Stranded + Chilli

The Farm, Chapel St Leonards ~ Fri 7 May 2004

Last Friday provided us with the opportunity to see two up and coming bands playing at The Farm in Chapel St. Leonards. Not the ideal night for venturing far from home, the roads around the Skegness area were awash with water and the dark clouds and cold wind gave the spring night an autumnal feel. The weather coupled with the fact that Midge Ure was playing a few miles away was perhaps the reason that when we arrived only members of the two bands and some of their family were seemingly there for the gig, though several more people came in later.

Stranded, a young band from Louth opened with a 40 minute set featuring original songs and a couple of well played covers. Four of the band, lead singer Ceri Royston-German, guitarists Joe Dick and Tessa Beighton and drummer Jen Dick are pupils at Monks Dyke School in Louth. Stranded's line up was completed by keyboard player Keith Lines who is one of their teachers as on the night the band were without bass guitar following the departure of their regular bass player. They opened their set with 'Oblivious' a song written by budding songwriter Tessa Beighton who also plays guitar and provides backing and harmony vocals. Second number 'Fly Forward' another song written by Tessa featured some imposing keyboard work from Keith. They followed this with a fine version of the Bon Jovi song 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' featured good guitar work from Joe and some excellent vocal harmonies from lead singer Ceri and Tessa. They followed this with rockier original songs 'Bitch', this apparently sung in a different key from normal due to the disappearance of Joe's capo, though Ceri who is an accomplished vocalist coped well. Another original song 'Enemy' featured some great guitar coupled with Jen's positive drum work. Another song called 'Thinking About You' with an interestingly different sound featured Keith on vocals. A new song written by Tessa 'Vitriol' had a classic rock style rhythm, and is sure to become a favourite with their fans. The band finished their fine set with a number written by Keith followed by a good cover of Van Halen's 'Jump' which featured some intricate fingerwork from guitarist Tessa. Well constructed original songs, and musicianship which belies their tender years Stranded are a band worth catching live, their next gig is this Friday at the Woodman in Louth.

Wakefield band Chilli were making their first appearance in the area, we first heard the band when they played a live session on BBC Radio Humberside's 'Raw Talent' show last year. Hearing a band's music on such a media is a vital factor in influencing music lovers to go along and see a band when they are appearing locally. Chilli who play what they describe as inoffensive radio friendly music are signed to Headroom Records. They began their 40 minute set with both guitarists playing acoustic guitars for the opening four numbers. Sarah Upton's vocals were both strong and impassioned, suiting the all original songs that draw heavily on the theme of love.

Switching to electric guitars from the fifth number, Sarah's favourite song 'Nobody Knows', Chilli featured a number of songs from their fine debut album 'Take Me To Graceland' released last year. 'How Much Longer?' featured some bluesy guitar work in the background, towards the end the rockier elements came to the fore with powerful guitar complimented by Matt Stockwell's drums.

Chilli finished a strong set with 'Good Light' a song with highly suggestive lyrics conveyed with great feeling by Sarah. It may be a while before Chilli head this way again, but if they do many more than were in the audience last Friday will enjoy their music! In the meantime tune into 'Raw Talent' on Thursday evenings on BBC Radio Humberside and other Northern BBC stations as Chilli are likely to record another live session for the show at some time in the future, though one scheduled for next week has had to be postponed due to a Scottish tour.