The happenings are happening again. Chapter may still let the odd artsnob bulbhandler through its doors, but the recent refurbishment has left the two upstairs rooms available for musical funtimes again. In Chapters mixes literature gubbins with booze-soaked musicians, local hairy man Ollie has plugged his Six Glass Fingers monthlies back in, while this here evening is the second Grapefruit night – weirdness, collaboration, adventure. Hail! The Planes are a solid opening shot, their mixture of spidery, violin-led post rock, quiet, intense folk songs and slight air of poshness giving them a unique, ghostly feel. When they connect, it’s bewitchingly good, as in the gorgeous final song, either a Dirty Three cover or a note perfect imitation (I forgot to ask – damn you simultaneous cider festival). A quick changeover and it’s Cook & Capper, serial organisers and collaborators Matt and Eugene, and 20 minutes of improvised messiness. Their playful back and forth is brilliant – drum machines at varying tempos, sudden bursts of trebly guitar, more unspooling violin. A fidgety, itchy, sporadically beautiful set you’ll never see again.
Did I mention there’s free vinyl too? Thank you arts funding, I will take a copy of field recordings from all over Wales, with oblique meditations on place written on photographic inserts. The album’s ‘Rhan Gwaith Rhan Amser’, and Sam Hasler, with gentle voice and massive barnet, reads what’s written over Richard Huw Morgan‘s countrywide sounds. Don’t make that face: it’s a great poetic flight from city strife. To the end with a small man in natty pinstripes. Meilir plays mournful laments on guitar and piano, slowly affecting stuff that incorporates both hugely swelled vocals and a streak of experimentation – witness the forays into gravel stomping and thumb piano fondling. And not quite the end either – the Grapefruit TM is gathering all players on stage for one final blowout. Amongst the multiple guitars, violins, keyboards, gravel, sampled conversations and smiles tonight there are moments that weirdly, genuinely recall Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s massed noise. You can find a lot in quiet corners.