Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit – The Glee Club, Cardiff 13 April
Tonight is a kind of homecoming show for Johnny Flynn, although truth be told the same could be said if he was to play in Hampshire, Johannesburg or his adopted home of London. This man clearly likes to get about, hence the running theme of his third studio album “Country Mile” which is all about life’s journey, trajectories, relationships and how we see the world (and each other). This of course is set to a backdrop of Johnny’s brand of Folk/Rock which tonight finds him on familiar turf in Cardiff.
The venue (about two-thirds full) sees 18 year-olds happily mingling with those the other side of 40. Johnny opens the show with “The Ghost Of O’Donahue” as the audience intently listens on. This sets the tone perfectly for the evening ahead. Johnny with The Sussex Wit expertly guide us through new single “Bottom Of The Sea Blues” which meets with universal approval. As you might expect, Johnny’s music flourishes live as we hear “Murmuration”, a gorgeously textured “Brown Trout Blues” and a captivating rendition of “Lost And Found”. We have to inch our way further into the set before Johnny seeks us out for a bit of a chin-wag as he ruminates about his time growing up in Cardiff, with a few (well received) Welsh phrases thrown in for good measure. It’s at this point the dynamics of the show shift away from Johnny on stage towards something more communal. Picture Johnny playing in your living room, with a group of your closet friends and your about halfway there.
As Johnny begins the intro to a rousing “Country Mile” he abruptly stops and admits that every time he plays this, it always leads into” The Queen Is Dead” by The Smiths cue much laughing/cheering from the crowd. With an abundance of material to choose from, slimming it down to about an hour and a half was going to be a challenge. But the set had all the perfect ingredients, in the right order and nobody was going to go hungry. However it’s the songs from “Country Mile” that for me proved the most filling.
The show closes with a 3-song encore (After Eliot, Fol-De-Rol, Eyeless in Holloway). So the night has come to an end, the die-hards leave happy. There is still a much wider audience that awaits Johnny Flynn, it’s time to play catch-up!
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