The Bengals, Wembley and modern football

Washington Redskins 27 @ Cincinnati Bengals 27 (Wembley Stadium, London, England)

THE NFL played the 17th game in its London International Series on Sunday but it took the Cincinnati Bengals travelling the near 4,000 miles to the UK for me to make the 149 mile journey from Cardiff, Wales to Wembley Stadium.
nfl-amf

While regular season games are a genuine privilege for UK fans the event itself is a move from the strictly business play book of the NFL’s sharpest minds – the executives who measure success not in yards and points but dollars and cents. Continue reading

Gridiron, doping and sporting redemption

Jason Livingston went from the Olympics to a Welsh American Football team via Cardiff City

BRITISH American Football has agreed an anti-doping code – which might seem strange for a sport that off the field has more in common with Sunday league than it does the NFL’s Monday Night Football – but it brings back memories of the game’s connection to one of British sport’s most infamous doping cases.

Jason Livingston # 44

Jason Livingston # 44

In July 1992 the world’s best athletes had gathered in Barcelona for the Olympic Games but as the track and field events were due to begin promising British sprinter Jason Livingston was heading home in, as these things are always reported, “disgrace”. Continue reading

Kano @ Tramshed, Cardiff

“This the motherfucking thanks I get from this scene?/Ten years deep, a thousand 16s”

IS any rapper ever satisfied their position in hip hop has been properly recognised and respected? Striving for acceptance, and resentment at any perceived lack of acknowledgment, still fuels so many MCs. kano

Kano is already recognised as one of the central figures in the emergence of the UK grime scene but that yearning for props is still evident.

2016 has however delivered a Mercury Music Prize nomination for Kano’s fifth LP, Made in the Manor, and a nationwide tour which brought him to Cardiff – and left the 31-year-old veteran in no doubt as to the esteem he is held in the capital. Continue reading

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