Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Semi Final 2

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Victor is in the studio with me tonight – eventually. He’s been suffering from car trouble, which is a little worse when said car is also one’s home when away from home.

Irrespective, he makes it for just over an hour, and what a delightful time it is, wandering all over as he reminisces about places he’s been, including national TV on his parents native Malta, where he spent his early years.

We play much from his latest CD Moonbeams, and hence talk some about the recording sessions (mainly all just one take, in a garden) and the reasons behind the songs. 

At the end I head off to O’Neill’s for the last of the judging sessions for Bournemouth Unplugged.  As ever, the notes here are those I jotted on the night for comment.

Krista Green

Krista GreenGood reception, working it by encouraging the crowd with clapping etc Well received throughout, yet not going absolutely nuts
Clear vocals, breath-y where it matters (2nd song)
Good eye contact
Walking Talking Catastrophe I like the harp-like sound she produces

Good variety of standard styles, pick, strum, percussive, staccato, well executed and chilled out
Overall a very clean set and pleasant, doesn’t grab me with excitement, as it is so chilled.

Wakes things up a bit with the last song through loop pedal use, yet tells us its an experiment so of course it doesn’t work out first time around (or 2nd or 3rd 😦 )
Once programmed up it is effective, and I like that she’s persevered with it – must be first use over a PA too. Unfortunately it all goes horribly wrong at the end, yet might have still worked had I not then picked up the “oh that didn’t work”!
So awards to trying, and I hope she carries on developing it as it will bring an extra dimension to her already accomplished set

Johnny Neesom

Johhny NeesomVery clever stuff, fast rapping over the plain chords
However, he’s running out of breath a bit (at least he recognises this) Again, clear vocals (they need to be as his performance hinges on that)
Not overfond of the near continuous swearing – he’s already had one song banned by the pub from previous appearances.
Sitting down is never going to deliver the energy that standing can deliver, even though this mode suits the songs he’s playing, which puts a sombre mood into things, even though he goes down OK with the crowd. He sticks to three songs as the last one Lullaby is symphony length.
As its a symphony style, there are multiple phases, picking, tapping, percussion, strumming, plucking, then harmonics as if a lap steel – all very open and laid back – it helps that I’d heard this at a session a few days back, as its somewhat familiar in places, albeit its perhaps 12-15 minutes long

Andy Stock Band

Andy Stock BandFirst impression is they’ve all dressed smart – except crockett. Even AJ has put a suit on for the gig!
Andy starts solo, then brings the rest of the band in with a “let’s do this thing”
Musically there’s a lot going on, and it takes some time for all instruments to be picked up.
Good bass lines and runs from Johnny, good guitar work from Andy, can’t really hear AJ’s harp or Ben’s banjo, and overall thiings aren’t really together.
For 3rd song AJ sings and Ben switches to violin, Andy joins AJ in a gravelly harmony
Things start coming together with a song castigating the modern tech life where we speak loads on facebook and through phones, yet can seem to be in a pub on our own a lot. The banjo is more audible, other things are less intense, and the song is a proper lament.

Phil King

Phil KingIts funny, I find myself willing him to pick things and kick them off, which I know he can do. Its Amanda (friend) that starts things going, trying to get people up and dancing.
Phil threatens to kick things off the stage literally, as Si Crockett has left his cajon on stage, comments about which get a good laugh
He then proceeds to give us a show and a half, good styles, good songs, good voice, good set.

Judges Result

This time (compared with last week) it’s fairly clear cut, all judges are of the same opinion.  The two Finalists are Krista and Phil, so congrats to them. When the results are announced this time, there’s no massive barracking from the crowd.  Its a shame it was so obvious, yet we still had four good performances.

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.

Sunday Best & Sessions

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Very quick post to suit the very short night. 

Krista Green facebook photoAfter a church music group practice I start at O’Neills where Fairplay have informed me Krista Green is playing.  When I walk in she’s playing mellow songs, her voice is really strong which I guess is as she does a lot of busking around town.

I missed Krista’s Bournemouth Unplugged heat (the only one I couldn’t make) so I think the last time I heard her was when she made an appearance on the radio show. Its a shame the place is half empty as she’s giving what I consider the performance of a lifetime – as I’ve not seen her play before I don’t know if she’s alsways like this, but the songs, though soulful, are still uplifting.

After covering All Right Now she finishes with a punchy self-penned song, percussive beating as each chord is played, with the chords being staccato-stopped as a result. Really enjoyable. She’s playing at Mr Kyps On 14 April and would be well worth catching there if you can – message her for a ticket.

I’ve also been chatting with Steve from TL Sound. Looking at the site he has some good material to say he’s only just started doing what he’s doing now with the dedicated studio set up, although he’s been mixing for a long time.

On the way back I drop into Chaplins very briefly – Antonia Edgeley-Long has played, Bex Grant is playing, Tony TwoDogs is waiting to go. A few brief words with Andy (Japan, Andy?) and I’m gone.

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