ROXANNE DE BASTION | LIVE REVIEW
The Plan, Cardiff, Thurs 20 Nov
Fizzi Events have run monthly events at the Plan, in Morgan Arcade, since July, under the banner Encôr At The Plan’, and it’s easy to see why they have developed a brilliant reputation. Bringing together a wide variety of entertainers, in one of the capital’s most justifiably popular spots to grab a cuppa, the addition of delicious buffets, craft beers and vintage clothes stalls serves to make these events amongst the most enjoyable nights out in Cardiff.
A frosty Thursday night saw a varied and enthusiastic crowd flock to the Plan, to be entertained by Crosskeys-based poet (and Costa Book Of The Year nominee) Jonathan Edwards; a man whose gloriously inventive metaphors (“lions, sunshine with teeth”) and almost childlike ability to hand control over to his imagination, make for hugely enjoyable poetry. Dreaming up situations in which Evel Kneivel takes time out of his schedule to leap over the whole Edwards family, or in which America cancels Wales, Edwards’ humorous delivery set a suitably upbeat tone for the night.
Next was Jess Hall, a singer endowed with a soaring vocal range, and a talent for writing wonderfully illustrative lyrics, whose happy reminiscences of time spent living in Wales are as well received as her delicate songs. Her a capella delivery of folk standard I Will Give My Love An Apple, is a highlight, and sends shivers down the spines of even those huddled under blankets outside the café.
Headliner Roxanne De Bastion plays with such obvious joy and unabashed love for her craft that it’s impossible not to be swept along. Stamping her scarlet boots and grinning broadly, she has a full café entranced up until the last moments of a closing cover of Dylan’s It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. Drawing on her Seeing You EP and full-length The Real Thing, De Bastion’s original material bears comparison with Laura Marling’s modern approach to folk, while demonstrating an obvious familiarity with the great American singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s. An animated crowd laps up every note, with curious passers-by nosing the steamed-up windows to see what all the fuss is about.
words and photo HUGH RUSSELL