It was to my complete surprise and awe to find in this months OCELOT magazine, a wonderful feature on SHEER MUSIC.
Gig Monkey aka Ed Dyer has taken the trouble to write a lengthy piece praising our hard work for the past decade, which can be found on page 52 of Novembers issue. I won’t ruin it for you, so go have a read!
Earlier in the issue, on page 49, is an excellent live review of our Crazy Arm show at The Lamb in Devizes, back in September – written by recent Sheer recruit, Rob Escott. Rob now has his hand firmly in with the Ocelotters, so we’re going to see more of his work. We’re also going to hear more of Rob, as he trots out a weekly radio session, every Wednesday on Melksham Town Sound, between 8 and 9pm, playing his favourite punk rock. There will be a short segment each week dedicated to “Sheers Suggestion” where I pick something, typically from an up and coming local show to wrap your ears around. Cheers Ocelot, cheers Rob!
Even further back in the issue on page 42, there’s a preview of the GNARWOLVES show in December. Andy gives the band a brief introduction, which I admit looks good on paper (Punktastic’s ones to watch for 2012), as well as naming all the supports – That’s what I love about the Ocelot, they cover everyone, no one gets left behind!
ALSO in the magazine, column space is given to kind of Devizes / Avebury / Swindon / Bristol / Anywhere based singer song writer TAMSIN WHINTON. We like Tamsin in Devizes. We had the privilege of providing her with her first show, offering her some great slots and I even recorded her first demo. It’s great to see that the rest of Wiltshire agrees! Catch her live, she’s always about, and making it further and further away all the time. (my personal preferred measure of success – How far can you get away from your home town!)
So, much love and respect to The Ocelot, our only dedicated music fanzine. They are wonderfully supportive of the whole of Wiltshire’s music scene, and as proved by my Beans On Toast show, they make a massive difference!
There are many bands and musicians “from Devizes” that I’m immensely proud of, and like children, you shouldn’t have a favourite.
But if I had to save one band from a burning house fire, it would probably be BITE THE BUFFALO.
These two lads have never done anything without a walloping wide smile on their face and are always a pleasure to work with, or even better, to drink and hang out with.
Saturday 31st August, Ed Dyer aka Ocelot’s Gig Monkey, is putting the band on at The Vic in Swindon, tickets are £5 advance from SeeTickets or direct from behind the bar.
A party from Devizes is being organised (message me for more details) we’re going to get mashed and have a party.
I’ve just stumbled across an interesting read on a Facebook page entitled, the Devizes Debate, where some locals have started talking about the music scene in Devizes.
Some lovely supporting comments made from friends of mine, but interestingly as an organiser, PA hirer, stage manager and promoter for 300+ gigs in past 9 years, point of view, it was the comments about “lack of knowledge” of the local scene which struck me the most.
Let me tell you a very brief story – Back in 2011 I put on local blues legend, Jon Amor, at The Lamb in Devizes. The poster designed for the show was of Sardines in a can, and represented the fact the venue is so busy on gigs nights, we are crammed in like Sardines.
I stood at the front of the show, room full of people, and over the PA I shout “DID ANYONE SEE THE POSTER?!” expecting people to laugh at my jovial jab at the size of The Lamb, and the awesome nature of our gigs. What I got was mute silence and a little cough and tumble weed.
SO, what do you have to do to promote a show?
Certainly I never replied on simply sticking up a few posters. (I went down from 50 A4’s back in 2010 to 20 A4’s and now deal in better quality posters and images, full colour A3’s but tend to only do a handful – directly relating to the success a poster in a shop!)
I have a fantastic relationship with Alison Philips of the Gazette and Herald, who has previewed and reviewed my shows over the past 3 years. I even bought her flowers and chocolate to show my, genuine appreciation. We have excellent fanzines like The Ocelot and recently Crammer who run features and listings for us.
We live in the digital age, so why stop there? There was Facebook pages, and groups – like mine >Sheer Music< advertising she show, websites such as ents24, Allgigs, and even apps for smart phones like SONG KICK – (a massive suggestion to EVERYONE to use this free app – simply and straight forwardly, the best live music listings app there is. End of. No debate.)
So if you are completely unaware of my gigs in Devizes – HOW have you managed to not stumbled across one? I mean, if you’ve had teenage children during the time frame of 2004 to 2013 – then they certainly will of known or been to one of my gigs, which means by proxy you might of heard of them?
Anyway, I’m not fussed – There is now a much larger scene now than there ever has been. I’m not being shy, or arrogant, or modest, or anything when I state, that in 2004 the scene was dead.
Devizes Festival was great, as it always is. And there were those involved with that, who did other functions. But the scene we have now didn’t exist in any shape or form. I know I have helped in many ways, people like Devizes Festival, and helped shape the music in Devizes.
SO how can anyone not know about Devizes music?
I believe it’s as simple as this. People Don’t Look For It.
Even more simply, it’s there – it has been for ages, we’ve had really good turn outs and supports for shows – so I am genuinely baffled and amazed that anyone can lay claim that they don’t know about music in Devizes!
Even if you don’t drink socially or go out and see music, you will know someone who does. Even if you don’t follow music listings websites, you probably read the gazette. If you do neither, you must be on facebook? Or have kids or friends in bands, or be a musicians yourself!
Anyway, if you’re new to Devizes Music Scene, hop onto any of the links highlighted in red above, join in the fun and experience live music of a high industry standard – and more importantly – TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!
Please also take time to check out (and google), Bear Hotel Jazz Club, Bell By The Green, Ronnie Swift’s shows, Fantasy Radio, The Ocelot, Gareth Nicholas etc and everything else in between!
That’s it I’m done. I’m off to update Devizes.Org.uk with my gigs listings, and the Devizes Calender, and allgigs and ents…………….
It’s nights like last night, that make all the hard work worth while – first through the door, Hugh and Hannah from Bath, who had bussed in it on the £5.20 bus (that’s what they called it). Turns out both huge Shoes & Socks Off fans presenting the former Meet Me In St Loui man, the LP album Variations Of Swing to sign.
It’s actually small things like this that make a huge difference to a touring act… Not only had the couple come from Bath, they were planning to get a £30 taxi back to Corsham, coupled with the £5 entry each – they would of spent a whopping £50.40p before drinks + merch on tonight. Thankfully a BIG handsome shout goes out to Ed Dyer of The Ocelot, and Chippenham resident who gave them a lift back. Another reason to be so proud of the togetherness of our scene. Fuck You London. We don’t need you, you need us.
Next amazing moment of the night, was headliner Tobias Hayes, is chatting very happily and in depth with local hat seller Joan Pressely, which happens to be his grandmothers best friend. Small world eh?
SO anyway, the show – First up ex-Colour + current Tangled hair front man, Alan Welsh performing as SOMEONE DIED opening proceedings – “grungey guitar” was how it was described to me by the reviewer, his interesting, fun lyrics were an experience for what must be a very early show in this projects career. Turns out he knew some of Sheer’s favourite friends, SAFETYWORD, turns out too, he has pinched their card folding technique for his bespoke tour CD – which I picked up. This will be considered rare in 2 or 3 years time…
I spent A LOT of time listening to his past two bands, so just closing my eyes and listening to the voice sent shivers down my spine. Super cool.
RUSSIAN BLUE up next for not only their home town debut, but also their debut “unplugged” performance – which transcribed to acoustic guitar beautifully, playing all 4 tracks from the EP and a brand new too. I was giving their 4 track CD away to the first 10 people through the door, we ended up giving them away to all the guests who paid, they went down superbly well, and fingers crossed made some new friends tonight.
Lastly the headliner SHOES AND SOCKS OFF, switching between electric and acoustic guitars, performing his melodic, genre defying melancholic acoustica. He quipped wonderfully with the ridiculously respectful crowd, who were silent through out, hanging on every word. Intentionally leaving out Tork Sport, despite our radio play in the past 3 or 4 weeks was a low point for me in an otherwise perfect night.
To think not only is this act finished, but that Devizes were able to open such an event, was staggering. Thank you Tobias, Alan and Russian Blue, thank YOU Devizes.
Let me take this moment to point you in the direction of Ragdoll Magazine.
They are new only the block, being on their fifth issue and come in with a glossy top finished fanzine aimed at music, fashion and thought.
I picked up the current issue – with a red head chick on the front – the first I’ve actually held, and was pleasantly surprised.
You see, the team behind it used to be part of The Ocelot, another high quality fanzine with a broader appeal. I wasn’t sure what to expect to begin with, but Ragdoll has definitely got an edge. It’s a lot more serious to read, less puns and more content to get you thinking (a section called “Working the Streets” – asking Tom, Dick and Harry their thoughts, this week on Capital Punishment…)
Being a music fan, the magazine comes into its own, there’s a column by Marie Lennon, one half of the awesome BBC Radio Wiltshire Introducing Session, who works so tirelessly on music in Wiltshire, a section on the local scene (I assume this is aimed at Swindon?) a section on acts that never quite made it but deserved to (that’s going to be a busy column…) Demo of the month, notable listings (we get a mention!!), a fashion section and lots more, and its HALF the size of The Ocelot.
Better than The Ocelot? Probably not.
More focussed (on music)? Definitely. If you see one, pick it up and read.
Good work Bozley!