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Wales This Week.

January 30, 2011

Well, this week has been an interesting one. I type this as I sit in pain after “doing the ligaments in” in my right ankle playing football today. It was sort of fitting that I should do it whilst wearing my old basketball shorts as when I played basketball I wrecked my ankles for years, pulling and straining the ligaments in each of them pretty much every fortnight for two years such was my addiction to the sport. On top of that, Spurs got unceremoniously dumped out of the F.A. Cup 4-0. What a day. But it’s been a good week.

I’ve had a lot of interest in my photography with 3 different people asking me about covering weddings this year, and I got asked to cover a conference for a company in Cardiff, which unfortunately I had to turn down because I’d already agreed to do extra hours in work. If it was just in Cardiff or Newport it would have been fine, but it’s in B-B-B-B-B I’ve forgotten, I know it begins with B and it’s not Basingstoke.

So as I said, I’ve been asked about doing a few weddings, one of which will hopefully be in a biodome at the Eden Project, which is immensely exciting. The fact that it’s for a friend, well, two friends, also means a lot to me, but also, it’s the type of wedding I’d love to do. Somewhere a bit different and not your usual venue, and it’s a lovely place too. So hopefully that will all come together nicely.

 The year has got off to a bit of a slow start for me in terms of actually doing anything outside of the house, aside from a lovely time visiting friends a couple of weeks ago in Maidstone, so this weekend I’ve made up for it a bit.

On Friday I went to two gigs – by this time of January I’ve normally been to a few gigs but a combination of not much on for me and er… well, that’s it really, has meant that I haven’t been out until now.

First up was the band Drains, from Cardiff. Made up of members of  Kutosis and Samoans this is more of a grunge sound than their other bands, and they’ve got some really good tunes too. Dan was sporting a moustache as an homage to DFA1979 getting back together, which to be fair, I thought suited him.

 

So after the mild carnage they caused, I ran off to Buffalo Bar with Will Steen from www.thejoycollective.co.uk  to catch Ratatosk and Benni Hemm Hemm which was organised by Liz/ Loose. Ratatosk is one half of the awesome Right Hand Left Hand, if you ever get the chance to see them, do. This is more murder ballads being played with looped guitars and vocals and saws. Unfortunately I walked in about 10 minutes from the end of the set, and there’s nothing I hate more than being at a quiet gig than people pushing to get down the front or making noise, so I stayed at the back until he finished what seemed to be a great performance.

Then came Benni Hemm Hemm, who I believe come from Iceland, via somewhere in Scotland. I’d never heard them before despite seemingly having a natural love for anything Icelandic and they didn’t disappoint. Some really beautiful songs.

It’s a really dark venue so I’m quite pleased with the results, and it was the first time I’d used my new 100mm f2.8 Macro IS L lens for  a gigand it didn’t disappoint. It’s not one for all occasions, but for a quiet gig where there’s plenty of room between me and the band it’s fantastic, as long as the band isn’t running round too much.

So, Saturday I was off to a venue I’ve never been to before, The Promised Land. It’s a place I’ve only ever really heard anything about for after show parties for the likes of Paul Weller, so I wasn’t surprised when I got in to find the walls full of signed music memorabilia and photos from the likes of Paul Weller, Andy Fairweather-Low, Manic Street Preachers… I can’t remember who else, but there was a lot of it! All of it totally different to the bands that were playing last night.

I went mainly to see Gindrinker. I don’t know how many gigs they’ve done but I’ve probably been to around 90 per cent of them. A lot of people don’t get them, I didn’t really at first if I’m honest but now I absolutely love them. The venue was packed out, not hard considering the size of the place, but it was a good crowd there with some familiar faces.

The first band on, Daylight Fireworks, were ok, not really my thing, but they had a good crowd there who enjoyed them. Their one guitarist was good to photograph too.

Next up was the Milk Race, made up of member of bands such as Space in The 50s, Heck and The IK+ which was a nice surprise. Nice, loud bit of carnage. 

My 24-70 lens even took a headstock to the glass. Not even a scratch and it was a pretty hard blow too. It was a bit of a worry but it seems to be fine.

Next up, I’d missed my bus by this time but I paid my money to see Gindrinker, so I was staying. It’s been months since they’ve played so it was a good enough reason for me to stay out. 

Check Gindrinker out at www.gindrinker.co.uk – it’s an acquired taste, but worth working on if you don’t get it straight away.

So, another busy week this week. A gig from Loose tomorrow with Sweet Baboo and Allo Darlin’ which should be great, then I’m going to B-B-B-B wherever it is for work. Who knows what the rest of the week will bring?

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