Monday, January 23, 2017

The quiet revolution

Typical. No sooner have I moved back to Cardiff than its vibrant music scene takes not one, not two, but three potentially severe hits.

2017 began in inauspicious fashion with the news that Castle Street/Womanby Street institution Dempseys is to close for refurbishment. It was the upstairs room there that the indiepop club night Twisted By Design - as namechecked in Los Campesinos!' 'You! Me! Dancing!' - called home, and indeed it was there that I saw an early show by the band, a month after they'd supported Broken Social Scene at the Point.

To add to the depressing situation, the Moon Club just around the corner is also going to be refurbished and will reopen as a roots-music-themed cocktail bar, while over in Newport, the landlord at Le Pub is selling up.

There is some optimism with regard to the latter two cases - the sale of the Moon Club will allow the former owners to concentrate solely on its downstairs venue, the Full Moon, which is expected to play host to more gigs as a result, and those involved in Le Pub are looking into establishing a co-op and setting up somewhere else in Newport an arts centre that caters for music fans. It's also cheering that since I left in 2007 a few new venues have opened up, most notably Tramshed and the Globe.

The situation with Dempseys looks bleak, though, with owners Brains apparently having little interest in retaining its capacity to host occasional gigs. The city will certainly be poorer without it.

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