Hangover Hill Presents; Live & Unheard – Lighthouse, Poole

After the thrill and positivity of the Original Music Awards last week, the Hangover Hill team are back at the Lighthouse in Poole at the Sheiling Studio for the first Live & Unheard event of 2024. This week the tickets have sold well and there is a packed crowd in to see what I would class one of the best line-ups since the event started. Our Award-Winning host Si Genaro is on hand to excitedly introduce the first act and perform alongside them.

Caliman aka Mark Ellam is an American born singer/songwriter, who has now made his home in the UK. For the last five years he has whole-heartedly concentrated on writing and producing his own original material. With just his borrowed six-string acoustic guitar and the effervescent Si Genaro freestyling on harmonica, Mark draws us in with his American charm and his unbounding energy.

Kicking off with “Driving All Night”, a song I’ve previously heard on one of his live streams; he throws everything into his performance and his passion reminds me a little of The Waterboys frontman Mike Scott. He thoroughly wears his heart on his sleeve and gives a detailed explanation of each song before he plays. You could say sometimes he gives a bit too much information (TMI as the kids say) by spilling the beans on his previous relationships, but that’s just his infectious enthusiasm bubbling over.

Caliman 123

With songs like “When the Karma Kicks In” and “Breathe” we are treated to a snapshot of Mark’s innermost thoughts and his love life. The emotive “Caught in The Arms of an Angel” dedicated to Mark’s late Father is an amazing piece of songwriting and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up while thinking about my own lost loved ones. It must be said that Si Genaro does a fantastic job creating some wonderfully imaginative harmonica soundscapes over these songs.

The set ends with a tune about that feeling you get when you meet someone and there is an instant attraction. “Boom Boom Pop Pop a Boom Boom” is as infectious as it is descriptive and Caliman shows that his music comes at you from various angles and with various styles. The crowd seem to relish all this chap has to offer and give him plenty of generous applause.

Next up we have Coosticks, an act that has been lovingly created around the songs of local musician Graeme Wey, who has been playing his own original music mostly solo up until last year when he recruited a band to open up and elevate his material. This band comprises of some stars of the local scene with Hope Schachter (Keyboards/Vocals), Ian Roberts (Guitar), Mark Le Sueur (Bass) and Robin Francis formerly of Soulhole/Mischa & His Merry Men on drums. Graeme is a creative fellow and has an abundance of ideas coming from a host of influences.

The band all bring something unique to these creations with Hope notably combining her beautiful vocal with Graeme’s to great effect. Bassist Mark has a pedal board bigger than most guitarists and brings plenty of creativity to proceedings. Ian’s understated guitar and Robin’s rock-solid drumming completes things perfectly.

Coosticks 123456

Tracks like “Angels Of The Underground”, “Without Words” and the atmospheric “Oceans” encapsulate the Alt/Indie styles along with echoes of the Thin White Duke himself too. Clearly Graeme is chuffed to bits to be performing his music on this stage in front of this large crowd and at times his emotions get the better of him. This just shows how passionate he is about his material and just what it means to him to be validated as an original artist.

“Carnival in Blue” is another highlight, a slower emotive number which is lyricalLy beautiful with moody bass and some wonderful keyboard work. “Like to See You” reminds me of something The Cure might create with more impressive bass lines while the set ends with the acoustic-led “My Room”. Graeme humbly thanks the crowd and his band of talented musicians for what has been a thoroughly entertaining set.

The final band of the evening needs no introduction around this manor. They are a band that have been performing for over 30 years and have generated some uniquely styled, politically charged music; injected with a large amount of their own style of dark humour. Striking frontman Mark Baynes, who is the founder member; has weathered plenty of changes within the line-up’s over the years. However, the band always recruit carefully to enable their creativity to evolve. The current line-up features Rob “Guns” Bolvin on bass, the man with the wicked smile Mike Sidey on drums and his brother Sid Sidey on a variety of stringed instruments. Kicking off with the familiar opener “Unleash the Dogs” featuring a wonderous rolling banjo pattern, the band have no trouble in gaining the audience’s confidence.

The first pleasant surprise of the night is that the band are willing to showcase some new material. These arrive in the form of “Threadbare” and “Hang Em’ High”, dedicated to the people that are charged with running our Country. The track has a dark Country sound to it with the two guitars teasing us with some impressive riffs. The more familiar Maggot favourites like “Drowsy Maggie” and “Dancing with the Black Dog Again” get the audience freely moving in their seats with these more upbeat numbers.

Lady Winwoods Maggot
Lady Winwoods Maggot 1234567

Mark as a songwriter has always followed a similar pattern to other musical poets like Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash, both who liked to push the envelope. Their lyrics that are mostly factual, tell a story and give an opinion. This is more than apparent in “Up Jumped The Devil”, where mark describes his feelings on the orange skinned former President of the USA. The great thing about the band is that there’s not a pattern to their music and different influences arrive from many areas; tonight as in most cases they never keep rigidly to a setlist, they just play what they feel and are usually guided by the audience in front of them. We are treated to another couple of new tracks including “Counting The Cost” about the NHS & The Government during the pandemic and “Ghost Road” which features an impressive guitar solo from Sid.

The set ends with some audience participation on “Aphrodite In A Nightie”, dedicated to those suffering in Ukraine. Sid once again shows off his nimble fingers with some skilful mandolin work, along with Mike and Gun’s rock steady infectious rhythms. As the curfew looms the band try to leave the stage and the audience of course demand more.

We are treated to an impressive version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” (not that other Purple song the band normally do) and this earns the band a standing ovation from the elated crowd as they leave the stage. The audience reaction in this amphitheatre-shaped studio is one of excitement and this quartet have whipped up a sizeable storm with a great set that will certainly go down in history as one of the best of the “Live & Unheard” series.

Set Lists
Driving All Night
When The Karma Kicks In
Caught in The Arms of an Angel
Can it Get Any Better Than This
When My Whole Life Changed
Boom Boom Pop Pop a Boom Boom

Nowhere Girls are Fore
Angels of The Underground
Without Words
This Is Autumn
The Girl on The Train
Carnival in Blue
Like To See You
The Light
My Room

Lady Winwoods Maggot
Unleash The Dogs
Hang Em’ High
Drowsy Maggie
Dancing with the Black Dog Again
Counting The Cost
Four Whores of Baltimore
Up Jumped the Devil
Ghost Road
Chase The Cat
Aphrodite in a Nightie
Purple Rain (Prince)


The next Live & Unheard at the Lighthouse Poole is on 29th February featuring Archie Ray, Ben Poore and James Haynes. Tickets can be purchased here.


Words By David Chinery (Chinners).

Lady Winwooods Maggot