Category Archives: Music

Review Owen Pallett, Portland House, Cardiff by Beth Clark

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I had heard through various people that Owen Pallett was renowned for putting on outstanding performances and from local knowledge to worldwide reports this was not near enough a statement worth reckoning with; as this being his performance in Portland House, Cardiff it was not only heart touching but body rocking, he proceeded to take “outstanding” to a whole other level!

Looking around the music hall and speaking with people in the audience I noted that this feeling of “another level of outstanding”was mutual felt with everyone there and the age groups of people in attendance were as wide-ranging as his music.

From start to finish the ambience at Portland House was electric not just because the genius Owen Pallett performed but from the supporting acts some of which being local to Cardiff to the venue , the feeling embarked was surreal. Soloist act Scriber who classes himself as a folk artist to King of Cats band and then to the grand hall with tall ceilings, pillars are stone engravings and that ancient medieval feel which carried the music perfectly creating a very special feeling of appreciation in myself. I really did feel honoured and lucky to be there.

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Portland House, venue interior

I arrived at the venue at about 8.30pm to catch the last fifteen minutes of Scriber who I am glad I didn’t miss. Scriber seemed to be singing from the heart and playing the guitar, cord plucking his way into the audiences hearts also. Everyone was quiet in the audience and showed great respect for this solo artist as his version of folk was very captivating.

scriber

 

Scriber

During the interval myself and a friend went to grab a dink at the bar where the staff were very friendly and inviting. I indulged in and enjoyed the range of beers from local to foreign influenced tastes and the pricing was deemed very modest considering the overall experience was anything but for your average night out!

King of Cats (the band before Owen Pallettt) is a band made up of males and one female but fronted by the very interesting Max Levi. Putting their hands to most instruments and styles this band really did give the ultimate performance. Max Levi’s voice is the squeakiest voice you may hear but that put together with a clean-cut life desire for music made the show even more interesting. Quoting “history, Plate, Pallett, I am a creature of habit” was just a small taster of some of the verses included in their new album “Microwave Oven”. This band could be deemed controversial as their topic approach is very alarming for some but for me it was perfect.

Another short interval commenced before the star of the show Owen Pallett was to bless us with his skill of enlightenment!

I never imagined Owen to grab the audience’s attention quite as he did but I wouldn’t change it for the world. His skill on the violin together with the looping of his own music to his keyboard skills then right down to social skills were berserk!! Owen was very involved with the audience and was chatting to them from the stage giving it a very personal and intimate feel. He showed a great sense of humour and I can definitely see why this gentleman is so loved all over the world. Owen appeared on stage by himself at times and was accompanied by an extremely talented drummer and guitarist at other points, throughout the one and half hour showing . Collectively noting their clothes, style and skills they seemed like very different people but together they seemed very connected, and almost as one! This on stage projection made me feel the show even better in my eyes. With Owen Pallett and the band putting an end to touring together this year and from what Owen said looks to be the foreseeable future I can honestly say that I am almost heart-broken as I would have booked to see them again absolutely and without hesitation.

I would like to give a big thank you to everyone at Portland House Cardiff to the artists and behind the scenes people for making this happen as I had a wonderful musical experience that I have never had before.

Review Gypsy The Savoy Theatre by Hannah Goslin

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High up in the God’s, this wonderful theatre (The Savoy) is currently housing the renowned and critically acclaimed ‘Gypsy’ starring Imelda Staunton. With tickets selling fast, it was understandable that such a lengthy theatre in height was filling up every night, and so my interest continued escalating.

The story behind Gypsy is based upon true events of the Burlesque actress, Gypsy Rose Lee. Taken from her memoirs, the musical sees the hardship and struggle of Louise (later to become Gypsy) as the shadow of her performing sister, and her determined Mother, struggling to keep grips with her youth and dream of stardom. Events take place, where Rose and Gypsy happen to be in the right place at the right time to perform in the House of Burlesque, where Gypsy is created. This tale of triumph, difficult beginnings and relationships hits every nerve and every feeling.

The staging itself was beautiful and very clever. Scenes appeared and disappeared with a never ending back stage, floating into the shadows and were simple yet effective in illustrating the different areas. No expense has been spared on these ever changing scenes which are rarely used twice, to bring the sense of the character’s constant travelling. Lighting beautifully enhanced specific characters and areas, drawing your eye to the correct moment and to the specific details of the performance. Costumes were also relatable to the times and enhanced each character’s personality correctly. The end costumes of Gypsy, are astounding and lavish – what every vintage loving girl dreams of wearing (including myself!).

Of course, a review could not be written without mentioning Ms Staunton herself. And where could I start? Well known in the acting world, some may have seen her in the likes of Vera Drake and the more contemporary, Harry Potter- it is well known what a fantastic actress she is and the passion and creative skill she has for her characters and projects. However, to see her as Rose, the mother in Gypsy, is something different. Something spell bounding. To quote a patron I heard on the night:

‘I knew she could act but… I didn’t know she could do that! THAT was … something else!’.

Staunton has what myself was unknown of, and that is an incredible voice! Singing every song sent shivers down your spine; her final song, ‘Rose’s Turn’ raised every goose bump and every hair.

Laura Pulver, as Gypsy also brought an amazing depth to the show. Perhaps easy to be in the shadow of Staunton, she makes Gypsy her own and stands out in her own right. Known for shows such as Sherlock and Robin Hood, Pulver brings a completely difference essence to the stage than what you see on television. Her dramatic change from mousey Louise, slowly to sultry Gypsy Rose Lee is fantastic in her change of personality, look, body language and even change in her voice. She shows, simplistically but in a very talented way the growth in age and maturity of the character, so convincingly that it is hard to forget this truth when you feel as if you are growing with her.

If you do anything with yourself till November, make a date with Gypsy. The musical will take you under her spell as Gypsy Rose Lee was known well to do herself.

Review The Commitments Palace Theatre, London by Hannah Goslin

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The Commitments

Palace Theatre, London

05/10/14

The intimate and ornate setting of the Palace Theatre in itself was a great experience. Picking seats close to the action, I felt it was a perfect place for The Commitments. A story about a group of working class North side Dubliners trying to hit the big time with a make shift band – my seats allowing me to look up in awe at the action.

Set in the 80’s, even the relatively young in the audience would be able to relate to the stereotypical costuming with large mullet-ed hair and velvet ruffles in abundance. To complement this, the songs that are either in full performance or even snippets of are well-known and repeated by the audience – a real concert style atmosphere begins.

As a regular visitor to Dublin with close Irish friends, many of the references to the ‘North Side’ and the prominence of U2 during this era with the dislike of this fact, tickled a funny bone. I wondered if all of  those who had come into this performance would have understood the gags and puns as well as others.

The actors themselves were very inspiring. With Dublin accents and enlisting the same amount of professionalism as one would expect from a continuous running show. Despite this, the performance seemed new and fresh; not expectant of a performance which would have been shown a mere hours before. General movements and speech in the background, interaction with one another and the set was constant and almost naturalistic in such an exaggeration of comedy; showing the subtle skills that these actors are capable of. Such a talented group of performers – not only do their acting abilities rival many of this genre in the West End, but their singing and musical abilities are also top-notch, giving something very special and unique to this show.

Ending on a high is an understatement. The Palace Theatre was turned into a concert, leaving you forgetting that this is a written play; with little bits of improvisation, along with a borderline of acting versus personality of the actors themselves; This production was wonderful to see as it showed the joy and excitement that the performers themselves have with this production. The standing sing along, clapping and dancing of the audience looking onto this pretence band was a strange but also an endearing ending to a West End musical and brought a great sense of the Irish community to London.

Review Bianco No Fit State Circus

No Fit State Circus perform Bianco at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ©Richard Davenport 13

 

Photograph credit R Davenport.

Bianco’, performed by ‘No Fit State Circus’ was the last show I went to see at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I left the circus tent shaking in awe. When a performance has given you a lump in your throat that makes it hard to even cheer or clap, you know they have done well. Every section beautifully designed that was enhanced by the power of the live band.

There were no individual stars but an ensemble of talented performers, each bringing their own expertise to the stage. Even though this was a stereotypical contemporary circus show, they brought so much emotion to the way they performed that it stood out from any other circus acts. The music and the lyrics especially helped create this emotion and made mini-narratives for each section. There were moments in this show where I felt I’d left reality behind and stepped into a dream. It was aesthetically pleasing in every sense that I couldn’t believe it was happening before me. I never wanted it end. What was more interesting is that I felt like I was part of the production myself. The constant change of positions to re-arrange the performance space made it become even more immersive. Sometimes it took away from the essence of fantasy, yet it was necessary.

It was evident that every aspect of the show was well thought out and infused with professionalism. Every person so physically fit it was inspiring to watch. Overall ‘No Fit State Circus’ is heightened with pure talent, innovative imagery and a set to be admired at. Step into this tent and leave reality behind.

Review Dinefwr Literature Festival by Young Critic Hannah Goslin

 

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21/06/2014 – 22/03/2014

In this glorious sunshine, I went up to Llandeilo to the Dinefwr Literature Festival. Well renowned for this yearly display of culture and my lack of festival experience, I was very eager to attend.

The festival is known for its promotion of literature from novels, to poetry, musical displays, workshops, comedy and much much more.

Food stalls were provided from local vendors that made delicious smells across the area with the use of local produce. Little shops including bookshops, tokens from the weekend and a Dylan Thomas styled book van also was a nice addition and admittedly, much of my money went on these, coming away with much reading to get started on! Between this, it was great to meet the sales persons; at times were writers themselves giving inspiration, for example a lady who felt that a poetry book wasn’t for her so made pockets of her collections and hand made them with a sewing machine and a printing kit. Myself as one who isn’t necessarily conventional, felt that this initiative was very appealing.

The variety of mediums gave a great choice throughout the weekend. The ability to also drop into these and drop out when needed gave great flexibility to the weekend. However, the programme itself didn’t give a great indication at times to how long these sessions would last and with so much going on, there were times when I missed events that I wanted to see as I was so interested in the one before that crossed over.

Workshops were also few and far between. Many seemed to only appeal to the same persons to which I lacked interest in. I didn’t manage to attend any of which I am sure they were interesting none the less, but there seemed a similarity to who they wished to appeal to and that wasn’t enough to evoke my personal interest. If more diversity in these workshops and a great deal more workshops overall were offered then I would have attended these.

Lectures and talks also seemed to follow a similar pattern. While, very interesting none the less, such as a combined talk with two novelists on their new books that looked at characters with mental health issues was very interesting, and gave a great insight to anyone at times of stress of need to talk to someone, showing that writing is an excellent medium to express this, the pattern of talking about the books, and for us the audience to watch and listen, waiting for question and answers which were limited in time, felt very routine and almost like a conference, not a festival.

Interjections of music and comedy, however, did give a little break from this. Hilarious feminist comedian Bridget Christie gave a session of work in progress, giving an insight to how comedians write material, giving a good way of audience interaction and us feeling more a part of the event. Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds ended the Saturday on a high with fantastic covers of well known songs, but with a folksy twist definitely evoking the festival goers inside everyone.

Dylan Thomas’s boat house also made an appearance, with the encouragement for poetry writing from the festival goers. Myself and my friend had a go at this, and my piece on the ‘Voyeuristic Cow’ inspired my younger self inside who used to love and write poetry to now continue this again.

The festival provided a range for all ages, S4C also made appearances for the children and comedians gave risky performances for the adults. As a festival, it was fantastic and completely revitalised my creativity in literature aspects but I wonder, with all the eagerness of participants, more could be gotten out of the weekend if extended so not to go away feeling regret at missing other possible inspiring and interesting activities.

Ruffstylz TCWA2014 Rap Lyrics

TCWARuff

We have had requests for the lyrics from Ruffstylz TCWA2014 Rap so please find it in all its glory below!

For the second year it is with the greatest support
The Theatre Critics Of Wales Awards
Welcome to a world of world/Many rabbitholes
That show what we have at home stands its own to match the globe
These Living Pictures we live in when we visit ’em are limitless
A visionary link to our religion
As we hand shape our urges ’cause Praxis Makes Perfect
Let’ celebrate the landmarks on the landscape we’ve furnished
Classic opera filled the stage/So did ballet
We can even innovate in No Fit State
It’s a Sherman tank that whirrs and cranks with steel traction
And drives off the middle of the road to find real passion
So our Waking Exploits/Stimulating like sex toys
Activating the bed’s noise/Making the legs moist
For ugly matters we sing a Bloody Ballad
But if you want some lovely action in a cuddly fashion
Here Be Monsters Sleeping Beauties and Silly Kings
Colourful fun like silly string as we stay addicted to delivering
New types of life’s depth yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg
Theatr Genedlaethol/Clwyd/Tonypandy-monium/A nice spread
The next Chapter in our Art’s Centred around you
And you and you and you too with you too
Gather up actors dancers emcees and others too
And use the country as a stage like NTW
So let the Earthfall and planets shift out of balance
Manipulating thoughts into matter/Talent
Being part of the never ending quest for true art
‘Cause it’s like being shot in the chest with a new heart
That’s why we push to make things we’ve never seen ever in our lives
Then equal it eleven times along Parallel Lines
Now we’re all filled up with petrol and ready for the next road
But for now let’s be amazed at our achievements/Let’s go

 

 

HOLLYWOOD RHYMING OUT NOW
https://ruffstylz.bandcamp.com/track/hollywood-rhyming-demo-version

Ruffstylz
2x Longest Freestyle Rap world record holder (17 hours)
Associated Minds
The Zeitgeist Movement (Cardiff Chapter)
www.ruffstylz.com
www.twitter.com/ruffstylz
www.associatedminds.com
Facebook – Zeitgeist Cardiff www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_104282302969121
www.thezeitgeistmovement.com

 

Dan Bettridge, Rubicon Dance, Literature Wales Young poets Takeover Cardiff launch #toc

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Dan Bettridge. “For those who don’t like country and blues you’re not gonna like this” lucky for Dan Bettridge we are one of those many people that do. One of the ones to watch according to Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn and we definitely agree. His soulful voice  of the country blues genre will appeal to the fans of Bon Iver , Willy Mason and Sam Airey, and from what we have seen of his performance in the Senedd in cardiff (as a part of Take Over Cardiff run by the British Council) he also appeals to the younger girls.

The event kicked off with some young poets from Literature Wales describing their perceptions of Wales to young children. Then we were taken to see a dance group called Rubicon who showed us an Ethiopian Street dance and this was a treat.

Bettridge is a talented musician and we are expecting big things in the next few years. He has already played the likes of the well known Green man festival and is set for A bright future. He is a skillfull musician not only can he sing but also plays guitar to accompany his heartfelt lyrics (that he has written himself).

Bettridge is a talented young rising star who we can see following in the footsteps of the likes of Jake Bugg.

Review Bring Me The Horizon, Cardiff University, Young Critic Hannah Rhianne Newberry

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Photos by Nadine Ballantine

One of the most recognised British metalcore bands of the 21st century, I was rather impressed to see that Bring Me The Horizon had included a date in Wales on their Sempiternal tour alongside Crossfaith (whom I undeniably looked forward to seeing, as their music has literally appeared to spring on to the music scene from nowhere) and heavy progressive band Empress from London. An easy representation of their recent fame is proven in the fact that tickets for this singular Cardiff date sold out within an hour or two of release. Luckily, I was not about to miss this opportunity and made my way downstairs at the early hour of 9am to ensure I got tickets to this unmissable tour date.
Anyway, I arrived on the night, May 5th, an hour before. The line was already filled with ecstatic chants and eager conversation of those who were there before me. Some even arrived earlier on in the day and sat around towards the front of the queue; dedication of fans is often unquestionable in the rock scene.Upon enetering the venue I followed through the hall straight to where crowds were gathering in front of the stage. Empress were already playing by this point. Though I hasten to add the lack of enthusiasm across the room, the band is relatively small and unknown, but they were cheered on and listened to regardless. For a rather insignificant band, yet to make their impact on rock magazines and television, they delivered a rather impressive, heavy set list. Lead singer Ollie Loring also promised to hang around by merchandise after the show for anyone who wanted to strike up a chat, and they seemed like a decent group of friendly guys.
Between Empress and Crossfaith, pits began to open up and I was pushed to the front few rows of the crowds where I awaited Crossfaith’s entrance. Considering the band is Japanese, don’t speak much English and have never been to the UK before, many were apprehensive, but their doubts were quickly swept away. Bursting in with their hit single Monolith, the fans erupted with loud outbursts and movement. Members of Crossfaith certainly took pride in stage movement; jumping around and into the crowd to join the rest of their fans. I knew their music was impressive before, but the adjective ‘lively’ would be such an understatement that I feel it unsuitable to use. It was hard to keep both your feet on the ground from the excitement that echoed through the hall during their set. They take the crown so far for the most impressive support act I’ve ever seen. If you’re into deathcore, circle pits and violent head banging, I genuinely put this band forward as a suggestive music alternative.

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Time came for Bring Me The Horizon to soon make their way on stage. At this point, I was one row away from the barrier and surrounded by fans holding letters and toys to throw up on stage to the members during the set. Conversation bubbled around the room as stage technicians set up the instruments and everybody prepared for a terrific end to an already good night. The lights went out and there wasn’t one person in the room not roaring or screaming in anticipation. By this point, some people had already broken down into tears as they prepared to meet their heroes. Strong strobe lighting illuminated the room, and lead singer Oli Sykes, surrounded by the rest and equally credited Bring Me The Horizon members took center stage. They opened with the globally recognised new single of theirs; Shadow Moses. Fans gladly sang along and it made me pleased to see Oli genuinely smiling about the fact that he was there.
Fortunately, by this point I was fully at the front, on the barrier. I was able to see every member of the band enjoying themselves (including Jordan Fish, the recent synth player addition to Bring Me) as well as getting a good view of everything that was going on. The significant point I noticed during this gig was that every song had an even greater impact on the band members than the crowd. As lead Oli began to scream his own lyrics, he stood up to face everybody and there were tears in his eyes already, this early on into the gig. The fact that somebody who wrote and had heard the song a thousand times was so easily broken down by it really showed the emotion and meaning behind what they stand for as a band.
He got on his knees, and sung into the floor while he trembled and took sharp, short breaths from trying to stop himself fully breaking down in front of everybody. Never have I seen anybody so close to their own music before in my life, and I thoroughly applaud him for his vibrant, inspiring expression of emotion during this concert, and it quickly blew BMTH’s vastly growing ‘mainstream’ reputation away from my mind. The rest of the night was equally as brilliant. Even fifteen rows in front, I could still feel the pushes and shoves from the mosh pit at the back of the room, and felt the crowdsurfers landing on my head to be brought over the barrier by the security guards. The good thing about rock music is that there’s always a beat for every fan to follow even if they don’t know the words, and an amalgamation of old and modern tracks on the setlist proved a very successful idea.

Overall, the night was one of the best of my life. Empress and Crossfaith members were hanging around merchandise; making friends and signing tickets. I briefly had photos and talked to them (genuine friendly guys) before leaving, and it was only when the cold night air hit me that I realised how incredible the night actually was. To summarise how much I recommend Bring Me The Horizon to mediocre metal listeners, at 11pm I was still sat outside the venue, bawling away because it would be ages until their next tour. A fantastic mid show to Bring Me’s Sempiternal tour.

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Review  Hannah Rhianne Newberry

Photos Nadine Ballantine

Review, The Bloody Ballad, Gagglebabble, Chelsey Gillard.

bloody ballad

The Bloody Ballad

Gagglebabble

At Volcano, Swansea

15th April 2013

Murder, incest, kidnapping and arson don’t sound like the perfect ingredients for a feel-good rockabilly music show yet Gagglebabble’s The Bloody Ballad is guaranteed to leave you with a huge smile on your face (and possibly a nauseous feeling in your stomach).

Meet Mary Maid (Lucy Rivers) and her band The Missin’ Fingers. Mary’s had a tough week and would like nothing more than to share her tale with you before the authorities catch up with her.

After a few warm up tunes – including a brilliant rendition of Johnny Cash classic ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by guitarist Dan Messore and an astonishing drum solo from Tom Cottle – Mary tells all about ‘What my Daddy Done (in A minor)’ pun most definitely intended. Knowing her back story it doesn’t come as a surprise when Mary falls for the first man to show her real romantic attention – a mysterious, shifty yet charming wanderer Connor (Oliver Woods) who works his magic on the whole audience with his velvety vocals.

After a week-long whirlwind romance Connor betrays naive Mary and the consequences for him are not pretty at all. Mary may be young but she can sure look after herself – leaving a trail of blood and bodies behind her. Including the body of Connor’s psychotic, snakeskin wearing Mama played (with more energy than can be safe) by Hannah McPake.

Lucy Rivers is perfect as our ill-fated heroine, with a tortured look in her eye and a mean singing voice, a bit like True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse but a lot more kick-ass!  By the end the stage is littered with severed fingers, a snake’s head and a whole lot of blood!

Drawing on clichés of 1950s Mid-West America – the isolated gas station, the mysterious wanderer, hillbilly culture – the cast get every bit of humour out of the brilliant script (also written by the hugely talented Rivers). The amount of musical skill on the stage is phenomenal, every member of the cast could play, sometimes multiple, instruments and all had brilliant bluesy vocals.

It’s so refreshing to see such a raw and passionate production that, although professional, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The performers’ love for the show was so infectious and it was an absolute crime that more people weren’t there to share the unforgettable experience!

Not only will the toe-tappingly good tunes replay over and over in your head but the great flair for simple storytelling will ensure the tragic tale of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks will haunt you for a long time.

A truly original and daring production that smashes through so many genres –part folktale, part Tarantino violence and part rock and roll gig – 100% unmissable!

This is THE best touring music show you will see.

Seriously get yourself a ticket for the tour then go see it again in Edinburgh!

For more on the company : www.gagglebabble.co.uk

Tour details:

Gwyn Hall, Neath

Date & Time: 17th April, 7.30pm

Box Office: 0300 3656677 / www.nptartsandents.co.uk

Tickets: £9, £7 members, £5 students

 

St Donat’s Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan

Date & Time: 19th April, 8pm

Box Office: 01446 799100 / www.stdonats.com

Tickets: £12.50, £10.50 conc

 

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Date & Time: 24th April, 7pm

Box Office: 01267 67 6669 / www.ticketsource.co.uk/tsd

Tickets: £6, £4

 

Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

Date & Time: 25th-26th April, 7.45pm

Box Office: 01646 695 267 / www.torchtheatre.co.uk

Tickets: £12/£10 conc/under 26s £7

 

Soho Theatre, London

Date & Time: 29th April-4th May, 7.30pm

Box Office: 020 7478 0100 / www.sohotheatre.com

Tickets: £10 Mon + Tues, £15 (£12.50 concs) Weds – Sat