Originality. In a sea of lame copycat artists, slouching their way into the spotlight, with a pocket full of half-baked tunes, Mr Gruff Rhys modestly stands his ground, and stands head and shoulders above your favourite band. An embarrassment of riches, really. Gruff casually mingles with genres like the genial host at a very memorable party, stopping to chat and tell tales and make sure everyone has a drink and a laugh.
And he makes Welsh like an opera. See, most of the set is in English but quite a bit of it is in his mother tongue and before those songs, Gruff reads a little from the libretto, setting the scene for the song, and the backing visuals tell us half the tale so there is no mistaking what those Welsh tunes are about. Which is fucking clever, if you think about it. A lot of thought has gone into those backing clips (was that Iggy’s torso split screened onto a ballet dancer’s legs?). But a lot of thought has gone into everything about the show really; and tonight it shows. So damn smart, funny, original and generally, casually brilliant. Y Niwl are the perfect foil for this joyful madness, adding new colours and shapes to the tunes. Did I mention it was funny too? Did I have to? I haven’t laughed that much since I last saw a press photo of Kasabian.
Smart, fun and tuneful, who could ask for anything more? And no, he didn’t play any SFA tunes. There wasn’t time or need.
Really though, a National Treasure. No kidding.