Sat 30 July Zaardvark & True Swamp Neglect

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Zaardvark @ Champions 30 JulyAfter the HopeFM fundraiser, Champions beckons as Zaardvark are on stage. Even though I nicked their set list when they played my birthday garden party, I’m still unsure of the titles, however all of their music is again well executed with supposedly awkward rhythms that work well, and a jazz funk vibe from Andy’s bass and Mark’s guitar and effects. He’s using a bottle neck at some points, totally unique with the way the effects processing interprets the sounds

True Swamp Neglect @ champions 30 JulyI’d totally managed to miss True Swamp Neglect when I started doing LiveWire Live five years ago – they were just about stopping gigging as I was really starting in earnest. This reunion has been brought about by those members who’ve moved abroad coming back for a couple of weeks, so tonight is a chance to hear (with only a couple of rehearsals) what were at one time the second best band in Bournemouth, as tipped by BhOne’s Tone. A huge number of fans have obviously also taken the same opportunity as Champions is packed in the band area, and all those are going absolutely nuts with applause.

Ian on Theremin: True Swamp Neglect The music is grungy in nature thanks to some good underlying continuous bass sustains. The lyrical melodies totally belie what is going on with the three guitars, which are sticking with the sustained chords for the most part. Then there are the groove moments, heavy with effects, this is definitely music with substance to be chilled to when listening. What I find interesting is that these guys get on and do the music without the theatrics and stage presence (save a shoe on the mic stand?!?) that many of todays generation of bands indulge in, and which I enjoy. Great all the same.

Sat 30 July: Chinese Hope FM

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Chinese DancersA Saturday night with a bit of a difference – a fundraiser organised by Cranleigh Chapel on behalf of HopeFM, with a Chinese theme.

A three course meal is served followed by some chinese themed entertainment – music and dance. There a a number of HopeFM listeners here, plus some presenters, and members of the chapel community.

More DancersWe also have the inevitable auction with an assortment of high value awards that have been donated.

Pheonix arts troupe from Southampton are providing a range of entertainment for us, interspersed in the interludes between courses, and afterwards before, during and after the auction. The music and dance is a nice touch, courtesy of the Chinese church in Southampton.

 Peepah MusicianThere are Peepah (the unique stringed instruments that are plucked and can also be fast-picked).

Also featured are chinese violins, and an assortment of different styles of traditional dance.

Finally the leader of the troupe Sings us a beautiful Chinese song, translated as The Road To Heaven.

Dancers againAll very different from what I normally get to on a Saturday night, and all the more special as a result.

Vida Fri 29 July

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Vida @ The Richmond ArmsRichmond Arms again, for more female vocal entertainment, this time courtesy of Natalee, Elena and Kristy aka Vida, when mixed with Afro Ninja and Karl the ensemble making a fantastic sound.  Since I’ve already said a lot about these guys, both the first time I saw them in May, and later in July (they also generously played at a garden party I put together for my birthday). I won’t put any more here, except to say the are honing their sound, and really focussing in on what they are best at, making each show better and better.  This alone compels one to keep seeing them and coming back for more, hence my appearance at this latest gig of theirs. Love it, and love them.

27 July Show : Empire Affair & The Worry Dolls

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Empire Affair on HopeFMAll arranged at a little short notice, this week’s show. I’d originally planned for the annual New Wine Rebroadcast that tends to happen at this time of year. This year the week changed, so I had to call in my reserve act, Empire Affair, previously warned, but with very little time for promotion. This was a double mistake, both just because I want to let my audience know with as much notice as possible to give the bands that guest for me as large a following as possible, and as Empire Affair had written saying they would love to give HopeFM through my show the exclusive on their debut EP.

This might a bit obtuse, however while Empire Affair may be new on the scene, they come from good stock, having had many years experience getting it right (sometimes wrong, but mostly right in my opinion) in a former band. They’ve finalised their sound, smartened up their act (I’ve managed to miss them live so far, my loss) yet still retained the energy and the punch of their youth.

This flamboyance comes out in the interview, I’m loving my time with them and its over literally too quickly, they can only manage the first hour of the show before they have to dash off into rock star God-dom !?! And I hold the fort for the final hour with my music choice and gig guide.

I remember The Primitives had an album, subtitled How To Squeeze 15 Elephants Into A Test Tube. With The Worry Dolls we have a similar effect with musos on the O’Neills stage, itself not the smallest stage in town.

The Worry Dolls @ O'NeillsThe lead singer Emma’s vocal talents are impressive, she hardly needs the (rather overblown tonight) PA to make herself heard over the widespread band. What I didn’t appreciate when I saw them for the first time was the guitarist hidden at the back of the stage – Jon – also known for his talents with another fave band of mine, The Neon Tigers.

Tonight their sound is good, and I like being given the chance to fully appreciate what they should sound like. What I can’t convey here is the camararderie they display between songs. I don’t know and can’t tell if they’re telling the truth about when they say they’ve written this song or that song about other members of the band, however I don’t really mind, it all makes for a good craic.

Language, Timothy! on Forbidden Planet

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Add a descriptionNot an obscure reference to the wording of the blog, but a quiet evening at Solid Air’s Forbidden Planet, with this arcane and experimental duo. Thee Chairman and Mrs P have an ornate and varied range of mainly electronic instruments, rarities from the 80’s, and they use these in incredibly creative ways to provide entertainment, interspersed with samples taken from all sorts of sources – Mary Poppins, government safety warnings, Willy Wonka and other esoterica.

What I like about them is just the very seriousness of their performance, while fielding the most wild and weird musical creations. Sometimes accompanied by guitar, some times sung (good voices), more often tone poem like, the lyrics always tell a story, and are important to catch.

I’m heavily biased of course – these guys were one of the first to be introduced to me and the show by Conrad, and they’ve become good friends since, even though they’ve not been gigging for a while. They did a little turn at my birthday garden party, and had written some dedicated songs about it and me for that set. Included then, as now, is What I Sing, very catchy – A minor, C, G minor, D 🙂  This is available on their only album, Spring Corner, which is worth catching a copy of if you can.

Misty Eyes, Misty Blue

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Misty Blue @ The Richmond ArmsI’ve previously been tipped off about Misty Blue, admittedly by Lisa, one half of this Jazz Blues duo. She’s singing Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Dusty Springfield and the like, accompanied by Bruce Griffin on piano. The title refers to the wonderful tone and mood they bring to The Richmond Arms, a new venue for me. Apologies for the processed photo – the Arms is a nicely decorated pub, but the lighting is dismal for my crapberry.

Mr Griffin is wonderfully expressive on the keys, when called for half standing, swaying and providing added visual emphasis to keep pace with the music. I’ve not written about Lisa’s voice before, as I’ve not seen her since creating the blog; rich and mellow, perfectly in tune, able to reach deep with feeling, and high with passion, as called for by the score. I feel its a real privilege to just be able to walk in and hear them.

Del Bishop @ ChaplinsAfter this it’s off to Chaplins for the final couple of numbers by Del Bishop – totally different, yet still engaging and enjoyable all the same.

Inferno Pop Punk & Chaplins Oxjam

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For The Best @InfernoYoung five piece For The Best are on as the first band of the night. Loud and lively music, the wailed female vox fits this style, though I’m not a personal fan of it. There are bits of activity from the guitars, tight enough and clearly excited about gigging here. I’ve only caught the end of their set, not a lot of stage movement for my tastes – the music is fast and frenetic, and deserves a load more throwing bodies around the stage 🙂

Abel Archer @InfernoNext up three piece Abel Archer, again a young band. I’ve found out its a pop punk night, these guys are more heavy rock than punk, with a bit of wandering around and kicking stuff about. Music is punchy, vocals drowned out by the massive guitiar and bass, drums are doing their best to compete boosting the energy and making the set quite enjoyable. They formed in Exeter, now their base, some are originally from Bournemouth

Reclaim The Skies @InfernoHeadliners tonight are Reclaim The Skies. More liveliness and energetic music. Having an animated dedicated lead singer does that for a band, while not in Empire Affair‘s league, Matthew does a more than adequate job of fronting the four music makers, and encouraging their crowd to get involved. Doing the resesrch, I’m surpised to see they’ve only been together for 6 months or so, they are as tight as the other bands that have been on tonight…

Know One @ Cellar BarBournemouth Oxjam have been holding an all dayer at Chaplins and the Cellar Bar. By the time I arrive for the music Know One are onstage downstairs. I was impressed by these guys the first time I saw them at an O’Neills gig and they don’t disappoint now – ska / reggae, with trumpet and Dean as dedicated vocalist / MC to pump things up. Loads of gyrating bodies all through the pub enjoying the sound.

Big Face Reggae @ Cellar BarClosing the day are the fantastic Big Face Reggae, this time without Si Genaro, leaving Si Crockett to do all the vocal work, which he does with gusto, encouraged and heckled by some in the crowd. To alleviate his voice, and replace some of Genaro’s pieces, Know One’s Dean is invited to the stage again a couple of times.  Loads of skanking around, jumping and all sorts, with loads of friendly faces about all enjoying themselves.  Love it.

Si Crockett, Cella Creeps @ Cellar Bar

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Si Crockett Cellar BarAnother Friday night, another Cellar Bar gig. I’ve heard Si Crockett play lots recently, in his Big Face or Small Face Reggae guise, so its quite rare at the moment to see him solo acoustic, as he is tonight. His playing is more of an excuse to exercise his wonderful voice, with guitar accompaniment, the whole package is good as a result. He also announces his departure to pastures new, as he’s off doing the backpacking thing at the end of the summer.

Cella Creeps Cellar BarOn to Cella Creeps, a gig that has been misbilled a few times as Cellar Creeps or Mutual (not Mutant) Vinyl – obviously caught a mood as Ed announces themselves as Fearne 🙂 . Strong bass beats, good lead riffs and solid drumming mark the music, the whole being a very atmospheric emo-like sound. For a more complete description, see my previous posts on their Dorset Music Awards 2011 appearances. Suffice to say this gig features new material, reworked old material, and original material, all fantastic to enjoy.

They get up to their usual artistic antics. After playing personal fave Ride Beat (Mark dedicates it to me) Ed announces he feels “disconnected” and sits on the floor of the bar to play the next instrumental. All very chilled and mellow – until that is they divert into a funk jam, just because they were asked to at another gig, and it kind of worked then. It works now, too.

Blues Show, Blues Night

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Harpin-On HopeFM StudioI saw Harpin-On a few weeks back, they happened to be with me when the cancellation call came from the band that were supposed to be on the show this week. Since they’d already agreed a rehearsal that night it was relatively easy for them to rearrange.

What wasn’t so easy was to shoehorn them into the studio, amps drums and all. They managed to fit however, and the sound going out sounded pretty alright to my ears – the proof is in how it sounds on the CD though…
They provide some interesting chat, do the three Dave’s and Gary, as well as playing some great music. Groovy Baby can be heard on their website.

Riverside Blues Band O'NeillsOn to O’Neills where the Riverside Blues Band are doing their thing. What I like (apart from the lively rolling blues (funny that, a blues band doing the blues)) is the way front man Stan just gets on with it. “We’re the Riverside Blues Band, and we’re gonna play for you tonight”. Then straight in to track after track of steaming music. Few vocals, lots of riff, loads of blues harp – all really enjoyable, thanks to TL Recordings live.

Awesome Acoustic Thursday

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Masters Of None Cellar BarChris Woodford is playing the Cellar bar tonight – the debut of his new duo project with Jeven Smith. Chris has been noted in these pages for his amazing number of techniques, and the brilliance of the sounds he can fabricate with his 12 string guitar.

With Jeven providing plucked chord work with him, its sheer musical pleasure. They seem to alternate melody, bass and harmony between them, its hard to tell when listening just who is doing what. The whole is fantastically clear and incredibly complex I run out of words to describe it, just get along when you hear about them next – Masters Of None. Brilliant excellence.

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