The General Public @ Cellar Bar 29 Sep

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As ever, I arrive too late to see Coke Can Jack – its become a running non-joke that I always arrive once they’re off stage.

The General Public @ Cellar Bar 29 SepInstead I just get the fun stuff of  The General Public. Many will have seen these guys, perhaps for the first time, at 2011’s Grooves On The Green, where its fair to say they pretty much smashed that gig.

They’re being a little bit edgy tonight, experimenting by making up the set as they go along. The bass is thumping, the drums are crashing, keys are mashing and the vocals and rhythms are spot on.

Get It On has become a fave, simply as I play it a lot on the show. as they play it here, it full of a funk driven bass riff, while the harmonies are together and well balanced, good for a live sound.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that they didn’t smash tonight, however the crowd is a little small to say this has been one of their best gigs for ever. It is one of their entertaining performances though, I’m pleased to have been here for it.

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Show & Bmth Unplugged Quarter Final 1

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 Big night on the show tonight, with a double header; Conrad’s Solid Air night is always interesting, Powdered Cows (Martin Roberts) was in tonight promoting the Moozikk album, being launched on Saturday 9 April to raise funds for the Tree Foundation to save the Pygmy Three Toed Sloth.  We spend the time talking about the contributors, the efforts needed to remix and remaster this 22 track master, and about the charity and the sloths (see the links), as well as playing some tracks. In honour of the next guests, Martin is wearing a special yellow shirt with corduroy grooves on it.

After an all too brief hour Martin departs, and Solid Air hand the show back over to me for Yellowgroove to catch up about what they’ve been up to, and their night at Champions for the launch of Fairplay TV on Thursday 7 April.  It’s great having them back on, we spend a bit of time on their set at the Bournemouth Unplugged heats results party, more on their recordings, they play two tracks live in the studio, and the single San Francisco Bay available for free download from their website is played out.

Again after far too short a time I head off to O’Neills’ for the first Quarter Final of Bournemouth Unplugged.

There’s a muted buzz in O’Neills, as not a lot of people are here at the start (the place fills up as we go on, is fullest yet not at capacity for the third act, then tails off during the last). Tonight’s judging is slightly different – we are asked to sit at a table near the front, watch and listen, then present some thoughts at the end of each act.

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 we are asked to submit a yes/no “Star” rating – do these guys have that undefinable something (the X factor of that show’s name)

The notes below are exactly what I’ve written about each of the acts as they play (just edited for grammar etc), which I use at the end to make my comments.

Coke Can JackCoke Can Jack start with a brash beginning. Good song and name check and straight into Beg Steal and Borrow.
Good guitar soloing (Sam) bit of a Steely Dan thing going on
Well mixed overall, pretty tight.
Good eye contact (Jim & Nathan).
Crowd reaction grown 3 yet not interested during the song.
Laidback summery sound.
Wild Woman slightly shaky bass and cajon together, brave doing a new song. [talking afterwards this was an experiment with cross-rhythms and off-beats, that I thought could be slightly tighter to make it clearer what was going on.]
Nice twist with Bad News vocals getting Chris to the mic at the end
Wishing Well cover. (Free)

Tony 2 Dogs is next, starting with an aboriginal style song with an auto phaser in the background. [I forget to take a photo]
Good vocal range, and sticking in the main to strong part of it.
Second song good back beat, clear vocals and tricky
Not catching the song name checks
Clever lyrics again (3rd song)
Only chords, but interesting enough to be above average than just a singer songwriter guitarist.
Fourth song very upbeat chords.
Loving the facial expressions.
Cover hey ya. (Outcast) included most of the elements of the full song, yet in the acoustic vein.

Krista GreenKrista Green
Lively open, lively opener
Good use of percussive guitar.
I know she normally stands up, but has done knee in through being slightly careless on a trampoline!
Amazingly powerful voice (from busking)
Cover all right now (free). Laid back, lots of encouragement to participate – she’s loving it and so are the crowd
She mixes things up by adding brothers for the last couple, congas and harmonica
Great groove going on.

Jonny Neesom finishes in fine style
Moody end compared to the happy songs we’ve had
I think its hard to access his material for new people, but goes down well with the crowd
Good harmonic work on the instrumental, has he been taking lessons from Chris Woodford?
He needs to retune, and fills the space with attempts at brown-nosing the crowd, and particularly the judges. When heckled that’s minus ten for a**-licking, he promptly switches to good humoured insults, causing even more crowd reaction!
Calls up AJ for closing song, gentle and strong. AJ provides good contrast to Jonny’s rap

A bit of swift calculation of the judges scores, and the results are announced – Jonny and Krista are through to the Semi Finals, Coke Can Jack and Tony 2 Dogs are out of the competition.  Talking around afterwards the latter two are good natured about the whole thing – their whole experience in the competition has been a good one, and they feel they can only improve…As for Jonny and Krista, they are expectedly pleased – Jonny heads back to Chaplins and the Cellar Bar for a post victory drink  – I know as I bump into him there on the way home.

Coke Can Jack, Mountain Feet, Polly And The Billets Doux

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Mr Kyps logoThis Thursday night finds me at Mr Kyps to see Coke Can Jack, who along with Mountain Feet are the opening support for Polly And The Billets Doux

Coke Can Jack KypsCoke Can Jack walk on laid back as ever, and start gently and smooth, very lazy afternoon sun style. That soon changes as they launch into Beg, Steal or Borrow, and start tearing things up a bit. Highly energetic, and much the better for having all four members present, compared with previous times I’ve seen them.

Nathan and Sam provide backing harmonies to Jim’s lead vocals, Chris sticks to the new acoustic bass they’ve just purchased to stay true to their acoustic vibe. This allows them to pick in a way not available to electrics – as they play Bad News it feels like a cheeky secretive trip to where one shouldn’t go, very jaunty and yet furtive. They finish it in their usual a capella way, vocal harmonies and simple repeated refrains combining into a complex whole.

They also play Devil On Your Shoulder, that they debuted last night on the HopeFM radio show they guested. Live and plugged in its raucous and punchy, until they strip it back for the end section, again with the complex rounds in the lyrics.

I didn’t think the majority of the crowd were theirs, however I’m proved wrong at the end, they’ve won the crowd over judging by the widespread applause and cheers.

Mountain Feet KypsMountain Feet are next up, lead singer Jordan’s sporting a The Neon Tigers T-shirt, fitting really since I’ve just met three quarters of TNT at the back of the venue. They open with some strong rolling blues. They’ve also brought a large active and vocal crowd with them, who all seem to be at the front, leaving the rest of the place sparse.

They are having a lot of fun – Freebird is requested, leading them to comment they don’t have a lot of material so with a little help they might play that one at the end. Hmm not sure about this – always keep us in the dark about what you’re doing, and what you can or can’t do – that way we don’t know if things don’t work out.

That’s a minor point, the music is great – really good stomp along to stuff, which a posse of people at the front do, forming up a line and bouncing around in unison…their third song opens quieter with just hamonica and “twiddly” lead, yet ever so slowly builds into the same stomp style, such that by the time the crescendo finally arrives many are pumped for it and appropriately go crazy.

Finally they break into the Stevie Ray Vaughan cover that I was anticipating, based on what I’ve heard so far. They choose Pride and Joy, and pull it off admirably – and I don’t “do” covers!

Polly & BD kyps 2Polly And The Billets Doux join us after the obligatory break, Ben on swing-rock drums, Dan on string bass, Steeny on bluesy guitar and Polly’s strong sweet voice. I would describe the music as a bit rockabilly, with rolling blues rock mixed in…

I thought the single guitar would be a drawback, but the lack of rhythm or lead isn’t really noticeable, just having it play the lead most of the time allows for a lot of space in the music, and allows the string bass to really shine through.

Halfway through the set Ben starts tribal drumming with a strong beat, then Steeny joins in picking up an anti-rhythm to the drums. Finally Polly layers her voice over the top, taking a cross cue again. It shouldn’t work, yet it delightfully does and makes for a lively summery vibe.

Polly & BD bass kypsTo cover an instrument change and tune up, Polly starts a shout of Pump Up The Jamm, just for a bit of fun she says; shows that she could do that soul diva thing if she wanted. Its also the first time I’ve seen a string bass held up on on a rack rather than laid on its side. Probably because of the band name painted on the front. What does a bass stand look like?, well think of a guitar rack and triple the dimensions!

Polly and Steeny take turns at leading on the vocals, and hence alternate harmony and melody as a result. On stomp favourite Who Do You Love Steeny leads, with the rest coming in on the refrain, meanwhile there’s a lot of jumping going on in the front of the crowd. There’s also space in the music for some screaming guitar solos, kicked in with an awesome kickbass beat that shakes the building through the subs.

They take an acoustic break after that amazing sound, Dan switches from bass to acoustic guitar and serenades us with a soulful number, showing off a surprising voice after the previous guttural affair. Then switches to a tenor harmony to Polly’s accompaniment as she comes in for the chorus.

They all switch instruments for Back To Earth, Polly on the string bass and Dan back to the acoustic. They then kick off into a sound that would be very familiar to those who are Absolute Darlings fans, starting without the drums as per the GloGlobes style.

Polly & BD duet guitar kypsFor their last number they turn House Of The Rising Sun into an irristible foot tapping riff, which is instantly familiar, mainly focussed on Ben on the drums again, yet giving Steeny room to shine on rhythm. Then Polly wanders over and takes over the rhythm guitar while Steeny switches back to blues harp. Not seen or heard that one before.

By the end its clear the crowd were for the earlier acts, there’s only a few dozen left from what seemed like over 100…even so the applause is massive from those fans that have stayed the course.

Another unusual take, for the encore the band depart, and Polly a capella solos a gospel number, slow and strong, and receives big applause as a result. Awesome stuff, and worth catching these guys again.

HopeFM – Coke Can Jack

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Coke Can Jack HopeFM showTonight I have Coke Can Jack on the show – as can be seen from the other posts featuring them I’ve been hit and miss in seeing them perform since first seeing them in October last year.

They are lively while talking, they are also playing live acoustically, and have plugged the session to their fanbase – there are many emails coming in to the studio computer as the show progresses, many of which we are able to use during the broadcast.

During their live sessions, they are clearly enjoying each others company and participation – I tried to capture the grins they were passing to each other, yet had mislaid my phone.  Hence the posed shot at the end of the interview before they head off to the Bournemouth Unplugged heats results party.  Really god bunch of lads, great to talk to, and I reallyhope things progress for them.

Open Mic Tues

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Rincewind O'NeillsJust a short report about tonight, I was flitting about running errands and dropped into O’Neill’s for the Revolving Door open mic night, to find Rincewind doing passable Hawkwind covers; a 5 piece band fronted by Sarge, with Nacho Jase on sound and Si Genaro on some sort of sound generating ring modulator/ pitch shifter adding the necessary Hawkwind doodad effects.

Coke Can Jack Pink MoonAfter just the one act I head off home via the Cellar Bar where Coke Can Jack are putting on a great finishing touch to what by all accounts has been a good night – it helps that the place has filled up for the last of their set after the Levellers gig at the O2 Academy.

O’Neills (Bmth Unplugged Heat 1) & Show

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Comedians Radio Boscombe on the show tonight, which always makes for an interesting time. Radio Boscombe always bring lots of material, and we work to a script, however that often means doing lots of changes as the show progresses, making us all think on our feet.

Anthony Fairweather was also in, performing some live material; he’d brought some pre-recorded tracks which were planned to go out at certain points – these worked after a fashion. For example:

Mischa

Regular “guest” Tory Marginal stormed off, unplugging a few things as he went, leading us nicely into the continuity announcement Anthony had prepared, leading into ads, news then some spoof ads of Anthony’s.
I was surprised we pulled it off, lots of button presses needed to link everything together – I think it worked (will find out when I listen back).

Mikey Ball

A cheated early finish to reach O’Neills in time to participate in judging Bournemouth Unplugged. I won’t say much about any of the acts, I’ll probably just mention certain features that grab me. Harry from Chaplins and bhone‘s Tone also in attendance to find the great and the good of the local acoustic scene.

Mischa is up first, still in full band form as first seen at the DMA heats, and goes down well with the crowd.

Jake Bourke

Mikey Ball second act of the evening. I feel for him following Mischa, yet he’s not fazed, quick intro and on into his set, mildly philosophical.

Third up is Jake Bourke, providing interest on a ukelele instead of a guitar. When

it detunes he calls the song in, which is a shame as I was enjoying it 🙂

Coke Can Jack

Coke Can Jack close the night. The bands can just offer so much more variety if they want to, compared with the singer songwriter guitarists; these guys do just that…

Pink Moon Troupers, Short Revolving Door

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Coke Can Jack‘s last, brief number No-one Loves Me Like You Do woke up what had seemed a sleepy cellar Bar, bringing some inspiration with a spirited performance. Of that one song.

They’d been doing covers from when I walked in – unfortunate given what I’d previously heard from them – uninspired and mainly unwanted, it’s unusual for me to pan a band’s performance in these pages, however there was little original interpretation in what they performed – Driftaway and before that something else that just washed over me. However, they are getting up and doing it, rather than me stood there being the critic!.

Talking around and to them, their opening had almost been as good as normally expected, just not the bit I caught. Turns out they were a key man down – their percussionist who gives them all a lift, so they’d carried on like troupers rather than cancel the gig. So all credit to them for not wanting to let the night down, they are the main troupers of this blog post.

Willowen sound promising. Backed by cajon they play some decent rhythms and different chord sequences that normal for acoustic guitar, definitely part of the Bournemouth Surf Sea sound – upbeat, punchy and positive, evocative of long Summers and so on.

Second song The Story instantly brings a smile to my face, simply because of the chord progressions, and the soulful chorus. Here’s a trio that are a man down (just Jonny & George); this doesn’t really come across in the performance…

Even the ubiquitous singer / songwriter / guitarist ballad stays on the Surf/Sea-style topic, no sign of mournful, maudlin dirge here – “Don’t worry / everything’s going to be alright/you’ll see /just do what naturally what comes to you /
Don’t worry / everything’s going to be alright/you’ll see /just try talking to me”

They play Champions on December 30th, well worth trying to get to see these guys.

Pink Moon over, a brief jaunt over to O’Neill’s for a very short foray into the Revolving Door world, where Tony 2 Dogs is playing his last song – this again is yet more upbeat acoustic stuff (am I still at the Willowen gig?)

Followed by Susanah fresh from gigging in Nashville (not many can say that here in Bournemouth). Nice enough tunes, slip easily into singer songwriter box – lonesome heart tunes from the soul – my mate Paul West would call this New Country no doubt!

I leave before Graham Jones and Patrick get on – been a busy night with a small party before getting out onto the scene…and I want an early finish for a change.

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