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The Riverside Swing Cartel - Porter's, Cardiff - August 23 2013 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 Written by Huw Baines

Here's a question for you. What do you get when you cross members of Paolo Nutini's band with Charlotte Church and a few hardy survivors from Cardiff's ska-punk scene? Well, it turns out that you get a bloody good time.

The Riverside Swing Cartel is the brainchild of Gavin Fitzjohn, most recently found providing horns on Manic Street Preachers' Show Me The Wonder, and their debut show, at Porter's in Cardiff, was a sweaty clash of rock 'n' roll standards, swing dancers and a killer band.

With a rotating cast of vocalists – including Church, Dave Mitchell, Alicia Hooper, former Shootin' Goon frontman Matt Redd and Adam Parsons, known to some as Captain Accident – the band tore through a set laced with classics, including Shake, Rattle And Roll, My Baby Just Cares For Me, Ain't That A Shame and Barefootin'.

Church took the mic for renditions of Etta James' Good Rockin' Daddy and Fujiyama Mama by Wanda Jackson, while Parsons went perilously close to stealing the show with a riotous rendition of Ray Charles' Mess Around.

Backed by a six-piece brass section, Dave Guy's double bass, Andrew White on drums, Rich West on keys and some slick leads from Nutini's long-time guitarist Donny Little, the band's display belied the meagre preparation time available to them.

The night ended in endearingly ramshackle fashion with a loose-limbed version of Hit The Road Jack, and almost as quickly as they arrived, the Riverside Swing Cartel were gone. When they will tread the boards again is currently anyone's guess, but if their collective head does pop above the parapet any time soon you could do worse than to dust off your dancing shoes.

All photographs by Jamie Allen.


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