A Concert for Micky - Pontardawe

Friday 3 September 2010

George JonesThis was the first of a pair of gigs organised by George Jones in memory of his father Micky, who sadly passed away earlier in the year. George had sorted out a varied line up with generally Welsh/Micky themed artists, and booked the Pontardawe Arts Centre, a tidy venue with a good combination of seats and standing room. It's more used to hosting theatrical events, and its only failing was maybe that they were not ready to deal with such a throng of early arrivals clogging up the lobby and the bar, which seemed to struggle all night to cope with a bunch of thirsty punters.

There was also a merchandise stall, plus a raffle, some rarer items on display and a small photo gallery. A couple of limited edition DVDs were available (all profits to good causes), though with serial numbers NOJONESNOMAN001 and 003 it looks like, more than 18 months later, someone still bears a petulant grudge.

And so to the music: from the seventies, Hobo were up first; they played a relaxed, laid back style of rock, very easy on the ear. They did a version of 98.6, and one of their older songs, Jester, featuring a bowed Hofner bass. Total Beach Boys were just what you'd expect, shirts included, and gave us a few surfing classics, very ably performed.

Edgar Broughton gave a solo set, just him and a guitar, and as ever, he wasn't lacking in passion; for those exposed to him for the first time, paerhaps an acquired taste.

Son of Man were up next, George and Bob Richards along with Chris Buck and Glenn Quinn. Edgar B stuck around for the lead vocal on Shit on the World, and this was followed by All Alone - both very heavy versions. As you'd expect, a tremendous reception greeted the echoey intro (late 90's style) of C'mon, and George went on to throw in plenty of his Dad's old lines throughout the piece. Certainly, a fitting tribute. Finally, a new song: I missed the title, but it might have been Flying High, and was sung by... Bob! And sung very well too. On just one listen, it has a similar stomping feel to All Alone.

For many, they were the main event of the evening, so it was disappointing they played such a short set. The overall impression is much heavier than Man ever were, featuring a thick, trebly bass sound. It will be interesting to see how they develop.

Just a single song from Gary Pickford-Hopkins, Micky's favourite Georgia, wonderfully sung and wonderfully received.

Racing Cars got a massive reception, with Morty doing the cheerleading as usual. There's was mainly a set of covers, All Along the Watchtower, very guitar led, Stateboro Blues, Alright Now, and Help; the crowd loved it.

There was a similarly ecstatic audience reaction for Sassafras. I saw them a couple of times in the seventies, and I recall the clear, crisp guitar sounds, but the overall feel was a bit busier than I remember; it was all well delivered, and just as well received.

George and Bob joined in for a version of Romain, and for I am the Walrus, Terry Williams bravely hobbled along the back of the stage on his dodgy ankle to add some percussion. As a fitting finale, George and Bob came back for Spunk Rock, and Sassafras did a more than capable job. Again, the crowd loved it.

The all in jamming at the end might have sufferd from Terry not being able play a full kit because of his ankle, and Clive John would doubtless have contributed had he not been kept away by health reasons.

Then... just as we thought it had finished... a screen descended and we were treated to a 10 minute video montage as a tribute to the great man, (as opposed to the great Man). Very fitting.

In conclusion... as already mentioned, it would have been nice to have heard more from Son of Man, and perhaps seen them higher up the bill, as it almost felt like a Racing Cars / Sassafras gig towards the end, but no matter - a great night in an even better cause.

There are a few pics from this gig in the Gallery.

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