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   The Men They Couldn't Hang, Llandeilo, South Wales, 21-Sep-2002

Venue White Horse, Llandeilo, South Wales. 3 hours drive from Rickmansworth, mostly M4. Saturday 21st September 2002.

TMTCH line up:

Swill Odgers,
Stefan Cush, (playing again in his home town)
Paul Simmonds,
Ricky McGuire on bass,
Spot (a friend of Cush's) on drums,
Dave Kent strengthening vocals & adding harmonica.

The venue was in the front courtyard of the packed pub, just off the main street, reached via a narrow alleyway which was half taken up by a hot dog barrow ! Event part of Llandeilo Festival or "Gwyl" as they say in those parts. This courtyard was roofed by what looked like the same blue + white striped tent-like structure which had been in The Castle for last year's Llandeilo gig.

Not much happening at 8 o-clock so went + had an Indian opposite (claimed to be chicken madras, but consisted of lumps of chicken in the sort of sauce to be had in a carton from the average chippy). Also, ordered a beer there, expecting it from the draught tap on the bar, but the waiter poured it from a can when he thought I was looking (booze cruise import ? Tasted OK, so who cares).

By 9pm, the tent in the White Horse was heaving with people, but no sign of any live music or musicians, although Mark (who I met in the Indian), reckoned he'd seen Cush around earlier. Although billed as an acoustic night, the gear set up on the "stage" (top end of the tent) suggested otherwise.

The bars in the pub itself were unapproachable due to the mass of people, but there was a very efficient temporary bar set up outside. Use was made of this and of the outside benches round the back where there was room to move while waiting for things to start.

After hearing some tuning up, the tent was revisited and this way in found me a place at the front standing about 2 feet behind the mikes ! Exception to this was taken by Mick, a local who coincidentally I'd met in the Castle last year, who reckoned he'd been there since 8am to get such a good place !

After a bit of twiddling of knobs on the amps to stop feedback, the Men began (as often) with Wishing Well.

There was a slight delay while more knob twiddling went on, as Swill reckoned his guitar couldn't be heard. Sound levels weren't as deafening as they had been in the Castle, even stood right between the speakers - I've been at gigs where the sound of the drums has been set to an overwhelmingly high level - not the case here. The gig progressed through the set list of old favourites:

Ghosts, Smugglers,
Dog's eyes,
Greenback Dollar,
Shirt of Blue.

Interval, which didn't last long before Swill & Dave Kent were back on stage with a superb version of Barrett's Privateers - one of my favourites.

Swill then picked up a guitar & started Red Rocks of Spain, (to be on new album). After a few bars, he decided he couldn't play that particular guitar, so started again after changing it !

The band gradually returned to increase the line up, Tony Harris went round with the bucket for monetary contributions (there had been no admission charged to wonder in off the street !), & Cush explained how funding was going towards financing the new LP. ("It's not an effing charity" or words to that effect !) Still no sign of the drummer though, who incidentally put in a thoroughly competent performance (when he was there), as it was the first time he had played to some of the songs.

The Bells (which means something special to Cush, apparently), Clouds of Colwyn Bay,
Silver Gun,
Singing Elvis,
{Drummer returned about now I recall}
Proud Mary,
Green Fields of France,
Ironmasters for finale, to great accompaniment of jumping around & spilling of beers at the front.
Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (Welsh National Anthem - Land of My Fathers)

No time for encores, it was 11:40, but still time to try & sell CDs. Mud, Blood Beer, Brighton Sessions & O&S Folk at the Fortress were on offer at £10. I bought the latter, as I hadn't got around to buying it from the web site - a good listen for the way home. Verdict: well worth the money.

Failed in attempt to relieve Swill of set list - it had been promised to two people already apparently. Back to the White Hart for Jack Daniels nightcap.

No repeat of last year's attempt by local nutter to join in on the mike during Barrett's (which had spoiled it), but different chap started a song of his own til Cush persuaded him to go elsewhere. I know that Wales is the land of song, but the inhabitants must get confused between karaoke night & an official gig.

Quote of the night - Dave Kent, in complementing the skills of the lighting engineer !

A grand night out, thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks boys.