Luminaires @ Solid Air

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The LuminairesThe support band haven’t made it, so individual members of The Luminaires are performing short acoustic sets to fill in the time. By the time they take to the stage, a sizable crowd have turned for this last gig for a while. Drummer Dave is travelling for a few months so this is a bit of a farewell party.

As alluded to, these guys are all solo acoustic artists, and when they come together as The Luminaires something good happens, they are one of those genuine bands where the total is greater than the sum of the parts.

The Luminaires - pen workEven on the Cellar Bar’s small stage, they manage to put on a decent stage show, Aaron having just about enough room to put on the front man act while Joel, Spencer and Steve create some good sounds behind him. Aaron also shows off some newer vocal talents, working with Joel (and occasionally Dave) munged together by Conrad’s talents on the desk effects.

At the end of the night, one of the more dedicated fans shows off some nice pen work – Dave wants the photo for posterity.  Good gig, good crowd, and a good send off for Dave.

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Solid Air At The Cellar Bar

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Luminaires BadgeThe Cellar Bar is a new home for Solid Air’s sonic adventures, The Luminaires are on stage. Well 2 out of 5 of them, Steven and Aaron; Joel is working behind the bar so can’t join in. They are in for an acoustic set, and it’s fun hearing some now familiar songs in a stripped back and sparse mode. I’m present for a couple of their songs, and forget to take a snap, sorry.

Upstairs Stan McMann is performing at the comedy night, doing a turn about his latest film project (on VHS) as propaganda for dogs. Good visual skit (I walk in halfway through so miss the context).

Oscars Trash Can Solid Air Cellar BarOscar’s Trash Can are on back downstairs, despite them being regular giggers on the scene, I don’t think I’ve seen them before. They are fairly furious with their guitars, the songs themselves being a steady four beat. They have their crowd with them who make some noise.

Ollie M (lead vox) switches from a nice sounding violin bass to a second acoustic guitar for Amplifier, which again is furious and up tempo, and their fans love it. This instrument swapping continues throughout the set, even the drummer Ollie G is on the bass at one point, and 2nd guitar Josh moves to a voice organ. I’m unsure this is doing them many favours as towards the end the bass particularly is distorting through being driven too hard through the PA.

Putting this aside, the music is good and the lyrics are clear, if slightly more downbeat. Lead Ollie suggests at one point “now we’ve got you all depressed….” This isn’t the case, since the music is pretty beautiful.

Issue 22 Solid Air Cellar BarIssue 22 are the headline act tonight. Lead singer Becky has a rich strong good voice, and is able to wail suitably. They merge original material and covers, and have some great music going underneath her voice; pacey, rhythmic & melodic. I’m really enjoying the set, despite the bad language and a bit of flaff factor between songs. This flaff surprises me, since Issue 22 are well rehearsed during the songs – e.g. snap endings are tight as are song breaks.

Good grunge sound, loads of feedback which empties the front room of Chaplins (I have my earplugs, I’m alright) then breaking into a stonking set of bass-led riffs. I’ve also not mentioned Tony Twodogs on drums playing some awesome cross beats on toms and cowbell – I have now…

The Luminaires EP Launch

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Luminaires Badge The HarriotsThe Harriots start the evening off. I didn’t know these guys were playing for the launch – I first heard them and fell in love with their sound at a Solid Air last year. They kick off with a slightly staider performance of I Can’t Stand The Silence compared with how I remember; it’s good to hear them in a venue like Champions with a decent PA and decent stage. The only thing missing is the mosh crowd. They have some really catchy bass hooks, and drums that push the tracks on, as they warm up to the set, the venue and the crowd, and start winning the latter over. They save their best two for last, Mothers Son and Liability, which both go down really well – the only thing missing is a call from Joe (lead) before Liability for the crowd to edge forward a bit – I normally hang out in the middle of the floor, and I’m well in front of all other kibitzers.

Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers Hannah Williams And The Tastemakers immediately make an impression. Striding onto stage and inviting the crowd forward then, after being announced, kicking off into a word riff seemingly inspired by James Brown. Hannah does a great job in that vogue calling out the breaks and shots. The music is furious funk, sax led with keys bass and guitar underpinning Hannah’s vocals, drums tricking out over all. These guys have brought a crowd with them, who are eventually, irresistibly drawn towards the stage. As the set moves on, we move more towards the smooth end of the scale, note and beat perfect, with loads of appropriate movement from the band as we go through.

The LuminairesAfter that great soul set the headline enter the stage. The Luminaires storm the venue;  the crowd are theirs – they’ve brought many who have been hiding round the corner during the support acts – they have energy and vigour. Aaron parades around the stage, engaging audience and band alike. They open with Untouchable which is driving and strident, yet finished gently with Joel (lead guitar) almost making it sound like the start of another song. When a lead falls out during the intro of second song Trigger, Steve & Simon carry on with the opening hook while said lead is sorted out – very slick, and far better than stopping in a mess then having to restart.

Another example of their advance planning – during the set lead singer Aaron chooses a guitar, only to have a string break on him as soon as he checks the tuning. No fuss or bother, just switch in a spare acoustic they’ve brought with them and the show goes on. Again they’re not fazed by a PA lead failing, just switch mics and move on. I really don’t know what it is about EP or album launches, I’ve seen many and it always seems that something goes awry during the performance.

Joel deserves special mention – he’s using what seems like a third of the stage, wandering around as is Aaron both into the crowd and around the stage, making the effort to make this look good. The only detraction to this is it makes The Luminaires look like a 4 piece with Aaron leading, and Joel on his own.  It’s hard to get a photo of all five of them together, even trying creative angles.

Aaron & Dave LuminairesAt the end we have a chink in the planning armour – they haven’t any more songs for an encore, they cover this up via an acoustic track from Aaron, with just Dave accompanying on drums. Good, just a bit of an anticlimax compared with what’s gone before.

It’s at this point that I’d throw in a little review of the EP, prior to arranging for a review to be included in Listed magazine.  However there has been production issues with it, and the mixing is slightly out for some of the tracks – so much so that Aaron has asked me to hold fire on an EP review here.

Entertainment in the Studio

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The Luminaires were my guests on the show tonight.

They are a new band, made up of remnants and soloists from around the area – they are so new, that they’ve only played 3 times before coming on the show!  Normally I wouldn’t entertain such a concept, since I prefer guests to have a CD to hand, plus have a few stories of life on the music road.

The Luminaires are different.

When I saw their first gig (at the Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover) they blew me away – they were the only band I put a (brief) description up about, compared with all the other artists seen over that weekend.

In talking to them, we had such a wide ranging interview, covering :

  • their own music (plugged and unplugged);
  • X-factor (we all dislike what it’s doing to live music);
  • The Princess Bride and other pop kitsch movies;
  • pub quizzes (Dave particularly is a bit of a savant);
  • Chaplins and the Cellar Bar (since they believe it’s the ideal venue – small and pumping when music kicks off)
  • various known and unknown African countries!

In all, a most enjoyable interview for me, although we did spend a lot more time talking than playing music!

They played a couple of tracks from the forthcoming album live in the studio – Today (a solo by Joel on the night, that will become a Luminaires number); Reality Check (about what the future could be like if X-factor is the only source of inspiration for budding musicians); and opener Hostage, which we didn’t talk about much at all!

In all, the two band songs showed off some good talent – lead and rhythm guitarists (Steve & Joel, although they swap) giving their all with twiddly bits and riffs respectively, Simon and Dave providing a decent enough bass and drum accompaniment (even unplugged) for Aaron’s vocals

After the show, dropped in to Urban Reef to see another friend, Victor, only to find he’d finished his two sets by the time I got there, so ended up just talking and catching up in his van instead. Shame I missed his set, he’s another brilliant acoustic artist.

Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover, 2010

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Overall an amazing weekend, lots of bands playing lots of venues, all to raise money for Oxfam.

Friday Night, Champions

Only managed to see the last two of the four acts on the bill – Sola Infrared  and My Broken 101.  Both amazingly chilled yet big rock vibes, have provisionally booked MB101 for a show appearance.

Saturday afternoon, Sherbet Lounge & The Inferno

was limited in my options here – was at a Samaritans Purse fundraising quiz night from 7pm, so was only able to catch a few of the afternoon bands:

Sherbet lounge:

The Inferno

Saturday Evening, Winchester, 60 Million Postcards, The Inferno

After the Samaritans Purse fundraiser was compete, managed to dash to the Winchester to catch the last chord of New Volunteer, before seeing one of the Retro Bombshell burlesque troop while waiting for The New Governors.

Then to see Mutant Vinyl  in 60 Million Postcards (he’s by far the hottest property of the moment in town), before finishing the evening with Dusty Cuts in The Inferno.

Something of note – bumped into many ex-Betikans in 60MPC; things might be looking up on that horizon. Dave Purse was out telling me about this new project he’s currently got on, Zaardvark (it could almost be Jazz, he furtively whispered)

Sunday night, The Old Firestation

This was a first for me, not been here before (even though many gigs take place here, I perceive it as mainly a student venue and caters for the DJ crowd rather than live music audiences.)

However, amazingly strong line up, all ably held together by Chris Brown, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Town Crier:

No particular major reviews here, just a fantastic weekend of live music through out the town.  Big shout to Tone Foster (bhone) for pulling to gether a great team, including Chloe (The Longest Day), Geoff (DJ Mr Lively) and Rob (who I’d seen around but not had a chance to talk to before).

Thank you Bournemouth muso’s for your generosity and prowess in equal measure.