Radio Boscombe Show & O Neills

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Radio Boscombe join us tonight, with Barry The Hedgehog, who has brought Betty The Hedgehog along with him. We’re still not sure if that’s for moral support or a secure escort as Barry has been expelled from rehab again. Any way, much merriment ensues with topics ranging from Oxjam to Cornish steam engine history, almost running Murray Walker over and emigrating to Spain.

Connor Heather @ O'Neills 7 NovemberO’Neills next, Connor Heather is giving us some tunage, Wonderwall and Space Oddity, with a couple of his own songs in there. Connor is available for weddings and parties, and he’s come on a long way since I first saw him, providing a gig experience at the 2011 Dorset Music Awards.

Sofi Reed @ O'Neills 7 NovemberOur next act, Sofi Reed, has gone viral on youtube with the song Pattern she includes second in her set. She shows off her fabulous voice while playing tricksy chords, and covers Michael Jackson while injecting her own style into The Way You Make Me Feel. Really enjoyable.

Kimari Raven @ O'Neills 7 NovemberNext we have Kimari Raven, with her own brand of quirky chords providing foot tapping songs. A stylistic trick she uses is to change modes during a song, making it sound like a key change, while letting her vocal rise over the top. Again, good music heard well.

Sonic Pete (Pete Clark) @ O'Neills 7 NovemberOur last act tonight is Sonic Pete, immediately he makes an impression with the clear picking on the chords, a rich, resonant strong in the middle, which almost gets lost in mush when he breaks into full strums, but only almost. Vocals are good, not overpowering while strong enough to match the chordwork. Worth catching again, though Pete seems to play a lot of open mics rather than regularly advertised gigs.

Great Music, Messy Night

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Admiral Shiny Sides @ Inferno, 28 AprilProceedings start tonight from Alex and Elliot aka Admiral Shineysides; Elliot’s home made stick bass eliciting comment and questions from spectators. Series of their usual country and soft rock covers, with Johnny Cash taking dominance, and the occasional same-veined original slipped in. Another tough gig at the Inferno, with very few of the many punters paying attention to what’s going on, instead accepting it as background.

Kimari Raven @ Inferno, 28 AprilRock Regeneration’s Chinners walks in just at the end of their set, and Kimari Raven takes the stage after what seems an inordinately long wait. Starting solo with a two week old number with a rather long title she whizzes through some of her staples. She’s admitted to nerves, and being wired on cola, yet looks totally relaxed, sitting cross legged on the stool. Shame the lack of Inferno lighting with the crapberry really can’t do justice to her cheeky grin, and the energy she’s putting in to her show. Kat joins her for Monster and stays for the remainder of the set.

Pachango @ Cellar Bar, 28 AprilSo on to the Cellar Bar, where Pachango are playing an absolutely rammed venue, upstairs on the front landing, on the stairs and down. The music is raucous, Selby’s chants and poetry in-yer-face, and the party totally ripping as a consequence. What a good laugh. Shame I decide to leave to catch the end of the Inferno, especially as I’m rear-ended on a roundabout on the way over, thanks to the incredibly messy wild wet weather and slippery roads :(.

Gaz Brookfield @ Inferno, 28 AprilAt Inferno Bristol based Gaz Brookfield has been given special billing during the week. Now, despite the small active listening audience, those here are on their feet and shouting along to the choruses he’s introduced. One man and a guitar can definitely rock a joint. Photo courtesy of Jay, a nicely merry punter on an different smartphone. Gaz sings a bit of blues, slightly country, and pop/rock. As well as singing, he’s also capable of the rap/chant lyrics style that is so in vogue at present.

Show & Acoustic Nights

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Surfin’ Dave (without the Absent Legends, and without photo, too) is Conrad’s guest for the radio show tonight. Dave has many many stories, and can name drop with the best of them, thanks to an early relationship with Andy Kershaw when the latter was entertainments manager for Leeds University. The Clash and Billy Bragg are the most memorable now, alongside vast numbers of local artists thanks to the vibrant scene back in the day. Dave’s had a long live career yet with few recordings to show, though there’s music enough to pervade the two hours.

Kimari Raven, 11 April @ O'NeillsOn to the Anvil, which runs an open mic on a Wednesday. This is my first visit since it was the iBar, the lighting has improved and since its acoustic the sound is also good, albeit only the host Craig with two mates and two other gig-goers is present.

Riddl, 11 April, O'NeillsO’Neills run an acoustic show on a Wednesday, Kimari Raven plays her good sets of songs as I’m walking in and ordering, she’s enticed work colleague Riddl to get out and play, he does a good job of showing a few styles, mainly strummed chords with slight picking.

Folk Club – Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes

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Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes @ Folk Club 26 JanI’ve been invited to the Bournemouth Folk Club tonight by one of the promoters, Catherine Burke, as two people she recommended would be right up my street are playing, in Rex Preston & Miranda Sykes. They are an epitomal example of the amazing acts at the folk club – see the folk club website for their upcoming gigs. – Rex is a former local chap (so qualifies for the blog in his own right)

Rex sings harmonies and plays exquisite mandolin work, with very delicate finger picking; he also switches to a bouzouki for some songs. Miranda plays double bass, and has an amazing voice, clear and carrying; a guitar and ukelele are also available to her.

What is impressive about their performance is not only the good tunes, some of their own, plus songs of artists they’ve played with such as Imogen Heap, and other well known tunes (like I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free , otherwise known as the BBC Film 2012 theme). They also move about the stage – its quite engaging to see Miranda move away from the mic to join Rex for an instrumental, as this requires lugging the double bass around to do so.

Kimari Raven & Kat Hattersley @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Catherine Burke @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Tony Two Dogs @ Kimari Bday 26 Jan

Then on to O’Neills for a more usual night – it’s Kimari Raven‘s birthday and she’s playing as I arrive with Kat accompanying. Tony Two Dogs and Catherine Burke also play while I’m present, before I head home (dropping in on Veetacore in the Cellar Bar, who have stopped by the time I arrive) after another busy night of good music.

Solid Air Cramming & Jamming for Chinese New Year

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Kimari Raven @ Solid Air 23 JanKimari Raven is on stage playing Monster as I enter the cellar; she continues with some softer gentler songs. Some of these require her singing when she’s stopped the guitar and takes short a capella excursions, which shows she can do it and keep it in tune.

Chris Poole (Sola Infrared) @ Solid Air 23 JanChris Poole (from Sola Infrared) does a solo set on acoustic, no effects or anything, which shows the undercurrent of good music there is behind all the processing and synth work of the band. I love some of the chords and notes he’s putting together, one song when combined with added delay fx from Conrad works incredibly well and delivers goosebumps.

Kathryn Price @ Solid Air 23 JanKathryn Price is next up, she’s introduced as the authentic act for tonight’s year of the Dragon Chinese New year – even though she’s from Hong Kong. She plays strummed chords and has a good clear voice, with moderate range; she likes going towards the top end of this. She’s also suffered some tech hassles such that she’s not using her own guitar, for want of a battery for the active pickup.

Aaron Gregory @ Solid Air 23 JanAaron Gregory is fourth on, starting with Bethnal Green, a song that has grown on me since he slipped me an EP for the radio show a few weeks back. While the production quality on the EP is OK, it doesn’t capture the essence of Live. Its a sad song, mournful, yet it is beautiful rather than dirgy. An added phaser effect just towards the end from Conrad is a nice touch as Aaron comments. Social commentary on a seedier side of the town features in Derby Road. He strums a varying amount of chords, ranging up and down the fretboard.

Milk Machine @ Solid Air 23 JanMilk Machine finally reach the stage, starting with an instrumental, Oozlin Daddy Blues, they move into People Are Strange, starting slow then moving into a fast pace for the chorus and remainder. After The Model we have Enola Gay, with kazoo solo – first outing for this song. The synth riff from the original has been ported to the mando, giving Andy “the tricky bit” as they say. After Anarchy In The UK (where they all sing in unison and harmony) into Losing My Religion; this “has to be done as its The Law”, if you have a mandolin in the band 🙂

Daddy Cool follows Take It Easy, then Brick In The Wall, before Blue Monday makes an appearance, first time I’ve heard their version of it – Taff has a strident rich voice and the dub beats from the original are originally replicated on Crowman’s cowbell and cymbal, the twiddly bits covered by kazoo. Sit Down follows Kiss – its a shame that a party I was at once stuck the 12″ special remix of this on, it was parodied then by a chap as “boring song, a boring boring song, a-” and this image stays with me for this song, especially as its a pretty straight cover! They finish with Ain’t Gonna Rain No More and would have used their Dorset love song I Adder as an encore, instead are pressed for more fast ones so pull out Fishermans Blues and a very weird version of Run To The Hills.

Day & Night

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A Cushion for the legendary Pete Christie and his magic fingers, as made by NessBeen a busy bee today, cycled to Swanage for a railway thing, and took the opportunity to drop in on Pete Christie, Ness had made a cushion for his gigging stool which needed delivery. On return from there after a full day Ness and I go straight out to Soho in Christchurch with some of Ness’ friends (£2 for a squash – racketeering is alive and well in some areas!). On the way to the car we drop into the Thomas Tripp as Jon Cotton is there doing a rare pub gig, however by this time Mrs H really wants to go home, so we leave and I head to Inferno.

Kimari Raven & Kat Hattersley @ Inferno 14 JanKimari Raven is doing an entertaining set, she has Kat Hattersley with her on cello providing some variety. She starts an audience requested song, however it requires a capo she hasn’t got, so the key falls apart and she collapses in a heap of laughs and says some naughty things! Directly into her take of Nights In White Satin for a good recovery then into some more of her original material, including oldie I Need You. I’ve commented before on her playing confidence, this confidence has now matured into full on audience interaction, including dealing with hassle caused by the usual rowdy non-interested-musically crowd found here.

Escape From 98 @ Inferno 14 JanI’ve managed to somehow miss Escape From 98 at the other gigs they’ve played, so its feeling a little bit like cheating, seeing them perform a full set the week before I’ll be including them in the judging at Dorset Music Awards. They do fun punk rock, helpful as they have one of the loudest drummers in town in Mandy. They treat us to a brand new song, which is flaffed up a little bit, but its a lot of fun and they laugh it off recovering nicely.

EF98 muckabout after the messed gig :)To be honest its good they’ve got the humour, as over the slightly shot PA they would otherwise come across as yet another too loud band; their nicely harmonised lyrics are being lost within the energetic and wild music. This is sorted for a ska number, the title of which I can’t publish here (Radio Rules). There are other things not going all their way – Lennon’s guitar amp intermittently seems to give up the ghost, and Lee is struggling with memory issues – he seems to have forgotten a number of the lyrics, which he just has to laugh off – it’s good to see them not getting up tight and wound up by this – as demonstrated by their off stage antics…

Quinns Quinney @ Cellar Bar 14 JanOver to the Cellar Bar, where Quinns Quinney are taking a break (to retune their 12 string allegedly) before entering into costumed farmyard madness. I’ve not seen these guys play for a long time, a couple of years at least, and they’ve had a number of lineup (hence instrument) changes, and a lot more rehearsal time.

Quinns Quinney watering can trumpet! @ Cellar Bar 14 JanRather than making the play about being funnily shambolic, they are now a full on cowfolk outfit, though the exotic instruments are still a feature (suitcase drum, kazoos, watering can 😉 !) Also still present are the medleys – Eye Of The Badger ?! into Take Me Home to Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls. They try a new song, Charlie Brown, which works well. Mama Don’t Like… is still in the set, worked over and more presentable than before when I saw it, as are many of the other medley staples included tonight, meaning a good time is had by all in the packed bar.

Show & Open Mic

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Yellowgroove @ HopeFM 16 NovYellowgroove are on my bill tonight, Simon and Ben only show up, with core fan and videographer John in tow (Mark and new drummer Chris can’t make it). I’m always guilty of turning the music show into a talk show when friends like Simon and Ben join me – they always have interesting topics to talk about; I always seem to be able to divert the interview into digressions based on the lines they feed me.

Yellowgroove @ HopeFM 16 NovThe upshot is we only play a few songs over the whole two hours on air, 3 of theirs from CD/Soundcloud (San Francisco Bay, These Times, Son of a Working Man) , 2 live (Lovin’ Man , Wheels of Fire (which Mark later comments (he’s listening) is a cool new version)) and 3 other artists – Fawnamarine, The Frequency and Veetacore. I really enjoy the show, despite my lack of music.

After last weeks excellent Wednesday night session, another one is in store tonight. Joe Potter, Louis Pavlo and Annie Winter have formed a trio and are rumoured to be playing tonight. Before then, we have Kimari Raven, a new dude called Joe playing the likes of Savage Garden covers, the Admiral Shiny Sides (yeh, you try pronouncing that) doing mainly Johnny Cash Covers; Andy finishes the night after the rumour-proving-true main attraction for many here of Joe, Louis and Annie.

Joe Potter, Louis Pavlo and Annie Winter @ Chaplins Open Mic 16 NovLouis’ Nord keyboard creates a great 70’s Rhodes vibe sound, backed by Joe’s acoustic guitar with Annie taking a vocal lead. Joe and Louie switch guitar and keys occasionally, Annie sometimes just sings, other times includes her acoustic guitar in the ensemble.

They cover a couple of Beatles numbers before breaking into some of their original songs, continuing to intersperse covers and originals, much to the appreciative audience’s delight. Definitely worth waiting for, expect to see them booked at a venue near you real soon.

Oxjam Takeover 2011 Saturday 22 October

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Oxjam 2011 logoIt was at Oxjam last year that the idea was first asked of me (by the lads from much missed Bel Casino) to write up the gigs I go to, to help promote the bands I see and big up this amazing music scene.

Now one year on, this blog has grown its own shape, and the Oxjam takeover is bigger and better than ever. Its all started for 2011 at On The Rocks, where the Grubnium DJs are starting things off, and 60 Million Postcards, where I’ve come down for an acoustic afternoon with Ness.

Si Genaro @ Oxjam - 60 million postcardsJohn Llewellyn is just finishing, Sofi Reed is just heading out having started things off, and Si Genaro takes to the stage. He’s playing some more laid back and contemplative numbers, perhaps as its an afternoon chill; Ness likes that he has a different style to many other artists. Si Genaro with Kimari Raven @ Oxjam - 60 million PostcardsAt the end he’s joined in a duet by Kimari Raven, and final song has MC Jon on stage with him.

Tim Somerfield @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsTim Somerfield takes Si’s place, again staying chilled at the start. Saying he’s chilled though, there’s a lot of fast left hand fretwork going on in conjunction with the chorded right hand. Tim picks up the pace and goes more upbeat toward the end, making more of the crowd that have turned up for him.

Chris Woodford @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsThe penultimate artist this afternoon is senor Woodford, just him and his 12 string guitar, playing it as brilliantly as ever, though he seems to only do a short set.

Krista Green @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsKrista Green dashes in, cold off the street having busked for a while, provides great musical entertainment, yet its time for us to leave, having been here for a few hours, Ness needs to get home and I prepare for the night to come…

Sofi Reed @ Oxjam - SpyreI start the night at The Spyre, where Sofi Reed is kicking things off for the evening, having also started it all earlier at 60 Million Postcards. There are a few lighting and power problems – as I walk in Sofi ends her first song with no PA, which she wittily and humourously blames on my walking in, in this intimate environment. She plays favourite Breathe, then Broken Windows. As she starts the latter, the room descends into darkness as everything trips out. She soldiers on totally alone, in the dark, and still sounds fantastic!

MC Pat Page with County Hospital
Ed Pope back in Bournemouth

County Hospital @ Oxjam - WinchesterOn to The Winchester, where County Hospital are in full swing. They play their first song they ever played here in the Winch at their first gig, Mystery Shopper. The enigmatic Ed Pope is back in town, giving it large on the drums, its also great seeing Tim so relaxed and enjoying himself at this first County Hospital gig in town for a while. Luke on bass seems just one big grin. Pat Page joins them for one song as a guest MC, something different again, while Tim mucks about on an iPad. Slipping into their closer, Clare joins the stage to add some vocal changes to what has possibly been the best and most intense performance I’ve seen them give, ever.

Not Made In China @ Oxjam - Smokin AcesThe happiest band in Bournemouth, probably (Not Made In China) are in Smokin Aces starting off the nights festivities. DJ Trev from the Blind Pig Hot Swing Floor Show is hosting this evening. Not Made In China start as they mean to go on, straight into an African style guitar led swing / calypso. Trevor Hill introduces Not Made In China @ Oxjam - Smokin AcesThey also have some great harmonies going on.

Martin Roberts - Safari Park @ Oxjam - WinchesterBack to The Winchester and Safari Park (yet another band the irrepressible Martin Roberts has formed) have replaced Powdered Cows on the bill. I’ve not heard this 3 piece before, all three sing, Martin is on bass with this one. They are playing eminently accessible music, tuneful and enjoyable, not at all the quirky yet fun material I was expecting from knowing the other acts Martin is behind.

Trac Pawley introduces Mischa @ Oxjam - SpyreOn again to The Spyre. Trac Pawley of Language, Timothy! is hosting the Spyre, with The Chairman providing musical interludes. Masters Of None (Chris Woodford and Jeven) are halfway through their set, making good magic on their dual guitars. Masters Of None @ Oxjam - SpyreIts all instrumental, which makes it all the more special, especially since Chris takes it on himself to barrack some of the audience (well, Mischa and myself) in this great venue. 

Mischa @ Oxjam - SpyreMischa is on next, he’s lost his Merry Men this time and is performing solo, however he’s promised a few changes to his set as a result. He starts strong, announcing a feed line I gave him regarding DMA (billed as soloist and came with a band) whereas now he’s billed with band and is himself. Nice when people take what you say and reuse it ! Back to the music, as expected he’s animated and energretic, even though he’s come back from Devon, just for this gig. The Bands That Saved My Life is a song I don’t think I’ve heard before, though I must have done, full of angst yet still upbeat and happy. Love it.

Spiders @ Oxjam - WinchesterSpiders are another new band to me, they are playing good solid rock pop when I walk in to The Winchester. Strong drums and bass work with guitar riffing over the top. These guys then grab Ed Pope for his sax skills and they break into a form of jazz funk number for his appearance. The two guitarists are sharing vocals across songs since both have decent voices. We also have some dance moves being busted at the front of the crowd, good stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.230707500316938.61483.100001330690156&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=234519013269120&set=a.230707500316938.61483.100001330690156&type=3&theaterI catch the last 3 songs of Empire Affair‘s set at Champions. I’m personally pleased to see a largish crowd here too. The lads are giving it large and loud, I’m pleased I made the detour to visit. Neil is doing just about everything he can to inject energy and verve into the performance, which the others resolve with their pumping tunes.

Mutant Vinyl front line @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsI arrive at 60 Million Postcards in time for Mutant Vinyl‘s set, just missing the ends of both Kentucky Fight Club at Smokin Aces, and Dirty Jerkers here at 60 Million Postcards. Mutant Vinyl announce this as their reunion, and its a bit different than their last gig in town, full 6 piece plus roadie Mitch. They are funking around with the rhythms something amazing, Mutant Vinyl back line @ Oxjam - 60 Million Postcardswith Ed’s lyrical eloquence interspersed with little sax solos in the opening number. All this while being able to hear “f… all” through the monitors (as he puts it). As expected there’s a full crowd here all in anticipation of the return, covering the full length of the long bar at the start, and quite reaching to the door by the middle of the set. Crowd to the doors @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsAt the end Acid Honey is inevitably thrown in, however totally remixed live and thrown around, both pumped up, then taken to a chilled out vibe, as Pat takes to the stage briefly to MC some stuff. The band carry on building a crescendo from chilled to full on crashing rock chords at the end, to immense applause and cheers. Mutant Vinyl are back (for this one night only, at least)!Mutant Vinyl Sax break @ Oxjam - 60 Million Postcards

Peace, Love & Gloves @ Oxjam - On The RocksOn The Rocks has Peace, Love and Gloves doing their rock thing to their usual huge crowd of people, all jumping around to the incessant beats. They also feature MCs doing bits and pieces of the vocal line, turning an otherwise three piece into five. Having heard a very early demo tape, almost acoustic in nature, I’m impressed with their live set, and the huge energy they produce from stage, send into the rowd, thhen feed off to push for a better gig and show

Michael Wookey @ Oxjam - SpyreI started the evening at The Spyre, and end here (well, almost), right at the very end of Michael Wookey‘s set, and manage to hear his encore, which is a simple number on onmichord and vocal synthsizer. He’s also shirtless when I walk in, I hear afterwards it was as intense a performance as an artist can offer; right on the boundaries of music and fine art, and is loved all the more as a result.

DO(MI) @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsJet down to catch the last last act – Disco’s Out (Murders In) at 60 Million Postcards again (running a little late). Like so many of the acts tonight, they are really going for it and giving out one of their best sets ever. The usual unusual costumes are evident; they end in grand style, with Martin ending up on the drum kit hiding in the ceiling… DO(MI) finale @ Oxjam - 60 Million PostcardsA great party end to a great party night, with DJs on after to continue into the small hours.

I head on to Smokin Aces just to see what’s happening, and really enjoy the set played by DJ L33R0y, though I can only stand the pace until 2am or so, having been out for nearly 12 hours!

In all, 6 venues, 8 comperes/DJs, 17 bands and artists all crammed into 1 day/evening … How cool and together is this music scene in Bournemouth?!?  – please remember the Oxjam Bournemouth CD is available on bandcamp – 22 tracks for £5.

Made In Pangaea & Focal – Thu 13 Oct

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Jouis @ Made In Pangaea 13 OctDarren was on the show last night promoting all that Made In Pangaea is about – he did a good job, since I’m here!  Jouis are just about to start when I join in with what promises to be a wonderful evening. Having last heard them in acoustic mode at Steve Biddle’s So Much So book launch its a delight to hear them in full on mode, and at a decent non-overpowering sound level (thanks Totally Lostit).

Vida @ Focal, just before Crazy In Love 13 OctFor those that haven’t wandered across Jouis before they are a Brighton band formerly of Bournemouth, mixing up funk and prog, with decent rhythms and melodies. They are great to groove to, or just to chill out to, as your mood takes you.

Kimari Raven @ Focal, Smokin Aces 13 OctI pop over the road and down the hill to catch tonight’s Focal at Smokin Aces. Vida are the host/esses and start with four songs, one a new one, the last being a fave of mine Crazy In Love. They soon give way for the vocal talents of Kimari Raven, who amazes me nowadays with her confidence, despite (or perhaps because of) some pre-gig nerves.

Besh O Drom @ Made In Pangaea, trhe Winchester 13 OctBack to Made In Pangaea and Besh O Drom are in full effect. Gipsy folk yet not really, it’s all just a good excuse to have a bob around to incredibly fast rhythms and notes on some form of wind synthesiser. Absolutely frenetic is about all I can say.  There are loads of people rammed into the Winchester by now, and the music is pumping them into a frenzy.  While the lyrics are not understandable, they are delivered at such a pace, and the sax solos are so extreme, that it’s almost impossible not to jump around in time to all that’s going on.  Well worth catching these guys on one of their rare forays into the UK from their Hungarian home.

Vicky Barents & Tim Rea @ Focal, Smokin Aces 13 OctAfter what seems a more or less continuous jump up and down session, back to Focal for a totally laid back end to the evening. Vicky Barents (of The Goodfoot Band) is doing a set of her unique covers and originals, with Tim Rea accompanying her. Mellow and soulful, she is a real diva, voice all over the range, and strong with it, the amplification is barely needed in the small and intimate bar. Love it.

Vida @ Focal 2nd time around :) 13 OctFinally Vida perform a closing set. They’re in full plugged in mode tonight, giving Tim and Karl ample opportunity to show off their instrumental talents to counter the amazing female harmonies, all while Rio is doing his best to provide the beats on the electric drums. A fantastic night on all fronts.

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Semi Final 1

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Solid Air HopeFM Kimari Raven Sofi ReedLiveWire Live! with Solid Air

My guests tonight are the delightful ladies Kimari Raven and Sofi Reed; Solid Air’s Conrad is my regular guest host. We spend a lot of time talking about the Oxjam fundraiser just been, where over £1300 was collected from a single day event.  There’s also a lot of focus on upcoming gigs, Sofi has one on Thursday at the Winchester, and Conrad is featuring Kimari at Monday’s Solid Air in the Cellar Bar. There are other things he’s looking forward to, we also feature some tracks from his archives looking back, and fresh music he has – it’s great having Conrad on the show as he has such a different outlook than myself on artists and music.

Embodied microphones!Sofi and Kimari have brought guitars with them, so we are serenaded – unfortunately for me, they don’t do one of their duets in the studio, however its fairly clear they’re quietly singing along to each other. We also have a bit of a laugh about Sofi’s elastic face – she pulls the most wonderful expressions while she’s concentrating on performing.

The first photo is while Kimari is playing Monster, the second of their faces obscured by the microphones as we’re talking about Sofi’s expressions. As can hopefully be gathered all in all it’s a fun time in the studio, and we head off together to O’Neills for the first of the two Bournemouth Unplugged Semi Finals.

Mischa

Mischa BU SF1Mischa is first up, he is active and moving, with just enough of a story between songs to keep interest before getting boring. There’s lots of noise in the pub, but he’s overcoming it. All through his set there’s lots of applause from all over the pub – I’m at the back for the first part of his performance and the activity is clearly visible from where I am, let alone from the judges table at the front. 

He has his lumberjack-esque looks with the check shirt, I’m really loving the energy all three are putting into it – there’s also more cello this time.  He goes for the growling lyric option in Overworked and Underpaid, which I feel works for the music and the performance he’s giving, though I think other judges disagree with me on this.

Chris Woodford

Chris Woodford BU SF1He’s brought two guitars with him tonight, yet starts playing on just one, leaving us some anticipation for what’s coming up.  He moves on into playing the harmonics by sliding the guitar on to his lap, dobro style.  Halfway through we hear the second guitar, before he uses a mobile phone to create some industrial sounds on the first guitar – while I’m not sure what that’s about, it’s something different and experimental, which I like.  He gives a big finish, huge volume and a huge energetic shout “Come on!” as he reaches his crescendo and ends.  The crowd react accordingly.

Bob Fletcher

Bob Fletcher Korozyf BU SF1In my mind I bet he’s thinking “How to follow that”, My answer to myself is by being the best that you can, he’s giving some good lively strumming then beat boxing, getting some reaction, not just from his crowd (although they start things off).  He performs a slow quieter song (with permission from the crowd, which is a nice touch) – this is brave and he pulls it off, +1 for originality!

For a couple of songs Korozyf joins him for MC’ing, then Bob gets the crowd clapping along before throwing things into a loop pedal and building a huge sound as a result.  He turns the loop volume down at the end using some fancy foot work while still singing – not seen that before, normally people stoop to control them, interrupting their unlooped playing to do so – this allows Bob to continue playing and is an impressive touch, hard to do and he pulls it off.

The inevitable Tom Jones is performed, and this time he rings the changes by not standing on chairs etc, but just wanders around a small part of the crowd, I like this as I expected him to do the same as before, changing it like that shows he can be flexible while still doing an impressive show.  Definitely my choice act of the evening.

Si Crockett

Si Crockett BU SF1Si is doing his usual material, of which much has previously been said.  We are treated to harmonies from Si Genaro, not just harmonica. Talking of the latter, he’s got “new shiny ones since his last ones got nicked”, as he puts it. Nacho Jase on Congas is putting on his own little show at the back – I later refer to him as Nutjob Jase as a result of his acting as “a yob at the back” – good fun.

Si also plays a slower song compared with the rest of his set, my difficulty this time is that while the three of them are tight as ever, they seem to have changed tonight into three individuals playing together, rather than a band (which was how Mischa felt like). Sunshine takes things up slightly before Cheeky Monkey rocks the place – there’s a hint that Genaro’ll go off on a 30 min solo, he doesn’t, and they move into last song Big Face Reggae, in all a brilliant show, I just feel not one of the best ones they’ve done.

Judges Result

We then move into counting up our scores, and adding an element for the crowd vote (which has been re-introduced for these rounds).  As ever we have been marking out of ten on Originality, Song Writing Ability, Technical Ability and Stage Presence/Audience Interaction.  The crowd vote adds another 10, 8, 6 and 4 in order of most votes received, making it 20% of the total.  There is an additional “clapometer” style score out of 5, and a “star quality Y/N ” for us to pick our favourite two.

I’m surprised to find that we have one act clearly ahead of all the others, the other three just have 0.5% between them, all scores are near the 150 mark (max points available 180 as we have four judges tonight).  We have to go to another (quieter) room to deliberate, as some of us aren’t happy about how these have panned out, and we know how important it is to get this correct.  Even so, we know that our results aren’t going to be popular, as the one with the most crowd votes (Bob Fletcher) has not been selected.  We’ve all had to make compromises in our choices, we agree to abide by our group choice, even if we personally disagree with it.

The finalists selected tonight are Chris Woodford and Si Crockett, so big congratulations to them, and big shouts go out to Mischa and Bob Fletcher, who did everything that was required and more, but then that’s what sucks yet is what competition is about, I guess.

The difficult part comes from the 15 minutes after we annouce this unpopular result, as some very vocal people think we’ve made the wrong decision.  I just try to take the flak from my mates and move on, although Fiona (O’Neills manager) has to step in at some point as things are getting passionately verbal between people.  Funny that I seem to be the only judge around at this point – makes me rather unpopular! 

Its a shame this mars the three hours of absolutely amazing music that have made the rest of the evening an entire delight for me.

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