Occasionally, as if by fate, you get to see someone new who you would never had seen but for a random email or name drop from a friend that tempts you out.
Thankfully on a chilled Sunday evening I headed out to the splendid Acapela Studio in Pentyrch to witness a quite enjoyable evening in the presence of Blair Dunlop and his able support for the tour, Jack Carty.
Aussie Jack Carty opened proceedings with a shortish set that featured bitter-sweet tunes of travel and the longing for home and missed friends and family, which certainly whetted the appetite for more from the friendly New South Walian.
Promoting his new album Notes From An Island, the highly acclaimed Dunlop as been busy gaining plaudits since his debut Bags Outside The Door EP in 2011.
Interestingly, Dunlop is no stranger to Cardiff spending much of his time in the Roath area of the city and experiencing the delights of student night at a certain nightclub in the city that he’s quite scathing about in one of the evenings stand out tunes 45s from his House of Jacks album.
With support from the previously mentioned Carty on bass and Fred Claridge on drums, both also supplying backing vocals to assist a ‘croaky’ Dunlop, who, even though with in his words “a shot voice” his delivery at times was quite sublime in a set perfectly paced.
Left alone to perform a couple of numbers acoustically, Dunlop’s refreshing take on Springsteen’s standard “Dancing In The Dark” plus “Green Liquor”, a song about the housing crisis in London, the liquor being the sauce accompanying the pie, mash and jellied eels of the town’s East End were soulful and thought-provoking as was “Spices From The East” which hits on Britain’s dark colonial past.
With the band on stage “Sweet On You” with its Beatle-like intro and lyrically superb, bounced along at a rate whilst the band-version of “Nothing Good” proved how good and adaptable Dunlop’s songs can be either acoustically or rockin’ with the band.
In parting Dunlop proclaimed he’d be back even if just for the venue’s prized pizza, though I suspect a song or several would be required for payment. A brilliant evening from a brilliant talent.