Gig – Festival of Voice, Tramshed in Cardiff

On 9th June 2016 Scritti Politti performed in the Tramshed in Cardiff for the Festival of Voice festival.

A promo bit about Scritti and Alexis Taylor from the festival website:

Hear two of the most distinctive voices in British music at this unbelievable Festival of Voice double bill featuring legendary pop outfit Scritti Politti and Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor.

Emerging from 1970s Camden, Scritti Politti combined punk’s raw energy and experimental gritty sounds with impenetrably obscure lyrics. Despite their founder Green Gartside’s chronic stage fright and rare live appearances, Scritti gained international stardom by the mid-1980s with four critically acclaimed albums spanning soul-pop, synth funk, reggae and hip hop. Making a triumphant comeback in 2006 with their Mercury Music Prize nominated album, White Bread, Black Beer, Scritti have collaborated in recent years with artists such as Tracey Thorn and Manic Street Preachers, featuring on their 2014 album Futurology and joining the band on several dates of their subsequent tour.

Alexis Taylor is a musician, producer and songwriter from London. After forming Hot Chip with Joe Goddard whilst at school, he went on to make five albums with the now expanded five-piece pop group. An introspective singer-songwriter who plays synthesizers, piano and guitar, he has also released solo records on the Treader and Domino labels and three acclaimed albums with improvised/non-improvised music project About Group. Taylor has collaborated with Venice Biennale Award-winning visual artists Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, as well as with German producer Justus Köhncke in the duo Fainting By Numbers. Recently, he also performed new renditions of Benjamin Britten-arranged folk songs alongside Scritti Politti singer Gartside.

Wales Online posted a short review: Hits and anecdotes at Tramshed prove a success for Cardiff’s Scritti Politti

It was a long-awaited return to the capital for Cardiff-born Green Gartside.

He’s not someone who treads the boards with any regularity, such is his chronic stage-fright – but, for the criminally small crowd who half-filled the city’s Tramshed, it was an homecoming like no other as he and his band produced a cracker of a set that featured hits and more.

First up was Alexis Taylor, the Hot Chip front man performing with the aid of just a piano and percussionist.

A friend and collaborator of Gartside’s, his solo material is far removed from his heavily synth-influenced band, playing songs from his latest album Piano and featuring a lovely chilled version of James and Bobby Purify’s R&B classic I’m Your Puppet.

But it was Scritti Politti and Gartside that the enthusiastic crowd had come to see and, on his arrival they responded with a cheer normally reserved for a Gareth Bale hat-trick.

Looking slightly nervous at first, Gartside quickly showed how pleased he was to be home with a odd fact, that his grandfather had worked at the very same venue when it was a tramshed, with his other job being a city lamp-lighter, and then effortlessly breaking into the excellent Sweetest Girl.

In between songs Gartside regaled the audience with tales about some of the songs. Sweetest Girl was written with a duet in mind including reggae singer Gregory Isaacs and German band Kraftwork.

Whilst Isaacs responded in the affirmative, the was no reply from Kraftwork.

Years later bumping into the band he asked Kraftwerk if they’d heard the song. Yes, Gartside was told, but, “We hate reggae.”

Still the anecdotes were flowing with Gartside explaining the story of one song, Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder.

Pursued by top music manager Peter Asher, a trip to the Hollywood Hills and a meeting found Gartside without a guitar, Asher said he would find him one and produced a guitar belonging to the great Joni Mitchell, a rather surreal moment followed by Gartside started the song, which was later finished whilst sitting above a dentist’s in Newport.

It seemed every other song was a hit with The Word Girl, Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) and Hypnotise all sounding as fresh as the day they were released, 30 years ago.

Asylums In Jerusalem, a song Gartside said had only been played once before was quite stunning with the able assistance of his seriously funky band, and, whilst not resting on his laurels, a recent song written with and performed with Tayor, Airforce 2, proved that a new Scritti Politti album would more than a match for anything previously written and on tonight’s performance, one certainly to look out for in the near future.

Some video’s recorded that evening.



The setlist

  1. The Sweetest Girl
  2. A Day Late and a Dollar Short
  3. The Word Girl
  4. The Boom Boom Bap
  5. Jacques Derrida/Come Clean (Jeru the Damaja cover)
  6. Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry for Loverboy)
  7. Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder
  8. Slow Deceit
  9. Die Alone
  10. Asylums in Jerusalem
  11. Medley [I Wrote This Song For Today, You Don’t Love, Hair Pull, Slyday Morning, Two Years Ago, Mother Succubus, I Wrote This Song For Today (Reprise)]
  12. Airforce Two (with Alexis Taylor) (New song written for this gig)
  13. The Soldier and The Sailor (Benjamin Britten cover) (with Alexis Taylor)
  14. Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) (with Alexis Taylor)
  15. Absolute
  16. Encore: Petrococadollar

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