Elinor Goodman finds a fantastic gig in Pewsey: The Moscow Drug Club
A concert in a village hall on a wet Friday night doesn’t sound much of a ticket.
But my ticket for Pewsey’s Bouverie Hall last Friday (October 19) turned out to be the best six pounds I’d spent for years. The quality of the band was as good as anything you would find at Ronnie Scott’s in London’s Soho – thanks to a grant from Rural Arts Wiltshire which helps top musicians to play in rural locations.
The evening gig was arranged by Music Live Pewsey.
The concert opened with a performance by the Pewsey Belles, a group of about 20 women from around Pewsey who sang a melody of popular songs with some lovely harmonies, There were some really strong voices and their joy in what they were doing was infectious.
They were the curtain raiser for the main act which was a five piece band with the unlikely name of the Moscow Drug Club It’s not, of course, because they are junkies, it’s the title of a song they have made their own. They sang a fusion of jazz and folk and other songs which defied categorisation.
The lead singer, Katya Gorrie, has a wonderfully smokey sultry voice, straight out of a German cabaret in the l930s. Alongside her was a superb trumpeter whose drooping eyes made him look as if he was completely out of it, but when he played a riff, he came to life.
The guitarist, Denny Ilett, had magic fingers too. Each musician took their turn to elaborate on the melody and disappear into their own musical world, before Katya took up the tune again.
I imagine they usually play in clubs where people dance rather than sit in rows, but they seemed to genuinely enjoy coming to Pewsey. They may well come back to the area because in the audience were talent spotters for both the Devizes festival and the Marlborough jazz festival. But it was good that Pewsey got there first.
In fact Pewsey has a very lively music scene of its own. As well as the Pewsey Belles: there is the male voice choir; Mothers’ Jam a sextet of women who sing a cappella; and a thirty strong University of the Third Age group for those who don’t read music but want some fun.
And of course there are the live bands that come to the Coopers and Pewsey’s summer Music Festival. Marlborough has its community choir as well as the choral society, but for a village its size, Pewsey has a lot to sing about.
Elinor Goodman was Channel 4 News’ Political Editor and has more recently been working in radio. She lives in Wilton.
Music Live Pewsey’s next gig in the Bouverie Hall is on November 3 – see our What’s On calendar.