TKO @ inferno – review

The general perception of artistes is of flighty, arrogant, aloof prima donnas who give slightly less thought for their fans than George Osborne does for foodbank regulars (ooh bit of politics there </Ben Elton>).

One of the reasons I love covering local live music is that you get to see bands that love their music, love performing and love to have a bit of a laugh and TKO, fronted by Afro Ninja Tim Somerfield, are just one of these.

I'd been meaning to catch a TKO gig for some time and so on Saturday as all the stars were in alignment I managed to get down to a soon-to-be-refurbished Inferno in Holdenhurst Road to see if the group lived up to their frontman's reputation.

It's a hard life as a covers band. Truth be told you are never going to please everyone and the difficulty has to be whether you try and put a bit of everything in there or go for just what you like and risk losing your audience.

TKO chose the latter and for me this was a mistake. Don't get me wrong, the guys did really good versions of songs by Chaka Khan, Timberlake and Michael Jackson but although these were enjoyed immensely by the central Bournemouth crowd IMHO musically they felt a little bit flat. This is not to say that the guys didn't give it their all just that TKOs real strength is when they are playing real rock classics.

Alternatively I may just have been in a bad mood.

Having seen him in his Afro Ninja guise I already knew about his great voice however what struck me was how much better it sounded when backed by a really competent band. Completing the band are the most excellent Phil Brickell on bass and banging James Clarke on Drums who thought I wouldn't be able to get a photo of him sat at the back and who was wrong!


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You can't beat a bit of Biffy Clyro on a Saturday night and TKO launched the evening with a capable 'mountains' following up with Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak' and this signposted the way to the most successful parts of the evening as TKO's rock dna began to poke its head out.

It seems a natural progression to go from Thin Lizzy to Hendrix (am I noticing a hair theme here?) and a very good 'all along the watchtower' ensued. If they'd done their Kravitz 'go my way' at this point they may have proved me right but we had to wait a bit for this piece of barnet rockgoddery. That aside we saw some excellent guitar work here by LJ Woodhouse who also does a side line as a Steve Fletcher lookalike.

TKO then took us on a tour of rock classics from Red Hot Chilli Peppers through Maroon 5 before ending up in a very enjoyable 'Layla' although I couldn't understand for the life of me why frontman Tim didn't whip out an organ and do the outtro.

Having been a bit sniffy here I have to return to my original point about local bands having a laugh with their crowds and this is an area where TKO score highly. The raucous Inferno attendees were a mixed bunch but there was plenty of banter on show and a real friendly air about the place.

A nice interlude for a 'happy birthday' for Danielle (guess which picture is her although I have my doubts that it really was her birthday!) and real willingness to engage with friends old and new in the audience is exceptionally important for a working band and youngsters could do with taking a lesson from the chaps here.

So, are they any good?

The answer has to be a resounding YES! But don't take my word for it. The crowd at Inferno forced them into two encores so public opinion would suggest I'm right (as always)

Personally I'd like to see them do an all up rock set and make it as heavy and loud as they like. I reckon we'd then see the real TKO but I have to say if you catch their general covers set you wont be disappointed.

If you've not seen them then put yourself out and make a trip, if you end up in a bar where they are playing then stick around and listen. You'll enjoy.

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