BMTH Unplugged Heats & Solid Air

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The Winchester is host to this years BMTH Unplugged competition. I gave 4 months of my Wednesday nights to this last year, so it feels weird walking in halfway through the heats, only catching what turns out to be 2 full artists tonight

Chris Woodford, 2 April, Winchester PubToby Fitton is winding up as I wander in; Chris Woodford offers his masterclass on how to musically beat the crap out of a guitar – not content with keeping this to Geoff (Mr Lively)’s Yamaha, Chris has a new toy to play with in a well-suited Taylor – 3 pickups, solid body, floating sound hole, ebony and bone neck work. This time he’s wandering about the stage a little to provide some interest, and also announces songs – previously unheard of from this past-master of just letting the music speak.

John Jfl Llewellyn at Winchester Pub, 2 AprilJohn Llewellyn follows up to close the night with some pure songs, nicely sung, with slight interest from the chord work. Shame that for me the lyric refrains are rather depressing – “why get hired when you’re gonna get fired” – though I appreciate the ludicrously high note he reaches for that last line to end the song on.

The Neon Mile, 2 April, @ Cellar BarOn to The Cellar Bar, where The Neon Mile are running through some of their staple numbers, slightly progressive, insistent beats and oh, those gorgeous melodies and the beautifully dissonant chordwork to accompany them. Miscreants, near the end of the set, is just an amazing anthem, just needs 3000 people swaying with a lighter in the air to make this any better. Weight In Gold has been given some new treatment, making it more upbeat than the recorded versions.

Jemma and Annie from Snow Wolf are here having played earlier, I should have saved myself the hassle of getting over to the other side of town (and the ensuing door fee) to hear these girls play instead, since I’ve not heard them for a while, and I hear they’ve really tightened up their act.

Neon Mile

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Wandered down to the O’Neills open mic for a short time, before catching Jemma and Annie at Solid Air’s Pink Moon.

The Neon Mile Cellar BarSoon The Neon Mile come on, who are who I’ve come to see. Conrad introduced Tom Collier’s album Red Wine And Tangerines when he was in the solo project guise of Matilda Mother. Now Tom’s found a band, rebranded as The Neon Mile, and they’ve reworked that album’s material for a live set.

Synth keys are still underpinning the twin guitars, bass and now added drums. There is also other material from vocalist & keyboardist Aaron. It all fits into the sort of sad rock mode, meaningful yet not dirge, beautiful melodies providing a backdrop. It’s good, I’m enjoying it.