The Shelley Theatre Big Band Night

It’s important that we have spaces for people to play

Live music on a schoolnight? "Shouldn't be allowed" I hear you say.

Well you're not the boss of me and so on Wednesday I went off to the wonderfully historic Shelley Theatre 'twixt Boscombe and Southbourne for an evening of bandy type entertainment.

Appearing on the bill were the enigmatically named 'Not made in China' and  local favourites 'Disco's out(murder's in).

On the bill first was the burrows Not made in China. Despite one or two issues with kit the band gave us a spirited and enjoyable set of mainly original material, some songs so new they didn't even have a name yet.

It wasn't perfect but see my rant below. This is one of the best bits about live music, it's never the same two nights in a row and sometimes things go well and sometimes they go a tiny bit wrong.

I particularly enjoyed the 'Jaunty tropical song' and the band gave us a fusion of African dance type sounds alongside a ska and indie influence. There was even a point where there was a teeny bit of bodysnatchers going on. One or two riffs were reminiscent of Marr and the drums were full ethnic sounding and beaten with gusto. I very much like their style.


What sort of sound are you going to get with 7 people especially when it looks like they've all had a pick in the lucky bag of instruments? Well surprisingly good.actually although I was disturbed to see that Perry had eschewed his trademark kazoo, possibly allowing him some jumping around room.

DIMO give an upbeat dancy fun big sound and as their frontman looks like he's having more fun that a barrel of monkeys that have found the key to the banana cupboard it's difficult not to get swept along in the moment. It's easy underestimate the effect someone having a great time has on a crowd. We loved this band.

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The Community Trust that are restoring the building have been working long and hard to provide a space for people to come together and enjoy arts type entertainment in a triffic setting.

They've worked really hard to get the place into a usable condition since the wilful neglect by the council, presumably because they wanted to build a block of flats on the site or an out of town shopping centre. (ooh controversial)

Let' be clear, the place isn't finished. The floors and walls are bare concrete, there's only one loo and not enough lights. There's a big section where it's just plastic instead of glass windows and the bar is small and doesn't appear to have any pumps.

And yet we had a fantastic time - why? because the friendly feel of the place and the common purpose of people involved make all the difference.


Next up was Disco's out(murder's in) led by the irrepressible and immensely likeable Steve Perry.

When they kicked off it was really a case of all the right notes but not necessarily at the same time but Perry dragged the night kicking and screaming along and as the set went on the band appeared to get tighter.

Here’s the rant

It's vitally important that we have places that encourage involvement in the arts. We need places like the Shelley because these are where Radiohead go at the age of 5 and have a go on a couple of instruments.

Their theatre clubs are where Michael Sheen goes to learn how to project his voice in an actual theatre or where Frank Skinner dies on his arse whilst working out what jokes work and what doesn't.

It's where Madge from the care home can go and see an amateur production of Blithe Spirit or a depressed artist can exhibit their slightly off the wall stuff and get a tiny bit of recognition that encourages them to keep on going.

We don't need another Maccy D drive in or another Tesco express. We don't need any more luxury flats building on our green space for people to weekend in from the smoke.

If you get a chance then support the Shelley Theatre. Go along, buy a beer and put some money in the collection box. It's a wonderful place.



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