Ant Henson Leaving Party

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Si Genaro @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovSi Genaro is on stage back-announcing Rachel Henson‘s Imaginary Jam Band as I walk in, he then takes the music floor with a couple of surprisingly decent and straightforward tunes – he’s giving the beat-boxing a miss (apart from the last song of six) instead playing and singing his songs au naturel. Something that works well is whistling between his teeth, with a touch of reverb its very atmospheric. Shows that as well as being the performance, he can also be a performer.

Hannah Robinson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovHannah Robinson starts her set with Monster, and continues with some more great work. Its better hearing her in this folk club venue, even though its noisier than a normal folk club evening, its still quieter than the music pubs and clubs she normally frequents. Her voice is very clear, the guitar work very open and delicate.

Ant Henson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovAfter a short interval (where I take the opportunity to catch up with some of the great and the good in the room) Ant Henson takes to the stage. I’ve not heard him in such a long time; I realise I’ve missed the rotund sounds from his 12 string when I hear them again.

Ant Henson with Nicky Hann @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

He’s inviting various people to join him in songs, Tom Francis starts with him on Djembe, first joiner is Nicky Hann on flute for something fairly contemplative; they explain that she was the one that really got him gigging through a Parisian busking tour years back. Ant Henson and Fran Milner's helping hands @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovLeo joins next, he’s accompanied Ant with percussion pretty much everytime he’s played recently. They all leave and Fran Milner joins Ant, to “cover his mistakes on piano”, as he puts it. He does a cover of an Our Blinkered Eyes song, Glass Eyed Doors. Ant Henson with Tom Flanery & Si Genaro duelling harmonicas @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovNext up are  Tom Flanery and Si Genaro on duelling harmonicas as the pace picks up, such that the music is fast and furious by the time Tom Francis and Leo rejoin on percussion for 20 42, a supposed spoof song that kept its place in Ant’s set as its turned out he likes it.

Ant Henson with Tom Francis, Tom Flanery, Stephen King Leo @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

A good evening, and a great send off.

I drop into Chaplins Bar on the way home, and Adam Phillips (Asp, Fish Out Of Water) has the whole bar clapping and hollering as he finishes an energetic song.

Alex Cope @ Chaplins, 11 November

Alex Cope is running the night for Andy Stock, and closes the evening, playing a few covers, and also inserting a lot of his own material, in the style of some of the covers

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Bar Zuka launch Open Mic; Solid Air

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Chris Woodford @ Bar Zuka 10 OctMonday night means its Solid Air in the Cellar Bar, first I drop in on Ant Lewis’ new open mic in Bar Zuka. Aaron Gregory is just finishing, and Chris Woodford goes on as I’m there.

Spending that 20 mins or so means I miss Fran Milner’s Solid Air opening set; Si Genaro is out-performing himself on stage in an acoustic appearance. I wander upstairs to see some people, meaning I miss Krista Green’s first set for a while (she’s just returned from a break in Thailand).

Ant Henson & Krista Green @ Cellar Bar 10 OctWhen I return Ant Henson is sharing his stage with a couple of people during his slot, Krista dueting vocally with him in a cover of The One, then another friend on harmonica joining for the last couple, by which tiime he’s broken both G strings on his 12 string, hence going commando (his gag) for the closer.

Si & Si @ Cellar Bar 10 OctSi Crockett is doing yet another last gig ever, this time not with full band (since Ant is running aforementioned open mic, and Rio is unavailable.) So it turns into Si and Si double act, almost fitting for his last last gig, since its how he started before forming the band around him.

Show & Bmth Unplugged Quarter Final 2

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Tonight the Table Top Circus joined comedy regulars Radio Boscombe for what promised and proved to be an amusing take on Sigmund Freud for the first part of the show. It was a bit of a mix up of a show, caused by my forgetting the 6 sides of carefully prepared research, and one member of Radio Boscombe running truant and needing to be reeled in by phone.

It makes for an interesting production style, having to continually think on one’s feet and improvise nearly a full two hour presentation. We pick up on the previous show, Drive‘s theme of the night, uniforms, as a fallback ad lib when our material dries up

Thank goodness I’d prepared one element online: a phone interview with Michael-James Dent regarding Dom Remi, coupled with an exclusive preview of their new song Midnight (now available on their myspace).

Dom Remi (pronounced Ree-Mee) are the band that were formerly known as The Metropolise. The Metropolise received a lot of radio play with their brash and raw sound. The lads recognised the rawness, and have polished themselves up a bit, changing the musical direction of the band in the process.

This change in musical direction warrants a change in name, in an attempt to prevent too much comparison. So, out of the ashes that were The Metropolise, we now have the phoenix arising that is Dom Remi. They are having a series of relaunch events including a renaming gig and EP launch on 14 May in Champions.

Towards the end of the show Radio Boscombe are augmented by Livvi, who we coerce into also giving an opinion on the evening theme of uniforms.

All in all, with everything going on, I was worn out even before going up to O’Neills for this weeks installment of Bournemouth Unplugged. Again the notes presented below are exactly what I wrote on the night, and used as a basis for my live comments on the night.

We are asked to mark out of 45, 10 points for each of Originality, Stage Presence/Audience Interaction, Song Writing Ability, and Technical Ability.  5 points are to measure the Crowd Reaction, clapometer style.  Finally there is a yes/no “Star” rating – do these guys have that undefinable something (the X factor of that show’s name).

Ant HensonAnt Henson starts, with a harmonica accompaniment this time (who’s name check I miss).
They are very animated together, fitting the music.
As they slow the music down, they slow the movement down to suit.
Great having the 12 string – boosts originality, yet doing similar chord work in the main
Unsure on 12 string tuning +1 if he notices, +1 if do something about it. Does it well with Krista filling in
Stereophonics The One cover – Laid back and totally different
Worked on the harmonies with Krista? If so it shows
Cheeky little beat box thing going on

Bob FletcherBob Fletcher
Big noisy songs
Strong intro then into a spiky number, beatboxing included, much like 2 or 3 songs in one
Good crowd working for you – Like the “behind the front row” comment
Looks really pleased to be here, infectious – great with Julian
Really developed in the past couple of years – good confidence
His staple Tom Jones has been taken to the next level
Wandering over the pub after teaching the singalong section
Then a quiet finish to show off different techniques, voice and guitar

Chris WoodfordChris Woodford
Has a rack of guitars with him rather than just the twelve string
Animated despite sitting on a chair. Great dynamics.
Can just never get tired of chris’ stuff
Outstanding
(another judge has written “Masterclass”)
Real mess about of smoke on the water – adding variety through slide resonator dobro

The Sabres The Sabres
Hard job following that! So what do you do? Do what you do best & come in strong and lively
Tight on the breaks
Kept crowd – hard for last act
Ritchie good voice
Lots of audience dancing

The top three tonight were separated by 1 point, with each scoring over 100: 103, 104 and 105 by the time all judges scores are collated.  The Sabres just miss out, as Chris Woodford and Bob Fletcher take the available Semi Final places. Congratulations to both.

BMTH Unplugged Heat 3

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BMTH Unplugged heat 3 tonight. Again to protect the judging & voting I’ll only be giving scant reviews, more of a mention of the acts.

May Day

May Day are kicking off the evening, a 3 piece comprising cajon, guitar and very clear vocalist. They have a bit of a stereotypical Northern bloke look about them, dressed in smart allusions to grunge-grey including trilby and flat cap! Enjoyable enough to listen to musically and vocally. The cover they choose is Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, and they jolly it along in lively manner.

Ant Henson

Ant Henson  is 2nd on – and he’s the first act I’ve noted to make an entrance, hanging back in the crowd until announced then striding onto the stage. He’s also dressed to impress, and kicks off into an active number initiated by a blues harp player he’s turned into his entourage. His songs are very bright, probably a lot to do with the 12 string he’s toting tonight. His intro to Thin Lizzy’s Boys Are Back is surprising, and shows he can do more with the chord work than he had been showing.

Sarah Griffin

Third up is Sarah Griffin – and at this point a disclaimer is needed – I’ve become a firm fan of Sarah’s material in the past year or so. She bravely starts with heart-pulling sad song, that emphasises voice over guitar, a new thing. Toxic originally by Britney Spears is her cover, and she’s made it totally her own, managing to still the pub into her quiet vibe. The other songs she chooses are equally brave choices for a noisy pub, soulful and emotionally delivered.

Kathryn Ross

The closing slot goes to Kathryn Ross. She starts with strong demonstrations of various guitar techniques, through very pleasant songs, before switching to keyboard for some piano antics. Her voice is very clean, even though the stronger overtones aren’t there as they have been for other artists. For her penultimate song she slips a looper in so subtly it is barely noticeable, and closes with cover Say It Ain’t So by Weezer

Andy Stock

Wandering back via Chaplins, to find the man I want to speak to at the microphone, very inconvenient! The man being Andy Stock, he’s got to that point in the evening where he’s playing requested covers for the rowdy crowd, including favourite Billy Bragg hit New England.

Start of 2011

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I’ve been rather quiet on the blog – taken a break from the local scene over the Christmas break, including making a pre-recorded show for the station between Christmas and New Year – not something I particularly like doing for something I bill as LiveWire Live!

A bit of a storming night on the radio show tonight. Radio Boscombe were in with their dep The Girl From Uncle in place of Laura (who’s rehearsing for the Verwood Panto)

Various Monty Python sketches (in preparation for a new CD launch in March aiming to be for Comic Relief) coupled with a surprising party political broadcast from regular character Tory Marginal.

Phone-in’s included Trev from the Dorset Music Awards (where I’ll be helping judge the opening live heats) giving us some inside news on this years awards, plus plans for the present which may come to fruition in the future regarding a South West Music Awardm – would be good if this could happen, however I get the feeling that (due to Trev and his partner in things music) Dorset are ahead of the other counties in the region, here.

After the show, a brief drop in to Freeway Poets at the Winchester, before heading back home via Chaplins Open Mic night. Ant Henson is up, joined by a couple of friends planned and unplanned since Nicky Hann (over from another night elsewhere) brought her sax out to Ant’s tribute to Gerry Rafferty, who died at home last night having been in Bournemouth Hospital from last year. It all happens in Bournemouth, good and bad!

The song? Well a faltered start (dodgy key) when reset turned into an acceptable rendition, even if the combo was spontaneous and unrehearsed. It was good talking with Ant afterwards – he’s entered the Dorset Music Awards 2011, be interesting to see what he does.

News with the potential to be encouraging was shared by Harry, Chaplins’ owner. Remember gig-swap? Where local bands got to travel to a remote location to other places with a ready crowd, but died a death in Bournemouth when the only venue taking part closed down (Mr Smiths)? Well something similar might be on the way – watch out for some Chaplins’ news on that one.

Next up Fauna Marie (not sure on spelling here, since they said they were on myspace, yet I can’t find them…) playing some sad rock, very melodic with electric acoustic guitar and acoustic bass – first time I’ve heard an acoustic bass and not had it feed back which is a big win.

The bar is really alive and kicking. For an off night in January I was expecting a handful of people. Instead the place is crammed, people in for meals, artists for the open mic, and other kibitzers like myself kicking around. Ace.
Also on the playlist: Richy Jones, Chris Woodford, Graham Jones, Joe Hutchins (debut).