Daniel Knox – Clwb Ifor Bach (22nd January 2016) – LIVE REVIEW

This Daniel Knox article was written by Bethan Brace, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Evie Myers.

Deep in the heart of central Cardiff, down an alleyway that belongs in the opening scene of a gritty crime drama, lies Clwb Ifor Bach. Known affectionately as ‘The Welsh Club’, the tiny, intimate and completely unpretentious venue ensures that there’s nothing to detract from the simplicity of brilliant live music.

Kicking off the night was supporting act Ivan Moult, who managed to steal the heart of every woman fortunate enough to hear his beautiful, dulcet tones.  His folky voice was slightly reminiscent of Paolo Nutini.  This coupled with a guitar technique that seemed influenced by John Martyn’s ‘Bless The Weather’, he created a soothing sound somewhere between a lullaby and a sea shanty.

The second support act, Albatross Archive, seemed to be the love-child of a quirky boy band and a musical theatre student.  Clunky piano, bold vocals and enthusiastic drumming were accompanied by a visually stunning graphical display.  This unique aspect brought a whole new emotional dimension to the performance.  Despite the band being seemingly unable to decide on one genre of music to stick to, their dramatic delivery was enjoyable, both to watch and listen to.

It’s a rarity to hear an artist telling an audience to ‘shut the fuck up’ and for the audience to respond with a chuckle, yet it’s a feat that Daniel Knox managed to achieve. It soon became very clear why he has developed a cult following including the likes of David Lynch and Jarvis Cocker.  His hugely compelling and simplistic performance summoned images of watching the sun set with a whiskey in one hand and a cigar in the other, weeping over photos of past lovers.

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His delicately melancholy baritone vocals, accompanied by a single keyboard, completely dominated the room.  Be it about an imaginary friend, moving house or time travel, through witty nastiness and dark humour, each song told a story.  The bitterness and poison of his lyrics provided a perfect contrast to his hypnotic vocal work, creating a twisted dichotomy between the beautiful and the spiteful.

Conjuring a dream-like atmosphere, the audience were completely entranced by his commanding and enigmatic presence; they were allowed a fascinating insight into his dark interpretation of the world.  A truly gifted pianist and lyricist, a larger venue would’ve detracted from the intimacy of the performance, the pinnacle aspect that made the experience so hauntingly spectacular.

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