Feb 07

Saturday 17th Feb

Redlands Palomino Co, Lone Pine, Silver Spurs
Le Pub, Newport.


The launch party for the Redlands CD was a total sell out with people wedged into every available space in the venue. Only managed to catch a part of the Silver Spurs set but they sounded good to us with violin and banjo backing acoustic guitars for a country hoe-down including a cover of Handsome Family’s So Much Wine.

The mighty Lone Pine stepped up for the occasion with a number of their more upbeat tunes such as Good For Nothin’ and I Know Myself. They were all lapped up by the crowd who were mainly there to see the Redlands. Have a look at how Somethin’ Musta Changed went..www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUnlpg27c8g.

Then came the band of the moment to celebrate the release this week of their second album Take Me Home. With Alex looking more akin to Catweazel with his scrawny beard next his lovely wife Hannah (who said she was taken aback at the amount of people who had come to see the band in her home town). The packed crowd loved every second and the six piece band couldn’t put a foot wrong. Playing most of their new songs along with a number from the equally good debut, By The Time You Hear This We’ll Be Gone. Top pedal steel throughout, especially on Devil in my Head which you can see here.www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYTQkqEsC90

If tonight was anything to go by, they will need to consider getting a bigger venue next time ...

Wednesday 14th Feb

Long Winters
Le Pub, Newport.


Having seen The Long Winters lead singer John Roderick do a solo show in Newport last year we knew we would be in for a treat with the full band and how right we were. From opener Seven the band formed a close liaison with the audience on Valentines night. Taking requests instead of having a set list saw just about everyone hear their favourite Long Winters tune - Carparts, Teaspoon, Cinnamon, Rich Wife, Shapes, Blue Diamonds and Commander all got an airing.

Playing a blues jam mid-set for the sad member of the crowd with no Valentines, John and the boys showed they are serious challengers to the US pop-rock crown currently being worn by The Shins. With new CD Putting The Days to Bed played almost in its entirety they could not even be put off by a 20 stone inebriated student attempting to cartwheel as his way of dancing with hilarious and inevitable consequences..

Top songs played by a top band in a tiny venue was a night not to be missed. Another coup for the gatherinsong crew. Have a look to see how Seven was played on the night:www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEirDMhektM

Saturday 3rd Feb

Arts Centre, Pontardowe.

Went along to this gig with no prior knowledge of Bellowhead beyond hearing from a number of people they were alternative and Folky. What I got was entertaining Trad English folk brought up to date by a troupe of eleven young and highly competent musicians. Like a folky classically trained version of  The Mekons, no-one could argue with their dedication and professionalism during the two 40 minute sets. Front man Jon Boden would not look out of place in any rock band and at around six foot seven tall, he commanded the stage even with so many other band members around him.

While it was a bit too “hey nonny no” than “hey ho lets go” for me, if you like Folk with a twist, this lot could float your boat.  

Friday 2nd Feb

The Decemerists, Liam Frost & Slowdown Family
Leadmill, Sheffeld.


The most Northerly gig ever attended by yours truly as we couldn’t get tickets for any other of the Tour dates. We only caught the last song by Liam Frost, a heartfelt version of his much rated Mourners of St Paul’s (Teletext Single of the year 2006) and very good it was too.

The Decemberists came on stage only to ask the audience “to spend a minute getting to know the people next to you”. I told the smiley student girl next to me it was probably best she didn’t! The band were tremendous live. Swapping instruments around (ala Arcade Fire) for much of the 80 minute set. Colin Meloy is a confident and natural front man for the band and had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he got them to split into groups to sing the chorus of 16 Military Wives and sit down for a quiet song. While most of new album The Crane Wife got an airing personal highlight was We Both Go Down Together from Picaresque.

Top entertainment from Americans outdoing the Folk/Pop-Rock crossover better than the English bands they obviously adore. Lets hope they make it to Wales next time...

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