Gwdihw, much like the little owl from which it takes its name, is one Cardiff venue that comes into its own in the late hours of the evening. In contrast to the 7,500-capacity Motorpoint Arena towering above it just over the road, it’s a great low-key setting for DJs, singer-songwriters and tonight, ‘riot jazz’.
Bass Twelve bring up a few questions: When did brass bands gain such a huge student following? And how does Coldplay’s ‘God Put a Smile Upon Your Face’ work in a funk and ska style? But this is anything but an inquisitive crowd packing out the building tonight, a sweaty world away from their December busking. Running on the time schedule you can expect from a Ronnie Scott’s late late show, there’s been an hour or so of drinking time before the main act take to the stage. Mission statement: “Playing until they kick us off”.
From the opening ‘Get Lucky’ cover, there’s so much dancing on and offstage, there’s not much separating performers from revellers. Spanning the ages from Bobby Womack’s ‘It’s All Over Now’ up to Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’, the set list is nothing if not all-encompassing. Original ‘Blissful Ignorance’, making its first live appearance tonight, gives a chance for the band to shine. And shine they do, be that Tim West and Andy Thompson on trumpet, Jack Lewis and Andrew Mitchell on trombone, Matt Poad on percussion or the triple sax attack of Jack McDougal, Becky Gardner and Harry Henshaw. It’s even the final show for Rob Stevens on tuba, but the band are having too much fun to make this an overly sentimental farewell.
Also, reward the person who came up with the idea of mixing John Williams’ Star Wars music with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Thrift Shop’. In the case of Bass Twelve at Gwdihw, “This is fucking awesome” seems somewhat fitting.