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Rock'n'Roll Void-Oid Boys and Girls Sweet and Sour Swansea Sound Washes Over JQ

Rock'n'Roll Void-Oid Boys and Girls

Sweet and Sour Swansea Sound Washes Over JQ

by Ancient Champion, Columnist
first published: February, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

I thought they were talking about David Sylvian. Did anyone ever gob on him?

Swansea Sound
Live at the RocknRoll Brewhouse
Jewellery Quarter

The night was awash with water like the entire contents of the Swansea sound (Bay doesn’t alliterate like I would like…) had been sucked up and dumped on Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. In Sharknado style that deluge also included former members of Talulah Gosh, Death in Vegas, the Pooh Sticks and several more mentionable members of indie royalty, depositing them all onstage in front of a sold out crowd at one of Birmingham’s loveliest rooms for rock, The RocknRoll Brewhouse.

It’s the enthusiasm of broadcaster and writer Adrian Goldbeg that fetches these acts into town. He swims against the tide, defiantly eschewing the dispiriting ‘flyover country’ reputation Birmingham has engendered amongst indie promoters. This is not anecdotal, I spoke to a promoter about a hugely acclaimed band for idiosyncratic tastes, doing the London-Manchester-Bristol bops… There’s a Birmingham sized hole in the middle of that and of so many bands’ touring schedules and I needed to discover why. The evidence was galling and hurtful. And do I have to ask one more time, when is our Rough Trade coming to town?

I don’t want to digress. I mean, I am just not the sort that would do that to you. Swansea Sound are pretty fucking cool. From the very start, Bob the guitarist boots up something raw on his 72 Thinline, the one with the fat pickups. That kicks it off. My notes scrawled in the darkness are terrible of course, but that doesn’t mean I am unhappy with them. “I saw the Ramones when I was thirteen,” may well have been the opening line from a song that is most likely titled by its refrain, Rock’n’Roll Void. And I am a little bit transported, with fragility and more slowly of course at my age. And with such little remaining sense of spatial awareness, somewhat carefully.

What else do I have here? Adroit use of the tambourine - by Amelia Fletcher CBE. CBE? Possibly not for the tambourine that gong, although it could/should be. Maybe vocal harmonies. Maybe for her work as a Non-Executive Director of the Financial Conduct Authority (2013-202). I recommend a vibraslap if you need to be busier? Then they reminded the audience “No Gobbing!” Perhaps nothing could have been further from our minds, Amelia vividly recalled an incident during David Vanian’s sojourns into the world of punk spit. I was confused, I thought they were talking about David Sylvian. Did anyone ever gob on him?

There was something beautiful and amazing about the raw guitar-drum-bass sound, Hue’s stagecraft and vocals, Amelia’s harmonies and those punk references too, it put me in a gentle on my mind version of the primitive sound of that first Night at the Roxy LP. 

Somewhere along the way I got to talking to Rob and Lynn from the Rock'n'Roll Brewhouse. Bearwood Royalty. I just love their love of music. And for keeping such a beautiful cool venue together. 

Towards the end of the set, Swansea Sound played a song for one of their heroes, Pete Shelley. Although I am thinking maybe Amelia’s might also be Thomas Piketty and they have yet to have a song for him. Not the ‘Love Me Love My Dog’ Peter Shelley they helpfully explain. The Buzzcocks Pete Shelley. It’s a song worthy of the great man. The Buzzocks were the first band I ever saw when I was 15.

Swansea Sound online here→
Adrian Goldberg is online here→
Rock'n'Roll Brewhouse here→

Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT while relentlessly recording and releasing instrumental easy listening music for difficult people. The Champ is working on Public Transport, a new short story collection that takes up where 2021's Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere (Disco City Books) left off. It should be ready in time for the summer holidays. More info at

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