Oxjam Takeover 2012

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oxjam bournemouth 2012 posterThere’s been much anticipation and build up yet again for the takeover this year, and the start is slightly delayed in the Pier Theatre due to VT difficulties creating more suspense…

Martin interviewAnd we’re off – Powdered Cows start with Lobster, Martin fresh from being interviewed by Beth Graham who’s producing an Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover Rockumentary. Powdered Cows @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s been promise of a spectacle from Martin, he starts solo with his electronics for a couple of songs, before a lion and a crocodile join him for Lion Lion, with invite for the audience to take some percussion and create the song together

Catch up with Livvy in relaxed mode @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s delays in 60 Million Postcards too, so I catch up with one of the Oxjam queens, Livvy, who’s taking a moment outside.

Boolays @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012

I head back to the Pier where the Boolays are hitting their last two songs, both of them debuts for the band. Soprano sax, twin dueling acoustic guitars and twin female vocals with male accompaniment means I’m in a brief delight.

Jack Grace @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Jack Grace is solo acoustic today, and sounds absolutely crystal clear on the vocals, while the guitar gently plays along to itself for much of the material thanks to his loop pedal. The fantastic ambience of the awesome pier theatre really works well for Jack’s voice.

Jack Vallier @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012I reach 60 Million Postcards in time to hear Chris Woodford have a large shout up by compere Si Genaro. As ever, Chris plays a blinder. Jack Vallier is next up, and chooses to do a set of acoustic covers, starting with Wonderwall, which doesn’t go down as well as Krista’s version did last night. One bit of really good news – Tony Warren is back on the local music scene having had three years away in London; we have a bit of a natter and a catch up.

Citizen Perez @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Citizen Perez (Steve Perry) is up next in 60 Million Postcards, and everyone that’s told me about Citizen Perez has been right – what Steve does here is totally different to the other material he’s produced in the other acts he’s in. He’s doing new material (some involving kazoo) as well as acoustic versions of songs from other acts (like Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) ). Something that works well for him is the novelty kazoo taped to the microphone, such that he can still play guitar whilst using the kazoo. Makes for an interesting combination.

Not Made In China @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Back to The Pier, and one of my favourites, the happiest band in Bournemouth, Not Made In China are on stage. Their music is in major keys, with some great contrary bass work, big positive rhythms, and the killer vocals which somewhat tell of life in these times. People are clapping along, the only thing missing for me are the dancing idiots like me, but then this is a seated venue after all… Lee (Escape From 98) is with me, between us we cook up a new genre, African Indie, to place Not Made In China.

Annie Winter @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Annie Winter is doing her set at 60 Million Postcards; she’s recruited a full band behind her, Tim on string bass, Ben on cajon and Joe (Potter) on guitar and vocal. She’s singing winsome songs with a laid back feeling, perfect for a dreamy afternoon; with my rushing back and forth I’m feeling I’m not partaking in that vibe. My loss, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other at this moment in time 🙂

Compere Si Genaro introduces Tim Somerfield @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Tim Somerfield is given another of the Si Genaro treatments, and kicks off with last years Oxjam CD contribution There There. Tim’s voice soars over the guitar chord work, as if a bird released to float around the venue, major chords giving a positive lift to the songs. As I leave to reach the pier Tim starts Supervillain Alter Ego, which is on this years Oxjam album.

I’ve missed Our comperes Martin Roberts & Timo Peach @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mischa and catch Martin & Timo filling the gap so the Chicken Soup Choir can set up. They interview conductor Julie, who together with pianist Esther inherited a choir and set up Chicken Soup, because its good for the soul as she puts it. The Chicken Soup Choir @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012When the choir are revealed as the curtain lifts, I’m amazed at the size of it. They’re singing various pop rock songs, starting with what I think is Elbow, then Ash and Radiohead (I really don’t know my modern non-local music anymore). All the various instrumental components are sung, with oohs and ahhs and the like to make up the accompaniments.

Southern Ukulele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Susbus (Southern Ukelele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social) fill the stage as did the choir. Lisa McQuillan and Jonty Johnson share most of the singing honours, though many others are pulled out of the esemble to solo and sing. I must admit much of my attention is on Nacho Jase, who’s playing bass ukelele and hiding at the back, yet seems to be filling the stage with his presence. Paul Tucker is our narrator, and there’s a spare appearance by Martin Roberts on kazoo.

Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mutant Vinyl have something special prepared for us tonight – I was with them last night as they were preparing the act for tonight. Ed starts trying to get his sax and vocals working to his satisfaction with the sound guys and the effects processing. Its not working for him so he invites his friend, birthday boy Tim Smart to join the stage. Luke also steps in, as Ed moves to the drums and Tim announces …. County Hospital…. County Hospital takeover the takeover with Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012This means that the charismatic Ed switches to the enigmatic Ed and starts playing the tricked out beats he’s so good at, while Tim, Marc and Luke rock out some wonderful experimental stuff – then promptly leave the stage after the one song. Artistic Impression or what?  [It later transpires that this early exit wasn’t in the plan, its just that Ed couldn’t get the over-FX sound he wanted, so rather than give a bad show in his eyes, took the brave decision to chop his act, even though this causes angst and consternation for some – particularly the poor organisers of the venue].

head of a cuban trojan @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Head Of A Cuban Trojan (HOACT) have nearly played their awesome set out as I walk in, there are just three songs left, and they are amazing. Heavy bass, over egged guitar, a bit of a grunge thing going on. Then they start megaphoning the lyrics just to add to the musical contusion. Love it

El BosCo @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012El Bosco are a subset of Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) in appearance, totally different sound. Great melodies on Steve’s guitar, Ttubbs has some great beats going on, and Ed is pumping out the bass like a live one. Proper pop rock stuff, and everything starting to be turned up to the max on the PA. Its a little bit grungy like HOACT, yet not similar as there’s different things going on in the music and the vocals. Again I’m liking it, and am a bit torn to move to another venue.

Get The Tape @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012On The Rocks next (as I turn up at The Pier for Momo:Tempo to hear Tim say he’s finished), where Get The Tape have just started. Big screamo shouty rock, upon which regular readers will know my views. Even so, Get The Tape are different from the rest, their drummer is able to play some really fast timely stuff, while the lead guitar is producing great tunage, rather than the mushy chords I normally associate with the style. Another band I want to hear more from in the future, despite my general reservations on the genre.

Know One @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Know One are playing what’s been dubbed as their last ever set on the Pier Theatre stage. Starting with some long-lost Two Tone material as an intro and sort of soundcheck, they soon move into the moshing stuff they’re known and loved for. Massive bass work, big horns (Callum still running around with that sax) and the others making good with the drums and the chord work. They are really on fire, and they even play their request song that they never normally play, Invisible Reality. I leave before the end, though, for…

Yellowgroove @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards again, this time for Yellowgroove who are in the middle of their 5 hour remix of Spread Your Love (Like A Fever), by all accounts they’ve done everything needed to satiate this noisy and active crowd. They get such a great groove on as they start Manimal, while still managing to take the rip out of their mate Nick. A brief crowd incursion causes a bit of havoc with Simon’s electrics, before they go into their next single Fading Out (available on the Oxjam CD), which is where I move out to On The Rocks.

Escapefrom'98 @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Escape From 98 have just started, and immediately start the heckling going. I have no paper to throw at them in return (their gig the night before in Salisbury culminated in a paper ball fight), so just bellow instead. We need to start a thing going – they have a new song Chorus where they encourage the crowd to shout the title – just shout “NO!”, kids. And they’ll love you forever and stuff :). A great set and a good end to this venue.

Mother Ukers @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards now have the Mother Ukers down, we’re still rammed in here as they play Love Cats then Cars before murdering Bowie (in a nice way), by turning Space Oddity into a chirpy number, while still retaining the modal nature of the song.

The evening ends in fine form with a little auction trying to sell off some particular one-design T-shirts, all to raise more funds for this worthy cause, before we continue partying the night away. I give up the party and take the option to leave for home, since I have diving in the morning.  A great, if wearing, day, thanks to the full on efforts of the team, Katy, Liz, Lauren, Livvy, Jo, Geoff and Andy, and all the others that I’m not aware of.  Please can we do it again, next year?!?

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Solid Air Christmas Party

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The Solid Air Christmas Party is the showcase for this blustery Monday night – I’ve managed to entice Ness to come along with me, since close friend David Lambert is making a rare appearance on the bill (he was booked by Conrad during my radio show, when he was on with Sue Pugh a few months ago).

Smart Family Band @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecAfter a technical delay the Smart Family Band start with one of their calling cards, For The Sparrows a capella. They move through some of their other staples before moving into their own take of Guns Of Brixton (The Clash). Its all very acoustic and a bit of fun. With the seven of them on stage they can do lot more with Bearded Lady and particularly Sandboy, which has been polished up with a new set of riffs and a bass vibe for this performance. As expectedly as ever they end randomly unexpected, singing Women Of the World as they pack up and clear the stage.

Sue Pugh & David Lambert @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecDavid Lambert and Sue Pugh take to the stage for an intricate set of acoustic numbers – it’s rare to hear the sort of quality they produce in a pub environment, as this is normally that which is found in the folk club. Sue sings an unaccompanied solo which has us spellbound, those of us in the front section, anyway. They finish with their strong rendition of Ins’allah.

Fish Out Of Water @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecFish Out Of Water are playing their third gig ever for their Solid Air debut; dubbed beforehand as a Fairport Convention/Pentangle cross, they are simple acoustic once guitarist Ash drops his problematic tech, and possibly sound the better for it; their voices are exposed and it works really well compared with what’s gone before – especially female lead vocalist Jen’s voice. They provide our first Christmas song of the evening- While Shepherds Watched, to the tune of The Animals’ House Of The Rising Sun, before embarking on a fun journey as pirates…

Mother Ukers @ Solid Air Christmas Special 19 DecMother Ukers finally take the stage, and start with Step On, the song Conrad & I featured on last weeks show to promote this gig. As part of their performance we are encouraged to first imagine lead vocalist Jonty as Debbie Harry / Blondie for Heart Of Glass, then envision him dressed in purple biker leathers for Purple Rain. While these are both scary images that I don’t want to dwell on, the music is a lot of fun and entertaining – Ness is even happy to stay through to the end, an unusual occurence. Thanks to all who played and created entertainment.

Fish ‘n’ Kyps Evening

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Fish - Fish Heads @ Mr Kyp

Having had a long day (started on the 05:12 train) away in London I catch the majority of Fish and the Fishhead’s acoustic set at Mr Kyps. They’re running through some of the classic 80’s Marillion material, with Fish breaking off and telling stories, particularly when asked what happened to his head (he’s lost his trademark hair). At the point I get my head into gear he’s asking for requests, which he receives in plenty and ignores or cusses most of them away.

He decides on Jigsaw, and has to look up the words from a folder of his back catalogue, still joking all the way. His voice is still steady and sure, even if some of the high range pitches I’m familiar with from the ’80’s recordings are absent. Its all good. He takes 5 minutes to interact with the crowd with regards sex and relationships, before launching into Just Good Friends.  Something else – he’s continually chucking in references to a Mk II Jaguar he’s seen in a garage window here in town…

Fish - Vigil - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsHe shares an interesting view of Cuba and Che Guevara comparing relative freedoms against living in invisible boxes before launching into Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors – its even more relevant now than it was in 1989 when written. For this he’s walking around the crowd, telling the story through the song – he gets to the inevitable line “I’m just a voice in the crowd”, and exhilaratedly shouts “I’m in the crowd”. Things go totally silent at the close … “The deadliest weapon is truth” before the applause somewhat detracts from the moment. This perfectly leads into Fugazi – messed up world (radio rules mean I’m not about to publish the proper interpretation…).

Frankie - Frank Usher - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsFossy - Foss Paterson - Fish Heads @ Mr KypsWhat I’m enjoying  about the whole gig is that the entire big sound I’m used to from hearing the studio or live albums is being reproduced on an acoustic guitar by Frank Usher, and a RD-700SX keyboard played by Foss Paterson.

For the encore Fish breaks into Sugar Mice, with the story of how this was written in 1986 before mobile phones, about having arguments over long distance (and uber-expensive) phone calls from the USA to back home, when he’s had to beg a venue manager to be able to even make the call. This is even more special for me than the other greats he’s included tonight – it was this song that introduced me to Marillion in the first place back in 1987.

This has been an amazingly intimate gig, and so much better as a result.

Mother Ukers @ Bhone end of the ride @ ChampionsOn to the Bhone End Of The Ride event at Champions – grandmaster of Bhone Tony Foster is off to new pastures so has thrown a farewell party. Saturday Sun were on the bill, and Mother Ukers are just finishing up as I arrive, doing their usual messed about versions of classic songs.  Tone himself is in mellow mood, it’s pretty much the last many of us will see of him as he departs more or less immediately after this gig for his new home in Edinburgh.

end of a long night after a long day - thanks Cellar Bar CrewI drag myself home via the Cellar Bar, where astonishingly the Rubber Soul bands have long-since packed up for the night – it’s only just gone midnight when I arrive.  Some of the female Cellar Bar Crew wander in dressed in fabulous evening dresses, sporting Movember mo’sista moustaches.  Soon the eye-liner is out, and we all end up looking something like this…  What an awesome evening, to top off what had been an eventful (if long) day.

November’s Solid Air Show then Open Mic

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Its the turn of Connie from Solid Air to be my co-host on the show tonight; we had Paul Tucker entertaining us with stories old and new, and playing songs from some of his former bands. Between Paul and Conrad there isn’t much that’s happened in the music scene in the area that hasn’t escaped their attention; makes for a very interconnected view of the circuit, since they can link all the various muso’s together with the assorted bands they had, are or have been in.

On to Chaplins for the regular open mic, and a couple of new artists I’ve not seen before, but need to see again – Fawnamarine (Jacqueline Hanna) does a quiet couple of songs; she normally plays acoustic bass, and yet is a multi-instrumentalist – samples are on Soundcloud (check out Movin’ On). Linford Dunston takes the mic after Jacqueline and amazes with his presence.  Alisha does some covers showing off a very sweet voice, then, unusually for an Open Mic, a full band set themselves up.

Milk Machine @ Chaplins 9 Nov — with (l-r) Flemming Fiol, The Crowman, Hawkeye Houlihan, Thomas Taff Morse and Andy Jack Ratt.The Milk Machine (Hawkeye Houlihan & friends) have decided to do a rare UK set – they normally only play in Denmark. Its very Irish in nature, a blend of country punk folk and all good fun and lively. Their version of Another Brick In The Wall is very surprising; totally unguessable by the intro that is given to it. They also look so serious while performing so humorously. Next up Kraftwerk’s The Model, totally originally covered as is The Doors’ (People are) Strange. What I like is one of the chaps just starts, and the others immediately know what’s being played – no flaff. They announce “a waltz” and all immediately launch into yes, a slow waltz version of Anarchy In The UK, full harmonies and everything! What a great night.

Pink Moon’s Third Birthday

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As the title suggests, 3 years ago Solid Air started their acoustic night called Pink Moon on alternate Tuesdays in Chaplins and latterly, the Cellar Bar.

Jemma & Annie Pink Moon 3Tonight we’ve had Parallel Universe, Solid Air Conrad’s alter ego with Si Genaro (who only tend to show for significant Solid Air events), Jemma Davies solo, later joined by Annie Winter for some duets before Annie solos, new band Casini Division then old hands Mother Ukers.

Jemma then Annie are on as I enter, they do some guitar and vocal swapping, they’ve brought a vocal crowd with them. There is quite a crowd here overall, band supporters, and moreover Solid Air supporters – those who enjoy experimental and acoustic music

Casini Division Pink Moon 3Casini Division start out looking very nervous – eyes shut, turning away from the crowd. What the nerves don’t mask is the latent talent that they have. Vocalist Lizzie has a good voice, there are some interesting effect generations, and usable backing tracks. In all they foretell promise of good high energy things to come in the future as they develop their direction . They also have a sizable, vocal crowd, always positive on a Tuesday night. I find out afterwards they had EP’s available, they’ve all gone by the time I speak to them, so no chance to play them on the show…

Mother Ukers Pink Moon 3Mother Ukers are allocated the graveyard slot, and sadly some of their audience have already had to leave. For the uninitiated (like I was) Ukers is pronounced you-curs (as in ukeleles). They start with Firestarter (Prodigy), then into 20th Century Boy (T-Rex) like no other versions I’ve heard – I also didn’t realise there were a variety of ukeleles, having missed the ukelele orchestra when they’ve gigged in town, the additions being a bass and a tenor ukelele.

They carry on throwing all types and genres of music at us, Lucifer’s Blues, Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon), Bowie (Space Oddity), The Cure (Love Cats), Happy Mondays (Step On), polished off with a Beatles medley.

All done in differing styles, not simply induced due to the nature of the instruments (well, except Love Cats – nothing can disguise that bass line).  There are also lots of interjections and self-mickey takes – “three big blokes with small instruments” and similar comments. All in all an enjoyable (if late) evening – Happy 3rd Birthday Pink Moon.