Lighthouse, Poole

Any gig promotor will tell you; it is really hard arranging events and very few people that attend gigs really know the stress that organisers go through to put these shows on. Hangover Hills’s “Live & Unheard” from the outside seems to go like clockwork every month, with a host of great acts on show. Tonight’s returning gig after the summer break has been fraught with stress as sadly, two previous bands have had to pull out. Believing in their audience, organisers Matt Black and Mel Berkhauer kept the gig on and decided to have just two local bands doing extended sets, still offering great value for money.

After a brief explanation from Matt and the big introduction from our host, local dignitary and all round enthusiastic top bloke Si Genaro; tonight’s first band Skinny Knowledge take to the stage. The band feature Andy Smooth on Guitar/Lead Vocals, Max Harris on Guitar, Rab McGowan on Bass and introducing Mike Rigler on the Drums (formerly of Sansara, Voodoo Vegas & Slowave). In October they have a new album out called Twenty Two and kick off their set with the record’s opening track “I Wanna (Rock N’ Roll)”. It’s just what we’ve come to expect from this band; powerful, melodic and flamboyant.

Frontman Andy (former Drummer with Black Water Country/ Walk The Night/ Bad Magic) wears his heart on his sleeve and the new album is a journal of the troubles he went through in 2022. The songwriting is emotionally charged and features some hard-hitting lyrics about some controversial experiences in his life. All the emotion in these songs when played live, provide a satisfying release from the troubles that have hindered him. Tracks like “Strike Out” and the particularly vicious “Goes Around Comes Around” feature vitriolic and acrimonious words.

Skinny Knowledge
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The well-rehearsed band show off their forthright chemistry and provide some excellent entertainment for tonight’s audience. You cannot fail to be impressed with what each of them brings to the band, they are all skilled musicians in their own right and when they all get together on stage, some musical magic happens. One of the particular standouts of the new tracks “A Song About Lunch” takes a more humorous look at life. It’s really short burst of a song; memorable and even Andy’s dog “Loki” gets a mention, along with a Bakewell Tart!(You need to hear it to fully understand) The set ends on a high with some of their more well know singles from the first album, the uplifting “Don’t Turn Out The Lights” and the really catchy “Keep Me Out Of It. The band leave the stage and the audience provide their noisy approval of the band’s impressive set.

After the interval our host returns to the stage to introduce one of the South Coast’s best live bands, Galaxy Thief. The four-piece band featuring Rhys Messenger – Lead Vocals/Guitar, George Bowerman – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals, Jack Trim – Bass/Backing Vocals (Who seems to be wearing a pair of turn-up Tartan Trousers for a bet) and Ben Watton Drum/Backing Vocals have had several honours bestowed uoon them since forming in 2017. They were the first band to be handpicked as “Ambassadors for Yamaha Music London” and this year they were the Pilton Stage party audition winners after triumphing against some tough competition. Tonight they have brought along a fair amount of their fans and there is plenty of positive support as they kick off with their opener “Last Chance”.

The four of them all have a huge air of confidence, not arrogance; they distinctively have a clear brotherhood between them and they are very well rehearsed, meaning that they can just get on with the job in hand and entertain the audience. The best thing though, the quartet all seem to really enjoy performing; they have a real zest about them. Their set is mixed up with a selection of what I would deem as quite predictable covers, and though the reaction to these is good; “Live & Unheard” is mainly an originals only night (though I understand as a act has pulled out and each bands sets needed to be extended). That’s really my only gripe as the original material played is totally commendable. With tracks like “Time Waster”, brand new number “Sonic Heroes” and the acoustic-led “Helicopter”.

Galaxy Thief
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They show their combined creative abilities and have a knack of putting together some really modern-sounding material. This is also evident on some of the band’s recent singles “Come Alive” and “Second Messing”, where we get a cleverly instigated Black Sabbath ending. The guitar work, multi-voiced harmonies and rhythms are all thoroughly top notch and you’d be hard pressed to find a better band around this manor. The set ends with the guys having a bit of fun with Scissor Sisters track “Take Ya Mama”, where they turn the ending into a bit of a jam in their own unique way. The home crowd of course love the performance and the band get a large helping of noisy applause as they leave the stage.

Galaxy Thief
Last Chance
Something New
Hysteria (Muse)
Time Waster
American Idiot (Green Day)
Sonic Heroes
All Star (Smash Mouth)
Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus)
Second Messing
Come Alive
Take Ya Mama (Scissor Sisters)

Skinny Knowledge
I Wanna (Rock N’ Roll)
Class A Dummy
Not Coming Down
Strike Out!
Goes Around Comes Around
I Wonder
A Song About Lunch
Don’t Turn Out The Lights
Keep Me Out Of It

in October & November there are Three “Live & Unhead” events at the Lighthouse in Poole:

The first on on Thursday October 26th Featuring Grizzly and The Grasshoppers, Concrete Prairie and David Gordon. Tickets can be purchased here.

The second is on Saturday 18th November featuring Danny MCMahon + Helena Mace + The Shucks. Tickets can be purchased here.

The third is Thursday 23rd November featuring: I’m No Chessman + Pylon Poets + Keanu Lenco. Tickets can be purchased here.



Words & Media by David Chinery (Chinners)