Bournemouth Unplugged – Round 2, Heat 2

May 9, 2012

Before we begin, a quick recap is in order. Bournemouth Unplugged started with 30 musicians all tasked with playing a set of fully original songs.
This has now been whittled down to 20, who must now include a cover in their sets. 
On 16th April, five of the remaining musicians played, so we pick up approximately halfway through the competition, with Hannah Robinson kicking off Round 2, Heat 2.
If you’ve ever heard the phenomenal “Paint it Blue” Hannah should be a familiar voice. Unlike her blues work with the band, her solo writing is of a slower, folkier style, although still with her Motown inspired voice (Those too young to know Motown, think Amy Winehouse) which is best shown off during her cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” This is unfortunately at the expense of some guitar proficiency, which is corrected with the addition of a second guitar and a cajón (A Peruvian box/drum) which fills out the sound perfectly, especially with penultimate song “Monster.”

Tim “Afroninja” Somerfield comes next, so named because he has an afro, and presumably a whole wardrobe full of martial arts black belts. His set can be summed up simply as laid back angst, although experimentation with a loop pedal works well for him, resulting in a sound best described as acoustic Iron Maiden. His choice of cover, the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” goes down well amongst the crowd, although it is not as strong as his original music.

Louise Wade provides a very rock and blues based set, and at the same time manages to screw up the heads of most of the crowd through one of the most inventive publicity stunts ever seen. On entry, the audience are asked which act they’re here to see. Those who arrived to see Louise were rewarded with glow-sticks and “rainbow specs”, the later of which has to be experienced to be believed, but could be described as watching a Pink Floyd light show through a kaleidoscope. Her best moment is undoubtedly one of her original songs: “Love to be Lonely”, for which she is joined by a djembe (African rum) player and a tambourine player.

After these three very strong acts, Tom Clements unfortunately doesn’t stand out quite so much, despite his excellent guitar and vocal work. He does manage one of the stronger covers of the night however, using a loop pedal to play a version of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” that Mark Knopfler would be proud of.

Unfortunately, Johnny Neeson closes a night of upbeat, generally happy music. A superb guitarist and a great vocalist, Johnny plays a set bleak acoustic rap which doesn’t suit the laid back atmosphere, and on the whole is an incredible mood breaker. A cover of The Doors’ “Spanish Caravan” is the musical high point of the night, but still doesn’t completely fit. 

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