Gehko & Tom Clements Show & O’Neills

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Tom Clements with Gehko looking on, Livewire Live on 90.1 Hope FM Oct 24Gehko join us tonight in the studio, we review some tracks from their album. Tom Clements produced the album, he’s joined us all too and since he’s the only one with a guitar, plays Promises out live for us. We have some interesting chat, and I also remember to include a phone in with Karen from Fiveways Folk, a new folk night starting in town.

Isobel Thatcher Music @ O' Neills Bournemouth Oct 24Afterwards, on to O’Neills where Isobel Thatcher is starting the evening, performing to a rowdy bunch who only want to hear Wonderwall. That’s become a bit of an in-joke thing, since Tom was asked to play Wonderwall five times at the Inferno Human Jukebox evening. I digress; Isobel has a strong voice, and carries on regardless of the rowdies, who move on to another pub as part of their crawl, leaving behind a more appreciative, and still full, pub crowd

'Taff' @ O' Neills Bournemouth Oct 24Taff (Thomas ‘Taff’ Morse) is also on stage, taking an unusual break from running things in Poole to play here. He has Jack with him on cajon, they start with a  cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, its a little different from The Milk Machine stuff I’ve previously heard him do. Next we have Jungle Book’s I Wanna Be Like You, then into When Doves Cry melded with Never Tear Us Apart. Each is placed into its own space, Taff plays each fairly regular, and yet this shows that he can both play decently, and belt out some corkers, even if they are all crowd pleasing covers. He breaks into an Axis of Awesome-style medley, loads of songs in the same key, slightly different rhythms, whilst in the middle of With Or Without You.

Annie & Jemma as Snow Wolf @ O' Neills Bournemouth Oct 24Jemma and Annie enter while Taff plays. Its Jemma’s birthday today, and they are doing a set as Snow Wolf. They’ve brought their own crowd with them too, filling the bar out again. They are on good form tonight – despite birthdays they’ve been staying away from the booze, as last time was a bit giggly so I’m told. Jemma’s strident voice commands the attention of the pub, and Annie takes some easy chord playing, before they swap roles. Annie’s voice is also commanding, and they harmonise well together. Thay also provide a comic interlude – for some reason, Jemma needs to lose a boot, and Annie decides to remove it for her during her own song. Annie tries to remove the other one, and instead removes the heel. Its all a bit random and bizarre, they’re giggling, including us with them makes for entertainment.

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Brothers Grimmer Show & O’Neills

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Brothers Grimmer @ HopeFM 26 SeptThe Brothers Grimmer lads join Chinners and I in the studio tonight; leaving manager and promoter Mumma Grimmer behind they run a competition, play live and take us through some of their CD material, as well as giving an insight into Grimmer family life. We have a real blast together and a good old chinwag on air.  They are playing all over the place, thanks to Mumma Grimmer’s tireless efforts to break them out of Bournemouth and into a National scene.

Off air we talk even more and exchange some really funny stories and anecdotes. There’s a couple of phone calls and online bits; like many on the music scene they are genuine and down to earth, while still having great aspirations and producing great music.

Tim Somerfield @ O Neills 26 SeptOn to O’Neills this week for an afterwards with Chinners. Tim Somerfield is playing a set of mainly original material. We had lots of talk about Tim on the show, and all the good work he’s putting in at The Inferno since Brothers Grimmer like playing there a lot. This is just another of Tim’s 100 gigs this year (he’s well on target to reaching that goal, being one of the hardest working muso’s and promoters on our circuit).

Tom Clements @ O'Neills 26 SeptTom Clements takes a second set for the evening, and decides to mainly play covers, only throwing in a couple of his own songs. U2’s The Real Thing gains Chinners approval, which is rare praise indeed from the ultimate greatest U2 fan.

Big thanks to all for their efforts, give one sleep-filled nights thanks to all the activity 🙂

Easter Festive Beginnings

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Kathryn Price, 5 April @ InfernoIt’s the Thursday before the Easter long weekend, tonight I start at the Inferno, where Kathryn Price is opening the weekend long Infestival 2012. Acoustic music tonight with Kathryn, Tom Clements, Simon Lane, Karl Hayman and Phil King. Kathryn has a good strong voice, and she’s giving her all for what must be a pretty soul destroying gig with few active punters (though many people in the bar) and the air con blasting out cold of all things on a night like this one.

States Of Matter, 5 April @ Litten TreeStates of Matter are playing at the Litten Tree. They were guests on the radio show while I was away, courtesy of Radio Boscombe. They are loud (yet not enough to need earplugs) rock (and are good at it), have decent stage presence, and then go for the popular vote with their fans (of which there seem to be plenty here) by covering Summer of 69, straightforward though tight.

Simon Lane, 5 April @ InfernoSimon Lane has moved on to covers at the Inferno when I return, in his words the crowd here didn’t seem interested in his original material, and only slightly more interest in covers, even though they are well performed; his mature voice has great tone, and the guitar work is pretty solid, throwing in alternate chord work to classics such as House Of The Rising Sun. He’s acting as compere tonight and is including this in his act, trying to win over those that are here and interested.

Tom Clements, 5 April @ InfernoTom Clements is next here, starts with a cover before going into his own material, showing out some of the amazing finger skills he’s picked up over the times. I don’t need to say much more since I said it all at his Chaplins debut.

Yellowgroove, 5 April @ O'Neills O’Neills now, and Yellowgroove are just hitting their stride, moving from covering All Right Now into original Son Of A Working Man, with a drum-led interlude while they switch instruments and Simon works up the crowd. The party mood contimues as they stroll into new one That Man is An Animal, which they almost tribute to Jim Marshall of Marshall amps fame, who passed on today.

Morphic Fields, 5 April @ Cellar BarI leave during cover Stuck In The Middle to see Mutant Vinyl at the Cellar Bar, only to find I’ve missed him, and Morphic Fields are on by now, playing a blend of songs containing some kicking rock and smooth jazz/soul, all in one song in one case, very clever and they make it work really well.

Karl Hayman, 5 April @ InfernoKarl Hayman is on in Inferno, its rare that I’m at the same gig he is nowadays for whatever reason. His voice is quite unique in tone and timbre, and he’s good with guitar too, though no one is really here actively listening which is a big shame – he’s pouring his all into the set, mixing things up a little.

I end up at O’Neills hanging out with the crowd there, totally missing Phil King closing at the Inferno – my bad.

Tom Clements Chaplins

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Tom Clements @ Chaplins 27 MarchAfter a bit of a runaround, I alight at Chaplins where Del Bishop has just finished, and Tom Clements is entertaining the sub-capacity crowd. Not seeing him in a competitive environment is a bonus, the other two times I’ve heard him play was at the 2012 Dorset Music Awards. Tom’s taking retuning time to tell little stories and anecdotes between the songs, which is refreshing. Some songs are sinister, some are jolly, all have decent clever finger work, and with his sparing use of the loop and effects pedals Tom pulls off a good show. I’m with a good friend, and we’re comparing guitars – both of us being uncertain about the brightness of Tom’s Martin guitar, wondering if this seems to be a trait of Martins in general.

Tom plays Seven Years, which he’s played both other times I’ve heard him, and is the sample track he kindly sent to me to include in the station promos. As such its become a favourite of mine already, its simple via the loop pedal, rather than him entering 3 or 4 loops before the song really gets going, phrases are played it feels as a natural part of the song, then overlaid . The whole set is all going so well, then Tom slips in a cover of Sultans Of Swing, yet he plays it with such panache, and the change of guitar to a lighter less rich tone works really well.

Dorset Music Awards 2012 Quarter Final 1

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DMA logoJack Grace has already played by the time I arrive (8pm start, hard to make if you’re as disorganised as I am and don’t get home ’til late to go out again). Asking around I missed a good one – Jack and the gang did a pretty faultless show, good guitar work, and roped in a female vocalist too to enhance their sound.

Krista Green @ DMA QF1 10 FebKrista Green is performing when I do arrive; having seen her on stage quite a bit recently with various other artists I’m slightly surprised to see her solo on the stage tonight. Not a problem for her, for the most part the near-capacity crowd are enthralled with her act.

Paint It Blue @ DMA QF1 10 FebPaint It Blue are faultless as ever, the songs are amazing, Hannah takes a bit of time out in between solid numbers to introduce the band members, a good important touch in my eyes.

Tom Clements @ DMA QF1 10 FebThe first noticeable element to Tom Clements is the large crowd he’s brought with him, who he enthuses and encourages throughout his performance. He’s playing brilliantly too, though lots of crowd noise is now prevalent, which fortunately doesn’t appear to put him off

Constellation @ DMA QF1 10 FebConstellation again have a large following here, T-shirts and dancing noted. The music has a new edge, honed and appealling, and the performance is visually entertaining too – I slighted them for this in the heat, but they had been partying hard the night before. No signs of fatigue tonight, just another awesome show like the other four acts tonight.

Disco's Out (Murder's In) @ Cellar Bar 10 FebOn to the Cellar Bar where Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) are making a welcome return, and ripping up the place which is as usual full for a Friday night. They inflict a couple of new songs on us which go down well, and Martin is taking more part now with witticisms in some of the gaps between, and within songs. Good end to a good night.

Dorset Music Awards Live Heats

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I started writing this halfway through the “DMA40”, 41 live bands over one weekend of amazing live music heats, for reasons that will become obvious as other blog posts materialise, I was unable to publish halfway through the weekend.  For those that don’t know, I had been invited to be on the judging panel for this, the most active event ever on the local music circuit.

I’ve spent 12 hours over two days watching, listening to and critiquing 39 bands (1 extra slipped in at the pre-heat stage, 2 didn’t make it), and while the upfront thought of this was daunting (12+ hours?, 40!? acts), during the day itself it’s an absolute delight.  As ever with the Dorset Music Awards, it’s a highly polished event, and somewhat charged (not as highly charged as some of the later stages can get) as many bands here are aware of how important these awards can be to careers.  I take my role in these proceedings seriously, yet hopefully good humouredly – we’ve all got to live with each other after this, after all…

Overall, the absence of ladies was particularly noticeable – particularly for the rock acts, hence I saw very little to differentiate vocally or visually, and just playing your stuff loud and proud isn’t going to help sway opinion.

It’s a little different this year – the bands can ask us for instant feedback after they’ve played; many unfortunately didn’t take this opportunity, however for those who are interested I have one hopefully two “good thing”s, and one perhaps two “room for improvement”s for each act (looking at it, much of these are repeated comments).  I’ll share these “verbal one liners” that have been shared with those bands that asked, Trevor and Richard have asked me not to publicly share anything about any of our thoughts on details (I’ll be writing individually to bands using the contact email the chaps provide).  I’ll also not be talking about who’s got through and so forth.

Judging Notes

There seem to have been an awful lot of rock bands this year, all playing good stuff, and only some providing anything more than just the music – and we are being asked to judge on live performance above all else.  To me, this means being good at performing, drawing in and working with an audience, a bit of stage movement where possible to suit the music and the mood, it’s not just about having good music, as that’s been proved to reach the live heats. As there were so many rock bands, those that captured our attention for whatever means were seen in a different light than those that just turned up and played (probably really good) tunes.

I’ve also seen many of these acts (25/41), some of those many times before, and some I would count as good friends (12/41).  To keep my impartiality, and prove for Richard and Trevor’s sake that I’m keeping impartial, these acts are “marked” harsher than they would normally.  We supply a “Yes, Maybe Yes, Maybe, No” score for each to enable uu to quickly seek agreement on the majority of the 20 that do or doin’t go through, then “haggle / agonise” over the rest.  I deliberately down-change friends to the next value along, and then rely on the other judges to provide their thoughts to put a band through either directly, or into the melting pot.

I also cannot count past performances (good or bad) into the mix.  I purely have to go on what is presented to me on the day.  This is very harsh, because the number of times I’m out mean I’ve seen bands generally play good gigs and bad gigs (that’s why I still keep the blog going after the first impetus, so I can look back at bands to see what I think).  This will often play against a band in these type of do-two-song competitions, as in the back of my mind I think I know they can do better, or worse, than what they’ve done.  E.g. I saw Mobius Strip on the Saturday night, not twigging they’d be back on the Sunday in the line up.  They performed well both times; on Saturday night they had a massively active crowd going for them, which wasn’t there in entirety on the Sunday.

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As ever, these are my opinions, offered (as ever in my blog) in the interests of encouragement and yet to provide opportunity for improvement.  My opinions aren’t offered to try and pull down or discourage, but in the hope that those that go through will know something to try in the next rounds perhaps, and those that don’t go through perha

Day One

So to some brief notes, in order of appearance, we have:

Sepia Daze – Tough opening as the first band, and did good with this.  Energetic music, would like to see more audience engagement during songs.

Bad Magic – Good solid rock, well played and balanced.

Darren Hodson & The Southern Companion – great South Coast (USA) sound, longest name here, does the “Darren Hodson” bit need to be present? (later discussed it sets them apart from Darren Hodson solo).

States Of Matter – Tidy endings and well conducted to do this. Bit cliche rock. Consider more audience engagement.

Krista Green – Enjoyable.  Visibly get the crowd on your side if you can.

Veetacore – Good 80’s style (retro). Good crowd engagement – looking around etc.  Could smile a bit more.

Escapefrom’98 – Better than last time seen (see last week’s write up).  Good ska/punk and a lot of fun.

Robin Joynson – Good catch of vocal levels (enabling tuning) between songs. Good demonstration of confidence.

Voice of Reason – Lot of fun. Good voice.  Bass player hat entertaining (kept slipping over face).

Estee’s World – What you did would be good for street work, consider finding a DJ for live performance?

Ollie Mutter – Good working the crowd. Would appreciate more interest going on with the guitar work.

Pachango – Awesome.  Never apologise or comment from the stage on how feel about own performance.

The General Public – smashed it (was an amazing performance).  Could Hope (keyboard) stand up?

Sean Hatton (Solo) – Well played, well sung.  Brave and confident doing a new song (and telling us about it).

Know One – Again, another smashed it performance.  Uniforms good (only band noted to have a “look”).

Lets Go Safari – Liked the harmonies.  Good guitar work, but didn’t really “grab” me

Aaron Gregory – Can tell he’s absolutely passionate about the music, yet guitar sounded unclear and “mushy”.

Icarus Falling – Good contrast, and good vocal, though was unsure by the mumbled introduction to songs.

Shaun Gary Palmer – Good vocals and good guitar style, though it sounded “mushy”.

Yellowgroove – Love it. Like the jumping around and the audience incursion.  Normally have a crowd – didn’t see them this time.

Peace Love and Gloves – Good commercial sound, brought a huge crowd (though unsure what they were shouting).  Personally not a fan of the shouted lyric.

Day Two

Simon Lane – Good songs, good vocal range.  Unsure about the use of the music stand.

Dirty Jerkers – Good and loud (not overblown) despite the early start

Blue Stone Walls – didn’t show (think the same band didn’t show last year)

Tom Clements – Want to see again.  would be good for Bournemouth Unplugged (if it runs)

Constellation – Good engagement with the crowd. Second song a winner, unsure about the first (uniqueness)
Monkey’s Uncle – Good crowd winner.  Good harmonies. Cheesey dance, but I like it.

The Devils Rejects – Good songs well played.  Would like to see more stage animation to suit the music (second song better than first). [hard to find on facebook…]

Switchmen – didn’t show

Manikin Time Shark – Like the space they’ve given to each other to solo in.  As this is progressive rock (and niche) consider also dropping keys out for a time too, to make the music more accessible for non-prog fans.

JCJesus – Good bass and violin combination.  Not my preference of musical style but well performed.

Yoofs – Worked on the look re:hair.  Get out there and gain gig experience (easy to say, hard to do I know).

Paint It Blue – Tight band.  Clean guitar work. Hannah is an asset. They noticeably stuck around for much of the day.

Empire Affair – Good tunes and well performed.  Felt they lost the thread through being overblown loud.

Sketchy – Liked the keys work (although they didn’t seem to – used the F word).

Tim Somerfield – Here all day (+++). Good technique, ace timing (counting silence).

Space Ace Robot – What ?!?.  They’re enjoying what they’re doing, though it’s pretty inaccessible – futuristic Jazz.

Mobius Strip – Lots of moving about in keeping with the music.  Need to get the crowd moshing around.

Jack Grace – Like the groove, and like the vocal lines without the band being full on – different.

Pump Action Radio – Good solid rock, well played. Would need to be a bit more animate on stage for me.

The Deltorers – Good vocal work, and OK sounds. The live performance wasn’t stand-out (seen a lot of rock this weekend). [say they’re from Bristol]

Overall Impressions

What am I walking away with from seeing all these acts? Which ones were memorable? Which ones would I like to see go further?

Veetacore impressed me – they were the only band doing what they’d done – and I still have “Dogger Bank” running round my head, despite hearing loads of music since. (I have played this on the show, but even so it’s just memorable). They also one of the groups to feature a female lead, doubly memorable.

Pachango put on a great show – everything seemed to come together for them, though negative comments from the stage at the end spoilt it for me. Remembering back to last year (which I can’t count for the judging part of the job), the performance this time was so much better.

Know One seemed to be the only group that had thought through their appearance with regards a “uniform look” of black shirts and ties, they also played excellently.

Tim Somerfield seemed to have arrived before I did on the Sunday and stuck around for near enough the whole day.  He also played well, though his legendary customary crowd vitally didn’t seem to make an appearance for his performance. I also found out (at the end of the judging process) that he was supposed to have had a fuller band with him