Chuck Ragan, Boats and Saving Venues

Chuck Ragan

Last night I got to see Chuck Ragan, in the amazing Thekla. It’s notable as it’s a boat that has a hell of a live sound. Reason enough then for Chuck to call for everyone to support the venue and keep it going. Despite the fact that the gig was ram-a-jammed, this was a particularly good shout as down the road The Fleece is under threat of closure due to a plan to concoct a load of flats nearby.

This seems perverse to me. In a time when some people wonder whether society still exists, we’re closing down places where people meet, bond and support each other – anybody who’s ever fallen over in a mosh pit will know what I mean.  Probably my best friends these days attend gigs with me, and my housemate (the poor guy) plays gigs with me.

What is a community any way? Not only are we actually shredding communities in terms of the uniqueness of communities of place, but we’re actual destroying communities of alternative scenes, where people who perhaps aren’t fulfilled or catered for in terms of popular culture go to feel bloody excited for a few hours a week, a month, or even a year.

Another point struck home last night when Chuck dedicated a song to ‘the mamas and papas in the room’. Turns out there were only 2 or 3 of them there, so it’s strikingly obvious that these closures hit young people the hardest.

It was an awesome night, with Billy the Kid‘s startling voice and capo’d guitar kicking things off nicely. Like the Gaslight Anthem or Springsteen, she tells stories in her lyrics. And it felt all the more stripped back and intimate with her being a one woman band.

Next on were Northcote, with a unique acoustic and electric guitar combo. Matt Goud’s voice is powerful, and I reckon it could tear through walls. If powerful vocals and moody guitars are your bag, then it’s worth checking them out.

Last but not least was the big man Chuck and the Carmeraderie. I gave his latest album the thumbs up after my road trip to Oz, and tonight was peppered with absolute corkers from that like Something May Catch Fire and Vagabond, plus some classics from his earlier albums. On stage, there was enough energy to power a small town and plenty of charisma to boot.

So if you get a chance, check out the tour – it’s well worth it. And support your local music venue. Please sign this, like this and share this (via Drowned in Sound). Plus go and watch as many awesome bands as you can. And if your local venue is the Fleece (or even if you just think you might head there one day, or maybe just if you believe in the principle of it), maybe by signing this too.


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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