Thomas Tripp, Lymington

Blue Murder

Blue Murder formed back in 1987 as a band wishing to make a mark on the local Hampshire music scene. Formed by Rod Akam and Adrian Saunders the band gigged for around a year until on the eve of a gig at Salisbury Arts Centre the lead guitarist quit at the last minute, leaving mutual friend Jody Fletcher to step in at the last minute. The band split in 1989 when Jody returned to his native USA.

The modern wonders of social media got the band back in touch a couple of years ago and they were given the tragic news from Rod’s daughter Chloe that their former bandmate Rod has succumbed to cancer. After a lot of organising the band decided to get back together for a gig to raise funds for cancer research UK. After a few short rehearsals the band comprising of original members Adrian Saunders (guitar), Simon Forsyth (Bass), Jody Fletcher (Guitar) with local singer Gemma Davies on Vocals, Jake Stillwell (Drums) and Rod’s daughter Chloe Akam also guest on vocals, they were ready for this special event.

The evening kicks off with a three-piece local band by the name of Midi Moths; who proudly show off their eighties influences with some well executed, electronically dominated tunes. They combine dark rooted bass riffs with electronic drums and synthesisers, coupled with some well delivered enthusiastic vocals. Each tune really has its own personality with a mix of funk and dance with shades of industrial. The band; made up of Burr Shaw on vocals/syths/drums, Graham Woods on bass and Leyanne Coombs on vocals really put their all into this infectious performance and get plenty of appreciation from the audience. It is a really refreshing change to discover a band that are willing to make a break from the conventional guitars, bass and drums.

Midi Motha
Midi Moths 12

Next up are a New Forest band who are made up of two plasterers, a painter, an electrician and a chef-masquerading as musicians at the weekend calling themselves Clockwork Carousel. These guys have been treading the boards for a few years now and make some seriously beautiful music. This is the band’s first gig since Christmas as they have been busy writing and recording material. They combine electric and acoustic guitars with a lovely atmospheric lap steel sound. We are treated to a love song called “All of My Heart” which has a nice lap steel melody and harmonica intro before Martin really excels with his heartfelt vocals. The new material comes in the form of the politically motivated “Risky Water”; highlighting the lack of freedom of movement, and a slightly heavier number “Into the Fire” which features some fantastic melodic guitar work. Clockwork Carousel have a lot of support in these parts and leave the stage to plenty of applause.

Clockwork Carousel
Clockwork Carousel 123

Putting this evening together has really taken some serious organising and you can certainly forgive the band for having some serious nerves as they climb up on to the Thomas Tripp stage. They are more than uplifted by the hugely supportive crowd who are with them every step of the way. Getting back together after 30 years must be hard enough and playing gigs without Rod must be emotionally difficult. They get under way with Gemma on lead vocals and soon find their mojo with a string of handpicked covers, where the band show some glimpses of their past. It has to be said that the covers are tunes that you would not normally hear on a pub on a Saturday night, which is a refreshing change. The Kinks “Victoria”, Nick Lowe’s “Peace, Love and Understanding” and a great version of Blondie’s “Dreaming”, where Gemma really shows her excellent vocal talents.

Blue Murder
Blue Murder 123456

Next, Rod’s daughter Chloe steps up to the stage to take her turn singing some of her late Father’s original tunes. Chloe is a regular to the stage as she works as a professional singer and her commanding stage presence really gets the audience excited as she starts to sing. These songs are really timeless and it is such a shame that they have not seen the light of day once again until now. “November” is a particularly powerful number that stirs plenty of emotions from those old enough to remember the band first time around. “This is the Capital” highlights the political situation back in the 1980’s and talks about the “Blue Witch” (Margaret Thatcher) in London.

The covers return and Gemma and Chloe join forces for an unrehearsed “Sweet Child of Mine” which they get through without any major issues, more than helped by the hugely vocal audience. That was to be their last song but the audience push the band to do one more, and as there are no spares in the bag they revisit Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” to round off the evening on a high. The evening was a massive success and raised over £1100 for Cancer research UK and remembering Rod Aklam in the best possible way.

Set List
Substitute (The Who)
Victoria (The Kinks)
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (Nick Lowe)
Dreamin’ (Blonde)
Crimson & Clover (Tommy James & the Shondells)
Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
Ivory Tower (Blue Murder)
Thorn Pushes Through (Blue Murder)
November (Blue Murder)
This is the Capital (Blue Murder)
Highway to Hell (Ac/Dc)
Sweet Child o’ Mine (Guns n’ Roses)
Boys of Summer (Don Henley)



Words, Pictures and Videos by David Chinery (Chinners)

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