Seán McGowan, Jake Martin, Lewis Bootle @ The Lamb, Devizes (09.12.16)

Up yours the A417.

Up yours the Air Balloon roundabout.

Up yours parking in Devizes.

Up yours my weak bladder.

Sometimes I wonder why, on a Friday night near Christmas, I do these things. But when I think about it, I guess there’s two reasons. One, I’ve never visited a town with a ‘z’ in its name before[1]. And two, I’m a sucker for these little gigs in backs of pubs that aren’t sponsored by 02 and where you get a proper pint in a proper pint glass.

LEWIS BOOTLE is the first to stand on the builder’s pallet/stage. He’s wearing a cap[2] and I can almost touch his guitar with my nose[3]. Lewis sounds a bit like Jack Johnson if he was from Hertfordshire and not Hawaii. There’s bits of Jamie T in there and he’s got that easy listening vibe of Sublime’s acoustic stuff. I’m going to say it now to get it out there – I SAW LEWIS BOOTLE PLAY IN FRONT OF 18 PEOPLE ON A COLD NIGHT IN DEVIZES. You know, just for when he gets famous.


JAKE MARTIN on the other hand is a little rougher around the edges. He’s a one man folk punk troubadour[4] who is going it alone.[5] Think Gaz Brookfield, think Tim Vantol, think Tom Frampton. He’s obviously touring hard at the moment[6] and means everything he sings.

By the time it’s SEÁN MCGOWAN’S turn to take to the pallet, the evening turns into more of a social than a gig. There’s a bloke in a leather waistcoat doing some odd dancing at the front, and everyone seems to have lost all sense of time.[7] Seán spends more time talking than he does singing – about Jeremy Corbyn, about his four jobs, but mainly about his passion for music. His jack-the-lad songs are lively tales of being a teenager in Southampton – about close shaves, about getting drunk and about being skint. It’s a long time since I’ve heard a set of songs sung so honestly by a young musician.

Which is why my friends, I drive to places like Devizes.


[1] Sure, I’ve driven through Ashby De La Zouch, but hasn’t everyone?

[2] I used to wear a cap when I was his age too. Never washed the bloody thing.

[3] Which wouldn’t be helpful at all.

[4] Aren’t they all?

[5] Well, his wife is in the audience taking photos tonight too. Perhaps she brought him a packed lunch.

[6] He’s got the worn out jeans to prove it.

[7] Don’t they know that I’ve had a hard week and have to drive back to Gloucester tonight?



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