Socially Distanced Live & Unheard

Live & Unheard

Lighthouse, Poole Featuring: Mischa & His Merry Men, Becoming Branches & Chris Payn

For most of us, music fans gigging has not been possible for over six months due to the venue closures from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is now possible to get things moving again and the Lighthouse, Poole is opening today with plenty of social distancing rules in place. At the moment most indoor gigs are impossible; however outside, the Lighthouse has a purpose-made grassy bowl that was put in place over 40 years ago. The space has never been utilised until now and 100 music fans are here tonight to witness history of the first gig here featuring a Live & Unheard line-up of local heroes Mischa & His Merry Men and Chris Payn, along with newcomers Becoming Branches. People have turned up with picnic blankets and chairs, sitting safely in their own groups. The Lighthouse staff have made sure everything is right before opening the gates. Most like me came along tonight with some trepidation, however once here our worries were soon dispersed by the relaxed safe atmosphere.

At 7pm sharp our compere; the unmistakable Si Genaro introduces three-piece local band Becoming Branches, who take to the stage with generous applause from the excited audience. The band feature Jaz Joyner on vocals, Rob Aston on acoustic guitar/vocals and Hannah Mathew on piano/vocals. Together they kick off with their opening number “Take Me Home” from their self-titled debut EP. They have a delicate nature delivering a gentle Folk/Country sound with some divine vocal work which really sounds fantastic within this bowl and the great natural acoustics it has to offer. Each tune is preceded by a Folk-style heartwarming story including “Don’t Grow Up Too Fast”, written about Jaz’s baby sister who was born during the lockdown period. We are also treated to a great tune called ‘The Travelling Harpist’, a tune about a Great Grandfather who stole a harp to travel around the village in order to make a living. With such a simplistic set-up the band use their combined abilities to create music which is interesting, relevant and above all entertaining. The 11 song set is rounded off with the band’s next single “Never Knew What Loving Was” and as the band leave the stage the crowd show plenty of positive appreciation.

Becoming Branches
Becoming Branches 123456

As the compere says the next act really needs no introduction; the son of Matt Black and member of a plethora of bands, as well as a solo artist in his own right. Chris Payn is a chap I have been watching perform live since his early teens and one of my first articles stated he has been to the “school of rock” and passed with honours. He has performed with Bad Magic (also named Walk the Night & Colt 45), Hightown Parade, regular duo gigs with his Father as well as various guest slots in local bands Mischa & His Merry Men and 27 Days; along with a standing for Aaron Buchanan of Heaven’s Basement on dates in Europe. This guy is indeed a rare talent and I along with anyone who sees him expect big things from him in the not too distant future. He kicks off with a ‘Hightown Parade’ song “Silhouette”, which shows not only his excellent vocal range but his technical ability with various effects on his pedalboard to enhance his twelve-string guitar. He warms the crowd up with a host of great original tunes including “Ripped Jean Alibi”, the epic “Leap Of Faith” which gets the full two-barrel rock treatment with both electric and acoustic sound effects. The set is rounded off with an excellent performance of one of Chris’s best known original tunes “The World Is Still Mine” which earns him much respect from the audience, who are doing their best to rock out on their picnic blankets.

Chris Payn
Chris Payn 12345

Tonight’s headliner Mischa Weston Green is a bit of a chameleon due to that fact he keeps changing things around at each gig he plays. He can be seen performing with up to 11 musicians on stage, solo or tonight as a trio. This trio tonight feature Olly Hopper-Pay on double bass/cello (who has performed in so many local bands including Burg & The Back Porch Band, Big Boy Tomato, Prx5, The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show, Clams and many more!!) and Martyn Lee, mandolin player of local skiffle sensations Quinns Quinney. They kick off with an arty instrumental before morphing in “Give It All” from the 2018 EP Save Our Souls. The trio’s sound is somewhat more laid back and quite fitting for the occasion as having a brass section, keyboards and three guitars on stage would have been quite difficult under the current circumstances. As ever Mischa’s musical and ecological brain has not stopped as we are treated to some previously unheard new tunes. These include the alluring “Down By The River” and a tune called “Pull Your Socks Up”. Lyrically Mischa is typically giving out positive vibes with an underlying message. He is always an outwardly happy chap with a great outlook on life, if more of the human race was like him many of our problems would disappear.

Mischa And His Merry Men
Mischa And His Merry Men 123456

As well as the more well know songs like “Save Our Souls” and “Give Peace A Chance” we get an additional new song ‘Stop Drop and Roll’ written for and about the extinction rebellion movement. It’s a bouncy uplifting number with many great twists and turns, a song I’m sure will become a live favourite over time. After a thirteen song set including an extended version of the band’s final number “Revolution”, the band say their thanks and bid their farewells. Thankfully the crowd were having none of it and call for an encore, Micha offered an old classic or a brand new song….the crowd opted for the new song and just on his own with his acoustic guitar Mischa delivered a great tune called “Hits For The Kids”, which the crowd clearly enjoyed.

This was certainly an incredible start for a return of live events at the Lighthouse, pandemic permitting let’s hope there are lots more to come. The Next “Live & Unheard” event will be on the 8th October and all being well will be indoors in the Towngate Theatre at the Lighthouse. It will feature Dave Griffith Band, Asha Zee and Harper & Edwards. Tickets are just £10 and can be purchased here.

Set Lists
Becoming Branches
Take You Home
Don’t Grow Up Too Fast
The Travelling Harpist
Me Not You
Cheap Rosé
All That I Can Hope For
Picture in Your Heart
Live Right Here
Under The Waves
Never Knew What Loving Was

Chris Payn
Do It Again
Ripped Jean Alibi
Tied Up
The Wait
Talk is Cheap
Leap of Faith
The World is Still Mine

Mischa & His Merry Men
Instrumental/Give It All
Lay Me Down
Down By the River
Peace & Love
Air I Breathe
Pull Your Socks Up
Help a Brother Out
Save Our Souls
Give Green a Chance
Stop Drop & Roll
Let the Good Times Roll
Hits for the Kids



Words, Pictures & Videos by David Chinery (Chinners)

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