Nutty Roots

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Discos Out (Murders In) @ Mr KypsNuttyness the Madness tribute band are playing Mr Kyps; Disco’s Out (Murders In) are supporting, and doing their utmost to make a big sound and party things up – lots of their fans like me are here from their 95 person guest list, so its not only a great atmosphere but a good party too. Ed is absent reducing them to 6 on stage; Martin and Imogen seem to be behaving extra nuttily to compensate; Steve and Lee particularly are making the most of the large Mr Kyps¬†stage by springing about with some awesome lunging action that unfortunately we just can’t coordinate with in the crowd ūüėÄ

Nuttyness @ Mr KypsAfter Disco’s Out (Murders In)‘s amazing set and a lengthy stage reset, Nuttyness enter the stage making a grand suited and booted appearance, hats and dark glasses in abundance among the 6-piece. They kick off with some great licks, The Prince, One Step Beyond, before taking it down a step with Another¬†Weary Day. A shout for modernity from the 80’s tribute – they can be tweeted while live @nuttinessband, and they’ll include them in the show. Its pumped again with House of Fun, which is where I take an exit to catch other some other gigs.

Willowen @ On The RocksI reach On The Rocks in time to catch the last few songs from Willowen. Its slightly more subdued than the last time I saw them, at the Inferno, but the crowd here are more into the band than they seemed to be at that latter venue. They are all going slightly crazy for some of the pacier numbers such as Drowsy Maggie & Dan’s House. I’m just impressed with myself I’ve managed to make a gig at this place, all the better for it being an intimate band like Willowen.

Hiproute @ Cellar BarOn to catch the last of Hiproute‘s set at the Cellar Bar, they are doing some blues, appearing under the UK Roots Movement moniker, as per normal for the last Friday of the month in this place. The slide guitar work is fairly dominant, with large bass riffs leading over the top occasionally, both being underpinned by solid steady drums. This is definitely more funk than blues for the most part, especially as they break out the acoustic guitar and transport us on a jolly journey that definitely gets the foot tapping…

Smart Crooked Book

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The Crooked Book

Here’s an unusual arts venue, The Crooked Book. Its been open on Boscombe main road for about 6 months now. I’ve been introduced to this cornucopia of a book-come-coffee shop by Tim Smart who’s brought the Smart Family Band here tonight, as the shop are exhibiting some of his drawings. Tim gives us a brief introduction, then renders the story behind some of the artwork (involving an nineteenth century failed entrepreneur and the object of his demise, a beached whale)

Smart Family Band @ Crooked BookThe band are broadly acoustic again as per last night, and are making some intimate music for this very much in-the-round performance in the middle of the shop. There’s a great little buzz about the place, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is irresistible. Its also good to be able to browse for books while everything is going on ūüôā

Thanks to byanushka for permission to reuse their photo of The Crooked Book

Solid Air Christmas Party


The Solid Air Christmas Party is the showcase for this blustery Monday night – I’ve managed to entice Ness to come along with me, since close friend David Lambert is making a rare appearance on the bill (he was booked by Conrad during my radio show, when he was on with Sue Pugh a few months ago).

Smart Family Band @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecAfter a technical delay the Smart Family Band start with one of their calling cards, For The Sparrows a capella. They move through some of their other staples before moving into their own take of Guns Of Brixton (The Clash). Its all very acoustic and a bit of fun. With the seven of them on stage they can do lot more with Bearded Lady and particularly Sandboy, which has been polished up with a new set of riffs and a bass vibe for this performance. As expectedly as ever they end randomly unexpected, singing Women Of the World as they pack up and clear the stage.

Sue Pugh & David Lambert @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecDavid Lambert and Sue Pugh take to the stage for an intricate set of acoustic numbers – it’s rare to hear the sort of quality they produce in a pub environment, as this is normally that which is found in the folk club. Sue sings an unaccompanied solo which has us spellbound, those of us in the front section, anyway. They finish with their strong rendition of Ins’allah.

Fish Out Of Water @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecFish Out Of Water are playing their third gig ever for their Solid Air debut; dubbed beforehand as a Fairport Convention/Pentangle cross, they are simple acoustic once guitarist Ash drops his problematic tech, and possibly sound the better for it; their voices are exposed and it works really well compared with what’s gone before – especially female lead vocalist Jen’s voice. They provide our first Christmas song of the evening- While Shepherds Watched, to the tune of The Animals’ House Of The Rising Sun, before embarking on a fun journey as pirates…

Mother Ukers @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecMother Ukers finally take the stage, and start with Step On, the song Conrad & I featured on last weeks show to promote this gig. As part of their performance we are encouraged to first imagine lead vocalist Jonty as Debbie Harry / Blondie for Heart Of Glass, then envision him dressed in purple biker leathers for Purple Rain. While these are both scary images that I don’t want to dwell on, the music is a lot of fun and entertaining –¬†Ness is even happy to stay through to the end, an unusual occurence. Thanks to all who played and created entertainment.

Yellowgroove & Brothers Grimmer

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Yellowgroove @ Cellar Bar 17 DecAnother Saturday this time, yet another Yellowgroove gig. They start with another great rendition of Son Of A Working Man. There’s a little interlude as Simon announces he’s going to spend Christmas in a cave, and introduces a song about caves, which has a very Richard Thomson folk-inspired riff to start on the acoustic. The rest of the song is good too, I think its a new one on me. They play a genuinely new song after covering Stuck In The Middle and suffering some lead flaff. Witches Wood is along the contemplative line, with plenty of space for some subtle chord and lead work, and some nicely disharmonious accidentals.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 17 DecI leave after Loving Man to waste 30 minutes fighting through BIC traffic to reach On The Rocks, only to find they’ve shut up shop – relatively early starts for them, they’re finished by 11pm ūüė¶ I console myself by catching a little bit of Brothers Grimmer¬†at the¬†Inferno, they are as rockin’ as ever, though I only stay for a few songs before heading on to see a friend who’s hotel sitting for the night.

Not Made In China @ Rose Red Records

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Rose Red RecordsRose Red Records is one of the new celebrated record shops in town. Situated in a decent location in Boscombe’s Royal Arcade, I’ve not been to visit properly before, even though Chris and Amy came in to do a show with us on HopeFM during the year. ¬†The shop occasionally features small sets, signings¬†and so forth from bands, most notably recently a signing session¬†from the likes of Uriah Heep. Not Made In China are the latest band to play here, since they are what I dub the happiest band in Bournemouth, and Ness and I are out and about anyway, we drop in to hear them. ¬†Unfortunately, Gavin forgot his bass, so we’re waiting for some time while he retrieves it, giving me some time to enjoy browsing the cellar of this remarkable shop. ¬†A select number of vinyl albums are kept in stock here, all used / pre-owned / second-hand, and there are some classics among them, some of which I already have in my collection, many others that I would desire, were money no object.

Not Made In China @ Rose Red RecordsGavin arrives with his bass, and¬†Not Made In China start their set, now I can only stay for a couple of songs since I’m late for other things I need to do this day. ¬†They are always a lot of fun, with their happy-sounding major chords, great tunes, and incisive lyrics. ¬†Thanks guys for the introduction to the shop, and for the short set portion I can catch…

Zuby Album Launch

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Zuby @ Winchester 14 DecAfter a quiet radio show with Conrad from Solid Air I pop over to the Winchester for the Commercial Underground 2 album launch party by Zuby. The first Commercial Underground album was a mainstay of the show when it first started, as Zuby was one of the first guests Iveren, the first presenter on LiveWire Live.

His music is not what I would normally associate with rap or hip-hop, his MC’ing is crystal clear, socio-political in nature, and has a great story to tell. He makes some interesting comments on fame and being famous. I didn’t realise that Steppin’ 2 Me, his first single, was written 5 years ago, pretty much as he made that first appearance on HopeFM.

He is very engaging during the performance, much of the crowd are core fans from 5 years ago, who are taking part in all the songs, shouting along as encouraged by Zuby. For some songs he invites fellow rapper ShaoDow to do some combatin’ together, its all a lot of hard fun. What strikes me after the gig is he’s hanging around, signing CD’s etc,¬†fans want photos with him, many of them taken by his publicist – acting totally unlike the stereotype of rappers / hip-hop etc.¬† Its all good.

Inferno Simple Night

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Mr Tom @ Inferno 10 DecI give myself a simple and easy night tonight, ignoring the lure of the Devils Music drum off (even though that features much liked Disco’s Out (Murders In)) to hear two of the four acts on at the Inferno. Southampton based Mr. Tom are the first ones I catch, after Afro Ninja and Kathryn Price. They are definitely indie sounding, but better than that description normally implies, with some good guitar synth work, and tricked out rhythms in some songs to break up the solid four beat pop rock. Some of their endings need a little more polish although they are fairly tight on the whole. While a bit overblown on the bass end this is offset by the good guitar melodies.

The General Public @ Inferno 10 DecAfter the usual flaffy changeover, The General Public start strong with Get It On. This is the one I hear the most as its the one I play most on the radio, and its great hearing it live. What sets The General Public¬†apart is the doubled up harmonised vocals from Hope (keys) & Mike (guitar). Lee on bass is strutting his groove while Rich is hitting some complex beats at the back. They’re here under sufferance since they’re feeling under the weather, so are winging the set as a result, and draw the audience into that, encouraging heckling and song suggestions.

They claim to have a couple of slow songs, yet don’t seem to be playing them – all this music compels one to dance or at least hop on the spot. Mike (guitar)¬†has to retune regularly, and eventually decides to change the errant string, the other three just lead off into an instrumental jam, in itself almost song-worthy independently. Having a keyboard in the mix really helps given them that edge here, and its not just simple chords or pads, Hope gives herself some complex syncopations to match those from Lee & Rich. Like it a lot.

Show, Open Mic & Tripp Out

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Radio Boscombe arranged their Christmas Special Show for listeners to HopeFM. Comprising the usual mix of original material performed live, canned material from prior shows, and classic material from other comedy groups they’ve been associated with there’s a good blend and balance, even if the ironic tribute to the Pearl Harbour 70th anniversary fell on some ears harshly (had a phoned complaint).

Aaron Gregory dropped in with some tunes and his new EP to promote a charity fundraiser he’s organising for Sparkles, providing a hydrotherapy pool for St Victorias school, Branksome, and much was made of some of the artists who are giving their time for free to play and hopefully swell the coffers. ¬†Rock Regeneration reviewed the night.

On to the Chaplins open mic, where Chris Woodford sets a strong tone by opening with his usual harmonic symphonies. What I find amusing is he drifts from movement to movement, with breath pauses to allow a change in mood, mode and tempo, and those breaths are always thought of by some in the crowd as stops, hence a couple of claps soon falter.

David Mansell takes to the chairs. He’s another amazing guitarist, I’d normally have thought him more of the blues persuasion than other genres, unlike Chris he sings too. Tonight he’s sticking to gentle folk ballads, the archetypal story in a song. He’s playing with including some Jazz guitar expressions, I like that he throws in a gliss chord at the very end of a piece, slowing down the a big burst to signify “I’ve finished, cue your applause”. Dave’s big finish is a blues number, good 8 bar staple.

Madison Tar Heels are 3 Jack Ratts members under the watchful eye of Hawkeye. They kick off a bit of a stomping set with CrippleCreek, really fast banjo work, slap string bass and washboard making great taps. The lively nature of the music is catching, there are whoops and various Southron phrases thrown around from both the band and the audience. The music is all old time, 19th century Americana ¬†(I did call this¬†Bluegrass¬†though I’m later informed this is called old-time, invented before bluegrass; its all in the picking action, aparently…) –¬†Cluck Ole Hen, Turpentine and the like. Short, snappy and a lot of fun. ¬†Its so much fun, that by the time I leave, I’m too late to catch Pete Christie at the Thomas Tripp tonight – the difference in bar closing times & travel between can be awkward sometimes…

Two Sets of An Evening With…

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My Sunday night started with “An Evening With….Blowing Your Cover” at the church tonight, as we prepare for our launch of this popular church training & equipping course. Afterwards dash over to The Cellar Bar, where Pete Christie is performing. Pete is my favourite performer; I consider him to be one of the absolute best on this circuit. A music session is more like An Evening With…Pete Christie, since the constructed songs are interspersed with both inane banter and insights into Pete’s life.

This starts as I walk in with digs at myself and another notable punter from the scene, before regaling us with a slight on a certain capo from a certain internet supplier. The capo broke 11 months after purchase and he’s heard diddly-squat from the firm. He then splurges into Dancing Diamonds. The next story is 5 minutes about a gig in Swindon, the only kebab shop open there at midnight, and a stool that’s just the right height for him, before he plays a short song from his Skavengers era about trouble, making much use of harmonics on the guitar.

I’ve previously referred to Pete as Magic-Fingered; while there hasn’t been¬†much evidence of this so far, his voice is in fantastic form, as demonstrated by his high wails in staple Lost, which also provides for his first flicker-fingered instrumental break of the night. He next plays his version of Beeswing, which I’ve missed pretty much every other time I’ve seen him play due to walking in late. Its everything I’ve come to expect of Pete’s entertainment, and more…

Along the way, many of his songs are changed and mucked about on the spot; lots of seeming improvisation and spontaneous invention. After one cover he segues into a little instrumental involving the same chord progression, yet thowing in some slide action, even slipping into lap steel mode with the slide for a moment. Good stuff.

Kristy’s Birthday

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Thursday finds me at o’Neills for Vida (soon to be VidaSoul). I’ve arrived late as ever, thanks to a pre-arranged choir practice. Tim Somerfield is doing some mellow numbers as I walk in; next are Karl and Kristy the birthday girl as Verbatim. Doing covers in their own way, this is the second version of Toxic I’ve heard this week, and it’s pacy almost with a new country feel to it, and is as different from the original as Ali Bangay’s and Sarah Griffin’s takes, the other versions I’ve heard. Karl’s guitar work is pretty perfect for the setting of them both; Kristy’s voice totally blows me away; the duo make a good impression.

Now we get to the main attraction, Tim (bass), Richard (for Rio on drums) and Karl (guitar) take to the stage and start a little jam going waiting for the ladies to join. They soon break into a funky intro for Crazy In Love which is way up tempo and licks the pub into uproar, setting a high bar for the rest of the night.

Having heard them do acoustic versions of this and next song Dollar on the radio show the previous night, its a change to hear them pumped up and tricked out, this time to a full audience. They start a Christmas mood with Rockin’ Around The Christmas tree, what I find amusing is checking out the normally impeccable back line, working the chords and passing them to each other. This signals a slightly toned-down section, until Candy Man starts with a slinky sexy slow beginning, before bursting forth into full on rock ‘n’ roll.