Madding Crowd, Bournemouth

Gin Annie

Our Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently giving a press conference to send Britain back into lockdown to protect us and the NHS from the escalating Covid 19 pandemic. I’m on my way to Madding Crowd in Bournemouth for a gig that has taken some organising and patience to put on. Madding Crowd along with many of the town’s venues are doing their best to survive, putting on reduced capacity events. However, tonight’s gig will be the last for quite a while as Boris and his advisers have sent us back into lockdown from the 1st November for a month. Tonight’s gig features Black Country rockers Gin Annie, who last travelled down to Dorset for the Winter’s End Festival performance in February. Since then they took park in the Rock The Asylum live streamed event with Toby Jepson’s Wayward Sons. Tonight’s gig was billed as an acoustic gig, but under the circumstances, the band have decided to go all out with a full electric set. The venue is totally pandemic compliant with all attendees having their own tables, with waitress service with contactless payments and everyone who is not sat down is required to wear a face mask.

Chris Payn
Chris Payn 12

Before the headliners there is a matter of three very different support acts to warm up this Halloween crowd. The first of these is local Rock legend Chris Payn. This guy really knows how to entertain a crowd and has come dressed for the occasion as a “Dia de los Muertos” – style ghostly pirate with some impressive face paint. Kicking off with a track called “Silhouette” from his band Hightown Parade, Chris starts the evening with this infectious number that draws everyone’s attention towards the stage. He takes us through an impressive collection of all original numbers from his various different projects throughout his career, with songs like the brand new “Talk is Cheap” which was written during the last lockdown and features an epic guitar solo. Chris’s clever ability with loops and his multitude of effect pedals enables him to create a host of different sounds to make each song unique. He ends typically with a tune called “The World is Still Mine”, where he gives a full display of all the Rock star credentials he has in his armoury.

Xander And The Keys
Xander And The Keys 1234

Next up is Bournemouth four-piece Xander & The Keys, who take to the stage for their first gig for many months. They seem really fresh and clearly raring to go as they open with one of their new tunes “Get Over Here”. They display their combined creative abilities with their no-nonsense unfussy twin-guitar sound and perfectly executed rhythmic goodness. These four guys have been working on some new material over the last six months or so and the result is some great new tunes which include “Used to the Noise”; a great tune called “Long Drive” and another called “Showdown”, hopefully, material that at some stage will make up the band’s long-overdue debut album. The band leave the stage triumphant with plenty of generous applause from the well-entertained crowd.

Next up are local Rock band Capulus who are debuting new bassist Alex Icani tonight, to complete their all Italian rhythm section with drummer Giacomo Vacca. Alex is a Sardinian born singer/songwriter who moved to Bournemouth in 2013 and has been performing solo at a host of local events before she was snapped up by Capulus. The show starts with frontman Josh dressed as a circus ringmaster; who announces the bands arrival with some appropriately styled, sinister fairground-style intro music. Josh and his fellow guitarist Tom light things up with their first number “Resist”, showing the band’s sound which features a plethora of influences from across the Rock spectrum. They have been working on a new EP which is to be released sometime early next year and they give us a preview of some of the material. This includes the powerful and slightly disturbing “Murder Is My Hobby” and a truly epic tune called “Joker And The Thief”, which features driving rhythms along with some epic atmospheric guitars. The band put on an impressive show with lots of potential for the future.

Capulus 12345

It’s now time for tonight’s headliners who despite their long journey down from the Midlands, seem fresh and full of excitable energy; clearly ready for a pre-lockdown party. Kicking off with “New Bad Habit” from the band’s debut album “100% Proof” they show themselves to be fine purveyors of the New Wave of Classic Rock (MWOCR) movement, skilfully using all the raw materials synonymous with this genre. After a handful of their original tracks, the band seem a little frustrated that the audience seem a little pre-occupied with the pending situation. To get more of an immediate response they play a ramshackle version of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” which certainly livens things up somewhat. Sadly with the covid rules we all have to remain in our seats, otherwise I’m sure some ‘Dad dancing’ amongst us older members of the audience would have ensued. The band continue with a cover of the much loved “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC before returning to their pre-arranged setlist of originals.

Gin Annie
Gin Annie 1234567

The band are clearly enjoying themselves tonight and there is lots of onstage banter; particularly between the animated guitarist Byron Garbett and his vocalist cousin David Foster, who seem to be conspiring something. After a quiet nod to the rest of the band they perform a totally reworked version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” and continue with a great mash of “Sweet Home Alabama” with Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long”. They end typically with possibly one of their best tracks “Born To Rock N’ Roll” which is clearly an autobiographical tune, that is big bold and uplifting. That should have been the end, but the Bournemouth crowd don’t want their last gig before lockdown to end and the band dutifully return with another cover of Wilson Picket’s “Mustang Sally”, which ends this great evening perfectly.

Gin Annie
New Bad Habit
Dyin’ To Live Again
She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
Highway to Hell (AC/DC)
Next 2 Me
Haunt Me
Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO)
Sweet Home Alabama/All Summer Long (Lynrd Skynrd/Kid Rock)
Love Aint Here
Born to Rock n’ Roll
Mustang Sally (Wilson Picket)

All That I Am
Murder is My Hobby
Black Book
The Beggar
Joker and the Thief
Before and After

Xander & The Keys
Get Over Here
Different Lies
Cigarette Blues
Used to the Noise
Morning Light


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



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

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