Tarrus Riley @ 02 Academy, Bristol

“Hey DJ can you play that song?/Set the mood for me to hold a different energy”

BILLED as Tarrus Riley and the Blak Soil Band this show centred around the interplay between the rich-toned vocalist and band leader Dean Fraser.

Tarrus Riley

Tarrus Riley

The acclaimed saxophonist welcomed the headliner to the stage with a funky rendition which indicated for all Riley’s catalogue of love songs – and female admirers jammed into the 02 – there would be no letting up for the May Day Bank Holiday crowd.
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Tragedy and triumph: The Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships

WHAT is the best way to watch a sporting event? Live as a spectator or from the comfort of your sofa via the television coverage?

Geoffrey Kamworor leading the Cardiff World Half Marathon

Geoffrey Kamworor leading the Cardiff World Half Marathon

To see a road race unfold across 13.1 miles the TV is really the only option but when a world championship race is passing the end of your street you would feel as if you’re missing out sat in your living room. There is also so much more, from tragedy to triumph, to the World Half Marathon Championships than can be told by podium finishes. Continue reading

Rugby, race and banter with Warren Gatland

BIG sporting moments have always produced big talking points – and as Wales coach Warren Gatland has acknowledged the number of cameras and microphones in modern sport ensures a plentiful supply of material to discuss.

But I felt unease as soon as I saw and crucially heard the video of England prop Joe Marler calling his Welsh opponent, Samson Lee ‘Gypsy boy’. It was an unacceptable comment and in light of Welsh defeat it was always going to receive the attention of aggrieved Welsh rugby fans. Continue reading

Saul Williams @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

Chop my neck a million times, I still burn bright and stand, yo

“I’M inspired by people, you all have your own stories and thankyou for being part of mine,” is how poet and performer Saul Williams thanks a sold out Friday night crowd in Cardiff.

Saul-Williams-Cardiff-Clwb-Ifor-Bach

The story Williams, whose music is perhaps best described as alternative hip hop, has come to tell is that of Martyr Loser King – a hacker in Burundi using the west’s easily discarded technology to spread chaos through the internet; “Hacker, I’m a hacker, I’m a hacker in your hard drive… I’m a virus in your system”. Continue reading

Macka B @ The Globe, Cardiff

It’s all about the 45/Something about the feel and the vibe

“MACKA B is always about social commentary,” states the veteran British reggae DJ as he launches into ‘Sex Machine’ and gets the crowd to chant its chorus, “She’s more than a sex machine/The woman is a human being”.

MackaB_45_Globe_Cardiff

It’s just one more song from a vault of danceheall favourites that typify the Wolverhampton native’s approach, honed over more than 30 years as a solo recording artist, of delivering positive messages to vibrant reggae rhythms. Continue reading

News at two

TWO notifications that caught my attention this week were alerts about my digital footprint. One was a reminder I’d started this blog in January 2014, the other a post I’d shared on Facebook three or four years ago.

Diggin' in the crates, and one of the "most influential albums" in my collection

Diggin’ in the crates, and one of the “most influential albums” in my collection

I was aware the second anniversary of this blog was coming up while the Facebook reminder of what was a popular, with my friends at least, survey of how many of the “100 most influential albums” I owned reminded me of one of the reasons I eventually went ahead and began publishing my own blog. Continue reading

Album of the Year: I Haven’t Been Nicking in Ages – Benji Webbe

A celebration of roots rock reggae

YOU probably don’t really like music if you’re unable to pick an album of the year – and if choosing your album of the year is easy then it’s likely you don’t listen to that much music.

BenjiCD

But Benji Webbe’s ‘I Haven’t Been Nicking in Ages’ is easily the stand out album of 2015. It’s not often the frontman of a rock metal band releases a smooth as silk album of lovers rock and reggae. Continue reading