Blakeson - Writer

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim"

I was half-expecting not to enjoy Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, despite having been a fan of director Edgar Wright’s previous work. Prior publicity had focussed on those of its constituent elements – video games, graphic novels, the romantic entanglements of people younger and more attractive than myself – in which I have a limited interest. So I was delighted to find myself enchanted throughout, thanks not only to the vivid and highly imaginative comic-book-inspired story-telling style, but also a witty script, over-stuffed with pop-culture references; resonant themes (becoming a responsible adult, dealing with other people’s emotional baggage); and winning performances from all concerned, particularly Kieran Culkin as the hero’s gay roommate, and Ellen Wong as the wronged under-age girlfriend. Every bit as clever as Inception, and more affecting, being on a recognisably human scale, despite the pyrotechnics. And no film which features a bass-guitar duel can be all bad.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jolly Boys in Cardiff - "Golden Brown"

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cardiff Big Weekend 2010

Mercifully, the Cardiff Festival Big Weekend 2010, one of the highlights of the year, and apparently the UK’s largest free outdoor music event, was largely unaffected by rain. Thus on the Friday night, devoted to new Welsh music, I managed to catch Racehorses - attractive, sunny, melodic guitar pop, with numerous rock-out moments; and Los Campesinos, the Cardiff University-founded eight-piece who managed to be both raucous and nuanced, and seemed puzzled by the emo mosh-pit (formed, I guess, in anticipation of headliners The Blackout), which at times seemed to transform itself into a massive game of Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses - the lead singer deigned to leap in towards the end of their excellent set.

Saturday was “world music” day, but I restricted myself to The Jolly Boys: imagine your Jamaican grand-dads playing indie classics in a vintage folk-reggae style (“The Passenger”, “Golden Brown” “Perfect Day”, “True Faith”). Delightful.

The first band I caught on the eclectic/crowd-pleasing Sunday line-up were Fenech Soler, whose shiny, vaguely edgy electronic dance-pop was highly attractive, despite its trendiness. Next up were New York’s The Phenomenal Handclap Band, who purvey the kind of folk-inflected hippie dance-rock which might accompany one’s getting stabbed by Hell’s Angels – perhaps self-consciously anachronistic, but just the job for a sunny Sunday. I didn’t stay for Feeder, so my headliners were the magnificent Athlete, one of the great almost-lost pop bands (who I saw several years ago on a memorable night at the Barfly, along with Longview and The Leaves) - they played all the hits and more, and the hearteningly large crowd seemed highly appreciative.

One sincerely hopes that this event survives the public spending holocaust.