As a music photographer there's nothing I love more than capturing unique moments, so when I heard that Manic Street Preachers frontman James Dean Bradfield was going to be the special guest at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Mynyddislwyn Male Voice Choir at Newbridge Memo I knew I had to capture the once-in-a-lifetime event for posterity.
With my brother Dave in tow I foolishly followed my SatNav up a vertical side-street to nowhere before eventually finding Newbridge and its stunning Memorial Hall. Not knowing what to expect from the event we were pleasantly surprised to be thoroughly entertained and moved by performances from the choir before they were replaced on stage by Tom Jones proteges from The Voice, Into the Ark for their first live performance of the year. The local duo soon had the audience in the palm of their hands during a short set of original numbers and inventive covers before finishing with a stirring version of Hallelujiah with the choir.
The second half of the show featured a whistle stop tour through the history of the Mynyddislwyn Male Voice Choir before we were treated to exactly what we'd hoped for. Rather than a standard acoustic performance from JDB we were fortunate enough to witness a one-off collaboration with the choir. In a brief but magical set James led the choir through a rousing version of Elvis Presley's American Trilogy then, after explaining that his uncle used to perform with the choir, finished with a wonderful performance of the Manics' working-class hymn A Design For Life.
Relaxing in the bar after the show my brother Dave Burnett was ecstatic to see James stroll through and, in his own words, like a drunken rhino locked in and managed to grab a selfie with the dazed star before he knew what hit him. In his defence he did grab some excellent footage of the performance of ADFL which you can view on his youtube channel here.