I’ve come out on a Saturday night to catch up with Constellation, who’ve just missed out on a Dorset Music Awards final place at the O2 next week. Turns out there are three acts on before them; I’m nicely surprised to see Kimari Raven (Becki) playing as I walk in, showing off her voice with a cover and a new song amongst her normal material.  Ali & Martin from Constellation are full of praise for Becki’s voice, I also think she’s grown in confidence a lot since last seeing her play a few weeks back at Bournemouth Unplugged.

Mischa is on after Kimari Raven, I miss his short solo set as I’m outside with Martin and Ali being introduced to the rest of their band. I still can’t understand why they didn’t reach the final of Dorset Music Awards, so we spend a bit of time chewing that fat before talking other things.

Walking in again, Blue Stone Walls are on stage. They’re providing rhythmic rock with a pretty good stage presence; lead singer Adam tries to engage the crowd that are here in some of their energy. He’s also wailing to the music which means I can’t make out the lyrics, and it isn’t particularly to my tastes (strikes me as a little out of tune) but never mind, its pretty good music despite that.

Having come down to The Inferno to meet the chaps, would be rude not to stick around and listen when they finally come on stage about 11:30! Its strangely familiar hearing them in a more ordinary context, as I’ve only previously seen them perform to their utmost in the Dorset Music Awards.

They don’t disappoint in this non-competitive context. The bass hooks are there, the clashing guitars are brilliant, and Ali is still keeping up his performance as a great front man. I’m specifically looking for things to pick them up on since they’ve asked me to; I’m struggling to objectively look beyond my enjoying and liking what they do, and find some room for improvement.

They finally give me an opportunity – they cover Sex On Fire, yet don’t add anything to it to make it theirs. Even so it is well executed, Ali’s voice nearly perfectly suited to the melody (he struggles balancing volume and projection at the top end of the range). Buck Rogers is also given the Constellation treatment, again they are not adding anything to obviously make it their own to my ears. Another missing element from this gig is the look – they are just in regular dress (like most other bands to be fair) so there isn’t anything visual that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Having said that, it is still a great show, they are giving name checks, passing on how to find them online and song name checks throughout. Their songs are catchy; they pass the whistle test and are also easy to sing along to (as I catch myself doing in a couple of songs). A good night out thanks chaps.

On the way back home I drop into the Cellar Bar, where I’ve missed Paint It Blue‘s set due to the lateness of the hour. They’re outside talking when I rock up; talking around they’ve played a good entertaining set. Oh well, another time…