BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Sunday, August 06, 2006

STEREO MCs BIG IT UP: 90s funksters play Cardiff Big Weekend

Cardiff’s ‘Big Weekend’ has been running for several years now. It is a big free event put on by the council with a live stage and the largest travelling fun fair in Wales. Each year it gets bigger, and it is estimated 250,000 people attend the event over the three days.

Oddly, the bigger it gets, the crapper the line up seems to be. I have memories of some pretty decent bands playing there; Dub War, Afro Celt Sound System, Fun loving Criminals, Ladysmith Black Mombaza and many more. Perhaps it is unfair to say the line-ups these days are totally crap, but for every decent band you have three or four bands like ‘Katrina and the Waves’, ‘The Alarm’ and ‘Kubb’. I suppose at the end of the day, it is free music for the masses, but I cant help remembering years when I sat there all day and enjoyed just about every band.

The main reason for nipping down tonight was to catch the Stereo MCs, whose 1992 album ‘Connected’ remains one of my favourite albums of the 90s. They seemed to go into hiding for a while and it was 2001 before they released their next album ‘Deep Down and Dirty’. It is a class album but I think the momentum had been lost so they have not quite received the recognition they have deserved of late.

They were funky, chunky, soulful and groovy, mixing numbers from throughout their 17-year career. Well worth making the effort to get down to the big smoke.

After the MCs I was dragged into the fun fair by Tara Iguana, who is staying with me for the week. She clearly has a stronger stomach than me because I nearly threw up on the first ride she took me on. That will teach me to watch a ride first to see what it does!


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