Bournemouth O2 Academy

Featuring: Brothers Grimmer, New Royalty, Sirpico, Constellation, Empire Affair, Fearne The Frequency and One Dead Ninja


Saturday Night, Bournemouth O2 Academy,it can only mean one thing – BANDALISM! Eight local bands,putting on a show to highlight what is great about our towns music scene. Opening proceedings are Stoner Rockers Brothers Grimmer. Having seen these guys once before and taking little notice I take more interest this time around. They open with a wall of sound,accompanied by their own “Bez”, dancer Macko (Michael) Grimmer-robotics/body popping, you name it he does it. The Brothers sound takes (to this reviewer) a huge dollop of Pearl Jam,mixes a touch of psychedelic groove and a smattering of Grunge to their experimental brand of Rock.

O2 Bournemouth: Brothers Grimmer
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Its heavy on the ear but the perfect way to start proceedings. An early cover of “Everlong” doesn’t disappoint,neither does the rest of their set of original material. The drums are heavy throughout while the middle 8’s are huge! Lee’s vocals are gentle in parts yet confident throughout. Bobo (Shaun) Grimmer plays a left hand bass which gives the band a symmetrical stage presence while “Teflon” (Steve) Grimmer plays guitar. A great start to the evening.

Next up are New Royalty,v5 pretty boys from Hordle. They immediately disappoint me with a cover, then proceed to give us a clutch of their own material. Caught somewhere in the mire of the current radio-friendly indie scene these guys clearly have talent, its just lost on me. Its all rather polished and copied. Neat hair,River Island suits & fixed stares!

O2 Bournemouth: New Royalty
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However, on an appreciation front I’m clearly in the minority & judging by the response to their music they’ve pulled in big numbers tonight. The biggest cheer greets a truly awful cover of Black Eyed Peas “I’ve Got a Feeling”. Even their fancy dress Dalek & Banana onstage does not cheer me up! Take nothing away from New Royalty though, they have a confident singer in Luke, even if Jack (synths) wants a share of the limelight. They’re no White Lies but they would be an A&R mans dream, one would expect to see them adorning a front cover of NME sometime in the future. Next Big Things? Only time will tell but I will reluctantly wish them well.

O2 Bournemouth: Serpico
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Third on are a band I’ve seen many times and would happily champion as great, and ones to watch. I’m talking here about Sirpico. In Al (vox) they have a singer with real talent. Great vocal delivery and range, particularly on set highlight “Human Wreckage”. While his influences are worn well on his sleeves (Weller, OCS, Gene), tonight I’m hearing a vocal not unlike The Music. Other highlights include old fave “The River” and “Jostle”. No surprises then with Sirpico, just another great performance.

O2 Bournemouth: Constellation
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Due to a late cancellation by Voice of Reason a slot appears for Constellation who don’t disappoint. They have clearly shifted a shed load of tickets and judging by the reaction to them, have a massive female following! Ali (vox) reminds me of Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals. His vocals are confident while he busts a few moves. The sound is indie with a smattering of ska and a touch of soul for good measure. They perform the best cover of the evening with “Sex on Fire” which has this audience really moving now. On “What a Waster” they make good use of a Bloc Party riff but I wont point the finger as I’m sure its not deliberate!

O2 Bournemouth: Empire Affair
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It’s on nights like this that one band goes the extra mile to make a statement of intent. Empire Affair go for the jugular in more ways than one. As they stride onstage one by one we see a band decked out in all white attire. Think early Manics,you get the picture. Neil (vox) is last onstage & cant keep still for a second, Jack (lead) however is having sound issues so there’s a delay. The band decide to ad-lib, just a small-town boy…..(‘Don’t Stop Believing’ Glee sylee),the crowd join in one & all. Lead guitar sorted Empire Affair launch into a set of original material. To coin a phrase this band are ‘on it’ tonight. The vocals are strong,the sound is clean & crisp. On the whole the delivery oozes confidence. With every song Neil is jumping,strutting & patrolling the stage while cajoling the crowd, who are loving it. They leave to rapturous applause. This wont be the last we’ll be seeing of Empire Affair.

O2 Bournemouth: Fearne
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Fearne take to the stage with little fuss and give us their classic lo-fi indie songs. Competition winners they may be but it hasn’t gone to their heads. They are attired very well and do what they do best, play some great tunes. In Alex Beds they have a confident singer whose delivery is often heartfelt but never dull. Adam, Nick and Darren make up this quartet with unfussy performances but tonight’s set appears to be shorter than usual. “Closer” is a highlight before they end with the Craig David “7 Days” coupled expertly with a Will Smith medley

O2 Bournemouth: The Frequency
Gallery: 12

Penultimate band The Frequency are on next. This band are well known to me having reviewed/championed them in recent months. I’m expecting great things, especially seeing them on a bigger stage. I’m left slightly disappointed however, the wall of sound (to me) is a tad overpowering and its definitely their loudest performance to date. They open with “Sticky Little Finger” which is well received,as is the excellent “Changing Faces”. Dan H (bass) takes the opportunity to throw a few free CD’s into the crowd which are gratefully received. Austin’s vocals are strong throughout whilst Phil’s drumming is heavy all night long. Dan K (guitar) is playing confidently but just when we are about to hear a new song a tech comes onstage to cut short their performance. Despite their annoyance The Frequency reluctantly accept their fate and exit the stage to good applause. However, looking at Austin’s expression I’d suggest it left a bitter taste. It wont be the last we see of The Frequency and bigger gigs to come I’m sure will be a staple for them in the future.

O2 Bournemouth: One Dead Ninja
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Last act of the night are One Dead Ninja featuring Leigh and Jason from covers band Bullitt. This band however are a completely different proposition. Their sound is a mash-up of styles ranging from Rock/Doom/Metal/Prog/Experimental – add or delete as you wish! While the vocals aren’t unintelligible they are sometimes lost in the wall of sound and bludgeoning drums. The sound is seriously heavy! Time is clearly a factor and we get barely a 20 minute set. By now the crowd has dwindled but those who’ve stayed are enjoying.

Just to put things in perspective, this gig pulled in a crowd of 900+ for what is a showcase of local talent. The age range was wide and children accompanied by adults weren’t exempt. Clearly Bournemouth has a scene worth shouting about. One can only hope this was not a one-off and this fine venue can showcase another event like tonight’s. A big hand to John Lorry & everyone else who helped organise this event. Great music,great night.

Brothers Grimmer

New Royalty



Empire Affair


The Frequency

One Dead Ninja

Check Out the bands on their own web pages:

Videos by Chinners
Pictures by Chinners and Jon Musselwhite (Who was not on call)

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