Rare Poole Outing

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Pete Christie @ BricklayersThe Bricklayers Arms was one of the best live music venues a long time ago – Pete Christie says he is playing his first gig here for nearly 25 years, and this was also one of the first venues he played as he just started gigging as a youngster. Live music has returned here after a long absence in celebration of Harry the manager’s birthday; Pete Christie is the artist chosen to play for this auspicious occasion, and Conrad (Solid Air) has been spinning some discs beforehand.

There’s a lot of familiar faces here, brought out either for the delights of the music, or because of the celebration. Since its a new venue for me, I’m unsure who would be a regular here; there is a great atmosphere and makes a good venue – the music is in the long room at the back which used to be a skittle alley. One notable here is Neil King from Fatea, who’s filled me in on the musical history of the Bricklayers.

The music room used to be out beyond what is now the back garden, with outside toilets, long since turned into housing. The Central is opposite just down the street, and across the main road is the Britannia; all 3 pubs used to do music as the Ashley Cross tour, where people could wander around between the venues (and some bands tried to play all 3 in one night!). Each lost its entertainment license until only the Central was left, over 20 years ago, and that has now gone, too. Mr Kyps, the only regular venue here now behind the Central, is a relative newcomer, having converted from a pool hall perhaps some 8-10 years ago.

Pete’s playing is superb as usual – I’ve previously used just about every superlative I know to describe his prior performances. Tonight he exercises a brand new song, Ballad Of An Ordinary Man. This is one of those rare songs that, should winds blow the right way, would be a hit. Instantly familiar, yet totally original, and totally memorable for singalong purposes, hopefully he’ll keep it for future. Neil tells me it is in the forthcoming Fatea showcase (due out on February 1) so catch it there.

Milk Machine @ SloopOn to The Sloop, another first visit for me (watch for drink prices – £1.60 for a squash!), Hawkeye let me know that The Milk Machine were featuring here. As I walk in I’m pleased to see yet more familiar faces, Ski from KFC, Sofi Reed amongst others. The music is cracking, good stomp stuff with old time, bluegrass and hillbilly; loads of us are enjoying the hoedown. The tunes are great, mainly covers played totally originally in the way only The Milk Machine can. Since Hawkeye knows I played Welsh Block on last Wednesday’s show he dedicates it to me, as I’ve just walked in, which is always a way to get noticed! What a night 🙂

Mischa & Merry Men @ Cellar BarBack to more familiar territory and Mischa is with his Merry Men in the Cellar Bar (after an obligatory Night Owl burger). Roland is back, Mischa’s also grabbed bassist Tom and as I walk in Alex has joined them on cajon. Alex’s band Admiral Shiny Sides apparently smashed the place earlier in the evening, being mobbed and “forced” to play 2 encores. Mischa announces he has an EP launch next Friday in Smokin’ Aces – this should be good – I’ve been waiting for fuller recorded material for some time, having had to rely on some open mic sourced material for a while now… I’m only in for 3 or 4 songs and all are performed with Mischa’s usual gusto, the addition of the Merry Men provides for fantastic musical exchanges between them.

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Cellar Sessions

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Mischa and Merry Man Tom @ Cellar Bar 15 NovQuick post about tonight – it’s the first chance I’ve had to hear Mischa‘s material with his latest musical incarnation – a duo with acoustic bass by Tom.  As ever good tunes with an additional dimension – some are started solo then added to, others are totally remixed live as a result of the orchestration capabilities.

Ant Lewis @ Cellar Bar 15 NovWe get to the main event. Ant has offered up some new Dusty Cuts songs on his facebook notice about tonight, mixed in with his acoustic material as Our Blinkered Eyes. The lyrics are fast, the chords are faster, then he breaks into long musical spaces, throwing some guitar body percussion too.  All good and enjoyable.

Bar Extreme Acoustic Night

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Bar Extreme logoBar Xtreme is a new bar for me, and I like it. Narrowly slotted into the top end of Old Christchurch Road, with weird and wonderful levels going on due to the hill. It also helps that the drinks are reasonable, and they’re experimenting by offering complimentary chilli, which is a real lip zinger! Snow boarding video screens adorn the walls, my only drawback is the dark musician corner – the crapberry just can’t get a shot in the poor light. Totally Live have been running an acoustic night here for a few weeks now; this is the first time I’ve wandered over…

I’ve missed Steve Perry‘s (Disco’s Out (Murders In)) solo set (to be honest, I didn’t know who was on); he was throwing in a few of the DO(MI) numbers solo, and will be doing the same this Thursday in O’Neills.

I have arrived in time to hear Mischa performing an “out there” set – namely material he wouldn’t normally come out and play. He slips in a couple of familiar numbers for Kat the cellist in his new band, who’s come along hoping to hear some numbers before having to play them! Always enjoyable, simply as Mischa always puts on a decent show with his performance.

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.

Musicosity Old Firestation Upstairs Day 1 Friday

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Musicosity is a 3 day festival in the cente of town and on the beach, celebrating the best of original music in the area, with additional bands shipped in from elsewhere, Reef being the major name in this category.

Beckett @ Old Firestation 2 SepI’m in the upstairs section of the Old Fire Station, as I’m running one of the stages. Beckett are first up with their catchy tunes as ever, well played, and well received by the other bands present. I really enjoy seeing them as they’ve come such a long way from my first sight of them at an open mic ooh, 6/7 years ago?

Nudy Bronque @ Old Firestation 2 SepNudy Bronque (pr. New-di bronk) arrived later than they desired from Swindon after a series of van failures, yet still managed to provide a kicking show, full of enthusiasm and verve, lively tunes and just genuine good songs.

Kentucky Fight Club @ Old Firestation 2 SepKentucky Fight Club plug in and go with their amazing vigour, frantic mando with mad violin producing the usual folk / punk style of music, but with the usual added synth providing the difference between KFC and other well known bands in this camp. Finger kicking fun, loads of activity on and off stage.

Kiss Corona @ Old Firestation 2 SepNottingham based Kiss Corona are next up, they have some intricate programmed work, making their set perhaps the most polished of all. They are reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne (the Stacy’s Mom crowd), sounding much like that style while still being original with it

Last up is Boxes, no doubt named after the number of synths and bits and bobs they have – iPads, laptops etc, while still producing live music over the top with keys and guitar. Rhythmic and hypnotic all at the same time, enjoyable clever sounds.

After packing up, I make it to the Cellar Bar with just enough time to catch the fairwell gig for Roland as he leaves Mischa’s band. As ever fun, musical, random and amazingly lyrical. He’s also throwing a few covers in for good measure. One surprise is a song by Roland, on guitar (not uke or cello) through a loop pedal. Mellow and a good singalong all combined.

Mischa’s New Material

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Mischa Cellar Bar 2I’m in the Cellar Bar tonight, Mischa is here with Roland accompanying him. They start with a couple of staples Air I Breathe and One Of These Days before moving into some new material.

Cello is prevalent for the first part of the set, when Roland breaks out the ukelele its to move into some more bluesy-rock type of material.

As usual with Mischa the songs are all about events in his life, in that wear your heart on your sleeve fashion of his. Music is the purge that lifts our moods, and can also reflect where we’re at

Both uplifting and soulful, its always entertaining with Mischa on the stage, exaggerated even more so when accompanied by anyone, especially just Roland if not the full band. Makes it a totally different vibe. Big up man.

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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