Show & Bournemouth Unplugged Semi Final 2

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Victor is in the studio with me tonight – eventually. He’s been suffering from car trouble, which is a little worse when said car is also one’s home when away from home.

Irrespective, he makes it for just over an hour, and what a delightful time it is, wandering all over as he reminisces about places he’s been, including national TV on his parents native Malta, where he spent his early years.

We play much from his latest CD Moonbeams, and hence talk some about the recording sessions (mainly all just one take, in a garden) and the reasons behind the songs. 

At the end I head off to O’Neill’s for the last of the judging sessions for Bournemouth Unplugged.  As ever, the notes here are those I jotted on the night for comment.

Krista Green

Krista GreenGood reception, working it by encouraging the crowd with clapping etc Well received throughout, yet not going absolutely nuts
Clear vocals, breath-y where it matters (2nd song)
Good eye contact
Walking Talking Catastrophe I like the harp-like sound she produces

Good variety of standard styles, pick, strum, percussive, staccato, well executed and chilled out
Overall a very clean set and pleasant, doesn’t grab me with excitement, as it is so chilled.

Wakes things up a bit with the last song through loop pedal use, yet tells us its an experiment so of course it doesn’t work out first time around (or 2nd or 3rd 😦 )
Once programmed up it is effective, and I like that she’s persevered with it – must be first use over a PA too. Unfortunately it all goes horribly wrong at the end, yet might have still worked had I not then picked up the “oh that didn’t work”!
So awards to trying, and I hope she carries on developing it as it will bring an extra dimension to her already accomplished set

Johnny Neesom

Johhny NeesomVery clever stuff, fast rapping over the plain chords
However, he’s running out of breath a bit (at least he recognises this) Again, clear vocals (they need to be as his performance hinges on that)
Not overfond of the near continuous swearing – he’s already had one song banned by the pub from previous appearances.
Sitting down is never going to deliver the energy that standing can deliver, even though this mode suits the songs he’s playing, which puts a sombre mood into things, even though he goes down OK with the crowd. He sticks to three songs as the last one Lullaby is symphony length.
As its a symphony style, there are multiple phases, picking, tapping, percussion, strumming, plucking, then harmonics as if a lap steel – all very open and laid back – it helps that I’d heard this at a session a few days back, as its somewhat familiar in places, albeit its perhaps 12-15 minutes long

Andy Stock Band

Andy Stock BandFirst impression is they’ve all dressed smart – except crockett. Even AJ has put a suit on for the gig!
Andy starts solo, then brings the rest of the band in with a “let’s do this thing”
Musically there’s a lot going on, and it takes some time for all instruments to be picked up.
Good bass lines and runs from Johnny, good guitar work from Andy, can’t really hear AJ’s harp or Ben’s banjo, and overall thiings aren’t really together.
For 3rd song AJ sings and Ben switches to violin, Andy joins AJ in a gravelly harmony
Things start coming together with a song castigating the modern tech life where we speak loads on facebook and through phones, yet can seem to be in a pub on our own a lot. The banjo is more audible, other things are less intense, and the song is a proper lament.

Phil King

Phil KingIts funny, I find myself willing him to pick things and kick them off, which I know he can do. Its Amanda (friend) that starts things going, trying to get people up and dancing.
Phil threatens to kick things off the stage literally, as Si Crockett has left his cajon on stage, comments about which get a good laugh
He then proceeds to give us a show and a half, good styles, good songs, good voice, good set.

Judges Result

This time (compared with last week) it’s fairly clear cut, all judges are of the same opinion.  The two Finalists are Krista and Phil, so congrats to them. When the results are announced this time, there’s no massive barracking from the crowd.  Its a shame it was so obvious, yet we still had four good performances.

Chaplins Sunday

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Had an interesting start to the evening – Victor dropped by to have a chat, and hand me a copy of his latest album Moonbeams. I then had the church music group meeting, before heading over to Chaplins for their Sunday Session.

Jemma Davies and Del Bishop tonight. Jemma plays a really fun set, showing off her high ranged voice through well chosen covers mixed with her original material. I’ve heard her play many times, and this is the first time I can recall her playing and acting out a radio friendly set.

Herr voice is piercing in places, and is clearly the stronger part of her singer / guitarist act. The guitarwork is a good accompaniment, mainly gently strummed chords, with some thumb strums and percussive slaps to provide variation.

Del Bishop is doing his usual style of material, interesting work on the guitar alternating with strong chord work. His voice is strident, and reaches octave harmonies as well as deep root notes.

He’s had his misses in the past – one he comments on before he plays it tonight, and nails it. All in all a good two sets of acoustic goodness to carry on chatting and catching with people over.

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.