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Monday, April 28, 2008

FREAKED OUT AND FUNKED UP: Acid Mothers Temple live in Cardiff

I must have been to a freakier gig than this, MUST have, but I cant for the life of me think when. Tonight’s gig with the Acid Mothers Temple really would take some beating on the freaked out steaks.

For the uninitiated, The Acid Mothers Temple are a wigged out Japanese experimental psychedelic jazz rock crew that take on a myriad of forms and… well, just read about them here.

I have loved the concept of the band for a long time now but have found their albums very difficult to get into. A friend of mine tried to explain it to me once, he said, “Their music is so difficult you have to try really hard to appreciate it, so hard it hurts, it takes a while but when it clicks it is like a revelation, like suddenly understanding differential calculus”. Personally I like my rock ‘n roll simple.

Undeterred by the difficult albums I went to see them a while ago and discovered that live they really are something else, one of the most amazing live bands I have ever seen. Not catching them again was never really an option.

Zipadee doodah

I suppose it should not have come as any surprise that tonight was to be something completely different from that first gig. COMPLETELY different. They were supposed to be playing as a three piece but the bass player was taken ill so they just carried on regardless as a two-piece.

Things were weird from the off. They started with playing the zips on their jackets. Yes, that’s right, zips. I have no idea what was going on, I assume some sort of pick up was attached to the zip, then put through a distortion pedal and the volume turned right up. Jaw dropping weirdness.

Scissors... the cutting edge of avant guard

Water music, Handel would have been proud

Then they got a bit more serious and started playing scissors, followed by empty bottles of water and then cameras. You had to be there to appreciate it.

When a third of your band is missing, what is the obvious thing to do? well in the case of the Acid Mothers, the guitarist goes outside for a smoke for 30 minutes while the drummer plays solo. Obvious really. It was not quite a drum solo, there was some sort of backing track thing going on which in my book spoilt it a bit, I think I would have preferred something more traditional. Traditional is not what you get at an Acid mothers gig though, so I suppose I have no right to complain. It did remind me of that famous Tony Wilson quote “Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does.”

Jimmy Page has a lot to answer for.. but somehow i think this lot would have thought of violin bows without him

When the guitarist came back on stage the drummer buggered off for half an hour. Somewhere along the way I actually recognised one of the numbers, their ‘signature’ tune, ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’. The crowd were mesmerised and stood watching in awe all night long.

A slightly more traditional end to the show.

Eventually we get the ‘full’ band back on stage and brains are fried for a spectacular climax.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

LIKE A DAY AT THE SEASIDE: Cardiff 3 Blackpool 1

"There's only one Ninian park!"
Today we opted for something we have not done for a VERY long time. There was a time when football specials used to take us all the way to Ninian Park halt without needing to change. These days, if you want to go to Ninian Park you have to change at Cardiff Central… no big deal but for some reason it is something we have never bothered to do…. until today. Living next to a railway station it’s almost door-to-door for me, so maybe we will try it again.
"Easy, easy, easy!"
Anyway…. Today’s opposition were Blackpool. No matter who the opposition were it was always going to be a good atmosphere with it being the first home game since the victory in the FA cup Semi final. As it turned out City were on top form and we were unlucky to go into half time with only one goal in the net.
Anarcho Prawn
You can tell it is coming close to the end of an era, even on the Grange end people are starting to sample the joys of prawn sandwiches.

Watching the game on a TV plonked on top of the Grange End bogs
The atmosphere underneath the Grange was relaxed as everyone was trying to get their heads around the fact that we are in the final of the FA Cup. Yes, it was fun… and only slightly annoying that we ended up watching Sinclair’s second goal on the TV in the bar.

The rustic charm of the Grange end. I will miss it when it's gone

Then it was back up to watch the game in the flesh, again we missed the third goal, this time because it was obscured by a haircut!

The station next to the ground. Why on earth do we not use it more?

The consolation goal by Blackpool did not dent the atmosphere and soon it was back to the platform to get the train straight home.

The new ground shaping up nicely in the distance


Sunday, April 06, 2008


A slightly longer and more in depth football blog than unusual … but hey, these are unusual times, you never know when we might be in this position again.

02:00 Sparky was around. We were unable to sleep due to being like kids on Christmas eve, we decided to stay awake all night.

02:30 fell asleep knackered

Wayne with his traditional welsh kilt

06:30 up and ready for the charabang to Wembley

Sparky... can't stay awake, wont stay awake

08:00 on bus. Due to recent problems with bus company, bus was strictly ‘dry’. I think this is probably the first time EVER I have been on a dry bus to football. Started out listening to the special ‘road to Wembley’ singalong cd I prepared earlier. No one sung along. Sparky went straight back to sleep.

Sparky finally comes to life... ish

11:00 Arrived at a pub in the middle of no-where on an industrial estate near Heathrow. It had been pre-arranged, so they were expecting us, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. Within an hour they had run out of Strongbow. Several people ordered food. The ginger whinger ordered lamb shank. Lamb shank arrived but did not have enough veg on the plate to keep the whinger happy. He whinged. When he cut into the lamb it was uncooked. He whinged and took it back. Chef had to cut short his shift cleaning out the blockage in the toilet to stick the lamb in the microwave. Some of us retired to the beer garden for fresh air.

Ginger Whinger wishes he had gone for the curry, Ashes gets ready to stab him if he touches it.

The legendary lamb shank finally arrives

Fresh air in the beer garden

Wet heads ready to get on a dry bus

13:15; Back on the bus for final leg of trip. Bus still dry but spirits slightly wetter after the pub stop. We have ‘Top gear greatest driving anthems’ to keep us ‘entertained’.

No room at the Inn
14:30(ish) arrived near Wembley. Pubs all full so we took advantage of the off licence and had a drink outside Mahatma Ghandi’s house.

Spot the regular city fan


Something special must be happening... is that a smile?

Cardiff in the area
15:30 (ish) headed into the stadium. Had a quick look at the prices behind the bar (Pie and a pint £7) and agreed that standing in the street drinking cans had definitely been the best option.

15:50: met up with the Cardiff branch of the gang (the ones that had queued for hours to get our tickets and without whom this trip would not have been happening, bless ‘em) and found seats

16:00… this is it, Cardiff city really are playing at Wembley!

"Sit down and behave yourself!" Would you want to sit behind this bunch?

16:04 middle aged, middle class couple ask really nicely if they could swap seats with a few of us.. if we were going to stand up they could not see.

16:06 less polite couple ask some of the gang to sit down less politely. Handbags are swung.

"All we are singinging.. is give us a goal"

16:09: Joe Ledley scores (the other end from us.. so no pic)…. Everyone stands up! We then begin 80 minutes of nail biting; have seen us blow it in the last minute too many times to be happy until the last whistle.

Barnsley, whats the score?

Sparky still not sure if he is awake ... or just dreaming

"Lets all have a disco!"

17:50: Tears of joy roll as it sinks in that Cardiff city really are in the final of the FA cup for the first time since 1927. The Cardiff end of the stadium roars like a roaring thing on St Roaring day. We hang around for ages soaking it up.

Lap dancer brings around the champers

18:30: back to bus, which has parked in the perfect place for a sharp exit to avoid all the traffic.

20:30 the final four arrive on the bus so we can now make our exit not worrying about traffic cos everyone has gone. On trip home the dry restrictions were lifted slightly, cider and even champagne flowed. The ‘Top Gear’ cd is ditched and the singalong cd is given a reprieve. Oddly, everyone sings along. ‘Oi Clint, this cd sounds ten times better when you are pissed’ remarks one critic.

Words fail me for this one... i think the picture says it all

We arrive home and try to get our heads around whether or not we are dreaming…. An already thinking of the scramble to get tickets to do it again on the 17th may, cos ....


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

FA CUP FINAL REHEARSAL? Cardiff 0 West Brom 0

With both Cardiff and tonight’s opposition, West Brom, both involved in FA cup semi finals later this week, it was always going to be a strange game. Would both teams be taking it easy to avoid injury for the big games? Would they be going flat out to ensure a place in the side at Wembley? Would they be going for the psychological advantage of a win, should it come to a rematch in the final? Would all thoughts of Wembley be put out of mind and thoughts be on the little matter of promotion to the premiership?

Prior to kick off a large, but not massive, special Wembley flag was unveiled and given a trial run across the bottom of the half filled bob bank. Mmmmm. If that comes over my head at Wembley I will not be pleased.

Then on to the game. Both managers were resting top names, City actually played the second half without a striker on the pitch, but that did not deter from the excitement. Those that were on the pitch seemed to be making an extra special effort to impress the respective managers. Trevor Sinclair, fresh back from injury, was on top form, if he does not start on Sunday, there will be something wrong.

In the end, a nil nil draw. In the past I have stated (only half joking) that I would rather us lose than draw nil nil, cos it is just boring, but I have to say this was one of the most exciting end to end games I have seen for ages, shame there were no strikers around to put the icing on the cake.

Oh… and this has little to do with this game, but I love this Trevor Sinclair goal from 1997 when he was playing for QPR... as it happens against our opponents at Wembley this weekend, Barnsley… enjoy