December tends to bring out snow, good cheer and, in Swansea, great gigs.
Cats in Space’s ‘Day Trip to Narnia’ tour returns to South Wales, this time with their new lead singer Mark Pascall, and with South Wales favourites, ‘Hand of Dimes’ to support them on their short pre- Christmas run.
Compére Pete K Mally announced the support band onto the stage with his usual good humour and the Patti Pavilion was soon filled with NeV MacDonald’s velvet tones greeting people as they as people came through the doors. The bands bass player, Mark Maybry, was absent, but Dominic Hill (Buck & Evans) did a superb job filling in for him. With Colin Edwards (Guitar), David ‘Dino’ Stephenson (Drums) and Neil Garland (Keyboards, Harmonica), they entertained the audience brilliantly. Hand of Dimes are a great band to watch. taking tracks from their album ‘Raise’, they had the Welsh crowd joining in with favourites including ‘Jacobs Ladder’ and ‘Sail On’, they were the perfect choice to open the evening. Its been a while since the album was released, but midway through the the set, they played a new track which bodes well for the future.
HoD are a band that is a tight unit on stage, and always entertain the fans - picking up new ones along the way. They have widened their audience in 2019, and gained many new fans in various parts of the country. Miss them at your peril.
Pete grabs everyones attention again, announces the headline band, and their entrance music starts. Those in the audience old enough to remember it joined in with 1970’s glam rock band ‘Mud’ with - not surprisingly - ‘The Cat Crept In’.
The band kick of the set with ‘Johnny Rocket’ from the most recent album ‘Day Trip to Narnia’. This is the first time we have heard Mark Pascall on vocals since he took over earlier this year. He puts his own stamp on the performance, and his voice is a perfect fit for the musical style.
The tracks are full of harmonies, and Mark blends his well with the more mature sounds of Greg Hart (Guitar) and Jeff Brown (Bass) who have superb voices and massive ranges themselves. It is captivating as the 6 Cats take the audience on an adventure through three superb albums.
Dean Howard (Guitar) unleashes his talents on an audience that is enjoying every second of the show, whilst Andy Stewart fills out the sound with his keyboards and the solo intro to 'The Greatest Story never Told' is captivating.
As the set draws to a close, the audience are cheering - thoroughly enjoying the musical feast. The band leave the stage and the hall darkens. As if summoned by the audience, Steevi Bacon (Drums) returns to the stage and we are entertained by a superb drum solo before the rest of the band join him for 'Thunder in the Night’. Cats in Space are a band that take you back to the 1970’s glam rock era. To the days when the ‘Christmas Single’ was a tradition welcomed, and the commercial fight to get the coveted ‘number one’ slot. What a fine way, then, for the band to finish the show with their own, 2019 single ‘My Kind of Chritsmas’. A superb track that thoroughly deserves the chance to get to the top of the singles chart - and in proper Christmas tradition, we have confetti canons from the stage, and a snow canon in the balcony showering everyone with Christmas cheer.