Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ida Maria / Cage The Elephant / "No Country" Pt.2

I paid my first visit for a good few months to the Cardiff Barfly this week, for what promised to be an unmissable smorgasbord of international treats. First up were locals the Spencer McGarry Season, who’ve made excellent use of social networking sites in building up a following; very slick, witty and engaging guitar-led pop-rock. Next on were Cage The Elephant, out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, who played a punky variation on traditional Southern boogie, with rolling bass, and some manically stoned rock’n’roll dancing. They bravely kicked off with current single “In One Ear”, and mercifully all their material was similarly infectious. Headlining was the pixie-ish Norwegian Ida Maria, who reported having had a “miserable” day, although this only manifested itself in her failure to play “Stella”, the current single, which had presumably been planned for the encore which never materialised. The set was excellent, though, melodic trad-rock with the occasional tender moment. Given the high profile of the acts on stage (i.e. the on-air patronage of Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley), however, I was surprised by the moderate turn-out.

Having seen the film, I purchased and read Cormac McCarthy’sNo Country For Old Men” – then felt strangely, retrospectively cheated by the Coen brothers’ adaptation. Peerless in terms of atmosphere and characterisation, I found some of their story-telling unclear towards the end, but assumed that this was in the cause of fidelity to impenetrably complex source material. I now discover, however, that McCarthy’s beautiful novel is the very model of narrative clarity throughout; therefore, Ethan and Joel were being confusing on purpose. Which is obviously their prerogative. I’m just not sure whether to respect them more or less.


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