wed 19/01/2022

Yes is More: Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, Tramshed - utterly convincing | reviews, news & interviews

Yes is More: Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, Tramshed - utterly convincing

Yes is More: Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, Tramshed - utterly convincing

Welsh independence gig brings positivity and power to a growing movement

Charlotte Church hosts her Late Night Pop Dungeon

Compared to Scotland, Welsh independence has yet to hit the mainstream. The idea has been mostly supported by the Welsh-speaking population, with opinion polls hovering around 19 per cent. It’s fallen to Super Furry Animals keyboardist Cian Ciaran to change this with the Yes is More campaign.

On Friday night, Cardiff’s Tramshed played host to a mini festival of music, food and discussion, with the aim to engage the public in its political and social future.

As line-ups go, it was a hell of a launch event. Mainstream appeal was clearly the target, with self-proclaimed “prosecco socialist/dank dungeon bitch” Charlotte Church (main picture) supported by some of Wales’s hottest new acts, including Boy Azooga, Astroid Boys and Los Blancos. If that wasn’t enough, electro-funk records were spun by Gruff Rhys, Gwenno and Don Leisure (Darkhouse Family) between acts. Unsurprisingly there were no tickets on the door – you’d be hard pushed to find a cause that this bill couldn’t sell out.Boy Azooga the the TramshedIt was a true representation of the country’s varied talents. Los Blancos began the night, bringing slacker sensibilities and heavy melancholia to an already bustling Tramshed. By the time Boy Azooga (pictured above) came on, the crowd were positively enraptured. The Heavenly Records four-piece had already graced the stage only a few months previous at Sŵn Festival, and they again proved they’re packing out venues. Big riffs and melodic introspection alternate through three-part harmonies, further evidence that they’re one of the most musically accomplished new acts in years.

Boy Azooga’s heavy hit “Loner Boogie” proved the perfect appetiser for the following set; Cardiff’s own Astroid Boys don’t do subtlety. It’s an all-out audio assault, with frontman Benji roaring grime bars over metal guitars. Things take a turn into Outkast territory with the Wurlitzer/bass grooves of “Sticky”, but intensity is the driving force here. The crowd are whipped into a frenzy on closing song “Dusted”, lines spat at 120mph and leaving everyone desperate for breath.

Charlotte Church at the TramshedAny other gig would be proud to call it a day there, but securing Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon was a huge coup for Yes is More. Rarely spotted outside of the festival circuit, Church’s modus operandi is deceivingly simple: the best covers played by the best musicians, compiled with a muso’s taste and a partier’s enthusiasm. Missy Elliott was mixed with Black Sabbath, Justin Timberlake led into Radiohead, Beyoncé lyrics sang over 10cc. In one fascinating sequence, Robyn’s “With Every Heartbeat” went into the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial soundtrack via “The Flower Duet” by Leo Delibes. It’s seeing an act at a festival play their biggest hit, sustained for an hour.

The ambition is almost as impressive as the execution. Church’s voice soared above her supergroup, bending itself to the genre of each song. No-one could’ve predicted the voice of an angel could growl to Nine Inch Nails’s “Animal”, but here we are. Flanked to her right were an impressive four-part glam choir, boosting every chorus with harmonies and even taking a few solos themselves. As Church points out, “the Dungeon is a democracy.”The Tramshed, CardiffPolitical statements from musicians are often stigmatised, so what was most impressive was the open, enthusiastic and positive nature of the whole event. Between sets, inspirational quotes and informative videos played on the screens. This was not a nationalistic cause; it encouraged people to engage with their country and tackle the inequality it faces (with West Wales being the poorest area in Northern Europe). On stage, most of the acts avoided any activist statements, but this was an undoubtably Welsh event. As a country famous for its singing, the Tramshed became an 800-strong karaoke to Church’s Pop Dungeon. It was irresistible, it was inescapable, and its finale was inevitable. A national anthem that rivalled any rugby international, sung in full voice by the entire venue (pictured above). If this night was the start of the Welsh independence conversation, then even the most ardent Unionist can look forward to further talks.


It was irresistible, it was inescapable, and its finale was inevitable


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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