Brothers Grimmer Late Night Special

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Brothers Grimmer @ The Sloop 19 Feb 2013Its a Tuesday night, I’ve wandered across town to The Sloop for their open mic, after another great early evening with my church small group. The Sloop have started something a little different, in that they are providing a slot for a band to try out, with the hope of gaining a (paid) Friday or Saturday night slot. This is however at the tail end of the open mic, which means its nearly 11:30 by the time a very slimmed down (in more than one way) Brothers Grimmer start their set.

Brothers Grimmer have slimmed down to a four piece, their former second guitarist has called it an end for now, so its left to Bo-bo (Shawn), Macko (Mike), Embryopup (Lee) and Guru (Matt) to perform the tunes. The second diet tonight is the minimal amount of equipment they’re using – Matt’s drum kit is just snare and bass with a few cymbals, there’s a couple of amps and that’s it!

Macko balances - Brothers Grimmer @ The Sloop, 19 FebNo matter, the music is still good, the stories behind the songs are more clearly heard here at The Sloop than at certain other venues I’ve heard Brothers Grimmer play at. The odd layout of The Sloop plays into dancer Macko’s arms, he effectively makes three small dance floors of the various areas – very much “in the round”!

Brothers Grimmer @ The Sloop 19 Feb 2013The sound is still very full on for what is now “just a three piece” band; even on reduced kit Matt is busy, Lee providing a full sound even with just a small combo. Brothers Grimmer staples are here, with a few of the newer material (new album being recorded) and a cover scattered about, even a band with as good originals as these have to cover material just to get the gigs in today’s tribute obsessed world. After a too short 40 minute set (as we’re all tired at this hour) they call it a night, shame as this has been good.

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Early Night Desire

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The Worry Dolls @ Cellar Bar 6 OctIn the hope of getting an early night this Saturday due to going diving in the morning, have dropped in to the Cellar Bar first to catch The Worry Dolls. Unfortunately they haven’t started by the time I arrive and I’m still hanging around after 20 minutes. The Worry Dolls sound sweet even in the soundcheck when levels aren’t quite right. Having completed that they then leave the stage again. As it will be for another 15 minutes or so I move on elsewhere.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 6 OctBrothers Grimmer joined Chinners and I in the studio a couple of weeks back, and they are doing a double slot at The Inferno tonight. I’ve missed the opening act by the time I get here, and spend the interval talking with videographer Andrew Gale about how he started and now continues (from Bournemouth Ice Rink to the O2 Bristol with Surface Festival in just over a year).

The chaps start, Michael giving it his all with the dancing while the other four guys put it all about with the story telling in the songs. I’m starting to get to know the material now; Pandora’s Box is amazingly tricky in places, awkward chords and some cleverly out of time cross beats just to mix things up. Not all hard rock, yet with enough heavy undercurrent to appease those who love the genre, they have delightful variety and style.

What is also obvious (as it was through the interview) is that this is a band that really work hard together, play hard together, and also help each other out during setup and soundcheck etc. Three family by birth, two family by choice, this is Brothers Grimmer!

Brothers Grimmer Show & O’Neills

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Brothers Grimmer @ HopeFM 26 SeptThe Brothers Grimmer lads join Chinners and I in the studio tonight; leaving manager and promoter Mumma Grimmer behind they run a competition, play live and take us through some of their CD material, as well as giving an insight into Grimmer family life. We have a real blast together and a good old chinwag on air.  They are playing all over the place, thanks to Mumma Grimmer’s tireless efforts to break them out of Bournemouth and into a National scene.

Off air we talk even more and exchange some really funny stories and anecdotes. There’s a couple of phone calls and online bits; like many on the music scene they are genuine and down to earth, while still having great aspirations and producing great music.

Tim Somerfield @ O Neills 26 SeptOn to O’Neills this week for an afterwards with Chinners. Tim Somerfield is playing a set of mainly original material. We had lots of talk about Tim on the show, and all the good work he’s putting in at The Inferno since Brothers Grimmer like playing there a lot. This is just another of Tim’s 100 gigs this year (he’s well on target to reaching that goal, being one of the hardest working muso’s and promoters on our circuit).

Tom Clements @ O'Neills 26 SeptTom Clements takes a second set for the evening, and decides to mainly play covers, only throwing in a couple of his own songs. U2’s The Real Thing gains Chinners approval, which is rare praise indeed from the ultimate greatest U2 fan.

Big thanks to all for their efforts, give one sleep-filled nights thanks to all the activity 🙂

Yellowgroove & Brothers Grimmer

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Yellowgroove @ Cellar Bar 17 DecAnother Saturday this time, yet another Yellowgroove gig. They start with another great rendition of Son Of A Working Man. There’s a little interlude as Simon announces he’s going to spend Christmas in a cave, and introduces a song about caves, which has a very Richard Thomson folk-inspired riff to start on the acoustic. The rest of the song is good too, I think its a new one on me. They play a genuinely new song after covering Stuck In The Middle and suffering some lead flaff. Witches Wood is along the contemplative line, with plenty of space for some subtle chord and lead work, and some nicely disharmonious accidentals.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 17 DecI leave after Loving Man to waste 30 minutes fighting through BIC traffic to reach On The Rocks, only to find they’ve shut up shop – relatively early starts for them, they’re finished by 11pm 😦 I console myself by catching a little bit of Brothers Grimmer at the Inferno, they are as rockin’ as ever, though I only stay for a few songs before heading on to see a friend who’s hotel sitting for the night.

November Big Night Out

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Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovI start what portends to be a busy evening early, at the O2. The Blues Machine have offered me a ticket to come and catch them live, I’ve missed them in loads of places but the lure of an O2 set was far too tempting for me to stay away…ooh how cheap am I ? 🙂 I like their walk on. Ash (on guitar) playing a little riff as the house lights dim, walks on from stage left, he’s then joined by Dan (bass & vox) on stage right, who does a little intro speech, calls the crowd in (nice touch), and picks up the same riff. Meanwhile Josh has reached the drums to kick the opening song off.

Ash - Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovThey make use of the full stage they’ve been given, including use of the side stacks, which unfortunately aren’t spot lit by the crew, blowing their opportunity to shine a bit. They are also meandering around the portion of the stage they’ve been given like pros, and looking like they’re really enjoying themselves.

Blues Machine Doubled up @ O2 19 NovAs to the music, its well executed, confident, even if the first few are covers. During a Wishbone Ash song they do a move I’d first seen done at DMA 2011 by Evolver – switching their guitars to their backs, then lean over each other in a sort of hug to play each other’s instrument. They switch to a slow blues number, Dan’s vocal soars slightly too sweetly over the bass thumps, with the barest twiddles from the guitar. For their last number they name check each other out as each showboat solos, a nice touch. Good stuff & worth catching if one fancies a blues gig, even if tonight it seems only the young fans they’ve brought with them are appreciative.

Voodoo Vegas frontline @ O2 19 NovVoodoo Vegas are next in the line up here; they choose an all on stage entrance, backs to the crowd as the lights rise. Ash (bass) breaks into a fat riff as Lawrence (vocals) welcomes the crowd, then something happens and they reset and start again. Mishaps happen sometimes, tonight they just take it in their stride.
Voodoo Vegas action @ O2 19 NovThe music is great hard rock; there are a few new songs present to my ears before they break into King Without A Crown. This song is where they really let rip, all on the risers and posturing. Its really cool to see such a great local band on the best stage in town. They go on a harmonica led blues journey, through some rolling rock, then into So Unkind where they really hit it hard for the audience reaction.

Lawrence - Voodoo Vegas @ O2 19 NovThere is no question they are both bigging up themselves, while pumping and primping the crowd for Doors Alive, who they’ve got the gig through. Awesome sound, good stage use (they warrant the crew providing spotlights on the side stacks), and I think they’ve found themselves a new spiritual home 🙂

We’re kept waiting 30 minutes for the headline act. I don’t just want to walk out before they start – that’s what I commonly don’t like about some fans of some acts, however I have another set of gigs to get to, and really need to dash so only stay for their first song as a result of what I see as an unwarranted delay.

Doors Alive @ O2 19 NovDoors Alive start with a drum solo before keys are blended in, then joined by guitar as singer joins the stage. There seem to be vocal mic troubles so we wait further until that’s sorted out, however those sets of vintage key synths are really making some amazing noises.

Doors Alive key synths @ O2 19 Nov

Compared with Lawrence’s antics, they seem pretty pedestrian in this first song, I appreciate I’m not seeing a full representation of a set, as I split to the next gig. I later find out that this was pretty much the order of their performance; recognisable music, well reproduced, without any stage antics.

Pump Action Radio @ Inferno 19 NovDue to waiting around for Doors Alive, I arrive at the Inferno to find I’ve missed Escapefrom98. I hear they were good, punk style, and went down well with good crowd feedback. Pump Action Radio are getting set up as I arrive.  They are pumped up, with steaming tunes and massive distortion – too much for the sound system – they come across as just loud and unfortunately unintelligible, even through my decent ear plugs. Shame, as it means I make an early departure for the next gig.

Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The JungleThere’s a massive party going on at the Winchester, facilitated by the excellent Monkey Puzzle. The event has been called Glow In The Jungle – UV lighting is in abundance, meaning face painted individuals really shine, and the crapberry doesn’t do justice. Glow sticks are also available making a cool scene.

Dan - Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The Jungle

The music is amazing, their versions of staples such as Summertime are done as Jazz in a Turquoise mood – this is also true for e.g. Rock Steady, everything is pumped up to the max in a funk / jazz vibe. The mauve references continue as everybody is a translucent purple thanks to the lighting.

Where's Billy? @ Inferno 19 NovBack to the Inferno, where Where’s Billy? are playing a rock ballad. By all accounts in the crowd, they’ve been amazing, however vocals are suffering from the blown out speakers of the PA too. Their next song is jumped up rock, musical with good lead guitar riff and a strutting bass line. Shame these lads are from Kent (as their photographer Jenna informs me) – would like to see them again. Apparently they play the inferno semi-regularly, so keep an eye out for them.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 Nov

Brothers Grimmer are finishing the night at the Inferno. I like their intro “we’re Brothers Grimmer and we’re gonna rock you” then get straight on with the heavy music (again affected by abysmal vocals thanks to the PA). Music is good though, decent chord sequences and progressions leading to a tuneful performance. Visual entertainments are again provided by their break dancer – at one point he holds himself on a single hand for what seems like a whole chorus – excellent balance control.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 NovAfter they’ve performed a pretty brilliant rendition of Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past, I depart to hopefully catch the Deltorers at the Cellar Bar. I return soon after as the Deltorers have finished their set already (they only had a short set of material), and Brothers Grimmer are still rocking out big style, with some serious moshing action by the drunks in the corner. Makes for a great end for a good music evening albeit I’ve only seen 7 of the 10 bands I’d hoped for; I head back to the Cellar Bar for an after night-out hang out with some mates.

Talentcall Band Semi Final

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Talentcall 2011 logoI received a quick phone call from a friend in the music scene – can I get to the O2 tonight to judge another music competition.  My answer was “Yes”, even though I didn’t know anything about the competition in question.  Talentcall is happening during the summer, spread out over the weeks, with junior nights, senior nights, band nights, soloist nights and so on.  Tonight is a band night, means 7 bands get to play for 20-25 minutes (i.e. 3/4 songs) and we just have to give a mark out of 100.  All the marks get added up between the three judges and the best band goes through to a semi final at the Pavilion in October, I think.

My quandary is, how to award 100 marks?  Using my previous experience I jotted down some criteria to award 10 points to each of: Originality, Variety of set, Crowd Response (before (4) & after (6)), Technical Ability, Song Writing ability, Stage Presence (entertainment), Band Look (uniform etc) and Crowd Interaction.  I also had a No, Maybe, Yes in my “who do I like best / have they done enough to warrant the next stage / would I want to see them again” in case of ties. Then just multiply by 1.25 to turn out of 80 to out of 100.

 The following notes are more or less what I wrote about each act, I’ve edited them here for clarity only. 

Realm Essence

Realm Essence Talentcall O2These guys are a DJ & MCs. They have a slow start, lots (far too much) of “hold tight” shouts when nothing is really happening. I like the colour match hoodie & hat uniform. Its a bit of a shambolic start – but is this shambles part of their act? I can’t make out the rap words (1st) (2nd). I like the shout to the front row to get them involved. Then a shambles again as 3rd man Dan joins, there are good beats as he comes on, then they lose it and start something else. The DJ is doing good clever stuff, and the MC’s are tight together within the beats. Not a lot of Variety or Originality, apart from being a rap outfit rather than a band. In short they are OK once they get going. See again /good enough? No

Voice Of Reason

Voice Of Reason Talentcall O2Dramatic OTT spoof / parody introductory backing track, then they jump onto the stage. The PA is a bit slow on drums & vox during the first song. Well high energy, and they segue the first two songs nicely. They give a decent introduction to the drummer, with him standing on the kit while he’s name dropped, then on into the rest of the song. The drumming itself is very busy, and the drummer is sort of ok on those busy bits (many drummers lose timing when busy). There is very good use of the stage, side risers, foldbacks etc. In short energetic rock well presented. See again /good enough? Maybe Yes.

Sepia Daze

Sepia Daze Talentcall O2No walk-on, they’re already on stage. Energetic, with a good audience at the start, and then they work them near throughout. Unclear vocals means they lose out on their Songwriting score. They have an OK look, ‘uniform’ hair & black, but not standout. Some demonstration of variety, they’re the first act to do so. They lose a bit on the Technical too, I’m really not a fan of untrimmed guitar strings as they just look messy and tell me they don’t care overmuch about appearances. They gain on Originality with constant synth/keys. See again /good enough? Maybe Yes

The Worry Dolls

The Worry Dolls Talentcall O2PA problems with lead female vocals (& the viola). Despite that the band handle it well and make a good recovery. Their look isn’t particularly coordinated. Highly Original – viola, ukelele, keys, guit (x2), mandolin, bass, drums. Technically the viola sounds flat, although this is OK once the PA is fixed. Also high Variety between songs. Unfortunately not much Crowd Interaction during the rest of the set after good example while the PA was missing at the beginning. Very tight for a “loose” band. Good songs & clear strong vox (after PA fixed). Ending of song four unclear. See again /good enough? Maybe Yes – would probably upgrade that to a Yes.

Shades Are Grey

Shades Are Gray Talentcall O2Only band noted to give a facebook shout.  I’m not a fan of the wailed lyric, especially when the vocals are unclear. Bass & guitar not really engaging crowd, indeed the bassist had his back to rest of band during first two songs. Good trying to get crowd involved throughout. Not really together, comes across as too self indulgent hard emo. Crowd like them though. See again /good enough? No

Brothers Grimmer

Brothers Grimmer Talentcall O2Delayed start through apparent dicking around. Interesting having a dedicated dancer – really works the crowd. Tight, good drumming. Not much to lyrics. Well played, amazingly danced. Tight band. High technical ability score – particularly becuase of the dancer and the clever instrument work / tightness. See again /good enough? Maybe Yes – would probably be my other yes.

Sketches Of The Adverse

Sketches Of The Adverse Talentcall O2Overall technically OK, and with OK songs. Nothing stand out or that grabs me about it, not a lot of interaction or stage presence for me. Do they know timing seems to be adrift (first song?). One thing I’d say to them direct: Don’t big up another band as your crowd interaction example. To my estimation it breaks up a little in the breakdowns See again /good enough? No

So there we have it, seven bands, the eventual winners are announced as Brothers Grimmer – well done fellas (and everyone for reaching this stage of this competition).  My personal faves (by a couple of points) were The Worry Dolls, would like to see them again, although will perenially have PA problems with the size and type of their band, no doubt.

I dash off since I want to see Disco’s Out Murder’s In at the Inferno (they’re doing a double header with Big Face Reggae).  More about that in another post…

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)