Busy Show

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As the title suggests, a really busy time on the show tonight, through me messing up my management and booking two bands.

Stop Go Sixty on LiveWire Live on HopeFM 90.1The by now well-established Stop Go Sixty are fresh from the gig they won in a national competition to support McFly. Their sound has changed quite a bit from when I last heard them, which was a few years back courtesy of the Dorset Music Awards, definitely boy band pop/rock, yet with a sharply defined edge to what they write and deliver.

They’ve been active on email, twitter and facebook and as a result I have a record number of calls, emails and texts coming into the studio, we also take half a dozen phone calls. We talk a bit about how they started, stopped, reformed and got to where they are now, and listen to their latest recordings.

Peace Love & Gloves on LiveWire Live Peace Love and Gloves by comparison are fresh, building their reputation, and still seem very much to be working out where they’re going and what’s happening around them. That main thing being the Dorset Music Awards, they’ve just come from the Semi Final stage and have found out they’re in the final at the O2, and say they’ve never worked so hard for anything – practicing 5 days a week between the Semi Final announcement and now (and probably on to the Final).

They play a few tracks live, and we also play out from their EP. Chinners from Rock Regeneration (their biggest fan) has also joined us in the studio – I hand over most of the interviewing segment to him and revert to the role of producer; with 7 of us in the studio it gets a little hot!

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Tom Clements Chaplins

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Tom Clements @ Chaplins 27 MarchAfter a bit of a runaround, I alight at Chaplins where Del Bishop has just finished, and Tom Clements is entertaining the sub-capacity crowd. Not seeing him in a competitive environment is a bonus, the other two times I’ve heard him play was at the 2012 Dorset Music Awards. Tom’s taking retuning time to tell little stories and anecdotes between the songs, which is refreshing. Some songs are sinister, some are jolly, all have decent clever finger work, and with his sparing use of the loop and effects pedals Tom pulls off a good show. I’m with a good friend, and we’re comparing guitars – both of us being uncertain about the brightness of Tom’s Martin guitar, wondering if this seems to be a trait of Martins in general.

Tom plays Seven Years, which he’s played both other times I’ve heard him, and is the sample track he kindly sent to me to include in the station promos. As such its become a favourite of mine already, its simple via the loop pedal, rather than him entering 3 or 4 loops before the song really gets going, phrases are played it feels as a natural part of the song, then overlaid . The whole set is all going so well, then Tom slips in a cover of Sultans Of Swing, yet he plays it with such panache, and the change of guitar to a lighter less rich tone works really well.

Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2

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DMA logoHere we are again, Mr Kyps, Saturday night, Dorset Music Awards, all of last weeks’ bands are represented in the crowd, good to see as this is one of the core reasons the DMAs exist for, musicians celebrating musicians being what its all about.

Darren Hodson & The Southern Companion @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchThis second semi final is being started by Darren Hodson & The Southern Companion. Noticeable for the good music groove, the keyboards, a thumping kick bass, and the backing vocalists synchronised in their dance bobs with the beats and with each other. Starting up-beat before slipping in a slower love song, which has an instantly sing-along chorus and more good grooves. Halfway through they start with the work I really appreciate (I mentioned before the Allman Brothers style of guitar work), I notice augmented with a bottleneck slide coupled with Darren’s clear vocals to create a great sound. Unfortunately I miss having a catchup with them afterwards; they have gigs tonight with two other bands that members are in, so they have to dash off.

Jack Grace solo @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchJack Grace makes an interesting solo start on stage with acoustic riffs and harmonised “oohs” into a loop station, while the others join him on stage, and kick into an incredibly lively opening number – Alex playing some fast drums, Elliott on his special homemade bass, and Jack switching to electric guitar, while the acoustic loop keeps an undercurrent. Jack Grace band @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchI missed their DMA Quarter Final appearance and heard it was good, now I can see why people rave about Jack Grace. They slip into playing some really good tunes, however they seem to start sounding a little samey to me; other commenters suggest that other sets (e.g. at Boscombe Community Fair) have been slightly more involved and varied. I like the name checking halfway through the set, and the beats pick up again for a strong end

Bad Magic @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchBad Magic give us a resounding slap in the face with their musical attitude, and are also the first of the three acts so far who seem to have noticeably pulled a crowd along, lead Chris invites us to get involved, and the response is good with claps, shakes, jumps and shout backs. They are the only one of the many harder rock bands this year that have reached this stage of the Awards, they are the first tonight to make a lot of the large Mr Kyps stage, perhaps as they were here last week seeing what other acts did. What I really like about them is that they may be young, yet they’re not holding that up as a band wagon, just getting on and playing the good music, loud! They’re also brave enough to announce a new song, wouldn’t have noticed if it had been unannounced, to be honest, its as polished as the rest of the material.

The Devils Rejects @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 March As expected The Devils Rejects pull no punches musically and take Mr Kyps by storm with their furious and frantic Irish induced punk folk. The lyrics are clear, the music is great, the crowd are enthusiastically jumping around, and everyone seems to be enjoying the performance. Matt (vocals) is name checking the songs throughout, giving enough of a miniscule intro to each one to keep interest and information without interupting the pace, very hard to do and pulled off well. Likewise the constant instrument changes accordian / violin and guitars are very slick. The whole means there is no let up in the unrelenting pace and the ensuing mayhem in certain parts of the crowd makes for a fun spectacle.

Pachango whole band @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchOur finale tonight is presented by a very on form Pachango, confession time here – I used to find them quite variable in their output and production, this has totally been replaced by consistently amazing, vibrant performance. Pachango horns & percussion @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchThere’s so much movement in the crowd, also reflected on stage, hence the multiple photo treatment. Unfortunately the crowd has thinned out before the eleven pm start, yet as last week, those remaining are being treated to even more dance-able music than the previous act, which itself is hard to follow. Pachango vox & strings @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 2, Mr Kyps 24 MarchIts great seeing the chaps from Know One particularly bouncing out to the beats. Unusually and slightly naughtily, we are indulged with an encore – this crowd baying for more being hard to resist – this creates slight confusion as Pachango replug in for this unexpected development but handle it well and more or less straight in to an even bigger finish.

General Public Show – Foxy

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The General Public @ HopeFM studio, 21 MarchAfter a long wait The General Public are able to join me in the studio, the delay has been caused by a booking in October being pushed back as the band were recording new material then. The new material is still being recorded and produced thanks to difficulties unfortunately typical to the recording process, however expect six high quality tracks very soon.

Irrespective, its a good time for them to join me, they are in the middle of performing perhaps the best they’ve ever done as part of the Dorset Music Awards, and its my first show for a couple of months as I’ve been on a Wednesday night training course with GodFirstThe General Public generously opt to do a full studio set, rather than a cut back acoustic session, that means small drum kit, bass and amp, acoustic guitar, and (huge) keyboard.

As hoped and expected, we have a great time together; that amount of gear they bring in means we don’t really start the interview segment of the show until the second hour, even so the time flies by. We have 3 live songs, and a couple of recordings. I was privileged to be given the first radio play of their debut EP Seppa Visions, now I’ve been given an exclusive sole early production cut of Your Boring from the aforementioned studio sessions. All interspersed with a lot of interview and chat about their music, music in general, and the song writing reflections on society. There’s also a diversion about face dancing, after one of my comments about Mike’s facial antics during performances. I have a great time, and they say they have too, good stuff.

Fiona Fox & Claire Beeston @ Chaplins, 21 MarchAfter this, and a bit of work tidying up (for example 2 months out and the CD’s are a mess) I head over to Chaplins Open Mic, where Graham Basic Blues Jones is performing some material, followed by Chris Brockman playing some fun covers. Next we have Fiona Fox, making a return to music after nearly a year’s absence. She’s playing a whole bunch of covers, the first ones well rehearsed, however her popularity ensures she’s kept playing and so the songs become ever more random, and some of them fall apart. This could be a disaster for anyone else; Fiona‘s stage presence blows all of that away and turns the evening into a performance to really enjoy.

Fiona‘s out with friend Claire Beeston tonight, and invites Claire to join her for one tune, before Fiona herself is enticed to sing some of her material. This is reluctantly delivered, as she thinks these are old songs, a shame as they are still good, and really show off her voice, still good after a year off.

Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1

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DMA logoLooking back at this blog, I’ve not written up any gigs in the past two weeks, probably as I’ve been a bit of a hermit gig-wise due to other things going on;  I have been to some open mics though I rarely write these up…
Anyway, we’re here, Mr Kyps is open, we’re congregating here again for the annual two-week pilgrimage to enjoy the current ten best bands in Dorset, courtesy of the Dorset Music Awards 2012.

The General Public @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchThe hard job of starting off is given to The General Public, who take on the task admirably. Lead guitar and vocalist Mike makes a strong effort by calling in the crowd, who respond, and they kick off with a slow starter You’re Boring that warms up into their funk vibe. I love the chords in the middle of this one. A couple of songs and we’re into a vibed up version of Get It On. Here they take solo slots, and miss the opportunity to introduce each other to the crowd. Something that is good in this and a couple of others is their fade outs at the ends of songs, just done by them backing off, very clever. Badges are also being passed about in abundance – I’m talking with Mark from Peace Love and Gloves as they reach us, and he takes one too! Back to the music, and there’s some movement in the crowd to the irresistible beats. A strong starting act of our five tonight.

Paint It Blue @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchPaint It Blue are our second musical delight for the evening – and Fish has made a surprise appearance for the weekend (they played together for the first time in a while at last night’s Wheatsheaf gig). It’s as if he’d never been away, he’s perfectly blending in with the rest of the band as he does, they themselves are cranking things up and giving some amazing virtuoso demonstrations, while still keeping it together within the blues rhythms. During one slow number they leave Pete to do another solo, the rest of them just coming in with a single chord every beat so often – impressively tight.

Another thing good to see is some of next weeks bands’ members making an appearance in the crowd tonight, just enjoying the music, though I’m sure they must also be checking out the competition :).

Peace Love And Gloves @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 March Middle act tonight are Peace Love and Gloves, and as expected the most noticeable thing has been their crowd work, T-shirts are in abundance not only in the audience, but behind the bar and on stage crew members too. Bang Bang Bang is started to the “Goujon” chanted accompaniment, as are the rest of the songs in the set. Second song Ashamed is delivered with particular pizazz, the gaps and breaks are tight and together. Guest vocal poet Jordan makes a “surprise” appearance (throwing shirts – and I miss one) during Dance All Night, while a bit of a disco beat starts up from the guys. Later we’re also treated to our first moshable song in the unfortunately named I F* City.

Yellowgroove @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchWe have an extended introduction to Yellowgroove‘s set, tech problems with lead Simon’s acoustic guitar sorted by a changeover, while the rest of the band carry on with the beats and groove. Any frustration created by this is then let rip for the rest of the set, Simon from Yellowgrove Crowd Invasion @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchSimon starting by straddling the stage / barrier gap as Son Of A Working Man is entered, followed by an over-pumped Hero Wanted. I think they’ve found a groove with new song That Man Is An Animal they debut tonight – pacey and spiky, strong rock feel to the drums. They also give a makeover to Fading Out, it is punchier and a lot heavier on the drums and bass, except for a jazz-like riff to end, where they break down the instrumentals. They end with Blood On The Flag; even more martial than previous outings yet still has the guitar work sounding synth-like, that amazing pedal programming that I like so much oozing out into the Mr Kyps Auditorium. A big build to the energetic ending, Simon finishing off playing in the crowd after a stage dive. Awesome.

Know One @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchLast act tonight are Know One, starting with a nicely reverb and delay effected sax solo, they soon break into the thumping ska/reggae they’re noted for. Shame the crowd has thinned out, those remaining are far louder than the dedicated fans of the others we’ve had tonight, though there is still an occasional “Goujon” from the PLG crowd! Child Soldier is worked out well, slower than others, everyone gets down to the vibe. A nice touch – the crowd is shouting for Shot Down; its not on the set list. However they slip it in anyway, and not surprisingly people go even more nuts :). That’s what I really can’t capture in mere words here, the energy on stage, the entire front wooden floor moving with bodies gyrating and jumping, I can feel the floor shaking if I stand still!

Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 4

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DMA logoThis is a first for a long time – having to queue to get into a gig in Bournemouth, let alone queuing for a Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final. Apparently this can be blamed on Peace Love and Gloves and Yellowgroove, who have each brought large crowds with them.

Darren Hodson & the Southern Comfort @ DMA QF4 2 MarchDarren Hodson & The Southern Companion start us off in style with a bit of a country number before playing some awesome blues. This pretty much marks out their set, all of it with a South Coast USA vibe thanks to keys and Allman-esque guitar. As Chinners puts it, “its Country with Credibilty” – nice turn of phrase there from the rock lord… As they finish, I’m really left wanting more from these guys, definitely a good sign!

Escape from 98 @ DMA QF4 2 MarchEscapefrom’98 do not disappoint with their “don’t care I’m going to enjoy myself” approach. Encouraging us to jump, lunge, and generally get involved, the music is pacy and the songs racy. I’ve seen them play a couple of times now, this I think is the most energetic and enthusiastic I’ve seen them. Its really good in the last song to see them win over so many in the audience, Lennon jumping into the crowd, while Lee encourages most of the place into wild abandon.

Yellowgroove @ DMA QF4 2 MarchThird on tonight are Yellowgroove. I’ve made no bones before about my appreciation of Son Of A Working Man – they start with it tonight, with a big intro as they settle into what proves to be a highly charged set. The place is absolutely storming by this point – and the lads make the most of the huge crowd they’ve brought with them, dedicating songs, and – a nice touch – they have yellow roses they hand out to some of the ladies present. A very hard and nascent Blood On The Flag closes this most spectacular of sets, its just been really good music played and performed really well.

Peace, Love n Gloves @ DMA QF4 2 MarchFinally we get to perhaps the crowd’s most anticipated act of the night, fourth in are Peace Love and Gloves, accompanied by their now recognised fan shouts of “goujon goujon” – its on the T-shirts too just to make sure I don’t make that mistake again. They give the impression from the start that they have so much more to give, setting the expectation of only five songs early, knowing that their fans will no doubt want more. The music is maybe not as raucous as others tonight, its no less intense, songs being thoughtful and provocative – another example of capturing the societal mood at the moment.

The Devils Rejects @ DMA QF4 2 MarchLast on and much anticipated by me at least are The Devils Rejects, having seen them for the first and only time at the heats. They are yet another folk / rock / stomp band, yet with their own twist. They have big bass and drum base, with fiddle or accodian providing the difference. Again there’s lots of action in the crowd to the rocky and up tempo songs – they look to have brought some fans and won more in the process – the laudable intention of the awards, after all.

Brave Mariner @ Cellar Bar 2 MarchI try to carry on to Smokin’ Aces to catch The Wishbones, instead have a great set of songs from Brave Mariner at the Cellar Bar thanks to the former place refusing me entry due to capacity.  I don’t think I’ve seen Brave Mariner before (they don’t feature in the blog) yet I’m sure I’ve seen Angus (guitar) and Joey (vocals) in another band together.  Irrespective, they are playing some crowd pleasing tunes to the packed venue, with loads of jumping and shouting accompanying the songs, some of which are rock-like, some quirky antifolk, and all OK.  What a great end to a great night of really active and pumping music.

Rock Regeneration Birthday Bash

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Chinners & John @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 MarchRock Regeneration have been gig going for years, and blogging and reviewing them online for 12 months.  This is reflected during intervals between the four bands that are on, where the guys are not only compèring the show, but introducing themselves too, e.g here Chinners introduces John, who does much of the background work on their website.  A big thanks to the lads – they’ve got me down here to see four great bands, and all I need to do is give them this write up!  Well done for doing what you do, and Happy Birthday. My usual clash of priorities tonight, having agreed to review this gig and realising I had an earlier appointment, fortunately only down the road at the RNLI. Means I miss Peace Love and Gloves open this birthday bash, so I only get to properly see three of the four greats.

Empire Affair @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration PartyThere’s something to be said for taking the tempo of songs down just a little, Empire Affair seem to have done that tonight. It gives a lot more space to let the musicality shine, and allows for a lot more showboating, something these guys excel at. As Neil himself encourages us – “enjoy yourselves, as no matter what you do you won’t look as big a tit as me and what I do up here!” The band look is another set-apart from the crowd look – all in white makes a big difference to the normally black rock de rigeur dress. The set is the now standard remarkable for Empire Affair, Neil overacts splendidly, the others are cool on the guitars, drummer Darren is well spot on, a fantastically enjoyable set. Closer Take Me Down is messed about with a lot, bass riff from White Stripes Seven Nation Army underpins a lyric from Sweet Dreams as a sort of break beat, before crashing back into the usual good danceable stuff

The Frequency @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 MarchMr Kyps is becoming almost a regular venue for The Frequency, this is their 2nd gig here in as many weeks (they supported The Who’s Simon Townshend last time). They start with a huge build of guitars and a drum crescendo before breaking into what promises to be a storming set of tunes – until Dan (guitar) has a nightmare and creates a pause for switch and retuning. As expected this doesn’t throw them, they get on with being four pretty boys kicking out good numbers and pulling the crowd along with them. I’ve not seen The Frequency live for a while (despite many invites) either full on or acoustic, they have a curious mix of heavy chords and big choruses, with gentler open spaces that works well. Aus is using the stage well, threatening a crowd invasion for some parts to create more of a stir. Dan H-S takes advantage of the large stage too – in places the bass is silent, and he steps into the dark side-stage areas to visually emphasise the musical absence, a good touch.

Lady Winwoods Maggot @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 March We have a great close to the night with Lady Winwoods Maggot, who pull no punches as ever with the Americana Death Western as they now dub themselves. The music is some of the best around, still, and the whole show is just fantastic, even cut down to an hour as it is, and without their lighting rig. On stage banter intersperses the numbers, some modern classics like Chase The Cat and Chupra Cabra, mixed with some of their more recent greats like some from the Buffalohead album including the title track, Billy Tango and O’Keefes Slide. I’m enjoying myself so much I don’t write many more notes here and now, it’s really good music, played really well, on a really good stage. Really good fun!