The Winchester, Bournemouth

Xander And The Keys

Featuring: Xander & The Keys, Palms & Pelicans, The Remnants, The Electric Shakes, and We Are Robot

It’s a warm winter evening in Bournemouth as The Winchester plays host to 5 of the better bands from the area. End of Trail Records are here talent spotting, while we at Rock Regeneration are here purely to promote. I arrive midset during the opening bands performance. We Are Robot, fresh from opening proceedings recently at one of the Oxjam nights are fleshed out to a full 4-piece. They remind me of someone but I just can’t place it. They play a soft, “gentle” Indie which is easy on the ear while rarely moving around the stage. The sound overall is clean and crisp and while they’re not really my bag, one cannot criticise them. The singer has a great voice, harmonising as he does almost throughout. It’s always tough taking the “graveyard slot” but they leave to generous applause and maybe make a few new fans.

We Are Robot
We Are Robot 12

No strangers to a stage or two recently The Electric Shakes are up next. Compere Mr. Chinners has pre-warned us it’s gonna get a whole lot heavier, and he’s not wrong! This 3 piece are out to make a statement and get straight to it with their adrenaline fuelled Garage/Rock. For those of us familiar with their live output they open with the impressive “Go”, and set out their stall early. “You Don’t Believe Us” is an early highlight and once again I’m finding myself lauding these guys – they really are the real deal. They end with crowd favourite and the ever so socially aware track “Stereotypical Girls” – about girls walking around Bournemouth, (or any town really); in micro-mini skirts! Yes, we’ve all seen them!!

Electric Shakes
Electric Shakes 12

Next up are ever evolving The Remnants. Formed out of the ashes of a few other local bands, these 4 guys got themselves noticed by constantly updating their sound. Think 60’s Britbeat/Psychadelia and your still only half way there. Tonight, however it’s more “garagey” – noticeably louder, occasionally a wall of noise. Laur (vox/guitar) however looks pissed off, (perhaps today’s defeat of local football team has something to do with it)! There’s riffs aplenty and occasional shoegazing but they have a big, big sound tonight. I even detect a Monkeys “Steppin’ Stone” riff in their set, although it’s probably not intentional. They deliver anyway and leave to good applause.

The Remnants
The Remnants 1
Palms And Pelicans
Palms And Pelicans 1

Another quick turnaround and Chinners introduces the next band. Heaping unnecessary pressure on “Palms and Pelicans” he announces they are the only band on the bill from outside of Dorset. Some ironic boo’s are heard but any nerves are quickly extinguished as they steal the show with some early/mid 90’s-inspired Indie. Think “Belly” in their prime and you’re only halfway there. “Float” is an early highlight as they transport this reviewer back to 1992! As well as Tanya Donnelly there’s hints of Dolores O’Riordan in Mattea’s vocals, but I have to say they are a breath of fresh air. Describing their music as Dream Pop who are we to argue, but there are enough other elements to keep this now near full room entertained. They too leave to great applause, and I for one look forward to seeing them again soon.

Xander And The Keys
Xander And The Keys 12

And so to tonight’s headliners; Xander and The Keys are also no strangers to the live music circuit, and without delay start up a frenetic beat. Immaculately attired as they are in matching white shirts and black ties they simply entertain. The almost dreamy “Shiver” is an early highlight, where Xander (vox) really owns the vocal. The whole band are energetic throughout and no inch of the stage is missed as they are constantly moving. “Shoebox” is another standout track; and while I have seen them play a few covers before, it seems tonight’s set is one of originals. They even get us onside with the distribution of a band T-shirt here and there! They too leave the stage to great applause and one wonders if any of the 5 bands made a lasting impression on the all important person/people from End of Trail Records. Only time will tell; but for an evenings live entertainment, tonight has been of the highest order.


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.
Pictures By Chinners.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace