Hawkeye’s Birthday – A Poole Story

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Milk Machine @ Hope FM 15 FebIts a Sunday evening, I’ve been at a family party in Southampton all afternoon, and Hawkeye Houlihan let me know about his open celebration tonight, when one of the bands he’s in, The Milk Machine, were featured on the radio show a couple of weeks ago.  Much fun ensued on mic and while we were off air too – the photo kind of shows it all – 5 large blokes squeezed into a small box.

Quinns Quinney @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebBack to tonight, and Quinns Quinney (well, a much reduced version augmented by some The Milk Machine hangers on) are on stage at The Sloop, doing their usual array of mixed up covers, Eye Of The Badger, then a Greek dance version of Hit Me Baby One More Time (with orders not to laugh). Despite not being full complement, they are still playing their folk stomp material, fast, furious and demanding to be jumped to.

The Milk Machine @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebThe Milk Machine are in full effect tonight, even though Hawkeye has by this time been plied with enough rum to make him comically forget the set order, delegating (or delicating as he puts it) to the other members of the band both choice and vocals. Lots of Happy Birthdays and even a champagne presentation interrupt the set, with much merriment too. For their last song we have a kazoo orchestra to improvise a brass section, as the song is revealed to be Dance The Night Away

The Jack Ratts @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebThe Jack Ratts are the last band for this night, and have grown to a musically filling seven piece from when I’ve seen them before. Furious irish style, much like the Pogues thanks to the accordion and fiddle, and with added washboard from Crowman making a repeat appearance. Sidney on the mandolin and bouzouki has been in all three bands tonight, a bit of a master effort considering the frenetic nature of the tunes.

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Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 3

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Dirty Jerkers @ DMA QF3 24 FebWe start early tonight with Dirty Jerkers, who have been carried over from last week due to illness. They have sond good guitar sounds for their opening song that I like, and are throwing plenty of life into their set, for the most part (the bass player rarely turns to face the crowd). Even though there’s a less than normal crowd due to the early start – up to near capacity by the time they finish, the songs are squeezed in short, to get as many in in their set time. Its a shame they need to retune halfway through the set, as they lose the momentum gained from the third song, a strutty number which shows the variety these guys have, and let’s them visually entertain too. It’s a good set, I just feel I’ve wanted more verbal encouragement from the stage to the crowd to mosh, as the music and their antics require it 🙂

Voice Of Reason @ DMA QF3 24 FebVoice of Reason always pull out a lot of stops musically and visually, within the limitations of the showcase format. Singer Addie Jay encourages us to get involved, he’s also worked hard on the promotional material, good quality flyers etc. As an example of a break from their otherwise regularr hard rock, Dead And Gone has an amazing a capella start, voices in unison, while the drummer juggles his sticks in time to the beats during the song.

Veetacore @ DMA QF3 24 FebI’ve previously described Veetacore as a good retro 80’s sound, doing them a bit of an injustice. They are modern while having that cool throwback with the music, aided by clever (one handed! – the other holding the mic) synth work against thumping bass riffs. Becky keeps name checking, and forward throws teasers about gigs and a new EP, which is a good thing. Tom’s guitar pedal board deserves its own photo – its huge.Veetacore - pedal board (well oversize) They also sing harmonies on occasion, and are pretty animated to the punchy music, they go down well with the crowd too.

The General Public @ DMA QF3 24 Feb I’m expecting great things from The General Public, and they don’t disappoint. Starting with a bit of a slant to Talking Heads, they next move into the funkier numbers I like the best from them, starting with Disillusioned Generation, a brilliant capture of the current mood of the nation, whether old or young. Mike’s faces are something to behold, and the dischords between bass and keys (standing up makes a big difference to the visual dynamic) work really well for me. Richie’s drumming is absolutely spot on, I just hope others have seen it this way too for them to have enough votes to push into Mr Kyps, which is what all the acts at this stage are working towards.

Pachango @ DMA QF3 24 FebOur next act is more an experiment to squeeze the ten musicians and percussionists of Pachango on stage together, which works well enough on the wide Winchester stage to also give them room to jump around to the rhythms. They are on good form tonight, punching through the Latin influenced numbers, introducing a new one, including some of Selby’s beat poetry, all in all performing a good set.

Pump Action Radio @ DMA QF3 24 FebPump Action Radio are all that I expected of the theatrical rockers that they are. Big chords. Big riffs. Big jumps. Big hits. Big sound. And all tight with it. There’s a good mix of the heavy rock, the lighter guitar work, the solo vocals (appropriately screamed out) and the varied use of the drum work, along with encouragement for use to participate too. A good live act, which is what this is all about.

Personally I’m pleased that all the acts in the Quarter Finals have had such good performances, it confirms to me that we have such an amazing scene here in the area and that all those chosen to reach this far have been worthy of their places.  Texas Red @ Smokin Aces 24 FebA quick sortie into Smokin’ Aces finds Texas Red entertaining the packed bar, though they are widely ignored by too many people in here they play some good tunes and put on a good act, a good end to a great night.

Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 2

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Dirty Jerkers can’t make it due to acute illness, so get well soon. Shaun Gary Palmer @ DMA QF2 17 FebThis means the starter is Shaun Gary Palmer, who plays an awesome looking and sounding acoustic guitar. He starts with the intricate fingered chords that won his style over to me in the heats, before slipping into some sombre strummed songs, before livening things up again near the end of his 20 minute set.

Sean Hatton is next; Sean Hatton @ DMA QF2 17 Febhe demonstrates a wider range of strumming chord techniques, picking some of the notes, good twiddling with upbeat chords keeping it happy in nature. He’s using a variety of capo settings to provide an interest to the music, while keeping his vocals in what is probably a comfortable range for him.

Bad Magic wake usBad Magic @ DMA QF2 17 Feb all up by playing some awesome rock, a stunning contrast to the previous acoustic music. Tuneful, loud, brash, with enough attitude to take the building by storm, its hard to believe they’re not out of their teens yet. All the posturing is here, backed up by good music; they also throw in a couple of ballads as if to show they can do those too. Lead singer and guitarist Chris shows good vocal control, able to wail them out long and loud, holding notes on choruses like a pro.

Know One finish off the night in style. SKnow One @ DMA QF2 17 Febinger / MC Dean and the sax player take time out to jump off stage and join the inevitable mosh pit. They finish with Potential, which has a big rock riff in the middle , totally broken time with the rest of the track, a 1-2-3 from Dean and they all break back into the fast ska-reggae beats they’ve been playing, totally tight. Kudos also for giving shouts to the rest of the artists tonight.

I finish in the Cellar Bar Jouis @ Cellar Bar 17 Febwhere the auditory delights of Jouis are entertaining the massed crowd. Hearing them do their funk / soul / psychedelic groove as a full band, on a full PA, with a very active and vocal audience, is another treat for my now well-over indulged ears.

Latin Quarter Album & Tour Launch

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Catherine Burke @ Latin Quarter Folk Club 12 FebI’m at the Bournemouth Folk Club for Latin Quarter’s warm up gig for their Ocean Head / Latin Quarter Reunited tour, before they depart for Hamburg for their German leg. Catherine Burke opens with five of her cheeky numbers from her new album. Her songs are witty and humourous, and she is very expressive here, on her own patch, without the rest of her band as she had at the launch; very much unlike she can be in the music pubs in town, too.

Latin Quarter take to the stage to rapturous applause, many people here have travelled long distance, going by the facebook messages. They start with a couple of older numbers I don’t know, before explaining and launching into Legalise It (The Making Of Al Capone) – along with a Korean interjection from someone in the audience which causes amusement.

Latin Quarter Album & Tour Launch @ Folk club 12 FebLatin Quarter had their big time in the 80’s, though they continued with varying lineups and labels for some time. The 80’s style is still reflected in the instruments used (Yamaha DX 7 anyone?), though the music being produced on these vintage classics is bang up to date. A melodica also features. Mick Jones writes some catchy yet incisive lyrics, as reflected in 4th song Even Superman.

After another I don’t know, Miss Teen USA is introduced, inspired by this youtube video of Miss South Carolina asked why so many people in the US can’t place America on a World map. Here Steve Skaith plugs in his phone to play the intro of the song from the youtube video, which the band then pick up on as per on the album. A little clue to the music – no electric guitars or drums on stage, all the additional sounds are produced on Steve Jefferies’ wonderful array of synths and keyboards, the main reason to my comments about the 80’s sound.

We are led into a remix of Radio Africa, which they say isn’t their greatest song, Steve Skaith jests he didn’t think he’d still be playing it after 30 years. To be honest I had no idea I’d be hearing this live, 30+ years since being introduced to it courtesy of Peter Powell on Radio 1 (I can still remember his back announcement of it now, something along the lines that Radio Africa was the most beautiful and impacting song he’d heard all year)

The set continues, interlacing Ocean Head songs with numbers from the extensive back catalogue. Special mentions here for Blameless, an oldie about Judy Garland, and a reggae tribute Pyramid Label, with the prospect of it all going wrong as they joke – I hear Steve Jefferies utters the classic line “good enough for Jazz “. They encore with Church On Fire, yet another I don’t know, yet its incredibly busy, Yona and Steve S sharing some complex counter round lyrics, Greg’s bass lines really tricksy, and Steve J overlaying complex chords and harmonies.  A great sounding end for a great night.

Dorset Music Awards 2012 Quarter Final 1

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DMA logoJack Grace has already played by the time I arrive (8pm start, hard to make if you’re as disorganised as I am and don’t get home ’til late to go out again). Asking around I missed a good one – Jack and the gang did a pretty faultless show, good guitar work, and roped in a female vocalist too to enhance their sound.

Krista Green @ DMA QF1 10 FebKrista Green is performing when I do arrive; having seen her on stage quite a bit recently with various other artists I’m slightly surprised to see her solo on the stage tonight. Not a problem for her, for the most part the near-capacity crowd are enthralled with her act.

Paint It Blue @ DMA QF1 10 FebPaint It Blue are faultless as ever, the songs are amazing, Hannah takes a bit of time out in between solid numbers to introduce the band members, a good important touch in my eyes.

Tom Clements @ DMA QF1 10 FebThe first noticeable element to Tom Clements is the large crowd he’s brought with him, who he enthuses and encourages throughout his performance. He’s playing brilliantly too, though lots of crowd noise is now prevalent, which fortunately doesn’t appear to put him off

Constellation @ DMA QF1 10 FebConstellation again have a large following here, T-shirts and dancing noted. The music has a new edge, honed and appealling, and the performance is visually entertaining too – I slighted them for this in the heat, but they had been partying hard the night before. No signs of fatigue tonight, just another awesome show like the other four acts tonight.

Disco's Out (Murder's In) @ Cellar Bar 10 FebOn to the Cellar Bar where Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) are making a welcome return, and ripping up the place which is as usual full for a Friday night. They inflict a couple of new songs on us which go down well, and Martin is taking more part now with witticisms in some of the gaps between, and within songs. Good end to a good night.