Fisherman Fest

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Yellowgroove @ The Larder House Macmillan Cancer Support fundraiser, Oct 21Having been diving in the morning after the late Oxjam finish, I’m a little tardy reaching the Fishermans Walk gardens. The Larderhouse are hosting a mini festival here, as I arrive with Mrs H, Selby is on stage with a funk jam band shouting out some rap poetry; the rap stuff is good, I’m getting a bit tired of the repetitive jam towards the end, as its been going on for about 30 minutes.

After a longish break Yellowgroove are next on, starting with Fading Out then Loving Man. Son Of A Working Man is given an extended intro while a lead is changed, subtle hints are given alluding to the melody as first one or two, then a series of chords from the melody riff are played out. The guys break into some of their covers, that and the cold turns us to walk away, with the strains of Cream left behind in the trees…

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Oxjam Takeover 2012

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oxjam bournemouth 2012 posterThere’s been much anticipation and build up yet again for the takeover this year, and the start is slightly delayed in the Pier Theatre due to VT difficulties creating more suspense…

Martin interviewAnd we’re off – Powdered Cows start with Lobster, Martin fresh from being interviewed by Beth Graham who’s producing an Oxjam Bournemouth Takeover Rockumentary. Powdered Cows @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s been promise of a spectacle from Martin, he starts solo with his electronics for a couple of songs, before a lion and a crocodile join him for Lion Lion, with invite for the audience to take some percussion and create the song together

Catch up with Livvy in relaxed mode @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012There’s delays in 60 Million Postcards too, so I catch up with one of the Oxjam queens, Livvy, who’s taking a moment outside.

Boolays @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012

I head back to the Pier where the Boolays are hitting their last two songs, both of them debuts for the band. Soprano sax, twin dueling acoustic guitars and twin female vocals with male accompaniment means I’m in a brief delight.

Jack Grace @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Jack Grace is solo acoustic today, and sounds absolutely crystal clear on the vocals, while the guitar gently plays along to itself for much of the material thanks to his loop pedal. The fantastic ambience of the awesome pier theatre really works well for Jack’s voice.

Jack Vallier @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012I reach 60 Million Postcards in time to hear Chris Woodford have a large shout up by compere Si Genaro. As ever, Chris plays a blinder. Jack Vallier is next up, and chooses to do a set of acoustic covers, starting with Wonderwall, which doesn’t go down as well as Krista’s version did last night. One bit of really good news – Tony Warren is back on the local music scene having had three years away in London; we have a bit of a natter and a catch up.

Citizen Perez @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Citizen Perez (Steve Perry) is up next in 60 Million Postcards, and everyone that’s told me about Citizen Perez has been right – what Steve does here is totally different to the other material he’s produced in the other acts he’s in. He’s doing new material (some involving kazoo) as well as acoustic versions of songs from other acts (like Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) ). Something that works well for him is the novelty kazoo taped to the microphone, such that he can still play guitar whilst using the kazoo. Makes for an interesting combination.

Not Made In China @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Back to The Pier, and one of my favourites, the happiest band in Bournemouth, Not Made In China are on stage. Their music is in major keys, with some great contrary bass work, big positive rhythms, and the killer vocals which somewhat tell of life in these times. People are clapping along, the only thing missing for me are the dancing idiots like me, but then this is a seated venue after all… Lee (Escape From 98) is with me, between us we cook up a new genre, African Indie, to place Not Made In China.

Annie Winter @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Annie Winter is doing her set at 60 Million Postcards; she’s recruited a full band behind her, Tim on string bass, Ben on cajon and Joe (Potter) on guitar and vocal. She’s singing winsome songs with a laid back feeling, perfect for a dreamy afternoon; with my rushing back and forth I’m feeling I’m not partaking in that vibe. My loss, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other at this moment in time 🙂

Compere Si Genaro introduces Tim Somerfield @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Tim Somerfield is given another of the Si Genaro treatments, and kicks off with last years Oxjam CD contribution There There. Tim’s voice soars over the guitar chord work, as if a bird released to float around the venue, major chords giving a positive lift to the songs. As I leave to reach the pier Tim starts Supervillain Alter Ego, which is on this years Oxjam album.

I’ve missed Our comperes Martin Roberts & Timo Peach @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mischa and catch Martin & Timo filling the gap so the Chicken Soup Choir can set up. They interview conductor Julie, who together with pianist Esther inherited a choir and set up Chicken Soup, because its good for the soul as she puts it. The Chicken Soup Choir @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012When the choir are revealed as the curtain lifts, I’m amazed at the size of it. They’re singing various pop rock songs, starting with what I think is Elbow, then Ash and Radiohead (I really don’t know my modern non-local music anymore). All the various instrumental components are sung, with oohs and ahhs and the like to make up the accompaniments.

Southern Ukulele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Susbus (Southern Ukelele Store Boscombe Ukelele Social) fill the stage as did the choir. Lisa McQuillan and Jonty Johnson share most of the singing honours, though many others are pulled out of the esemble to solo and sing. I must admit much of my attention is on Nacho Jase, who’s playing bass ukelele and hiding at the back, yet seems to be filling the stage with his presence. Paul Tucker is our narrator, and there’s a spare appearance by Martin Roberts on kazoo.

Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Mutant Vinyl have something special prepared for us tonight – I was with them last night as they were preparing the act for tonight. Ed starts trying to get his sax and vocals working to his satisfaction with the sound guys and the effects processing. Its not working for him so he invites his friend, birthday boy Tim Smart to join the stage. Luke also steps in, as Ed moves to the drums and Tim announces …. County Hospital…. County Hospital takeover the takeover with Mutant Vinyl @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012This means that the charismatic Ed switches to the enigmatic Ed and starts playing the tricked out beats he’s so good at, while Tim, Marc and Luke rock out some wonderful experimental stuff – then promptly leave the stage after the one song. Artistic Impression or what?  [It later transpires that this early exit wasn’t in the plan, its just that Ed couldn’t get the over-FX sound he wanted, so rather than give a bad show in his eyes, took the brave decision to chop his act, even though this causes angst and consternation for some – particularly the poor organisers of the venue].

head of a cuban trojan @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Head Of A Cuban Trojan (HOACT) have nearly played their awesome set out as I walk in, there are just three songs left, and they are amazing. Heavy bass, over egged guitar, a bit of a grunge thing going on. Then they start megaphoning the lyrics just to add to the musical contusion. Love it

El BosCo @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012El Bosco are a subset of Disco’s Out (Murder’s In) in appearance, totally different sound. Great melodies on Steve’s guitar, Ttubbs has some great beats going on, and Ed is pumping out the bass like a live one. Proper pop rock stuff, and everything starting to be turned up to the max on the PA. Its a little bit grungy like HOACT, yet not similar as there’s different things going on in the music and the vocals. Again I’m liking it, and am a bit torn to move to another venue.

Get The Tape @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012On The Rocks next (as I turn up at The Pier for Momo:Tempo to hear Tim say he’s finished), where Get The Tape have just started. Big screamo shouty rock, upon which regular readers will know my views. Even so, Get The Tape are different from the rest, their drummer is able to play some really fast timely stuff, while the lead guitar is producing great tunage, rather than the mushy chords I normally associate with the style. Another band I want to hear more from in the future, despite my general reservations on the genre.

Know One @ Pier Theatre, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Know One are playing what’s been dubbed as their last ever set on the Pier Theatre stage. Starting with some long-lost Two Tone material as an intro and sort of soundcheck, they soon move into the moshing stuff they’re known and loved for. Massive bass work, big horns (Callum still running around with that sax) and the others making good with the drums and the chord work. They are really on fire, and they even play their request song that they never normally play, Invisible Reality. I leave before the end, though, for…

Yellowgroove @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards again, this time for Yellowgroove who are in the middle of their 5 hour remix of Spread Your Love (Like A Fever), by all accounts they’ve done everything needed to satiate this noisy and active crowd. They get such a great groove on as they start Manimal, while still managing to take the rip out of their mate Nick. A brief crowd incursion causes a bit of havoc with Simon’s electrics, before they go into their next single Fading Out (available on the Oxjam CD), which is where I move out to On The Rocks.

Escapefrom'98 @ Ontherocks Bar, Oxjam Bournemouth 2012Escape From 98 have just started, and immediately start the heckling going. I have no paper to throw at them in return (their gig the night before in Salisbury culminated in a paper ball fight), so just bellow instead. We need to start a thing going – they have a new song Chorus where they encourage the crowd to shout the title – just shout “NO!”, kids. And they’ll love you forever and stuff :). A great set and a good end to this venue.

Mother Ukers @ 60 Million Postcards, Oxjam Bournemouth 201260 Million Postcards now have the Mother Ukers down, we’re still rammed in here as they play Love Cats then Cars before murdering Bowie (in a nice way), by turning Space Oddity into a chirpy number, while still retaining the modal nature of the song.

The evening ends in fine form with a little auction trying to sell off some particular one-design T-shirts, all to raise more funds for this worthy cause, before we continue partying the night away. I give up the party and take the option to leave for home, since I have diving in the morning.  A great, if wearing, day, thanks to the full on efforts of the team, Katy, Liz, Lauren, Livvy, Jo, Geoff and Andy, and all the others that I’m not aware of.  Please can we do it again, next year?!?

Larder House Session

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LarderHouse Session posterThis is the third Larder House session organised by Artist Insight, although its the first time Hannah Robinson @ The Larder House 30 SepI’ve managed to get along. Hannah Robinson is our first act of the evening, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her playing, though she seems to be doing 2 or 3 gigs a week at the moment. Hannah’s voice is exemplary, her guitar playing subtle to not overpower the atmosphere here.

A short venue report. The Larder House is an eatery with full bar, narrow on the street, long out to the back. Tonight pretty much all the tables are full, apart from the one Yellowgroove and I are squeezed into right in the front windows. A hidden asset is the large back garden, containing a railed in firepit, very welcome on this cool autumn evening. Check out where The Larder House is on the venues map.

Katharine Rose @ The Larder House 30 SepMichael Ricketts, the man behind Artist Insight, has sent out far and wide for talent, to London for Katharine Rose our second artist tonight. As can be seen she’s accompanying herself on digital piano. Her voice is exquisitely sweet, with a slight lilt and rolling timbre to it; she has high range without ear piercing normally associated with these pitch of notes.

Joel Harries @ The Larder House 30 SepJoel Harries hails from Northampton, and has an absolutely unique voice, crooning in falsetto, while also singing in normal range. Joel was recommended to Michael by an artist at a previous Larder House session and one can hear why. The guitar work is very delicate, his fingers just brushing the strings to create a softly sustained harpsichord effect.

Yellowgroove @ The Larder House 30 SepYellowgroove have a residency here. Today hasn’t been a good day for them; their chip-shop-oil fuelled van broke down with a brake problem, Mark is absent, they’re having PA problems now (which has been perfect up to this point), and friends John, Con and I are forming a heckling section right in front of them. They’ve sort of decided to called themselves Tongue And Groove tonight, the comedy offshoot of Yellowgroove. Loving Man, Fading Out, Crow On Your Shoulder, SOAWM, Manimal and Witches Wood are their songs tonight; sounds different thanks to Chris being restrained to a cajon and occasional mandolin, while Ben and Simon are dueting acoustic guitars as normal with their unplugged sets (they’ve been in this guise on the radio show before). A short yet good set…

Jinder @ Chaplins 30 SeptThis means I can move along to Chaplins, where Jinder is doing a surprise set (was originally billed as someone else). He’s held back to a late start as the bar only contains me, however once he starts people begin drifting in from the garden. He’s doing some more laid back gentle stuff tonight, compared with some of his pacier material. He’s regaling us with stories, an anecdote about Robert Wyatt in a car park up North is insightful. Overall a chilled evening.

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.

Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1

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DMA logoLooking back at this blog, I’ve not written up any gigs in the past two weeks, probably as I’ve been a bit of a hermit gig-wise due to other things going on;  I have been to some open mics though I rarely write these up…
Anyway, we’re here, Mr Kyps is open, we’re congregating here again for the annual two-week pilgrimage to enjoy the current ten best bands in Dorset, courtesy of the Dorset Music Awards 2012.

The General Public @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchThe hard job of starting off is given to The General Public, who take on the task admirably. Lead guitar and vocalist Mike makes a strong effort by calling in the crowd, who respond, and they kick off with a slow starter You’re Boring that warms up into their funk vibe. I love the chords in the middle of this one. A couple of songs and we’re into a vibed up version of Get It On. Here they take solo slots, and miss the opportunity to introduce each other to the crowd. Something that is good in this and a couple of others is their fade outs at the ends of songs, just done by them backing off, very clever. Badges are also being passed about in abundance – I’m talking with Mark from Peace Love and Gloves as they reach us, and he takes one too! Back to the music, and there’s some movement in the crowd to the irresistible beats. A strong starting act of our five tonight.

Paint It Blue @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchPaint It Blue are our second musical delight for the evening – and Fish has made a surprise appearance for the weekend (they played together for the first time in a while at last night’s Wheatsheaf gig). It’s as if he’d never been away, he’s perfectly blending in with the rest of the band as he does, they themselves are cranking things up and giving some amazing virtuoso demonstrations, while still keeping it together within the blues rhythms. During one slow number they leave Pete to do another solo, the rest of them just coming in with a single chord every beat so often – impressively tight.

Another thing good to see is some of next weeks bands’ members making an appearance in the crowd tonight, just enjoying the music, though I’m sure they must also be checking out the competition :).

Peace Love And Gloves @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 March Middle act tonight are Peace Love and Gloves, and as expected the most noticeable thing has been their crowd work, T-shirts are in abundance not only in the audience, but behind the bar and on stage crew members too. Bang Bang Bang is started to the “Goujon” chanted accompaniment, as are the rest of the songs in the set. Second song Ashamed is delivered with particular pizazz, the gaps and breaks are tight and together. Guest vocal poet Jordan makes a “surprise” appearance (throwing shirts – and I miss one) during Dance All Night, while a bit of a disco beat starts up from the guys. Later we’re also treated to our first moshable song in the unfortunately named I F* City.

Yellowgroove @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchWe have an extended introduction to Yellowgroove‘s set, tech problems with lead Simon’s acoustic guitar sorted by a changeover, while the rest of the band carry on with the beats and groove. Any frustration created by this is then let rip for the rest of the set, Simon from Yellowgrove Crowd Invasion @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchSimon starting by straddling the stage / barrier gap as Son Of A Working Man is entered, followed by an over-pumped Hero Wanted. I think they’ve found a groove with new song That Man Is An Animal they debut tonight – pacey and spiky, strong rock feel to the drums. They also give a makeover to Fading Out, it is punchier and a lot heavier on the drums and bass, except for a jazz-like riff to end, where they break down the instrumentals. They end with Blood On The Flag; even more martial than previous outings yet still has the guitar work sounding synth-like, that amazing pedal programming that I like so much oozing out into the Mr Kyps Auditorium. A big build to the energetic ending, Simon finishing off playing in the crowd after a stage dive. Awesome.

Know One @ Dorset Music Awards Semi Final 1, Mr Kyps 17 MarchLast act tonight are Know One, starting with a nicely reverb and delay effected sax solo, they soon break into the thumping ska/reggae they’re noted for. Shame the crowd has thinned out, those remaining are far louder than the dedicated fans of the others we’ve had tonight, though there is still an occasional “Goujon” from the PLG crowd! Child Soldier is worked out well, slower than others, everyone gets down to the vibe. A nice touch – the crowd is shouting for Shot Down; its not on the set list. However they slip it in anyway, and not surprisingly people go even more nuts :). That’s what I really can’t capture in mere words here, the energy on stage, the entire front wooden floor moving with bodies gyrating and jumping, I can feel the floor shaking if I stand still!

Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final 4

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DMA logoThis is a first for a long time – having to queue to get into a gig in Bournemouth, let alone queuing for a Dorset Music Awards Quarter Final. Apparently this can be blamed on Peace Love and Gloves and Yellowgroove, who have each brought large crowds with them.

Darren Hodson & the Southern Comfort @ DMA QF4 2 MarchDarren Hodson & The Southern Companion start us off in style with a bit of a country number before playing some awesome blues. This pretty much marks out their set, all of it with a South Coast USA vibe thanks to keys and Allman-esque guitar. As Chinners puts it, “its Country with Credibilty” – nice turn of phrase there from the rock lord… As they finish, I’m really left wanting more from these guys, definitely a good sign!

Escape from 98 @ DMA QF4 2 MarchEscapefrom’98 do not disappoint with their “don’t care I’m going to enjoy myself” approach. Encouraging us to jump, lunge, and generally get involved, the music is pacy and the songs racy. I’ve seen them play a couple of times now, this I think is the most energetic and enthusiastic I’ve seen them. Its really good in the last song to see them win over so many in the audience, Lennon jumping into the crowd, while Lee encourages most of the place into wild abandon.

Yellowgroove @ DMA QF4 2 MarchThird on tonight are Yellowgroove. I’ve made no bones before about my appreciation of Son Of A Working Man – they start with it tonight, with a big intro as they settle into what proves to be a highly charged set. The place is absolutely storming by this point – and the lads make the most of the huge crowd they’ve brought with them, dedicating songs, and – a nice touch – they have yellow roses they hand out to some of the ladies present. A very hard and nascent Blood On The Flag closes this most spectacular of sets, its just been really good music played and performed really well.

Peace, Love n Gloves @ DMA QF4 2 MarchFinally we get to perhaps the crowd’s most anticipated act of the night, fourth in are Peace Love and Gloves, accompanied by their now recognised fan shouts of “goujon goujon” – its on the T-shirts too just to make sure I don’t make that mistake again. They give the impression from the start that they have so much more to give, setting the expectation of only five songs early, knowing that their fans will no doubt want more. The music is maybe not as raucous as others tonight, its no less intense, songs being thoughtful and provocative – another example of capturing the societal mood at the moment.

The Devils Rejects @ DMA QF4 2 MarchLast on and much anticipated by me at least are The Devils Rejects, having seen them for the first and only time at the heats. They are yet another folk / rock / stomp band, yet with their own twist. They have big bass and drum base, with fiddle or accodian providing the difference. Again there’s lots of action in the crowd to the rocky and up tempo songs – they look to have brought some fans and won more in the process – the laudable intention of the awards, after all.

Brave Mariner @ Cellar Bar 2 MarchI try to carry on to Smokin’ Aces to catch The Wishbones, instead have a great set of songs from Brave Mariner at the Cellar Bar thanks to the former place refusing me entry due to capacity.  I don’t think I’ve seen Brave Mariner before (they don’t feature in the blog) yet I’m sure I’ve seen Angus (guitar) and Joey (vocals) in another band together.  Irrespective, they are playing some crowd pleasing tunes to the packed venue, with loads of jumping and shouting accompanying the songs, some of which are rock-like, some quirky antifolk, and all OK.  What a great end to a great night of really active and pumping music.

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.

Feedback Comments

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

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