Bit of a car malfunction so I arrive just in time to miss Saturday Sun. Talking with them and Martin from Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) (who’s trumpeting with Mutant Vinyl tonight) they had a great time and apparently ran with a good set.

Blackwater Caravan

Blackwater Caravan bhone bdayBlackwater Caravan are on stage when I walk in. I caused a bit of controversy at the Dorset Music Awards when I didn’t recognise their talent then. They are kicking some munged up grunge – distorted vocals are wailed out, accompanied by what sounds like a fuzzboxed bass and screaming totally overblown guitar, which turns out is a problem with the PA system.

These guys are placing a lot of energy into what they’re doing, and there are moments of solo brilliance. Their intros and outros are nicely segued, one song cleverly merges into the next at one point. Lead Zac’s solos are well performed, and he chooses a good set of effects for those, what I get lost in is when he switches to rhythm pieces and the previously mentioned over-volumed distortion mashes over his vocals.

There also seem to have been problems with the guitar, it needs tuning after nearly every song, and I’m pretty sure that not every song is in a different tuning. Towards the end of the set the PA gets sorted and the over-distortion is reduced, allowing us to appreciate Zac’s vocal talents more effectively, and talent there is a plenty, it’s just not been that great a showcase due to the lack of PA clarity earlier.

Rapids!

Rapids! bhone bdayThese start with their strongest track from the EP that impressed me so much. High amount of movement, catchy tunes, clear vocals, loads going on, impressive from the outset. Something must be going on backstage, lead Matt let’s the impressiveness slip during the gap by mentioning something about a guitar amp, I miss th exact coment but its clear the rest of the band don’t like this, which I think is funny.

Maybe he’s using whatever it a a goad to spur him on, he’s certainly putting a lot in to tonight’s performance, as are the rest of the band. Halfway through the second track there is some amazing bass work shaking the room, who would think that a slow alternation between two notes would be so powerful. They seem to be going down well with the crowd too, lengthy applause follows each song, possibly something to do with the really catchy keyboard/synth work, one song in particular is very 80’s in appeal (thinking Simple Minds here)

Matt Rapids! Closeup bhone bdayMatt has an interesting mic technique – he uses an upright stand when not on synth, holding the mic with both hands, looking up into the air rather than at anyone in the audience. He also has what looks like frustration but what I think is just his eccentric tendancies, jumping about, or standing on the spot kicking his knees together, putting on an in places alarming show. Their intros are also worked out – they tend to be quite sparse e.g. Drums on rims, guitar just picked staccato through a simple effect, then the full song comes in, eiter gently blending or gloriously crashing, either way entirely appropriate to the tune concerned.

Mutant Vinyl

Mutant Vinyl bhone bdayThese guys have grown so much through the various gigs they’ve played since the last time I saw them. Heavy and melodic at the start, they allow the art to shine through the music throughout. Dread is their homage to dub beat, its at once instantly memorable, yet promising of distant things – I think its very Egyptian in its stance, rather than Jamaican, then they throw in a grunge riff just to make things more interesting than they already were. Its also tonight’s first outing for Ed’s sax, more on this later.

I say this as next up is Wind That Woke Our Baby, some could call it soft rock however it has much in similar with some of the China Crisis in my memory. Mark (lead guitar) has a “pretty” riff for this one (I’m allowed to use pretty – that’s how Ed described it) then it builds into a more rootsy rock, all along Mark’s riff continues – very much like a koto sound from his guitar. Next there is more sax and this time Mark’s using a drum stick in right hand to create some chords. It then progresses into a rolling rock beat from drums while sax is sprayed all over, in a musical sense!

The next song is a Kings Of Leon cover, Knocked Up, and pin drop silence is requested, this is because guest vocalist introduced as Kya starts very quietly, while the music gently plays in the background, very melodic bass work leading the song on. This gentle start builds into a crescendo, which explodes in the third chorus. Martin Roberts is invited up for a special bhone 5th birthday version of Acid Honey. This should normally start with a sax solo over a steady drum beat then bass kicks in with a single note rhythm. Thanks to Martin this is a sax and trumpet solo, both playing the same riff in time, in the same octave. Great start well rehearsed and executed.

Mutant Vinyl Crowd Surf bhone bdayFor the sax break after the first verse, Martin and Ed take turns to have a playoff, before Martin switches to megaphone, another is invited up to play guitar while Ed grabs a third guitar. Meanwhile the band are all jamming out together while Ed calls for (and gets) a mosh pit. For their encore, they claim to have no material, until deciding to go with Guns Of Brixton, inviting Rob and Claire on stage to jam. Towards the end some crowd surfing goes on, before a glorious shambles of an end involving guitars, leads, sticks, amps and bundling.

To sum up, all bands tonight have represented a new breed of talent rising through the ranks, rather than out and out rock as many over the past days have been, all these acts are bringing something different to the party. Does this represent a change in focus for music in Bournemouth?

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