What I hear you say Two live reviews from Jim Jones in a couple of weeks.  Well, one is from the start of the tour and the other (this) from the tail of the tour.  Besides it would seem both nights were fucking spectacular so the internet being flooded (ok maybe not flooded) with Rock and Roll can only be a good thing and if you’ve never seen this band then take some advice and get down and get with it if they’re ever playing near you (which they probably will)

Johnny took care of the support act as I was busy negotiating the M4 that had taken on the look of a rapid river such was the downpour this evening.

If uber did arks you can bet your bottom dollar there would be a rank of them parked on Castle St just around the corner from Clwb Ifor Bach tonight. Such is the ferocity of the rain that walking up to the venue I think to myself that maybe I’ve walked onto the film set of Seven…or perhaps make that Severn as I by the time I do finally reach the gig I look like I’ve been for a dip in said river.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s on nights like this that gigs can tend to suffer attendance-wise especially with walk-up crowds and some lost souls even when they have bought tickets in advance then simply can’t be arsed to get wet and make the effort to get out the front door. Not so tonight though as even before the ungodly hour of 7:30 pm there is more than a healthy number of Righteous Minds in attendance to bid a very warm welcome to last-minute support act Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy.

Joe’s mix of deep south (wales) blues and folk actually proves to be the perfect pick me up tonic after our early evening soaking as the two-piece set up (of guitar and drums) deliver songs like ‘Home’ from their recent ‘The Road’ EP that spark and glow like a warm campfire that the audience can huddle around to dry off.

There’s a haunting quality to Joe’s guitar that recalls David Lynch movie soundtracks and his husky sour mash fermented vocals are straight outta the Usk Delta, whilst on earlier songs like ‘Babylon’ I can see why some folks are getting a little bit excited and calling him a modern-day Dylan.  As a band dropped in at the last minute to replace two other acts that had sadly fallen by the wayside due to illness Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy just make their left of field take on this rock ‘n’ roll malarkey look oh so easy…

 

What, We carried a review from York on this tour but such is the undeniable force of nature that is Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind how could we not top and tail the tour? Having only seen the band play a few months ago on the opening night of the album’s release this was JJ&TRM having bedded in the new tunes and with some distance from their birth, this was another perfect night to check out one of the UK’s finest Rock and Roll bands currently treading the boards.  Like a finely tuned beast and with a new single on show they were never going to disappoint it was more a question of how good they were going to be.

 

In fairness to Jim he has always played this neck of the woods and this must have been the umpteenth time I’ve seen him perform with one line up or another and I’ve never left a show unenthused or thinking about missing the next time he breezes through town. Kicking off with the wonderful stomp of ‘Get Down Get With It’ it’s hard to believe that things can’t go anywhere but downhill from here but following on from the glam tastic cover its ‘Boil Yer Blood’ and a couple more from the marvelous debut ‘Super Natural’ before we get a peek behind the curtail and the band wheel in a wonderful dramatic ‘Shazam’. ‘Sex Robot’ and ‘Satan Got His Heart Set On You’ as the band then flip flop from one album to the other picking the audience up then slamming them down before knocking out a rough house version of ‘Helter Skelter’ the band are absolutely in tune with one and other as they spar off each other trading guitar lick or bass line or percussion fill with the lap steel and piano chipping in with uplifting fills at every opportunity.

Looking like the Cult of real Rock and Roll in their roll necks  or some brothers in arms armed with Guitars and music rather than Bullets and Bombs they’ll be queuing out the door to sign up to join the collective with these guys providing the soundtrack and message. It warms my heart to hear them rally against Austerity and tory Britain and how Shit Island is heading down the pan with clowns and Jokers at every turn but whilst were led by the snout by greedy politicians and right-wing loons I’ll take this soundtrack and I guess selfishly Great Rock and Roll always rises up in tough times and hearing the sermon of ‘I Found A Love’ for one evening the world outside can wait whilst I get carried away on a wave of Righteous Rock and Roll.  After taking a walk through the audience and taking the message to the people on ‘Base Is Loaded’ they are called back for an encore that they richly deserve.

With the clock ticking the band has time for ‘Hold up’ and a blistering ‘Alpha Shit’ before we rejoin the rank and file on the rainy street of Cardiff with our ears ringing and another night of the finest Rock and Roll you could wish for pumping around our hearts.  Amen to that Brothers Jim and the rest of the Righteous Mind you raised the bar a little higher than before – now when can we do it all again?

 

Social Experiment hit the stage at the early time of seven-fifteen due to Cardiff seemingly giving up its city to the busiest night in a long time as the Stadium Across the road having seventy thousand petrol heads in for a show but the clued in people of South Wales braved the gridlock for the main event happening on one side of Womanby Street. Puddle is quite the striking frontman with his wonderfully pert mowhawk as he belted out the words to their songs stalking the front of the stage like a caged beast the four-piece sound tight and deliver their hardcore punk with gusto.  Tackling social issues and hammering out tracks drawn from their most excellent album ‘Rumours Of Our Demise Are Not Greatly Exaggerated’. The only local boys on tonight’s bill kick things off with a really impressive set they’re hard to ignore and certainly prove to be a tasty chaser for tonights session.

 

Rich Ragany and The Digressions have battled horrendous motorway traffic and vuvuzela brandishing speedway maniacs to make their Welsh debut tonight. So, after all that just as they launch into the sublime late summer sounds of ‘Little Let Down’ and guitarist Gaff’s amp decides to go up in flames, I must admit my heart kind of sinks a little bit for them.

Fear not though (power)pop pickers as after a quick on-stage tactical reshuffle this little hiccup is quickly put to one side and the remaining Digressers set about delivering a finely woven set of songs largely drawn from the ‘Like We’ll Never Make It’ album, Rich’s debut solo release.

Highlights? Well, there’s the rambunctious ‘Scotty Thompson’ which crops up mid-set, which is a song that could very easily out Cockney tonight’s headliners in its composition. Then there’s the bristling energy of ‘Your Distance’ where Rich along with rhythm guitarist Kit Swing combine their voices to lift even the hardest of hearts in attendance tonight.

Having already supported the likes of alt-rock legends The Lemonheads and The Rolling Stones buddies The Dirty Strangers it’s easy to see why Rich Ragany and The Digressions have such a broad church appeal and I must admit I was enjoying myself so much along with most of the rest of the audience that I didn’t really scribble down anything else. Then again isn’t this what Saturday nights are supposed to be all about?

With the good decision to take this to the main room it was time for headliners The Bar Stool Preachers to stand tall and show the good people of this city exactly what all the fuss is about.  Without fanfare they didn’t so much hit the stage but gave it a right seeing to with a size ten. The energy and enjoyment oozing from the band is a joy to see and they waste no time at all winning the crowd over who have come to dance and have a seriously good time.

Without the blink of an eye this (now) five piece really work the stage and audience alike and their love of the music wins over even the hardest cynic and with ‘One Fool Down’ coming fairly early on in the set is a real blast.  There are plenty of people singing every word as the songs from their first two studio albums get peeled off the bands hard work ethic is really paying off as they might be a guitar lite they are still tighter than a pair of soaking wet rizlas the three out front lock-in and move like its been choreographed or rather a well-oiled machine who’ve toured their backsides off in Europe and America over the last few years.

There was time for a few new songs as well which even on first or second time of hearing already sound like the band has taken another step up the ladder thats not to say songs of the first two are weak because they are absolutely not but this is shaping up to be next level stuff. older sounds are welcomed like old mates songs like ‘Ballad Of The M1’ and ‘Start New’ are fresh and ‘DLTDHYOTWO’ sounded magnificent and Tom was (Bar Stool) preaching to converted as he expressed his feelings towards the current unwanted encombant of Number 10.  It’s great to hear a band so driven and right up for it and bloody well enjoying every second of their journey and its a journey I’m more than happy to jump on board with.  One of the best bands the UK has to offer right now and if you get the chance to see them play a club show anytime soon then take it because when the next album comes out you’ll be having to see them headline venues the size of the University across town and who knows from there.

One of the most enjoyable night’s entertainment for a long long time with three quite different bands but all with a common bond – they love music and play with their hearts on their sleeves and leave nothing behind (well apart from a Bass guitar), They have something to say and say it well – with passion, conviction and enthusiasm that’s infectious and great to see.

This was The Bar Stool Preachers third time in South Wales and their first headline show and they totally owned it and looked so comfortable like they’d been headlining for years and years.  Come the revolution if there’s to be a soundtrack then these boys will provide it.

Author: Dom Daley & Johnny Hayward (who reviewed Rich Ragany)

Two venues? Two gigs? at the same time! No I didn’t split myself in two it’s the thing I love about Womanby Street in Cardiff, now the pressures off and developers have been sent packing it really has become a vibrant hub of the Underground music scene, catering for all musical tastes and the atmosphere. Sense of belonging and camaraderie in the crowds lurking outside three venues, all within 50 feet of each other, on both sides of the road, shows what happens when you get things right.

Walking towards Clwb Ifor Bach for another superb offering from our friends at Pity my Brain (you really should keep up to speed with their offerings, they never disappoint and always put on gigs with integrity) I picked up the sound of a band starting up in the Moon Club, I know that voice! So took a quick detour to be confronted with Red Light Syndrome, now you might well ask who? But take it from me these guys are a band that are really coming together. I’ve caught them twice over the last month and what is starting to come together is a sound grounded in Husker Du, tipping a nod towards Jawbreaker but all the time showing a Lemonheads grasp on pop sensibilities. Craigy Rees is starting to build in confidence as a front-man and Dean on Guitar is bringing the noise with a gorgeous punk rock edge to the sound. The too short set to an ever-increasing crowd drawn in from the outside is met with a more than appreciative response.

 

 

Nipping back across the road to Clwb Ifor Bach and we catch the start of Tribeless , its always a pleasure to catch a young band on the up but bringing their own sound into what could be classed as classic rock, with a leaning towards the alternative. (Listening to the single post the night there’s a definite hint towards prime time Evanescence) and in front-woman Lydia McDonald they have a genuine star in the making.

 

Next up we have Bottlekids and a band I’ve been looking to check out for a while Joe Grogan, front -man of the mighty Graveyard Johnnys side project and right from the start that un-mistakable vocal hits you and your off that punk rock underpinned sound drags you out of your seat and draws you right in to the moment. With a new EP due, available to pre-order on the nite, or here (https://bottlekids.bigcartel.com) and a touring schedule that is rapidly filling up they’re in the exchange in Bristol alongside Riskee and the ridicule and the Mighty King Prawn, (what a triple header) October 18th. I would suggest you jump on board pretty quickly! These guys aren’t hanging around.

 

Time is absolutely flying by tonight, and with an early curfew, we’re into the headliners Hands off Gretel before we fully have time to cool down from Bottlekids onslaught.

The music-press I have to say are for once right in tune with a band and a rapidly growing following and everything is in place for Hands off Gretel to explode out of the alternative underground and hit those bigger arena’s. They have the image and with the addition of Becky Baldwin on Bass we have a twin focus a counterpoint to frontwoman Lauren Tate, people in the know might have caught her with Triaxis? If not why not?

 

From the opening chords the crowd are up for it and worth noting tonight, in what is usually a heavy male-oriented audience I would have put the ratio at almost 50/50 great to see and with none of the behaviors that have crept into some of the larger venues and audiences. With Hands off Gretel, you can’t help but make comparisons to some of the bands that exploded out of Seattle at the peak of grunge, but it’s tighter, been brought up to date and not just sung but presented by Lauren and the band. I think the image, the attention to detail, the sound and most importantly the potential for crossover into the mainstream is huge. I’d love to see them on a stage with the likes of Garbage.

 

As the set moved on you could feel the band picking up on the crowd’s energy and shifting through the gears, in turn driving the crowd on, the Mosh pit got bigger and bigger and by three tracks from the end had spilled onto the stage!!

Tracks like SASS, My Toy, Kiss me Girl and Punk Rock leveled the place and again way too quickly they were gone. But on finishing the set the band joined the crowd, taking photo’s, chatting and spending time with the fans, nothing was too much trouble, remember this was a sell out crowd too!!

 

Now the last time I though a band was on the verge of hitting the big time was a band called Estrons, and they blwdi split up. So this time I’ll hold my thoughts, but catch Hands off Gretel now, before they move from the smaller more intimate surroundings, everything’s in place for world domination.

Author: Nev Brooks

I know what you’re thinking,” just who the fuck are Dboy?”

I thought exactly the same when just a few days before this gig I was instructed by the one and only Simon Phillips (yes he of Cheap Sweaty Fun fame) that I had to go to this show at all costs, “this band are the new Turbonegro” he boldly claimed, ”yeah Turbonegro or The Dead Boys”.

High praise indeed I’m sure you will agree…. but most importantly he had me intrigued.

A couple of Bandcamp listens later (I’ll never truly understand the anti-streaming brigade like multi-millionaire Steve Lukather I really won’t) and I’ve secured a ticket for tonight’s show, the last on the band’s debut UK visit. £6 is all it cost me and I feel like Charlie Bucket as I bowl up to Clwb Ifor sixth sensing I’m about to witness something very special indeed.

Also on the bill tonight are two local supports; Nigel, who plough a late 80s early 90s alt rock furrow seemingly intent of making me dig out my Chuck Mosely era Faith No More LPs when I get back home, by splicing the agit punk undertones of that band with some of the more “out there moments” from Pearl Jam into one glorious cacophony of sound. Plus there’s The Vega Bodegas who take the influence gene pool of their predecessors and add a twist of the pop suss of Grunge complete with the dry sense of humour that only growing up in the south Wales valleys can gift you. ‘Complete History of Witchcraft’ which comes complete with frontman/guitarist Jimmy telling a seemingly true story of sitting next to a witch on an Easyjet flight is for me the highlight of the band’s uber tight set. Before a frenzied ‘Monkey Ate The Monkey’ also sees Nigel re-join the band on stage for one last foray into the mosh pit. I can’t help but wonder what chaos these two might be able to conjure up if they were ever to head off on a tour of the UK’s fast diminishing smaller live venues.

The delights of which tonight’s headliners have been experiencing for themselves this past week or so, but then again when you have escaped the Gulags of Russia just to be able to deliver your debut record, I’m sure stomaching a few motorway breakfasts will seem like a dawdle by comparison.

Granted the Soviet refugees decamped to Canada back story that Dboy trade on might be bending the truth just a little bit, but the trio’s mission statement regarding “ending sonic austerity” is one we should all buy into. I mean just yards away there is a venue promoting tribute bands like they are the live music scene’s one and only salvation, and that brothers and sisters I can assure you they are fucking not, bands like Dboy are the salvation and their debut album   ‘Prove Your Love – Live in Belem’ is one I demand you all go out and buy! It’s brilliant in its ability to stun the listener.

Hitting the stage (okay make that floor) with their sublime ‘Dboy for President’ single, I’m immediately mindful of that original comparison Mr Phillips made regarding the mighty Turbonegro. Yes they sound like them (well early days Turbo anyway), yes they have an instantly recognisable image and yes they also have a horde of insane fans (all wearing balaclavas) who seemingly worship the band.  There’s no messing around either as the band take us on a rip ride of 13 songs in what must have been 20 minutes maximum, and as the masked bass player launches himself into his devoted Scouts (that’s what the band’s fans like to be known as) I can’t help adding the muthafucking Dwarves to the list of influences Dboy display.

Special mention must go to the band’s masked drummer who not only hammers his kit like he’s on a hand forging episode of Forged in Fire but also somehow manages to out mince the king of mincing the legendary Pål Pot Pamparius in the process.

Finishing with the double whammy of ‘Born With A Hard On’ and the awesome ‘Three Piece Band’ before then trashing their backline and this ensuring no encore, tonight once again reinforced the fact that great live bands playing original music are still out there, you just need to do the digging, or have your mates do it for you.

Simon Phillips, I owe you one.

Author: Johnny Hayward

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