Feb 06

Sunday 5th February

Shout Out Louds, Spencer McGarry, Shy Magnolias
Barfly, Cardiff.


Shy Magnolias did a very good job of sounding like early Teenage Fanclub but were different enough to get away with it. Worth seeing again...Spencer McGarry were one of the worst groups I’ve ever seen! They are good musicians but does the world really need cod-reggae played by middle class white boys? Their version of The Beat’s version of the Smokey Robinson classic Tears of A Clown was so woeful it was embarrassing. Avoid.

Fresh from supporting The Strokes Sweden’s Shout Out Louds hit the stage to the sound of Swedish merry-go-round folk music and immediately broke into The Comeback and proceeded to play the whole of their rather good debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff album. With a sound that verges between the Wedding Present and New Order, they got the packed Barfly crowd into a sweat. Highlights included Very Loud, 100 Degrees and a top cover of The Pogues Streams of Whiskey. Man can their keyboard player squeeze a mean accordion. Good fun

Tuesday 7th February

Eileen Rose, Lone Pine
Meze Lounge, Newport.


Lone Pine playing their first local show for a while and with a box of newly pressed CDs to promote. Billed as an acoustic set, this meant the songs tended to be of the quieter variety than soft stringed folky shenanigans. Playing the more laid back tunes made the boys seem pretty subdued until towards the end of the set when they broke into a rocking version of Love is Everything. This was quickly followed by a new number that wouldn’t have sounded out of place of the Stones Sticky Fingers album complete with guitarist Neil dancing around with a tambourine, the smiles on their faces said it all. With new songs as good as their already impressive back catalogue, it can only be a  matter of time before half of South Wales claims they were in these tiny club gigs. See them while you still can. Buy the Lockup Session Vol 1 CD online here: www.lone-pine.co.uk

Unfortunately due to a prior engagement with the pool table I missed the majority of Eileen Rose’s solo set. What I heard can be described as “pleasant”. She has a nifty website if you like that sort of thing:


Sunday 12th February

Neal Casal, Danny George Wilson
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.


The first time in 6 or so years of going to the Alt.Cardiff night that we have had to queue to get in! It turns out that Danny & Neal got a bit lost on the way and find themselves going the wrong way down the M4 and are late. The result is that Danny’s set is seriously curtailed to 20 minutes in which he squeezes The Bellringer, The Famous Mad Mile from his solo album of the same name as well as Track 40 and Firefly from his full band Grand Drive’s back catalogue. Danny was well received by the packed crowd and chatting with him later we discovered that Grand Drive go in the studio in April to record their latest album. We here at soundsnew.com are big fans and can’t wait for that one.

The skinny giant that is Neal Casal graced the stage to a rapturous welcome from the Cardiff crowd. Playing a mix of old and new songs Neal seemed confident and relaxed taking requests from the audience and recalling tales of the times he played Cardiff supporting REM at the Millennium Stadium and when a punter opened an umbrella at his last Barfly gig. His voice seemed to warm up as the night progressed and by the last few songs was particularly soulful. 

Monday 13th February

Blind River Scare, Bob Collum, Julia Harris
Meze Lounge, NewportCardiff.


Dreadlocked South Walian Julia Harris certainly got the early interest of the sleepy Monday night Meze crowd. Her voice is certainly very strong and distinctive while her rhythmic style of acoustic guitar playing carried the songs well. I’m sure she’s a big record company’s marketing departments dream come true. Her promo CD EP the “Swansea Sessions”  is worth tracking down. Try www.juliaharris.net/music.asp

Bob Collum declined the top slot he was billed as he didn’t fancy going on solo after a band as his own posse the Welfare Mothers were absent. Pleasant enough Americana stylee acoustic singer/songwriter from a  genuine American, As one wag near me said, I thought Buddy Holly died in a plane crash?! Enough said!


Blind River Scare playing their first local gig for a while found themselves elevated to top of the bill. Lots of new songs show that they are maturing since appearing on the scene last year. The clever bass lines keep coming and lead singer Tim Manning’s thoughtful lyrics pepper these often quirky songs. Alongside now established songs Graveyard Sounds and Blind River Scare best tune of the night had to be You Take Something for the Pain. Check their website:

Tuesday 21st February

Ryan Adams
Colston Hall, Bristol.


Ever been in a car crash? You know, the bit where you realise something bad is gonna  happen but you can’t stop it. That’s like a Ryan Adams gig! There’s always the risk it could all go horribly wrong but like rabbits in the headlights we are drawn towards the beam. Tonight, fresh from three albums in a year following his nasty wrist injury he showed how not to put on a show. Mumbling, bumbling, incoherent, occasionally funny and for a few minutes when he kept himself together, Ryan was entertaining. He began with a few songs at the piano moaning about his monumental hangover and “that these keys look like teeth”. He fared little better when strumming his acoustic guitar, forgetting songs after a few chords, referring back to his notebook and restarting only to screw up again. After a “cigarette break” which he insisted we all take despite an audience vote in favour of him continuing to play, he bucked up a little and some familiar tunes from Heartbreaker and Gold emerged. Only after a cortisone injection (to aid his wrist) did he begin to come alive and played a number of songs on an electric guitar with simple snare drum accompaniment. I don’t care what anyone says 30 minutes of quality out of 2 and half hours of music does not make for a great night out and at 21.50 (plus booking fee, bridge toll, petrol etc..) it was an expensive one too. If I say I’m going to see him again, you have permission to punch me!

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