The Horror …

Halloween weekend was just as crazy as you’d expect in Aberdare. This reporter called into a town centre pub for a livener on Friday afternoon, to be met by barmaids in fancy dress.
‘Oh, if I’d known we were gearing up for Halloween, I’d have come as Professor Snape’, he joked. Then he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror behind the bar and found that he already had.
From there to Jac’s, where Friday night was a freaky frenzy of fun and frolics in the company of three fine bands, two of whom were simply names I knew from around the Aberdare scene.
Dead Shed Jokers got things off to a wicked (geddit?) start, with a powerful set of melodic hard rock. Versatile musicians all, the front line guitarists swapped from lead to rhythm to bass without any effort. As happens so often these days, I found myself wondering how I’d gone so long without catching them live, and making a point not to miss them next time.
The same can be said for Heavy Flames, whose dark bluesy sound set the perfect mood for the weekend. One of my friends remarked later on that he couldn’t believe I’d never seen them before. Neither can I, to be honest, as they seem to have played in every pub with a decent performance area. I must have been going to the wrong places until now.
There was a ‘Brucie bonus’ in the form of Henry’s Funeral Shoe, but I didn’t especially rate them when they were active on the scene. Instead of listening, I schmoozed some old pals of mine at the bar. A heady mixture of alcohol, nostalgia, cajolery, bribery, blackmail, and threats of violence means that I now have an opening act for the charity evening next May (of which more later).
The headliners were more old pals of mine – the ever-brilliant Cripplecreek. Currently a five-piece beat combo, they’ve reconvened after a long absence from the Aberdare scene (Carl, their drummer, spent several years in Australia) and you would swear they’ve never been away. Tight, melodic, powerful, and energetic, they were every bit as good as the night they trousered a cheque for £1,000 in Hereford, nearly two decades ago. Due to finish at 11.30, they were still firing on all cylinders at just before midnight. To judge from their previous form, they’d have played until the sun came up without stopping for breath.
Unlike your humble reporter, who is definitely getting too old for all this …

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