Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 7

Leave a comment

Bmth Unplugged 2011My guests tonight are Amity Road, they have 3 gigs in 3 days coming up. They are a lot of fun to talk to, both on and off mic, we spend a lot of time talking about sooo many differnt topics.

I have very little pre-prepared material to go on, my research notes are a ripoff of what I said about their Dorset Music Award Heat appearance:  Movement and action with the music. Lee (bass)  good moves. Good crowd management. Loud heavy rock, very musical. Getting crowd to clap along first time seen here, and liked it. Already had a crowd, rare for 2nd stage, then pulled more across. Audience responded well to clapping in song, and afterwards.  Drummer in arm cast !?!?  good soloing guitar when not solo vox.

They have a lot of texts and emails coming in to the studio – they’ve plugged facebook hard before joining me on the station. We only get to play 3 of their CD tracks, and Karl performs Angels solo live acoustic, filmed by both of the others – he wants some content for youtube or something – while they’re discussing it I’m on mic promoting choice gigs. I left my phone outside the studio so couldn’t take a snap of this for your pleasure.

After what seems far too short a time I head off to Bournemouth Unplugged at O’Neills, penultimate time for the heats.

Kimari Raven Bmth Unplugged

Kimari Raven starts, she has some upbeat songs, and a strong voice and compact vocal range to sing them with, which suits what she’s doing. Her fave song she chooses to cover is The Moody Blues Knights In White Satin, which also happens to be one of my faves. She does a really god job of making it her own, even though she afterwards admits she had a number to choose from, and decided on that one more or less at the last minute…

Johanna Stahr Bmth UnpluggedJohanna Stahr is accompanied by one third of Mother UkersJonty on ukelele, which is different to many of the other acts in the competition. She is playing her usual material on chorded guitar, with Jonty providing some flavour with harmonies and melodies. As Johanna doesn’t normally play covers , she also switches to Ukelele for their take of The Carpenters (They Long To Be) Closer To You. Again her songs are upbeat up to a point, Si Genaro is invited up for her ballad Sunshine to add some flavour, and the crowd love it.

Si Crockett Bmth UnpluggedSi Crockett starts with Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, featuring Si Genaro on blues harp again. It creates a laidback tone to the set, and allows the chaps to harmonise with each other in the choruses. Nacho Jase joins on congas and the summery vibe continues, in a very laid back fashion, yet absolutely belted out. I know Si C can really kick things up, even just on his own, tonight with the additions of Genaro and Jase he’s keeping it low key. Despite this the place is buzzing with his compelling tunes.

Tim Somerfield Bmth UnpluggedTim Somerfield closes and has clearly brought a big crowd with him judging by the noise despite some now empty tables. I last heard him some six months ago, and said then I’d want to see him again. I like what he’s doing; chord choices and progressions are unexpected, what sound like dominant sevenths and minors create an interesting contrast. He’s also throwing in chopsa nd staccato chords, and at one point breaks into some intricate finger work on the fretboard. Mountain by Biffy Clyro is his cover for the evening.

Another night of good playing and entertainment, making it so hard to judge between the acts – looking over my notes I can only find a one or two point difference across the criteria we’re asked to score under.

As is customary on my way home, drop into Chaplins and The Cellar Bar with Steve for a catch up with the open mic, which while it’s finished still has a lot of people talking music with guitars.

Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 3

1 Comment

DMA logoAs with the other heats, tonight I’ve seen and heard 5 high quality acts, and would not be in a position to pick any clear winners were I to be asked.

Seems the voters can’t either – no specific spoilers, but I’ve heard the voting is very close across many of the 20 acts, and this year looks to be record voting. When Trev was on HopeFM’s LiveWire Live show with me this week, he let it be known that at this halfway stage of the public voting round, around 5000 votes have been cast, compared with about 6000 in total for the whole competition last year.

Therefore the message to acts is clear – please please please if you want to have a clear win to go through to the next round, rather than have to go through another tiebreak judging process, shout your “vote-for-us” plugs about everywhere.

Hessian DMA QF3On to describing this Quarter Final: Hessian start – I’ve been looking forward to hear them again since they gave me such a wake up call at the Heats. This time they’ve not brought the huge crowd with them, this also means the room is half empty as they start.

Guitar led synth based rock, hooks and melodies, tight silences, lots of motion and communication between each other; also plenty of plugs for themselves. One of the last songs features some cutting harmonies from the two singers, lots of pauses in the music also feature demonstrating just how tight this band are together. All good stuff.

NMIC DMA QF3Not Made In China are as ever a lot of fun, while still being unable to box or label genre-wise. Really happy upbeat chords from JJ, Gav’s smile and ska-like bass riffs, Tiff’s clear lyrics above everything, with Matt’s personality able to shine through the drums. The Winchester has now filled up, though still not at capacity, and there’s a modicum of movement on the dance floor.

Sirpico DMA QF3Its the middle of the evening, and Sirpico‘s turn to wow me, which they easily achieve. Even before being announced by Trev, Al is on the mic welcoming people and encouraging them to step forwards. This sets up the scene for a rocked up set of 4 lads dressed in cool black, playing their guts out to a crowd that the majority of don’t start out as theirs, but are slowly being won over. Their fans have some quality heckles too, e.g.:
     Al: here’s the only slow one we do
     Heckle: and I bet that’s at f*^*in’ 1200 BPM too

Powdered Cows DMA QF3Powdered Cows take my artistic award for the night (no real surprise there) something that I haven’t appreciated before is how, while the songs sound like they’re in similar keys, there are subtle differences between them, making it well nigh on impossible to just jump in and accompany them, as Ed Pope does on sax for a couple of numbers. Tonight the first few tracks are very heavily guitar oriented, with strong drum beats. Soon Martin switches from guitar so the synth plays a big part, drums turn into tambourine & whistling before there’s a total instrument switch around between Amy (drums now guitar) & Deena (vice-versa). Meanwhile Angus stays solid playing bass throughout.

Constellation DMA QF3Constellation have had a crowd here since the beginning of the night, so understandably there’s a lot of noise when they finally take to the stage. This also means that The Winchester is still absolutely packed as they play – if there was an extra award for crowd commitment and dedication, these guys would be strong contenders! Once announced they kick straight into a big drum solo to start the set. These guys are a great party band, positive major keys, upbeat/ reggae style guitar beats, and everyone here seems to be here for good time, judging by the noise and heckles.

A specific shout out to Josh from Conversion Studios, he’s offering part of the prize package, and we had a brief chat once introduced by Trev to each other.  Also to two particular members (who will remain nameless – they know who they are) of one of the acts in the Quarter Finals – placing bets on whether they get a mention by name or not in this blog – nice try chaps, I’d say OP wins for that!

Show & BU Heat 6

1 Comment

My guests tonight are The Luminaires, with a cut direct from the studio of their debut EP. Its still in final mixdown stage, so the track that’s bought in to play has not been heard by some of the band even, it’s that fresh. They were last in the studio with me in November, after wowing me with their debut performance at the Oxjam take over; then our topics ranged across all sorts of topics; this time the chat is slightly more focussed – probably as band savant Dave is keeping a lid on himself and his wide-encompassing knowledge.

Afterwards I head onto the now familiar jaunt for Bournemouth Unplugged, O’Neills.

Jonny Neesom Bmth UnpluggedJonny Neesom draws the opening straw tonight. He’s got an interesting style, playing plucked open chords while providing an overwash of MC’d chant rap. Previously I’ve only heard him do 2 or 3 songs at an open mic, to hear him perform a fuller set is good, and shows he does have more songs in his repertoire, with more or less similar styles. When he sings, its very much tone poem style, really allowing a focus on the originality of the lyrics.

Chris Woodford is second. A very quick setup ( and tune up) and he’s in. The first chords still the place, he pauses, one can hear the silence spread across the room, before he launches into his now familiar routine. I’m sort of au fait with the material, yet I never know if I’ve heard each piece of his before or not. It’s varied both in dynamic and style, in that there is chord picking, chord struumming, finger picking (with either hand), taps, pulls, and then when one thinks there is no other style to show off, he slips into lap steel mode and throws in the other moves he’s known for. Winner of the 2008 Dorset Music Award, he’s no doubt on a cert to go far in this competition. Foo Fighters’ Everlong is his choice of cover – yet he’s made it totally his own.

David Mansell Bmth UnpluggedPenultimate act David Mansell starts with a little introduction, promising us a range of genres, and a (very short) story behind his opening song. I’ve not heard David play for a long time. He’s a traditional guitarist compared with the first two acts, he is not coming across as the singer songwriter-guitarist he really is. No sign of the endless strumming here, we are presented with some well-orchestrated chord sequences and foot tapping rhythms, accomplished jazz guitar and blues beats.

Shanon Fontaine Bmth UnpluggedShanon Fontaine closes the evening. She’s bright both with the greeting and the appearance. I must admit to having seen shanon around in crowds at gigs and speaking with her, yet not knowing she played. She has an open picked chord style for verses, pretty much a perfect accompaniment to her isolated voice. Yet for the choruses the now sliced chords pick up the pace and her voice boosts accordingly. In another song she hits some staccato chops that again augment and complement. Shanon is also experimenting with a loop/delay pedal, very basic usage but it helps provide extra depth to the deeper tones she’s singing this time around – this range seems to suit her better than the higher end she’s used up to this point.

Another enjoyable acoustic musical evening courtesy of Fairplay and Bournemouth Unplugged.

Open Mic Tues

2 Comments

Rincewind O'NeillsJust a short report about tonight, I was flitting about running errands and dropped into O’Neill’s for the Revolving Door open mic night, to find Rincewind doing passable Hawkwind covers; a 5 piece band fronted by Sarge, with Nacho Jase on sound and Si Genaro on some sort of sound generating ring modulator/ pitch shifter adding the necessary Hawkwind doodad effects.

Coke Can Jack Pink MoonAfter just the one act I head off home via the Cellar Bar where Coke Can Jack are putting on a great finishing touch to what by all accounts has been a good night – it helps that the place has filled up for the last of their set after the Levellers gig at the O2 Academy.

DMA Quarter Final 2

1 Comment

Its always good to see a sizable crowd at these events – neither the bitter wind that’s keeping things cold outside nor any alternative musical attractions such as Hannah Robinson at Mr Kyps haven’t kept people away from The Winchester.

Lauren BannonLauren Bannon is our first act of the evening, the aforementioned sizable crowd are fortuitously quiet for her performance. Despite being early, I still miss the start of her set, in the part I hear her voice is strong, as stated she’s captured the attention of the crowd with it, she’s also wearing an outfit that had been noted on facebook as she purchased it, it looks good on her, the photo doesn’t really do justice. Even though she can belt out the numbers, tonight she seems more laid back, although it’s obvious from her body language she’s really pleased to be here and is putting nearly everything she’s got into singing and owning the crowd.

Local internet TV crew issTV are also here – I missed them last week though they were present. News reporter Sarah is trying to catch interviews with each of the artists off stage, and capture something of the live performances too, ready for a DMA special report on their Life channel.

PachangoPachango are second up. They wake us up with their kicking tunes – there’s nine of them on stage tonight, 10 including Rich as he gets up to announce them (I lose him in the fury of people and instruments in the set up!). Interesting to see Rab from Dead Lettuce has joined them on guitar tonight – this is to replace Will who’s about to embark on a Canadian tour with Douglas Firs. Pachango are really rocking it tonight – a few people are commenting they’ve never seen them perform so hard, and it shows in the audience and in everyone’s faces – we’re all really enjoying it.

County HospitalCounty Hospital make a bit of an entrance – they walk out from the back room in scrub-gowns, masks and caps, with a wheelie bin, incinerator and megaphone. They are also really giving it some tonight – high energy, showmanship its all there. Even at one point where lead Tim has a lapse in concentration and seems to forget the words, its still as if its part of the act, just the hesitation showing in his face giving it away.

Incinerator!We find out the reason for the incinerator halfway through – drummer Ed takes a baseball bat to it in time with the silences in one song; Tim uses it in another. For their finale they climb into the bins and, beckoning people onstage, exchange instruments with these audience members. They end up all lying in a heap as if they’ve died onstage while their music continues without them. Very artistic, and I can hear people all around commenting how they loved it and wanted to see more. Good stuff to hear when this is a fan based part of the competition.

Bel CasinoBel Casino are the penultimate act – they’ve kept the acoustic based tunes, yet really cranked things up this year – they are pacier and rockier than before; really putting in the effort. They make an excellent foil to what’s gone before, just good solid music which does what Bel Casino do best – evocative of the summer and life living by the sea and on the beaches. This is South Coast rock and I’m loving it! They’ve somehow cut and carved a new edge to their sound – its a well worn cliche, but that’s the only way I can describe what I’m hearing. What could have been a tired Seventeen is bouyant and full of life, renewed with energy. The same is true for closing number Castaway.

The Neon TigersAfter the usual short changover The Neon Tigers take to the stage to close the evening off. Again this is a headline not a graveyard slot – while the crowd have thinned its only slightly and the remaing audience have pushed forward to still keep the capacity vibe. I’ve already described The Neon Tigers’ sound elsewhere, suffice to say they are still performing their theatrical rock, with no gimmicks this time around, just amazingly solid look and sound. Jon is still the amazing guitarist, Gary still looks good in the military uniform and playing those good bass hooks, Rich is ever present with vocals and performance to match the other two, John is as solid as is desired on drums in this kind of rock band. I just really hope they do what’s needed for the audience and the judges in the next rounds to make it as far as the final, where I still think they belong.

Having seen all five acts tonight, I can’t make a judgement call who will and won’t be in the semi finals of this competition – all of those I’ve seen tonight have given performances of a lifetime as far as I can tell, and deserve the very best from the fan vote…

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5

Leave a comment

EDNSITP HopeFMI’ve had a brilliant night in the studio with all 3 members of Radio Boscombe, swelled by their special guests tonight Elvis Did Not Star In This Production (EDNSITP). Phone interviews with Trevor Hill about the Dorset Music Awards, and a number of female fans of the band, one of which unfortunately thought she was talking to boy band Take That for some reason – nothing at all to do with the way they were introduced by compere for the show Gary, I’m sure 😉  The boys have a wide range of items on youtube, some of which were performed live on air. Another sketch they did is on the forthcoming Comic Relief CD of Monty Python Covers, And Now For Something Completely Similar arranged by Radio Boscombe, all proceeds from sales of which will go to Comic Relief 2011.

Dan Rumsey Bmth UnpluggedI quickly head up to my currently regular Wednesday Haunt – O’Neill’s – for Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5.  Dan Rumsey is first on stage. He starts with what I think is going to be a run of the mill acoustic strummed song, when he bursts into a really high chorus on Beautiful Animal. His songs feature a range of vocal dynamics, almost matched by the guitar work with builds and fades accordingly. He chooses an unusual cover, Hushabye Mountain, which shows a different style to those songs that have gone before. He has only vague variety in his choice of styles, though I am enjoying the quality of his song writing.

Logan Carter Bmth UnpluggedLogan Carter is next, and demonstrates the gentler finger picking art of guitar playing while still able to keep a rhythm going, which impresses me. When he strums it is laid back and open, the sustain under strict control. As for Dan Rumsey, Logan demonstrates he also has a high upper point to his voice. Logan shows a knack of utilising contrasts in his performance by alternating strummed and picked, low and high songs.
His cover Billy Jean is interesting, able to play the bass line with thumb and melody with fingers – hard to do, and even harder to pull off as near perfectly as Logan does.

Boyd & Wain Bmth UnpluggedBoyd & Wain burst on with a bit of a flourish, a good story then straight into a country number I couldn’t repeat here using Radio Rules. I’ve recently written about the last time I saw these guys at Solid Air, they are still good with stories & anecdotes about life as well as the songs, yet not going on enough to turn this into ….an audience with…. Having a fiddler as accomplished as Benny really aids Katie as she plays on a very bright sounding guitar. The final bluegrass take on Chuck Berry’s Maybellene goes down well with the crowd, the stomp box almost being irresistible for the majority of people around me…

Joel Gregory gets to close what has become an early finish. Joel has probably been the most recognisibly visible act promoting his presence in the competitoon on facebook. Rightly so, since 45% of the results are by public vote on the night. The first couple of songs contain clever lyrics which are a little mashed by the overblown chords. This is retarded slightly in the third song which is a quieter number overall. As ever once I write the words I need to eat them – Joel’s built to a crescendo. Wonderwall is his cover, loved by the blokes in the audience, although much cliche’d on the circuit.

As ever there are many notable musos in the audience, e.g. this time The Luminaires are here supporting bandmate Joel, while Jinder is supporting bandmate Logan.

At the end I brave a very cold evening on the bike to get home, with a stopoff at the Chaplins Open Mic.  Alan the Shaolin Punk is on stage for half a number as I walk in, that was it – not really enough time to build an opinion, sorry. However, I’m told he’s worth looking out for again.

Newer Entries