Laugharne Festival

Martin Rowsons cartoon of Dylan and Caitlin Thomas, LaugharneDid cosmic intergalactic forces divert David Icke from a key mission? And how did Ray Davies survive the curse of Neath to prosper?

Just some of the conundrums the 2014 Laugharne Festival failed to solve.

Icke did not attend and his entourage were reportedly uncontactable. The Kinks’ genius fortunately did appear and was full of bizarre, well-observed tales from an extraordinary career.

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Scritti Politti, Bristol Thekla

No way are Scritti even close to the top of my favourites but this was definitely the best gig I’ve been to this year.

A really welcome and unexpected surprise, it swept by in just over an hour but features some of the sweetest vocals I’ve ever heard. Sound quality was one of the best I’ve witnessed, vocals to the fore and Green Gartside can sing like an angel – always good to see that in person rather than wonder whether his recorded vocals have been souped up in the studio. I figured his 50-something voicebox might have lost its winsome charm and, as is so often the case, get drowned out by the band.

But it was intimate, soulful and affecting. Thekla acoustics and, presumably, a great job by the sound engineer meant that every utterance, every word, was audible in this cosy little boat venue.

Given I was so-so about Songs to Remember back in the 80s, most of its songs sounded note perfect and it’s certainly grown on me.

Liked the between-song tale of ‘Sweetest Girl’. He offered the song as a joint venture to Kraftwerk and Gregory Isaacs. Isaacs was up for it but Kraftwerk were not.

Then, while hanging out with two Kraftwerk members in New York in the early 80s he broached the subject with the them tentatively, receiving a Germanic response; “We did get the song – we HATE reggae!”