Midasuno

Monday 29 November 2010, 12:01

James McLaren James McLaren

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In September 2001 I was in Manchester for In The City, an annual music conference and new bands festival, checking out the Welsh talent for the magazine I was editing at the time. One of the bands I'd not heard before, but this teenage foursome crammed onto a triangular stage in a tiny venue down a grotty Mancunian side street blew me away.

They were called Midasuno, they came from Merthyr Tydfil and were 18 or 19. They played with a chaotic passion that was very different from the other bands coming through at that time. I liked them enough to ask them to be the first band on the record label two friends and I wanted to put together.

Midasuno in 2002

Midasuno in 2002

Despite some great reviews in all the national music magazines and an exhaustive touring schedule, they didn't exactly set the world on fire and split up a few years later, after three record labels, a couple of line-up changes and an on-the-road rockumentary book written by Welsh author Rachel Trezise.

However, they're getting back together in their original line-up for a one-off show in Cardiff on 4 December. You might expect general ambivalence, but they've had to move the show to a bigger venue after significant interest.

Midasuno in 2010

Midasuno in 2010

It had struck me during the preparation work for Bethan Elfyn's Start Something Radio 1 documentary that Midasuno were cropping up in quite a few bands' reasons and inspirations for starting their own bands. Influence is something that trickles down the years, cropping up in unexpected places and in unexpected ways.

I bumped into Scott (now frontman of Cardiff noiseniks Exit International) a few days ago and we had a quick chat as to why suddenly a lot more people wanted to come and see them now than ever they did a few years back.

He gave the classic example of Swedish punks Refused, who split before it became clear that their canon of work (most notably their 1998 final LP The Shape Of Punk To Come) was influencing musicians across the world. You could also give examples such as Fugazi or Quicksand, whose sales have always been massively outweighed by their influence.

It seems to me that no matter how hard a band may feel they're banging their heads against brick walls at the time, it may be that their importance - locally, regionally, nationally or internationally - can't yet be fathomed. That's no succour in the face of poverty and public apathy, I know, but it's something.

What this means is that some years down the line, people who have been influenced by the band, or who look back at seeing them with a great deal of affection, are willing to part with their cash to see them one more time. If it can work with Shed Seven, it can work with anyone.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Midasuno again as it's going to be a bit nostalgic, highly exciting and - if I know the band - ridiculous. They're being supported by fellow locals S.K.W.A.D. (of a similar vintage) and youthful newcomers Reaper In Sicily.

It's amazing that the simple passage of time means that instead of Midasuno playing to a couple of dozen misguided fanatics, they're playing in an 800-capacity venue. And that's encouragement to all musicians.

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