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Holy Moly and the Crackers – Concert Review

I had no high expectations when booking Holy Moly and the Crackers, I had seen a few videos and really liked what I heard but what I saw last night had my mind and senses “working overtime”.

The band had informed me that they would be providing their own support act – who happened to be their drummer Tommy Evans – who would give Keith Moon a run for his money. Tommy appeared casually and understated on stage to perform on guitar a set with the bands two guitarists (one on drums, this is where the instrument swapping starts, showing what versatile musicians the whole band are) that was so powerful and raw and included a mix of blues and rock classics that you really wondered how on earth were the band going to follow that. A truly amazing start to the evening, I along with many others thought perhaps we had seen the best of the evening…but we really should not have feared!

The band appeared on stage with lead singer Ruth Patterson coming on stage on her mobility scooter as a few years ago when a teenager she was diagnosed with chronic arthritis. Conrad Bird who shares the lead singers Holy Moly and the crackers concert reviewrole elegantly scooped Ruth off her scooter and placed her on her designated stool. What was to come from Ruth was a performance full of energy and charisma  that I have not seen from many artists…oh and what a wonderful voice, crisp and sensual that rang round Acapela’s high ceiling and her violin playing added so much to every second they are on stage.

The band proceeded to play a set of songs and instrumental numbers with their raucous instrument-swapping, squeezebox-growling, fiddle-shredding, brass-howling hoe-downs, from which the group have been able to hone a sound that is organic and invigorating – forged in the sweat and heat of the live show.

In addition to Ruth, characters abound the stage so that your eyes have to be everywhere. Conrad is a ball of energy and threw every little bit of strength into his mesmeric performance with his growling voice adding extra punch to the sound. Rosie Squeezbox is undoubtedly a fashion icon but her squeezebox provides a very dynamic punch to the bands unique sound. Tommy Evans now back on drums explodes continually with a riotous display of energetic drumming and discards clothes all night leaving the crowd wondering where would he stop!!

The band played to an audience that in truth, I would assume, had never heard of the band but by the end of the evening , everyone was on their feet giving a standing ovation which encouraged the band back on stage to perform a final encore.

I went home not being able to sleep, so excited and thrilled by what I had experienced. It doesn’t happen very often when a concert makes you feel so great – the last time it happend was a couple of years ago when I saw Archive in concert at the Zenith in Paris….but when it does …gosh it is good.

Paul James Programme Director



Barb Jungr Review

Barb Jungr in concert Cardiff WalesJungr, as you might expect of an artist who’s played every cool joint from London’s Ronnie Scott’s to Manhattan’s internationally renowned Jazz cabaret venue the Metropolitan Room, is a consummate professional. When her take of “Ring Them Bells” veers off track, she stops the song and slips seamlessly into a humorous anecdote about an embarrassing hospital visit during a heatwave in New York. Suffice to say, the legendary folk singer Odetta wasn’t best pleased that Jungr had turned up without phoning ahead! More often, however, Jungr’s between-songs patter is a means of illuminating the source material, serving to enrich the understanding of each concertgoer. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, introduced as one of Dylan’s ‘mean love songs’, is prefaced by an audacious attempt to psychoanalyse Joan Baez’s ‘churlish mood’ throughout D.A. Pennebaker’s classic documentary, Don’t Look Back. After a short discourse on the balance of power in the Dylan/Baez romance, Jungr comes down on the side of Baez, seeing her as the wronged party in the affair and having to endure a very public humiliation to boot.

Jungr is accompanied for the evening by pianist Jenny Carr, a classically trained musician with experience of working with a variety of appealing pop acts from Billy Ocean to Imelda May. Crucially, Carr was also part of the original Every Grain of Sand tour and has played on several Jungr records, most recently 2012′s Stockport to Memphis. Consequentlythere is an easy-going vibe on stage, with Carr happy to play “straight man” to the irrepressible Jungr. The first of two 45-minute sets comes to end with a dramatic retelling of “Shelter from the Storm”, a tune arranged by Grammy award-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood.  Jungr is happy to clue the audience into the pair’s initial meeting, where Hobgood, upon hearing that there were a clunky ten verses to tackle, suggested cutting the song down to size. Jungr’s response to such a sacrilegious request is instructive – ‘No.

To read the review in full visit Wales Arts Review

It’s now official – Acapela is the Best Music Venue in Cardiff!

It’s now official Acapela is the Best Venue in Cardiff!

We are delighted to announce that at the Cardiff Music Awards last night Acapela Studio won the BEST INDEPENDENT VENUE award.

We would like to thank our loyal and enthusiastic customers who made this happen. The evening was amazing and with 20 awards the BEST venue category was the 18th awarded on the evening, so as you can imagine nerves were increasingly being tested as we awaited for several hours before we found out our fate!

But it was worth the wait as the results were announced the 500 strong crowd went wild (OK perhaps not all of them …but the Acapela team that was there certainly did) as Hywel sprinted onto the stage to pick up the award before they discovered it was a mistake!! Happily it wasn’t a dream and the venue walked away with the prestigious prize!


The award tops a great year for Acapela which has seen :

  • Over 100 events including many major international stars
  • Improved facilities including renovation of the bar and paths outside
  • Introduction of our very popular wood burning pizza oven
  • Studio recordings including Sir Bryn Terfel, Paul Potts and many more
  • Upgraded sound equipment to make the highly regarded Acapela acoustics even better

We have exciting plans to develop the venue programming and facilities further but this does require that we receive even greater support in 2018 and 2019. So please do spread the word about what is going on at Acapela to ensure that we can continue to bring the very best artists to Pentyrch.


Possibly the best concert weekend ever!

Stickmen CardiffLast weekend saw two very different sell out concerts at Acapela Studio Cardiff.

Kicking off with the Stickmen (Tony Levin of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame) the Acapela audience were treated to a wonderful collection of Stickmen and King Crimson classics. The amazing Tony Levin on the Chapman Stick showed why he is one of the most impressive bass players on the planet. The high intensity and driving rhythms saw the venue “shaking” with the electronic sounds of the 3 superb musicians present.

On Sunday singing legend – Moya Brennan, the Voice of Clannad- produced another stunning show. Very different to the Stickmen the subtle sounds of the harp, violin, guitar and keyboards mixed with Moya’s incredible voice produced one of the most amazing performances of the year. The sound quality of the concert was truly awesome and as one punter was quoted leaving the venue ” the acoustics were stunning, like listening to a CD in my living room!”Moya Brennan Clannad in concert Cardiff Wales

All in all two concerts, very different but equally memorable. It’s what makes Acapela very special.

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