Maggoty Parties, Frequent Hooligans

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Lady Winwoods Maggot @ Thomas Tripp 5 OctTonight I start at Christchurch’s Soho, where friends of Ness’ are having a bit of a birthday shindig. After a few pizza slices and drinks, off home by way of the Thomas Tripp where Lady Winwoods Maggot are playing

I walk in as they’re finishing one, and stick around for Cupra Cabra, Chase The Cat and Bad Moon Rising; Ness drags me out as the strains of My Hometown are playing out. The crowd are rammed together in the not tiny pub, most jigging around and shouting along to the infectious tunes. The boys are on the radio show on 31 October.

Hooligan Choir @ Cellar Bar 5 OctOn to The Cellar Bar on this wet evening, where Hooligan Choir are finishing what has been a promising set. More good guitar riffs while bass and drums play beats and rhythms that force you to jump around to.

The Frequency @ Cellar Bar 5 OctThe Frequency are our headline band tonight in the Cellar Bar, kicking off merging Sticky Little Finger into Run With You. They don’t appear to be set back by their loss of bass player, if anything using dep Jim has given Aus, Dan and Phil a new impetus. Phil particularly is playing some tricksy yet still steady and solid beats, and on the breaks they’re all so tight, moving some awkward chord sequences all synchronised together with staccato syncopation. All great stuff, check out the review and videos over at Rock Regeneration.

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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!

HopeFM party & The Frequency

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Bit of a different evening tonight – started with a Cheese and Wine ceremony for HopeFM, where numbers of supporters, sponsors and presenters were gathered for a networking evening and “thank you” session. A short video of some of the work HopeFM is doing was shown, I for one didn’t realise that YMCA residents and Bournemouth Uni Students were regularly attending training courses, building media skills, and personal abilities (e.g. self confidence, in the case of many of the people that were vox-popped on the showreel).

There were also some awards; I won a prize for my contribution to the station – again all I can do is down to both the fans of the show, and the musical guests that I have coming in, so the credit is at worst shared with you all, at best it all goes to you for enabling my show to happen…

I was also representing the company I work for, they’d made a sizable donation right at the beginning of the year, and as a result I was asked to invite someone along with me. The Marketing Vice President (Paul Sinderberry) accepted my invitation, and afterwards said he’s not only had an enjoyable evening, was also impressed by what we are doing with the station, and other projects and programmes the YMCA runs.

After that, dropped into the Cellar Bar where The Frequency were performing a set after The Worry Dolls. They have been really productive in their rehearsal sessions, with amny new songs being written. Three were performed tonight, I think I heard two of them, and they slotted in pretty perfectly into the bill – no real messes there, even though one was only finalised on the Tuesday before.

I had a chance to catch up with the lads afterwards, as well as some of the Chaplins & Cellar Bar regulars, then dropped home for an early night (for the Cellar) – was still after midnight! The only thing to mar the night? I forgot to bring my phone with me, so no rubbish photos of the night to provide visual interest…

The Frequency on Hope FM

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The Frequency are a four piece band, one of those rare acts that are able to transcend the full on rock out sound and their acoustic set with equal panache. They are one of the few bands I’ve been happy to feature on the show twice in recent succession; making their first appearance on the show in February, they were on again on 18 May.

The Frequency On HopeFMThe reason was a change in name and consequent sound and style from their previous incarnation, and their latest EP “High Society”. Acoustically they have 3 guitars and percussion, and its in this guise they join me in the studio -sans percussion, Phil being away at the time. Austyn Brown is the main man, however its Dan and Dan that steal the show, Dan Hammond-Smith particularly seems to know more than I do about the music scene, and hence makes their whole interview spark with life.

They are full of in-jokes, yet disarmingly include the listener (and me) into their lives and lifestyle, in a manner that at once enthuses and amuses. I seem to consistently interject that The Frequency have invaded the studio, since they barely need me to question them in the interview. Their songs are treated with aplomb, are differently produced live versus the EP versions, so have no hesitation playing them back to back with each other.

Manager, promoter and agent Norbert Canine also joins us, so I’m able to probe the background life of the lads too, which makes a nice change – he is totally sold on the guys, even though he’s missing the big football game to join us. The photo shows them in live session, and I find the two hours has gone far too quickly. They are taking a break from gigging, yet have a major exclusive to announce live on air – big news as they’ve been selected to play for a showcase organised by Alan McGee in London, supporting Alabama 3; it shows their generous nature to include such a major announcement for our show.

This gig will be on Saturday 1 July, coach transport to the gig and entry is all being included in the cover price they’re offering, check out their website or facebook for booking details. Another great show, thanks to the calibre of The Frequency.

Blue & Acoustic Rock

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Saturday night and a late start in Chaplins with Paint It Blue. Please vote for them in The New Brunswick Battle Of The Blues competition – they’re in the top 9 already. To vote, need to start watching then vote on 9 videos, hopefully giving Paint It Blue a 5 out of 5. Voting closes on 28 February.

Paint It Blue Cellar Bar

Ok that’s the shameless plug out of the way, the music as ever is a good groove, I totally run out of superlatives to describe their sound, so I won’t bother here this time. Suffice to say, even if you’re not a fan of the blues, just being at any live performance of these guys is a great experience

Another step up in the game for them – T-shirts and more have joined the merch available from the band – and they’re telling us about it, giving name and gig checks etc. All good, and something that I’ve really noticed has been lacking in the 10’s of acts I’ve recently seen… 😉

After a transitory journey I find myself in a brand new venue for me, and a surprising one – The Ship in Christchurch. Time for a brief venue report.

I’d previously come here perhaps once for a drink. The place is unrecognisable, and a lot larger than I remember from perhaps that one time.

It’s been tastefully decorated in a muted colour scheme, with a modest number of dining tables at the back with booth setups and upholstered benches in the front drinking bar. The nature of the refit is unfortunately reflected in the drinks prices – my staple squash is initially charged at £1, when delivered it’s in a half pint. Favourably this is quickly fixed to a pint following a brief complaint, however beware of that one!

This little episode marks The Ship as the most expensive place I’ve been to in the conurbation; to be fair there are signs up that belie my experience – “champagne is for drinking, not for restaurants to make a killing, enjoy our house champagne, £4.60 a glass”.

The Frequency on HopeFM

Enough of this good venue, The Frequency were featured on the show a few weeks back. They played some of their new acoustic numbers, while I played their previous incarnation’s CD tracks. I commented on air then (didn’t blog for some reason) about the unusual nature of their acoustic setup – 3 acoustic guitars, 3 superior harmonising voices, and acoustic percussion.

By the time I arrive the band are about to go into their third set, which they begin by announcing the latest coup by manager Tony – a support slot for Ocean Colour Scene in Southampton’s Guildhall in a couple of weeks. Talking to Tony this has borne fruit from a bit of luck a year or so ago, and lots of persistent hard work following up on that luck.

The band set is lively, by nature of this type of venue they’re including large numbers of covers in the tunes played; their own songs seamlessly fit into the mould set, and gain the same amount of audience appeal.  The audience are lively, talkative and above all (for the last Oasis cover) dancing, swaying and hugging all over – it’s a totally different scene to that I’m used to in the music bars in Bournemouth, but then this is the massed Saturday night out.

Afterwards, the lads are heading back for an afterparty – despite receiving a generous invite, I decline and slope home after a busy day with another one to follow.