Wednesday, 6 January 2010

662 JOY ZIPPER, Kubb, Voices, Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach, Thursday 9 June 2005

The second of two gigs in two nights and another pain in the ass journey - having to pay to get into Wales is bad enough, but then we drove laps around Cardiff city centre trying to find a car park that wasn't going to rip us off. In the end we had to settle for one costing 50p for each 15 minutes, which meant we were in for £7.50 by the end of the night. D'oh!

Hit the venue at 8 to find it still shut (!) so got drinks in a nearby pub, and sat and moaned. Eventually we wandered back at 8.30 to find the opening act, a keyboard dominated 3-piece producing mindless drone music they obviously thought was "haunting" but instead was just dull, already into their set, which they then proceeded to over-run by 15 minutes. Bah!

Main support Kubb were more like it though, despite appearances - the lead singer looked like a cross between footballer Keith Curle and "Red Dwarf" character Rimmer, wore a hideous black boiler suit and played bass high up like a right dick! Despite this, the boy could sing, and the band backed him up with some clean, well-constructed songs veering from soulful stuff like the Big Dish (remember them?), to absorbing in an almost U2 style. They definitely rely too much on their vocalist's impressive range, but despite bland moments they showed promise.

Joy Zipper, a big fave of Rachel's (and allegedly named after the mother of one of the band members!) came on at 10.30, the usual 2-piece of Vinny and Tabitha (who took the stage last, bounding on to a warm welcome from the enthusiastic but sparse crowd) backed with a rhythm section for the "live" environment. Their set was drawn largely from recent album "The Heartlight Set", bouncier and more upbeat than their previous lush harmonic but definitely more slow-burn output, and translated across much better "live". Tabitha, a pneumatic and enthusiastic singer/ keyboardist, struck up a happy rapport with the crowd, teasing Vinny for getting confused with the running order ("he's like this at home as well!"), which made for a fun and inclusive set. Their harmonies, so key to their material, were excellent live, particularly on the uplifting "Xmas Song", their final number, after which Vinny (who appears to be a Dando-esque space cadet) thanked us, "for being so polite!"

Well, thank you, Joy Zipper, for living up to your name with a joyous and happy set, and making the painful journey and late night (home after 1 a.m!) worth while!

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