The Bell, Pokesdown

On the face of it, I immediately like the idea of the Polar Attraction event, curated by Julz of Bonsai Pirates (and others) fame. Two (or more) bands that on the face of it would not go well on a billing together, the fans forced into this awkward juxtaposition of genre clash.

As the event blurb puts it:

These 2 amazing acts could not be further apart from one another, and that’s the way we want it! This will allow all of us to enjoy two very different music genres and discover new vibes that we have never had at the Bell!

And I love it, as a fan of nearly all things indie, and well known for my eclectic and wide-ranging taste in music. The Bomo Swing are known for their party vibe, drummer and bandmaster Julian even sporting a “less pants more party” T-shirt tonight. More about them later.

Statue Kings on first hearing from the bar could be yet another generic rock outfit, big guitars, heavy drums, solid bass. Once in the dedicated music space and not muffled by the strange dynamics of this huge pub, I am much mistaken.

Statue Kings are very lyrical, still with a big rock sound, though more melodic rock thanks to loads of tunage from the dual guitars and the band members making a lot of space for each other too. Not just another generic rock outfit!

Their upcoming single release is “The Culprit”, their setlist note to themselves is “Faaaaaaaast”. This it very much is, and yet the music quality is not lost despite the frenetic pace. We then have an interlude to wish guitarist Nick a happy birthday, before we get back to the good stuff.

Like many bands, Statue Kings have suffered from the Covid situation; practiced enough to present themselves for performance about a month before the 2020 lockdown started. They have managed to book a few gigs in the last few weeks and haven’t been slack polishing up the songs, worth catching elsewhere.

Statue Kings
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A short turnaround later and The Bomo Swing take to their headline, with a longish sound check meaning by the time they start proper, the room is pretty full with gyrating bodies. Doobie is a little favourite of mine, borrowing themes as it does from that Booker T. & the M.G.’s number Soul Limbo (Test match cricket from the TV anyone?). By Razzmatic, a song dedicated to past member and much loved late local music aficionado Andy Razz, they’ve found their groove, and the crowd is fully behind them too.

Lead singer Kimari Raven has lost nothing of her vocal ability, despite claiming earlier that about of Covid-19 had perhaps reduced her vocal capacity to 75% of what she knew she was capable of. This is not in evidence here.

The usual contiguity of this lead vocal with rapped poetry MC style from Shaun Gary Palmer is part of the defining sound of The Bomo Swing, coupled with the Latin rhythms and ska-originated bass groove, entwined with a keyboard backbeat. Even usual fiddler Stephan, not in the band line up tonight, is called out and featured, suffering from an injured index finger yet still here, bouncing along to the rhythms.

All too soon and we’re finished, the band’s material is limited without Stephan’s fiddle, so a repeat for Razzmatic is requested as an encore, even at the end of an intense set the band pull out, even more stops for this their own favourite, second time around.

The Bomo Swing
The Bomo Swing 123456

Polar Attraction is a great concept, and the Bell is currently one of the few venues trying to purely focus on original locally-sourced live music. It’s with true disappointment that on talking afterwards, I find there has not been enough support through the evening to make it worthwhile for the pub, so back to single bands it will be for a while now.

Full sets from two (or even three) bands is clearly just too expensive a proposition to make it a regular event at this point in time for The Bell, even if only monthly, so keep an eye out for the next one, possibly in early 2022. See you there.

Set Lists
Statue Kings
Sold My Soul to The Devil
Waiting For the Rain To Pass
Out of Your Head
The Cause
Who’s Gonna Keep You Safe
Final Round

The Leach and the Giant
Mouse Wheel
The Culprit
Part of You
They Never Get it Right
Rabbit Hole
Stay Away

The Bomo Swing
Roll Up
Que Si, Que No
Bad Cat
El Fire
Burning Sun



Words, Pictures & Videos Tim Heywood.

The Bomo Swing