New Milton Memorial Hall

Western Sand

Tonight the Memorial Hall in New Milton is playing host to three of the best local Rock bands to come out of Dorset and Hampshire in the last couple of years. This gig is young promoter Jodie Harris’s 5th Rock night at this venue and she has definitely pulled together a fantastic line up which includes Our Propaganda, Voodoo Vegas and Western Sand. It would be difficult to pick a headliner from these three Rock heavyweights, so I feel lots must have been pulled to determine the running order.

First up from Southampton is Our Propaganda who are straight out of the traps with an instant injection of energy the likes of New Milton has not seen in a very long time. The four-piece band make a really big modern sound using the very rudiments of Rock in an intelligent and original way. Frontman Jack Denton does his best to warm up the initially quiet audience. He looks a little like a young Chris Cornell delivering some spot on powerful vocals on tunes like “Queen of Artisans” and “Elemental”, a tune which highlights the destruction of our environment. The rest of the band are very animated with bassist Joe Newman pulling out some seriously great rhythms, along with the hard-hitting drummer Charlie Denton. For a band with only one electric guitar, credit must go to guitarist Harvey Groom who uses his considerable skill to fill this hall with some beautiful melodic fretwork. The band’s high energy-momentum is kept up right to the end with a truly epic tune in the form of “i Generation”, a tune about social media ruling our lives. The tune shows the band right at the top of their game with some wonderful musical chemistry amongst the four guys really shining through, thrilling every member of the delighted audience.

Our Propaganda
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Next up is Bournemouth’s Voodoo Vegas a very hard working band who are regulars on the European Festival circuit and are about to start work on their third album. Despite a few key changes to their line-up over the last couple of years the band have become a stronger and much tighter unit with many key improvements to their traditional Classic Rock sound. The band arrive on stage and straight away frontman Lawrence won’t tolerate people not getting involved at a Rock show. He pushes and gently persuades the sometimes reluctant crowd in joining in. The band’s two guitarists deliver some skilful string work on tunes including “Backstabber” and “Resolution”.

We are then treated to a preview of a trio of new tunes from the forthcoming album. The first of these is “Follow My Leader” which features a very infectious chorus, the 2nd is the much heavier “Puppet” and the third is a much Bluesier tune and quite different from anything that the band have delivered before. The band are off to Spain in the Summer to get these and other new tracks laid down for their new album. The five-piece then step things up with a few of the band’s classics which include “The Ferry Song”; a tune not created far from here. It was written after missing a Ferry back from the Isle of Wight while they had twelve hours to kill. The band end things with the very lively “So Unkind” featuring some excellent slide guitar from Jon and possibly the band best-known song “King Without a Crown” which sees much of the crowd singing along.

Voodoo Vegas
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The final band of the evening are Western Sand, a band that themselves have played with a host of top acts including Michael Schenker, Nazareth, Gun, and Inglorious, as well as a UK tour with the Black Star Riders. These experiences have proved to be the making of this band who since forming have learned so much forging a fantastic chemistry amongst the four of them. The band have kept faithful to their original leanings to be a Southern-inspired hard Rock band. They take to the stage and receive a very warm welcome from this their home crowd. Tyler Hains and Jimmy Bradshaw lead the way with some seriously good guitar work which sees them each swapping the lead on original tunes like “Broken Bones” and a new tune called “Whiskey Tripper”. Drummer Nathan J Kay treats us to a fantastic five-minute drum solo where he shows up his considerable skills behind the kit, ending with some fantastic pyrotechnic plumes. The band continue their thrilling set with plenty more of their original tunes which include “Welcome to the Badlands” and the epic “Nothing Left to Loose”, which sees much of their audience making their way to the front of the stage and joining in with this Rock celebration.

Western Sand
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The band briefly leave the stage, but the audience are having none of it and the Memorial Hall crowd all shout for more. The band willingly return with a fantastic two-song encore which includes the great “Black Water Resolution” and an uplifting version of Thin Lizzy’s “Whiskey in the Jar”, leaving the audience with smiles on their faces and a ringing in their ears.

That topped off a fantastic night of homegrown talent, much kudos must go to organiser Jodie Harris and soundman Steve Loader for making everything go like clockwork. Roll on Rock Night 6!!



Words Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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