Dorset Music Awards Grand Final

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DMA logoWe start an evening celebration of local music in Dorset tonight at the (rarely visited for this hack) O2 Academy, with the new Dorset Music Award prizes for 2012.
One Best SongDisco’s Out (Murder’s In)
Best Album / EPConstellation
Favourite Venue (Voted By Musicians): Mr Kyps
Contribution To The Music Scene: HopeFM

DMA judgesSurprised and pleased with those results, HopeFM can only play a part in the scene because there is a scene to contribute and participate in, therefore are standing on the shoulders of all the other nominees in this catogory, promoters and studios alike. Mr Kyps have a great venue, I’m sure more bands have played other venues than Mr Kyps, however they are the stage local bands aspire to, so deserved for that. Since I love Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) and Constellation so much, I’m chuffed on their behalf for the music awards.

14 April DMA final - Know One pwn the O2 AcademyOn to the Best Live Act, and Know One start in grand style jumping all over the stage, making the most of the various risers and podiums; the fans are loud and vocal even above the massive bass whumps and brass/wind showoff. Dean drops off the stage and skanks around in the camerapit, before jumping into the crowd (security chasing him) while the others in the band continue. 14 April DMA final - crowd shot attemptThe interlude while he rejoins the stage is filled with crowd chanting as encouraged by the band via drum beats, and jumping on the risers. A great opener and setting a high bar for the others to follow.

14 April DMA final - Bad Magic rock outBad Magic work really hard to reach said bar, and in my mind do achieve this towards the end of the set, with the crowd finally jumping around to their hard rock. While some say they are a blend of Guns and Roses and Def Leppard (possibly why I’m not personally a fan of their music – I gave this up as I left my teens), their guitarist is awesome, and lead Chris’ Freddie Mercury-like posturings result in shouts from the crowd. A good performance, with all the movement worthy of this stage, and though I’m not into their genre, its a solid performance overall.

14 April DMA final - Peace Love & Gloves Peace Love and Gloves are next, we can’t get away from the goujon crowd shouts even as they are setting up. 14 April DMA final - Peace, Love & Gloves soft toy merch - very originalThe crafty mums -literally- have been busy behind the scenes making hundreds of Peace Love and Gloves logo soft toys, which are liberally thrown into the crowd. As ever the music is good, and Mark’s lyrics about life and love, won and lost, are insightful. The crowd are moshing from the off, everybody – band and crowd alike – are really happy to be here, and the exuberance shows.

14 April DMA final - PachangoPachango have the unfortunate task of combating a now very noisy crowd, there are shouts all over for all of the bands. How to do this? Kick off loud and proud, and blast us away with sax ensemble and awesome percussion. Making the most of the huge stage just in being able to fit, rather than active movement compared with say Know One, vocalists Selby and Claudia are the only ones dancing about. No one can deny the fiesta atmosphere they create, its really good to see all the floor area filled with moving bodies, not just the front mosh area.

14 April DMA final - winnersThe winners are announced – Pachango win all the festival slots, Peace Love and Gloves are given an unprecedented Larmer Tree second slot, and also scoop up the big prize. Big Congratulations to both those bands.

The result astonishes many, until one understands how the three judges reach their decisions – they each pick two bands, one for their festival, and a different for their award winner. All unanimously pick Pachango for their festival, and pick each of the other bands as their winner, creating a 3-way deadlock. All bands have performed well and are absolutely fantastic at what they do, yet are all deemed derivative of their chosen genre. Peace Love and Gloves are considered the most original and “now” so walk away as the best out of the deadlock.

Again we have controversy aroused from the passions all fans feel for their love of music, all it means to me is that music is the overall winner and that everyone can choose to walk away from the 2012 Dorset Music Awards celebrating the vibrant variety and passionate nature in the Dorset music scene.

14 April DMA final - all finalists14 April DMA final - Paddy - Dare 2 Festival14 April DMA final - Catherine - Purbeck Folk Festival14 April DMA final - James - Larmer Tree festival

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Busy Show

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As the title suggests, a really busy time on the show tonight, through me messing up my management and booking two bands.

Stop Go Sixty on LiveWire Live on HopeFM 90.1The by now well-established Stop Go Sixty are fresh from the gig they won in a national competition to support McFly. Their sound has changed quite a bit from when I last heard them, which was a few years back courtesy of the Dorset Music Awards, definitely boy band pop/rock, yet with a sharply defined edge to what they write and deliver.

They’ve been active on email, twitter and facebook and as a result I have a record number of calls, emails and texts coming into the studio, we also take half a dozen phone calls. We talk a bit about how they started, stopped, reformed and got to where they are now, and listen to their latest recordings.

Peace Love & Gloves on LiveWire Live Peace Love and Gloves by comparison are fresh, building their reputation, and still seem very much to be working out where they’re going and what’s happening around them. That main thing being the Dorset Music Awards, they’ve just come from the Semi Final stage and have found out they’re in the final at the O2, and say they’ve never worked so hard for anything – practicing 5 days a week between the Semi Final announcement and now (and probably on to the Final).

They play a few tracks live, and we also play out from their EP. Chinners from Rock Regeneration (their biggest fan) has also joined us in the studio – I hand over most of the interviewing segment to him and revert to the role of producer; with 7 of us in the studio it gets a little hot!

Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1

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DMA logoLooking back at this blog, I’ve not written up any gigs in the past two weeks, probably as I’ve been a bit of a hermit gig-wise due to other things going on;  I have been to some open mics though I rarely write these up…
Anyway, we’re here, Mr Kyps is open, we’re congregating here again for the annual two-week pilgrimage to enjoy the current ten best bands in Dorset, courtesy of the Dorset Music Awards 2012.

The General Public @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchThe hard job of starting off is given to The General Public, who take on the task admirably. Lead guitar and vocalist Mike makes a strong effort by calling in the crowd, who respond, and they kick off with a slow starter You’re Boring that warms up into their funk vibe. I love the chords in the middle of this one. A couple of songs and we’re into a vibed up version of Get It On. Here they take solo slots, and miss the opportunity to introduce each other to the crowd. Something that is good in this and a couple of others is their fade outs at the ends of songs, just done by them backing off, very clever. Badges are also being passed about in abundance – I’m talking with Mark from Peace Love and Gloves as they reach us, and he takes one too! Back to the music, and there’s some movement in the crowd to the irresistible beats. A strong starting act of our five tonight.

Paint It Blue @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchPaint It Blue are our second musical delight for the evening – and Fish has made a surprise appearance for the weekend (they played together for the first time in a while at last night’s Wheatsheaf gig). It’s as if he’d never been away, he’s perfectly blending in with the rest of the band as he does, they themselves are cranking things up and giving some amazing virtuoso demonstrations, while still keeping it together within the blues rhythms. During one slow number they leave Pete to do another solo, the rest of them just coming in with a single chord every beat so often – impressively tight.

Another thing good to see is some of next weeks bands’ members making an appearance in the crowd tonight, just enjoying the music, though I’m sure they must also be checking out the competition :).

Peace Love And Gloves @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 March Middle act tonight are Peace Love and Gloves, and as expected the most noticeable thing has been their crowd work, T-shirts are in abundance not only in the audience, but behind the bar and on stage crew members too. Bang Bang Bang is started to the “Goujon” chanted accompaniment, as are the rest of the songs in the set. Second song Ashamed is delivered with particular pizazz, the gaps and breaks are tight and together. Guest vocal poet Jordan makes a “surprise” appearance (throwing shirts – and I miss one) during Dance All Night, while a bit of a disco beat starts up from the guys. Later we’re also treated to our first moshable song in the unfortunately named I F* City.

Yellowgroove @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchWe have an extended introduction to Yellowgroove‘s set, tech problems with lead Simon’s acoustic guitar sorted by a changeover, while the rest of the band carry on with the beats and groove. Any frustration created by this is then let rip for the rest of the set, Simon from Yellowgrove Crowd Invasion @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchSimon starting by straddling the stage / barrier gap as Son Of A Working Man is entered, followed by an over-pumped Hero Wanted. I think they’ve found a groove with new song That Man Is An Animal they debut tonight – pacey and spiky, strong rock feel to the drums. They also give a makeover to Fading Out, it is punchier and a lot heavier on the drums and bass, except for a jazz-like riff to end, where they break down the instrumentals. They end with Blood On The Flag; even more martial than previous outings yet still has the guitar work sounding synth-like, that amazing pedal programming that I like so much oozing out into the Mr Kyps Auditorium. A big build to the energetic ending, Simon finishing off playing in the crowd after a stage dive. Awesome.

Know One @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchLast act tonight are Know One, starting with a nicely reverb and delay effected sax solo, they soon break into the thumping ska/reggae they’re noted for. Shame the crowd has thinned out, those remaining are far louder than the dedicated fans of the others we’ve had tonight, though there is still an occasional “Goujon” from the PLG crowd! Child Soldier is worked out well, slower than others, everyone gets down to the vibe. A nice touch – the crowd is shouting for Shot Down; its not on the set list. However they slip it in anyway, and not surprisingly people go even more nuts :). That’s what I really can’t capture in mere words here, the energy on stage, the entire front wooden floor moving with bodies gyrating and jumping, I can feel the floor shaking if I stand still!

Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 4

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DMA logoThis is a first for a long time – having to queue to get into a gig in Bournemouth, let alone queuing for a Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final. Apparently this can be blamed on Peace Love and Gloves and Yellowgroove, who have each brought large crowds with them.

Darren Hodson & the Southern Comfort @ DMA QF4 2 MarchDarren Hodson & The Southern Companion start us off in style with a bit of a country number before playing some awesome blues. This pretty much marks out their set, all of it with a South Coast USA vibe thanks to keys and Allman-esque guitar. As Chinners puts it, “its Country with Credibilty” – nice turn of phrase there from the rock lord… As they finish, I’m really left wanting more from these guys, definitely a good sign!

Escape from 98 @ DMA QF4 2 MarchEscapefrom’98 do not disappoint with their “don’t care I’m going to enjoy myself” approach. Encouraging us to jump, lunge, and generally get involved, the music is pacy and the songs racy. I’ve seen them play a couple of times now, this I think is the most energetic and enthusiastic I’ve seen them. Its really good in the last song to see them win over so many in the audience, Lennon jumping into the crowd, while Lee encourages most of the place into wild abandon.

Yellowgroove @ DMA QF4 2 MarchThird on tonight are Yellowgroove. I’ve made no bones before about my appreciation of Son Of A Working Man – they start with it tonight, with a big intro as they settle into what proves to be a highly charged set. The place is absolutely storming by this point – and the lads make the most of the huge crowd they’ve brought with them, dedicating songs, and – a nice touch – they have yellow roses they hand out to some of the ladies present. A very hard and nascent Blood On The Flag closes this most spectacular of sets, its just been really good music played and performed really well.

Peace, Love n Gloves @ DMA QF4 2 MarchFinally we get to perhaps the crowd’s most anticipated act of the night, fourth in are Peace Love and Gloves, accompanied by their now recognised fan shouts of “goujon goujon” – its on the T-shirts too just to make sure I don’t make that mistake again. They give the impression from the start that they have so much more to give, setting the expectation of only five songs early, knowing that their fans will no doubt want more. The music is maybe not as raucous as others tonight, its no less intense, songs being thoughtful and provocative – another example of capturing the societal mood at the moment.

The Devils Rejects @ DMA QF4 2 MarchLast on and much anticipated by me at least are The Devils Rejects, having seen them for the first and only time at the heats. They are yet another folk / rock / stomp band, yet with their own twist. They have big bass and drum base, with fiddle or accodian providing the difference. Again there’s lots of action in the crowd to the rocky and up tempo songs – they look to have brought some fans and won more in the process – the laudable intention of the awards, after all.

Brave Mariner @ Cellar Bar 2 MarchI try to carry on to Smokin’ Aces to catch The Wishbones, instead have a great set of songs from Brave Mariner at the Cellar Bar thanks to the former place refusing me entry due to capacity.  I don’t think I’ve seen Brave Mariner before (they don’t feature in the blog) yet I’m sure I’ve seen Angus (guitar) and Joey (vocals) in another band together.  Irrespective, they are playing some crowd pleasing tunes to the packed venue, with loads of jumping and shouting accompanying the songs, some of which are rock-like, some quirky antifolk, and all OK.  What a great end to a great night of really active and pumping music.

Rock Regeneration Birthday Bash

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Chinners & John @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 MarchRock Regeneration have been gig going for years, and blogging and reviewing them online for 12 months.  This is reflected during intervals between the four bands that are on, where the guys are not only compèring the show, but introducing themselves too, e.g here Chinners introduces John, who does much of the background work on their website.  A big thanks to the lads – they’ve got me down here to see four great bands, and all I need to do is give them this write up!  Well done for doing what you do, and Happy Birthday. My usual clash of priorities tonight, having agreed to review this gig and realising I had an earlier appointment, fortunately only down the road at the RNLI. Means I miss Peace Love and Gloves open this birthday bash, so I only get to properly see three of the four greats.

Empire Affair @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration PartyThere’s something to be said for taking the tempo of songs down just a little, Empire Affair seem to have done that tonight. It gives a lot more space to let the musicality shine, and allows for a lot more showboating, something these guys excel at. As Neil himself encourages us – “enjoy yourselves, as no matter what you do you won’t look as big a tit as me and what I do up here!” The band look is another set-apart from the crowd look – all in white makes a big difference to the normally black rock de rigeur dress. The set is the now standard remarkable for Empire Affair, Neil overacts splendidly, the others are cool on the guitars, drummer Darren is well spot on, a fantastically enjoyable set. Closer Take Me Down is messed about with a lot, bass riff from White Stripes Seven Nation Army underpins a lyric from Sweet Dreams as a sort of break beat, before crashing back into the usual good danceable stuff

The Frequency @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 MarchMr Kyps is becoming almost a regular venue for The Frequency, this is their 2nd gig here in as many weeks (they supported The Who’s Simon Townshend last time). They start with a huge build of guitars and a drum crescendo before breaking into what promises to be a storming set of tunes – until Dan (guitar) has a nightmare and creates a pause for switch and retuning. As expected this doesn’t throw them, they get on with being four pretty boys kicking out good numbers and pulling the crowd along with them. I’ve not seen The Frequency live for a while (despite many invites) either full on or acoustic, they have a curious mix of heavy chords and big choruses, with gentler open spaces that works well. Aus is using the stage well, threatening a crowd invasion for some parts to create more of a stir. Dan H-S takes advantage of the large stage too – in places the bass is silent, and he steps into the dark side-stage areas to visually emphasise the musical absence, a good touch.

Lady Winwoods Maggot @ Mr Kyps Rock Regeneration Party 1 March We have a great close to the night with Lady Winwoods Maggot, who pull no punches as ever with the Americana Death Western as they now dub themselves. The music is some of the best around, still, and the whole show is just fantastic, even cut down to an hour as it is, and without their lighting rig. On stage banter intersperses the numbers, some modern classics like Chase The Cat and Chupra Cabra, mixed with some of their more recent greats like some from the Buffalohead album including the title track, Billy Tango and O’Keefes Slide. I’m enjoying myself so much I don’t write many more notes here and now, it’s really good music, played really well, on a really good stage. Really good fun!

Dorset Music Awards Live Heats

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I started writing this halfway through the “DMA40”, 41 live bands over one weekend of amazing live music heats, for reasons that will become obvious as other blog posts materialise, I was unable to publish halfway through the weekend.  For those that don’t know, I had been invited to be on the judging panel for this, the most active event ever on the local music circuit.

I’ve spent 12 hours over two days watching, listening to and critiquing 39 bands (1 extra slipped in at the pre-heat stage, 2 didn’t make it), and while the upfront thought of this was daunting (12+ hours?, 40!? acts), during the day itself it’s an absolute delight.  As ever with the Dorset Music Awards, it’s a highly polished event, and somewhat charged (not as highly charged as some of the later stages can get) as many bands here are aware of how important these awards can be to careers.  I take my role in these proceedings seriously, yet hopefully good humouredly – we’ve all got to live with each other after this, after all…

Overall, the absence of ladies was particularly noticeable – particularly for the rock acts, hence I saw very little to differentiate vocally or visually, and just playing your stuff loud and proud isn’t going to help sway opinion.

It’s a little different this year – the bands can ask us for instant feedback after they’ve played; many unfortunately didn’t take this opportunity, however for those who are interested I have one hopefully two “good thing”s, and one perhaps two “room for improvement”s for each act (looking at it, much of these are repeated comments).  I’ll share these “verbal one liners” that have been shared with those bands that asked, Trevor and Richard have asked me not to publicly share anything about any of our thoughts on details (I’ll be writing individually to bands using the contact email the chaps provide).  I’ll also not be talking about who’s got through and so forth.

Judging Notes

There seem to have been an awful lot of rock bands this year, all playing good stuff, and only some providing anything more than just the music – and we are being asked to judge on live performance above all else.  To me, this means being good at performing, drawing in and working with an audience, a bit of stage movement where possible to suit the music and the mood, it’s not just about having good music, as that’s been proved to reach the live heats. As there were so many rock bands, those that captured our attention for whatever means were seen in a different light than those that just turned up and played (probably really good) tunes.

I’ve also seen many of these acts (25/41), some of those many times before, and some I would count as good friends (12/41).  To keep my impartiality, and prove for Richard and Trevor’s sake that I’m keeping impartial, these acts are “marked” harsher than they would normally.  We supply a “Yes, Maybe Yes, Maybe, No” score for each to enable uu to quickly seek agreement on the majority of the 20 that do or doin’t go through, then “haggle / agonise” over the rest.  I deliberately down-change friends to the next value along, and then rely on the other judges to provide their thoughts to put a band through either directly, or into the melting pot.

I also cannot count past performances (good or bad) into the mix.  I purely have to go on what is presented to me on the day.  This is very harsh, because the number of times I’m out mean I’ve seen bands generally play good gigs and bad gigs (that’s why I still keep the blog going after the first impetus, so I can look back at bands to see what I think).  This will often play against a band in these type of do-two-song competitions, as in the back of my mind I think I know they can do better, or worse, than what they’ve done.  E.g. I saw Mobius Strip on the Saturday night, not twigging they’d be back on the Sunday in the line up.  They performed well both times; on Saturday night they had a massively active crowd going for them, which wasn’t there in entirety on the Sunday.

Feedback Comments

As ever, these are my opinions, offered (as ever in my blog) in the interests of encouragement and yet to provide opportunity for improvement.  My opinions aren’t offered to try and pull down or discourage, but in the hope that those that go through will know something to try in the next rounds perhaps, and those that don’t go through perha

Day One

So to some brief notes, in order of appearance, we have:

Sepia Daze – Tough opening as the first band, and did good with this.  Energetic music, would like to see more audience engagement during songs.

Bad Magic – Good solid rock, well played and balanced.

Darren Hodson & The Southern Companion – great South Coast (USA) sound, longest name here, does the “Darren Hodson” bit need to be present? (later discussed it sets them apart from Darren Hodson solo).

States Of Matter – Tidy endings and well conducted to do this. Bit cliche rock. Consider more audience engagement.

Krista Green – Enjoyable.  Visibly get the crowd on your side if you can.

Veetacore – Good 80’s style (retro). Good crowd engagement – looking around etc.  Could smile a bit more.

Escapefrom’98 – Better than last time seen (see last week’s write up).  Good ska/punk and a lot of fun.

Robin Joynson – Good catch of vocal levels (enabling tuning) between songs. Good demonstration of confidence.

Voice of Reason – Lot of fun. Good voice.  Bass player hat entertaining (kept slipping over face).

Estee’s World – What you did would be good for street work, consider finding a DJ for live performance?

Ollie Mutter – Good working the crowd. Would appreciate more interest going on with the guitar work.

Pachango – Awesome.  Never apologise or comment from the stage on how feel about own performance.

The General Public – smashed it (was an amazing performance).  Could Hope (keyboard) stand up?

Sean Hatton (Solo) – Well played, well sung.  Brave and confident doing a new song (and telling us about it).

Know One – Again, another smashed it performance.  Uniforms good (only band noted to have a “look”).

Lets Go Safari – Liked the harmonies.  Good guitar work, but didn’t really “grab” me

Aaron Gregory – Can tell he’s absolutely passionate about the music, yet guitar sounded unclear and “mushy”.

Icarus Falling – Good contrast, and good vocal, though was unsure by the mumbled introduction to songs.

Shaun Gary Palmer – Good vocals and good guitar style, though it sounded “mushy”.

Yellowgroove – Love it. Like the jumping around and the audience incursion.  Normally have a crowd – didn’t see them this time.

Peace Love and Gloves – Good commercial sound, brought a huge crowd (though unsure what they were shouting).  Personally not a fan of the shouted lyric.

Day Two

Simon Lane – Good songs, good vocal range.  Unsure about the use of the music stand.

Dirty Jerkers – Good and loud (not overblown) despite the early start

Blue Stone Walls – didn’t show (think the same band didn’t show last year)

Tom Clements – Want to see again.  would be good for Bournemouth Unplugged (if it runs)

Constellation – Good engagement with the crowd. Second song a winner, unsure about the first (uniqueness)
Monkey’s Uncle – Good crowd winner.  Good harmonies. Cheesey dance, but I like it.

The Devils Rejects – Good songs well played.  Would like to see more stage animation to suit the music (second song better than first). [hard to find on facebook…]

Switchmen – didn’t show

Manikin Time Shark – Like the space they’ve given to each other to solo in.  As this is progressive rock (and niche) consider also dropping keys out for a time too, to make the music more accessible for non-prog fans.

JCJesus – Good bass and violin combination.  Not my preference of musical style but well performed.

Yoofs – Worked on the look re:hair.  Get out there and gain gig experience (easy to say, hard to do I know).

Paint It Blue – Tight band.  Clean guitar work. Hannah is an asset. They noticeably stuck around for much of the day.

Empire Affair – Good tunes and well performed.  Felt they lost the thread through being overblown loud.

Sketchy – Liked the keys work (although they didn’t seem to – used the F word).

Tim Somerfield – Here all day (+++). Good technique, ace timing (counting silence).

Space Ace Robot – What ?!?.  They’re enjoying what they’re doing, though it’s pretty inaccessible – futuristic Jazz.

Mobius Strip – Lots of moving about in keeping with the music.  Need to get the crowd moshing around.

Jack Grace – Like the groove, and like the vocal lines without the band being full on – different.

Pump Action Radio – Good solid rock, well played. Would need to be a bit more animate on stage for me.

The Deltorers – Good vocal work, and OK sounds. The live performance wasn’t stand-out (seen a lot of rock this weekend). [say they’re from Bristol]

Overall Impressions

What am I walking away with from seeing all these acts? Which ones were memorable? Which ones would I like to see go further?

Veetacore impressed me – they were the only band doing what they’d done – and I still have “Dogger Bank” running round my head, despite hearing loads of music since. (I have played this on the show, but even so it’s just memorable). They also one of the groups to feature a female lead, doubly memorable.

Pachango put on a great show – everything seemed to come together for them, though negative comments from the stage at the end spoilt it for me. Remembering back to last year (which I can’t count for the judging part of the job), the performance this time was so much better.

Know One seemed to be the only group that had thought through their appearance with regards a “uniform look” of black shirts and ties, they also played excellently.

Tim Somerfield seemed to have arrived before I did on the Sunday and stuck around for near enough the whole day.  He also played well, though his legendary customary crowd vitally didn’t seem to make an appearance for his performance. I also found out (at the end of the judging process) that he was supposed to have had a fuller band with him

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.