|Ghosts and Echoes Tour - Ebbw Vale, EVI - 22nd June 2012|
|Written by Rob Watkins|
|Saturday, 30 June 2012 04:45|
The Ghosts and Echoes acoustic tour wagon is in Ebbw Vale for a much lauded performance featuring the magnificent talents of Gavin Butler (The Blackout) and Neil Starr (Attack!Attack!), some of our fine shore's topper-most musos, and, with a bill including some Welsh up and coming wannabes to boot, tonight is gonna be something quite special not only for the assembled artists gathered but, with the venue's history and gothic-like atmosphere, this is the almost perfect setting for the rather aptly titled 'Ghosts and Echoes Tour'.
So it's time to softly blow away the cobwebs and any thoughts of Black Spiders and Prophets and settle down for some grade A musical tranquility...
Stepping up and opening proceeding is local(ish) solo performer Troublesome Truck, instantly making himself at home on the EVI stage kicking it off with the Foo Fighters' 'All My Life' and the Ed Sheeran hit 'A Team'. Blessed with plenty of crowd participation and bags of confidence this young Trucker has attitude and, essential for any solo act, stage presence before offering up some blessed originality with his own well written piece, the jangly indie inspired 'In A Day Or Two' - take a bow young turk - but tonight other influences and inspirations are on show, with a rendition of Jason Mraz's 'I'm Yours', the assembled punters are eating of his hands with his neat rendition of the Green Day tune 'Time of Your Life' before coming up trumps with a beautiful composition of his own, 'Follow Me Blindly', a song penned about and dedicated to his "Big Big Bro," a sad but extremely brave and touching moment bringing some mellowness and deep respectful thought into the equation before performing his "next and last song" in the form of the Tenacious D lullaby 'Fuck Her Gently', leaving the musical arena to some grand applause: the 'Mawr boy's done good.
"Good Evening Ebbw Vale, my name is Lego Man," is the own introduction so obviously this must be the one and only Lego Man opening his set with a reflective, chilled version of another Foos' number, 'My Hero', also performing some of his own original pieces like 'Rebellion', 'Summer Time' and 'Witchcraft' that included some neat chord progressions played in his own emotive way with a sort of a 1960s troubadour slant going on. Lots of musical intensity, clever vocal melodies and lyrical content and "WOW" Mr Lego is extremely professional tonight in that he's brought his own towel (possibly a first for the EVI), strumming himself away into musical ecstasy on 'The List' and 'Bell Air' before climaxing, musically speaking, with his softened grasp of 'When You Were Young' by The Killers.
Two fifths of youthful Welsh emotional upstarts, and best unsigned band of 2009 in Kerrang magazine, Reaper In Sicily, Rhys and Matt pop up next, bouncing it in with 'Tiger Blood', the opening anthemic track lifted from their 'Chapters' EP and continuing their emotional palaver possibly better suited to their normal full band set up it should be uttered, but the other three fifths of the band are elsewhere "on dates or attending some gig in Bridgend." 'Save the Cheerleader' and 'Disco Disco' from the Reaper EP 'Eden' carry things onwards in a decent fashion, coming across like a youthful pair of buskers on '50' and a neat little attempt at the classic Temptations masterpiece 'My Girl' is pretty well received. With an album in the pipeline working alongside acclaimed Welsh music producer Romesh Dodangoda the future's extremely bright for the Reaper boys.
The 'Echoes' side of the split album, Neil Starr, takes to the stage to a warm reception with 'Another Life'. With his caustic but exceptionally sweet and beautifully crafted tunes Starr has the luxury of an admirable back catologue to pick tonight's setlist from, which included 'Whispers in the Dark' from the aforementioned 'Echoes' release and a number of well picked out Attack! Attack! tracks such as 'We're not the Enemy' and 'Honesty', mixed in alongside tracks from Starr's previous band Dopamine, 'This January' and 'I Disappear', songs with great melodic arrangements performed tonight in smooth perfection, wonderous slices of tunage from this good ol' Welsh songsmith, even including a cover of John Farnham's 'You're the Voice' giving it his all in true harmonic and anthemic style. Talking of anthems Starr concludes his performance with an Attack! Attack! anthem, what else but 'Blood On My Hands', incorporating a 'Sweet Child O' Mine' snippet on the intro.....pure class.
Gavin Butler opens with 'Into the Sea', the first track from 'Ghosts', with a delicious smoothly toned vocal delivery and, with his mighty fine guitar accompaniment, this is quite the musical departure from The Blackout: plenty of female attendees tonight, it should be mentioned, for Mr Butler. 'Every Day' and 'Hey Girl' are songs with harmony, feel and craft and all thanks to the crystal clear EVI sound. An interesting version of 'Half the World', the Oasis acoustic number, is performed in a heartfelt way, 'SOS' and 'Sunshine' follow with their sugary pop-tastical musical passages combining with a certain melancholic approach that does work a treat and also highlights the level of Welsh songwriting here this evening. Eventually the 'Ghost's and 'Echoes' thing is brought together and as Butler introduces "the best rock star name in the world," he is joined on the EVI stage by Neil Starr for a rendition of the early Blackout tune 'You and your Friends Vs Me and the Revolution', before leaving the arena to a well deserved standing ovation from an audience that included Butler's fellow Blackout frontman Sean Smith.
Another wonderous event chalked up at the Evi courtesy of some Ghosts and Echoes and friends!!!
[Photos by Ashlea Matthews - Ashlea Bea Photography]
To pick up your copy of 'Ghosts and Echoes' - CLICK HERE