DESPITE the seat format hampering the acts at times, Pontio's latest cabaret gifted two equally mesmerising acts to a rapt, sell out audience writes Duncan Rieder.

Although the occasionally Wrexham based three piece The Trials of Cato were billed to headline the show, they arrived at Cabaret Pontio on Friday, January 17 to find their perfect foils in their fellow BBC 2 Young Folk Awards darlings Tant.

Denbighshire Free Press:

Steeped in traditional Welsh folk, the engaging five-piece support act Tant were every inch the equal of the headliners

With heart aching five part harmonies layered with harp and guitar accompaniment, the seriously impressive trilingual band - hailing from across North Wales - were greater than the sum of their parts from start to finish.

Effortlessly deploying their formidable combined vocal range on everything from sunny percussive Vanessa Paradis covers, songs of hiraeth and saying never again to the drowning of the Celyn, the band are certainly worthy of their own Cabaret.

Following the bright, 'Yes Cymru'! earnestness of Tant, The Trials of Cato - as befitting the classical stylings of their name - come to stage for a set that harken back to something a little more ancient sounding.

From their thumping, trad Scots folk styled opening the band are all about the 'Celtic connections' and sound certainly more mature than their years would suggest with sad songs about dead Scottish soldiers. Indeed, there's almost something of the Clancy Brothers about their sound on Tom Paine's Bones.

From their song Gawain things really begin to move up a gear for the band, ye tit's hear you begin to wonder if perhaps, given the line-up, the evening would have favoured something more akin to a Ceilidh Pontio.

For a moment, it's hard not to wonder 'what if?' and think about how much this fabulous pairing would have soared under the flickering Pontio gaslights had someone moved the tables to the side of the dancefloor to allow for some more energetic engagement.

It seems as though one audience member agrees, yet when she understandably struggles after a mini stage invasion to match the insane time signature of the Macedonian folk rave encore, perhaps maybe the Cabaret setting was just right.