LIVE REVIEW: Tarantism Acoustic Disco @ Ruperra Arms (28/01/23)

Tarantism Acoustic Disco lands in New Tredegar.

With visitors from that there England due on the weekend,  we had spent two weeks wracking our brains what to do on Saturday the 28th. Then, as if like magic, on the Tuesday we spot that the amazing Tarantism Acoustic Disco will be playing the Ruperra Arms in New Tredegar. Sorted. With bells on.

Although it’s only five miles away, and I regularly drive through the village, New Tredegar is not somewhere I’ve ever spent a lot of time in.


We used to stop there on the way to watch Cardiff City playing away up north. Darcy Blake, Cardiff City and Wales defender lives there and his parents would get on our bus. If he wasn’t in the squad,  he would sometimes get on the bus with us. I’m not sure this counts, as I never got off the bus.

The only time I can remember actually setting foot in the town I was knocked out with one punch. There was a mass brawl outside the Liberal Club following their regular Sunday night ‘disco’ (Studio 54 it wasn’t). I wasn’t actually involved in the brawl, I throw shapes, not punches, but I was not from New Tredegar,  which was good enough reason to spark me out from behind. I used to laugh at the idea you could be knocked unconscious with one punch.  Till that night.

But I digress.  I’m sure they won’t remember me. It was forty years ago after all.


We arrive at the Ruperra early. Despite it being a valleys pub, in the middle of a long valleys street,  in a small former mining town in the valleys (Population 5,000. I’m tempted to actually call it a village), The Ruperra is thoroughly modern and clean inside. The locals (I’m fairly confident they were all local) are in good cheer, many of them singing along to ABBA,  who are blasting out of the modern Juke Box.

We get drinks and take a seat before spotting Disco Magnus and go over for a chat.

For the uninitiated, The Tarantism Acoustic Disco is a side project of Mel and Magnus from festival legends,  Tarantism. (There is also a Hawkwind connection,  but we won’t go there for now.) With the main band scattered to all four corners of the UK, getting together has been an increasingly difficult logistical problem. So for the last few years, Mel and Magnus, who currently live together in Tenby, have been doing an acoustic duo thing performing Disco and nineties dance classics in an acoustic folk style. And it’s been going down rather well.

It’s a simple concept.  Magnus plays acoustic guitar and kick drum. Mel sings,  plays whistles and occasionally shakes things and bangs things together. They play disco tunes,  in a folky style. Add dancefloor,  light the blue touch paper and stand back.

I’ve seen their show many times and they are normally a guaranteed floor filling act. Tonight is a bit different though. Normally they play gigs and people come along to the gig specifically to see the ‘band’. Tonight it appears that the majority of the crowd are here because they are local, and come here every Saturday.

Most of the blokes are sat around a big table watching football on the telly, whilst most of the girls are in their finest  nightclub outfits on the verge of being ready to party.

Tarantism are here to please the masses,  and they do in a rather strange way. There are occasional forays onto the dancefloor,  but most of the time people stay where they are, and dance there. Guys strut around the pool table in time with the music, girls sing along in their seats and the guys watching football put their hands in the air like they just don’t care.

We get the likes of ‘Dub be Good to Me’, ‘Groove is in the Heart’ and Donna Summers’ classic,  ‘I Feel Love’.

We also get a new one on us, a medly of Shamen Tunes. With them getting out more often in this format,  they need to expand their repertoire.  Especially as they have a three week residency in a club in Birmingham coming up.

When people do get up, they throw some decent shapes and not one person danced around their handbag. Their were smiles all around,  from the bandit to the bar, and I think I can say with confidence,  fun was had by all.

Then it came to an end and the karaoke kicked in. Even more fun was had.

We get the vibe Tarantism might be invited back.