After 4 nights of gigs at the Sŵn Festival, it was going to take a very special occasion to make it a 5th night out in 5 nights. The Cardiffrinj put that fatal plan in to action by putting on this gig with awesome Hackney Colliery Band. Recovery gets put off for 1 more night.
The night’s line-up as a whole was really strong, with Richard Staines‘ strong blues efforts on his resonator guitar (including a cover of a 1920s American church song), the Reardon Smith Lecture (who played a lovely relaxed set, even if the venue wasn’t quite as intimate as the last time I saw them at Dempsey‘s) and Ampersand (whose drummer was missing on the night), who had a strong acoustic rock influence – worth checking out if you’re into City and Colour).
Hackney Colliery Band came on to play to an audience who’s seen a bit too much rock ‘n’ roll over the last few days, but somehow managed to get them moving regardless. The percussion was mixed up fantastically throughout, without it being stripped back to contrast with the heavy horns at times, but then also boosted the snare to set up the beat for their pumped up version of Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind.
There was a mix of genres on show, with a Drum ‘n’ Bass effort, a Prodigy medley, some Jazz work on the trumpet, a bit of funk and soul present in their song Dead Dialogue (which sounded like an extended intro to a James Brown tune), as well as a big band version of Happy Birthday for the drummer.
The band have a great stage presence, with some shapes being thrown without. And add some great musical skills (including a Sousaphone solo – you don’t see that at every gig), and you end up with a ridiculous amount of fun.