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Cerys Matthews – Glee Club, Birmingham – 29/6/8
Published by Rock3
05-08-2008
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Cerys Matthews – Glee Club, Birmingham – 29/6/8

Tonight was a very rare occasion indeed. Welsh songstress Cerys Matthews breezed in to Birmingham to showcase her acoustic set.

I must admit that I’ve never been to the Glee Club in Birmingham, even though it’s my home town, looking at the current advertised listings it’s becoming a hip and happening place to see your favourite artist or band in such an intimate setting.

I got to the gig quite early, other half in tow, who happens to be the biggest Cerys Matthews fan ever! We were greeted by security who were the loveliest guy’s I’ve ever encountered, even asking to put my bag in a lock up if I didn’t fancy taking it in to the venue, the only other place that’s happened is at the NEC Group of venues. Even when I went to the front desk to enquire about tickets I was amazed at how helpful the reception staff were too, once again very polite, I was totally taken aback to say the least.

Tonight’s gig was unreserved seating, so it was first come first served. As we got there early we managed to find some spectacular seats, my other half was totally agassed that we were sitting on the front row just one mere metre from Ms Matthews.

The venue/room was superb, so intimate you could hear a pin drop between songs, the audience proved to be a majority of Catatonia die hards, which you’d expect really, approximately 200 in number, all the seats lined up in neat little rows with enough room for you to cross your legs in comfort and see the gig in a relaxing but intimate atmosphere.

The set was in two halves, which I’ve never experienced before, especially with an interval and enough time for you to go to the loo and top up your drink.

I must admit to being not the biggest fan of Ms Matthews, but really hate to admit that after this gig I was astounded at her vocal capability, so much better in the flesh and live than on CD. I have actually contemplated trying to catch her again live as she was that good, she’s currently doing the festival circuit taking in The Rock and Roots Festival [24th Aug], Brecon Jazz Festival [8th Aug] and Tenby Folk Festival [23rd Aug] over the next coming weeks.

We were treated to an 18 song spectacular from Catatonia’s back catalogue and from Ms Matthew’s solo albums including ****ahoop and Never said Goodbye, and the last release which was a 5 track EP in Welsh called Aeroplane. I’ve heard it on the grapevine that there’s another album due, another EP in Welsh, just hope it’s as good as all the other solo material. I wait with baited breath!

The set lasted 90 mins plus, and was mostly acoustic which was a refreshing change to say the least. Lots of onstage banter between band members and the audience, Ms Matthews being heckled at some stages and even threatening to tell a joke or two as it was the Glee Club. She did joke that the weather was good when they left for the venue, but as they left Wales it started to rain and the weather got worse as they got to Birmingham, she commented that it always rains when they play, so some clever person shouted good job the gigs not outdoors then and she agreed.

Songs that stood out from the set list were:

Road Rage, Catatonia classic and song fabulously, quite raw from the original and I loved it. Chardonnay, oh my goodness, I didn’t actually think that Ms Matthews had the vocal capacity that I saw on the night, I was totally gobsmacked, even much so after this vocal performance that I had goosebumps on my arms and it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! Salutations, Fire and You’ve got a lot were all bloody amazing, such a credit to the band and their acoustic performance and Ms Matthews vocal gymnastics.

The highlight after the show was Ms Matthews came out to greet all her fans and speak to all of them individually and thanking them for coming to see the show, as well as sign whatever she was presented with. This was totally the icing on the cake for 99% of the fans that were there on the night, many of them reminded me of kids at Xmas that had just opened there Xmas presents and got whatever their heart desired, big massive smiles and actually meeting your idol and she supposed whatever expectation you had of whatever she was like in person!

I would seriously recommend a visit to see Ms Matthews even if your not a big fan, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some spectacularly crafted songs sang with such passion and heart. A definite must see, catch her while you can.

SETLIST

AEROPLANE
FALL BESIDE HER
CAROLINA
DEAD FROM THE WAIST DOWN
HERON
ROAD RAGE
JOHNNY COME LATELY
THRU A GLASS
LATE NOVEMBER

GYDA GWEN
CHARDONNAY
DEIO I DYWYN
AR LAN Y MOR
EVELYN
SALUTATIONS
FIRE
YOU’VE GOT A LOT

ARGLWYDD DYMA FI

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