Tag Archives: guernsey gigs

BBC Introducing Guernsey: March 2017 – Gregory Harrison in Session and Vinyl Vaughan’s

Gregory Harrison and Nathan Arnaud in the BBC Introducing Guernsey studio

Greg and Nathan in the studio

Click here to listen to the show

BBC Introducing Guernsey returned to the airwaves on Saturday 26th March 2017 with another two hours of music from around the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

This month I was joined in the studio by Gregory Harrison, one of the people behind a pair of recent shows organised under the Guernsey Gigs banner.

As well as telling me about the shows he spoke about joining The Recks last year, being part of The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers and of course his own music, and he played an acoustic session for us with Nathan Arnaud accompanying him on the bass.

I also took a look at Guernsey’s new independent record store that has grown out of the charity record fairs that take place around the island, Vinyl Vaughan’s.

You can listen to the show for 30 days after the broadcast date by clicking here.

Tracklist

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Guernsey Gigs Jam Night – The Fermain Tavern – 03/03/17

Agents of Obscure Enterprise

Agents of Obscure Enterprise

While most weeks we have the pleasure enjoying live music from a variety of bands, Guernsey Gigs staged a show with a bit of a difference to kick of March with a ‘jam night’ at The Fermain Tavern.

The set up was pretty simple, any musicians could put their names in one of the ‘sexy buckets’ (no one could work out why they were sexy but we were told they were) related to their particular skill and names were chosen at random to form a band generally consisting of a guitarist, bass player and drummer with, in some cases, a vocalist and a ‘wildcard’ entry as well.

The newly formed band would then, after coming up with name, have twenty minutes on stage to jam and see what would happen.

The first band of the night were possibly the one with the toughest job of getting things underway but with John McCarthy, Pete Le Lacheur, Jack Crisp and Gregory Harrison amongst them things were in safe hands. Going by the name Agents of Obscure Enterprise things were mostly blues rock noodling but at points some nice grooves were found and Greg’s violin added some extras along with Jack’s funk-scat like vocals.

Bitch Master General

Bitch Master General

The second act found a kind of jazz-hip-hop-punk fusion with the addition of a saxophone as the wildcard and Silas The Assyrian Assassin himself on vocals. While this might sound like a mismatch the band, going by the name of Bitch Master General, provided one of the highlights of the evening.

Featuring Lord Vapour guitarist Henry Fears and Brunt bass player Elliott Mariess it was not surprising which musical direction Existence is Pain (a cheery name) took as the duo were joined by Seven Day Riot drummer Scott Angus for a long hard rock jam. Henry did what he does so well in his regular band with some cracking riffing and solos, while Elliott found space for some enjoyable rolling grooves.

With James Dumbleton being drawn as the wildcard and coming armed with a tin whistle and violin amongst other instruments (we were spared the bagpipes tonight!), Prolapsed Conscience created yet another hybrid sound with a kind of Celtic funk blues with Henry Fears on guitar, Claire Moxie on drums and Jack Crisp back on vocals.

Prolapsed Conscience

Prolapsed Conscience

Despite some interesting moments, particularly thanks to the wildcard instruments and drums, most of their sound felt a little too much like the same riff rolling on and on for the twenty-minute set in fairly unremitting fashion.

With Elliott Mariess on guitar, Graham Duerden of Tantale (and the evening’s compere) on drums, Tom Relf on bass and Gregory Harrison back with his violin Black Slags (can I repeat that? I just have) spent 20 minutes building up an epic instrumental with Greg’s violin working well alongside Elliot’s guitar work.

It had to happen eventually but The Screaming Ninnies, made up of Static Alice‘s Dominique Ogier (vocals), Jawbone‘s Dan Keltie (bass), Rob Gregson (guitar) and Brunt’s Christiaan Mariess (drums), felt like the first real miss match of the night with grunge, punk and pop all battling. Despite the groups’ best efforts they never quite wrangled their own styles into something coherent so, if nothing else this served to show quite how hard this jamming thing can be.

Nick Farnham

Nick Farnham

Named after a member of the audience, Nick Farnham was comprised on two-thirds of Lifejacket, John McCarthy and Claire Moxie, along with Tom Relf on bass, Paul Dowdney on tuba (possibly the wildest of the evenings wildcards) and Jade Grace on vocals.

Jade’s particular style brought a 70s rock vibe to the beginning of their jam with tuba adding a nice dynamic to the bass sound before things took a more indie turn with Moxie and John taking something of a lead and building the whole thing to great dance rock climax.

To round off the night it became a bit of a bigger jam with Henry, Graham, Elliott, Greg, Jack and Dom all taking to the stage and they developed a sound that I can only describe as a kind of sonic madness with everyone just going for it over one another, so to speak, but again with some fine moments amidst the chaos.

Final jam of the evening

Final jam of the evening

While the night as a whole was a mixed bag in terms of the music, and there seemed to be something of a drought of guitarists, for a first go at something like this it worked really well. Added to that in the relaxed atmosphere everyone seemed very much in the spirit of the occasion both onstage and off.

What stood out most thought was just quite the level of talent there is in Guernsey’s musical community as just getting up on stage with a group you’ve never played with before is certainly not an easy thing and if this happens again it would be great to see even more and varied a group of musicians take to the stage and see where things end up.

You can see more of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey website

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The Recks tour the islands – The Fermain Tavern – 07/08/15

Richey Powers of The Recks

Richey Powers of The Recks

In preparation for their set at Boomtown Fair 2015 The Recks played a trio of shows around the Channel Islands with support from various local acts and German guitarist, MarKuz.

Things started out at The Mermaid in Sark on Thursday 6th August and wound up at The Watersplash in Jersey with The Pirate Party Brigade on the 8th but in between they put on a show what they called their ‘spiritual home’ The Fermain Tavern with support from Brit-style indie band The Secret Smiles and psychedelic hard rockers Lord Vapour.

My review of the show was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 15th August and you can read that below. You can also see more of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page by clicking here.

The Recks, Secret Smiles, Lord Vapour, Markuz review scan - 15:08:15Guernsey Gigs were on hand as well and got a few videos of the show:

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Guernsey Gigs Battle of the Bands

On Saturday 4th August Guernsey Gigs staged a Battle of the Bands event at the KGV clubhouse.

With 11 bands playing across the day there was a great atmosphere throughout and the top prize went to recently formed reggae-punks RentOClean.

You can read my interview with the winners and organisers for BBC Introducing Guernsey by clicking on the screen grab.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

And here is my review of the show:

RentOClean

With sporting competition on every mind at the moment with the Olympic Games going strong, Guernsey Gigs presented a contest of a different kind on Saturday 4th August 2012, a Battle of the Bands.

For a Saturday afternoon in mid summer it may have seemed an odd choice to spend the day inside to some, but, thankfully, the weather wasn’t the most sparkling it could have been and so from the start there was an audience for the bands and performers at the KGV clubhouse today.

First on stage was Robert J Hunter, who has become something of a mainstay of acoustic blues in Guernsey with regular performances at gigs and festivals and in many of the islands pubs, which have clearly sharpened his playing skills. Today he displayed this with an, as ever, consummate performance which set a high standard from the off and went down well with the small but growing audience.

Songs In the Key Of G

There was more solo acoustic action next, though with more of a punk edge, from Songs In The Key Of G (aka Mark). Playing a more controlled performance than many I have seen from him recently Mark put in a solid show and again went down well as more made their way into the venue.

The days first full band, The Black Vote, took to the stage next and much like Songs In The Key of G, their early stage time seemed to lead to a slightly more controlled performance than usual, although they still trod their customary fine line between control and chaos. While this is a band that will never appeal to everyone, I once again very much enjoyed their set of attitude and experience driven punk rock that veered from the lyrically downbeat to the ridiculous in fine form.

Dealer’s Left changed the musical mood somewhat next with their set of pop rock sounds, mostly drawing on covers but with a few originals, they once again played a great set that hints at great things to come, which was reflected by their runner-up position in today’s contest.

The next act was The Phantom Cosmonaut who it would be a challenge for me to review (it being me) so I will just say I had a good time and apologies to the organisers for over running my slot!

The DeadBeats

The path to some early evening heaviness began next up with The DeadBeats. With only a handful of gigs to their name they played a great set tonight which once again highlighted frontman Bobby Battle’s unique stage presence and vocals within a heavy grunge context.

The band’s drummer, Dan Garnham, also displayed his recently developed skills, but still with that sense of attitude which many local gigs goers will remember from his tenure with band’s like Spat and the Bio-Nightmares.

Modern thrashers Distant Shores brought their mix of NWOAHM and NWOBHM to the Battle of the Bands next and, while their sound was a bit murky for the first few numbers, they were soon firing on all cylinders and once again played a blinder.

Distant Shores

As possibly their last performance in Guernsey before half the band head off to university in September their signature track As The Stars Collide brought a satisfying end to their set – I just hope they keep the band going as they are something new and refreshing in Guernsey’s current metal scene.

From something new and refreshing to a trip down memory lane next as Iron Cobra reformed after four years for the first of a couple of reformation gigs.

My memory had given me something of a sense of expectation for this southern metal band’s return and I sincerely hoped that it wasn’t a sense of nostalgia that had produced this, but, as the band tore through a set of originals and covers of the likes of Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, I realised I needn’t have worried.

Once again Bobby Battle demonstrated his combination of musicianship and stage presence and frontman Dave Riley delivered an astonishing vocal performance, which I can only think, must lead to a sore throat later in the evening.

Iron Cobra

Closing on Dead Man’s Hand, Iron Cobra were one of my true highlights of the day and I hope these few reformation shows aren’t the last we see of them.

Having not caught any of their previous gigs (be it their first full-scale appearance at Chaos, or their smaller outings) this was my second time seeing RentOClean in as many days.

While their set last night had been good it had failed to ignite the crowd, tonight however was a different story as many seemed to be there to specifically to see this band and were soon skanking along to their reggae-punk sounds.

Following their brilliant and uplifting performance tonight, which engaged the audience with the between song banter as well as with their music, it was no surprise that RentOClean came out on top in the Battle of the Bands.

Party In Paris

Party In Paris were penultimate band tonight and it was my first time catching them, though I understand the band have undergone quite a few line up changes in their short history but now seem to have settled on this six piece version.

Playing a full on set of what can only be called proper pop they sounded excellent with piano and saxophone alongside the guitar, drums and bass, adding something different to most of the other bands today and young vocalist Gemma Honey was a particular highlight of their already very good set.

Lifejacket

Finally on stage were Lifejacket, another band I was seeing for the second time this weekend. After what was not their best performance last night they were back on fine form tonight and seem to have developed something of a following judging by the reactions to their original songs. For me they were another of the highlight of the day, though, to be honest, I don’t think there was a bad set all day and any of the acts would have been deserving winners.

So, that was the first Guernsey Gigs Battle of the Bands, won by RentOClean with Dealer’s Left and Party In Paris as runners-up, and while my personal view on Battle of the Bands is that they are an odd concept, as a reason to draw people to a venue and check out some local music, this one seemed to do the trick and I hope these become regular events and I can give nothing but credit to Guernsey Gigs for doing their bit in drawing Guernsey’s live music community together.

All photos by Tom Girard and courtesy of BBC Introducing Guernsey.

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