live music

The Specials at Glastonbury Extravaganza

A treat to see The Specials at Glastonbury Extravaganza at the weekend. I was just a punter but grabbed a few shots. It was a great show from the legends of British ska who are touring their recent No.1 album, Encore and banging out some old favourites too. A brilliant set and as usual, a top show put on in the grounds of the abbey.

Ben Ottewell

Ben Ottewell from the band Gomez played the St Davids City Hall on Friday night. It was a special night for lots of people in the audience as Ben’s distinctive voice has been part of the soundtrack to life for a good few years. The album Bring It On wasn’t ever far from the CD player long after it came out in 1998 and the following year, Liquid Skin peaked at number 2 in the album charts and cemented their reputation.

At the Q awards John Lee Hooker held a stack of Gomez albums in his hand. The blues legend, who held the discs without being prompted, astonished the audience with his praise. 'I done listen to this record over and over and I can't find no defect,' Hooker said. 'The kids like it, and the older folks are gonna catch up real soon.' - Reported by The Morning Call

Along with some Gomez favourites, Ottewell plays his own songs at live shows including a few from his latest album; A Man Apart. The distinctive voice is still great and the songs, new and old, are timeless.

2 chapels, 2 gigs. St Davids Tabernacle and StudiOwz

The latest venue for Boia Gigs was the crypt of the Tabernacle chapel in St Davids. A gothic design built in 1877, the chapel is an imposing building but unless you are a member of the tiny congregation, you’d be forgiven for not noticing it on your way through St Davids. Downstairs is usually used for Sunday School but last week opened its doors to host Dan Bettridge (Ogmore, Wales) and The Brother Brothers (Brooklyn, NY). One of the attractions of live music is hearing a little background about the songs and the ideas behind the lyrics. The Brother Brothers were brilliant at filling in the history that inspired their writing and some of the covers they performed, but were also funny and engaging which made for a great show. As identical twins they referenced other familial duos from down the ages and are adeptly carrying on the tradition. Go see them if you get the chance. They were supported by Dan Bettridge who showcased his great guitar sound and songwriting.

John Blek returned from County Cork to Pembrokeshire last night to play at StudiOwz before he takes to the stage at the Tabernacle Chapel in St Davids tonight. When I heard he was playing at the studio I knew that John’s songs were perfectly suited to it and it was a treat to hear his music there. Plucking out his melodies and delivering his soul rending lyrics in such a venue was spellbinding. In the crowded world of male singer songwriters, John Blek stands out as a true talent with plenty of outstanding songs that should be getting more radio play over here. Look out for chances to see him live and buy his records.

Live Music: Joey Landreth, John Blek, Nathan Bell and Rosey Cale

More visitors from over the water came to St Davids to play Boia Gigs events. Joey Landreth came over from Canada and a little closer, from Cork, Ireland, John Blek included St Davids in a mini tour of the UK. Another fantastic couple of evenings showcasing some brilliant songwriting and sublime playing. The pick of the tunes for me was this one from John Blek…

In October, Nathan Bell came from Tennessee to play us some captivating Americana folk songs coupled with evocative story telling. Drawing on the experiences of a life as a working man in the USA, Nathan intertwines his songs with reflections on life, love and modern America. Support came from the talented local singer songwriter, Rosey Cale showcasing her self penned works and exceptional voice.

Live in St Davids: Hillfolk Noir

The band describe themselves best:

"Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Travis Ward, Hillfolk Noir is a trio of neo-traditionalists playing traditional music on traditional instruments for non-traditional times. They call it Junkerdash, and it’s a sound brewed from folk, bluegrass, punk, string-band blues and other influences musical and otherwise."

All I would add is that they were proper bompin'.

Another great night courtesy of Steve at Boia Gigs.

Live Music: Twin Bandit and Sky Barkers

On Thursday at The Meadow in St Davids, I went along to take some pictures of Twin Bandit (a folk duo/band from Vancouver, Canada) and local duo Sky Barkers playing some beautiful tunes. We don't often get live acts making the effort to journey all the way to play for us in Pembrokeshire so it's been lovely to have Boia Gigs attract some quality acts to St Davids.

Twin Bandit are on a European tour and had been in London the previous evening before flying to Amsterdam the following day; from Britain's largest city to it's smallest before hitting mainland Europe, we appreciated the effort! Be sure to check them out if they are in your neighbourhood.

The Meadow is also recommended as a great place to get fed and watered if you're in St Davids.

You have a talent for capturing expression and the feeling of that show. We are so grateful, it was a beautiful night and it’s such a joy to remember it by these pictures!
— Twin Bandit