Oxjam Takeover 2012

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oxjam bournemouth 2012 posterThere’s been much anticipation and build up yet again for the takeover this year, and the start is slightly delayed in the Pier Theatre due to VT difficulties creating more suspense…

Martin interviewAnd we’re off – Powdered Cows start with Lobster, Martin fresh from being interviewed by Beth Graham who’s producing an Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover Rockumentary. Powdered Cows @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s been promise of a spectacle from Martin, he starts solo with his electronics for a couple of songs, before a lion and a crocodile join him for Lion Lion, with invite for the audience to take some percussion and create the song together

Catch up with Livvy in relaxed mode @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s delays in 60 Million Postcards too, so I catch up with one of the Oxjam queens, Livvy, who’s taking a moment outside.

Boolays @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012

I head back to the Pier where the Boolays are hitting their last two songs, both of them debuts for the band. Soprano sax, twin dueling acoustic guitars and twin female vocals with male accompaniment means I’m in a brief delight.

Jack Grace @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Jack Grace is solo acoustic today, and sounds absolutely crystal clear on the vocals, while the guitar gently plays along to itself for much of the material thanks to his loop pedal. The fantastic ambience of the awesome pier theatre really works well for Jack’s voice.

Jack Vallier @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012I reach 60 Million Postcards in time to hear Chris Woodford have a large shout up by compere Si Genaro. As ever, Chris plays a blinder. Jack Vallier is next up, and chooses to do a set of acoustic covers, starting with Wonderwall, which doesn’t go down as well as Krista’s version did last night. One bit of really good news – Tony Warren is back on the local music scene having had three years away in London; we have a bit of a natter and a catch up.

Citizen Perez @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Citizen Perez (Steve Perry) is up next in 60 Million Postcards, and everyone that’s told me about Citizen Perez has been right – what Steve does here is totally different to the other material he’s produced in the other acts he’s in. He’s doing new material (some involving kazoo) as well as acoustic versions of songs from other acts (like Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) ). Something that works well for him is the novelty kazoo taped to the microphone, such that he can still play guitar whilst using the kazoo. Makes for an interesting combination.

Not Made In China @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Back to The Pier, and one of my favourites, the happiest band in Bournemouth, Not Made In China are on stage. Their music is in major keys, with some great contrary bass work, big positive rhythms, and the killer vocals which somewhat tell of life in these times. People are clapping along, the only thing missing for me are the dancing idiots like me, but then this is a seated venue after all… Lee (Escape From 98) is with me, between us we cook up a new genre, African Indie, to place Not Made In China.

Annie Winter @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Annie Winter is doing her set at 60 Million Postcards; she’s recruited a full band behind her, Tim on string bass, Ben on cajon and Joe (Potter) on guitar and vocal. She’s singing winsome songs with a laid back feeling, perfect for a dreamy afternoon; with my rushing back and forth I’m feeling I’m not partaking in that vibe. My loss, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other at this moment in time 🙂

Compere Si Genaro introduces Tim Somerfield @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Tim Somerfield is given another of the Si Genaro treatments, and kicks off with last years Oxjam CD contribution There There. Tim’s voice soars over the guitar chord work, as if a bird released to float around the venue, major chords giving a positive lift to the songs. As I leave to reach the pier Tim starts Supervillain Alter Ego, which is on this years Oxjam album.

I’ve missed Our comperes Martin Roberts & Timo Peach @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mischa and catch Martin & Timo filling the gap so the Chicken Soup Choir can set up. They interview conductor Julie, who together with pianist Esther inherited a choir and set up Chicken Soup, because its good for the soul as she puts it. The Chicken Soup Choir @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012When the choir are revealed as the curtain lifts, I’m amazed at the size of it. They’re singing various pop rock songs, starting with what I think is Elbow, then Ash and Radiohead (I really don’t know my modern non-local music anymore). All the various instrumental components are sung, with oohs and ahhs and the like to make up the accompaniments.

Southern Ukulele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Susbus (Southern Ukelele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social) fill the stage as did the choir. Lisa McQuillan and Jonty Johnson share most of the singing honours, though many others are pulled out of the esemble to solo and sing. I must admit much of my attention is on Nacho Jase, who’s playing bass ukelele and hiding at the back, yet seems to be filling the stage with his presence. Paul Tucker is our narrator, and there’s a spare appearance by Martin Roberts on kazoo.

Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mutant Vinyl have something special prepared for us tonight – I was with them last night as they were preparing the act for tonight. Ed starts trying to get his sax and vocals working to his satisfaction with the sound guys and the effects processing. Its not working for him so he invites his friend, birthday boy Tim Smart to join the stage. Luke also steps in, as Ed moves to the drums and Tim announces …. County Hospital…. County Hospital takeover the takeover with Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012This means that the charismatic Ed switches to the enigmatic Ed and starts playing the tricked out beats he’s so good at, while Tim, Marc and Luke rock out some wonderful experimental stuff – then promptly leave the stage after the one song. Artistic Impression or what?  [It later transpires that this early exit wasn’t in the plan, its just that Ed couldn’t get the over-FX sound he wanted, so rather than give a bad show in his eyes, took the brave decision to chop his act, even though this causes angst and consternation for some – particularly the poor organisers of the venue].

head of a cuban trojan @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Head Of A Cuban Trojan (HOACT) have nearly played their awesome set out as I walk in, there are just three songs left, and they are amazing. Heavy bass, over egged guitar, a bit of a grunge thing going on. Then they start megaphoning the lyrics just to add to the musical contusion. Love it

El BosCo @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012El Bosco are a subset of Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) in appearance, totally different sound. Great melodies on Steve’s guitar, Ttubbs has some great beats going on, and Ed is pumping out the bass like a live one. Proper pop rock stuff, and everything starting to be turned up to the max on the PA. Its a little bit grungy like HOACT, yet not similar as there’s different things going on in the music and the vocals. Again I’m liking it, and am a bit torn to move to another venue.

Get The Tape @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012On The Rocks next (as I turn up at The Pier for Momo:Tempo to hear Tim say he’s finished), where Get The Tape have just started. Big screamo shouty rock, upon which regular readers will know my views. Even so, Get The Tape are different from the rest, their drummer is able to play some really fast timely stuff, while the lead guitar is producing great tunage, rather than the mushy chords I normally associate with the style. Another band I want to hear more from in the future, despite my general reservations on the genre.

Know One @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Know One are playing what’s been dubbed as their last ever set on the Pier Theatre stage. Starting with some long-lost Two Tone material as an intro and sort of soundcheck, they soon move into the moshing stuff they’re known and loved for. Massive bass work, big horns (Callum still running around with that sax) and the others making good with the drums and the chord work. They are really on fire, and they even play their request song that they never normally play, Invisible Reality. I leave before the end, though, for…

Yellowgroove @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards again, this time for Yellowgroove who are in the middle of their 5 hour remix of Spread Your Love (Like A Fever), by all accounts they’ve done everything needed to satiate this noisy and active crowd. They get such a great groove on as they start Manimal, while still managing to take the rip out of their mate Nick. A brief crowd incursion causes a bit of havoc with Simon’s electrics, before they go into their next single Fading Out (available on the Oxjam CD), which is where I move out to On The Rocks.

Escapefrom'98 @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Escape From 98 have just started, and immediately start the heckling going. I have no paper to throw at them in return (their gig the night before in Salisbury culminated in a paper ball fight), so just bellow instead. We need to start a thing going – they have a new song Chorus where they encourage the crowd to shout the title – just shout “NO!”, kids. And they’ll love you forever and stuff :). A great set and a good end to this venue.

Mother Ukers @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards now have the Mother Ukers down, we’re still rammed in here as they play Love Cats then Cars before murdering Bowie (in a nice way), by turning Space Oddity into a chirpy number, while still retaining the modal nature of the song.

The evening ends in fine form with a little auction trying to sell off some particular one-design T-shirts, all to raise more funds for this worthy cause, before we continue partying the night away. I give up the party and take the option to leave for home, since I have diving in the morning.  A great, if wearing, day, thanks to the full on efforts of the team, Katy, Liz, Lauren, Livvy, Jo, Geoff and Andy, and all the others that I’m not aware of.  Please can we do it again, next year?!?

Thu 11 Rubber Soul returns

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Gruppe! @ Rubber Soul Launch (Cellar Bar)Being a bit of a late comer to the vast majority of this music scene, I missed Solid Air’s 300 Rubber Soul gigs when they were running, before stopping five years ago. Now Thursday night has its quirky band showcase back, kicking off with Gruppe!

These three chaps are vets of the pub band scene with all their various projects over the years, including the collective of artists that floated around between about 5-15 bands at one time. With Gruppe! they’re finding an outlet that is purely fun and creative. King Razor (bass) was Solid Air Connie’s guest with me on LiveWire Live last night, and there’s little he hasn’t done within music.

What they do now is definitely quirky, chanted repetitive lyrics, heavily processed live bass effects, each song short and snappy, sharp drums to every one, and using old school cassettes to provide loops and intros to some.

Head Of A Cuban Trojan @ Rubber Soul Relaunch (Cellar Bar)Closing off tonight are Head Of A Cuban Trojan, another 3 piece this time slightly more tripped out yet still energetic. Loads of grooves and movements, more heavy processing, lot of looping from Imogen of bass and brass, while Lee throws in sweet effects on the guitar.

There are some tricked out rhythms here too. One in particular has incredibly complex timing, with all three performers doing something different. What a shame that as they reach a vocal element of this so far heavily instrumental song, the desk gives up the ghost and keels over. A quick power restart and we’re back; they have to repeat the whole instrumentally rhythmic magic again, what a shame 😉

An enjoyable evening of the more grungy end of the spectrum.

Bhone Fundraiser – 2nd gig

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Champions is hosting 5 nights of fundraising gigs for a celebration of Bhone‘s fifth birthday. Beneficiaries are Julia’s House and Poole Hospital Charity. Tonight features a Betika reunion gig as a special headline, and Mrs H (Ness) has joined me as a result. I’ll be including her thoughts as one liner entries as we go through.

Head Of A Cuban Trojan are just setting up when I arrive – I’ve missed Grott Party, who have done a set more aimed at fun and amusement as judged by some who saw them – titles like Fat Girl and Gadaffi (changed from Mugabe to remain topical).

There’s a good buzz about, many clearly here for the headline act’s first and last gig f’or a while (vocalist and flautist etc Carolyn has a job in Thailand, and husband Will (bass, backing singer) is going with her).

Head Of A Cuban Trojan

Head Of A Cuban Trojan bhoneNot heard these guys before, though have heard about them; formed from remnants of Dutch Husband some time ago. Playfully artistic rock, they have some massive chording intro thing going on with the music; they are wearing Royalty masks in honour of today’s Royal wedding.

Loads of effects make up a sad rock style to their opener, which leads into a softer ballad start as lead singer and guitarist Lee switches to a stand-mounted megaphone before the mic to distort his sound – I like the mounting to a stand feature – means he can still play guitar while using the megaphone, something others could perhaps learn from.

Obviously this limits the movement, which had been lively, Imogen meanwhile has switched from bass to what I think is a cornet requiring her to also remain static in front of a mic stand for this number.

This latter playing she achieves while left handed tapping her bass through a fuzz box – interesting multi-use I’ve not heard before. Third track is more of a heavy thumper, still with clear lyrics over suitable distortion

They move into an incredibly melodic set of music, frivolous sounding yet with solid vocals over it all

The only song title I catch is Streets Of London, their closing number, this features the brass again, this time loop double recorded and over dubbed live mixed with the guitar bass drums and dual vocals. Would quite like to hear these guys again.

The one line low down from Ness: I didn’t like them, but thought they were good at what they did.

Animal Talent Show

Animal Talent Show are our third act tonight, guitar led with synths featuring heavily courtesy of Henrie (back in town for a few days)

Animal Talent Show bhoneThey have some active fans with them – at one point a gently thrown shoe lands on stage (in lead Nick’s face) – he takes this in his stride and seems to not miss a beat.

In the main the twin guitars of Nick and Alfie stick to chord work and simple melodies, leaving a lot of room available for those aforementioned synths to feature.

This reduction of screaming guitars give the music some big appeal, light major chords making a very positive sound, even as drums and bass laydown a heavier foundation. There’s also visual interest – lots of interaction and enthusiastic movement from stage, encouraging the audience to jig around accordingly.

It helps that things are just so musical and with strong beats and rhythms. Discos, and Disguises before that are particularly notable, I recognise them particularly from the last time I saw Animal Talent Show, possibly over a year ago.

That’s one drawback, Nick is engaging with us a lot yet he’s not passing on the song titles – he seems to be spending a lot of time needing to retune (presumably as the guitar hasn’t acclimatised to the heat in here)  – I’ve caught up on the titles afterwards for the post – having said all that, they don’t make a point of titles.

For example, the first song they ever did is a great example of their sound, musical, rhythms and melodies from the guitars and bass, with pretty keyboard pipe-organ sounds over the top, with engaging lyrics added in. What do they call it bu First Song!

Shame they can’t gig in the area that often, they do a great set and put on a good show.

They finish with New One, appropriately enough a new song, this contains some complex and interesting syncopation, while still being as melodic as those that have gone before. This time there is some dischordant work in the chorus, lyrical melody clashing in a pleasant way with Alfie and Henrie’s lead melodies.

One line low down from Ness: I like them, kinda.

Betika

I have a confession to make here – I was relatively late into Betika on the local scene – they were the first ever guests on the LiveWire Live show when HopeFM first started its 24/7 broadcast, back in 2006. While I’d seen them live quite a few times since, I’m still not totally familiar with their non-recorded back catalogue material.

Betika bhoneIts been quite amusing reading the facebook comments in the lead up to this gig as varous members have been relearning the material. The rehearsing has payed off, this is fast and furious, the guys are kicking up a storm from the off; Bob Hope has such energy, its as if their nearly 2 year gap has been spent waiting for this moment. Hatred is also picked up two levels above the album energy.

There is not one single person being static on stage – all are dancing around, or jigging on the spot when tied to a mic singing or whatever – Rich (drums) is obviously the exception being sat down, even so he’s animated behind the kit. When not playing music, the line made up by Kerrie, Carolyn, Martin and Imogen are utilising all sorts of unusually shaped shakers (lettuce or banana anyone?)

All of this just makes me wonder how we’ve managed on the local scene without these guys providing an example of something to aspire to both in musical ability and stage performance, coupled as Betika songs are with Dave’s witty, insightful and incisive lyrics and Carolyn’s harmonies to them.

Another thing I’m enjoying is that they’re not sticking just the recorded material, for example The Candidate and Peter Marfan feature alongside Dormitor and Twenty Five, all pumped up to 11 and beyond on tempo and vehemence.

Something unexpected for an encore – Happy Monday’s Step On. Imogen is now on bass rather than Will, Mark swaps his guitar for a labcoat and Betika‘s original guitarist Chris (Little Boat) steps up. For their second encore Volkspiotr is chosen, really allows Hubcap & Kerrie to shine on their synths. This clearly isn’t enough for this appreciative audience, so a third and fourth encore are called for. Their third encore song is unknown to me yet it turns out it was a cover of Hands originally by True Swamp Neglect, the fourth encore gives us a final ending of all with By Default, so many of us know it, its great to hear everyone singing and acting along.

An awesome gig, Ness’ one line low down: Yep, really good (she gives a thumbs up, despite the late hour).

Thanks to Tone and the rest of the bhone team for a great effort in providing these 5 great gigs in 5 days