First appeared on Never Enough Notes on September 6 2011.
This is Swansea band The Pooh Sticks’ last ever show in Wales. Probably. Buoyed by a successful comeback after 15 years at last year’s Indie Tracks, the band have decided to give gigging another go for a limited time only.
It’s clear, from this packed room of raucous and excitable indie pop fans to Pulp’s successful reformation and performances at this year’s Reading and Leeds, that there is still a place for old-school indie pop in 2011. And it seems The Pooh Sticks can be thanked for this continuing success as Pulp, The Cranberries and Cast all supported them back in the day. As singer Huw Williams told the “South Wales Echo”, ‘it was quite depressing, supporting The Pooh Sticks meant that you were going to be selling hundreds of thousands of records two years later’.
Huw went on to have a successful career behind the scenes in the music industry, and that was that.
Tonight they are back at Cardiff’s Globe, a venue which has the Cardiff rumour mill in overdrive as at closes, opens, closes and changes hands. It is well and truly open for business now though and security must be biting their tongues as The Pooh Sticks continue to be a band they should issue hard hats for on the door. An inflatable pink ball bounces overhead throughout the set, including hitting most band members in the face at least once. There are also low flying chocolate éclair sweets, and a number of cardboard placards lovingly crafted by the band bob among the crowd stating things like ‘Swansea Posh’ and ‘Indie Pop Extremist’.
Indie Pop Extremists is a good description for The Pooh Sticks as they storm through their set, selecting songs from their history including the ‘early funny ones’ (complete with cardboard placard), and their more mainstream power pop tracks like “The World Is Turning On” from their 1993 album “Million Seller”. Williams has just the right amount of bravado and sarcasm for a frontman and long-term guest vocalist Amelia Fletcher also gives a great performance, impressive as it‘s her second set of the night after supporting with her band Tender Trap.
With every band member having so many other projects on it’s hard to say when they will gig again and whether the threat of this being their last ever Welsh gig will be realised. But when the time and place is right there is always room for the placards and self aware indie songs to return.