Brecon Bad

The climb out of the Severn valley, first thing, was fairly brutal. This was followed by several more ascents as we made our way up through the Forest of Dean and out onto the hills towards Abergavenny…

Heart-in Mouth Moments

The terrain then became more friendly, with beautiful, rolling hills and quiet roads. Some stretches of main road did, however, give us flashbacks to yesterdays heart-in-mouth moments, as drivers thought it OK to speed past on blind corners. But the views were lovely: initially back over the Severn estuary and later out towards the Brecons.

After passing through Monmouth and across its historic bridge, we found ourselves passing Rockfield studios. I had the pleasure, not too long ago, of recording there (on drums) with ‘I Smell Burning’, so called in to see if the engineer, Jack, was around. However, there was nobody in the gift shop and we didn’t want to intrude unannounced into the studio itself.

Quirky, Tumble-Down Rooms

The descent into Abergavenny was dramatic and steep. Having only shortly before refuelled, we pushed on through the town. From here to Brecon, the landscape remained pretty and enjoyable: with (mostly) gently rolling hills and pleasant wooded valleys.

Arriving in the town, our digs appeared to be in a disused antiques shop. However, we were shown by our hosts up some stairs to a quirky, half-finished set of tumble-down rooms, perched on a steep incline behind the old shop building. Above these was an overgrown, terraced garden, which gave amazing views over the rooftops to the hills beyond.

'Brecon Bad' - a Band named Brian's Just Songs tour blog - part 3

For the second night running, our gig had been inexplicably cancelled. This was made all the more galling by the fact that people in the Brecon Tap, where we drowned our frustrations, knew about us. They said, they’d normally direct diners over there, once they’d finished their meals. And we were later joined by a young woman, who’d come especially to see us, then ended up at the pub after finding the venue shut.

'Brecon Bad' - a Band named Brian's Just Songs tour blog - part 3

Her name was Lola and she was quite a character. She was travelling around in a live-in vehicle, finding places to walk, skateboard and attend festivals. We had a lovely chat with her and some of the locals. Together, they reconfirmed our impressions that this is a particularly hospitable and friendly part of the world.

Take a Chance on Something New

So, what is going on? My feeling is that ticketed events are problematic. Venues that see few advanced sales then get twitchy and worry about covering their costs. What they are overlooking, however, is that we also have costs to meet and an income to earn. Not to mention the sheer effort we have spent in getting to their location, as well as the months of planning that have preceded all of this.

And I don’t think these venues are doing themselves any favours either. If they have faith in their own programming, they should ensure everything goes ahead, regardless of attendance. There will inevitably be quiet nights. But it’s important that local people know there’s a regular supply of top-quality entertainment. Then, they will be more inclined to take a chance on something new.


In any case, after this second night’s disappointment, I was determined not to let it happen again. Although, as previously mentioned, there was a dent to our morale, we knew full-well that what we have to offer is substantial and would be well received.

Just give us a bloody audience!