Poole Lighthouse


Featuring Sirpico, Chimneyfish & Wendy Jane

Tonight we are once again at the Lighthouse in Poole for the first ‘Live & Unheard’ of 2020, in the fantastic surroundings of the ground floor of ‘Sherling Studio’. It’s shaped like an amphitheatre, so every seat in the place has a great view of all the performers. Organisers Matt Black and Mel Berkhauer of local Dorset business ‘Hangover Hill Studios’ have been busily putting together the exciting line-ups for this year’s events. This evening we have three completely different acts, all offering their own unique styles of music. As Matt is otherwise engaged for the first part of the event stand-in host singer/songwriter Carley Varley is on hand to deliver her glowing smile and introduce the acts.

The first of these is local all-round musician Wendy Jane, who can usually be seen performing in local supergroup Moonbeams with Conrad Barr and Paul Tucker (who can be seen at this very venue in April). Also she performs her own original material on a variety of instruments including flute, harp, guitar and tonight her weapon of mass entertainment is the grand piano. Wendy starts by explaining that she painfully split up from a 20-year marriage, she put all of the emotion and heartache into an album called A Song For Ever Lover. The recently dank weather has not been kind to Wendy as her voice is suffering, with her barely being able to talk. However; when she starts to sing, somehow there is some real power in her voice. The first number called “Love On A Wire” shows an emotional delivery as well as some really skilful piano work. As the audience sits back relaxing, this musician delivers a host of delightful tunes including “Sticks & Stones” about a former homeless graffiti artist and a track called “Oblivion” written in the style of a James Bond theme. Two vocalists; Wendy’s daughter Isabelle Glover and her friend Freya Morrow take to the stage to add some lovely harmonization to a few tunes, including a powerful number called “Phenomenal Woman”. The whole set shows what a great depth and honest singer/writer Wendy is and despite a voice lurgy, delivers an engaging 40 minutes full of highlights.

Wendy Jane
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Next up we have two seasoned musicians who have in their time featured in a number of notable bands before forming this new project entitled Chimneyfish, (a phrase used to describe a heavy smoker and heavy drinker). The waist-coated duo are made up of Mark Wilton-Patrick on acoustic guitar/vocals and Ray Russell on double bass/vocals. Between them there are a host of eclectic influences; from the very first number they have the audience tapping their feet, clapping along and laughing at the duo’s hilarious in-between song banter. They tell interesting tall stories of their travels around the world, telling of sticky situations and marital misdemeanours. Their songwriting is unique and entertaining from the complex tune of “Here To Stay” about a henpecked man, to “Tsing Wah Chilli” about a very hot frog curry. The audience are clearly enchanted by them and by the end of their set they have won many new fans, getting themselves one long round of positive applause.

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Tonight’s headliners need no introduction, four-piece Rock act Sirpico have been treading the boards for quite a while now and I have personally worked with them on many occasions. Each time they always put on one hell of a show, impressing with their original material. They have brought a considerable crowd with them and before they even arrive on stage, the atmosphere is such you can just tell it’s going to be a great night. The band feature the male diva himself Al Sirpico on Piano/Lead Vocals, Dan Mezza on Electric Guitar/Backing Vocals, Paul Finch on Bass/Backing Vocals and the powerhouse of Tim Pidgley on Drums. They kick off with one of their newer tunes “Without You”, a tune that could easily be a stadium anthem full of great chords and a chorus a crowd can latch on to immediately. The four have a chemistry like no other and work together like a well-oiled machine, delivering in all areas. Drummer Tim attacks his kit with ferocious energy with a skill and supreme confidence, working perfectly with Paul’s spot on basslines. Al’s big vocals; coupled with his expertise on the piano, along with Dan’s effect driven guitars give the songs their uplifting momentum.

An early highlight includes a great new tune and hopefully future single “Moment Of A Lifetime”, which shows their impressive combined creative ability. A trip into the past with live favourite “Perfect Lady” gets the crowd singing and energetically clapping along. The crowning glory of the set is undoubtedly the recent single “Jamie Lee”; a tune inspired by US Rock band The Eagles and all about a crush on Halloween actress Jamie Lee Curtis. The band invite their own “Bez” to the stage who provides some great Dad-Dancing along to the song. The song shows the band at their very best and the crowd clearly love it, with plenty of dancing going on in their seats. The band leave the stage to a standing ovation with lots of noise from the crowd, who despite being a “school night” are still wanting more. The band oblige with their final tune “Monster” ending a fantastic set; one of the best ‘Live & Unheard’ has seen, one that has certainly set the benchmark for the year ahead.

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Set Lists
Wendy Jane
Love on a Wire
Tread on the Water
Sticks and Stones
Are you Happy Then?
Phenomenal Woman
Sail On
Bonded by Blood

Solid Gone
The Letter
Here to Stay
Beale Street

Ghosts (Lau Cover)
High Moral Ground
Rocking Girl

Without You
The People
Moment of a Lifetime
What a Time to Be Alive
Perfect Lady
This City
In Your Soul
In The River
Golden Handshake
Jamie Lee


The next Live & Unheard is on the 5th February and will feature Quorum, Andy Cole & Phil Smith, get your tickets in advance here.


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