Mr Kyps Sunday Night

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Martin Kitcher invited us along to a little reunion he was playing at – The Rolling Drunks, The Toads and the Martin Kitcher Band. Its something different to do so I wander across town and arrive in time just to hear the opening speil then into the music

The Toads @ Mr Kyps, 17 Feb 2013Its visually interesting to note three piece rock band The Toads are left handed on both guitar and bass. I’m unsure on all the titles and wonder about covers, Dear Prudence is one, fairly straight with little gloss added to offer originality. No name checks to help me help you with any names. Slower tempos allow plenty of space for the drums to throw in fills and rills, of which there are enough to retain some interest. Things wake up a bit as blues harpist Carl Wilson is invited to join The Toads, and the blues breaks into more like Rhythm & Blues. Their last song is given an introduction – I miss the title, it was a single they produced 30 or so years ago, and its again fairly active with walking bass and good lively blues harp. Unpromising plod of a start redeemed by the livelier second half of the set.

Martin Kitcher Band @ Mr Kyps 17 feb 2013Things wake up a lot with The Martin Kitcher Band. I can overlook the words on stage (they’re worked into the act), there isn’t much movement, yet the music more than makes up for this. Strange as the empirical tempo is slow, yet the songs are captivating, lyrics amusing and prose-like, lots going on within the five piece. Third song Laughter Time has reggae beats, the guys (who’ve not been together for a long time) seem to break into their stride for this, and enjoy things more and more as the gig progresses. You know its been a good set when it ends all too soon and you’re left wanting more, this is definitely the case for me here.

The Rolling Drunks @ Mr Kyps 17 feb 2013The Rolling Drunks kick off with a fast paced Louie Louie and continue trotting out fast blues and rock n roll tracks, all covers and all performed pretty expertly, it might be a reunion gig yet it feels like these are all musos at the top of their game. Its also all a bit of a laugh – many friends, family and fans are here, big pants are being thrown on stage (unusual for the local gigs I go to) to be adorned as head ornaments by the afore-noted Carl Wilson (its his birthday gig). Mr Kyps feels pretty full too, perhaps 150 punters jigging along, even those at the back, all induced by the great stomp of the music.

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Never The Bride & Other Saturday Night Music

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The Blues Machine @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptThe Blues Machine are fresh from a European tour in July & August (judging by the artwork on their signwritten van.) Now there’s a sign of a band wanting to be a stand out! This speaks of their set start, vocalist Dan calling the 50 or so crowd forward before strutting into a great rolling blues number, Barefoot Blues I think they called it. The Blues Machine stage tricks @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptAs expected from other bands I’ve seen him in, Ash is pulling some excellent tunes out; I’m struggling somewhat at the start to hear Dan’s clear lyrics over Connor’s solid drumming. Shame most of the set is covers, they have a great sound and pull out some good’n’dirty stuff that truly belongs in a smoky backstreet bar. Enjoyable blues, with a few stage tricks, and a Voodoo Child / Purple Haze medley to end. Overall disappointed that they were doing covers, yet pleased that they were well played.

Never The Bride @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptI remember Ian Peterson, he of the Livewire gig guide fame, telling me about Never The Bride a long time ago, and I never followed his advice until now. Never The Bride on first appearance are all that I like in a band, female lead vocals, intricate piano work, and steady drums bass and guitar. Less of the stage antics, concentrating solidly on producing an excellent sound, even while admitting to suffering from lack of tequila (The Blues Machine roadies drank it all)…

Lead Nikki takes a little time out to thank us for turning out at an original music gig, she’s adamant that these tribute bands are killing off original music. On that point, one stand out song is Tiger Bay, full of musical theatrics, and crowd participation. Its one of those anthems that builds and dies and builds again, very simple bass line holding things together as keyboards and guitar take turns at carrying accompaniment to the Been and Nikki’s voices. What isn’t noticeable until the very end of the gig (bit of a jam where tonight’s band of Fergus Gerrand, Murray Gould & David Levy are introduced) is that they’ve been on for a full two hours of greatness!

Dubheart @ Cellar Bar 22 SeptOn to the Cellar Bar, where a couple of parties are running for Harry’s birthday and Dave’s leaving do. Dubheart are still on stage long past midnight with a very extended set – all of the downstairs bar area is full with skankers, dancers and others who generally just don’t want the party to stop. What a good end to a great night of live music!

Dorset Music Awards Grand Final

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DMA logoWe start an evening celebration of local music in Dorset tonight at the (rarely visited for this hack) O2 Academy, with the new Dorset Music Award prizes for 2012.
One Best SongDisco’s Out (Murder’s In)
Best Album / EPConstellation
Favourite Venue (Voted By Musicians): Mr Kyps
Contribution To The Music Scene: HopeFM

DMA judgesSurprised and pleased with those results, HopeFM can only play a part in the scene because there is a scene to contribute and participate in, therefore are standing on the shoulders of all the other nominees in this catogory, promoters and studios alike. Mr Kyps have a great venue, I’m sure more bands have played other venues than Mr Kyps, however they are the stage local bands aspire to, so deserved for that. Since I love Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) and Constellation so much, I’m chuffed on their behalf for the music awards.

14 April DMA final - Know One pwn the O2 AcademyOn to the Best Live Act, and Know One start in grand style jumping all over the stage, making the most of the various risers and podiums; the fans are loud and vocal even above the massive bass whumps and brass/wind showoff. Dean drops off the stage and skanks around in the camerapit, before jumping into the crowd (security chasing him) while the others in the band continue. 14 April DMA final - crowd shot attemptThe interlude while he rejoins the stage is filled with crowd chanting as encouraged by the band via drum beats, and jumping on the risers. A great opener and setting a high bar for the others to follow.

14 April DMA final - Bad Magic rock outBad Magic work really hard to reach said bar, and in my mind do achieve this towards the end of the set, with the crowd finally jumping around to their hard rock. While some say they are a blend of Guns and Roses and Def Leppard (possibly why I’m not personally a fan of their music – I gave this up as I left my teens), their guitarist is awesome, and lead Chris’ Freddie Mercury-like posturings result in shouts from the crowd. A good performance, with all the movement worthy of this stage, and though I’m not into their genre, its a solid performance overall.

14 April DMA final - Peace Love & Gloves Peace Love and Gloves are next, we can’t get away from the goujon crowd shouts even as they are setting up. 14 April DMA final - Peace, Love & Gloves soft toy merch - very originalThe crafty mums -literally- have been busy behind the scenes making hundreds of Peace Love and Gloves logo soft toys, which are liberally thrown into the crowd. As ever the music is good, and Mark’s lyrics about life and love, won and lost, are insightful. The crowd are moshing from the off, everybody – band and crowd alike – are really happy to be here, and the exuberance shows.

14 April DMA final - PachangoPachango have the unfortunate task of combating a now very noisy crowd, there are shouts all over for all of the bands. How to do this? Kick off loud and proud, and blast us away with sax ensemble and awesome percussion. Making the most of the huge stage just in being able to fit, rather than active movement compared with say Know One, vocalists Selby and Claudia are the only ones dancing about. No one can deny the fiesta atmosphere they create, its really good to see all the floor area filled with moving bodies, not just the front mosh area.

14 April DMA final - winnersThe winners are announced – Pachango win all the festival slots, Peace Love and Gloves are given an unprecedented Larmer Tree second slot, and also scoop up the big prize. Big Congratulations to both those bands.

The result astonishes many, until one understands how the three judges reach their decisions – they each pick two bands, one for their festival, and a different for their award winner. All unanimously pick Pachango for their festival, and pick each of the other bands as their winner, creating a 3-way deadlock. All bands have performed well and are absolutely fantastic at what they do, yet are all deemed derivative of their chosen genre. Peace Love and Gloves are considered the most original and “now” so walk away as the best out of the deadlock.

Again we have controversy aroused from the passions all fans feel for their love of music, all it means to me is that music is the overall winner and that everyone can choose to walk away from the 2012 Dorset Music Awards celebrating the vibrant variety and passionate nature in the Dorset music scene.

14 April DMA final - all finalists14 April DMA final - Paddy - Dare 2 Festival14 April DMA final - Catherine - Purbeck Folk Festival14 April DMA final - James - Larmer Tree festival

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.

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!

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!

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 😀

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…

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