Review: Green Man 2018 – “Continuing to embrace the left of the dial while retaining a maverick Welsh spirit”‘

Published on AfterDark (31 Aug 2018) – click here to access article

Dean Hodge reviews some of the highlight acts from this year’s Green Man Festival held on 16 – 19 August 2018. (Photography by Nick Evans)

Public Service Broadcasting, Far Out Stage. Photo: Nick Evans.

The imposing sight of the famous green figure in the middle of the site, surrounded by a sea of spectators adorned with glitter on their faces and stack cups in hand, is the unmistakable sight that once again greets me (and photographer Nick Evans) upon arrival at Green Man for my fourth visit here in as many years.

But one part of the festival that has become so synonymous with each of my previous three visits here is missing this year though – the rain. Green Man and wet weather is a natural marriage that has become so ingrained in each of my previous visits here, that it is almost difficult for me to get used to what is actually for once a mostly hot and dry weekend in the Brecon Beacons – to the extent that I actually leave the festival more bronzed rather than soaked.

Joel Gion, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Far Out Stage. Photo: Nick Evans.

But a far more important characteristic of Green Man has remained and that is the quality of the music. For a festival that firmly embraces the left of the dial while retaining a maverick Welsh spirit, this year’s Thursday night headliners are a natural fit for both of these reasons. The music of London’s Public Service Broadcasting is a compelling concept in itself – with instrumental kraut-rock grooves interspersed with samples of public information films, and in the confines of the Far Out Stage accompanied by old film footage on each screen. Furthermore, their second album Every Valley celebrates and mourns the rise and decline of the Welsh coal mining industry. Continue reading

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Review: Super Furry Animals, Cardiff University Great Hall, 3 May 2015 – ‘A welcome reminder and a literal jolt to the senses of how much we’ve missed them’

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews the third and final leg of Super Furry Animals’ 3-date gig in Cardiff last weekend.

Super Furry Animals

Published on AfterDark (8 May 2015) – CLICK HERE to read article

As far as mammoth comebacks goes, this particularly breed of mammoth is as big, as brash, as colourful and particularly as ‘furry’ as they come. In some ways, Welsh sonic meddlers Super Furry Animals – returning for their first gigs in Cardiff in six years at the Cardiff University Great Hall – never really went away in the first place.

All five members of the group – Gruff Rhys, Guto Pryce, Huw ‘Bunf’ Bunford, plus brothers Dafydd Ieuan and Cian Ciarán (see AfterDark’s interview with him here) – have been working on their own various solo projects, while their music continues to be an eternal soundtrack for indie raves everywhere. However, their return to action was a welcome reminder and at times a literal jolt to the senses of just how much we missed them. Furthermore, it testified how much their inbred, technicolour-infused brand of rock ‘n’ roll – delivered in a mystical Welsh lilt – is needed in both in these grey, election-dominated times and the bland chart music-dominated landscape. Continue reading

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge Talks With Super Furry Animals’ Cian Ciarán – ‘The shows have sold really well so the pressure is on to deliver’

Cian Ciaran

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (30 Apr 2015)

This coming Friday in Cardiff marks the comeback of arguably one of its most revered exports – as 90’s psych-indie kings Super Furry Animals grace the Cardiff University Great Hall on May 1.

With a sell-out crowd awaiting the return of the Welsh rock icons, not an ounce of the huge sense of anticipation is lost over SFA member/synth maestro Cian Ciarán. Yet he shrugs off any nerves in his imitable laid-back, unassuming manner.

As if returning to duties as the synth wizard of SFA for their first UK tour in six years wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he has many other things to keep him occupied – he is currently touring with his new band Zefur Wolves (with his partner Estelle Ios among the line-up) in promotion of their self-titled debut album released earlier this month, and a solo album coinciding with the general election is set for release this summer. Continue reading