Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

Black Water County

So tonight in Bournemouth the Old Fire Station plays host to the town’s favourite Folk-Punk heroes in a sold-out show. Due to a busy schedule, I arrive ten minutes late, expecting to at least catch half the opener’s set. Bristol’s Imprints are minus their engine room and playing a more stripped-back acoustic-style show. Their onstage persona is one of self-indulgence and heavy crowd interaction. I won’t say I’m blown away but they are fairly easy on the ear. Andy (lead vox/guitar) has a confident delivery, as does his able sidekick Annie (vox). Vince (vox/fiddle) completes this trio who I witness playing “Pirates And Thieves”. Halfway through the song, they get the entire audience seated, before the big finale. It’s a popular stunt having seen Thumper pull the same trick over at The Anvil only a week or so ago. They depart us on “Gart Me Out Of Here” garnering decent applause, but hopefully next time we get the full band experience. Maybe if they return to Bournemouth I will be early and they’ll offer the full band experience?!

The Imprints
The Imprints 123

Next up are a band whose singer I have seen in action acoustically. Nick Parker And The False Alarms are a Southern Folk collective who perform happy-go-lucky songs and have heartfelt, storytelling lyrics aplenty. They have achieved possibly the fastest changeover in Bournemouth Live history; a mere ten minutes, which all things considered is quite a feat – there are six of them! They open with “Make Yourself At Home”. Nick (guitar/vox) has a confident manner and the chemistry between band members and himself is infectious. He describes The False Alarms as a collective of friends who like to join him onstage. “Never Been To Dublin” is an early highlight while “Guess I’ll Never Know” stays more in the personal arena. “Terry And June” is familiar to me and seemingly also to the front row who is clearly Nick’s fan club. “Their standout song is the entertaining “Es Tut Mir Leid” where that front row come into their own with their chorus banners to lead the crowd in unison. It’s a feel-good song which raises many a smile in the venue as the numbers start to expand. They end confidently with “The Other Half” and Nick is smiling as he was from song one. They receive great applause as we await tonight’s headliners.

Nick Parker And The False Alarms
Nick Parker And The False Alarms 123

By 9.30 prompt Black Water County take to the stage. This quintet is welcomed by a sell-out crowd and I for one can’t remember the venue being this busy in many a year. They open unsurprisingly with “Start Something New” and the party just got started. These five just ooze energy from the start and their stamina throughout never wavers. The first chorus of “oh Black Water County” bellows around this room and you just know this hometown crowd are up for the party. “Who Am I Now” follows and the mosh pit just gets a little wilder. “Living And Giving” keeps the tempo high before the first new song and title of their second album Comedies And Tragedies. I say new, those who regularly attend their gigs probably know every word! Once again I’m loathed to say there is far too much chatter in the room – BWC deserve far more respect.

“Rise And Fall” begins with Shan’s tin whistle intro before exploding into life. Simon’s frenetic hitting is a constant throughout on this, one of their previous singles; which proves just a warm-up to the massive reaction “Rambling Johnny” receives. “Memories From Another Life” is dare I suggest the first slow song of the evening. Tim (lead vox/bass) and Shan’s harmonies work in a perfect union tonight and it’s a great mid-set breather song, as one or two in this crowd seek liquid sustenance. “A Little Honesty” again begins with Shan’s vocal before moving up a gear while “Tether” is another newie that doesn’t disappoint, taking that tempo back up again. “There’ll Be a Day” is also culled from new album Comedies And Tragedies before the excellent “Sir Terry Cool”. “Dead End Road” has its roots in the fiercest of Folk/Punk while “Darkest Days” is delivered with a heartfelt honesty before once again coming alive mid-song, for me their set highlight. “Mistakes” gives Shan a chance to explain the songs origin, explaining how we all make mistakes and how we learn from them. At this point Gav(banjo/mandolin/b.vox) reminisces their first ever show  ‘in a former local venue called On The Rocks’ and how far they’ve come in three years. They celebrate this milestone with “One More Beer” and after the song ends we are left “Black And Blue”! “Runaway” is a fitting end to the main set and that chorus of “oh Black Water County” reverberates around the room once more, quickly followed by a chant of “One More Song …”, it was so different in my day!!

Black Water County
Black Water County 123456789

They don’t keep us waiting long and return with their now legendary set closer “Loch Lomond”. This whole room sings in unison one last time and we look forward to more nights like this in the future. Those of us who saw the band in smaller venues can appreciate just how far they have come, and I can only see their stock rising. The rise and rise of this band has been more than steady, just a shame that the current situation will now put their immediate progression on hold. That said with their fan base they won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The new album will remind us what to expect when this whole Corona situation passes. Sometimes there are gigs where you simply pinch yourself and say “I was there…”, and tonight was one of those.

Black Water County
Start Something New
Who am I now?
Living & Giving
Comedies & Tragedies
Rise and Fall
Rambling Johnny
A Little Honesty
There’ll be a Day
Sir Terry Cool
Dead End Road
Darkest Days
One More Beer
Black and Blue
Loch Lomond

Nick Parker & The False Alarms
Make Yourself at Home
Never Been to Dublin
Guess I’ll Never Know
Terry and June
Living Again
Es Tut Mir Leid
Half a Song for Suzy
The Other Half

This Is War
Oncoming Tide
Secret Carriage
Knuckle Down
Pirates & Thieves
Gart Me Out of Here


Words & Support Band Pictures by Ross A Ferrone
Black Water County Pictures by Lyn Frances Photography

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