Voodoo Vegas Album Launch

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A new venue for me tonight, The Talking Heads in Southampton, hence a first gig in this guide from this neck of the woods. Its the launch party for Voodoo Vegas’ long awaited studio album, and after a couple of false starts they’ve chosen this venue for the celebration

Si Genaro starts first, making this a bit of a Bournemouth invasion – Si Genaro @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012he’s opted to sport a gimmicky head torch thing because “he’s supporting two rock bands so needs to make something more of himself as an acoustic artist”. Starting with Dark Star, the beat boxing is already present from the start, tying into the song stucture (“break it down”, as we go into a bridge segment). Lots of Si’s banter is made of Si and (Voodoo Vegas’) Lawrence sharing a honeymoon together, and what they got up to together. What is missed is the reason for them sharing (a fiancée walking out before the weeding with the honeymoon booked, so the best mate is taken instead). Magneto is played out with the usual array of medley, then Phoenix, where he plays more of the straight guitar as demonstrated at the folk club, as is A Touch Of You a few songs later (where he loses the head torch gimmick – needs to be aware of the gravity of the situation, as he puts it)

Voodoo Vegas have played a lot of The Lash @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012support slots for UK Guns And Roses when the latter have been touring; The Lash are three members of that band, hailing from Gloucester they start the rock for the night. Second song Time Bomb gives the classic song about a night out and those that one sees a decent twist, with big drums and fast bass work. They give some treatment to Billy Bragg with a decent set of lead guitar riffs. Its not hard to notice they like drawing out the endings, long drum rolls and continuous chords, they also give a couple of songs to their barefooted drummer to lead, such as an Eagle Eye Cherry cover. The lead guitarist has a great looking and sounding white PRS-style, yet spends a lot of time tuning it. Their original material is pretty energetic, tuneful and good to bounce along to. What they do to the Ace Of Spades is interesting, with an allusion to U2’s Bullet The Blue Sky with the drums and bass intro, before breaking into the verse, the whole song given a break beat feeling, while still retaining its origins. Cleverly done, pulled off well and this crowd love it.

Voodoo Vegas @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Finally we get to the big off, and its a good attempt at a grand entrance with some trance rock while the band enter an empty stage, and kick off big time with No More, then straight into Out There. Lots of plugs for the album as to vbe expected, while the awesome tunes continue with Bullet then A Perfect Girl. Lawrence @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Lawrence is a great front man, bigging up the crowd, bigging up the lead riffs as they are bounced between Meryl and Nick, Ash pulling some great cliche poses
Steven Green has been stolen from UK Guns And Roses to play keyboards for Voodoo Vegas tonight, that and the pretty perfect rhythms from Matt’s drumming are all making this a true night to remember.

Meryl (rare acoustic) @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012 The acoustic guitars are broken out after Tied Up, for What I Pay, a new one written and recorded specially for the album. Mary Jane follows, then Cheeky Riff (stolen from Focus Pocus). Ash, Meryl @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012King Without A Crown has been reworked for the album, thanks to producer Pedro Ferreira, and is played out in the new form tonight. Lost In Confusion has also been reworked, with a keyboard intro prefixing the well known guitar lead. Ash, Theresa Smith @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012Theresa from Silent Prophecy provides additional vocals for this ballad, formerly known by that title. Theresa stays on stage for The Ferry Song, which has been given a very dirty delta blues twist. What surprises me is that she leaves for So Unkind, which featured Antonia Edgeley-Long on the prior live album. Mind you, it again has been glammed up thanks to more keyboard work, and I guess the new album warrants a different version than having a female vocal track.

big hair @ Voodoo Vegas Album Launch, Talking Heads, 23 November 2012So Unkind proves very popular with the crowd, nearly every line being thrown back at the band, and we have Jimmy Silver as a mini encore (they don’t like bothering with all that encore rubbish, as Lawrence says). They do reprise King Without A Crown as a finish; this is subsequently released as a single with video footage from this gig

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Show & packed studio

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Radio BoscombeHope FM LiveWire LiveTonight its the turn of the comedians of Radio Boscombe to bring our entertainment to our radio audience on Hope FM’s LiveWire Live.  Radio Boscombe have been a little bit sparse of late with other activities going on, they are all together this time though.  To start with Theresa Smith from Silent Prophecy, Ash Moulton from Voodoo Vegas, and Anne Lydon from Anne Lydon join us all; the usual Radio Boscombe pairing of Gary and George, with Chinners and myself.

Radio Boscombe in full effect @ HopeFM 3 OctStarting with Silent Prophecy‘s latest single, Anne recites some poetry; this becomes a reference for the rest of the show chit-chat.  Something so amazing I can’t help but comment – Anne and Theresa‘s smiles are wide and full and they both use them a lot. We also have some really comical moments come from asking Ash about the forthcoming Voodoo Vegas album – he can’t /won’t tell us what its called, what the artwork looks like, when it will be released, or when and where the launch gigs will be…

Bon Viveur Barry The Hedgehog hibernating @ HopeFM 3 OctThe opening gang unfortunately have to depart early (and I forget to grab a snapshot); third Radio Boscombe member Laura joins us, along with a rather inebriated Barry the Hedgehog, who’s allegedly been involved of a high-jack of a Jack Daniels tanker (other bourbons are available). Barry The Hedghog not hibernating - CPR required! Barry slips into hibernation, which turns into a drink-induced coma, causing some diversion!

Finally Mr Tory Marginal (MP for Bournemouth South – the two piers of Boscombe and Bournemouth) joins us, to complain about the Pier theatre being demolished.  When drawn that Oxjam have helped with the reprieve in using it for their takeover, he then kicks off about all this Rock music, and fans ripping up furniture; he rants on so much we blow him up with one of the seats that has been rigged with explosives.  George takes exception to this as we fade the show out to music…

November Big Night Out

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Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovI start what portends to be a busy evening early, at the O2. The Blues Machine have offered me a ticket to come and catch them live, I’ve missed them in loads of places but the lure of an O2 set was far too tempting for me to stay away…ooh how cheap am I ? 🙂 I like their walk on. Ash (on guitar) playing a little riff as the house lights dim, walks on from stage left, he’s then joined by Dan (bass & vox) on stage right, who does a little intro speech, calls the crowd in (nice touch), and picks up the same riff. Meanwhile Josh has reached the drums to kick the opening song off.

Ash - Blues Machine @ O2 19 NovThey make use of the full stage they’ve been given, including use of the side stacks, which unfortunately aren’t spot lit by the crew, blowing their opportunity to shine a bit. They are also meandering around the portion of the stage they’ve been given like pros, and looking like they’re really enjoying themselves.

Blues Machine Doubled up @ O2 19 NovAs to the music, its well executed, confident, even if the first few are covers. During a Wishbone Ash song they do a move I’d first seen done at DMA 2011 by Evolver – switching their guitars to their backs, then lean over each other in a sort of hug to play each other’s instrument. They switch to a slow blues number, Dan’s vocal soars slightly too sweetly over the bass thumps, with the barest twiddles from the guitar. For their last number they name check each other out as each showboat solos, a nice touch. Good stuff & worth catching if one fancies a blues gig, even if tonight it seems only the young fans they’ve brought with them are appreciative.

Voodoo Vegas frontline @ O2 19 NovVoodoo Vegas are next in the line up here; they choose an all on stage entrance, backs to the crowd as the lights rise. Ash (bass) breaks into a fat riff as Lawrence (vocals) welcomes the crowd, then something happens and they reset and start again. Mishaps happen sometimes, tonight they just take it in their stride.
Voodoo Vegas action @ O2 19 NovThe music is great hard rock; there are a few new songs present to my ears before they break into King Without A Crown. This song is where they really let rip, all on the risers and posturing. Its really cool to see such a great local band on the best stage in town. They go on a harmonica led blues journey, through some rolling rock, then into So Unkind where they really hit it hard for the audience reaction.

Lawrence - Voodoo Vegas @ O2 19 NovThere is no question they are both bigging up themselves, while pumping and primping the crowd for Doors Alive, who they’ve got the gig through. Awesome sound, good stage use (they warrant the crew providing spotlights on the side stacks), and I think they’ve found themselves a new spiritual home 🙂

We’re kept waiting 30 minutes for the headline act. I don’t just want to walk out before they start – that’s what I commonly don’t like about some fans of some acts, however I have another set of gigs to get to, and really need to dash so only stay for their first song as a result of what I see as an unwarranted delay.

Doors Alive @ O2 19 NovDoors Alive start with a drum solo before keys are blended in, then joined by guitar as singer joins the stage. There seem to be vocal mic troubles so we wait further until that’s sorted out, however those sets of vintage key synths are really making some amazing noises.

Doors Alive key synths @ O2 19 Nov

Compared with Lawrence’s antics, they seem pretty pedestrian in this first song, I appreciate I’m not seeing a full representation of a set, as I split to the next gig. I later find out that this was pretty much the order of their performance; recognisable music, well reproduced, without any stage antics.

Pump Action Radio @ Inferno 19 NovDue to waiting around for Doors Alive, I arrive at the Inferno to find I’ve missed Escapefrom98. I hear they were good, punk style, and went down well with good crowd feedback. Pump Action Radio are getting set up as I arrive.  They are pumped up, with steaming tunes and massive distortion – too much for the sound system – they come across as just loud and unfortunately unintelligible, even through my decent ear plugs. Shame, as it means I make an early departure for the next gig.

Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The JungleThere’s a massive party going on at the Winchester, facilitated by the excellent Monkey Puzzle. The event has been called Glow In The Jungle – UV lighting is in abundance, meaning face painted individuals really shine, and the crapberry doesn’t do justice. Glow sticks are also available making a cool scene.

Dan - Monkey Puzzle @ Glow In The Jungle

The music is amazing, their versions of staples such as Summertime are done as Jazz in a Turquoise mood – this is also true for e.g. Rock Steady, everything is pumped up to the max in a funk / jazz vibe. The mauve references continue as everybody is a translucent purple thanks to the lighting.

Where's Billy? @ Inferno 19 NovBack to the Inferno, where Where’s Billy? are playing a rock ballad. By all accounts in the crowd, they’ve been amazing, however vocals are suffering from the blown out speakers of the PA too. Their next song is jumped up rock, musical with good lead guitar riff and a strutting bass line. Shame these lads are from Kent (as their photographer Jenna informs me) – would like to see them again. Apparently they play the inferno semi-regularly, so keep an eye out for them.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 Nov

Brothers Grimmer are finishing the night at the Inferno. I like their intro “we’re Brothers Grimmer and we’re gonna rock you” then get straight on with the heavy music (again affected by abysmal vocals thanks to the PA). Music is good though, decent chord sequences and progressions leading to a tuneful performance. Visual entertainments are again provided by their break dancer – at one point he holds himself on a single hand for what seems like a whole chorus – excellent balance control.

Brothers Grimmer @ Inferno 19 NovAfter they’ve performed a pretty brilliant rendition of Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past, I depart to hopefully catch the Deltorers at the Cellar Bar. I return soon after as the Deltorers have finished their set already (they only had a short set of material), and Brothers Grimmer are still rocking out big style, with some serious moshing action by the drunks in the corner. Makes for a great end for a good music evening albeit I’ve only seen 7 of the 10 bands I’d hoped for; I head back to the Cellar Bar for an after night-out hang out with some mates.

Friday Runaround

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Start off in Sound Circus, a new venue for me since I don’t normally pick gigs up here on my radar. Those nice chaps from Voodoo Vegas gave me the low down, yet I turn up in time enough to miss the first two acts at this Christmas Monsters of Rock bash (No Turbo No Love and Western Sand), and instead wait for Voodoo Vegas to set up.

They are in full Christmas effect – well Lawrence (vox) and Meryl (guitar) are by wearing Santa hats for their opener So Unkind – lost by 2nd song Tied Up. At least the tinsel remains on the mic stands – well until it goes crowd surfing! 

During their fourth song I shoot off across town to 1812 to catch Monkey Puzzle – I’ve heard a lot about these guys and for good reason – the place is kicking and heaving (seemingly more than as usual for 1812) with young and young-at-heart trendies enjoying the sounds.

There are dancers – proper dancers – doing their thing in front of the band, and everywhere around people are getting down and bopping to the amazing funk / soul fusion emanating from this 7 piece outfit. I’m not familiar with many of the tunes; I don’t need to be since every one of them entices punters to groove and gyrate along to the percussive beats and keyboard glissandos.

During their break lead singer Elena introduces me to Sarah, who’s plugging a new event Ghetto Fabulouse at the Winchester on 19 December. They might have bands in the future; Sarah was I think hoping to engage Monkey Puzzle for one of the nights.

Again I take my leave to drop in on the Winchester and Smokin Aces however a glitch in my programming means I’ve chosen the wrong night for live music at both venues.

Nothing for it then but to wind up the night in usual fashion at the Cellar Bar to catch Alex Roberts’ final set. The last time I saw Alex live was at The Crumplehorn Inn in Polperro, Cornwall. Boy this is (understandably) a different gig.  The crowd are up for some lively blues, Alex’Alex Roberts Live in Cellar Bar stomp box driving the beats turning the crowd into a pulsating mob. Even Harry, owner, is getting on down to Alex – really good to see

Of course, like a wally I’ve forgotten my new phone can easily transfer photos, I’ve only remembered in time for Alex’ gig, so here he is, as usually depicted with his amazing-sounding slide guitar.

Another thing I like about Alex – very little phases him when on stage. A nice heckle is dealt with, and even breaking a string in his last song means he simply switches track, changing to an even better sounding 12-string and kicking things into a frenzy.

This is the first time in a long time I’ve heard the shouts for a third encore (which he graciously delivers) – and the crowd still want more! To calls of “we won’t let you leave” and “you’re here ’til next Tuesday” Alex Roberts delivers the goods – all the time every time. Awesome.

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.