Being the complete and unabridged (and slightly tongue in cheek) history of the Salisbury covers band Break Cover. Get tea and biscuits – this is not a quick read.
Before Break Cover
The Rhythm section of what would become Break Cover, Craig Butler on Drums and Terry Hogan on Bass, had been together for some time having played together in both Z Carz (with the legendary John Mills) and Rhythem Mafia (with James Watson and Paul Fleming). After both guitarists left Rhythem Mafia, Terry and Craig, wanting to continue, posted an advert online which was answered by Terry Taylor around Christmas 2011. They had also recruited Mike Clipson as a Rhythm Guitarist and were on the search for a lead vocalist. Craig could sing and drum, but really wanted a Lead Female vocalist. Tracey Lloyd answered this. Sadly, this un-named band never took flight.
A month after that initial project split up Terry Hogan and Craig invited Terry Taylor back to do a similar thing. A small set of songs was put together with just Craig singing but the fledgling band was still keen to recruit a second guitarist.
April. Ex-Statues guitarist Simon Dickenson is approached via You Tube and after an initial jam of the songs joins as the second guitarist.
The band practice in a secure site where all the kit can be left in situ and the members just turn up and plug in. This becomes the standard and the band are fortunate to keep this arrangement; although often in various locations right up to when Craig leaves the band, many years later.
17 May. The band’s first gig is at Boscombe Down Sergeant’s Mess and the name “Break Cover” is decided upon. The band name came from Craig’s daughter, Emma. The decision was reached around a table at that Mess Hall while waiting to play their first live performance together. Initially only a temporary name until something better could be arrived at later. 10 years does seem to be quite a long time to be waiting for a permanent name.
The band only has seventeen songs in the set at this time. None of which remain in today’s set list. This is also the gig where the Les Dawson version of Teenage Wedding is played to noisy acclaim.
June to September this 4-piece band, supported by Phil Shergold running the PA, plays gigs at the Bulford Jubilee Event (in a huge hangar), Shrewton Sports and Social Club and the first gig at Qudos with Craig doing all the vocal duties. That first gig at Qudos is also when the black shirt / red tie outfit is adopted for the very first time. The band at this point are using “old school” half stack guitar amplifiers. Great sound but very heavy to move around.
13 October Michelle Church joins the band as singer and front person to provide a focal point to the band. It turns out that a singing drummer confuses audiences as they don’t know where to look! Michelle provides not only a focal point but a new level of entertainment. Break Cover becomes a five piece, and the model of a male and female singer becomes the new “standard”. A gig at the Chough (now defunct) is Michelle’s first gig with us.
November to December sees Break Cover find its pace and place with a series of gigs at Bulford Sgt’s Mess, Larkhill Cosack Club, Upavon 007 event, Shrewton Sports and Social Club and rounding the year off on New Year’s Eve at Salisbury Rugby Club.
January to March the stable five piece Break Cover rolls into the new year with another gig at Qudos, a charity gig at Ludgershall in the snow and a St Patrick’s Day gig in Upavon in more rain than a religious flood.
March Break Cover take to the Studio for the first time (for the album Uncovered). Simon had used Sound on Sound Studio in North Baddesley before for a couple of albums with Statues and recommended it by playing the most recent recordings. Sound on Sound is an extraordinary studio. If you have a picture in your head of a big posh studio (Abbey Road?) then this isn’t it. A time warp from the 70s has transported every piece of analogue equipment imaginable and squeezed into someone’s garage (exaggerated for effect). However, despite how it looks, the sound Mike produces from his studio is second to none. One day is spent recording 10 tracks and then the day after mixing them. A CD is produced and the model for recording the first of five albums is set.
April to September and the band get down to some serious gigging, 19 gigs including: Sarum Live at the Duck; Salisbury Live in Deacons with Craig sat in the kitchen to fit in; a beautiful summers day at Riverbourne Farm and an absolute joy of a gig at the Beerex in Salisbury Arts Centre. The band also get caught in the rain at Bemerton Heath and the Harlequins’ Football Club. Messtival in Andover sees the hottest gig known to man; there’s also an ex-marine’s 60th birthday bash (in the Coach House in Salisbury) which provides a great deal of entertainment; plus, the first gig at The Bear Inn at Wilton’s wonderful summer beer festival.
September and a double gig at Larkhill Families Day followed by Shrewton Sports and Social Club proves to be the last with Michelle in the band as she leaves to avoid damaging her voice with the types of songs we are playing.
October Louise Wakeham joins Break Cover as our new front person. Lou first dabbles with a song or two at Cloisters but joins us for her first full gig at the Five Bells. The Five Bells is also the last time we see Terry Hogan on bass and Phil Shergold on sound as both leave to pursue other ventures. Ken Jones is promoted from Chief Roadie to “Sound Man”.
Salisbury Music Awards 2013 In other news Break Cover comes second at the Salisbury Music Awards in the Cover Band category. We were absolutely blown away to get nominated in only in our second year of existence and even more flattered and amazed to be voted into second place by the Salisbury Gig Going Public. Honestly, it’s difficult to express what a surprise this was. Thank you so much to the wonderful people of Salisbury for this inspiring result.
November the band showcase Lou at a cheeky session at Sarum Live with Mike Clipson (yes, that Mike Clipson from the un-named band at the top of the page) filling in on bass while we look for a permanent replacement.
December Mike stays on for another New Year’s Eve at Salisbury Rugby Club. Lou is well truly on board and joins the crowd for an evening of great fun.
December also sees the introduction of Terry’s now famous glowing blue Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister lunchbox head. Although at this time it still sits atop a 4×12 this is the first step in Terry and Simon moving to much smaller amps with Terry staying with H&K and Simon switching from Blackstar to Fender before settling on UK built Victory Amps.
January kicks off with the first of nine gigs at Qudos in 2014. The audience there really embrace Lou and it becomes our “home” gig for the year.
February and Ray Franklin joins us full time on bass guitar at a gig in The Wig & Quill having learned the songs on the afternoon of the gig. (The showoff). Originally from that there London: Ray brings a real sense of Classic Rock to the band having seen much of the real deal live in London during the 70s! With Lou and Ray in place the line-up settles down again and a whole slew of gigs come pouring in. A great big thank you to Mike Clipson for filling in while we found Ray.
March and we are back in Sound on Sound Studio to produce a CD (Unbroken) that represents the new make up of the band. Another 10 songs recorded in a day and mixed in another day with the fantastic Mike at Sound on Sound.
March sees a new dep. Welcome to Chris Wynn who helps out at the infamous “stop” gig at Qudos (that is a whole other story, but not one for sharing on the interwebs) and one other as Ray already had stuff booked for these when he joined the band.
April and May sees the band settle into its new sound and really find its feet again.
June has a couple of very notable gigs. The first is a wedding at Sherborne Castle. A stunning setting and a Doctor Who themed décor. What a truly beautiful place that is.
The other gig of note will remain forever fixed in the memory of all that attended. The Bridge Music Festival in Stockbridge. A fundraiser festival in support of local character Alex Lewis who you may have seen on the news. Google his name for the full story. What a sensational day! Sets from lots of local bands like Off The Cuff and The Mosquitos rounding off with a monster set from Break Cover on a proper stage with proper lights and crowd going proper bonkers. The benchmark for all festival gigs to follow. T shirts are still worn.
July to December sees 13 gigs go by. Notably all the gigs at Qudos are stunning; Durrington’s Music In The Rec, organised by the legend that was John Mills is a delight; Colin Gray joins us as temporary (dep) guitar player while Terry’s work kindly post him oversees for a while, starting at legendary Salisbury venue The Old Ale House; another terrific evening at The Bear Inn Beer Festival in Wilton; a charity gig at The Bell in Warminster; a very fragrant gig at the famous Barge Inn, A huge thank you to Colin Gray for helping while Terry was away.
Salisbury Music Awards 2014 Break Cover win the Best Covers Band Award. Everyone in the band is over the moon. And then very, very drunk. Thank you so much to the wonderful gig going population of Salisbury for voting for us: Just WOW.
January to April and Break Cover rolls on through a bunch of thoroughly enjoyable gigs. Worthy of note are: Qudos (as always) and a trip “oop North” to Craig’s hometown near Blackpool which was a tremendous road trip and a great gig. The Southerners in the band also find out what a proper working man’s club looks like and discover Northern Hospitality courtesy of Craig’s family.
Also, in January is an ill-advised and short-lived trial of blue ties (wonder whose idea that was) and Simon finally joins Terry in the small amp club and begins his love affair of UK amp builder Victory. Shame they don’t make one that glows red!
May for two gigs we are back to a four piece or “The BC Boys Club” as it comes to be known as. Lou had decided to step down from the band to focus on personal commitments. Even though she has one more gig with us – we decide to treat the Qudos gig as Lou’s send off and the crowd goes absolutely nuts with us to say thank you for being an inspiration and great spokesperson for the band.
June is one of those happy/sad months as we say a real goodbye to Lou after performing at the Beerex in Salisbury Arts Centre and hello to Claire Varney who takes Lou’s place for the second set at a gig at Salisbury’s Huntsman Tavern. Amongst the other gigs that month Break Cover do Salisbury Live and the Big Session at Sixpenny Handley.
July and Break Cover are back at Durrington Rec under the steerage of John Mills. This has become a firm favourite as it is such a gentle, family friendly day with a superb atmosphere. Break Cover also get their first gig at FiggleFest. Also notable for being a family friendly event with a superb atmosphere and lots to do for everyone while the music is happening across two stages.
August to December this line up of Break Cover has now settled down and performs 21 gigs before the end of the year. This includes: a very strange gig in the grounds of Tidworth Football Club; our last time (for a while) at The Bear Inn Beer Festival, this time with our friends The Mosquitoes; more Qudos gigs; another New Year’s Eve at Salisbury Rugby Club and a few notable events which deserve their own special mention.
Salisbury Music Awards 2015 and we again win Best Covers Band. This time Craig wins Best Drummer too. If you thought we were impressed last time we were absolutely flabbergasted this time. Once again, a huge thank you to the lovely people of Salisbury who voted for us and made this happen. This was the last time we won at the SMAs but we have continued to come runner up in subsequent years.
Album #3 – Unleashed is recorded, once again, at Sound on Sound Studios and follows the familiar path of one day to record the live instruments and the second day to complete the mix.
Neil B – Terry, once again, gets called upon to travel the world and the very resourceful Neil B steps up to dep this time as Colin Gray has, by now, been recruited full time into Off The Cuff. Neil reappears in our story next year too.
Talking Heads is one of Southampton’s most famous and most inglorious venues. Or sadly we should say “was” as it has now passed into the annals of rock history. Break Cover played here twice in 2015. One in October and again in December for the Third Annual Biker Booze Up in aid of Dreamflight. Previous people who have played here include Everything Everything; The Magic Numbers; Eddie and the Hotrods; The Damned; The Bluetones; Band of Skulls; The Slits; Mumford & Sons; New York Dolls and now Break Cover!
Salisbury Christmas Lights Switch On Like The Bridge Music Festival this will forever remain in the memory of those who performed. Great lights, a huge PA, a big screen, a massive stage and 14,000 Salisbury residents all in one place at one time. Getting the Evolution choir on stage with Santa and Rudolf for a rendition of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everyone was particularly special!
The first Hootenanny For some reason we decide to invite all of Salisbury’s musicians to join us on stage for our last gig at The Old Ale House before it goes off for a refurb. As it’s in December, we decide to call it a Hootenanny. OK well that turns out to be a huge success. Lots of musicians and lots of audience. We foresee a tradition being born!
January to March the now regular Break Cover line-up knock out some more gigs including sell outs in Qudos, the Queens Arms and a terrific goodbye for the current landlords at The Rainbow on the Lake.
April and May. Terry is once again called upon to travel the world and Neil B steps back into the hot seat for a handful of gigs including our first gigs at both the Cosy Club and the (Bishops) Mill; a birthday party as well as Claire’s surprise (ends with a nought) birthday party in Tisbury.
June saw a flat spot for the band: three gigs that were just not well attended at new venues which won’t be mentioned here and won’t be revisited. Move on.
July and back at Figglefest. This time we get promoted to the truck stage and we play last so it’s in the dark and everyone is nicely warmed up. Still a lovely event with a great atmosphere. Also, a fun gig outside at Wellington Academy. Both gigs with Dave Hitchins.
August and our first ever slot at Firsfest. It turns out that we really like these outdoor bashes and we were exceptionally lucky with the weather. Even if Terry has gone away again. But we are OK as Neil has the reins. However, it’s another sad moment as, once again at Qudos, we (almost) say goodbye to our long serving (and long suffering) bass player Ray who is off to spend more time on other projects and with his family.
September another road trip. This time we take the band that has been in the current format since June 2015 to a wedding in St Ives in Cornwall (which is Ray’s real last gig). What a fantastic weekend with the whole band sharing a single room at a very nice hostel in the centre of St Ives and fully enjoying the Cornish lifestyle. We also play in Salisbury Market Square which is our first gig with Ray’s replacement Steve Rance who famously was once in John Lee Hooker’s UK touring band.
October and November see Break Cover bed in with the new sound with Steve for a few gigs before another one of those massive gigs that stick in the mind forever.
John Coghlan’s Quo . During the late nineties original Status Quo drummer John Coghlan formed his own band and has enjoyed regular gigs all over the UK and Europe. We got to support this formidable band at The Barrington Theatre in Ferndown and it’s safe to say this was an incredibly special gig indeed. The audience were hugely receptive to our music and even just introducing the songs got a great reception. Helped by a couple of band members being huge Quo fans: having John watch us do such a massive job was a huge thrill.
December sees a few gigs with a highlight being another tremendous Hootenanny. This time at The Mill with another great selection of Salisbury’s finest musicians. We also play New Year’s Eve at the Royal Oak in Salisbury and say goodbye to our lovely singer Claire who leaves us to work on her own band playing more of the sort of music she loves. The band go into 2017 deciding to be the Break Cover Boys Club for a while.
January to March the band start the year back at the Talking Heads for the last time before it moves from its famous location, once again for the Annual Bikers Bash in aid of Dreamflight.
A handful of gigs help consolidate the Boys Club version of the band before another appearance at the Barrington Theatre: this time supporting Bruce Foxton’s From The Jam. A very different affair than the Quo gig but still a great venue with a terrific audience. Took a while to get our hearing back after watching From The Jam though! Our regular dep Neil joins us as he is a huge Jam fan and it gives him the same thrill to support them that the others got at Quo.
We also record album #4 “Undaunted” at the same studio and with the same format as last time. We are joined by JC on harmonica as the band has taken a decidedly blues twist since Claire left.
April Steve leaves the band to play in other bands and return to his first love of keyboards. Dave Hitchins steps in for a while but this is short lived as he has struggled with health issues during his fleeting time with us. However, he comes away from this a great friend of the band and occasionally will step into dep when we have a bass emergency.
May and June we are joined on bass by Lea Truckle, which is a surprise as he has just won Best Guitarist at the previous year’s Salisbury Music Awards. With this line up we do a few gigs including Amesbury Carnival and a friend’s wedding.
July sees us play a couple of outside gigs in the sunshine which at the time are tremendous but turn out to be very sad.
This is the last Durrington Rec gig organised by John Mills as he passes shortly after. John was a huge loss to us as he was a member of the band which came before Break Cover as well as joining us at the Hootenanny gigs and just being one of the nicest human beings you could ever meet. RIP John you are remembered fondly and hugely missed.
August also sees us play at Music in the Park in Elizabeth Gardens on one of the hottest days of the year and is a hugely enjoyable affair. But sadly, it’s the last time we are joined by the spouse of a former member who passes in early August. This comes completely out of the blue and is a huge shock to all of us. We do what we do to bring some happiness into the world but it cannot touch those affected by mental health issues and we should all do more to help those in trouble.
August and it’s time to go back to the tried and tested formula of having both a male and female singer in the band so it is to great fanfare that we announce Jem joining the band to the world at the New Inn Summer Music Festival in Amesbury.
September to December with the line-up complete now with Lea and Jem we play a collection of gigs including the Odiham Live Music Club, our friend’s wake, another wedding, Quods (obviously)…
…the Salisbury Live Roadshow and the New Inn in fancy dress, Cosy Club with Dave on bass and Lea covering on guitar as, yes, you guessed it, Terry was away again…
…the Salisbury Christmas Market in the freezing cold and a surprisingly brilliant gig in the pouring rain at the Market Square the Sunday before Christmas.
We even managed to squeeze one last Hootenanny in which was the last time many of us get to see John Mills before he passed. It was good to hear John play in the band with, what turned out to be, quite a collection of bass players. Also, Lea decides that the Salisbury Market Square is to be his last gig with us as he has other musical projects he wants to work with. He was briefly back on guitar playing in Solarbird although he occasionally pops back with his instrument in hand to dep for someone who may be away.
January to May one of the bass players who joined us for the 2016 Hootenanny was Andrea Penna who joins us full time on bass in the New Year. Where Lea bought a lot of energy to the band Andrea brings a lot of funk! The new band can be seen in a variety of venues most notable the Salisbury Live Fundraiser, OLMC and the Wig and Quill.
In March 2018 Salisbury was famously the target of a Nerve Agent attack. We lose The Mill for the entire year while it is subject to a forensic cleaning. Our sympathies to all those affected by this. From this point on, we dedicate David Bowie’s Heroes to the Police, NHS staff, Army, scientists, cleaners and everyone else involved in keeping Salisbury safe. When the second event occurred, the response was immediate. Thank you all for doing what you do so we can all keep doing what we do.
June we get to play a magnificent set at the Salisbury Live gig in the market square. Another huge stage with a terrific PA and an appreciative Salisbury Audience. Also on the bill is a duo called Common Confusion. More on them in a moment.
After a year with us Jem decides that the rigors of being in a gigging covers band don’t quite align with her own projects and personal life and decides to call it a day with us to focus on those things. We advertise for someone to take Jem’s place and immediately Amber who is half of Common Confusion (see above) applies.
We scare Amber silly at an audition in our normal practice room. For someone who has never been in a band before Amber finds this “exciting”. Then straight into it and the same month we play the Testwood Club and Music for Mills (the John Mills tribute gig) with Amber firmly in place as our new lead singer.
July and August and for one of the hottest summers on record we get a lot of outdoor gigs luckily. This includes: The New Inn Summerfest and the absolutely incredible Figglefest on one of the most perfect summer days in the history of time…
…Firsfest (which we close and is absolutely outstanding); and the only rainy event T1 Fest in Hudson’s Field, Salisbury.
September is a busy month. We get to play at the inaugural Salisbury Car Fest in the Market Square and that’s back up there as one of the best gigs ever. Although a long day (we play from 11 until 4) the crowd are awesome; the weather perfect; the cars shiny and everything is very summery.
At the gig at Qudos Andrea leaves us to pursue non musical projects (he was after all responsible for some very good photos) and we conscript Dave Hitchins back to record album #5 (Unscathed) the next day.
October and November Dave stays with us as dep bass player to allow us to play at two more beer festivals (9 open air gigs in total in 2018 – glorious!) and a couple of great club gigs.
December we are joined by new permanent bass player Rich Watts. We instantly know we have something special in this line up with Rich on bass and backing vocals and Amber out front as our first gig is in the Market Square and that old Break Cover magic comes flooding back…
….The gig is so good we get asked to do another when, friends of the band, The Zucchinis, have to pull out due to illness. This ends up being a double gig with the Christmas Market immediately followed by a gig (our 200th) in Qudos. We even get to show off this new sound at Sarum Live for Christmas.
This cements the new line-up in place, and we round out with Boxing Day at Alderbury Club and New Year’s Eve in our old favourite Qudos.
January and February – the band take off from gigging to get the new line-up fully in place and to get some new songs in the set as 2018 didn’t present many opportunities to do that.
March and the full force of Break Cover is back in play with gigs in Romsey, Alderbury, Cosy Club and a surprisingly very hot night in Qudos.
A sad ending to March as Ken Jones, our sound man since November 2013 leaves us to spend more time with his motorbike, dogs and family. Probably in that order. Thanks for all the great times Ken – you will be missed.
April is off to a great start as we help the Charlie’s Star Launch event raise £8,500 for their charity while having a great night with everyone in 80s icons fancy dress.
April also sees a gig at a new venue for us – the Greyfisher just outside of Salisbury
May’s first gig is a beautiful wedding for some lovely people down in Sandbanks. The weather was fantastic so we got a posh picture taken at the posh hotel. Did we mention it was quite posh?
Next we are in North Wiltshire with the Celtic Crew MCC at the Talbot Inn, Calne for the first time on a warm Spring evening. This is our first time at this lovely venue and a terrific crowd urged us to play nearly into the next day with three encores. Great place – terrific people – amazing night.
Late May / early June sees us in Qudos and at a new venue – The Radnor Arms. These gigs are notable as Terry unveils his new Gibson Les Paul, Simon shows off a new Music Man Guitar and Craig has new drums to show off. New gear but still the same great sound.
Outdoors for the first time this year (mid-June) and it’s great to be playing our third Beerex at Salisbury Arts Centre. Also, our first time on their outdoor stage. While Rich was off enjoying being up North (thanks to Lea for helping) – down here the weather behaved, and the crowd didn’t!! Lovely fun audience and a great stage / sound system. Top fun all round.
June also sees a very memorable day indeed… the National Armed Forces Day in Salisbury. As a local band with military connections, we were absolutely delighted to be asked to support this and we got a slot on the Friday afternoon. The weather could not have been better and to play on that enormous stage with that brilliant sound system was indeed a total treat. A huge thank you to all involved – professional sound and stage management guys made it all very slick. Proud to support our Armed Forces!
July saw a wonderful weekend at Ebblefest where we got to run the sound for Just Becuase, The Badger Blues Band, Common Confusion and The Lyte Brigade. And then finish the night with a wonderful 2 hours with the enthusiastic and wonderful audience.
That same weekend was a beautiful return to the Music In The Park event at Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury. A wonderful setting which the weather helped make even more special for all those that attended.
Late July we get a call from our good friends at Qudos asking if we can step in at the last minute as they’ve had a band drop out due to illness. It was a wet Friday before the end of the month so with low expectations but wanting to help our friends out we agreed. 24 hours later we had one of the maddest, jumpiest nights we’ve had in Qudos. An absolutely amazing crowd that was up for it from the first song. We only got a couple of pictures but what a night. Thanks Qudos once again!
And so, with very heavy hearts, we enter August, the last month with the unique talents of Craig Butler providing vocals and drums for the band. The good news is it’s a big month with lots more that our normal “2 a month” appearances. The first weekend is a double with an early gig at Boscombe Down Rec Club and a last-minute stand in gig at the amazing Firsfest. Previous band member Andrea gets to take photos for the whole weekend, and we get some cracking shots!
As August finishes we say goodbye to Craig at Fun In The Field and Shrewton Cricket Club – after seven glorious years and over 200 gigs . It’s always hard to say goodbye to band members but especially hard when it’s one of our founding members.
We have said goodbye in the long and heart felt posts on here and on Facebook so now it’s time to get on with a whole new sound and a whole new chapter of the band. Hold on to your hats – this is gonna rock.
October 12, 2019, and we are back in the game. A tremendous gig at The Talbot Inn in Calne where the audience were up on their feet almost from the first song and urged us on through four encores! Welcome to the band Mr Paul Batchelor – it’s great to have you and that was a mighty fine start!
Also, in October as part of the relaunch, we got to play on “home turf” at Qudos in Salisbury. A fantastic night but my golly was it hot! However, we are now officially relaunched. Now with three lead singers we are taking the female fronted rock covers band to a whole new place. We are: Amber Coleman – Lead and Backing Vocals; Rich Watts – Lead and Backing Vocals + Bass Guitar; Terry Taylor – Lead and Backing Vocals + Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Simon Dickenson – Backing Vocals + Lead & Rhythm Guitar; Paul Batchelor – Drums and Percussion
The end of October and beginning of November sees a couple of special gigs. The first, a full on Fancy Dress night at Figheldean for the Save Our Woods campaign at Halloween and then the week after Salisbury’s Firework Display at the Salisbury and Southwest Sports Club. A huge thank you to Lea who depped for Rich whose work decided he needed to go on a last-minute trip. Special mention to Tel who ran the sound for the Fireworks event including Spire FM’s MC Craig Hicks and the music for the Fireworks. Such a clever man.
November continues with a rather splendid Salisbury Live Goes Rural Fundraiser at the Alderbury Sports and Social Club. Lots of bands and lots of people. Awesome!
November comes to a close with a wonderful return to the now renamed Bishop’s Mill for our annual Hootenanny. This year in aid of Mencap and with opening acoustic acts from Just Because and Georgina Agombar. As usual we are joined by some truly amazing, talented, Salisbury musicians and the reception from the audience was electrifying.
Whilst all of that was going on we also managed to sneak in and place in the top 3 of the Salisbury Music Award’s Best Covers Band category. Thank you all so much for nominating and voting for us again this year. With the complete change in the band sound, it means an awful lot to us that you took the time to place us in the Awards. Thank you.
December 2019 finishes up with a gig in Qudos which is wonderful as ever followed by a quick trip to the Red Rover at Wellow. We all thank you so much for your support in 2019. Not the easiest of years but with your support we made it through. Now… on to the Roaring Twenties! (This was written in December 2019 when we had no idea what was round the corner!)
January. The Twenties kick off at the wonderful Qudos (although we weren’t to know this was the last time we would play on this little stage) and we are joined by a solid set of diehard folk who quite clearly don’t want the holidays to end. A huge night is had, and we are most definitely ready for the new decade!
At the end of January, we were supposed to be playing with our friends Lump but a certain Mr Holton decided to break his leg instead. Then just as we were getting ready – a certain Mr Batch decided to put his back out instead. So, we decide to launch The Music Den by having a one-night reunion with Mr Craig Butler. A grand time was had by all and the The Music Den was well and truly launched.
February and we played Snowfest in Collingbourbe Ducis but without Simon as his work sent him away – so we did the gig as a 4-piece. Not done that for a while! And a great fun evening it was too.
A brand-new venue for us opens March at the Andover Central Club. For some reason this is a very loud venue and as a result a particularly good time is had by all. The new tunes went down a storm too! Although Paul may have lost the plot at this point.
And then at the end of March – the world changed.
Coronovirus and Covid-19 became terms in everyday use and the first UK lockdown began. Social distancing measures were put in place and gigging for everyone ground to a halt.
April saw Social Distancing become the “new normal” and whilst there were some changes to the lockdown in May – pubs remained closed and we, like everyone else, still could not play or rehearse.
In June, the world started to reopen but still no live music.
In July we were able to visit other people’s houses, so we found a unique way to start remembering how to play and even tried some new songs.
And then in August – a gig!
August Bank Holiday Sunday 30 August – the Salisbury Live Big Bank Holiday Garen Party. A terrific day organised by Salisbury Live. Originally planned as a full electric event – a revised “unplugged Garden Party” was put in place after receiving updated advice from Wiltshire Council. With a strict social distancing, no dancing, no sing along policy it could have been flat but instead it was a celebration of local bands, original and covers, with all tables booked with over a week to go. The weather was kind all day, although it did get a bit chilly when the sun went down.
The crowd stayed for the entire day and were entertained by Ribble (guitar and fiddle – a “none more English” sound), Tim Madden (singer songwriter + guitar – a little nervous without his full band but carried it off wonderfully), Robb Blake (also singer songwriter + guitar – but made enough noise that he sounded like he had a band with him), Lump light (like Lump but lighter – always entertaining. Salisbury songs for Salisbury people), then the covers kicked off with Trinity who brought the tempo up to set the scene.
And then it was our turn. No on-stage speakers, an electric drum kit and in ear monitors – quite different but we think we got away with it. The crowd got us to play three encores which is always a good sign! Thanks to all that came.
That was the last gig of 2020…
Following the summer gigs of 2020, Coronavirus took a tighter hold of the UK and we went into two more lock downs. For a while, the live music world stopped. To enable us to practice we discovered Jamulus which allowed us to practice online with zero latency.
During this time Batchy got a bit swallowed up with personal issues and was unable to continue with the band so Peter Hawes from Chippenham stepped up to the plate and joined us!
And then at the beginning of June, this happened:
(an online live gig with everyone playing from their own homes)
Lockdown restrictions were then extended to 19 July. So still no more physical gigs.
Whilst the full lockdown restrictions were not able to be lifted until 19 July the advent of some major sports related items meant that some easing was allowed. So, with the rule of 6 still in place, we got to play a Salisbury Live Fundraiser at the Salisbury Rugby Club. Alongside Becca’s Crew, Slidestone, The Evolution Choir and China Wolf, and coinciding with England beating the Ukraine in some football thing we got to play an actual gig in front of live people. Pete was fully introduced to the world and the band sounded terrific. It was good to play fully live again.
And then, also in July, we got to do a full, proper outdoor gig at Ebblefest. Although, a more subdued event compared to previous years – oh my goodness! It has been mentioned that the band has a new, bigger sound. Well, this fully came out to play on a big outdoor stage with lots of lights and a nice big PA. It was sooooo nice to play a full set, on a big stage for people who could sing along and dance.
August kicks off with another outdoor gig as lockdown continues to ease. More people are allowed this time and certainly a lot more alcohol.
To round out August and after six years, we got to play at the Bear Inn Beer Festival in Wilton again. This was a crowd that was ready for the return of live music. The weather was brilliant, and the pub was packed from beginning to end. A really special night. Thanks to the Bear for having us back.
September sees us “launch” music at the newly restored Figheldean Club. The club is looking amazing and is a great venue for live music, so expect lots of music here in the coming months and years. This was our first indoor gig in eighteen months. We had forgotten how sweaty playing indoors can be!
At this point, we acknowledge that we are extremely fortunate to be getting gigs. The world has not returned to normal; a lot of people are not ready to go back out into the world and that means some businesses are changing. An example of this is one of our favourite venues, Qudos Music Bar & Grill has rebranded as Qudos Bar & Restaurant and is no longer hosting live music twice a week. There is still one gig each month, but the stage has been replaced with a breakfast bar and bands now play at the opposite end. Qudos have done an amazing job at staying open through these extremely trying times and we are delighted that we, and others, still get to play there. They are a great example of the lengths that businesses have had to go to, to stay open.
At the end of September, with the weather still mild, we manage to sneak in a trip to the New Forest at the beautiful Red Shoot beer festival! The band is sounding better than ever, and it was great fun to blast our sound across the forest to some extremely vocal and grateful customers as well as some very playful donkeys.
October starts with a bang. As a result of the Bear Inn Beer Festival, we were asked to restart live music at the Barford Inn down the road at Barford St Martin. We arrive to find a beautiful country pub in a bucolic setting. Towards the end of the first set any thoughts of a quiet country pub are completely dismissed as the crowd demonstrate their love of music and the atmosphere becomes absolutely electric for the rest of the night. There is nothing like playing to a packed pub with the audience two feet from your face. What an audience – what a night!
As October started with a bang it finished with one too! The Salisbury Live Spooktacular was to feature four bands, but a member of Lump was taken ill just before the gig – hope you get well soon!! Ukulele Vagabond gave his unique set followed by some cracking tunes from Beyond the Storm. We took to the stage a little late but extremely excited to be back playing for this great audience and they did not disappoint. This one will go down in memory as the first time we’ve been asked to play five encores. That was a complete blast, and it was lovely to play here again.
November and we are at a new venue – The Globe Inn Andover. Sat directly on the High Street so lots of passing foot fall to entice in with our unique blend of covers all nicely rocked up. Lots of lovely comments from this first-time audience so hopefully we will be back again in 2022!
Also in November, was one of those rare, extra special gigs where we were asked to play for Friday Night music with Wiltshire Creative. Tickets sold out. Twice. And we got to perform on the main stage at Salisbury Arts Centre. So many more photos to follow but wow what an incredible experience.
The additional photos are now available to see. A huge thanks to former band mate, superb photographer and all-round great guy Andrea Penna for the amazing shots. Click the photo below to see the full set.
After 11 gigs in 2021, more than double what we managed the previous year, in December, we saw out the old year in Qudos. Playing the bar but in the window, after 23 months away, it was like coming home. Thank you to the magnificent staff who looked after us so well and the amazing party audience that made the absolute most of having live music back at Qudos – thank you so much. Here’s a to a great 2022!
After only a month and half off, February 2022 sees gigging restart for the new year. From out of the blue, we get aske to play at the Blue Bee Bar inside Salisbury Football Club. So, at full time we play 2 hours of covers to an audience drinking to console themselves after a 2 1 defeat. It’s great to be off and the band are sounding better than ever!
After February, we had to take a little bit of time off for personal and Covid reasons (blasted thing is still with us), but we sneak a Birthday Party in the middle of April. Amazing to see the great photos of the birthday girl all-round the Rugby Club and terrific to see so many people out having a lovely time.
In May, we turned 10 Years old! A huge thank you to not just all the extremely talented band members that have been with us over the last ten years but also to all the wonderful people who have come to see us over 250 gigs and 10 years. It would be so much harder to do this without you, so a great big THANK YOU!
At the end of May, we finally got to play at a wedding reception which was booked all the way back in 2019. Delayed because of Covid but the couple stuck with it, got married in the meantime, and held the reception just a little late. Congratulations to them. Nice venue too.
At the beginning of June, the UK celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The first part of that, for us, was to play at the prestigious Live at the Farm. Last on the Salisbury Live Stage and sandwiched between AC/DC and Bob Marley (tribute acts obvs), we got to play to 5,000+ people having a tremendous time in the sunshine. A glorious time was had by all.
Sadly, the Salisbury Council celebrations were cancelled halfway through the last day of the Jubilee. Big thanks to the British weather there.
Following the disappointment of being rained off, Tidworth the following weekend, was absolutely glorious! To celebrate, we played to a rammed Clarendon Club audience, who requested a record breaking five encores!
The last gig of June sees the band make a return to The Barford Inn in Barford St Martin, just West of Wilton. This pub always lays on great entertainment and this night was no exception. A superb country pub with a great clientele, a superb evening with a great atmosphere.
Early in July we get asked to jump back into FiggleFest. One of the bands is not well and they are a band down to close the night. Although Terry is away, we enlist our old friend Lea Truckle on guitar duties. Despite a moist day the skies clear and we play into the night to an, as always, appreciative crowd. The following week, it’s Simon’s turn to be ill (yay Covid!) and the band do a Simonless gig in the White Hart in Salisbury.
August 2022 and the relentless heatwave continues. In 33 degrees heat we set up at The Penruddocke Arms in Dinton, where we are joined by Gray Smith, a handful of bees and wasps and about a million midges. It’s Amber’s turn to be poorly, so for 90 minutes we play an all-boys set and Simon insults the crowd halfway through (not really – but the raffle was entertaining).
Far the August Bank Holiday we have a double header. First up is the always enormous fun Bear Inn Beer Festival. This has become a regular event for us, since that first gig in 2013 and it never disappoints. A great crowd, enthused by some terrific beers, always gives us a warm welcome. One person even described us as “very Excellent”. What more do you need?
On to the second event of the long weekend and the dry weather of 2022 continues to be kind to live music at the Salisbury Live Summer Splash in Salisbury Market Square. With only 45 minutes to play we get the opportunity to let our hair down and the crowd lights up accordingly. A really special evening with the crowd in fine voice. Salisbury Live is most definitely back!
After an enforced break due to university assignments, various job changes and well, just life… in November we got to play, hopefully the first of many, gigs in Brown Street, a new live music venue for Salisbury which has the potential to be really special. We had a great crowd who were up dancing from the first song and who really threw themselves into it. Fun was had by all.
Just like busses, nothing for a couple of months and then two come along a week apart! The last weekend of November sees us playing at the last Salisbury Live NHS Fundraiser of the year at the Music Den in the Avon Brewery. A truly wonderful crowd lifted the night into a bit of a special one. Lots of dancing and singing along. Love it when the crowd throw themselves into it.
December kicks off with two private parties. The first one is held at Salisbury and South Wilts Cricket Club for a 40th Birthday and ends with exactly the kind of mayhem we enjoy. The second one coincides with “the football” but is held in a lovely venue in Sixpenny Handley. This one is for a 50th Birthday Party and we are joined by a member of the audience (thanks Hannah) who does an amazing job for a couple of songs.
To close the year, we see New Year’s Eve at Qudos. Sadly, minus Simon due to Covid (again) but the rest of the band and the audience had an amazing night to welcome in 2023!
Straight back to it in January for a fundraiser to support Salisbury & District Cats Protection. With all funds going directly to the branch, this was an opportunity for us, and our new friends the P45s, to party the night away while raising funds for the kitties. A huge thank you to Brown Street for hosting the event and to the audience for coming out and donating. Simon even got to do the raffle again. He didn’t insult anyone this time though.