Y Niwi - Four guys from Wales (like Rhys) hit the stage shortly after ten and cranked out some cool sounding garage surf rock. It had all the classic moves and some of the melodies I have heard from the Surfaris, Tornadoes, and Duane Eddy. They were fully instrumental and one guitarist went to the keyboards at times to vary things up a little. But variety was not important here. They just cranked out pleasing music with great style and a friendly atmosphere. The crowd quickly warmed to the music and it was a fun half hour on a Friday night.
Gruff Rhys - Rhys hits the stage early, although I am not too worried about the hour as things are running well and there are only two bands tonight, so both have time not to have to rush their sets. And not surprisingly, the first band is Rhys's backup band tonight. I have seen Rhys once with his popular band Super Furry Animals about 5 years ago. I was not terribly impressed as it was simply nice pop music that I did not gravitate to. I tend to think I may enjoy the band more these days, so I wanted to at least stick a toe in the water with this solo show. The club is pretty full with yet another sharp respectful crowd, aside from a minor "domestic" argument occurring later. The first cut was mostly percussive with Rhys playing some lighted electronic drumsticks that made synth wash sounds as he struck them into the air. The music went a bit more song oriented thereafter with Rhys displaying his rich voice to good advantage. He can even approach the Zombies Colin Blunstone at times, although mostly it has the thicker nature of say Bevis Frond's Nick Salomon. The songs have a feel-good mood working and the band skillfully brings them forward but gives Rhys the space to carry the melodic thrust. There were touches of psychedelia and it was amusing to have him play a vinyl record of bird sounds at different points of the set. Fun set and good back and forth with the happy crowd. It may take more listens, but perhaps there is still hope for me to get into his main band.
Quote of the Night: Y Niwi played a few songs and thanked the crowd and announced there next song... "This one is called 11. We actually numbered the songs as we wrote them and just kept it that way. You see, here's our set list."
"The next song is 21" "Yeah, alright! 21!"
and the crowd at set's end... "Encore! Play #17!"