Visitor: Jonah Matranga is the best guest in Newport

Before I start I need to declare that I am a complete fanboy when it comes to Jonah Matranga. Just when I was getting into the rockier elements of punk I stumbled across New End Original’s Lukewarm on a Rock Sound CD, which in turn got me into lots of bands like the Get Up Kids. I then got into Jonah’s One Line Drawing, which I got into years before Dashboard Confessional came about and made softcore stuff huge. I also got into Far, and years down the line screamo bands referenced them as standard in interviews (with Funeral for a Friend even going so far as to cover The System). So in terms of my music collection and I think music generally, he’s a visionary.

Last night’s gig was in Le Pub, which is a bloody lovely venue. I checked some cash into the Kickstarter to save it when it looked like it was closing down a few years ago, but I haven’t been back there for way too long. It was the perfect intimate venue for the gig.

Acoustic acts Joe Robert Lewis and the Double Cross opened the night before Cardinals played a short electric set, which was made all the shorter by a broken string, which interrupted proceedings a bit. Their pop-punk was peppered with a hint of Texas is the Reason, so they fitted in well with the vibe of the evening.

The only thing not electric about Oxygen Thief‘s Barry Dolan was his acoustic. It was like Million Dead or Reuben playing a full on set (which is fitting considering he’s signed to Xtra Mile Recordings), via the medium of the acoustic guitar, his vocals and a loop pedal. There were some lovely descriptive imagery and imaginative song titles (including ‘See You Later, Procreator’). There will be a full band release, which will be interesting to hear – part of the charm was the insane concept, but the sound would definitely work with more musicians.

Before Jonah played his set, we got to check out the Kickstarter trailer for Out Loud. All I can say is check it out. Many of my favourite musicians will be in this film (Henry Rollins, Chuck Ragan, Jonah Matranga), so the concept for me is very strong and worth investing in.

Last but not least then was Jonah, who kicked off his set with Livin Small. His set included songs from many of his projects, including If Ever (Gratitude), Man Overboard (Far), and Lukewarm (New End Original, which was the big sing along of the set). He also played a stunning version of Deftones’ Digital Bath, and some lovely new songs (You’re What Went Right and I Really Love Your Company). So all in all a storming set, which should please you, not matter which is your favourite Matranga project.  Epic stuff.

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About Dyfrig Williams

Music Bendigedig is a blog about the gigs I (Dyfrig Williams) get to go and see. I’m based in Cardiff, so most of the gigs I go to are here, with a few further afield. I don’t aim to be a critic – this is a music fan’s blog, written from that perspective.
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