Monday, March 17, 2008

Jon Langford at Dempsey's

A couple of weeks back I went to see Bloodshot Records stalwart (and punk legend) Jon Langford perform live at Dempseys in Cardiff (see pic). The purpose of the gig was to raise money for a book about the history of Garndiffaith RFC to be put together with the help of local socially excluded kids. You can find out more about the project here.

It was an enjoyable occasion - a fine mixture of punk and country reflecting Langford's Gwent/Chicago cultural heritage. He kicked off with a version of Delilah, dropped references to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and John Sicolo who runs TJs in Newport. At one point he was even joined by Carlton B Morgan on harmonica.

Between songs Langford entertained the audience with amusing rock'n'roll anecdotes delivered in the kind of transatlantic-Welsh accent that Catherine Zeta Jones would be proud of.

As he sang one number - dedicated to a Newport undertaker - a Welsh dragon unfurled on the flag pole outside the window behind him and waved defiantly in the stormy Cardiff night. Langford was of course completely unaware of this uncanny meteorological backdrop but it looked kind of impressive. God was evidently on his side.

Later on after the show photographer/psychologist Joni Karanka and I had a quick chat with the singer during which he explained the difficulties of getting a pint in Finland. Apparently Finland's strange alcohol laws combined with the disorienting nature of their long sunlit days plus the idiosyncratic architecture of your average Finnish hotel makes getting pissed a complex and labyrinthine process. It clearly isn't always easy being a rock'n'roll troubador.

*More info on Jon Langford's music can be found here. And you can buy his much sought after artwork here.