It’s been a good couple of weeks for music in the local area, but Saturday 15th of October was something even more than that. The full moon rose and Bournemouth laid out its pearls for us, here’s the path we chose and we definitely don’t regret it.
First on the itinerary was a trip to Chaplins for the Oxjam event. An entire day of music and a good cause to boot, the line up was fantastic and Oxfam hopefully made a few bucketfuls of more than just jangling change.
MSG put the jam (or marmalade) in Oxjam. These are three lads who genuinely love music, and you can feel the good vibrations raining down on you from off the stage. Serving up something that feels almost primal or shamanistic you feel part of the process as they take you on the journey of creation. Made up of Shaun on guitar and mouthbox, Lucas on throaty beats and lyrics and Pete bringing that bodacious bass.
All extremely talented in their own rights, just as you can in a jazz club you could allow each to step to the front of the stage and freestyle a solo in their chosen medium. Shaun’s poems sing without music but they get properly sweaty now. The same is true of Lucas’ work as it glides atop the guitar and the easy microphone passing between them speaks volumes of the connection they share. Seeing Pete slapping that bass with the biggest grin on his face though, that’s true music.
The Two Man Travelling Medicine Show serve up something on the opposite side of the scale from the band before but every bit as delicious. An extremely well oiled machine, Chaplins tiny stage audibly creaks under the strain of this talented mob. Proving precisely how much elbow room you need to get that swing the band deliver funked up folk with a mohawked heart. Armed with cutting lyrics and steel toe capped boots this is a band that will get into your head just as easily as your eardrum. It’s a foot stomping, no talking, head bobbing hootenanny and we’d be the first to sign up for another round. ‘I Read Magazines’, ‘Rat In A Palace’ and ‘Stop The Cocks’ are all the kind of tunes we can’t wait to hear again. It must also be said that that Matt guy who was bringing the lead singer his beer was a proper hotty.
Here’s where the night started to get a little frisky, after shaking hands and saying our thanks we piled into our car and tore across town heading towards The Brit to catch the one and only Mr Tom McQ. What more can be said about this honestly spellbinding performer? We’d heard the name told as if the evocation of some ancient force, friends inviting us to come behold this natural wonder. We never expected the man to actually live up to this reverence though… standing silently in front of the stage we’re bowed by the beauty.
This is Mod Dylan, give him his Nobel prize now whilst he can enjoy it.
What precisely it is that Tom has is hard to put a finger on, he’s a confident performer, his lyrics are incredibly poignant, his voice is strong and he’s an accomplished guitar player, but this doesn’t necessarily always add up into something that captivates in quite the same way as Tom does. At the risk of sounding like a screaming fan girl, Tom just has it, that unnameable, untamable force. Something about his music reaches out and grabs you by the chest, it draws you in and once you’ve been caught in its inexorable force there’s no way to get out.
Tom is a travelling troubadour, a wandering wordsmith, a busking bard, the music is something that lives in him and he’s kind enough to share it with those around him. He has enough material to happily play from dusk till dawn and every song is a masterwork. For us that night on our first encounter it was ‘Bluebird’ performed acapella that really showed off precisely what it is we were witnessing. We’ll see you the next time this must see musician makes it down Dorset way, we’ve heard rumbles of a Chaplin’s gig already.
Words by Matt Miles