The Luminaires EP Launch

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Luminaires Badge The HarriotsThe Harriots start the evening off. I didn’t know these guys were playing for the launch – I first heard them and fell in love with their sound at a Solid Air last year. They kick off with a slightly staider performance of I Can’t Stand The Silence compared with how I remember; it’s good to hear them in a venue like Champions with a decent PA and decent stage. The only thing missing is the mosh crowd. They have some really catchy bass hooks, and drums that push the tracks on, as they warm up to the set, the venue and the crowd, and start winning the latter over. They save their best two for last, Mothers Son and Liability, which both go down really well – the only thing missing is a call from Joe (lead) before Liability for the crowd to edge forward a bit – I normally hang out in the middle of the floor, and I’m well in front of all other kibitzers.

Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers Hannah Williams And The Tastemakers immediately make an impression. Striding onto stage and inviting the crowd forward then, after being announced, kicking off into a word riff seemingly inspired by James Brown. Hannah does a great job in that vogue calling out the breaks and shots. The music is furious funk, sax led with keys bass and guitar underpinning Hannah’s vocals, drums tricking out over all. These guys have brought a crowd with them, who are eventually, irresistibly drawn towards the stage. As the set moves on, we move more towards the smooth end of the scale, note and beat perfect, with loads of appropriate movement from the band as we go through.

The LuminairesAfter that great soul set the headline enter the stage. The Luminaires storm the venue;  the crowd are theirs – they’ve brought many who have been hiding round the corner during the support acts – they have energy and vigour. Aaron parades around the stage, engaging audience and band alike. They open with Untouchable which is driving and strident, yet finished gently with Joel (lead guitar) almost making it sound like the start of another song. When a lead falls out during the intro of second song Trigger, Steve & Simon carry on with the opening hook while said lead is sorted out – very slick, and far better than stopping in a mess then having to restart.

Another example of their advance planning – during the set lead singer Aaron chooses a guitar, only to have a string break on him as soon as he checks the tuning. No fuss or bother, just switch in a spare acoustic they’ve brought with them and the show goes on. Again they’re not fazed by a PA lead failing, just switch mics and move on. I really don’t know what it is about EP or album launches, I’ve seen many and it always seems that something goes awry during the performance.

Joel deserves special mention – he’s using what seems like a third of the stage, wandering around as is Aaron both into the crowd and around the stage, making the effort to make this look good. The only detraction to this is it makes The Luminaires look like a 4 piece with Aaron leading, and Joel on his own.  It’s hard to get a photo of all five of them together, even trying creative angles.

Aaron & Dave LuminairesAt the end we have a chink in the planning armour – they haven’t any more songs for an encore, they cover this up via an acoustic track from Aaron, with just Dave accompanying on drums. Good, just a bit of an anticlimax compared with what’s gone before.

It’s at this point that I’d throw in a little review of the EP, prior to arranging for a review to be included in Listed magazine.  However there has been production issues with it, and the mixing is slightly out for some of the tracks – so much so that Aaron has asked me to hold fire on an EP review here.

Champions Fancy Dress

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Powdered Cows Champions

By far the most noticeable thing about tonight is the large number of animal costumes that have invaded the packed out venue. Turns out a hen party of musos and others have decided to finish off their night in here.

Powdered Cows are playing their last song. By all accounts their set has not been as experimental as usual; a solid string of good tunes, to my mind the last song is musical, melodic and pretty, which fits what I’ve been told by others.

What I’m really enjoying seeing is the varied numbers of people that have come out tonight, so many different musos and hangers on like myself.

Zaardvark Champions

This is Zaardvark‘s debug gig, and its a good one. There were rumours of this being “music one can’t dance to”, different rhythms in every bar and so on – typically artistic and creating a mystique about themselves (as per the facebook bage). That is not the case. Instrumental to the point of being progressive, thumping beats and not much evidence of non dancing going on! To the contrary, many are whirling away…

Zaardvark Pedals

What does stand out is the dominance of sounds being generated by guitarist Mark, and the amazing array of pedals needed to create the effects, to the envy of some of the other guitarists present. Talking to him afterwards, it takes effort and concentration, but worth it!

Halfway through one long number, drummer Dave uses a bass break to turn his snare upside down, and plays it as a djembe. Overall, I’m impressed and loving it and would recommend them to anyone who loves their music instrumentally flavoured, and slightly more trippy than chilled.

Achilles are the closer here in Champions tonight; with so much relying on so many sound generations they take slightly longer than the norm to setup, but it’s worth it.

Achilles Champions

 

 The music is again instrumental, sax led with overlays of synth and keys, underwritten by very melodic bass tunes, and a sprinkling of synth-esque guitar. The whole being so polished-sounding that one can forget it’s not tunes that have been worked over for hours for a recording, its all being produced live in front of the audience.

As for Zaardvark, the case could be made that the tunes that Achilles put together again isn’t music to dance to; my counter-argument: the driving drumming and the bass riffs make vibrating and gyrating nigh on impossible. An amazing act to see, and it easy to see how Achilles wowed everyone at the 2009 Dorest Music Awards.

DO(MI) at DMA – One Band Two Stages

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Having hosted a full day of the most excellent music, the end of the first day of the Dorset Music Award heats is closed by last years festival winners Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) .

They’re playing over two stages, with (as DMA’s Trevor points out) two PA systems, two sets of speakers and all the foldback speakers linked together somehow
        And it is awesome.

Opener Blow My Mind has them all in full effect. Being on the different stages enthuses them to compete for the crowd (the small band are on one stage, the brass and keys etc on the other). What I find more amusing is that they can’t do the normal talking to each other, resulting in a lot of fun play between them:
Steve: “I’ll start it and you join in when you know what it is”; he even goes over there for Clown, since the start relies on brass and guitar doing big chords together

Possibly as a result of this, they think the two stage idea sucks (and say so); they are still incredibly tight despite the split difference; I think it all adds to the novelty mystique around Disco’s Out (Murder’s In). Inspired by a plea from Big Face Reggae earlier in the heats, lead Steve encourages lunging, the results are mixed, and inspires yet more competiton between the stages as the brass also want their share of lunge-ers, ably provided by Alfie (Animal Talent Show) being an obliging nutter.
Its also the first time I think a band have been asked to do an encore, and them almost collapse and their face drop – they are exhausted having been partying all day at the award heats.

Moving on to Champions Brothers Grimmer, The Hops and The Neon Tigers are billing. I miss the former; The Hops are full of energy, well dressed in suit uniform really rocking out. Its a good crowd as well, which is really good to see at Champions. Possibly all down to the hard work Tone is putting in as booking mananger, as well as promoting for bhone.

As well as energy, the Hops again have some good solid tunes – Back To The Beach again is a favourite; I have to ask myself for a London band three of which are ex-Bournemouth to be singing a rock song about beaches seems a little odd, especially when it doesn’t have anything of the “Bournmouth Sound” beach surf vibe about it.  Good all the same.

And so on to the headline for the night, The Neon Tigers. They have really upped their game since the last time I saw them perform, with a big intro on a darkened stage. When they were on LiveWire Live they made a big thing about bringing a sense of theatre back to live music, here I see this being worked out.
This time, Richard’s transition from keys to the gorgeous double necked strat is simpler than before – gone is the poncho, he stays in the dark tight fitting clothes, and even retains the hat while he rocks out.
One thing that accompanies gigs from The Neon Tigers are offerings of delicacies and sweets; tonight is no exception – Spacedust (exploding candy) this time!

OK this is new – during The Boy Needs Help intro, Richard leaves the stage while the rest of the band rock it out, drawing out and playing fugues with the riffs. When he returns its a transformation from stage cool black into illuminating red. So, The Neon Tigers the best rock band currently in Dorset? 100+ people in Champions would definitely agree tonight, find out tomorrow at the 2nd day of the Dorset music awards heats (they’re on at about 5pm Sunday)

Bhone@Champions – aka the Ed White night

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Reason for the title…? Ed features in two of the 3 bands on tonight, trumpet in Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) and bass in Dusty Cuts. NoDisco's Out Murders' In 1t content with that Dom (lead of  The Hops) mentioned him & even invited Ed up on stage (declined)!

Mischa opened before I arrived, I heard he gave his usual sterling performance – he must have enjoyed it since he was running around like the mad thing he is, saying hi to nearly everybody at the gig – definitely the friendliest muso on the local scene!

I walked in as Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) were into their set, being as energetic and madcap as ever, costumes in full effect (the photo doesn’t do justice)

Disco's Out Murder's In 2What is good is to see the guys and girls playing on a stage suitable for their act – Champions is generous to the acts that perform there – fitting as it’s on its journey to become the leading venue in Bournemouth

Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) feature an impressive line up, the three piece drum bass and guitar joined by horns normally found at the back with other acts, with Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) they are full on in your face as the major part they are. This includes alternative instruments too – melodica, glockenspiel and all of them switching to fruit shaped percussion shakers during one song. Impressive as ever always this line up leads to huge brass chords on Back To The Start

The Hops up next. Solid pumping tunes, with some in your face cutting lyrics. Apparently former Clam Olly Hopper (lead guitar) is writing a lot at the moment, and some of those songs are finding their way into the Hops set list. Good stuff – rocky, tuneful, melodic and driving along, for example I Want To Be Back On The Beach is all that Everyone Wants to Rule The World (by 80’s band Tears For Fears) should have been and wasn’t!

I’ve now lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Dusty Cuts, either as full band or that one time Ant played through the set acoustically. However this is the first time I’ve seen them perform as a three-Dusty Cuts 1piece, their DJ being off with an ear infection (get well soon LeeRoy).

Kicked off with a strong rendition of People, merged into a full on drum solo by Rio as Ant broke a string – with the aforementioned Ed picking up some bass riffs to go with the flow while guitars were changed and tuned, leading into Pass It On – Brilliant. So I’ve now seen them as solo acoustic, two piece with no lead guitar, 3 piece with no DJ, and full on band – not many I can say that about!

Another of my favourites Barefoot Soldier ensured the majoity of the now-thinned crowd kept pogo-Dusty Cuts -Rioing along to the ska/punk beats with some fun interactions going on (unfortunately not captured by the non-flash camera on my BlackBerry).

Audience request Visitors also went down a storm as the set and the gig drew to a close. Another awesome music night courtesy of bhone and Champions. Thanks.

HopeFM show night, Weds 20 October

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Not Made In China were my guests on air this evening – caused absolute disruption by squeezing a drum kit into the live studio.

Great bunch of people, and lively chat – so much so that I forgot to phone any promoters this night – although I did manage to get the Oxjam plug in.

Followed up by a pre-paid ticket I’d forgotten about (until I did my show research) for Paint It Blue, who were supporting the New Jersey group The Billy Walton Band.

Pete Christie

Pete Christie

I left after the complete set of Paint it Blue, and my usual 3rd sog of Billy Walton, to dash over to Christchurch to see the end (last 2 songs, or about 15 minutes) of the wonderful Mr Pete Christie, always the entertaininer, and a fantastic bloke and good friend to boot.

Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover, 2010

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Overall an amazing weekend, lots of bands playing lots of venues, all to raise money for Oxfam.

Friday Night, Champions

Only managed to see the last two of the four acts on the bill – Sola Infrared  and My Broken 101.  Both amazingly chilled yet big rock vibes, have provisionally booked MB101 for a show appearance.

Saturday afternoon, Sherbet Lounge & The Inferno

was limited in my options here – was at a Samaritans Purse fundraising quiz night from 7pm, so was only able to catch a few of the afternoon bands:

Sherbet lounge:

The Inferno

Saturday Evening, Winchester, 60 Million Postcards, The Inferno

After the Samaritans Purse fundraiser was compete, managed to dash to the Winchester to catch the last chord of New Volunteer, before seeing one of the Retro Bombshell burlesque troop while waiting for The New Governors.

Then to see Mutant Vinyl  in 60 Million Postcards (he’s by far the hottest property of the moment in town), before finishing the evening with Dusty Cuts in The Inferno.

Something of note – bumped into many ex-Betikans in 60MPC; things might be looking up on that horizon. Dave Purse was out telling me about this new project he’s currently got on, Zaardvark (it could almost be Jazz, he furtively whispered)

Sunday night, The Old Firestation

This was a first for me, not been here before (even though many gigs take place here, I perceive it as mainly a student venue and caters for the DJ crowd rather than live music audiences.)

However, amazingly strong line up, all ably held together by Chris Brown, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Town Crier:

No particular major reviews here, just a fantastic weekend of live music through out the town.  Big shout to Tone Foster (bhone) for pulling to gether a great team, including Chloe (The Longest Day), Geoff (DJ Mr Lively) and Rob (who I’d seen around but not had a chance to talk to before).

Thank you Bournemouth muso’s for your generosity and prowess in equal measure.



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