Oxjam Takeover 2012

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oxjam bournemouth 2012 posterThere’s been much anticipation and build up yet again for the takeover this year, and the start is slightly delayed in the Pier Theatre due to VT difficulties creating more suspense…

Martin interviewAnd we’re off – Powdered Cows start with Lobster, Martin fresh from being interviewed by Beth Graham who’s producing an Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover Rockumentary. Powdered Cows @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s been promise of a spectacle from Martin, he starts solo with his electronics for a couple of songs, before a lion and a crocodile join him for Lion Lion, with invite for the audience to take some percussion and create the song together

Catch up with Livvy in relaxed mode @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s delays in 60 Million Postcards too, so I catch up with one of the Oxjam queens, Livvy, who’s taking a moment outside.

Boolays @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012

I head back to the Pier where the Boolays are hitting their last two songs, both of them debuts for the band. Soprano sax, twin dueling acoustic guitars and twin female vocals with male accompaniment means I’m in a brief delight.

Jack Grace @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Jack Grace is solo acoustic today, and sounds absolutely crystal clear on the vocals, while the guitar gently plays along to itself for much of the material thanks to his loop pedal. The fantastic ambience of the awesome pier theatre really works well for Jack’s voice.

Jack Vallier @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012I reach 60 Million Postcards in time to hear Chris Woodford have a large shout up by compere Si Genaro. As ever, Chris plays a blinder. Jack Vallier is next up, and chooses to do a set of acoustic covers, starting with Wonderwall, which doesn’t go down as well as Krista’s version did last night. One bit of really good news – Tony Warren is back on the local music scene having had three years away in London; we have a bit of a natter and a catch up.

Citizen Perez @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Citizen Perez (Steve Perry) is up next in 60 Million Postcards, and everyone that’s told me about Citizen Perez has been right – what Steve does here is totally different to the other material he’s produced in the other acts he’s in. He’s doing new material (some involving kazoo) as well as acoustic versions of songs from other acts (like Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) ). Something that works well for him is the novelty kazoo taped to the microphone, such that he can still play guitar whilst using the kazoo. Makes for an interesting combination.

Not Made In China @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Back to The Pier, and one of my favourites, the happiest band in Bournemouth, Not Made In China are on stage. Their music is in major keys, with some great contrary bass work, big positive rhythms, and the killer vocals which somewhat tell of life in these times. People are clapping along, the only thing missing for me are the dancing idiots like me, but then this is a seated venue after all… Lee (Escape From 98) is with me, between us we cook up a new genre, African Indie, to place Not Made In China.

Annie Winter @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Annie Winter is doing her set at 60 Million Postcards; she’s recruited a full band behind her, Tim on string bass, Ben on cajon and Joe (Potter) on guitar and vocal. She’s singing winsome songs with a laid back feeling, perfect for a dreamy afternoon; with my rushing back and forth I’m feeling I’m not partaking in that vibe. My loss, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other at this moment in time 🙂

Compere Si Genaro introduces Tim Somerfield @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Tim Somerfield is given another of the Si Genaro treatments, and kicks off with last years Oxjam CD contribution There There. Tim’s voice soars over the guitar chord work, as if a bird released to float around the venue, major chords giving a positive lift to the songs. As I leave to reach the pier Tim starts Supervillain Alter Ego, which is on this years Oxjam album.

I’ve missed Our comperes Martin Roberts & Timo Peach @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mischa and catch Martin & Timo filling the gap so the Chicken Soup Choir can set up. They interview conductor Julie, who together with pianist Esther inherited a choir and set up Chicken Soup, because its good for the soul as she puts it. The Chicken Soup Choir @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012When the choir are revealed as the curtain lifts, I’m amazed at the size of it. They’re singing various pop rock songs, starting with what I think is Elbow, then Ash and Radiohead (I really don’t know my modern non-local music anymore). All the various instrumental components are sung, with oohs and ahhs and the like to make up the accompaniments.

Southern Ukulele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Susbus (Southern Ukelele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social) fill the stage as did the choir. Lisa McQuillan and Jonty Johnson share most of the singing honours, though many others are pulled out of the esemble to solo and sing. I must admit much of my attention is on Nacho Jase, who’s playing bass ukelele and hiding at the back, yet seems to be filling the stage with his presence. Paul Tucker is our narrator, and there’s a spare appearance by Martin Roberts on kazoo.

Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mutant Vinyl have something special prepared for us tonight – I was with them last night as they were preparing the act for tonight. Ed starts trying to get his sax and vocals working to his satisfaction with the sound guys and the effects processing. Its not working for him so he invites his friend, birthday boy Tim Smart to join the stage. Luke also steps in, as Ed moves to the drums and Tim announces …. County Hospital…. County Hospital takeover the takeover with Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012This means that the charismatic Ed switches to the enigmatic Ed and starts playing the tricked out beats he’s so good at, while Tim, Marc and Luke rock out some wonderful experimental stuff – then promptly leave the stage after the one song. Artistic Impression or what?  [It later transpires that this early exit wasn’t in the plan, its just that Ed couldn’t get the over-FX sound he wanted, so rather than give a bad show in his eyes, took the brave decision to chop his act, even though this causes angst and consternation for some – particularly the poor organisers of the venue].

head of a cuban trojan @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Head Of A Cuban Trojan (HOACT) have nearly played their awesome set out as I walk in, there are just three songs left, and they are amazing. Heavy bass, over egged guitar, a bit of a grunge thing going on. Then they start megaphoning the lyrics just to add to the musical contusion. Love it

El BosCo @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012El Bosco are a subset of Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) in appearance, totally different sound. Great melodies on Steve’s guitar, Ttubbs has some great beats going on, and Ed is pumping out the bass like a live one. Proper pop rock stuff, and everything starting to be turned up to the max on the PA. Its a little bit grungy like HOACT, yet not similar as there’s different things going on in the music and the vocals. Again I’m liking it, and am a bit torn to move to another venue.

Get The Tape @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012On The Rocks next (as I turn up at The Pier for Momo:Tempo to hear Tim say he’s finished), where Get The Tape have just started. Big screamo shouty rock, upon which regular readers will know my views. Even so, Get The Tape are different from the rest, their drummer is able to play some really fast timely stuff, while the lead guitar is producing great tunage, rather than the mushy chords I normally associate with the style. Another band I want to hear more from in the future, despite my general reservations on the genre.

Know One @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Know One are playing what’s been dubbed as their last ever set on the Pier Theatre stage. Starting with some long-lost Two Tone material as an intro and sort of soundcheck, they soon move into the moshing stuff they’re known and loved for. Massive bass work, big horns (Callum still running around with that sax) and the others making good with the drums and the chord work. They are really on fire, and they even play their request song that they never normally play, Invisible Reality. I leave before the end, though, for…

Yellowgroove @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards again, this time for Yellowgroove who are in the middle of their 5 hour remix of Spread Your Love (Like A Fever), by all accounts they’ve done everything needed to satiate this noisy and active crowd. They get such a great groove on as they start Manimal, while still managing to take the rip out of their mate Nick. A brief crowd incursion causes a bit of havoc with Simon’s electrics, before they go into their next single Fading Out (available on the Oxjam CD), which is where I move out to On The Rocks.

Escapefrom'98 @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Escape From 98 have just started, and immediately start the heckling going. I have no paper to throw at them in return (their gig the night before in Salisbury culminated in a paper ball fight), so just bellow instead. We need to start a thing going – they have a new song Chorus where they encourage the crowd to shout the title – just shout “NO!”, kids. And they’ll love you forever and stuff :). A great set and a good end to this venue.

Mother Ukers @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards now have the Mother Ukers down, we’re still rammed in here as they play Love Cats then Cars before murdering Bowie (in a nice way), by turning Space Oddity into a chirpy number, while still retaining the modal nature of the song.

The evening ends in fine form with a little auction trying to sell off some particular one-design T-shirts, all to raise more funds for this worthy cause, before we continue partying the night away. I give up the party and take the option to leave for home, since I have diving in the morning.  A great, if wearing, day, thanks to the full on efforts of the team, Katy, Liz, Lauren, Livvy, Jo, Geoff and Andy, and all the others that I’m not aware of.  Please can we do it again, next year?!?

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Ladies Night

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Annie Winter with band @ Chaplins, 15 MayAnnie Winter is playing Chaplins tonight, accompanied by Andy (percussion) and Zak (guitar, associate in from White Collar Boxing). As I’m my usual late getting out its near her set end; Annie invites Jemma to join them for an encore rendition of Monkey Man. Again Annie’s voice is striking, blended with the others in this impromptu band (she’s normally with Andy on full kit in her band) makes for a great sound, Jemma takes a strong lead and tries to get lively things going in the audience, with some small success.

Krista Green @ Chaplins, 15 MayKrista Green starts with a fave of mine from her recent material, Cherry Pie. Going by the rapturous applause as she ends its not only my favourite. Krista then starts with opener Move Along In My Own Time from her current album Moments With The Universe. Between these two songs alone there is quite a of contrast in vocal and playing styles, chirpy dropped vowels style with percussive guitar, to smoothed out long words and slow stroked chords to suit. Newer song More To Life Than This is more guitar based, however the vocals as ever with Krista are clear and well pronounced, no hesitation picking out the witticisms here. After a similarly glorious set, she finishes with her delightful oldie now entitled What A Shame What A Shame. Great.

HopeFM & Tripp In

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Snow Wolf (Jemma and Annie) are Solid Air Conrad‘s guests tonight on the show. They are a lot of fun, even though I thought I was taking a risk having them on, thanks to their sometimes crude or obscene comments on facebook or on stage. The ladies are on best behaviour, making the show a joy rather than a chore. They play 6 or so songs live, and have prepared at least that many again to include that we don’t get time for. We also receive perhaps a dozen messages, and a phone call from Gibraltar.

We feature a phone in with Neil King the man behind Fatea magazine, regarding the Fatea awards 2011, which were announced a week or so ago. We also mention the Fatea Showcases, the next 3 month installment being available from 1 February, featuring a lot of artists local to Bournemouth in this nationwide trawl of the best folk / acoustic artists.

After the show I head out to the Thomas Tripp to see and hear Hannah Robinson. Its only as I’m reminded by the chaps there that they’ve not seen me for a while, that I realise the last time I saw Hannah do a solo set was at the Jackie Leven & Pete Christie gig, at the back end of 2010. Its shocking how time flies, and how a year can pass so quickly without noticing who I hadn’t seen. On to the gig, she is playing mainly her own material with just a few covers thrown in. The pub is populated without being crowded, and many are appreciative of her songs, acknowledging she’s there by providing applause appropriately.

As the crowd thins throughout the evening, so do does the attention unfortunately. Hannah soldiers on through just being the best she can be. Its her first gig at the Tripp as a soloist, so she’s pleased to have a “thanks you were very good” from the bar staff. And she gets my vote of thanks too, I just can’t believe I’ve left it over 12 months to get my Hannah fix 🙂

Apologies for the lack of photos – forgot to take a studio pic, and the lighting was too poor in the Tripp for the blackberry to capture Hannah effectively…

Pink Moon’s Third Birthday

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As the title suggests, 3 years ago Solid Air started their acoustic night called Pink Moon on alternate Tuesdays in Chaplins and latterly, the Cellar Bar.

Jemma & Annie Pink Moon 3Tonight we’ve had Parallel Universe, Solid Air Conrad’s alter ego with Si Genaro (who only tend to show for significant Solid Air events), Jemma Davies solo, later joined by Annie Winter for some duets before Annie solos, new band Casini Division then old hands Mother Ukers.

Jemma then Annie are on as I enter, they do some guitar and vocal swapping, they’ve brought a vocal crowd with them. There is quite a crowd here overall, band supporters, and moreover Solid Air supporters – those who enjoy experimental and acoustic music

Casini Division Pink Moon 3Casini Division start out looking very nervous – eyes shut, turning away from the crowd. What the nerves don’t mask is the latent talent that they have. Vocalist Lizzie has a good voice, there are some interesting effect generations, and usable backing tracks. In all they foretell promise of good high energy things to come in the future as they develop their direction . They also have a sizable, vocal crowd, always positive on a Tuesday night. I find out afterwards they had EP’s available, they’ve all gone by the time I speak to them, so no chance to play them on the show…

Mother Ukers Pink Moon 3Mother Ukers are allocated the graveyard slot, and sadly some of their audience have already had to leave. For the uninitiated (like I was) Ukers is pronounced you-curs (as in ukeleles). They start with Firestarter (Prodigy), then into 20th Century Boy (T-Rex) like no other versions I’ve heard – I also didn’t realise there were a variety of ukeleles, having missed the ukelele orchestra when they’ve gigged in town, the additions being a bass and a tenor ukelele.

They carry on throwing all types and genres of music at us, Lucifer’s Blues, Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon), Bowie (Space Oddity), The Cure (Love Cats), Happy Mondays (Step On), polished off with a Beatles medley.

All done in differing styles, not simply induced due to the nature of the instruments (well, except Love Cats – nothing can disguise that bass line).  There are also lots of interjections and self-mickey takes – “three big blokes with small instruments” and similar comments. All in all an enjoyable (if late) evening – Happy 3rd Birthday Pink Moon.

A Frenetic Pink Moon

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Phil. J King is just starting when I arrive – I spoke at length about him a few gigs back – suffice to say this time I get to hear my favourite track of his, Life’s Rich Tapestry – loaned guitar and all (broke a string in the first song – big thanks to opener David Brown for being generous) .

Iridescent Lightbulb and Pointless Graffiti also please this critic, well written, and offering different musical perspectives between them. Each of these are available on Phil’s 2009 EP Life’s Rich Tapestry, available from Phil at gigs, or by messaging him.

Next up Annie Winter and Jemma Davies; they’ve picked novelty name Constable for this gig, starting by a debut of a track penned last night, fresh indeed. Annie plays, Jemma sings. They’re very giggly and a lot of fun, not taking themselves at all seriously, even though the song topics feature strong issues such that the giggles and crude comments are a bit of a distraction.

It’s also interesting to hear their alternating voices as Annie solos the second song; Annie much like a deep Stevie Nicks, Jemma more of an Amy Winehouse. It takes until the fourth song for them to sing an arrangement together, Jemma harmonising in the chorus of a song predominantly Annie’s. They switch the guitar over for one song, Jemma’s turn to be doing the solo, before handing back Annie’s musical dominance.

Next up an amalgam of Quinns Quinney and Jack Ratts. The instrument mix is something else – bouzouki, washboard, fiddle, acoustic guitar, two banjos and a bass guitar!

With this mix it’s no wonder they launch straight into frenetically pacey bluegrass – Cripplecreek up first. Eventually the vocals catch up with the music volume-wise, with 9 things going on all at once there’s a lot to keep ones ears occupied..

Jack Ratts feature one of the fastest pickers as noted by Andy Stock in bouzouki player Andy. He’s also calling many of the shots for this jam session – they’ve not played together before so everything is one big experiment, which works (for the most part, broken strings excepted). What I find vaguely amusing is my mate, Hawkeye, is up with the second banjo, however a string break causes him to miss out on a few songs, then he can never get back into it (so he comments after). Hawkeye is a professional troubadour, particularly playing in Denmark – shows that even pro’s can get thrown with this sort of playing.

Chris Woodford closes the evening on the nightshift, however I’m leaving before pumpkin time.

Brief Solid Air

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This is a very short blog post – I’ve missed much of the evening due to watching too many inspiring talks on http://www.ted.com/ (well, it was a miserable weather night, which possibly explains where everyone else was!)

On entering the Winchester’s foyer, I’m engaged in conversation by the manager, wanting to plug a couple of things, hence I miss seeing Annie Winter & Jemma Davis, although they sound good through the doors!

On walking in (to a bar with about a dozen people in it) I hear that Si Genaro has opened, unusually doing none of the beat box or harmonica work he is most well-known for, instead, just Si and his guitar and voice.

Del Malone is up last, and performs admirably, although I’m not paying attention as an old school friend of Ness’, Hawkeye Houlihan is in the bar so we have a good old natter – in short he’s spending a lot of time in Denmark playing solo, duo and trio slots close to 100 times a year, really making it as a professional music in clubs and bars, and in Danish festivals.

Short post this time…