Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jimi Hendrix in Cardiff

If you were a Welsh Jimi Hendrix fan in 1967 then Cardiff was definitely the place to be. American guitar God Hendrix performed twice in the Welsh capital that year. His first visit came in April at the Capitol Theatre where he was low down on a bill that included The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and, er, Engelbert Humperdinck. However, post-Monterey Pop Festival, his stock had risen so dramatically that when he hit south Wales again in November he now topped the bill (see pic). Also on the menu of this grade 1 psychedelic package was Pink Floyd fronted by a still (relatively) compos mentis Syd Barrett. And lest we forget our own Andy Fairweather Low - head honcho of Welsh band Amen Corner - graced the stage that night, too.

In the audience at the Sophia Gardens Pavilion (now a car park) was a certain Nick Kent who would go on to become a renowned rock critic but who was then just a youthful resident of Llandaff. In his excellent new memoir Apathy for the Devil (2010) he talks about this gig as being a formative experience. The sight of Hendrix performing onstage whilst clearly out of his head had a big impact on the impressionable scribe. So too did the vision of young female fans (and fellow attendees of Llandaff Cathedral) attempting to grope the legendary axeman’s genitalia. Oh those Howells sixth-formers.

*Apathy for the Devil is published by Faber & Faber and is on sale now. Nick Kent will be appearing at the Laugharne Weekend 2010.