Mr Kyps, Poole

Featuring : Empire Affair, The Cramatics, Electric Panda, Kentucky Fight Club & Mutant Vinyl

Road To Blissfields

With the notable absence of the Dorset Music Awards this year, a chance for bands to compete with each other for a place to play a slot at a major music festival is more than welcome in the March gig calendar. The “Road To Blissfields” is a competition set up to give bands from all over the South of England. The chance to play on the Thursday at the Blissfields Festival in Winchester.

The Poole Heat at Mr Kyps features 5 very different bands who all hope to impress the panel of judges who are looking for all aspects of their performances to see who will most suit the step up to the big Festival stage.

The names for the order of performance were drawn out of a hat and 1st on were “Mutant Vinyl” a band who are infamous in these parts for their many impressive local performances. The show starts with front man Ed Pope taking to the stage with just his Saxophone creating a sort of acid jazz vibe before being joined by the rest of his band who join in and create a really big sound. Combining keyboards, bass, drums and the excellent sounds of Marc Haynes on electric guitar. Despite being 1st on the performance is tight, full of energy and impresses the audience. The band ended in a big way with the song “Acid Honey” setting the benchmark hight for the night ahead.

Mutant Vinyl
Mutant Vinyl 12

Next up we have a bit of cowpunk with “Kentucky Fight Club”, Ski (Bass), and Harry (Mandolin) have borrowed their all white 2 piece suits from John Travola’s wardrobe for tonight’s performance, and very smart they look too. The frantic 30 minutes set features some fast paced original sounding music with a country twist with songs like “Silver Surfer and “Paradise City” a parody of the Guns ‘n Roses song reworked into a song all about Boscombe. As it was still early sadly the crowd reaction was very limited despite their best efforts to get things moving along.

Kentucky Fight Club
Kentucky Fight Club 12

Three piece rock band Electric Panda were next to perform, there songs and musicianship were solid but the band created no atmosphere or stage presence to excite the audience. Disappointingly there was no real effort to get the crowd involved apart from a half hearted request to the audience to move forward to fill the large gap in front of the stage. Electric Panda ended on a well executed track called “Walking on Gilded Splinters” which the lead singer explained the band have made a promotional video for. With so many bands other there on the live music scene today the competition is high for the few local gigs available, bands cannot just perform their songs and hope people attend they all really have to work on giving their audience more of a show.

Electric Panda
Electric Panda 12

There were no such problems with “The Cramatics” who bounded on stage with bags of energy and excitement demanding full attention of everybody in front of them. They requested that the audience join with them for their performance and the gap in front of the stage soon filled up with willing audience members dancing along to the band’s infectious tunes. The electronic backed pop music was enhanced with some great duel vocals, with this good looking boy band who played all their own instruments having much of the audience eating out of their hands. The band have obviously been hard at work rehearsing and writing songs and that is really apparent from this performance, they certainly have a good chance of getting the festival slot with this really entertaining showing.

The Cramatics
The Cramatics 123

The final band of the evening are Empire Affair who themselves have performed some great high energy gigs including a couple of shows at the Bournemouth 02 Academy and here at Mr Kyps supporting The Hoosiers. There is plenty of support for them here, with the band having seemingly bought a small coach load of fans with many of them wearing fetching Empire Affair T-shirts. The twin electric guitars of Matt and Jack start creating the bands big sound and then the high energetic front man Neil Talent bounds on to the stage immediately taking charge making sure everyone in the room is looking at him, he comes right to the front of the stage making sure everybody is paying full attention. The bands infectious well written songs soon have everyoneís feet tapping and hands clapping making for a highly charged performance. With excellent songs like the vocally brilliant “December” and the epic closing number “Tornadoes” ringing in everyones ears the band leave the stage to excited applause, just hope they have done enough to clinch the festival spot.

Empire Affair
Empire Affair 12

So after all 5 bands have showed their worth to the 5 judges, one single judge steps forward to the stage announce the winners and the Winners are… The Cramatics, apparently there were three bands in the running for the top spot with just 3 points separating all of them. There are excited cheers from The Cramatics and their fans along with a few gutted faces from the members of the other bands, who have to face the huge disappointment of losing, very sportingly though members of The Cramatics go around and shake the hands of the other members of the bands. It is so difficult with competitions like this where there is only one winner as all the other bands are left with the bitter disappointment but hopefully with any positive feedback from the judges this will make the bands stronger and more determined next time.


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Words, Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners).

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