Show & BU Heat 6

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My guests tonight are The Luminaires, with a cut direct from the studio of their debut EP. Its still in final mixdown stage, so the track that’s bought in to play has not been heard by some of the band even, it’s that fresh. They were last in the studio with me in November, after wowing me with their debut performance at the Oxjam take over; then our topics ranged across all sorts of topics; this time the chat is slightly more focussed – probably as band savant Dave is keeping a lid on himself and his wide-encompassing knowledge.

Afterwards I head onto the now familiar jaunt for Bournemouth Unplugged, O’Neills.

Jonny Neesom Bmth UnpluggedJonny Neesom draws the opening straw tonight. He’s got an interesting style, playing plucked open chords while providing an overwash of MC’d chant rap. Previously I’ve only heard him do 2 or 3 songs at an open mic, to hear him perform a fuller set is good, and shows he does have more songs in his repertoire, with more or less similar styles. When he sings, its very much tone poem style, really allowing a focus on the originality of the lyrics.

Chris Woodford is second. A very quick setup ( and tune up) and he’s in. The first chords still the place, he pauses, one can hear the silence spread across the room, before he launches into his now familiar routine. I’m sort of au fait with the material, yet I never know if I’ve heard each piece of his before or not. It’s varied both in dynamic and style, in that there is chord picking, chord struumming, finger picking (with either hand), taps, pulls, and then when one thinks there is no other style to show off, he slips into lap steel mode and throws in the other moves he’s known for. Winner of the 2008 Dorset Music Award, he’s no doubt on a cert to go far in this competition. Foo Fighters’ Everlong is his choice of cover – yet he’s made it totally his own.

David Mansell Bmth UnpluggedPenultimate act David Mansell starts with a little introduction, promising us a range of genres, and a (very short) story behind his opening song. I’ve not heard David play for a long time. He’s a traditional guitarist compared with the first two acts, he is not coming across as the singer songwriter-guitarist he really is. No sign of the endless strumming here, we are presented with some well-orchestrated chord sequences and foot tapping rhythms, accomplished jazz guitar and blues beats.

Shanon Fontaine Bmth UnpluggedShanon Fontaine closes the evening. She’s bright both with the greeting and the appearance. I must admit to having seen shanon around in crowds at gigs and speaking with her, yet not knowing she played. She has an open picked chord style for verses, pretty much a perfect accompaniment to her isolated voice. Yet for the choruses the now sliced chords pick up the pace and her voice boosts accordingly. In another song she hits some staccato chops that again augment and complement. Shanon is also experimenting with a loop/delay pedal, very basic usage but it helps provide extra depth to the deeper tones she’s singing this time around – this range seems to suit her better than the higher end she’s used up to this point.

Another enjoyable acoustic musical evening courtesy of Fairplay and Bournemouth Unplugged.

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.

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).

What A Night

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Nathan 24 hrTonight (well, all day as well) its the 24 hour Hope FM marathon by Nathan Wells. I join Nathan as he starts  into the last few hours.

Nathan's 24hr suppliesI’ve been finding a couple of muso’s to join Nathan during the broadcast. Nathan is tired, (obviously) but still buzzing and up for doing the rest fo the time – he’s had a slow point at 3pm, just before food arrived for him, and everything had been fine since then.  I took a shot of the detritus people had provided to sustain Nathan during the show.

Mischa Weston-Green was on board from about 7pm before doing a 90 minute headline at Chaplins & The Cellar Bar. Meanwhile I’ve had a great night at Church small group – we had a couple go to Israel on holiday and they offered a report back.

Mischa & Si 24 hr nightThen dropped in on Mischa‘s gig (Si Crockett accompanying) at Chaplin’s just to catch the end of the set.

Off to O Neill’s with Andy Stock in tow to catch the end of the Revolving Door open mic session run by Si & Sarge with Nacho Jase. Missed the name of the duo playing covers as I walked in, however Chris Woodford did the final set, before I jogged into the studio with Nathan and Gordon Sherren from Smoothies on Monday.

Graham Jones 24 hrFirst on air in the live music nightshift is Graham Jones, talking about his inspiration, aspirations and disappointments before playing a couple of tracks live.

Then Chris Woodford joins us along with Andy Stock (they’d taken a detour to pick up some bits) to play live on air individually, and together (4 hands, one guitar)!

One guitar four hands 24hr

I have to duck out after 3am – I have work in a few hours… Well done, Nathan for pulling it off…

LiveWire Live & Open Mic

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It was a show night, having had a band booked who were subsequently unable to come in, and having had such a fantastic weeked of Oxjam, decided to turn the show into a retrospective.  Having said that, still managed to fill the live music time with Andy Stock, who joined me in the studio.

Andy is real passionate about the music scene – he runs an Open Mic at Chaplins on a Wednesday (which he delayed for me to make this appearance tonight), plays in Hollowood and formerly Burning Shepherd and has made the occasional solo piece.  He was very much behind the scenes at Bournemouth Oxjam takeover; involved in the 6 month run up, then not being available on the weekend. Andy also arranges benefit gigs at Chaplins & The Cellar Bar – one’s coming up in a couple of weeks time (6 November)

Chaplins Banner
Chaplins Banner

After the show, which as usual seemed to be packed with music, chat and phone-ins (thanks to many of the Bournemouth Oxjam takeover promoters & organisers) I popped along to Andy’s open mic night, to find (surprise surprise) him opening up the night (once it was set up – late – thanks to me!). 

After Andy, Mischa (who had just stopped by briefly to say hello) was coerced into one performance (brilliant as ever, though he was on a borrowed guitar, and not “in his zone”).

After a short break, Howard Tucker got up and did a turn.  This was his debut performance in Bournemouth, having moved here 5 months before.  Hope to hear more of him, good solid work, and not much sign of the nerves. He commented that he didn’t yet know many people on the scene – at least he’d found the best bar to bump into many muso people…

Howard was followed by Graham Jones, with his inimitable guitar style and stomping blues.  Graham has a good voice, and is very generous within the community. I just find his manner of playing and shouting repetitive after the first two songs, which is a shame as he is good, it’s just me I guess…

Hans Slack was up next, the crowd really got along with his tunes. He finished with his cover of Sex On Fire, which I have heard a few times now. I think (about to annoy other acoustic artists here) that Hans’ rendition was one of the best ones I’ve come across, even with a slip up here and there.

Last act of the night was Chris Woodford.  I use a rendition of Chris’ Best Foot Forwards as the backing music for my show nowadays, his pieces (while they have names) are all instrumental, plucked slapped and strummed on a 12 string. 

As a closer, Andy Stock again took to the mic with a dedication to me – a cover of Alex Roberts’ Shoot The Breeze (we’d been talking about this song on the show). A nice rendition, if a mournful song (Alex’ version can be purchased from his website to raise funds for the Big Issue, and the story behind the song is posted there.

An open mic night for me isn’t only about the music – a lot of friends are there, Fiona Fox being one. Normally she’d be playing in a slot, however she wasn’t feeling up to it this night, shame. Also had a chance to catch up with David, the new chef in Chaplins – he’s with Harry for the long haul, trying to make a go of the cafe bar opportunity during the daytime with interesting menus, and reasonable prices, in the laid back atmosphere that Chaplins offers. 

Spent a lot of time with Harry, the owner of the bar – he’s making changes continually – the latest one being a replacement shelter over some of the back garden, and making good the existing fountains and waterfalls around the fishpond.  He has a strong vision for what he wants to see come of Boscombe, with the uprating of the seafront and redevelopment of the area in general, and a welcoming cafe bar is part of that redevelopment.

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