Disclaimer to start with; I’m an admitted Rusty Shackle fan. Have been since I wandered past the music tent at the Big Cheese about 7 years ago and heard a band doing a cover version of Dizzie Rascal’s bonkers in a bluegrass style. I was blown away and stayed for the rest of the set. I’ve seen them a couple of times since and they’ve always been energetic and fun to watch. I’ve also had them play on my radio show and they were still great, even when all 6 of them were stuffed in my tiny studio.
So I’m biased is what I’m saying but it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.
Anyway, new album means new tour and for a band that is part-time and self-funded they certainly get around. This gig was the 14th and last of their 14 date tour and was their only Welsh date, they play Devauden festival this weekend May 12th and they sold out Caldicot Castle in July (their hometown gig), which is massive for an unsigned band to sell 1500 tickets.
This weekend was kind of special as it was the reopening of the Moon Club and the march to Save Womanby Street, there will be more on this soon, so Womanby Street was buzzing with people and the feeling about the place was pretty special, before I even walked into Clwb Ifor Bach. Clwb itself was packed which was nice to see. I unfortunately missed the first support band, CwCw but I did hear they were fine, however I did see the main support, Ofelia and they almost stole the show. Very interesting 5-piece folk band with 4 vocal harmonies and no drummer. Their track Go where we go, the title track of their new EP, sounded sublime and I would recommend any folk fans to check them out, they’re supporting The People, The Poet in Cardiff’s Norwegian Church on the 25th May.
On to the main event, the band started strong with the first single, When the Morning comes, off their new album Dusk. It was the perfect start to the gig, getting the crowd going and setting the tone for the night. The crowd were in great spirits and made the night really flow with every singing and dancing along (especially me).
The band played a healthy mix of songs from all 3 of their albums and played some really great covers of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, which sounded like the band wrote it themselves, and Lonnie Donegan’s Cumberland Gap, which they try and play the song as fast as they can, it is really quite something to see a 2 minute song played in 1 minute. They also brought on Remy Beasley as a guest vocal on their new single Movin’ on, which has just been playlisted on BBC Radio Wales. Considering they only rehearsed it that day, it sounded like they had performed the duet all through the tour.
The band were in good spirits throughout and were constantly joking and talking to the crowd, getting them to sing along and dance. The highlights for me were Rosie Lee (joining in on the handclaps), Down in the Valley and Last Stop on the Line (see attached video). The whole thing ended a bit too soon but that’s me being greedy as they did play all their singles. They finished off with their two best songs with 3am off their first album and The Bones, which was kind of an encore even though the band didn’t have anywhere to leave the stage and come back.
The sound from Clwb Ifor Bach is always fantastic, so it was a great gig in a great venue and I recommend you catch them or buy an album whenever and wherever you can.