Lady Winwoods Maggot Show & O’Neills

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Lady Winwoods Maggot @ Hope FM studio 31 Oct The Lady Winwoods Maggot boys take over the banter tonight – well they need to as my head is somewhere else, and Chinners covers a lot for me. We start on about the rise of X-factor and the like, with their insights from behind the scenes as entrants to the first competition run. We move on to a lot of other subjects, prompted as a result of their latest CD, the Rise Of Karaoke Culture And The Death Of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

As sort of expected, there are a lot of off-air non-broadcast-able moments (perhaps we ought to provide an audience feature just to hear what goes on off-air), and some unexpected sharp cuts to songs or spots as some subject matter strays a bit close to the bone….

Si Genaro @ O'Neills 31 OctOn to O’Neills briefly, Si Genaro acting the compere fool and also entertaining tonight, made up as a rather sinister joker all in black and white. Playstation Hero is his last song, with lots of other bits thrown in, Monster Mash, shrieks and screams, raven calls and the like, in addition to the beat box material Si is known for.

Phil King @ O'Neills 31 OctPhil King is birthday boy tonight, dressed as a mummy he fits in well with the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie shown in the background. He’s brought a sizable crowd to party with him, who seem to like it as he starts with one of my faves of his, Life’s Rich Tapestry. Then debuting a new song, full of bass notes and trademark twiddles and chord progressions. Get Together is accompanied by a dancers floor show thanks to Amanda and Martine, I take my leave for the evening.

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Easter Festive Beginnings

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Kathryn Price, 5 April @ InfernoIt’s the Thursday before the Easter long weekend, tonight I start at the Inferno, where Kathryn Price is opening the weekend long Infestival 2012. Acoustic music tonight with Kathryn, Tom Clements, Simon Lane, Karl Hayman and Phil King. Kathryn has a good strong voice, and she’s giving her all for what must be a pretty soul destroying gig with few active punters (though many people in the bar) and the air con blasting out cold of all things on a night like this one.

States Of Matter, 5 April @ Litten TreeStates of Matter are playing at the Litten Tree. They were guests on the radio show while I was away, courtesy of Radio Boscombe. They are loud (yet not enough to need earplugs) rock (and are good at it), have decent stage presence, and then go for the popular vote with their fans (of which there seem to be plenty here) by covering Summer of 69, straightforward though tight.

Simon Lane, 5 April @ InfernoSimon Lane has moved on to covers at the Inferno when I return, in his words the crowd here didn’t seem interested in his original material, and only slightly more interest in covers, even though they are well performed; his mature voice has great tone, and the guitar work is pretty solid, throwing in alternate chord work to classics such as House Of The Rising Sun. He’s acting as compere tonight and is including this in his act, trying to win over those that are here and interested.

Tom Clements, 5 April @ InfernoTom Clements is next here, starts with a cover before going into his own material, showing out some of the amazing finger skills he’s picked up over the times. I don’t need to say much more since I said it all at his Chaplins debut.

Yellowgroove, 5 April @ O'Neills O’Neills now, and Yellowgroove are just hitting their stride, moving from covering All Right Now into original Son Of A Working Man, with a drum-led interlude while they switch instruments and Simon works up the crowd. The party mood contimues as they stroll into new one That Man is An Animal, which they almost tribute to Jim Marshall of Marshall amps fame, who passed on today.

Morphic Fields, 5 April @ Cellar BarI leave during cover Stuck In The Middle to see Mutant Vinyl at the Cellar Bar, only to find I’ve missed him, and Morphic Fields are on by now, playing a blend of songs containing some kicking rock and smooth jazz/soul, all in one song in one case, very clever and they make it work really well.

Karl Hayman, 5 April @ InfernoKarl Hayman is on in Inferno, its rare that I’m at the same gig he is nowadays for whatever reason. His voice is quite unique in tone and timbre, and he’s good with guitar too, though no one is really here actively listening which is a big shame – he’s pouring his all into the set, mixing things up a little.

I end up at O’Neills hanging out with the crowd there, totally missing Phil King closing at the Inferno – my bad.

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Final

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Ali (and later, Martin) from Constellation join me in the studio this evening.  Despite being together and gigging for over a year, Constellation only hit my radar through entering the 2011 Dorset Music Awards, where they reached the Semi Final stage. I’ve written much about them as a result on this blog. 

Having the chat in the studio is enlightening about how they formed from friendships formed at classes in music technology, and how Ali was subsequently recruited as a vocalist.  We also talk a little bit about now old song The Flower Song, and about their supported charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers

The songs played are special exclusives, prepared yet unfinished cuts from their latest recording sessions, a CD to be produced real soon now.  As ever, really enjoyable, made more so by fan interaction via received texts, calls and emails from fans.

I’m then (in slow time) off to the Bournemouth Unplugged Final in O’Neill’s.  Its been a long journey from that first Heat in February, perhaps made more so by the mad rush to get from the studio to the bar in time to hear the first act.  Of the 32 acts entered, many have been amazing, I’ve picked up many new guests for the show. 

Of course there have been some that have been good, but just uninspiring – there are too many people that are picking up a guitar, strumming some chords and putting over lyrics – it’s not as easy as that, but even so need to be something a little bit different to stand out from the crowd. 

Overall, it has made for some nights of amazing music, even if it means continuous cajon playing (the unplugged bit effectively means no drum kits) for percussive accompaniment.  I’ve also been surprised to see my preconceptions blown away on some occasions, when having to structurally break down music into objective categories to define what’s best.

So, four acts in the final, Si Crockett, Chris Woodford, Phil King and Krista Green.  Every one of them plays what many say is their best set ever. The pub is absolutely packed – other artists from the competition, loads of fans of local live music, meaning the atmosphere is electric, and gives one a chance to catch up with nearlyeveryone who’s anyone on the circuit.  Enough of my ramblings, on to the prizes.

ITG song writer award.

This is for the best overall songwriter in the competition.  Martin from ITG productions wants to reward people with good original content and amazing tunes.  Goes to Ant Henson.

TL sound.

This is for PA hire, studio recording time and other related goodies.  Goes to Si Crockett.

Dreadlock photography.

This is for a free photo shoot by one of the upcoming portrait photo stars of the music scene, Old Bloke. Goes to Si Crockett, “for playing the best I’ve ever seen him play”

Purbeck Folk Festival.

Here Cath Burke is looking for an act that will fit particularly well into the vibe of this specific festival.  Goes to Krista Green.

Endorset in Dorset.

Gee starts by saying he isn’t used to and dislikes this judging lark (thanks for the support Gee, we’ve had to do this for 3 months!) and gets involved this time as the festival organiser available.  Goes to Chris Woodford.

New guitar (vouchers).

This was delayed with the main prize as they’re both awarded by Fiona, O’Neill’s manager. Its £350 worth of vouchers for a new guitar, since she wants the receipient to choose one for their style, rather than force something unwanted on them. Goes to Phil King.

Overall winner Bournemouth Unplugged 2011.

Finally we get to the end of the night – it’s been delayed (along with the previous prize) for 10 minutes beyond the others by Ant in the interests of suspense.  Fiona announces the winner as Krista Green, who wins a nice silverware trophy, a string of pub gigs at O’Neill’s bars in London, and rapturous applause.

Well done to all who entered and got through to any stage in the competition, particular shouts to Ant Lewis from Fairplay for organising everything, to Steve from TL Sound who’s been there each week driving the PA system, and to Fiona for setting aside most Wednesdays to allow musos to invade the bar mainly on their terms!  Also fellow regular judges Harry from Chaplins, Tone from bhone for the heats, Cath from Purbeck Folk Festival for sitting in occasionally, and Martin from ITG for taking some heat with me for unpopular decisions.

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 & Bournemouth Unplugged Quarter Final 3

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Bit of a hit and miss show tonight – my guests baled on me with about 20 hours notice, so I populated the time instead with many promoters providing details of their wares:

Trev Hill from Dorset Music Awards: final in the O2 Academy this Saturday – unheard of to have local bands in on a Saturday night. Trev also talked about Smokin’ Aces (feat. Mutant Vinyl this Friday).

Tone Foster from bhone: a weekend of fundraising gigs for Julia’s House and Dorset Cancer Fund over the May Bank holiday

Andy Razz from Chaplins: the weekend highlights inc. Andy Stock band supporting Friday night’s entertainments.

Pete from Apples & Snakes regarding Thursday night’s poetry slam competition between Southampton and Bournemouth.

Finally a phone in from Dave of the New Forest Pit Ponies, who will be guesting on the Radio Boscombe show in a could of weeks.

As usual at present, I leave early to dash to O’Neills for Bournemouth Unplugged. Mischa starts and again I’m leaving my judging comments here.

Mischa

MischaVibrant. Great Up stuff
Timed percussion on Air I Breathe
City Breaks improv jam percussion. Good effort & different with the tone poem style. Don’t need to tell us (upfront) its a new untried song – we wouldn’t know otherwise
Only applause from crowd during set, whoops only from me that I can hear!.
Starting to sound samey y 3rd song Memories
Lots of patter from Mischa, including judge schmoozing !
lots (too much?) ukelele compared to cello
Great bop at end with Overworked & Underpaid. Typical Mischa putting his all into it.

Us judges get told off at the end for applying some constructive criticism vocally during our feed back section.
Only nice comments allowed vocally in the pub, it seems.  Specifically we’d mentioned the bit about ukelele rather than cello, and Mischa had changed his set that night as a result of comments from the Dorset Music awards.  My response was to ask him to turn and read the screen (where the Bmth Unplugged logo was displayed)!.

Dan Rumsey

Dan RumseyStill got those untrimmed guitar strings (that I commented on at DMA heats)
Nice choice of progressive chords in 1st song (missed name)
She Wolf different style guitar still similar vocally
Has a (vocal) posse with him, yet not really catching on around the pub (unlike Bob Fletcher’s masterclass last week)
“La’s” are brave and show confidence that hasn’t really been that present so far. 5th song.
Also tuneful wailing going up the octave
His stuff grows on you.

Phil King

Phil KingSounds surprised to have a posse. Starts with Life’s Rich Tapestry, one of my faves of his
Good variety chords, finger work,
Good banter to cover tuning, and noticed the out of tune (+1 tech recovered)
2nd Irish style ringing the tempo changes.
Clear lyrics throughout so can properly judge the song writing ability
Come Together is done in a totally gritty manner, taking a low chord approach rather than the high chord in the riff
Good intro to Iridescent Lightbulbs showing off a range of techniques before launching into a solid yet repetitive sequenced riff, broken by bridges and false endings
Good variety of song choices in the set overall – high originality for that.

David Mansell

David MansellGreat ballad opener – rich
Keeps it to a low key set for all songs
Clear voice, rich resonance on the guitar.
Great story telling through the songs.
Not really demonstrating different styles either vocally or on the guitar
Not the type of music to cut across here, which is a shame as it’s good mellow stuff

 On the night the two acts to gvo through are Phil King and Mischa – the latter only clear by half a point.  I feel a bit churlish as Mischa hasn’t stuck around, I suppose being ill and yet still perfoming like he has has to be taken into considedration!

Show & Bournemouth Unplugged 8

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Ben Pluck (Aim To Misbehave) on HopeFMTonight I have Ben Pluck with me in the studio, he’s one quarter of Aim To Misbehave, a young band who have a heavy/death metal background, yet are reinventing themselves as a result of grabbing hold of a synth.  We have a great time talking music and other things – Ben is young, yet has lived a bit and has some great stories as a result.  He says he’s enjoyed himself, and is disappointed the rest of the band can’t make it.  He also asks for a photo with me – taken in the studio. After what seems far too short a time, the show ends and I’m off to O’Neill’s again for Bournemouth Unplugged, and my last time of judging the heats.

Sofi Reed BU heat 8Sofi Reed starts, outside of the previous billing so I was unprepared for her appearance. In my head I have to forget how amazing her recordings are and go by what I hear and see in front of me. She is confident, a booming hello to the crowd and straight into the songs. I’m tempted to say her cover is her own Breathe, it is so far departed from how I’ve heard her do it before. She chooses Dusty’s (Son Of A) Preacher Man instead, which she says is hard as she doesn’t play covers at all. For her last song Becki (Kimari Raven) is invited to duet – and its a really good performance for one rehearsal and two hours notice. Talking to her afterwards she admits she wasn’t that confident and was unprepared. Well, it didn’t come across that way at all! We also have a good laugh over some of the expressions I’ve captured on camera (not going to be repeated here).

The Sabres BU heat 8The Sabres are next on stage, Richie stridently calls out the tracks, lots of name checks and audience inclusion – they know what’s needed to gain and then keep a crowd, even though they’re sitting down which instantly sets a different tone from standing to perform. Their energy is infectious, they are playing big chords and also intricate picks, Richie drops his pick then recovers it barely missing a beat in the process (I wasn’t going to mention that, then he did – yes I had noticed and was going to gloss over it Rich!)
I Want You Back by the Oysterband is their cover, featuring very high vocals that Rich admits after he can’t fully pull off – I hadn’t noticed though.

Phil King BU Heat 8Phil J King closes this stage of the competition, as another entrant hasn’t turned up. As a solo guitarist one could think there are limitations to what’s possible. Phil is one of those players who can disprove that – that just one man and a guitar, harmonica and voice can provide so much entertainment seems unfair. His songs are uplifting, lively and positive. Counting Crows’ Rain King is his choice of cover, and it fits his voice and mood of his set pretty perfectly. He holds a high note in a chorus, and generates some complimentary shouts as a result.

With all the acts tonight, I’m generally familiar with the songs, which ironically means I have to be harsher on myself for the judge scoring than if I was unfamiliar – I know what all the acts are capable of, and trying to ignore that preconception is hard, when we’re asked to go on the performances we see. Hence I feel those I know have to work harder than those I don’t to impress me, so I can stay true to myself and remain fair.

Si Genaro BU heat 8 entertainsSi Genaro closes the evening in his own inimitable style. He has originals and covers a plenty, thrown together with beatboxing, chants, lyrics, all interspersed with anecdotes; he says he went out with Rhianna for a week, which is how he learnt one particular song he’s doing. Looking him, it’s hard to put together the noises with the lip movements, its all so slickly done.

A Frenetic Pink Moon

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Phil. J King is just starting when I arrive – I spoke at length about him a few gigs back – suffice to say this time I get to hear my favourite track of his, Life’s Rich Tapestry – loaned guitar and all (broke a string in the first song – big thanks to opener David Brown for being generous) .

Iridescent Lightbulb and Pointless Graffiti also please this critic, well written, and offering different musical perspectives between them. Each of these are available on Phil’s 2009 EP Life’s Rich Tapestry, available from Phil at gigs, or by messaging him.

Next up Annie Winter and Jemma Davies; they’ve picked novelty name Constable for this gig, starting by a debut of a track penned last night, fresh indeed. Annie plays, Jemma sings. They’re very giggly and a lot of fun, not taking themselves at all seriously, even though the song topics feature strong issues such that the giggles and crude comments are a bit of a distraction.

It’s also interesting to hear their alternating voices as Annie solos the second song; Annie much like a deep Stevie Nicks, Jemma more of an Amy Winehouse. It takes until the fourth song for them to sing an arrangement together, Jemma harmonising in the chorus of a song predominantly Annie’s. They switch the guitar over for one song, Jemma’s turn to be doing the solo, before handing back Annie’s musical dominance.

Next up an amalgam of Quinns Quinney and Jack Ratts. The instrument mix is something else – bouzouki, washboard, fiddle, acoustic guitar, two banjos and a bass guitar!

With this mix it’s no wonder they launch straight into frenetically pacey bluegrass – Cripplecreek up first. Eventually the vocals catch up with the music volume-wise, with 9 things going on all at once there’s a lot to keep ones ears occupied..

Jack Ratts feature one of the fastest pickers as noted by Andy Stock in bouzouki player Andy. He’s also calling many of the shots for this jam session – they’ve not played together before so everything is one big experiment, which works (for the most part, broken strings excepted). What I find vaguely amusing is my mate, Hawkeye, is up with the second banjo, however a string break causes him to miss out on a few songs, then he can never get back into it (so he comments after). Hawkeye is a professional troubadour, particularly playing in Denmark – shows that even pro’s can get thrown with this sort of playing.

Chris Woodford closes the evening on the nightshift, however I’m leaving before pumpkin time.

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