Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Quarter Final 4

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Hessian join me in the studio tonight – or rather, four of the five of them.  Tilly (bass) can’t make it to town, yet phones to join into the interview conversation from wherever she is (London, I think).  The band have played other gigs in addition to the times I’ve seen them during the Dorset Music Awards, so there’s ripe material for discussion there. 

They’ve also been spending time recording some tracks – Sam is putting the finishing touches to their latest recording while we’re in the studio together, mixing the vocal takes. As we play it out towards the end of the show, they listen relatively intensely over the studio foldback, understandable since they’ve not heard it before!

We all make a sharpish exit from the studio, as I head off to O’Neills again to some shock news – Boyd and Wain have cancelled their appearance tonight in the Quarter Finals, effectively putting themselves out off the competition. I’m in two minds about this news – one half says that they are such brilliant musos they would provide a lively and enjoyable set. Many I speak to are also of the same mind.

My other voice is asking what is an act playing gigs in the States and who could easily book themselves a set of London sessions doing in a competition like this anyway.

Moot point really, they’ve pulled out, and Joel Gregory has slipped under the wire as act 16 (Saturday Sun also don’t get put forward for missing their Quarter Final)

Again I’m writing my comments on the fly as I hear the acts, in preparation to make statements to the audience here.

Tim Somerfield

Tim Somerfield Bmth UnpluggedQuiet intro – says “start where left off last time then on into different material” – don’t need to tell me that as I probably wouldn’t remember anyway.
2nd song clever chord work putting on syncopation with left hand. Also in 3rd song, and others – waiting for another style.
Obviously has his crowd here, yet not making the most use of them to my mind. Even at the end when I comment on this in my judges verbal response, there’s no reaction. Leads me to think of that line from John Cleese in the parrot sketch – Voomph? That wouldn’t Voomph if it had 2000 volts through it.
OK chat to cover tuning, fast de tune.
Confident patter for stage presence, yet not much else.
Strong clear voice.
Liked chord work on last one, shows a different style from what’s gone before.

Andy Stock Band

Andy Stock BandBefore start – Cast of thousands or so it seems compared to Tim’s solo slot.
Solo start then band come on one by one helps with working out the levels originally.
Like the reworking of a cover – making it yours – sounds like it was rewritten specifically for tonight?
2nd song a bit too long of similar repetition, still I like the personalisation. Sounds a bit muddy on the PA. Awkward when there’s 2 good PA guys in the band. Tight on the musical breaks.
Set seemed too short, turns out they have space for another song (which Andy solos) There’s a lot of talent there, could do with more polish.

Si Crockett

Si Crockett Bmth UnpluggedSi Genaro has lost his harmonicas this very night, so makes a little notice at the start thanking those who’ve rallied round and helped him out – first time I’ve seen him serious for a long time…
Laid back start, turning Ain’t No Sunshine into his own style. 3rd shows off Si Crockett’s voice with some high pitched crooning.
Big Face Reggae starts waking things up a bit, still laid back yet bigger audience reaction
Si C voice and Si G beat boxing save the day for Sunshine, was becoming a bit samey to my ears. MSSB (full title not repeatable here – Radio Rules) wakes up the stage a bit, a bit of action at the last.
A few ‘in’ gags regarding Small Face Reggae and Big Face Reggae (his non-unplugged band)

Joel Gregory

Joel Gregory Bmth UnpluggedBit of a surprise to hear him back.
He’s not doing that much of particular interest on the guitar. His voice is good though – clear lyrics
One very vocal crowd member
Turns out he’s a wildcard re-entry who responded when Boyd & Wain pulled out. This is a little unfair both on him and on others, however competition runners reserve the right etc. etc.

The winners who go through to the semi finals are announced as The Andy Stock Band and Si Crockett, this doesn’t go down too well with those who felt Tim Somerfield played the better set of at least one of those. Where some weeks have had very close results this time there is only a close-ish gap of 3% between each of the acts; I end up taking some time listening to Tim’s right to reply (as does Fiona, the sponsor of the overall competition) anyway.

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5

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EDNSITP HopeFMI’ve had a brilliant night in the studio with all 3 members of Radio Boscombe, swelled by their special guests tonight Elvis Did Not Star In This Production (EDNSITP). Phone interviews with Trevor Hill about the Dorset Music Awards, and a number of female fans of the band, one of which unfortunately thought she was talking to boy band Take That for some reason – nothing at all to do with the way they were introduced by compere for the show Gary, I’m sure 😉  The boys have a wide range of items on youtube, some of which were performed live on air. Another sketch they did is on the forthcoming Comic Relief CD of Monty Python Covers, And Now For Something Completely Similar arranged by Radio Boscombe, all proceeds from sales of which will go to Comic Relief 2011.

Dan Rumsey Bmth UnpluggedI quickly head up to my currently regular Wednesday Haunt – O’Neill’s – for Bournemouth Unplugged Heat 5.  Dan Rumsey is first on stage. He starts with what I think is going to be a run of the mill acoustic strummed song, when he bursts into a really high chorus on Beautiful Animal. His songs feature a range of vocal dynamics, almost matched by the guitar work with builds and fades accordingly. He chooses an unusual cover, Hushabye Mountain, which shows a different style to those songs that have gone before. He has only vague variety in his choice of styles, though I am enjoying the quality of his song writing.

Logan Carter Bmth UnpluggedLogan Carter is next, and demonstrates the gentler finger picking art of guitar playing while still able to keep a rhythm going, which impresses me. When he strums it is laid back and open, the sustain under strict control. As for Dan Rumsey, Logan demonstrates he also has a high upper point to his voice. Logan shows a knack of utilising contrasts in his performance by alternating strummed and picked, low and high songs.
His cover Billy Jean is interesting, able to play the bass line with thumb and melody with fingers – hard to do, and even harder to pull off as near perfectly as Logan does.

Boyd & Wain Bmth UnpluggedBoyd & Wain burst on with a bit of a flourish, a good story then straight into a country number I couldn’t repeat here using Radio Rules. I’ve recently written about the last time I saw these guys at Solid Air, they are still good with stories & anecdotes about life as well as the songs, yet not going on enough to turn this into ….an audience with…. Having a fiddler as accomplished as Benny really aids Katie as she plays on a very bright sounding guitar. The final bluegrass take on Chuck Berry’s Maybellene goes down well with the crowd, the stomp box almost being irresistible for the majority of people around me…

Joel Gregory gets to close what has become an early finish. Joel has probably been the most recognisibly visible act promoting his presence in the competitoon on facebook. Rightly so, since 45% of the results are by public vote on the night. The first couple of songs contain clever lyrics which are a little mashed by the overblown chords. This is retarded slightly in the third song which is a quieter number overall. As ever once I write the words I need to eat them – Joel’s built to a crescendo. Wonderwall is his cover, loved by the blokes in the audience, although much cliche’d on the circuit.

As ever there are many notable musos in the audience, e.g. this time The Luminaires are here supporting bandmate Joel, while Jinder is supporting bandmate Logan.

At the end I brave a very cold evening on the bike to get home, with a stopoff at the Chaplins Open Mic.  Alan the Shaolin Punk is on stage for half a number as I walk in, that was it – not really enough time to build an opinion, sorry. However, I’m told he’s worth looking out for again.