Show & Open Mic

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Yellowgroove @ HopeFM 16 NovYellowgroove are on my bill tonight, Simon and Ben only show up, with core fan and videographer John in tow (Mark and new drummer Chris can’t make it). I’m always guilty of turning the music show into a talk show when friends like Simon and Ben join me – they always have interesting topics to talk about; I always seem to be able to divert the interview into digressions based on the lines they feed me.

Yellowgroove @ HopeFM 16 NovThe upshot is we only play a few songs over the whole two hours on air, 3 of theirs from CD/Soundcloud (San Francisco Bay, These Times, Son of a Working Man) , 2 live (Lovin’ Man , Wheels of Fire (which Mark later comments (he’s listening) is a cool new version)) and 3 other artists – Fawnamarine, The Frequency and Veetacore. I really enjoy the show, despite my lack of music.

After last weeks excellent Wednesday night session, another one is in store tonight. Joe Potter, Louis Pavlo and Annie Winter have formed a trio and are rumoured to be playing tonight. Before then, we have Kimari Raven, a new dude called Joe playing the likes of Savage Garden covers, the Admiral Shiny Sides (yeh, you try pronouncing that) doing mainly Johnny Cash Covers; Andy finishes the night after the rumour-proving-true main attraction for many here of Joe, Louis and Annie.

Joe Potter, Louis Pavlo and Annie Winter @ Chaplins Open Mic 16 NovLouis’ Nord keyboard creates a great 70’s Rhodes vibe sound, backed by Joe’s acoustic guitar with Annie taking a vocal lead. Joe and Louie switch guitar and keys occasionally, Annie sometimes just sings, other times includes her acoustic guitar in the ensemble.

They cover a couple of Beatles numbers before breaking into some of their original songs, continuing to intersperse covers and originals, much to the appreciative audience’s delight. Definitely worth waiting for, expect to see them booked at a venue near you real soon.

Cellar Sessions

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Mischa and Merry Man Tom @ Cellar Bar 15 NovQuick post about tonight – it’s the first chance I’ve had to hear Mischa‘s material with his latest musical incarnation – a duo with acoustic bass by Tom.  As ever good tunes with an additional dimension – some are started solo then added to, others are totally remixed live as a result of the orchestration capabilities.

Ant Lewis @ Cellar Bar 15 NovWe get to the main event. Ant has offered up some new Dusty Cuts songs on his facebook notice about tonight, mixed in with his acoustic material as Our Blinkered Eyes. The lyrics are fast, the chords are faster, then he breaks into long musical spaces, throwing some guitar body percussion too.  All good and enjoyable.

Fish ‘n’ Kyps Evening

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Fish - Fish Heads @ Mr Kyp

Having had a long day (started on the 05:12 train) away in London I catch the majority of Fish and the Fishhead’s acoustic set at Mr Kyps. They’re running through some of the classic 80’s Marillion material, with Fish breaking off and telling stories, particularly when asked what happened to his head (he’s lost his trademark hair). At the point I get my head into gear he’s asking for requests, which he receives in plenty and ignores or cusses most of them away.

He decides on Jigsaw, and has to look up the words from a folder of his back catalogue, still joking all the way. His voice is still steady and sure, even if some of the high range pitches I’m familiar with from the ’80’s recordings are absent. Its all good. He takes 5 minutes to interact with the crowd with regards sex and relationships, before launching into Just Good Friends.  Something else – he’s continually chucking in references to a Mk II Jaguar he’s seen in a garage window here in town…

Fish - Vigil - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsHe shares an interesting view of Cuba and Che Guevara comparing relative freedoms against living in invisible boxes before launching into Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors – its even more relevant now than it was in 1989 when written. For this he’s walking around the crowd, telling the story through the song – he gets to the inevitable line “I’m just a voice in the crowd”, and exhilaratedly shouts “I’m in the crowd”. Things go totally silent at the close … “The deadliest weapon is truth” before the applause somewhat detracts from the moment. This perfectly leads into Fugazi – messed up world (radio rules mean I’m not about to publish the proper interpretation…).

Frankie - Frank Usher - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsFossy - Foss Paterson - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsWhat I’m enjoying  about the whole gig is that the entire big sound I’m used to from hearing the studio or live albums is being reproduced on an acoustic guitar by Frank Usher, and a RD-700SX keyboard played by Foss Paterson.

For the encore Fish breaks into Sugar Mice, with the story of how this was written in 1986 before mobile phones, about having arguments over long distance (and uber-expensive) phone calls from the USA to back home, when he’s had to beg a venue manager to be able to even make the call. This is even more special for me than the other greats he’s included tonight – it was this song that introduced me to Marillion in the first place back in 1987.

This has been an amazingly intimate gig, and so much better as a result.

Mother Ukers @ Bhone end of the ride @ ChampionsOn to the Bhone End Of The Ride event at Champions – grandmaster of Bhone Tony Foster is off to new pastures so has thrown a farewell party. Saturday Sun were on the bill, and Mother Ukers are just finishing up as I arrive, doing their usual messed about versions of classic songs.  Tone himself is in mellow mood, it’s pretty much the last many of us will see of him as he departs more or less immediately after this gig for his new home in Edinburgh.

end of a long night after a long day - thanks Cellar Bar CrewI drag myself home via the Cellar Bar, where astonishingly the Rubber Soul bands have long-since packed up for the night – it’s only just gone midnight when I arrive.  Some of the female Cellar Bar Crew wander in dressed in fabulous evening dresses, sporting Movember mo’sista moustaches.  Soon the eye-liner is out, and we all end up looking something like this…  What an awesome evening, to top off what had been an eventful (if long) day.

November’s Solid Air Show then Open Mic

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Its the turn of Connie from Solid Air to be my co-host on the show tonight; we had Paul Tucker entertaining us with stories old and new, and playing songs from some of his former bands. Between Paul and Conrad there isn’t much that’s happened in the music scene in the area that hasn’t escaped their attention; makes for a very interconnected view of the circuit, since they can link all the various muso’s together with the assorted bands they had, are or have been in.

On to Chaplins for the regular open mic, and a couple of new artists I’ve not seen before, but need to see again – Fawnamarine (Jacqueline Hanna) does a quiet couple of songs; she normally plays acoustic bass, and yet is a multi-instrumentalist – samples are on Soundcloud (check out Movin’ On). Linford Dunston takes the mic after Jacqueline and amazes with his presence.  Alisha does some covers showing off a very sweet voice, then, unusually for an Open Mic, a full band set themselves up.

Milk Machine @ Chaplins 9 Nov — with (l-r) Flemming Fiol, The Crowman, Hawkeye Houlihan, Thomas Taff Morse and Andy Jack Ratt.The Milk Machine (Hawkeye Houlihan & friends) have decided to do a rare UK set – they normally only play in Denmark. Its very Irish in nature, a blend of country punk folk and all good fun and lively. Their version of Another Brick In The Wall is very surprising; totally unguessable by the intro that is given to it. They also look so serious while performing so humorously. Next up Kraftwerk’s The Model, totally originally covered as is The Doors’ (People are) Strange. What I like is one of the chaps just starts, and the others immediately know what’s being played – no flaff. They announce “a waltz” and all immediately launch into yes, a slow waltz version of Anarchy In The UK, full harmonies and everything! What a great night.

Bar Extreme Acoustic Night

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Bar Extreme logoBar Xtreme is a new bar for me, and I like it. Narrowly slotted into the top end of Old Christchurch Road, with weird and wonderful levels going on due to the hill. It also helps that the drinks are reasonable, and they’re experimenting by offering complimentary chilli, which is a real lip zinger! Snow boarding video screens adorn the walls, my only drawback is the dark musician corner – the crapberry just can’t get a shot in the poor light. Totally Live have been running an acoustic night here for a few weeks now; this is the first time I’ve wandered over…

I’ve missed Steve Perry‘s (Disco’s Out (Murders In)) solo set (to be honest, I didn’t know who was on); he was throwing in a few of the DO(MI) numbers solo, and will be doing the same this Thursday in O’Neills.

I have arrived in time to hear Mischa performing an “out there” set – namely material he wouldn’t normally come out and play. He slips in a couple of familiar numbers for Kat the cellist in his new band, who’s come along hoping to hear some numbers before having to play them! Always enjoyable, simply as Mischa always puts on a decent show with his performance.

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