June 05

Saturday 11th June

Lone Pine, Strange Pains
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff


Seemingly full of Cardiff’s chattering class as that’s exactly what most of the audience seemed to be intent on doing during the majority of the evening. This was a five band bill but we were too late for the first and had to run for a train before seeing the last two... What we did see was the rather bizarre Strange Pains. Looking like escapees from a local lunatic asylum these noisy chaps forged a sound and image somewhere between goth and oi! The Bela Lugosi film played behind them took our interest more as the set progressed so we can’t say they were our cup of tea at all. Someone must love them and their website looks pretty swish www.strangepains.com

Next up were the mighty Lone Pine. The audience turned their own volume control to 11 while the band played one of the finest sets we’d seen them do in a while. Concentrating on the shorter numbers than on some of their more recent outings. Despite Dan’s plea to “stop shouting while I’m playing” a gang of girlies strangely insisted on calling for “My Sharona” at every opportunity while the boys ripped through “Come Around”, “Hold On”, “It Wasn’t Very Kind” and ending a blinding version of “Good for Nothing”. Get audio clips and news at: www.lone-pine.co.uk

This Saturday the bands seemed to be viewed by most of the crowd as interrupting a clique social event...and to top it all, I missed the train...     

Sunday 26th June

Mark Olson & The Creekdippers
Chapter Ars Centre, Cardiff.


Olson, famed for his time in the rather fantastic Jayhawks until his departure 10 years ago played this intimate gig as a trio because his wife and fellow musician Victoria Williams has been ill. It was a game of two halves as Olson & Co played two one hour sets with a 20 minute break in between. Predominantly playing from their newly released (and mainly George Bush-bashing) album Political Manifest, but also a smattering of songs from each of their earlier works. With this stripped down band the audience were easily transported to the front porch in some dusty mid-West town rather than central Cardiff. The sweltering heat only adding to the atmosphere as the players swapped instruments which saw Mike “Razz” Russell, their Steptoesque violinist, bizarrely playing bass and fiddle in the same song and Olson strumming what looked like a child’s coffin with strings at one point! Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of Victoria and felt that this worked better without her. Laid back, lo-fi americana and 100 times better than being stuck in a muddy field watching Basement Jaxx.....cold beer on tap, seats and real toilets - what more do you want!    

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