Talking Heads, Southampton

Urban Voodoo Machine

Featuring: The Urban Voodoo Machine, Mad King Ludwig and the Mojo Co, Mr Strange, Jo Carley and the Old Dry Skulls & Polly Pikpocketz

“The Winter Warmer” is about the weird, the strange, the absurd, the mysterious, eccentric, unconventional, abnormal, freakish, insane, zany, madcap and anyone who dares to be different. Today we are here at the Talking Heads for an afternoon and evening of music to help promote the Dorset Festival “Alice’s Wicked Tea Party”. The festival is held in June at Knowlle Farm in Wareham with host DJ Shaun Histed-Todd bringing together a mouth-watering line-up of distinctively alternative bands, a line-up that you are unlikely to get at any other UK festival.

Today’s entertainment kicks off with the colourful four-piece “Polly Pikpocketz” from London town. A band who bring to Southampton some true Punk Rock attitude with a dirty Grunge sound and large amounts of tongue in cheek humour, which gets things started perfectly. The animated green haired bassist “Frog” is leaping about all over the place like he is a teenager on Red Bull! We are treated to tunes like “Bridezilla” featuring some great sounding vocal effects, along with the hard hitting “Walt Disney F**k You”. These guys are great fun to watch and you cannot help being drawn in by their charm and infectious tunes.

Polly Pikpocketz
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Next up are “Jo Carley and the Old Grey Skulls”, a band who have an inquisitive interest in the macabre and the dark arts. Their tunes are a mixture of New Orleans Jazz, old school music hall, dark Folk coupled with a sizeable amount of Joe Strummer’s DNA. Choosing tradition over technology the dreadlocked trio of Jo, Hawkeye and Tim create their music with a double bass, kick drum, acoustic guitar, washboard and violin. Jo Carley herself with a menacing glint in her eye beautifully sings tunes like “Them Old Bones”, “Contemplate Your Move” and the infectious “Dance Until Your Dead” which gives the crowd a great excuse to start moving.

Jo Carley

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A journey into the world of an extraordinarily bizarre band from just over the water on the Isle of Wight is next on the bill. Electro Goths “Mr Strange” take to the stage and right from the start they seem to fit in with the rest of the freaks and oddballs on this line-up. With his green hair and white painted face frontman ‘Mr Strange’ delivers some delectable vocals, backed ably by ‘Mr Heckle’ on effect-loaded guitars. They mix these coupled with a host of electronic samples, which gives them a sound somewhere between Marilyn Manson and Gary Numan. The tunes include a fitting tribute to the late Pete Burns of “Dead or Alive”, a fifties style number called “Psycho Surfing a Go-Go” and a epicly delivered number called “Electric Pornography”. While holding a curious prop of a cane with a torch attached Mr Strange enriches our entertainment with some humorous between song banter. The energetic set concludes with a seemingly environmental dig with “The Cars That Ate the World”. The four-piece band leave the stage to much appreciation from the well entertained crowd.

Mr. Strange
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From right here in Southampton tonight’s local offering are “Mad King Ludwig and the Mojo Co”, an untypical band of musicians who look to push the very boundaries of acceptability. A band that would be hard to pigeonhole in any shape or form and a band that once you have seen live you will never forget. Describing themselves as ‘Freak-Bop’ they deliver a mix of Urban Jazz, Funk, Soul and a sprinkling of Reggae with a dash of Blues. Former Bavarian monarch ‘Mad King Ludwig’ himself delivers some joyous saxophone and some unmistakeable deep voiced vocals, while dressed in a stylish blue one-piece trouser suit. Ludwig has surrounded himself with some top class musicians who bring some serious talent and originality to proceedings. From start to finish the band have the crowd up on their feet dancing to their infectious hypnotic rhythms. From the mesmerising “Cannibale” to the anomalous “Take Your Partner By The Foot” these guys bring a completely different vibe and one that tonight’s audience thoroughly enjoyed.

Mad Ludwig
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Tonight’s headliners encapsulate the very art of being different. They are a band that have been treading the boards for quite a while now and have built up a solid reputation for the unpredictability of their live performances. They are colourful and bring in an element of theatrical drama along with a multitude of musical influences. The Urban Voodoo Machine take to the Talking Heads stage, marching through the audience as if they were at a New Orleans funeral. The mobhanded band climb up on stage picking up their various instruments and launch into their opening number “High Jeopardy Thing”. The band use a saxophone, trumpet, accordion, drums and percussion, as well as a mix of electric and acoustic guitars creating a unique sounding noise.

Urban Voodoo Machine
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Frontman Paul Romney-Angel openly shows show his displeasure at having camera phones shoved in his face, temporality confiscating one from an overzealous audience member. The band take no prisoners and are used to rowdy audiences and have a number of put downs to put people in their place. The music though always takes priority with the band delivering an exciting set full of tunes full of variety with plenty of energy.

From the sad sentiments of “Goodnight My Dear” to the infectious rakishness of “Rust Water and Coffin Nails” and the uplifting plea of ìHelp Me Jesusî the band fully entertain in all areas. The band save us one surprise until last with a surprise appearance from “Ruts DC” guitarist “Leigh Haggarty” who joins the band on a version of “Love Song 666#”. This concludes a fantastic day of some of the most diverse music you could hope to see. If this fits in with your musical appetite then you can do no better than getting a ticket Alice’s Wicked Tea Party.

Set List
The Urban Voodoo Machine
Theme from the Urban Voodoo Machine
High Jeopardy Thing
Cheers for the Tears
Fallen Brothers
Train Wreck Blues
Not With You
Goodnight My Dear
Always Out
Rust Water and Coffin Nails
Orphans Lament
Crazy Maria
While we were all Asleep
Help Me Jesus
Love Song #666 (Featuring Leigh Heggarty of Ruts DC)



Words Pictures & Video by Dave Chinery (Chinners).

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