Latitude 2009

Gruff Rhys and Euros Childs: Wales’ finest stun in Suffolk

As Uncut’s temporary Welsh psych-folk correspondent, I’m pleased to report that the – admittedly small – scene is in fine fettle.

At the Sunrise Arena, ex-Gorky’s frontman Euros Childs has a difficult time. The bill is seriously over-running, the sound is atrocious and Childs has to teach his guitarist the keyboard line to one song – in the midst of all this, though, Childs proved he’s one of the UK’s greatest and most overlooked songwriters.

Unfortunately ignoring tracks from his fantastic forthcoming album ‘The Miracle Inn’, Childs concentrated on songs from previous albums ‘Chops’ and ‘Bore Da’, including the nursery rhyme-esque ‘Ar Lan Y Mor’ and the strangely moving tale of corpses in the snow that is ‘Stella Is A Pygmy’.

By the time ‘Sandalau’, a paean to a child’s plastic sandal, closes the set, Childs has the crowd in the palm of his masterly hand.

Skipping over to the Uncut Stage, we’re amazed to report Gruff Rhys is even better.

Performing from inside a giant cut-out of a television, with a special ‘Candylion’ test card behind him and singer Lisa Jen, Rhys warped tracks from his recent album into sublime techno-folk, half Krautrock and half flamenco.

By the time the 14-minute masterpiece ‘Skylon!’ rounds off the set, performed by Rhys and Jen on airline seats, the singer is looping tacky disco beats, lightning generators and SFA-style electro-terrorism over a tale of airborne terrorism. Even the idiots in straw cowboy hats can’t spoil the perfection for us.

Words: Tom Pinnock


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