Hangover Hill Presents: Live & Unheard – Lighthouse, Poole

Tonight I’m back in my happy place, the Sherling Studio at Lighthouse Poole for the monthly music showcase event Hangover Hill’s Live & Unheard. Each month Matt Black and Mel Berkhauer bring together three acts to help showcase their music to an attentive and discerning audience who appreciate original music.

The first act of the evening is local award-winning songstress Millie Watson, who over the last couple of months has been spending time in a Dorset studio bringing together her much awaited debut album. This evening Millie has our host Si Genaro accompanying her on harmonica and Keith Lawes on his homemade rustic 3-string, oil can double bass. Kicking off with a track that has been a staple of her set over the last couple of years “Seabird”, this capable musician shows our audience why there has been so much hype about her the last eighteen months. Her vocal talents and songwriting are superb; though her honesty, compassion and humility are traits that audiences appreciate totally too.

Millie Watson
Millie Watson 12345678

We are treated to a few samples of the new tracks that will feature on the album including “Milk And Bread”, a track about the ups & downs of modern life and “Living the Dream” about fake influencers that we regularly see online. The title track “Heartstrings and Bones” is about domestic arguments and is a clearly one of the standout numbers, it features a fine Gospel spirit running throughout. Millie’s seemingly simplistic guitar work shows many different influences and creates the perfect backdrop for her songs. Si with his humble little instrument that makes a big emotive sound and Keith with his homemade bass provide some excellent backing. The audience here know when they have just witnessed something special and provide the trio with plenty of celebratory applause. If any one of our homegrown acts could put our local music scene on the map it’s Millie.

Next up hilariously our host introduces himself, he has put down his harmonica and picks up his impressive Takamine six string acoustic guitar and Keith is back on stage to provide further accompaniment. Kicking off with “Dying”, a song that Si once used for an X-Factor audition; it’s a quite upbeat tune considering the title about meeting your maker, Si shows off some of his trademark beatboxing styles and his unique sounding vocal abilities. Thinking about it, he is a sort of a Jekyll and Hyde type of character with two completely different sides to him – one minute he’s the clown cracking jokes and messing around, the next he is ripping at your heart strings with an emotional number. Next up “Into the Abyss” is a tune that takes its influence from the film “Ghost” with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The lyrics come at you from the Ghost’s point of view. It’s beautiful tune with some powerfully emotive lyrics that extend the boundaries of the film’s love story.

Si Genaro
Si Genaro 12345678

Si over the last year or so has been recording an album with his ‘brother from another Mother’ Chris Payn and the album features a host of new tunes that they have been creating together. One of the tunes “Love is Stronger Than This” is dedicated tonight to Si’s late friend Sarge. Much to the delight of the audience a visit to one of the first tracks created when Si was a young teen, it’s a beautiful tune called “Lullaby”. Another of the new songs comes in the form of “This Song Needed to Be Written”, which is a sequel to one of Si’s best known tracks, “When The Last Bird Flies”. The song is set in a dystopian landscape and shows that his creativity is always evolving, and we have certainly not heard the best of him yet.

If you take the time to sit down and listen to what this guy has to offer; remove some of the protective outer layers, you will find a totally devoted musician whose goal in life is to entertain. He loves an audience, he also loves nothing more than to be validated by some of the peers that he looks up to and performs with. The set ends with an impressive audience silencing version of “When the Last Bird Flies”, where the vocals sound extra special in this fine acoustic environment. If you think you know this man just think again, he has many unique talents, whether it’s Jekyll or Hyde you bet you are going to be entertained.

The final act of the evening The Bomo Swing are long overdue coming here to the Lighthouse, the band have been the highlight at many of the festivals over the years that they have performed at. They are the colourful multi-cultural, six-piece band who bring the Fiesta to any event that they play. With a melting pot of influences from Reggae, Balkan, Ska, Gypsy Jazz, Swing; all powered by a sizzling Latin percussion from the band’s founder member Julian Leon; the band feature Stefan Defilet on Violin, Shaun Gary Palmer on electric guitar/Vocals with Simon Collins on Double bass, Naomi Lyon on Keys and Lead Vocalist Kimari Raven.

As soon as the band start up their opening number ” Roll Up” they bring a big party atmosphere into this studio. As I look around there are smiles on everyone’s faces and they all begin to move with abandonment in their chairs. The combination of the infectious instrumentation and the enthusiastic energy of the band does not fail to radiate. Shaun’s impressive delivery of his rapped vocals, along with the sassy seduction of Kimari’s big vocal range provide a big part of the band’s appeal. With original creations like the bouncing “Bad Cat”, new tune “Devil” and elevating “El Fire” pushing the senses, the band have a huge momentum throughout. A touching moment came when the outfit remember their former guitarist Andy Razz, the small man with the larger-than-life personality and a tune called “Razzmattic”.

The Bomo Swing
The Bomo Swing 1234567891011

It was inevitable with a band like this and many people from the audience get up from their chairs and head on to the dance floor/stage. The band relish the audience’s involvement and play up to all the dancers. They are a musical assault on your senses and by the time we get to the final number, you realize it is true that time does fly while you are having fun. The final number is a Fifteenth Century Folk song called “Balkanico” and the band have brought it right up to date in their own unique way. They leave the tune flowing around in your head, bouncing around with its totally infectious nature. This has been one of the best performances that we have had here at ‘Live and Unheard’ and it is still an utter privilege to be involved with it.

Set Lists
The Bomo Swing
Roll Up
Que Si Que No
Bad Cat
Burning Sun
Strange New World
El Fire

Si Genaro
Into The Abyss
Love is Stronger Than This
I Found Love
This Song Needed To Be Written
Penny For Your Thoughts
Hellfire Club Sandwich
When The Last Bird Flies

Millie Watson
Milk & Bread
Sweetly On My Own
Sarah Shines
Living The Dream
Hold On
Suzy Sells Dopamine
Heartstrings and Bones







The next event is Pride & Unheard on Friday 7th June, part of the Lighthouse Pride week. It features a Drag act Ken Dee along with Krista Green’s Honeykick duo and Punk singer/songwriter Dixie Dix. Get Your tickets here.

Also, on Thursday 27th June there is the usual monthly showcase featuring Rock band Wytch, Acoustic Folk duo Hari and singer/songwriter Nick Coleman. Purchase your tickets here.


Review compiled by David Chinery (Chinners).
Photography by Lynn Burt.