Just Another Friday Night on the Town(s)

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Soul Baby @ Christchurch FestivalChristchurch Festival this weekend, started off in style by the Bournemouth Ukelele Social – a kerfuffle at the gate means I hear them from afar rather than in the tent. Sounds good though. Soul Baby are a big attraction here, coupled with the start time (8 30) there is a half capacity crowd in this place, not bad for what is normally a quiet Friday night start.

No wonder they draw a crowd, half of them work at one of the big firms I’m town so they all come out, plus the music is good – soul covers in the main, with other matching tracks thrown in. Plus the visual attraction of four leading ladies on vocal harmonies, backed up by solid backline, no wonder they are popular.

Mils Malone and the Magic Tones at SpyreReally enjoyable, all the better for having Ness with me, however we need to depart (meaning we miss headline Pronghorn) as its been a busy evening so far what with running the kids craft club and all. A quick toast top up and I head out to Spyre where Looking Through Glass are launching their second album She’s My Co-Pilot.

Mils Malone and the Magic Tones are on stage as I walk in, good solid pop/rock, and I’m liking what I’m hearing for the two songs I catch at the end of their set. An overlong interlude and Looking Through Glass take their places. As expected they are dressed smart with their trademark retro-throwback monotone look. Their sound has really developed and settled into a good groove.

Looking Through Glass at SpyreDave has crystal clear vocals that float easily over the smooth sounds from the band, with trumpet accentuating the music. Kelly is also harmonising and backing on occasion, a welcome addition. They’re gigging the whole album tonight, in order. If you liked the EP (The Cycle Never Ends) you’ll love this fellow. Standout tracks: 1993, For My Baby. If you’ve not come across them before, check them out.

Big Face Reggae at Smokin AcesThey take a break and I take the opportunity to see Big Face Reggae at Smokin’ Aces. It’s also Martin Roberts’ and others birthdays so a big party atmosphere. Big Face Reggae are great as ever, and there’s something about having the band in your face (or you in their face) as you’re skanking around. Afterwards end up in the Cellar Bar with more mates just hanging around. Great night, despite the late finish.

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Second Update on Dorset Music Awards

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…So we’ve reached the end of the Dorset Music Awards heats.  Amazing music – I will be posting my thoughts on the bands seen later (when permitted by the team). I also now don’t envy those who will have to judge the next round but one (the semi finals) – the quarter finals are down to public vote, where acts need fans to help them get further on.

Suffice to say we had a long debate over a large number of acts. Yes, some decisions were more or less automatic (if 2 of the 3 of us agreed “yes” or “no”).  That still left a large number that were debated long and hard.  Us three judges each made some tough calls, we each “fought our corner” for those we’d liked (or even not liked enough), we each have had to make concessions that we didn’t agree with, however at the end of the 90+ minute session, we are all satisfied with the final list, albeit still perhaps personally disappointed we didn’t have it all our way… 😉

We know there will be some surprises, and apologies in advance as we know there will be some big disappointments.  It is my understanding that each act will receive feedback on what they did or had that allowed them to go through, or what it was that meant they failed to go through, or that they were close and either just did or just didn’t make it.

Admittedly, that means I now need to write up nearly 40 pages of notes made during the sets we’ve seen.  Gosh.  Overall (apart from that seemingly daunting task) I’ve had an absolute blast; I only hope my input has been of sufficient quality for Rich and Trev that they allow me the privilege (and pain) of judging again another time.

Now, I’m almost looking forward to judging in the next competition I’ve been asked to participate in, Bournemouth Unplugged.

For the record, the bands/acts seen today were (in order, and for anyone that didn’t get to see these, sorry in the main you’ve missed a blast):

Connor Heather

Lucas Raye

Not Made In China

Looking Through Glass

County Hospital

Rapids

Sitting Pretty

Dan Rumsey & The Bitter End

Hessian

Evolver

Transend

Icarus 1

Bel Casino

Moll Storey

The Blackened Blue

Fearne

New Volunteer

The Neon Tigers

Dead Lettuce

Constellation

Kinnie The Explorer