and I’m telling you now, that début is going to Rock.
2) OK in other news, three time scene hitter and friend Mr Francis Turner who was looking to #BurstTheBuble with his 5th studio album and reach the top of the album charts on Sunday, didn’t quite manage top spot, but he did Smash Will.I.Am into second space!
My sincere congratulations Frank, I doubt anyone in the industry deserves the rewards as much as you!
3) There is a new Facebook group, entitled >Wiltshire Music Scene<, and can be used to advertise gigs, wanted band members – or members for sale, gear, meet ups – what ever – If it’s musical and it’s Wiltshire – Dive Right In!
That’s all I got for now… gah!
Right now there is the huge battle of, modest independent record label who dared to dream, fighting the commercial freight train and middle aged women pant wetter of, The Man – playing right out in the UK album charts.
Xtra Miles FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS are a mere 1 spot off the top of the album charts, directly behind Michael Buble. Frank is even kicking the arse off Will.I.Am, who also had an album out this week, apparently.
Fucking have some of that major label budget, buy-your-place on comedy guest panels and ex-manufactured pop band types. This even shits all over the album leak, last week.
The record buying public do still have the ability to gate crash what ever determines a sale these days, so if there is only one record you buy with you hard earned cash, make sure it’s TAPE DECK HEART. You can pick up this immaculate, generational album from Amazon for £4.99, >HERE< only available until Sunday – and make sure Frank, Insists On The Impossible, and scores a massive one for the UK underground.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, you can watch Frank Turner perform, free of charge, in the comfort of your own home TONIGHT, by simply subscribing to his Youtube channel – youtube.com/frankturner – where his show at London’s Forum will be streamed live.
Join in the fun on Twitter with the hash tag
JAY Macallister, aka BEANS ON TOAST has just released a brand new video for Beer & a Burger, the 2nd or 3rd track to be lifted from his new album, Fishing for a Thank You.
Jay will be touring the UK throughout April and May, including two stops in the Southwest for us at Sheer. One at Bath Moles Club on Thursday 16th May and the other, Friday 17th @ The Victoria in Swindon.
But if you’re a poor, broke student, perhaps a trip to a free entry Moles Club and their Stereo Types night would be in order instead? That show comes with support from Oxygen Thief. >Facepage<
HOW EVER, it’s not all good news… Jay has had to pull out of the Devizes showcase gig. 2nd year running I’ve lost my head liner and For The Same Reason. Last year Thought Forms went and toured the US with the UK’s pioneers of trip hop, Portishead, and this year Jay is opening up for none other than Sheer Favourite FRANK TURNER.
We wish him all the best, and will find some one just as rad to fill his boots!
20th April – MARGATE – The Bracket
30th April – CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms
16th May – BATH – Moles w/ Oxyegn Thief
17th May – SWINDON – Victoria w/ Oxygen Thief + Ellen Cox + Jimmy Moore
21st May – HULL – The Fruit
22nd May – SOUTHAMPTON – Joiners
23rd May – YORK – Fibbers
24th May – MANCHESTER – Dot to Dot
25th May – BRISTOL – Dot to Dot
26th May – NOTTINGHAM – Dot to Dot
Tour of USA: w/ Frank Turner
1st June – Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
4th June – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
6th June – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head Live
7th June – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
8th June – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
9th June – Columbus, OH – The Basement
10th June – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
14th June – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe
Glastonbury / Blissfields / Beatherder
2000 Trees / Lounge on the Farm / Secret Garden Party
Frolic Festival / Boomtown Fair