Sansara HopeFM Show & gigs

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Sansara @ Hope FM, 20 Feb 2013

Sansara @ Hope FM, 20 Feb 2013Sansara were one of the bands I’d yet to have the pleasure of hearing live – no more after tonight. They perform four songs live (ambient acoustic), we have another from their first EP, and there is plenty of talk and laughter about their next upcoming release, videos made and making, a tattoo fund- and awareness-raiser, and their various gigs. The full show can be heard on mixcloud.

Krista Green @ O'Neills, 20 Feb 2013On to O’Neills where Krista Green is playing some tunes accompanying herself on ukelele. She’s later joined by Leo on tambourine as she plays out songs from her latest (live) album.

A quick trip to the Anvil for a catch up with Sansara after the show to sort out some further details. The open mic / grand jam is uninspiring so I’m not tempted to stick around and head back to O’Neills.

Blue Demon @ O'Neills, 20 Feb 2013Comedy duo Blue Demon are performing their last ever set of four songs as one of them is moving away up North. As its a celebration the rowdy juice has been flowing a bit making it more novelty than duo.

Si Genaro @ O'Neills, 20 Feb 2013Si Genaro is our penultimate act, rare for him to be at O’Neils on a totally Lost It Wednesday night as he comperes the Tuesday Night revolving Door Open mic night here. Leo again shares some of the songs with him. He’s on good form tonight, he’s also been roped in as compere also, so Leo introduces him with what Si describes as his best intro ever. I don’t really need to write about his music here, as he’s doing all the usual beat boxing, medleys / mixtures and amusing talk between the songs.

The last act are More Than Solitary – I apologise to Taff and Jack before they go on as I leave for the evening, missing their set.

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Voodoo Vegas Album Launch

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A new venue for me tonight, The Talking Heads in Southampton, hence a first gig in this guide from this neck of the woods. Its the launch party for Voodoo Vegas’ long awaited studio album, and after a couple of false starts they’ve chosen this venue for the celebration

Si Genaro starts first, making this a bit of a Bournemouth invasion – Si Genaro @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012he’s opted to sport a gimmicky head torch thing because “he’s supporting two rock bands so needs to make something more of himself as an acoustic artist”. Starting with Dark Star, the beat boxing is already present from the start, tying into the song stucture (“break it down”, as we go into a bridge segment). Lots of Si’s banter is made of Si and (Voodoo Vegas’) Lawrence sharing a honeymoon together, and what they got up to together. What is missed is the reason for them sharing (a fiancée walking out before the weeding with the honeymoon booked, so the best mate is taken instead). Magneto is played out with the usual array of medley, then Phoenix, where he plays more of the straight guitar as demonstrated at the folk club, as is A Touch Of You a few songs later (where he loses the head torch gimmick – needs to be aware of the gravity of the situation, as he puts it)

Voodoo Vegas have played a lot of The Lash @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012support slots for UK Guns And Roses when the latter have been touring; The Lash are three members of that band, hailing from Gloucester they start the rock for the night. Second song Time Bomb gives the classic song about a night out and those that one sees a decent twist, with big drums and fast bass work. They give some treatment to Billy Bragg with a decent set of lead guitar riffs. Its not hard to notice they like drawing out the endings, long drum rolls and continuous chords, they also give a couple of songs to their barefooted drummer to lead, such as an Eagle Eye Cherry cover. The lead guitarist has a great looking and sounding white PRS-style, yet spends a lot of time tuning it. Their original material is pretty energetic, tuneful and good to bounce along to. What they do to the Ace Of Spades is interesting, with an allusion to U2’s Bullet The Blue Sky with the drums and bass intro, before breaking into the verse, the whole song given a break beat feeling, while still retaining its origins. Cleverly done, pulled off well and this crowd love it.

Voodoo Vegas @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Finally we get to the big off, and its a good attempt at a grand entrance with some trance rock while the band enter an empty stage, and kick off big time with No More, then straight into Out There. Lots of plugs for the album as to vbe expected, while the awesome tunes continue with Bullet then A Perfect Girl. Lawrence @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Lawrence is a great front man, bigging up the crowd, bigging up the lead riffs as they are bounced between Meryl and Nick, Ash pulling some great cliche poses
Steven Green has been stolen from UK Guns And Roses to play keyboards for Voodoo Vegas tonight, that and the pretty perfect rhythms from Matt’s drumming are all making this a true night to remember.

Meryl (rare acoustic) @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012 The acoustic guitars are broken out after Tied Up, for What I Pay, a new one written and recorded specially for the album. Mary Jane follows, then Cheeky Riff (stolen from Focus Pocus). Ash, Meryl @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012King Without A Crown has been reworked for the album, thanks to producer Pedro Ferreira, and is played out in the new form tonight. Lost In Confusion has also been reworked, with a keyboard intro prefixing the well known guitar lead. Ash, Theresa Smith @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Theresa from Silent Prophecy provides additional vocals for this ballad, formerly known by that title. Theresa stays on stage for The Ferry Song, which has been given a very dirty delta blues twist. What surprises me is that she leaves for So Unkind, which featured Antonia Edgeley-Long on the prior live album. Mind you, it again has been glammed up thanks to more keyboard work, and I guess the new album warrants a different version than having a female vocal track.

big hair @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012So Unkind proves very popular with the crowd, nearly every line being thrown back at the band, and we have Jimmy Silver as a mini encore (they don’t like bothering with all that encore rubbish, as Lawrence says). They do reprise King Without A Crown as a finish; this is subsequently released as a single with video footage from this gig

Ant Henson Leaving Party

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Si Genaro @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovSi Genaro is on stage back-announcing Rachel Henson‘s Imaginary Jam Band as I walk in, he then takes the music floor with a couple of surprisingly decent and straightforward tunes – he’s giving the beat-boxing a miss (apart from the last song of six) instead playing and singing his songs au naturel. Something that works well is whistling between his teeth, with a touch of reverb its very atmospheric. Shows that as well as being the performance, he can also be a performer.

Hannah Robinson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovHannah Robinson starts her set with Monster, and continues with some more great work. Its better hearing her in this folk club venue, even though its noisier than a normal folk club evening, its still quieter than the music pubs and clubs she normally frequents. Her voice is very clear, the guitar work very open and delicate.

Ant Henson @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovAfter a short interval (where I take the opportunity to catch up with some of the great and the good in the room) Ant Henson takes to the stage. I’ve not heard him in such a long time; I realise I’ve missed the rotund sounds from his 12 string when I hear them again.

Ant Henson with Nicky Hann @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

He’s inviting various people to join him in songs, Tom Francis starts with him on Djembe, first joiner is Nicky Hann on flute for something fairly contemplative; they explain that she was the one that really got him gigging through a Parisian busking tour years back. Ant Henson and Fran Milner's helping hands @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovLeo joins next, he’s accompanied Ant with percussion pretty much everytime he’s played recently. They all leave and Fran Milner joins Ant, to “cover his mistakes on piano”, as he puts it. He does a cover of an Our Blinkered Eyes song, Glass Eyed Doors. Ant Henson with Tom Flanery & Si Genaro duelling harmonicas @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 NovNext up are  Tom Flanery and Si Genaro on duelling harmonicas as the pace picks up, such that the music is fast and furious by the time Tom Francis and Leo rejoin on percussion for 20 42, a supposed spoof song that kept its place in Ant’s set as its turned out he likes it.

Ant Henson with Tom Francis, Tom Flanery, Stephen King Leo @ Ant Henson leaving do, Centre Stage 11 Nov

A good evening, and a great send off.

I drop into Chaplins Bar on the way home, and Adam Phillips (Asp, Fish Out Of Water) has the whole bar clapping and hollering as he finishes an energetic song.

Alex Cope @ Chaplins, 11 November

Alex Cope is running the night for Andy Stock, and closes the evening, playing a few covers, and also inserting a lot of his own material, in the style of some of the covers

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.

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.

Bar Zuka launch Open Mic; Solid Air

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Chris Woodford @ Bar Zuka 10 OctMonday night means its Solid Air in the Cellar Bar, first I drop in on Ant Lewis’ new open mic in Bar Zuka. Aaron Gregory is just finishing, and Chris Woodford goes on as I’m there.

Spending that 20 mins or so means I miss Fran Milner’s Solid Air opening set; Si Genaro is out-performing himself on stage in an acoustic appearance. I wander upstairs to see some people, meaning I miss Krista Green’s first set for a while (she’s just returned from a break in Thailand).

Ant Henson & Krista Green @ Cellar Bar 10 OctWhen I return Ant Henson is sharing his stage with a couple of people during his slot, Krista dueting vocally with him in a cover of The One, then another friend on harmonica joining for the last couple, by which tiime he’s broken both G strings on his 12 string, hence going commando (his gag) for the closer.

Si & Si @ Cellar Bar 10 OctSi Crockett is doing yet another last gig ever, this time not with full band (since Ant is running aforementioned open mic, and Rio is unavailable.) So it turns into Si and Si double act, almost fitting for his last last gig, since its how he started before forming the band around him.

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.

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