(review by neil crud)

Dewi Gwyn & myself were escorted into Rhyl by his brother Aled who was in a rush to get to a wedding/funeral reception. He was in such a hurry that we left the House of Crud at 8.15pm & got to Rhyl at 7.45pm!

The Breeding Ground – lets say those words again; the Breeding Ground. It is not a new idea to have an alternative venue in Rhyl. We’ve had the Anti-Disco, The Gallery, Trotters, Def Con 1 & The Stand, all similar ideas trying to reinvent themselves but coming up against the same problem, a double-edged sword, one blade is very blunt & called Apathy. Everyone complains when there’s no alternative to the nightclub culture in Rhyl & the same people do nothing to support a venture when it does come to fruition. The other edge to the sword is equally as blunt & it involves shit. Basically shitting in your own backyard; there will always be elements in Rhyl intent on leaving as many turds floating in the soup as possible & then complain when the soup goes off. Thankfully these people are in the minority.

Just about everyone plays in a band or knows someone who does. 10% of those bands at present are very very special, 60% are very good & the remainder have some catching up to do, that’s not slagging them off, its just a fact (&/or my opinion).

Babakin fall into the middle bracket, they are very good & they were quick off the mark to turn political agenda into entertainment with a Foot & Mouth stage set. Donned in white ‘culling’ suits & a Prohibitive sign on display, all they needed was a few dead sheep to finish the job. I saw Babakin over 6 years ago when they supported Sons of Selina, quite fittingly at a farm in the outback of Abergele (see review). They were then as they are now; a power-pop band with a strong yet relaxed stage presence & excellent bassist. Whereas Rhyl is a sea of music swimming with life, Colwyn Bay long been a stagnant pool with only heavy rock covers bands (& 4Q!) to please the public. Hopefully Babakin & the likes of Wild Mornings can reverse this trend.

People play in bands for varying reasons, we all dream of being adored by millions of fans & leaving a £1000 tip at a restaurant but we are also realists that to the majority of us this is never going to happen. So it becomes entertainment – the band is there to entertain but the band members must also be entertained. When TBG turn down a band because they’re not good enough its up to that band to prove them wrong. My advice is don’t form on a Saturday, record a demo in the week & expect a slot the following weekend, only crap Welsh language bands can do that & be on S4C within 7 days & even they get sussed out eventually. The proper way is to get gigs under your belt, in schools, out of the pubs, college bars & youth clubs. Crowd reaction is usually the best form of feedback & will help you gauge just how good you are, which brings us on to Bradford’s Goad.

If the clapometer was working it would have read a minus as the polite applause from the Easter weekend audience soon disappeared. Perhaps The Cardinals from Manchester were right & North Wales is 2 years out of date, or perhaps it is that the ‘new indie’ from the big cities sounds suspiciously like dodgy Hazel O’Connor B-sides with unusual drum timings. The interest had all but died away as Goad began their final song, for some reason singer Licia Graves stopped it into the opening verse, the guitarist wanted to carry on but Licia literally took his guitar off him & they left us to await Fudged.

For all its nostalgia & also being a great place to go, The Bistro had the potential to be a great venue, but pressure to bring in punters led to bands being booked weekly & inevitably the pub rockers playing pub rock in an ‘alternative’ night-spot became commonplace. Don’t get me wrong, there were some fantastic nights at the Bistro but I thought live music should’ve been once a month. Personally I would stretch TBG to every 3 weeks out of season & the impetus is now on the organisers to keep it fresh. So far, so good, the sell by date is still way off & the added ingredient of big name bands like the forthcoming Spear of Destiny gig puts a feather firmly in their cap. So Mr Big Time now have to keep everyone’s taste buds satisfied, you can only book the same bands so many time in a short space of time. I know there is a lot of work behind the scenes to pull bigger bands & I’m pleased the policy of tight lips (oo-er) has been adopted until something is confirmed.

So if you slag TBG off at present then your mind is very narrow & very small, as you’re slagging people off trying to do something that you can’t, & that’s provide entertainment & a purpose. You can always go back to the days of the occasional show upstairs at the New Inn you like.