Tuesday, April 20, 2010

take me to the river

Continuing my New Year's resolution to make it to more music gigs, we went to see Cerys Matthews in concert last week. I was never that big a fan of Catatonia, to be honest, but the tiny proportion of her solo output that I've heard suggested that she'd taken a turn for the acoustic/rootsy/folky/country since the band split up, which sounded a bit more interesting. More pertinently, though, the gig was scheduled to take place at the Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport, one of the few cultural bright spots in central Newport, which is otherwise a fairly unappealing concrete jungle without much in the way of nightlife. So I felt it was important to go along and give the place our support (and also some money) and also to check out the facilities. Plus it's only about ten minutes walk from the house.

It turns out the Riverfront is an attractively modern-looking building quite literally right on the riverfront (as the name suggests), and pleasantly light and airy inside - lots of whitewash and exposed wood, that sort of thing. The upstairs bar also sells bottled Rhymney Bitter which is very pleasant. The main auditorium probably holds about 500-600 people, I would guess, which is about the right size for an intimate gig featuring Cerys Matthews and two blokes with guitars sitting on chairs in the middle of the stage; they'd have seemed a bit lost at Wembley Stadium. Anyway, it was all very pleasant, Cerys' slightly scatty garrulous comedy Welsh barmaid persona is quite appealing, and the music was an entertaining mix of American and British folk tunes (plus a brief blast through Mulder And Scully for the Catatonia fans), concluding with a rousing singalong of Sosban Fach. Good stuff. Just enough time left for a couple of cheeky pints of Samuel Smith's in the Murenger House, and then home to bed.

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