Live Review Gwenno / Omaloma – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 10.3.18

It was an altogether strange atmosphere in the bar prior to Gwenno’s appearance in the Community Room of Leeds’ fine Brudenell Social Club. Due, in no small part to the differing clientele. Fans of the Welsh chanteuse (I’m taking the lead here and referring to her as such) fell broadly into the 6Music target crowd (guilty) of approaching (or maybe denying) middle age and interested younger, psychier (if that’s not a word then you know what I mean) crowd. Next door, in the main room, were punk heavyweights The Exploited who brought with them a generally genial crowd of their own punk heavyweights…(you see what I did there, right?) along with associated skins, outsiders and their younger, newer versions.

As the crowds separated to their respective (and no doubt very different) performances, it was almost ironic that despite their differences both crowds were there to see outsiders or sorts. It’s just that Gwenno wraps her outsider music up in wavering, woozy synth lines, minority languages (her first album was in Welsh, her second in Cornish) and these broad pop psych brush strokes, whereas Wattie Buchan and his band were maybe a little less subtle (but no less effective) in showing and galvanising their outsider credentials.

Although not quite full, those who came to witness Gwenno and the similarly soft Welsh odd-ball psych of a support band Omaloma were in for a treat as both bands dealt (and delved) into pastal shades and synthy pastoral moods to take us on a trip, or indeed trips. Omaloma make likeable and melodious music, and the band showed their chops switching between instruments and delivering on point intricate tales of life in the valleys and overbearing robot overlords and the like. No, seriously.

Keep an eye on them, they use their likable charm to woo you into falling for them

(click on the images to see them fully)

Gwenno proved to be a genial host for the evening and an engaging frontwoman. Her band delivered the funk and psych (no captials needed, or wanted- for either) and spewed their synth/folk/psych vibes liberally around the room to an appreciative audience who threw themselves (some of them towards the front, almost literally) into the experience. Largely mined from her recent, brilliant, Le Kov album, the band opened up with the records opening track hi a skoellyas liv a dhagrow, but did include a couple of gems from her 2014 solo debut Y Dydd Olaf – Chwyldro and fratolish hiang perpeshki. Throughout, Gwenno talked the audience through the set, explaining the whys and wherefores before throwing herself into the performance, followed unquestioningly by the superb band, and it made for a brilliant evening, topped off with the singalong Eus Keus, that sent us off past the punks, revelling in our little bit of outsider music.

(click on the images to see them fully)

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