Sherling Studio, Lighthouse, Poole

Helena Mace

Featuring Helena Mace + Edd Bleach + Marky Dawson

Once again we are back at the Lighthouse in Poole; for the best local, live music event currently staged in the area……”Live & Unheard” hosted by Matt Black of Hangover Hill Studio. After last month’s feast of Rock music, things are taking quite a different turn with three completely different hand-picked artists, who have all proved themselves as great live performers at a host of events around the area.

The first of these is Birthday boy “Marky Dawson” who was born just a few hundred yards from this spot in Poole Hospital, 27 years ago today. Marky is a pianist and as he sits down to play his first number “Staring At The Ceiling”. For me it’s like the moment I first saw Bobby Crush on Hughie Green’s British ITV talent show Opportunity Knocks in the 1970’s. (Yes I understand Marky is far too young to remember this but Matt Black certainly will !!) His style and skill on the keys is breathtaking, he executes it with such ease, dropping in various well-known tunes in between it all. He is not only a fantastic pianist, he knows how to entertain an audience with some engaging comedy banter that keeps the whole audience fully attentive throughout. If you imagine a mix of Sir Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Les Dawson and “Ralf The Dog” from the Muppets you’d probably get some idea of where Marky is coming from.

We are treated to a great new tune called “Youth” which is dedicated to his very supportive family, who are in the audience and there are parts of this tune that remind me of the 80’s classic “Together In Electric Dreams”. Marky invites some fun audience participation during “It’s Alright” with hand claps, along with some impossible lyrics chanted in parrot fashion which ends hilariously. The short set comes to a close with some good old fashioned rock n’ roll with the piano keys played at a blistering pace and the audience erupting into massive applause at its conclusion.

Marky Dawson
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Arriving on stage in their brightly coloured suits, Edd Bleach on acoustic guitar in fetching Orange and his side-kick Ryan Barber on bass in purple kick off with a tune called “I Fell off My Bike”. They are unlike any other performers you have seen before as they have the effortless ability to make you laugh with their simple but effective chemistry. Edd’s tunes are mostly about himself and he tells personal stories about being accident prone and a little clumsy. These tunes are charming, honest and feature everyday stories that everyone can relate to. He namechecks fiddle player Benny Wain who plays with Gaz Brookfield/Nick Parker and shows us his slight obsession with getting some fiddle played on his some of his tracks. His lyrics are full of local references and anyone who is familiar with the local Dorset area will easily know where he is coming from. Tunes like “Let Me Play” about the Quayside Festival in Weymouth and one of his best, the thoroughly addictive “Forever Sun” about fun times at a festival in Dorchester. In one tune Edd seemingly forgets the lyrics and gets a farcical prompt from Ryan, making the crowd laugh and this continues into the final number. These guys are like clowns without the make-up – they are funny, entertaining and know the way to the audience’s hearts with some cleverly engaging songwriting.

Edd Bleach
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The final act of the evening is Helena Mace, a local singer/songwriter who’s had her fair share of challenges over the last couple of years. These challenges have been faced bravely and despite this, she has remained fully focused on her musical career, which has paid dividends with a string of awards coming her way. Tonight she is joined by her husband Grant on Cajon/Backing vocals, along with singer/songwriter Matt Griffiths on acoustic guitar and our host Matt Black takes up piano duties. This studio is just perfect for listening to music with the acoustics in here really showing off the beautiful depth of sound these talented musicians make. The set starts with a string of tracks from Helena’s latest album “Chasing Dreams” and her voice sure sounds on great form, bringing these great original tunes to life. There are plenty of highlights throughout the set including the emotive “Someone Else’s Heartache”, a song which went viral on YouTube when a Taiwanese line-dancing group used the track for their very individual dance routine.

Helena Mace
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“Save It For Another Day” is a tune with real depth and a story that really pulls on the heartstrings, featuring a character you can really relate to. This song is one of Helena’s bestselling tunes and as she sings it live you can tell why it has everything and her passionate vocals just bring the character to life. More personal songs like “Beautiful Mess” and “We’re Still Here” show a real honesty in the songwriting. They show the power of having a supportive family around you and despite the majority of time taking things for granted, they are indeed appreciated; especially in times of need. Just sitting here listening to these beautiful tunes you can easily tell why Helena has won so many awards. Her musical ability, performance are certainly one to savor and really appreciate. I believe this singer/songwriter and her music are destined for greater things; whether it is a film soundtrack or playing in larger venues, more much-deserved success will indeed come her way sometime in the not too distant future.

Set Lists
Marky Dawson
Staring at the Ceiling
Whiskey and Women
These Four Walls
It’s Alright
My Baby Treats Me Mean/Great Balls of Fire

Edd Bleach
I Fell Off My Bike
With My Friends
Folking Idiot
A Bird Afraid of Heights
A Simple Road
Let Me Play
One Night
Forever Sun
When We Were Young

Helena Mace
Breaking Up Ain’t Easy
Rescue Me
Someone Else’s Heartache
Save it for another Day
Smoke and Mirrors
Take Me Away
We’re Still Here
Beautiful Mess
Wash Away the Years



Check out other Live and Unheard events here.

Words, Pictures & Videos by David Chinery (Chinners).

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