Never The Bride & Other Saturday Night Music

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The Blues Machine @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptThe Blues Machine are fresh from a European tour in July & August (judging by the artwork on their signwritten van.) Now there’s a sign of a band wanting to be a stand out! This speaks of their set start, vocalist Dan calling the 50 or so crowd forward before strutting into a great rolling blues number, Barefoot Blues I think they called it. The Blues Machine stage tricks @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptAs expected from other bands I’ve seen him in, Ash is pulling some excellent tunes out; I’m struggling somewhat at the start to hear Dan’s clear lyrics over Connor’s solid drumming. Shame most of the set is covers, they have a great sound and pull out some good’n’dirty stuff that truly belongs in a smoky backstreet bar. Enjoyable blues, with a few stage tricks, and a Voodoo Child / Purple Haze medley to end. Overall disappointed that they were doing covers, yet pleased that they were well played.

Never The Bride @ Mr Kyps 22 SeptI remember Ian Peterson, he of the Livewire gig guide fame, telling me about Never The Bride a long time ago, and I never followed his advice until now. Never The Bride on first appearance are all that I like in a band, female lead vocals, intricate piano work, and steady drums bass and guitar. Less of the stage antics, concentrating solidly on producing an excellent sound, even while admitting to suffering from lack of tequila (The Blues Machine roadies drank it all)…

Lead Nikki takes a little time out to thank us for turning out at an original music gig, she’s adamant that these tribute bands are killing off original music. On that point, one stand out song is Tiger Bay, full of musical theatrics, and crowd participation. Its one of those anthems that builds and dies and builds again, very simple bass line holding things together as keyboards and guitar take turns at carrying accompaniment to the Been and Nikki’s voices. What isn’t noticeable until the very end of the gig (bit of a jam where tonight’s band of Fergus Gerrand, Murray Gould & David Levy are introduced) is that they’ve been on for a full two hours of greatness!

Dubheart @ Cellar Bar 22 SeptOn to the Cellar Bar, where a couple of parties are running for Harry’s birthday and Dave’s leaving do. Dubheart are still on stage long past midnight with a very extended set – all of the downstairs bar area is full with skankers, dancers and others who generally just don’t want the party to stop. What a good end to a great night of live music!

November Big Night Out

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Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovI start what portends to be a busy evening early, at the O2. The Blues Machine have offered me a ticket to come and catch them live, I’ve missed them in loads of places but the lure of an O2 set was far too tempting for me to stay away…ooh how cheap am I ? 🙂 I like their walk on. Ash (on guitar) playing a little riff as the house lights dim, walks on from stage left, he’s then joined by Dan (bass & vox) on stage right, who does a little intro speech, calls the crowd in (nice touch), and picks up the same riff. Meanwhile Josh has reached the drums to kick the opening song off.

Ash - Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovThey make use of the full stage they’ve been given, including use of the side stacks, which unfortunately aren’t spot lit by the crew, blowing their opportunity to shine a bit. They are also meandering around the portion of the stage they’ve been given like pros, and looking like they’re really enjoying themselves.

Blues Machine Doubled up @ O2 19 NovAs to the music, its well executed, confident, even if the first few are covers. During a Wishbone Ash song they do a move I’d first seen done at DMA 2011 by Evolver – switching their guitars to their backs, then lean over each other in a sort of hug to play each other’s instrument. They switch to a slow blues number, Dan’s vocal soars slightly too sweetly over the bass thumps, with the barest twiddles from the guitar. For their last number they name check each other out as each showboat solos, a nice touch. Good stuff & worth catching if one fancies a blues gig, even if tonight it seems only the young fans they’ve brought with them are appreciative.

Voodoo Vegas frontline @ O2 19 NovVoodoo Vegas are next in the line up here; they choose an all on stage entrance, backs to the crowd as the lights rise. Ash (bass) breaks into a fat riff as Lawrence (vocals) welcomes the crowd, then something happens and they reset and start again. Mishaps happen sometimes, tonight they just take it in their stride.
Voodoo Vegas action @ O2 19 NovThe music is great hard rock; there are a few new songs present to my ears before they break into King Without A Crown. This song is where they really let rip, all on the risers and posturing. Its really cool to see such a great local band on the best stage in town. They go on a harmonica led blues journey, through some rolling rock, then into So Unkind where they really hit it hard for the audience reaction.

Lawrence - Voodoo Vegas @ O2 19 NovThere is no question they are both bigging up themselves, while pumping and primping the crowd for Doors Alive, who they’ve got the gig through. Awesome sound, good stage use (they warrant the crew providing spotlights on the side stacks), and I think they’ve found themselves a new spiritual home 🙂

We’re kept waiting 30 minutes for the headline act. I don’t just want to walk out before they start – that’s what I commonly don’t like about some fans of some acts, however I have another set of gigs to get to, and really need to dash so only stay for their first song as a result of what I see as an unwarranted delay.

Doors Alive @ O2 19 NovDoors Alive start with a drum solo before keys are blended in, then joined by guitar as singer joins the stage. There seem to be vocal mic troubles so we wait further until that’s sorted out, however those sets of vintage key synths are really making some amazing noises.

Doors Alive key synths @ O2 19 Nov

Compared with Lawrence’s antics, they seem pretty pedestrian in this first song, I appreciate I’m not seeing a full representation of a set, as I split to the next gig. I later find out that this was pretty much the order of their performance; recognisable music, well reproduced, without any stage antics.

Pump Action Radio @ Inferno 19 NovDue to waiting around for Doors Alive, I arrive at the Inferno to find I’ve missed Escapefrom98. I hear they were good, punk style, and went down well with good crowd feedback. Pump Action Radio are getting set up as I arrive.  They are pumped up, with steaming tunes and massive distortion – too much for the sound system – they come across as just loud and unfortunately unintelligible, even through my decent ear plugs. Shame, as it means I make an early departure for the next gig.

Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The JungleThere’s a massive party going on at the Winchester, facilitated by the excellent Monkey Puzzle. The event has been called Glow In The Jungle – UV lighting is in abundance, meaning face painted individuals really shine, and the crapberry doesn’t do justice. Glow sticks are also available making a cool scene.

Dan - Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The Jungle

The music is amazing, their versions of staples such as Summertime are done as Jazz in a Turquoise mood – this is also true for e.g. Rock Steady, everything is pumped up to the max in a funk / jazz vibe. The mauve references continue as everybody is a translucent purple thanks to the lighting.

Where's Billy? @ Inferno 19 NovBack to the Inferno, where Where’s Billy? are playing a rock ballad. By all accounts in the crowd, they’ve been amazing, however vocals are suffering from the blown out speakers of the PA too. Their next song is jumped up rock, musical with good lead guitar riff and a strutting bass line. Shame these lads are from Kent (as their photographer Jenna informs me) – would like to see them again. Apparently they play the inferno semi-regularly, so keep an eye out for them.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 Nov

Brothers Grimmer are finishing the night at the Inferno. I like their intro “we’re Brothers Grimmer and we’re gonna rock you” then get straight on with the heavy music (again affected by abysmal vocals thanks to the PA). Music is good though, decent chord sequences and progressions leading to a tuneful performance. Visual entertainments are again provided by their break dancer – at one point he holds himself on a single hand for what seems like a whole chorus – excellent balance control.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 NovAfter they’ve performed a pretty brilliant rendition of Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past, I depart to hopefully catch the Deltorers at the Cellar Bar. I return soon after as the Deltorers have finished their set already (they only had a short set of material), and Brothers Grimmer are still rocking out big style, with some serious moshing action by the drunks in the corner. Makes for a great end for a good music evening albeit I’ve only seen 7 of the 10 bands I’d hoped for; I head back to the Cellar Bar for an after night-out hang out with some mates.