Trinity Club, Dorchester

Featuring Black Water County, Pronghorn & The Guns of Navarone

At the moment; all live music promoters are experimenting with different ideas to find out ways to safely put on live music, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. With the end of restrictions seemingly a little while off yet the Barnstormer Crew tonight brings us an all-seated, three-band event in the majestic Trinity Hall in Dorchester. The rules are provided to all before turning up at the event, all entering must have evidence of a negative flow test and have their temperature taken upon entry. Table service is provided for all food/drinks; face coverings must be worn when not seated and worst of all, no dancing. It’s hard to imagine seeing any of tonight’s line-up without dancing…however, I’d much rather be here than having another night in front of the television watching banal Saturday night programs.

The first of tonight’s acts is Dorset’s very own Ska band “The Guns of Navarone”, well it’s actually a MK II version of the band that has slimmed down from its usual ten-piece line up to a six-piece that features Gypsy Joe from Pronghorn stepping in on lead vocals. With its trio of saxophones, keyboards, drums and, rock-solid Aussie Mike on bass, the band warm up the crowd with a wonderful setlist of classic Ska tunes including “Wooly Bully”, Bad Manners “Inner London Violence” and “Monkey Man” (which was embarrassingly dedicated to me ….Thanks Lamma). Despite the line-up tweaks and a few initial technical issues, the band provides some fine early evening entertainment, with Gypsy Joe impressing on vocals and Lamma pulling a double shift on guitar/saxophone. The set culminates in a storming version of the Madness classic “Night Boat to Cairo”, the hall is alive with the sound of the crowd singing along and lots of seated foot-stomping.

Guns Of Navarone
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After a 20 minute break for further refreshments (and at just £14 for a 4-pint pitcher…who is complaining), Parkstone’s finest Cowpunk connoisseurs “Pronghorn” take to the stage. They themselves feature a few notable changes with guitarist Steve having to self-isolate and washboard player Andy Law absent; so they are down to just a five-piece featuring founder members Toni Viagra (Drums) and Lamma (Banjo) with Fifi (Fiddle), Aussie Mike (Bass) and Gypsy Joe on vocals/fiddle/mandolin. I’ve been watching these guys play in one format or another since they formed during the halcyon Grunge days of the early 1990’s and each of their gigs have been events to cherish, surely by now there should be a plaque put up somewhere in Parkstone to commemorate them.

Tonight you would expect them to be a bit rusty after being exiled from the stage for so long and with Joe, Lamma, and Mike also playing in “The Guns of Navarone” a little jaded too (even at their vintage ages). This could not be further from the truth, they came out fighting fit and full of all the usual energy fuelled with various alcoholic beverages. This seasoned act gives the crowd just what they need, a set full of instantly recognisable tracks that get them bouncing in their seats. “Banjo Case”, “Mardi Gras” and “Hej Sokoly” thrust Pronghorn back into the limelight and by the looks of the smiles on the band members’ faces, they are genuinely pleased to be there. “Oliver Reed Salt Creek” throws a nod out to the forthcoming Barmstormer Festival and the reformation of The Cropdusters, while their legendary choreographed lunges provide some much needed smiles. Pronghorn are most definitely back and ready to continue their stomp through some of the UK’s prestigious festivals, firmly putting their brand of Dorset “Cowpunk” on the map.

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The final act of the evening is another one of Dorset’s premier festival bands, “Black Water County”. After releasing two fine albums and providing audiences with many memorable live performances, the band has started making progress on the UK music scene. With plenty of opportunities opening for them in the future; including a headline show at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth in March 2022; tonight the band are without their lynchpin Shan, who sadly has a family emergency and cannot be here tonight. The band bravely soldier on and were most determined not to cancel the show despite this setback. Frontman Tim does his best with a mammoth task to take on all the vocal duties, while strings man Gav jokingly suggests using a Kazoo in place of the tin whistle might be a good idea. The crowd appreciate the band’s difficult position and give them plenty of support with a 70-minute set full of their classics; including the ruckus “One More Beer” and set closer the rampant “Ramblin’ Johnny”, where a few over zealous audience members had to be told to sit down after trying to dance. This ends a highly successful evening for both bands and audiences members with a way forward out of the doldrums that the pandemic had given us.

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Set List
The Guns Of Navarone
Train to Skaville
Al Capone/Gangsters
Wooly Bully
Storm Warning
Monkey Man
Jesse Jackson
Sunday Monday
Guns of Navarone
Musical Communion
Land of 1,000
Do the Dog
Inner London Violence
Night Boat to Cairo

Enjoy yourself
You’re Wandering now

Swamp Winch
Banjo Case
Mardi Gras
Hej Sokoly
Misty Mountain
Oliver Reed Salt Creek
Gypsy Liver
Reubens Train
The Cullen

Black Water County
Comedies and Tragedies
The Painful Truth
Darkest Days
Who Am I Now
Sir Terry Cool
No Regrets
Rise & Fall
There Will Be a Day
Start Something New
Dead End Roads
Living and Giving
One More Beer
Ramblin’ Johnny



Words by David Chinery (Chinners).
Photography by Lynn Bert.

End Of Lockdown Hoedown