This gig at the Barfly isn’t really anywhere near being sold out; unfortunately there are at least two other gigs going on in venues a short distance away, so many of those who would normally be here are elsewhere, still though, the atmosphere is sparkling, probably due in part to Jonah’s boundless enthusiasm in his music and his faith in the audience, and it doesn’t take long before it rubs off on all those present.
When you go to a Jonah Matranga show, you know there’s always going to be something special about it and even after seeing him perform several times over the last few years, that is still true tonight. The added extra at this gig comes in the form of Attention, not just his support band but also a band made up (mostly) of the former members of Gratitude, Jonah’s last experiment with being in a full band. The band may not have lasted very long, but obviously some of the friendships stayed because they are backing him up on his set as well as playing their own.
The first half of Jonah’s set is made up of quieter material, just him and a guitar and as always when he plays in Cardiff he’s supporting the local indie record shop by wearing his Spillers Records t-shirt, it’s a nice little touch. He plays tunes from his onelinedrawing and Jonah Matranga records; he performs a range of sing along and feel good tunes, but real stand outs are an a cappella version of ‘Greatest Wonder’ which sounds beautiful and is filled with emotion, Far track ‘Water and Solutions’ and a brilliant cover of the Deftones tune Digital Bath.
The second half of his set is a very different story, still full of good tunes but much heavier as Attention join him on stage as his backing band and they launch into the more upbeat onelinedrawing tunes as well as delving further back into his back catalogue with Far favourites like ‘Mother Mary’ and ‘The System’ (which he dedicates to Funeral For A Friend because the last time he sang it in Wales with a band was with them, in Newport); and he even dips into his New End Original Days with blasts from the past in the form of ‘Hostage’ and ‘Lukewarm’. It’s really good to hear Jonah with a band again and a real treat to hear those old tunes played so well, making this another great set from him, what will he come up with next?