(review by steve rastin)

The decision by the venue to change the gig nights from a Wednesday to a Thursday is an example of a good idea badly executed.

The reason for the change – continuous clashes with Champions League football on the big screen – was a valid one, but it was put into practise with immediate effect and this caught most punters on the hop.

The result has been poor attendances for the last couple of weeks after the venue had been building up a pretty good momentum, but at least last night’s show displayed the first shoots of recovery.

Singer songwriter Daniel James opened the evening’s live entertainment and he played a short(ish) and very sharp set of wholly original material that was well received by a crowd that was admittedly still sparse at this point.

Daniel is the ultimate romantic troubadour, taking his songs of love and lust into virtually every watering hole along the North Wales coast and in most cases winning over his audience on his terms.

There’s no attempt to curry cheap favour by slipping in a few cover versions, he demands to be judged on his songs alone and it’s certainly starting to pay dividends – bugger me, I even found myself humming the tune to “This Is Romance”, far and away his best song, over my breakfast this morning!!!

After An Alibi have risen from the ashes of The Dirty Words and, given that this was just their second gig, they have plenty of promise.

The early part of the set was hampered by a loose cable connection on the PA but once that was sorted they motored through a set that touched bases with most of their declared influences such as Paramore and, when AAA were at their heaviest, Avenged Sevenfold.

The triple harmony vocals worked particularly well, the set was bilingual which will obviously bring them to the attention of the Welsh media fairly rapidly and all in all things are looking reasonably rosy in the After An Alibi garden.

Ether have grown from the ashes of the likes of DXP and The Asbos (I think!) and are rapidly establishing a good reputation down the Vale of Clwyd, though I think this was their first foray onto the coast.

These guys don’t mind chucking a few covers into the front of their set to get the crowd onside but to be fair to them they veered well away from note-for-note copying.

Kicking the set into life with a heavily rocked up version of “You Sexy Thing” and with a funk version of “Another Brick In The Wall” as a big crowd pleaser, they finished the set with a smattering of their own songs that, in all honesty, sounded every bit as impressive as the covers.

“The Prayer” in particular is a song that is begging to be recorded properly, slow burning from a muted, restrained intro into a full-blown majestic anthem.

By the end of the set there was a reasonably healthy turnout in the venue and this should only increase as word spreads about the change to Thursdays.