ENCOR AT THE PLAN: H HAWKLINE & CHRIS JONES | LIVE REVIEW
The Plan Café, Cardiff
Thurs 31 July
Having earned considerable merit for best cup of coffee in the city as well as being rated one of the top 50 cafés in the country by The Independent, The Plan Café is now turning its attention to live music. With the input of the very capable Fizzi Events team, they have successfully hosted a first in what will now be a monthly arrangement. Encor At The Plan is an evening of music in a quaint, intimate space, perfect for showcasing the visionary musings of the introspective singer-songwriter.
Kicking off with generous platters of mouthwatering food on the ground floor and a micro-flea market with merchandise from Spillers, Kelly’s Records and craft and vintage stalls upstairs on the balcony, there was plenty to keep patrons happy from the outset.
Chris Jones was the first to hush the room with his warm, full voice. His set was derivative of British folklore, recounting the often bittersweet tales we hold in our tradition. Of particular distinction were interpretations of the Welsh and Irish ballads Ffarwel I Blwy Llangywer and Next Market Day. He expertly communicated with the audience (those that weren’t busy chatting) and between performances he told the backstories of his songs with a quiet, comforting charisma. Also a versatile guitarist and bouzouki-ist (my name for them), the fluid interplay between the instruments and his vocal was a delight to behold.
To complete the evening, we heard the untamed tones of H Hawkline, the alias of Welsh artist Huw Evans featuring the “quietest guitar in the world” – his justly named ‘Will o’The Wisp’. Evans strummed a set of groovy, grungy tunes with particularly striking lyrics and melodies; with this unadorned setup, just him and his acoustic, his songs seem to have great clarity. He is oddly articulate in his colourful words and I seemed to take great pleasure in attempting to decipher his psychedelic profundities. I don’t think I’m anywhere near figuring out A Dirty Dream About Dogs though, which he insists may or may not have happened… Stand out moments were the very catchy You Say You Love Me and the more upbeat and snappy Black Muck.
It’s necessary to reuse the word “standout” because it so aptly applies to the evening as a whole. It was such a thrilling accumulation of great food and great entertainment and it surely deserves to be a staple in our live music scene.
words CHARLIE PIERCEY photo KEVIN PICK