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Music review: Rogue Jones at the Tangled Parrot, Swansea

15 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Rogue Jones in animal masks at the Tangled Parrot in Swansea, image by Sarah Morgan Jones

Sarah Morgan Jones

Rogue Jones is a band that knows how to have fun. In the last of a short series of intimate gigs before heading off to the Green Man festival, they shared their superbly crafted brand of it with a hugely appreciative audience.

Described on their Bandcamp page as being named after a descendent of Gelert, Wales’ most famous dog, the Rogue Jones project has West Walian duo Bethan Mai and Ynyr Morgan Ifan at its core and ‘increases exponentially when playing live’.

Crammed into the tiny and charming Tangled Parrot café and independent record shop on Swansea’s High Street, seven of the nine-piece line up of the band made the small and dedicated audience laugh, sweat, sing, dance and daub their cheeks with glitter gel.

Between those seven musicians, the collection of instruments included sax and trumpet, guitar and bass, cello, keyboards, synths, tambourine and hypnotically energetic drums.

Dressed in ‘Rogue Jones red’ and initially appearing in animal masks (which given the tiny stage and the mass of instruments, they quickly abandoned as ‘a terrible idea’), they led the audience along a joyful and expanding path, skilfully, raucously and unapologetically.

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The fizzing and dramatic performance peppered songs from their debut classic, VU, alongside those from the critically lauded Dos Bebés, including the relentless Triongl Dyfed, Babette – which Bethan Mai said came to her fully formed in a dream – and their current single Off By One.

Fans of the band will be familiar with their tender, quirky and philosophical lyrics, sung in Welsh and English, and it was like running into an old friend when they kicked into Halen with its moving message to hang on in there.

From there, the pace continued to increase, in sideways and onward strides, through deftly dealt with occasional technical issues, before reaching the climactic Lemonade at which point Bethan Mai finally burst out of the confined space afforded by her keyboard and snare drum, and took to the floor with the audience, her tambourine and trumpet.


Positive kinetic energy is woven through their performance and its endorphin effect is written all over the faces of the band and their audience.

That all this energy was contained in an such a bijou space did not dampen it at all, but rather gave the impression that fireworks had been lit in a tin box and were ever teetering on the verge of a mighty boom.

Next month the band take to the Garden Stage at the Green Man festival, and if last night was anything to go by, they will have more than enough in the fireworks and fun department to meet the challenge.

You can listen to Rogue Jones on Spotify and Soundcloud, or buy their albums on CD and vinyl in all good indy record stores and from their Bandcamp page. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for news. Dos Bebés is engineered by Frank Naughton and released by Libertino.

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