Lowkey @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

“I’m an anarchist and an angry academic activist”

THIS July marked the return of UK MC Lowkey from his apparent retirement with the surprise release of hard-hitting single Ahmed. lowkey2

Within weeks the rapper, who in 2012 said he was hanging up his mic for good, announced a tour including a September 17 date in Cardiff. Continue reading

Team GB, petty nationalism and sporting reality

DID Wales “block” Team GB from competing in women’s football at the Rio Olympics as the leader of the Welsh Conservatives claims?

Jess Fishlock, of Wales, controls the ball during a 0-0 draw in a friendly international with the Republic of Ireland

After all “Great Britain had qualified” according to the BBC commentator as Germany kicked off the final that would see them claim the gold medal by beating Sweden two goals to one. Continue reading

De La Soul @ Newport Centre

“Most crews are post-current while we’re forever”

“We go by the name of De La Soul and we’ve been doing this for quite some time,” explains Dave, aka Trugoy, unnecessarily as everyone in the Newport Centre appears familiar with the Long Island trio and their contribution to hip hop.

Dave, aka Trugoy, of De La Soul

Dave, aka Trugoy, of De La Soul

2016 marks 20 years since De La released ‘Stakes Is High’ – their response to the ghetto fabulous state of hip hop at the time and considered a re-introduction from some of the game’s elder statesmen. “Man every word I say should be a hip hop quotable,” raps Pos during that title track – and the crowd do know every line. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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