Chaplin’s, Cellar Bar, Boscombe

Hightown Parade

For anyone who remembers a band called “Bad Magic” (later called “Walk the Night”), you will realise just how important they were to the Bournemouth music scene. The band featured four young aspiring musicians who have all gone on to work on great projects and are still really close friends, supporting each other through all eventualities. Tonight is the turn of vivacious frontman Chris Payn who had bided his time in putting together a new band, the band are called “Hightown Parade” and have been put together with members from the highly rated Brighton music scene. Tonight is the band’s first gig in Bournemouth in front of a crowd that features lots of familiar faces from the local music scene including Chris’s three best buddies Andy, Scott and Russ. The support band tonight is also from Brighton and are a three-piece Shock/Rock trio by the name of CLT DRP (Clit Drip!!).

I am not sure the Cellar Bar stage has ever seen anything quite like this before: the band features Annie on vocals, Daphne on drums and Scott on guitar. The sound is huge and immediately grabs everybodyís attention. Think of a modern day “Babes in Toyland” meets “Royal Blood” and that does not even begin to scratch the surface. Scott has a huge rig of effects that would not look out of place on a Nasa Space shuttle and uses them to create some unbelievably ambient sounds. Daphne applies her unique style of erratic drumming to this before Annie brings in her Kat Bjelland-style vocals that give power and anger in equal amounts.

Clit Drip

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Annie put her whole soul into each twisted lyric, pushing herself to the utter limit with each tune delivered. This is what music is about, pushing the limits of the artists and testing the audience with something so different. The Boscombe crowd are mostly a well-educated bunch and though slightly stunned, seem to appreciate this new band’s direction. The band end with their new single “Merri-Go-Round” which should see the light of day shortly and you can bet the mainstream music press with be on it like a shot.

So, on to the headliners “Hightown Parade” who feature a handpicked line-up of musicians including Io Kaloudi on bass, Galen stapley on guitar, Chris Sampson on guitar/piano along with Daphne from Clt Drp on drums and of course local celebrity Chris Payn on guitar/piano. The band start confidently and despite performing mainly new original material that most of this crowd have not heard before, they manage to thoroughly warm up the crowd within the first two numbers. Chris swaps between guitar and keyboards delighting the audiences with his considerable talents. There is a great tune called “Arrows” which has a slow building intro with some lovely harmonisation, before a big atmospheric guitar ending.

Hightown Parade
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Chris gives his bandmates a short break while he does a couple of solo numbers including an older tune called “The World is Still Mine”, which much of the audience know and sing along to giving a huge enthusiastic reaction at the end. The band then run through their new single “Choose” which is out on the 11th November. It combines a recurring looped piano piece with twin guitars, infectious rhythms and a whole lot of Payn’s incredible vocals.

There are plenty of Classic Rock influences from the likes of Queen, David Bowie and Meaf Loaf with many modern influences too. Hightown Parade are thoroughly entertaining and really know how to put on a show. Even though it is early days for this band, there are flickers and sparks of greatness appearing. The return of this flamboyant frontman is upon us and Freddie Mercury’s legacy burns brightly within Chris Payn; give him a big stage, epic tunes and a huge crowd in front of him and anything can happen.


Words, Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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