Thursday, June 18, 2009

Devizes Festival Fringe - the Bear

"The stunning fiddle playing of Ruth Behan and the passionate vocals and songs of Chris Hibberd have made Billy in the Lowground the premier Celtic Rock Band in the South West" it says in the festival programme. Blimey, we'd better be good then!
It's a Wednesday night, and it's drizzling steadily as we pull up in Devizes at the Bear Hotel, next to the Corn Exchange (scene of some memorable gigs for us in the past, including a riotous support slot for John Otway, who nearly broke his neck attempting to play a doubleneck guitar on top of a stepladder). This gig is part of the Festival fringe, and is in the 16th century cellar bar - the entrance is a tiny black door with bars over the window, at the bottom of a vertiginous flight of steps. It looks like an oubliette that Cromwell might have thrown a few enemies of the State into, and really ought to have a hideously disfigured hunchback as doorman, but thankfully once inside it turns out to be a fantastic little subterranean jazz club, all wood & stonework, which were it not for the new smoking laws would be full of Beatniks in berets puffing away on french cigarettes.
Indeed, it doesn't take long to fill up completely - by the time we start our soundcheck the place is rammed, and we get going with a sense of trepidation - are these people expecting a jazz band..? Oh dear... happily though, they've all actually turned out to see us, and from the very first song we can tell it's going to be a good 'un. Weird sometimes how your first impressions of a gig get completely stood on their head - best reaction we've had this year I'd say, and we played all the better for it - thanks people, we needed that!


Anonymous said...

Glad it went well...will be back as soon as i can work out how to wear a guitar and a papoose at the same time

slylittlei said...

There's a trick to it - just make sure you don't get them the wrong way round...