Hawkeye’s Birthday – A Poole Story

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Milk Machine @ Hope FM 15 FebIts a Sunday evening, I’ve been at a family party in Southampton all afternoon, and Hawkeye Houlihan let me know about his open celebration tonight, when one of the bands he’s in, The Milk Machine, were featured on the radio show a couple of weeks ago.  Much fun ensued on mic and while we were off air too – the photo kind of shows it all – 5 large blokes squeezed into a small box.

Quinns Quinney @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebBack to tonight, and Quinns Quinney (well, a much reduced version augmented by some The Milk Machine hangers on) are on stage at The Sloop, doing their usual array of mixed up covers, Eye Of The Badger, then a Greek dance version of Hit Me Baby One More Time (with orders not to laugh). Despite not being full complement, they are still playing their folk stomp material, fast, furious and demanding to be jumped to.

The Milk Machine @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebThe Milk Machine are in full effect tonight, even though Hawkeye has by this time been plied with enough rum to make him comically forget the set order, delegating (or delicating as he puts it) to the other members of the band both choice and vocals. Lots of Happy Birthdays and even a champagne presentation interrupt the set, with much merriment too. For their last song we have a kazoo orchestra to improvise a brass section, as the song is revealed to be Dance The Night Away

The Jack Ratts @ Sloop for Hawkeye Bday 26 FebThe Jack Ratts are the last band for this night, and have grown to a musically filling seven piece from when I’ve seen them before. Furious irish style, much like the Pogues thanks to the accordion and fiddle, and with added washboard from Crowman making a repeat appearance. Sidney on the mandolin and bouzouki has been in all three bands tonight, a bit of a master effort considering the frenetic nature of the tunes.

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Day & Night

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A Cushion for the legendary Pete Christie and his magic fingers, as made by NessBeen a busy bee today, cycled to Swanage for a railway thing, and took the opportunity to drop in on Pete Christie, Ness had made a cushion for his gigging stool which needed delivery. On return from there after a full day Ness and I go straight out to Soho in Christchurch with some of Ness’ friends (£2 for a squash – racketeering is alive and well in some areas!). On the way to the car we drop into the Thomas Tripp as Jon Cotton is there doing a rare pub gig, however by this time Mrs H really wants to go home, so we leave and I head to Inferno.

Kimari Raven & Kat Hattersley @ Inferno 14 JanKimari Raven is doing an entertaining set, she has Kat Hattersley with her on cello providing some variety. She starts an audience requested song, however it requires a capo she hasn’t got, so the key falls apart and she collapses in a heap of laughs and says some naughty things! Directly into her take of Nights In White Satin for a good recovery then into some more of her original material, including oldie I Need You. I’ve commented before on her playing confidence, this confidence has now matured into full on audience interaction, including dealing with hassle caused by the usual rowdy non-interested-musically crowd found here.

Escape From 98 @ Inferno 14 JanI’ve managed to somehow miss Escape From 98 at the other gigs they’ve played, so its feeling a little bit like cheating, seeing them perform a full set the week before I’ll be including them in the judging at Dorset Music Awards. They do fun punk rock, helpful as they have one of the loudest drummers in town in Mandy. They treat us to a brand new song, which is flaffed up a little bit, but its a lot of fun and they laugh it off recovering nicely.

EF98 muckabout after the messed gig :)To be honest its good they’ve got the humour, as over the slightly shot PA they would otherwise come across as yet another too loud band; their nicely harmonised lyrics are being lost within the energetic and wild music. This is sorted for a ska number, the title of which I can’t publish here (Radio Rules). There are other things not going all their way – Lennon’s guitar amp intermittently seems to give up the ghost, and Lee is struggling with memory issues – he seems to have forgotten a number of the lyrics, which he just has to laugh off – it’s good to see them not getting up tight and wound up by this – as demonstrated by their off stage antics…

Quinns Quinney @ Cellar Bar 14 JanOver to the Cellar Bar, where Quinns Quinney are taking a break (to retune their 12 string allegedly) before entering into costumed farmyard madness. I’ve not seen these guys play for a long time, a couple of years at least, and they’ve had a number of lineup (hence instrument) changes, and a lot more rehearsal time.

Quinns Quinney watering can trumpet! @ Cellar Bar 14 JanRather than making the play about being funnily shambolic, they are now a full on cowfolk outfit, though the exotic instruments are still a feature (suitcase drum, kazoos, watering can 😉 !) Also still present are the medleys – Eye Of The Badger ?! into Take Me Home to Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls. They try a new song, Charlie Brown, which works well. Mama Don’t Like… is still in the set, worked over and more presentable than before when I saw it, as are many of the other medley staples included tonight, meaning a good time is had by all in the packed bar.

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.

Lady Winwoods Maggot at the Winchester

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Yet again I miss the opening act, Quinns Quinney, yet they’ve clearly gone down well with the middle act of the evening, Katy Boyd and Benny Wain. Katy & Benny mention they are at Bournemouth Folk Club next month, and announced they’d like Quinns Quinney to join them on stage as the support act. Wait to see if that happens…

Katy and Benny play a mixture of country and bluegrass on their acoustic guitar and fiddle (with stomp box), mixing it up trying to create a frenzy. This is laudable; their acoustic nature fails to penetrate the lively and noisy crowd, despite Connie pumping up the volume levels on the sound system. Good enjoyable stuff all the same. Their folk club date (at Centre Stage) is Thursday 17 February (also at Chaplins Sunday 28 Feb and Wimborne in June).

The final act of the night are Lady Winwoods Maggot; they were on LiveWire Live last week as part of Connie’s promotion for tonight. Disclaimer needed here – I am a solid Maggot Fan (even though I rarely get to see them play), of both the old folksy stuff and the newer punkier element.

As ever they go all out. These guys don’t know how to put on a lacklustre performance, even when starting off to a reduced crowd, or even a crowd that are looking perhaps for more of a folksy sound (having had Quinns and Katy & Benny doing their bluegrass thing)

The band have been delayed as the last act on (graveyard rather than headline) and some of the crowd have already departed. Despite this, the songs are hard, the music harder, the couple of covers thrown in suitably “Maggottised”, and they get a usual entourage of dancers doing some “interesting” moves.

I remind myself (as I did last year every time I saw them at a Dorset Music Award gig) that I need to indulge myself in an evening of Lady Winwoods Maggot one night, instead of flitting about the Bournemouth venues as I am want.