The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

DD Allen

Tonight; we are here at the Old Fire Station to see one of Bournemouth’s most promising singer/songwriters, Drew Allen. Drew has been performing for a few years now, first as a solo artist with just an acoustic guitar and then with a hand-picked band where his music craft seems to have really blossomed. Tonight’s show is his biggest headline gig to date and with a great collection of original songs old and new, he and band are ready to show off his considerable talents to a hometown audience. There are two support acts before the main attraction and the first is local chap “Lee Rasdall-Dove” who is on at a ridiculously early time, and as I enter the venue at 7pm he is bidding farewell to the sparse audience. I have seen Lee perform on a number of occasions including a great set at this year’s Purbeck Valley folk festival, so I was very disappointed to miss his set.

The next support are a five-piece band called Jared & the Mill who have travelled all the way from Phoenix, Arizona. They arrive on stage full of energy and ready to impress. The band’s sound combines an effects-enhanced electric guitar; with a delicately plucked banjo, acoustic guitar and a rhythm section. Their sound is something that bridges the gap between Rock and Country including some Folk/Blues influences, making one really interesting original sound. These guys are really tight, well-rehearsed and perform some really well constructed tunes including one called “Messengers” with a perfectly sung acapella intro.

Jared And The Mill
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The band seemed to get a little frustrated with the crowd as some were chatting loudly during their set. This made the band more determined to win everybody over and they got the audience to move closer to the stage to give a more intimate feel. They then galvanized the crowd’s interest with a lovely sentimental tune called “Life We Chose”, before climbing down off the stage onto the dance floor to play one last tune right in the middle of the now well-engaged audience. This exciting move paid off with just an acoustic guitar; washboard, a kick drum and their smooth well delivered vocals rounding off their set in a very memorable way.

The gig tonight for Drew Allen is a crucial moment in his career. He has come a very long way in succeeding with his dream of making it as a successful musician after giving up a well-paid job building supercars for McLaren. It has been interesting watching this young man’s music evolve and it is also great to see his confidence growing. The band arrive on stage to a fantastic welcome from this sizable audience and immediately launch into a new number called “Ballard of Jesse Lee”. There are some new additions in the form of two female backing singers. They sound on fine form as they launch into the live favourite “Just like The Old Days”, the audience all seem to know the lyrics to the chorus and sing along in a beautiful unison. The quality of the music delivered is first-rate with Drew and Christian leading the way with some lovely creative guitar work.

DD Allen
DD Allen 1234

One of the new songs that really stands out is “Soul Miner”, a tune which Drew wrote after reading music producer Daniel Lanoisís book “Soul Mining” – a Musical Life. The song has a nice atmospheric feel to it and it’s up there as one of his best tunes to date. The set ended on a high with a popular single from a couple of years ago “Show Me a Little Mercy” which again sees much of the audience singing along. The band then all come to the front of the stage to take the plaudits from the enthusiastic audience. Tonight Drew has certainly shown that with some hard work he can step things up to a new level and easily bring his very listenable music to new audiences. The trick is to now capitalise on this and open some new doors of opportunity, the future indeed looks bright for this rising star.

Set List
Ballard of Jesse Lee
Just Like the Old Days
Wonder Road
Mr Nice
Rebecca’s Curse
Soul Miner
Only Just Begun
Show Me a Little Mercy


Words & Pictures by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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