By Mathew Robson
On an unseasonably warm and calm morning on Sunday 10th November, Jody Tozer and co set about readying the decorations for the Cardiff Oxjam Takeover 2013. Outside The Moon Club on Womanby St, a location that is swiftly becoming the nerve centre for music in the heart of the Welsh capital, the crew hung the banners, lay the tables for the volunteers and wristbands were collected by media professionals and Oxjam volunteers alike.
For a Sunday morning, especially on Remembrance Day, my expectations were not optimistic for a healthy turnout of gigging patrons. Upstairs at The Moon Club, five piece Norwegian folk troubadours FirewoodIsland were busy soundchecking for their set. Typically a hefty seven piece band, today they comprised of Stian Vidoy (Vocals, guitar, piano), Abi Newbould (vocals, trumpet, cymbal), Aveen Cooley (vocal, flute, whistle), Steve Allen (drums) and Nick Walker (bass). Describing themselves as an organic folk band, it’s not difficult to see where this description arrives from.
Their sound, although on the surface appears distinctly rustic and old fashioned also retains much more modest musical sensibilities. Their first song Night/Day kicks in immediately with the piano, bass, drums and flute- the music is hopeful and joyous without being restrictingly optimistic. The lyrics are soft and heartfelt and Stian’s vocals have a James Taylor-esque quality to them. Combined with the rapturous melody simply adds to an already rich canvas. The song comes full circle with it’s melody which evidences the groups clear talent as songwriters and composers.
Over at Ten Feet Tall, Jam With RoBina were performing their final show of the year. The band comprises of Ro Marenghi, Mark Tambini, Ryan Neal, Rory Williams and Daniel Lewis. By the time we had arrived at the show it was already in full swing. Volunteers on the door proudly welcomed us into the show, telling us how great the band on stage were. For the past year the band has been promoting their second album Dark Recollections, a ten track EP. On stage, they were simply phenomenal.
To finish off the evening, we walked on down to Gwdihw where Captain Accident and The Disasters were just opening their set. Playing a series of reggae and Ska tracks, the band had the entire crowd in the palm of their hand. Cheering, singing and all out dancing broke out amongst the audience as the band launched into song after song. To my relief, when they announced they were to sing a few Reggae numbers, they did not insist on putting on the faux Jamaican accent that Sting, for some reasons, insists on using. Their set was loud, bouncy and boisterous and judging by the reactions from their adoring crowd, they left the venue with considerably more fans than when they had come in.