Recommended gig
Sion Russell Jones, Brigyn & Little Arrow at St John's Church, Canton, Cardiff on Saturday 10th November 7.30pm. Tickets available from: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/189421.











....
Paper Aeroplanes, Ffred Jones,
Jessica Lee Morgan

St John's, Canton, Cardiff
13
th October 2010

Review by Stephen Nottingham
ST. JOHN'S provided the perfect setting for this Newsoundwales-organized concert, featuring three of the most promising musical acts in Wales. Cardiff-based singer-songwriter Jessica Lee Morgan opened, performing material from her recently-released debut I Am Not. She also sang a beautiful version of David Bowie's Let's Dance mashed up with Lady Gaga's hit of the same name. Ffred Jones was next up, with an entertaining set drawn from several EPs and his forthcoming LP. He was accompanied at times by a cellist and rap vocalist Ibo on several songs including an original cover of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Paper Aeroplanes are the west Wales duo of Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn, plus guest musicians - on this occasion a violinist and a bass/keyboard player. The wonderful acoustic and the unplugged format led Sarah to comment that it was like hearing their songs anew. The concert certainly revealed hidden depths to the jauntier tunes from their debut album The Day We Ran Into The Sea. I emerged into the chilly Canton night humming the refrain of Newport Beach ("the mist rolling down from the mountain, you can't tell the sky from the sea"), a poignant look back on a Welsh childhood. Paper Aeroplanes are, however, moving forward with increasing velocity and are taking off!

.............................................................................................................


LCD Soundsystem & Hot Chip
Cardiff Arena
12
th November

Ordinarily a set by Hot Chip would have been enough to satisfy the crowd at the CIA. However, the LCD Soundsystem are several leagues above them and managed to turn what is usually a sterile and frankly hideous venue into a hot steamy club. The audience was diverse and included members of Islet, students and people in advanced middle age. They began with recent album opener " Dance Yrself Clean " that seduced us with its slow burning trance like rhythms only to explode half way through. That was the moment the arena came alive and didn't let up for the hour that followed. James Murphy is a great front man backed up by some fine muscular playing. Most of the band's best known tracks were played including " Drunk Girls ", " Home " and " Daft Punk is playing at my house " climaxing with a pounding, unrepentant, sublime and frenzy inducing " Yeah ". There is talk that this is the end of LCD Soundsystem and as this was their first Welsh gig it is gratifying to finally be able to say " I was there ".

.............................................................................................................


Neil Hannon
The Gate, Cardiff
8
th November



The Divine Comedy could do little wrong back in the 1990s with a string of hits and great critical acclaim. Although their star gradually dimmed Neil Hannon has kept the Divine Comedy name alive alongside projects such as last year's well received Duckworth Lewis Method. December sees the premiere in Bristol of his debut musical an adaptation of 'Swallows and Amazons'. The evening at the Gate started rather shakily with Neil declaring he hadn't done a sound check and when he fluffed a few lines early on you began to worry that maybe he was being half hearted and had just popped across from Bristol to earn some easy money. However, as he warmed up, no doubt helped by the warmth of the sold out crowd, he stepped up his game. The evening covered material from his entire career including the hits such as " Generation Sex " and " Frog Princess " alongside more reflective and poignant songs such as a simply stunning rendition of " A Lady of a certain age ". He may have been alone on stage, but by involving the audience the songs were augmented by some fine sing-along brass parts that reached its zenith on the brilliant closing climax of " National Express ". The evening not only left you feeling great admiration for Neil Hannon's ability to entertain and enthral an audience sans band, but it also served to remind us just what a great songwriter he is.

.............................................................................................................


SWN Festival 2010

Al Lewis at the Globe

Now well and truly established as part of the Welsh cultural calendar this year's SWN festival was probably the most eclectic and successful so far. Three days, hundreds of bands and singers playing live, seminars and even theatre on offer. Friday at the Globe gave us Gildas who showed great promise with some gentle songs and deft finger style guitar playing. Al Lewis was the highlight of the day offering self assured and mature song writing performed in a relaxed confident manner. The line up was enhanced by special guest vocalist Sara Howells from Paper Aeroplanes. The evening ended with a slightly strange choice of Bryn Fon who it has to be said felt like watching BBC 1 Wales from 1982 - a very odd bit of festival programming!

The Computers rock the Clwb

This year saw the arrival of metal at SWN with bands such as T he Blackout and the very exuberant and polished band from Exeter called The Computers . Not sure how this will develop as it seems out of kilter with the SWN roster and it felt a bit like having a Jazz tent at Green Man.

Newsoundwales was lucky enough to be hosting an evening at this year's SWN which included talented Cardiff newcomers Evening Chorus who are firmly in the Mumford & Sons camp and went down very well. Trembling Bells have been gaining ground and their sophomore album has had some positive reviews. However, the band seemed slightly out of sorts and gave the impression they were less than impressed by a fairly modest and impassive crowd.

H Hawkline delighting Saturday afternoon shoppers at the Undertone

Perfume Genius was one of this year's festival coups and seemed to be Saturday's hot tip. In a seated theatre, full to brim you could have heard a pin drop as Mike Hadreas performed songs alongside keyboard partner Alan Wyffels. The subject matter of the material was so deeply personal and at times painful, that it felt more like a therapy session than a gig. It was captivating to witness and watching the two performers exchanging nervous glances was fascinating. The rendition of " Learning " where the two musicians shared keyboard was touching and incredibly effective. Hearing songs such as " Mr Peterson " live is chilling and there were more than a few people deeply affected by the subject matter. Grown men were crying - I kid you not. I had planned to see a few more bands after this set; however, it was such an intense and moving experience it felt right to end my SWN on a high - albeit slightly traumatised and churned up. SWN is a festival unlike no other.

.............................................................................................................

Focus

The Globe, Cardiff

13th Oct 2010


(Review by Stephen Nottingham)

DRUMS , bass, guitar, keyboards, flute and yodelling - Dutch prog-rock legends Focus must be back in town. Thirty-nine years after first playing Cardiff, in October 1971, they returned for their fifth gig in the city, and their first at The Globe. Originally fronted by Thijs van Leer (keyboards and flutes) and Jan Akkerman (guitar), Focus released seven studio albums between 1969 and 1978. The band reformed in 2001 with van Leer joined by Pierre van der Linden, the drummer on their best records Moving Waves/Focus 2 (1971) and Focus 3 (1973), and new members Niels van der Steenhoven (guitar) and Bobby Jacobs (bass).

The set list mixed old hits, such House of the King and Hocus Pocus, with material from recent albums Focus 8 (2003) and Focus 9/New Skin (2006), of which Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee stood out. The incense-scented venue was packed, mainly with original fans. The band was at its best in jazzier mode, with van Leer having fun improvising on vocals and flute. Akkerman was a hard act to follow (he plays The Globe in May 2011), but van der Steenhoven's extraordinary guitar playing has given the latest incarnation of Focus a new energy that should see them touring for a few more years yet.

.............................................................................................................

Women, Idiot Glee The Drains
The Globe, Cardiff
31st August 2010



This was a night of frustration. The mainly centred around the small crowd and around 3 bands that have some really interesting and powerful music, but in all cases poor sound and dodgy vocals. The Drains are new and have a raw power tool of a bass driven sound, but vocally can't seem to decide if they are death metal or the Doors. There is, however, some real potential there. Idiot Glee is the moniker of James Friley who utilises effects pedals to build up loops and layers. Lots of ideas, but again vocally it just sounded poor and at times he didn't seem to be in complete control of the effects he was trying to use. Women certainly make some glorious music and some of the guitar interplay was majestic. At times reminiscent of Television, at times Velvet Underground. However, time after time they started songs that you thought were really going to take off, but then the vocals kicked in and dragged everything down into a dirge. This band with a new charismatic singer would be staggeringly good.

.............................................................................................................

Bright Light Bright Light, Friends Electric & Love Parry lll
Buffalo, Cardiff
7
th September 2010



This turned out to be a night of 3 bright Welsh hopes for 2011. Love Parry lll are a new Cardiff band who have some excellent songs and a great front man. They are at times reminiscent of Pulp, but they have their own sound which given time is going to produce some great material. Friends Electric are one of Wales' best kept electro dance secrets. Why this band hasn't taken off yet is something of a mystery. They have some great material with songs such as Wall of Arms but maybe need to get an image and have more of an identity. Bright Light Bright Light are on the verge of having a huge hit on their hands with " Love Part ll " and are also about to set out supporting Ellie Goulding. Almost every song in their set could be a hit single for themselves or others such as Kylie. Rod Thomas has a superb voice full of passion and drama and has an engaging personality. Great British pop music for the 21 st century and proof that there is still life left in the 3 minute pop song format.

.............................................................................................................

Green Man Festival 2010

As festivals go the Green Man is just about perfect providing the right balance between new acts, headliners who know there place without being arrogant and the odd challenge along the way. The weekend started in good fashion with the premiere of ' Bird on a Wire' Tony Palmer's record of Leonard Cohen's 1972 world tour. The film was fascinating, moving and extremely illuminating about Cohen and his psyche. It was followed by a somewhat bizarre Q&A with the first question being " Just what did Leonard Cohen die of ?"

Johnny Flynn

New acts that made their mark over the weekend included Egyptian Hip Hop who look ridiculously young, but have got a good sound brewing and if their singer can gain more confidence and stage presence they will probably be appearing on the end of year 'most likely to succeed' lists. O Children could have been spectacular with their epic sub Joy Division sound. However, their singer Tobias seemed to be holding back. If he can just discover his inner Iggy and let go then this band could be a real crowd pleaser. The new band that made the most impact and who certainly 'let go' was Cardiff based Islet. Despite the midday scheduling they gave a full on adrenalin fuelled session almost attacking their instruments and screaming the music out. Their visceral barrage of sounds isn't going to please everyone, but they certainly gave the most energetic and memorable performance of the entire festival.

Islet

For sheer beauty and musicality John Grant was the highlight of the weekend. On record his voice is rich and sounds like the aural equivalent of honey and live it is even better. His songs may be melancholic and not exactly a bundle of laughs but what could be maudlin and depressing is moving and strangely uplifting. The fact that we forgot it was pissing down and our waterproofs were beginning to leak for the duration of his performance is testimony to his charisma and musical brilliance.

If you wanted a definition of what makes a good headliner at a festival then the Flaming Lips press just about all the buttons and put on a show like no other. During the first 10 minutes alone Wayne Coyne surfed the crowd in a giant bubble; they released dozens of huge balloons and sprayed the audience from confetti filled cannons. You wondered if they had peaked too soon and to some extent they had but the band has 20+ years of music and stagecraft to draw upon and by the finale song of, yes you guessed it, ' Do you Realize' grown men were reduced to tears and the entire festival felt transformed.

Spencer McGarry Season

Other notable performances included the sheer musicality of the Spencer McGarry Season , Lone Wolf's song writing skills writ large in a live setting and the breath taking purity of Laura Marling voice.

Now if only they could pick a weekend when the heavens don't open and the sun shines bright.

.............................................................................................................

WOMAD 2010
reviewed by Rob Richards




After what many felt was a disappointing festival in 2009, WOMAD in 2010 was well and truly back on form. The festival has now settled into its new home - Charlton Park, Wiltshire. The range of music on offer was huge, both geographically - from the far north of Canada to the heart of Australia - and musically - from veterans of Afrobeat to Japanese 'Death Jazz'.

The African presence this year was very strong. Giants from past decades, like
Salif Keita, Tony Allen and the Drummers of Burundi, all showed that they can still do the business - and then some. Then there were 3 African bands whose back-story is as amazing as their music. Staff Benda Bilili, many of them in improvised wheelchairs after surviving polio in early life, are one of the most exciting new bands to come out of Africa. The Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou, who recently reformed after they were forcibly disbanded by the ultra-Marxist government of Benin in the 1980s, showed that they have truly re-kindled their old fire. And then, in a testament to both the power of music and the resilience of the human spirit, the most joyful music of the whole weekend was provided by the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (whose name tells you all you need to know). Salif Keita, now in his 60s, has to ration that golden voice these days but the music created by his band was so infectious that it more than compensated.

Elsewhere could be found top-class reggae (and its forerunner 'mento'), many variations on Latin rhythms, North African rhythms (at their most exciting when channelled through the Paris 'ghetto' of Barbès) and even the rhythm of horses on the Mongolian steppes. In a quieter mode, there was music, both strange and haunting, from Finland, from central Asia and from other places in between. More modern urban beats were provided by
JazZstePpa (UK/Israel/Germany) combining Dubstep with real instruments in a way that engaged both mind and body.

WOMAD tries to offer at least one performance each year that is utterly unlike anything you have ever seen before (and usually succeeds). This year they hit the jackpot with two.

Tanya Tagaq was brought up in the Inuit style of throat singing which is found in the far north of Canada but she has developed a solo style which is utterly unique. In a single piece lasting 45 minutes, she delivered a truly astonishing combination of dancing, acting and singing (although generating an array of sounds might be more accurate). We had animal cries, human cries, sounds of the Arctic landscape and abstract rhythmic patterns, interspersed with some seriously scary emanations from the spirit world.

The other jaw-dropper was
'Death Jazz', as played by the oddly-named SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS. The band contains 5 musicians (drums, bass, piano, saxophone & trumpet) who have the skills of some of the best players of the bebop era but the mindset of a hardcore death metal band. Astounding as these musicians are, their key ingredient is their sixth member, who neither sings nor plays an instrument. So what does he do? He 'plays' the audience. His job is to whip the audience into a frenzy, which then drives the musicians to even greater heights of power and intensity. 'Ecstatic' is a much overused word when describing an audience reaction. On this occasion it would not be hyperbole. One performer who does not need an intermediary to make a connection with the audience is the remarkable Imelda May. Her 1950s retro look might lead some to pigeonhole her, but this singer has a vocal and emotional range that the 'great female voices of our time' can only dream of. She also has something else that they don't have, a really hot band!

.............................................................................................................


Gruff Rhys & Tony da Gatorra/Islet

Clwb Ifor Bach
28th July 2010



Experimentation when it works is exciting and fresh but when it doesn't it can backfire badly. On this occasion it was the support band that succeeded where the headliner failed. The buzz around Islet has been building for most of this year thanks to a low internet profile and well received gigs. Live, the band are a force of nature with the band constantly changing instruments, playing loud percussive beats overlaid with almost space rock sounds. Islet are definitely one of the most impressive and exciting bands to emerge from Wales this year. Unfortunately Gruff Rhys & Tony da Gatorra were a real let down. It started well enough with Gruff donning his famous helmet and Tony plugging in his homemade 'gatorra'. The first few songs were fairly vibrant especially 'House Full of Mirrors'. However, after a while the gatorra revealed it limitations and was too repetitive and Tony da Gatorra's contributions just came across as polemic Spanish rants. Experimentation is great when it works, but when it doesn't it is best kept behind closed doors - sorry Gruff.

.............................................................................................................


Misty's Big Adventure
Leamington Peace Festival
19th June



Ok yes we know since when has Leamington been in Wales? Well it isn't, but we were there so hey ho! This free 2 day festival is a real highlight of the year in the Midlands featuring live music and numerous local community groups. All free and all staffed by volunteers. Music is mostly local bands and the highlight this year was the ever excellent and thoroughly entertaining Misty's Big Adventure. The band helped kick the festival crowd into life with their up tempo alternative pop classics such as Fashion Parade and Never Stops Never Rests. Songs from their new album such as Atonement sounded slightly more serious and less wacky but nonetheless extremely entertaining. Towards the end of their set the wild antics of stage dancer Erotic Volvo even prompted a mini stage invasion. We truly hope Misty's Big Adventure never stop, never rest and definitely never end.

.............................................................................................................

Paper Aeroplanes
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
11th June



When the groups album came out recently I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with the production. My recollection of having seen and heard Sarah Howells live didn't seem to match the sound coming out of my CD player. It sounded a bit too polished and dare I say it sounded like it was veering dangerously close towards the Corrs territory. However, seeing the band live augmented by cello and violin has restored my faith in the quality of their songs, the purity and beauty of Sarah's voice and their overall high standard of musicianship. The band is unlikely to appear on the radar of the uber cool music fashionsitas, but on the evidence of this near capacity crowd Paper Aeroplanes look set to take off big time.

.............................................................................................................


Gareth Pearson, Jimi Alexander & the Satellites, Bright Light Bright Light &
Jessica Lee Morgan

Chapter, Cardiff
30th May 2010



This was the first event organised by newsoundwales and it provided an opportunity for us to put on artists that we feel represent some of the best new music in Wales. Jessica Lee Morgan started the evening in grand style with some well appreciated stripped down acoustic versions of track from her excellent debut cd 'I Am Not'. Bright Light Bright Light are a significant shift in style from Rod Thomas' previous solo work. Any concerns we had that this new music might not go down so well with the Chapter crowd were soon allayed with the audience really taking to BLBL's emotion packed electro pop. Jimi Alexander & the Satellites began with just Jimi and Lucy on cello with some smouldering songs. Gradually the band stepped up and gradually the band started to cook. Highlight was a storming version of 'Burn A Little Brighter'. Last up was guitar maestro Gareth Pearson who really packed a punch with his virtuoso playing. He even put so much physicality into his playing that he fell over at one stage. Playing a mixture of originals and covers such as Paranoid Android Gareth kept the audience entranced and amazed by his artistry. Altogether this was a great night of music and we hope to put on more events in the near future.

.............................................................................................................

Lucy Wainwright Roche

Toucan club, Cardiff
22nd March



It must be a blessing and a bit of a curse to be the daughter of famous folk parents. However, Lucy doesn’t seem to have let this faze her too much. She has been touring the UK with the excellent ‘indie twang songstress’ fellow Brooklynite and old school chum Rebecca Pronsky. Together they make quite a double act. Rebecca was seen sharing her chocolate eggs around just before Lucy’s set – is that the ideal thing to be eating before starting singing??!! Either way it didn’t impede Lucy’s singing which is pure and sweet or she has a growing repertoire of solid and fairly traditional songs not too dissimilar in style to her Father Loudon Wainwright. She also shares with him a strong sense of audience involvement and her onstage banter with tales of late night visits to NHS hospitals with blind dates whilst introducing new song ‘Accident & Emergency’ were both funny and touching. Her performance of ‘Bridge’ was majestic and just as good as the 8 year old girl’s youtube cover version that she said had eclipsed her own! Lucy Wainwright Roche may never write an opera like Rufus or appear on stage at the Barbican singing Edith Piaf like Martha. However, she looks set to have a long and steady career ahead as a solid and dependable nu folk troubadour.

.............................................................................................................

The Hidden Cameras
The Gate, Cardiff
22nd March



It could and should have been the one of the gigs of the year. With PA problems, late opening, staff that seemed incapable of operating the lighting system this came close to being a wipe out. Cardiff band
The School provided a short support slot and demonstrated why they are becoming one of the principality's hottest musical properties. Channelling classic 60s pop through a 21st century filter and you end up with a glorious sound and a band who really enjoy themselves on stage. With the house lights still on and almost unnoticed Joel Gibbs and his 8 piece indie orchestra emerged to the sounds of the title track from their slow burning recent album 'Origin:Orphan' . Featuring songs such as 'The Colour of a Man' and 'Walk On' (a number 1 in their Canadian homeland) made you realise just how far Joel Gibbs' song writing has developed since their last visit to the Cardiff Barfly 4 years ago. Gibbs has that incongruous and often disconcerting ability to sing sweet and innocent melodies over thoughtful, provocative and sometimes disturbing lyrics. Add an 8 piece band into the mix and you have an awesome sound. The band came up against the 11pm curfew and this only helped to increase the sense of drama with a defiant version of 'Ban Marriage' blaring forth as the Gate staff remonstrated with the sound engineer. The sound was eventually pulled at the peak of their encore with the revised uptempo version of 'Origin:Orphan'. However, the band played on valiantly and the defeated sound engineer joined the crowd with hands joyously waving in the air - nothing was going to stop the power of the Hidden Cameras and their gay church folk music tonight.

.............................................................................................................

65daysofstatic
Trinity Centre, Bristol
8 May 2010 reviewed by Rob Richards



Where do you find the most exciting music? Is it massive bass beats overlaid by a keyboard pattern, with irresistible hooks that loop and build into an ecstatic release? Or is it searing guitar and huge thrashing chords, driven by a drummer who hits the skins as if they have just done something unspeakable to his mother? Or is it all about timing; knowing when to build and when to drop out and start it all again? Is it possible for one band to combine all of these? If you saw 65daysofstatic in Bristol last Saturday, then you know the answer is a resounding YES!

If you can stop jumping up and down long enough to listen, you can detect elements of techno, metal, punk, minimalist classical and even jingles from old video games. What makes 65dos so special, is the way they layer all these different elements, so that they complement each other. That they can maintain the discipline to do this, at the speed and intensity with which they play, is truly remarkable. Then, just for a moment, everything drops out and they tantalise the audience with am little theme that is just so beautiful, before they overwhelm them with the next surge of power.

This is music which it is impossible to categorise. Maybe that is why they are not as massive as they deserve to be. It may also be that, while the band are clearly delighted that people love their music, their exchanges with the audience are minimal, to say the least. I sensed several times that the audience was ready to burst into uproar but the band seemed almost deliberately to frustrate this, either by obscuring the point where one number ends or moving so swiftly into the next one, that there was no time to applaud. Even the obligatory 'false' end to the set was fudged by some re-arranging of the kit, ready for the next number. Perhaps, their only concession to 'crowd-pleasing' was to save until last, the epic 'Radio Protector'. The number starts with a hauntingly beautiful piano intro, in come the big drums and the piano gets more excited before everything drops out to build again, this time with massive guitar chords over the top to add to the intensity, emphasis then switches back to keyboards for the fallaway at the end.

Their 2009 live album 'Escape from New York' does a pretty good job of capturing the excitement of one of their live gigs but if you want a real treat, see them for yourself.

.............................................................................................................


Erik Hassle Buffalo

Cardiff
30th March



This was an Island Records evening hosted by our own Pete Lawrie who is signed to the label. The room resembled something of a camera club night out with a host of tripods recording the evening for some sort of promotional exercise. With the house lights on this didn't create a particularly warm atmosphere. Lawrie is an assured and accomplished singer and will no doubt fit into the James Morrison niche when he is finally launched. Erik Hassle on the other hand has some truly excellent songs and a great pop voice. This was an unplugged performance sans his usual big electro keyboard productions. However, this served to illustrate just how good many of his songs are such as 'Hurtful' and 'The Thanks I Get'. His album has gone somewhat unnoticed in this country which is probably due to the focus on female singers at present. Erik Hassle is no FrankMusik and is a major talent in the making who deserves a bigger audience than he had on this occasion.

.............................................................................................................

Lady Gaga
Cardiff Arena
3rd March



Lady Gaga has come along way in the past year. Last time she was in Cardiff was to support the Pussycat Dolls. How times have changed. She has now joined the premier league with her Fame album recently going diamond for sales of over 10 million. This was a full on spectacular with numerous set and costume changes, snogging centurions and giant monsters. Camp, humorous, stirring and thought provoking. She gave us ‘Just Dance’ early on and kept us waiting for her big signature numbers ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Paparazzi’.  In between costume changes were provocative Leigh Boweryesque images were projected onto a backdrop which indicates that she will always push the boundaries and wishes to be seen as an artist rather than just a musician. Throughout our journey to the Monster Ball she engaged with and worked the audience. She knows which buttons to press to get a sell out crowd to adore her and feel part of her monster family. She has studied her heroes well. You sensed we were part of a tour that will go down as the start of Lady Gaga’s transition from disco pop hit maker to global superstar. Move over Madonna your successor has arrived.

.............................................................................................................

Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit
Clwb Ifor Bach
2nd March


When Johnny Flynn last played Cardiff he was hotly tipped as the bright hope of nu folk with a real buzz building around him. After a relatively quiet 2009 I wasn’t sure if things had gone slightly off the boil and if acts such as Mumford & Sons had stolen his thunder. I was wrong. The sold out Clwb Ifor was rammed to the rafters with a mixed crowd crossing the generational divide. Rather than standing still Flynn has developed his style and much of the set was new material from his forthcoming album due in May. The new songs sounded more rootsy and even with a touch of afro beat at one stage. Flynn’s guitar playing has also improved dramatically and at times he even had a touch of TomVerlaine about his playing. Old favourites such as ‘The Box’ & ‘The Wrote & the Writ’ went down as well as you would have expected, but new material was fully embraced by the crowd which seemed genuinely excited and drawn in by the band’s performance. Towards the end an inebriated voice in the crowd shouted ‘The new album’s going to be fucking awesome’. That remains to be seen, but on the evidence of tonight it could certainly prove to be a marked progression from his debut and may well win over some of the more cynical critics around.

.............................................................................................................

Chris Hicks/Any Other Day & Kadesha
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
16th February

I first saw Kadesha doing a support slot at the Globe last year and being duly impressed we ran a feature in our new artist section. She has come along way in 12 months and now has an impressive array of songs, such as the infectious Jack Johnsonesque ‘Happy’, and a relaxed and confident stage manner. However, what impresses most is her voice. It is has improved by miles in the space of a year and has great character, power and control. She is due to be recording with Colum Regan in the coming months and he seems an ideal musical partner for her. Backed by a band in a few years time Kadesha will be headlining to packed houses without a doubt. Any Other Day seemed nervous and ill at ease. Their sound improved as the set went on, especially when switching to acoustic guitar. Time spent working on their songs and presentation should help a lot.

Chris Hicks did something I have never seen before at a gig – he gave the audiences boxes of chocolates to share out! He has an interesting voice and is a relaxed and accomplished guitarist. However, I’m not sure the style of music he plays suits his personality or voice. There seems to be a torch singer lurking in there waiting to be let out. His own material showed maturity and his songs are well constructed. However, more theatrics and drama would really bring them to life. David Ackles rather than Nick Drake and Jacques Brel rather than the Stereophonics. If he steps things up a gear, shake us emotionally, even disturb us then he could be on to something.

.............................................................................................................

Jimi Alexander & the Satellites
Buffalo, Cardiff
11th January



When you light a coal fire it takes a while for the flames to work through and do their magic. There is a brief period where it begins to smoke and smoulder and you wonder if it is going to need a few more fire lighters and then all at once the flames burst through and the heat pours out. That is how this gig felt to me.

Jimi Alexander & the Satellites are a fully formed band of greatness in waiting. They have some truly magnificent songs, they are all excellent musicians and Jimi has to be one of the best vocalists to have emerged from Wales since Kelly Jones. He has a voice so full of passion and emotion that the walls crackle with its intensity. Tonight’s set featured some of the best songs from the band’s debut album such as Baby Don’t, Burn A Little Brighter and a stunning stripped down, acoustic Queen of Denmark. There were also some promising new songs Rain and the majestic sounding April Fever.

The band are off to SXSW in Texas in March and it will be fascinating to see what the crowd over there makes of their music. Even if that trip doesn’t act as their breakthrough, it can only be a matter of time before they get the audiences they deserve. You somehow feel the bigger the audience they play to, the bigger and bolder the performance is going to be. Smouldering and almost on fire!

.............................................................................................................

Archive

Live Reviews 2009

....
 
Hompage / News / Gigs / CD Review / Live Review / New Artist / Interview / Heritage / Contact / Links