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Saturday 2 November 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Who Knows Didley, King Kraken & Eulogy (Live Review By Paul Hutchings)

Who Knows Didley, King Kraken and Eulogy. McCanns Rock And Ale Bar, Newport

The second visit to Newport’s live music scene in a fortnight and three bands very familiar to the readers of these pages. You may recall me getting all wistful about what makes a great gig in my review of the Ravenbreed gig at Le Pub two weeks ago (although the subsequent fall out within Ravenbreed was anything but great!). This was another in your face live at the local event which to me is where the pulsing heart of the entire rock and metal live music scene lives. Three cracking bands giving it their all regardless of the size of the crowd, all musically superb and a genuine love of what they do.

First up was Eulogy (9) who are maturing like a fine wine. Bolstered by the recent arrival of guitarist Darren Harris the band ironed out the technical demons and launched into a robust and thunderously heavy 40 minutes which was absorbing. Harris has given Eulogy a bit more beef and the duel guitar work with Mike Williams is working nicely. Anchoring the band, drummer Darren Goodwin held things steady, his harmonies with Williams and front man Neil Thomas one of many highlights. Thomas possesses a fantastic voice and once again used it to the full. Highlights of a set crammed full of goodies included Falling, Back To Life, Life That Once Was Mine and the fabulous Blood Red Skies which closed out their set. Always great value, Eulogy should not be missed if they are in your area. They play Fuel in Cardiff on 9th November should you have nothing else on that night.

It goes without saying that I’m a big fan of King Kraken (9). I’ve seen them loads this year and every time they continue to impress with different aspects of their show. I raved about them two weeks ago and this show was no different. Once again, they simply steam-rollered through the bar, causing the innocent bystanders supping their ale to nod heads and roar their approval. Although guitarist Adam Healy was decidedly peaky, his pallor mirroring his mustard trousers, his playing was as fluid as always. An eight-song set list provided more Kraken for your (hypothetical) money, and the additions to their set were well worth it. Veins and the fabulous Clutch grooved new song Chaos Engine slotted well into the set, the band tight, easing their way around the new track with firm yet careful steps. Front chunk (©Steve Moomin Jenkins) Mark Donoghue stalked the dance floor with menace, although his willing victim on Kidnap (a certain Mrs H) appeared to enjoy the encounter far too much. Kraken are moving to a heavier, thunderous sound and I for one endorse this totally. With news that the band will grace the O2 in Birmingham in February for HRH Metal breaking in the same week, the future continues to look exciting for one of South Wales’ most impressive outfits.

As frontman Paul Matthews noted in their set, there were no headliners just three bands giving it their all. He’s spot on and Who Knows Didley? (9) are a band that are quietly growing on me every time I see them. The band is now one cohesive unit, tight and composed which allows Matthews to lead in style from the front. Although his barefoot bravado was a worry given the smashed glass on the floor just an hour earlier, Didley totally demonstrated why they were deserving of a slot at Cwmbran stadium the following night. Tunes from Mindless Suburbia continue to worm their way into the consciousness, All Your Wishes highlighting the perfect combination of hard rock and pleasing harmonies. I’m sure the band went down a storm at the Cwmbran stadium. Another outfit who should soar in 2020 and who brought another great night of South Wales hard rock to a fitting close.

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