Boomchang Records label showcase at the Bridge Hotel 05/06/2015
Boomchang Records was formed in 2012 by Stephen Cunningham, who gained bonafide musical legend status as the bassist in Lindisfarne for 5 years. It aims to give emerging local artists the opportunity to grow and develop their craft and their career, and get their music recorded and released.
First on was Hayley Ellen. Her pop ballads would be at home on one of the many TV music channels if only someone would pick them up. Hayley has a sweet voice and writes songs from the heart. Her American singing accent may or may not endear her to the US market as over there it seems they do like our quirky Britishness. I just felt she did it well and it fits the songs she writes. Her guitar playing is developing and serves as a good accompaniment.
Lee McDade took to the stage, his trademark mohawk in splendid form as he took us through his repertoire of blues edged country. A special touch was given to the sound with steel guitar by Jim Hornsby. His songs are stories, of a stripper (Whisky), a soldier sent to a pointless war, and Johnny Cash (The Man In Black). Brown Ale Blues is an ode to our own beloved Newcastle, about our fierce pride in being from here, even when we are abroad. This is the first time I’ve seen Lee and I was struck with his warmth as a performer and his observational writing. He engages with the audience like a true professional. Definitely worth a revisit.
Simma is a very different beast away from his solo performance. He had a full band tonight with Andy Mackin on guitar, Daniel Ward on drums and, on bass, the Boomchang “Daddy” Stephen Cunningham. He worked some new songs from the Lychnobite album including my favourite, Pop Song For An Old Girlfriend. Simma sang about the human condition: Black Dog gets right to the heart of how depression can hang onto you. Happy New Year, a song of new beginnings and new love, is still being a persistant earworm as I write this.
The spirit of The Beatles was brought to life with the Billingham Silver band forming the brass section for Sing and the small crowd joined in with the singalong “carpe diem” song Now Is The Time Of Your Life.
Traditional song Sixteen Tons is updated a little for the album and this performance. So many hummable songs, ranging from rock-blues to guitar pop and such a great band. You need to get to the next gig! Meanwhile you can catch Simma playing as a solo on his buskers and open mic nights, watch this space.