IT’S Saturday night, I’m off to Sheer in the Lamb……No, no, no; not sheering the lamb, this maybe rural Devizes but I’m no shepherd; please try to keep up.
Sheer is the music promotion of Kieran Moore who has been doing the rounds for thirteen years, finding local venues and seeking new talent.
“The Lamb is where it all began,” he tells me after greeting me at the door to the Fold, a backroom of the pub. With pride he shows off his baby, a fair sized space decorated with musical paraphernalia. Assuming it was my first time in the pub I’m welcomed and made to feel at home. Little does he know and proud I am to inform him, the Lamb was my home-from-home a generation ago.
My ol’ watering-hole, chosen for its friendly unconventional atmosphere, has kept its unique charm. Upstairs in the Fold a significant crowd gather while Adam Robinson takes up his acoustic guitar and flicks open his book. I put my cider down and make myself comfortable; it’s what I’m good at.
I admire people who can perform, particularly when they’re young and especially when they write their own material, as Adam does. In technical performing art jargon; I haven’t got the bottle.
There is a causal, convivial attitude here, like open mike, there are no procedures. Adam knocks out a few tunes of witty observation, my favourite being about the escalation of pints the character consumes.
Swiftly Will Horspool takes centre stage, using a looping machine to reverb his voice he spouts fast-paced poetry with a witty and eloquent prose. He speeds up to a rap as the subject gets intense, whipping off his tie and humorously bowling chocolate eggs as prizes to the audience member who guesses the next rhyming word. For anyone who wrongly cites poetry as boring, Will can still entertain them.
Scrapping the loop machine in favour of home-made flipbooks, the Leicester poet treated us to an amusing observational verse about inane social media posts called “I scroll and I scroll until it destroys my soul!” Motivating shameless self-promotion in an unresponsive world, when inspiration strikes, and relentless quantities of Red Bull were the other subjects of his poems.
I’ve seen this looping technique used on YouTube so I was interested to see it for real (I’m soooo past it!) It was a good introduction for the next soloist used the machine as if it was an instrument itself; in fact he used everything as if it was an instrument.
If I used the term “one man band” it might conjure images of Dick Van Dyke in the opening scene of Mary Poppins hitting himself over the head with a cymbal. I believe a better word is multi-instrumentalist. Esperi, aka Chris James Marr trekking the country from Dundee did not hit himself with a cymbal rather causally moved around the stage lonely picking up a variety of instruments, looping them into a soundscape with expert ease.
The dreamy music built up in layers as Esperi went from his own smooth voice to acoustic, electric and bass guitars. He may look as if he is here to supply us with a quote for some building work but music is his craft and he’s mastered it. Magically pulling out a glockenspiel or else his signature coloured bells and finishing with crashing drums, he uses anything and everything as an instrument, including a flexible tube toy.
The audience is in silent awe as the soundscape floats through the air, hold on, is that guy now playing an electric guitar with a violin bow I question myself with amazement. He truly is a mad scientist of music, and honest subjects such as driving through the night to get his baby son asleep could send you into a dreamy sleep too.
At the end the performers mingle without pretence. It reminds me of the counter culture and DIY movements of the late 80s and 90s; people doing their own thing for the love of it and I leave contented. Sheer is dedicated to bringing difference and variety for your musical pleasure, hosting events beyond Devizes, into Swindon and Salisbury too.
Saturday nights may well transport to the Bell on the Green in Devizes with Friday at the Fold. Best bet, in order not to miss your dose, is to connect with Sheer via social media or check the listings here on Index. The Lamb holds many live music nights both with and separate from Sheer.
Sheer Music: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SheerMusic/
The Lamb, Devizes: https://www.facebook.com/The-Lamb-Devizes-141859759235788/