Panic Shack – Gig Review

Panic Shack – Gig Review

28/02/20 – Clwb Ifor Bach

Panic Shack absolutely rocked Clwb Ifor Bach with an immense performance.

On what was possibly the most chaotic night of weather this year, Clwb Ifor Bach was gearing up for its most chaotic gig. Smashing into the music scene last year, Panic Shack have quickly made a name for themselves and are storming Cardiff with their live music. Following the recent release of their debut single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ next up for Panic Shack was their very first headline show, and to say I was excited would be a major understatement. Battling through the rain, I made my way to Clwb Ifor Bach, fuelled by the swirling storm and adrenaline. For this sold out gig, we were all going to be packed into the downstairs room of Clwb, which I knew would provide such an intimate gig experience. Perfect for Panic Shack.

I walked in just as first support The Mudd Club were starting their set. A punk-rock wonder to behold, lead singer Sadie was a gothic dream with fired up vocals that charged their music. I was really impressed by their sound, and even more so when I spotted their drummer. For his age this young man is insanely talented, and insanely cute too. I would describe The Mudd Club as a blend between an early Siouxsie and The Banshees meets Joan Jett. Listen to them live, and I’m sure you will see what I mean. The crowd quickly gathered as their music filled the downstairs room of Clwb, and already I could see that people were dancing and enjoying the evening. The Mudd Club were a fantastic first support, who ramped up the night with their punk-rock energy. Little did I know, they are actually siblings, which makes this band even more heartfelt and special in my opinion.

The Mudd Club

Next up, were Grandma’s House. A band that completely blew me away. I didn’t expect the sound I heard from them at all, but it was such an intensely riveting surprise. Lead Singer Yas posseses a deep coarse grit within her vocals, that tears apart your senses and enthrals you in their music. This contrasts beautifully with the vocals of drummer Poppy, adding a slight sweetness to this heavy punk infusion. The trio blend together with shredding guitar riffs and drums to provide a truly unique sound, that is unlike anything I have ever heard before. For this alone, I would say they are worth seeing live as they really will scorch themselves into your brain and leave you wanting to know more about them. Their appearance did not match their sound at all, so in this case I would say never to judge a book by its cover is certainly a statement to uphold. It was their first live performance in Cardiff last night, and the trio hail from Bristol, but hopefully they will be back on Welsh soil very soon.

Grandma’s House

The atmosphere in Clwb was electric at this point. The downstairs room was packed from wall to wall, and there was so much laughter and energy present. Whilst waiting for Panic Shack to perform I caught up with Minty from Minty’s Gig Guide, and lovely readers of my blog Sarah and Louise who came over to say hello and watch the gig with me, which was so incredibly kind and sweet. I know I say it a lot, but honestly it really does mean the absolute world to me that you are taking the time to read my writing. I love getting to meet you when I’m at gigs, so please if you see me out and about, don’t be afraid to cover over and say hello.

It wasn’t long before our headliners Panic Shack took to the stage. At this point, the crowd went wild. It was clear that there was such an overwhelming amount of love for them squeezed into that room, and they are so deserving of it. Panic Shack’s fantastically fun, tongue in cheek lyrics and catchy music brings so much happiness and excitement to wherever they perform, it really is uplifting to witness. The first time I saw them when they supported Amyl and The Sniffers in November, they brought the night alive for the crowd and me, with an exhilarating burst of energy from their wonderful persona. With an amazing atmosphere from the start of their headline set, it was no surprise that the crowd swirled and drank in the madness from the get-go. It wasn’t long before I spotted the first crowd surfer, and with craziness and glee we all danced and sang.

Panic Shack’s music is energetic-punk, consisting of humorous spoken dialogue wrapped within their songs. You feel as though you’re in that dodgy party, drinking that cheap Lambrini right there with them, as they slur and chant their chaotically fun stories back to us all. Each band member in their own rights is such an essential part of this band, that I cannot imagine Panic Shack ever existing without any one of them. They are not only friends, but give out vibes of a family. With their inseparable bond and onstage presence that is so infectious within the crowd, you feel as though you’re a part of Panic Shack too.

A fabulously fun band, that take the seriousness out of the Punk genre, by injecting vibrance and colour. With their quirky style and welcoming approach, they’re a band you can’t help but want to be friends with. Panic Shack treated us to songs such as Jujitsu Bitch, The Ick and a song all about a Tesco Meal Deal, which made everyone laugh. Lead singer Sarah reckons you can know a lot about a person by their meal deal choices, and being honest it’s probably true. The band involved the crowd by asking what’s your favourite sandwich, side and drink. For anyone curious, I’m a chicken and sweetcorn kind of girl. Needless to say though, it’s these fantastic silly little touches that make Panic Shack so brilliant and special. So many bands are agonisingly serious, but Panic Shack can laugh at themselves and have fun. Which believe it or not is a rare quality. In my eyes, and many others, this makes a Panic Shack gig an instant hit with any crowd.

To close their show, Panic Shack absolutely rocked Clwb Ifor Bach with an immense performance of their debut single, ‘Who’s Got My Lighter’. This song has always been a crowd-favourite at a Panic Shack gig, but this time there was an insane amount of energy from both the band and their audience. Honestly the place exploded. I can’t even describe how amazing it was. I could feel the floor moving beneath my feet, as the crowd went mental for this screamer of a song. Panic Shack gave it their all, blaring vocals into the crowd and playing their instruments wildly. The room swallowed the song up and the band and the crowd were at one. It was magical to be a part of.

There was no shadow of a doubt that an encore would be demanded, and our pleas were answered with a cover of a Jaxx song. As an added bonus we also had a guest drummer for this one, as Tom from Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard burst on to the stage out of nowhere, after Panic Shack asked if there were any drummers wanting to play. For one, I didn’t know he could play drums, and two he’s a very good drummer also. Seeing his face beam across the stage made me so happy, as you know I adore Buzzard’s music so this was such a nice surprise. A Panic Shack and Buzzard combination was truly dreamy.

The set came to an end, and I can honestly say no one wanted it to end, as hardly a soul left the room once the gig finished. Panic Shack had absolutely smashed their headline gig, and it was so lovely to have been there and seen it for myself. I’m sure this will be a gig in a few years time, that I look back on and think ‘Wow, I can’t believe I was lucky enough to see their first headline gig, look at them now.’ I am certain that Panic Shack are going to completely dominate live music, as they are already in my eyes. If you are yet to see Panic Shack live, you can catch them along with Buzzard at G39 in Cardiff for The Rat Trap closing party on 28th March, shortly after this they are also supporting fellow-punks Talk Show in venues across Wales. I will link the tour posters and tickets below for you if you want to grab them whilst you can. I just wanted to say a special thank you to the lovely Emily from Panic Shack who went out of her way to say hello and give me a hug last night. Panic Shack were the band that first inspired me to write on my very first blog post, and they have been so incredibly supportive since. It was very special for me to see them performing their first headliner last night, like I said, they really are not only wonderfully talented but are so friendly and such a lovely band too. Congratulations on a truly special gig, Panic Shack.

Tickets:

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/g39oxford-st/g39/rat-trap-x-g39-closing-party/e-lrmmlq

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/498665


TJ Roberts Release New Single ‘True Secret to a Happy Life’

TJ Roberts Release New Single ‘True Secret to a Happy Life’

Following the release of their debut album in November of last year, TJ Roberts are a band on the rise. Breaking out of Cardiff’s thriving music scene, TJ Roberts mash up indie and rock to create their own truly unique sound. Championed by Libertino Records who also support award-winning Welsh band, Adwaith. TJ Roberts are certainly in safe hands, and I have no doubt that their growth as a band will be sublime. 

 ‘True Secret to a Happy Life’ is the first of many new songs that we can expect to be released by TJ Roberts this year. It is also anticipated that these songs will culminate to form an upcoming second album release for 2020, which is seriously impressive considering their first album came out just 3 months ago. This makes TJ Roberts a hot new band that you’ll certainly want to keep your eyes on over the next few months.

Their latest single begins with a steady guitar riff that captures your attention from the offset. We are then met with a head-banging indie song that progresses in really drawing you in. You’ll be singing it in the shower, humming it at your desk in work and blaring it out of your car windows in no time, I assure you. The verses are charged with varying vocal and instrument tempos that really make your ears prick up, and clearly emphasise the capabilities of lead singer Tom, as well as the rest of the band. With a catchy chorus to follow, it’s honestly difficult not to like this song.

Lyrically, I got the initial impression that the songs delves into relationship issues and how they can affect an individual over a long period of time, however as the song develops I believe the lyrics delve into the bigger picture, as though these problems are a reflection on our current society at large.

The single is a brilliant new offering from TJ Roberts, after what has been a period of change and transition for them. ‘True Secrets to a Happy Life’ has given us a wonderful flavour of what we can expect from their album next release.

I have yet to see TJ Roberts perform live, but I’m sure that if not already, then following this new single they are not only on mine, but also many others’ radar. 

‘True Secret to a Happy Life’ is available to stream on all platforms NOW

You can catch TJ Roberts performing live on the following dates:

Monday 2nd March – Rough Trade, London
Friday 13th March – Le Pub, Newport 
Follow their social media accounts below if you enjoy what you hear:

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/tjroberts_
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TJRobertsmusic/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/tjrobertsband/

Twin Stranger Release Debut Single ‘Tears of Joy’

Twin Stranger Release Debut Single ‘Tears of Joy’

A synthy pop swirl, that first struck me as being nostalgic and dream-like. The song is one that I quickly found myself becoming lost in.


Led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Alex McConnachie. Twin Stranger are an emerging indie-pop band from South Wales. 

Initially a bedroom recording project started by Alex, to become Twin Stranger as we know them today, Alex enlisted his brother Liam, as well as friends, Josh Newington on bass, Joe Tobin on keyboards and drummer Eric Karvik.

Twin Stranger have started out performing across South Wales, and the South West. I was lucky enough to catch them supporting Apostle recently in Cardiff, and was overjoyed to hear their unique sound, which blossomed in confidence as their set progressed. For a young, new emerging band, Twin Stranger certainly left an impression on me, and I found myself eager to hear more. 

‘Tears of Joy’ is their debut single, released today. A synthy pop swirl, that first struck me as being nostalgic and dream-like. The song is one that I quickly found myself becoming lost in. The lyrics reflecting memories and daydreams, are encapsulated gorgeously by Alex’s soft but charged vocals, with the buzz of the guitar, drums and keyboard ensuring you stay awake. The single is a tune which you can dance to, all whilst being lost in flashbacks of your life. Scorching images of a breezy, summers day drive, with the windows rolled down, suits this song perfectly in my eyes. 

Speaking of their debut release, lead singer Alex expresses that “Tears of Joy was written from the point of view of a couple in the not so distant future, looking through a scrapbook of their lives with fond but hazy distant memories of first loves and exploring the world together. It’s about not taking things for granted, what might seem like the mundane 9-5 grind now, could turn out to be some of the best moments of your life. It’s about not wishing those moments away.”

Twin Stranger have sought influence from the likes of seventies Big Pop, and nineties Stereolab. For a modern comparison though, I would say they are a mixture of Mayday Parade meets Barns Courtney, with just a little hint of Cavetown. Through their live shows I saw soothing, sad emo-pop ballads, but debut single ‘Tears of Joy’ has hurtled me into the realms of English-American Barns Courtney, with it’s synthy-alternative twist. Cavetown is simply a mirror image of the incredible talent showcased within their youth.

Twin Stranger are a band you need to get to know. 

You can stream their debut single ‘Tears of Joy’ on all platforms now. 

To read my live review of Twin Stranger at their gig with Apostle, click here.


The 1975 – Gig Review

The 1975 – Gig Review

23/02/20Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.


Usually on my blog, you will see me reviewing gigs from emerging bands in smaller venues. Here is my first take on an arena gig review, and what other band to break that in, than The 1975. 

The 1975 on stage at Cardiff 23-02-2020

The 1975, led by frontman Matty Healy, are passionate about not only music and their fans, but about the world we live in, and a multitude of related important topics. A band that voice their concerns via their music and use their platform to harness change for the better. Their headline set at Reading last year allowed them to express great concern over global warming, in collaboration with young climate change activist Greta Thunberg. The 1975 are a band, but they’re a band that care, as well as enjoying their rock and roll lifestyle too of course. 

I have seen The 1975 before in Cardiff, however on that occasion I was stood so far at the back of the room I couldn’t see a thing that was happening on stage. This time around, I was determined to be closer to the front. Arriving at the Motorpoint Arena, I made my way to the side of the stage. Thankfully, to my relief my view was incredible. I couldn’t believe my luck. 

The atmosphere whilst waiting for the band to come on was electric.  The 1975 have a dedicated fan base, who love their music and them wholeheartedly. There was such giddy excitement filling the room. When lights out came, the darkness ensued a wave of screaming.

The 1975 stormed on to the stage, with a blaring opening of their latest debut single People. The heaviest and fastest paced of their offerings to date, it charged the crowd ready for the rest of the set. With the band on stage, the arena was more alive than ever, it was busy but the atmosphere never faltered. 

Matty introduced himself and the band to us before delving into the second song, one of their very first hits, Sex. A classic, that will always be loved by fans. I absolutely adore hearing this song live, as it’s one where not a soul in the room mistakes the lyrics, everyone sings back to the band in harmony and it really brings home why we all love The 1975 so much. Their controversial lyrics and catchy melodies make for fantastic music. 

The set continued as Matty danced his way through song after song. The 1975 have a way of producing singles that are instant hits, and this is apparent when you watch them performing live. Popular songs such as Chocolate, Give Yourself A Try, and Somebody Else made everyone dance and sing along with him. It was overwhelming to see just how many singles The 1975 have that are so popular and loved by myself and fellow fans, spanning across all three of their existing albums. Newest singles from their upcoming fourth album, including Me and You Together Song and Birthday Party also went down immensely well with the crowd.

As a treat, Matty and The 1975 also decided to play some of their older songs, such as Undo and Me. Some of these, people clearly never expected to hear live, as cheers reverberated around the room at the announcement they would be played. Matty himself admitted he wasn’t sure how performing them live was going to go. There was no mistaking though, that their older songs proved to be as loved now as they were back then. 

On the other end of the spectrum, The 1975 also played us unreleased songs from their upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form, which is due in April. One song which I believe is called Guys, included a gorgeous montage video played across the screens behind the band. It featured their own recorded clips of them throughout their life as a band. We saw a very young Matty, George, Ross and Adam through their own eyes. It was such a lovely song, with touching lyrics, that really resonated through the crowd. 

As well as performing their songs on stage, there was a moment where Matty asked for complete silence from the audience. We were played their spoken track recording, entitled The 1975, which features climate change activist Greta Thunberg, whom I mentioned previously. The track expresses deep concerns over climate change, and played out to the audience, stressed how we can all make a difference and help stop global warming. In an arena environment which is usually chaotic and loud, it was emotional to see everyone completely silent and respectful of what was being shown to them. The recording being played during the gig expressed to me that The 1975 care enough to voice their concerns clearly. The issue was not woven into lyrics and played via a song during the set. Instead the band chose to set aside a portion of their performing time, to highlight extreme worries and fears, which are fundamentally important. The 1975 have a young following, and their urge for us to help in any way we can, was clearly manifested. Everyone listened. 

Greta Thunberg and Matty Healy

After the spoken segment finished, the set continued with The 1975s rebellious track Love It If We Made It, which tied in brilliantly. The track is an anthem of non-conformance to society as we know it. The band came back with a fresh energy, and threw everyone into the moment and into the music. The 1975 really had made an incredible statement. Their performances were flawless, with Matty’s vocals proving to be as good if not better than the album standard. Regardless of them having toured relentlessly. Before Cardiff they had a run of two nights in London, Matty did admit the set list for Cardiff had to change slightly due to tiredness, but the band never wanted to let any fans down, and still delivered a beautiful show.

Asides from the music, The 1975 sent across a clear message regarding climate change, and spoke to their fans in a way that was different to any band I had seen before. The gig was moving and emotional, and it is undeniable that there is a huge amount of passion and genuine care driving this band forward. For every ticket sold on their tour, The 1975 have pledged that a tree would be planted for each one. Many criticise this band for their music and for mistakes they may have made in the past, but asides from all of that, for now and for the foreseeable future they are trying to make a difference to this world. For that alone they deserve a huge amount of respect and recognition. 

My Tickets, that plant two trees.

The 1975 brought music and heart to Cardiff last night. Their performance was sublime, the stage aesthetics and lighting were as gorgeous as ever. Their love for performing and for their fans shone effortlessly. I absolutely loved seeing them live again. I heard songs I adore, sang, danced and had a brilliant time. A few of my favourite tracks even found their way onto the setlist, such as Robbers and I Always Wanna Die.

I also listened, took in a very important message and reflected as the night went on. Music is a message, and it is wonderful to see bands such as The 1975 using their platform for positive change.  Music and political messages have gone hand in hand for decades, but in this day and age, The 1975 are really giving us something to wake up and think about. 


Panic Shack Release Debut Single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’

Panic Shack Release Debut Single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’

Panic Shack are taking Cardiff’s live music scene by storm.

Oh my, am I excited to see that Panic Shack have released their debut single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ A female-fronted punk band, packing a major amount of energy. It has been no secret that Panic Shack are taking Cardiff’s live music scene by storm. I assure you that it won’t be long until they are known across the UK and further still. I have had the pleasure of seeing them when they supported Amyl and The Sniffers in November, and they blew me away then.

Panic Shack possess an edgy but fun sound, with their play on lyrics. They don’t take themselves too seriously, which I love. A real down to earth band that are a lot of fun, all whilst being very talented too. ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ doesn’t hold back in showing us exactly what Panic Shack have to offer. Fantastic instrument playing with Sarah’s powerful vocals driving the song throughout. What’s not to like?

‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ grabs your attention straight away with heavy drums and guitar playing. The song is cheeky and fun in its lyrical content, but is by no means a joke of a single. Panic Shack are seriously making a name for themselves, and they already have me as a fan that’s for sure. I cannot wait to see them on their upcoming headline show at Clwb Ifor Bach on February 28th. Panic Shack are also supporting fellow punk band Talk Show on their tour in March. You can catch them at Le Pub in Newport on 29th or at The Bunkhouse in Swansea on 30th March, besides other dates.

Panic Shack are definitely ones you need to watch, trust me.

Links for tickets:

https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/panic-shack-clwb-ifor-bach-tickets/10411335?REFERRAL_ID=tmfeed

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/498665

Attending The Brit Awards

Attending The Brit Awards

So, last night I had the incredible privilege of attending The Brit Awards with my best friend Charlotte. We were lucky enough to nab tickets as a result of Charlotte winning a competition, and she wanted me to go with her! After I was told the good news, I was completely overwhelmed and excited about the prospect of heading to London to attend this incredible awards night. We didn’t have long to plan everything so we booked the most affordable hotel we could find near the 02 and booked the mega bus to take us from Cardiff to London. This would be the first time either of us had attended such a well known, famous event. The build up to going alone was surreal, and even as I was packing to take things with me, it still didn’t sink in that this was actually happening. Going to The Brits was something that before I had only ever dreamed about, and to think that soon it would be a reality was completely crazy but so exciting. 

The night before we were due to leave, Charlotte stayed with me and we had a typical girls pamper night, making sure our outfits were as perfect as they could be, painting our nails, and preening our skincare routines, as you do. We were both so eager to go, that concentrating on anything other than London and The Brits was impossible. Both of us felt as though we were in another world that evening. 

The next morning, following a short train journey to Cardiff and breakfast, we were eagerly awaiting our mega bus to pick us up and take us to London. The journey went by in an ecstatic blur. Normally, a long bus journey would leave me tired but not this time, as we approached the capital, I could feel adrenaline building inside of me. We were in London, this was real, this was happening. 

Arriving into Victoria Coach Station, we made our way to the tubes, catching the DLR to our hotel in Woolwich. I think catching the tubes has always been one of my favourite parts about London. I know it is cliché and I probably sound like such a tourist, but there’s just something so fun about taking the tube around the city centre over any other means of transport. It’s a novelty for me. 

Arriving at our hotel, we were both on such a high. Getting ready is always the best part of any night out, let alone when you know you’re getting ready to go to The Brits. I’m not a super glam person, no matter how hard I try to be, so I opted for a lacy black skirt and a little black top, with my statement chunky boots for my outfit. All wrapped up with a black leather jacket of course. Heels, although appropriate for The Brits, are really just not me. On a night which I knew was going to be one of the most memorable and coolest of my life, I decided I wanted to be comfy and enjoy myself, rather than worrying over my feet being in agony all night with burning stilettos. In my case, beauty is certainly not pain. 

I was pleased I’d actually pulled off looking as glam as was suited to me, without losing the little bit of flair and spark that makes me myself. Charlotte has her own unique style too, and she showcased that in a gorgeous floaty black tutu, with a slinky lace bralette. Getting ready to our beloved music, a few pre-drinks and laughter. We swirled and danced our way around our hotel room, until time danced away from us. Always fashionably late, we cut it fine to get from our hotel to meet the competition representatives at the 02. It was fine though, don’t panic, we always do this to ourselves so we’re used to just rolling with it by now. Catching a taxi to the 02, thankfully the traffic was kind and our driver was an angel, dropping us as close as possible to our destination, in the chaos of London preparing for The Brits.

Getting out of our taxi, and making our way across to the 02, it was only then that it really sunk in with me that this was real. I was so excited I was shaking, and a smile beamed on my face. I’d never been to the 02 before so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was honestly amazing. The trees that flank the path on the walkway, are all lit up with fairy lights, and the venue stands proudly in the background. The 02 tent has become an iconic element of London’s skyline now, so to see it before our eyes was mesmerising. It was a gorgeous twilight too, so everything looked even more beautiful. The 02 was decorated for The Brits both outside and inside, with huge banners everywhere, and not to mention a red carpet to greet us. 

Walking into the venue was absolutely mesmerising. I can’t tell you whether the 02 always looks that way, but it seemed to me that there was definitely something special about it that night. The red carpet was superb to walk down, and it really made us feel like celebrities, before we’d even witnessed the event. The atmosphere was electric. The bars and restaurants inside the 02 were full of life, with people drinking, laughing and enjoying themselves. Members of the production team, event coordinators and staff from the 02 and The Brits mingled in with the crowds. Everyone was eagerly anticipating the night ahead. We met with the representatives who handed us our tickets and told us to enjoy the night. With that we were left to our own devices which was lovely as we had space to do what we wanted. The reps told us we had good seats and to expect a surprise, little did we know how good it was all going to be. 

After lingering around in the foyer and having our photographs taken against the Brits infamous backdrop. We made our way to the lounge where we were would await to be seated. We expected to be in a room full to the brim with other people, or shown to our seats hurriedly, but this was not the case at all. Instead, we saw the gate for our tickets was not on the floor where everyone else seemed to be heading to. Instead, we had to disembark the elevator early, and made our way on to a balcony, which had a private bar. Both of us were astonished, and for a puzzled second thought we may have stumbled into the wrong section, as the crowds continued to make their way up on the escalators, but as kind staff assured us we were in the right area and we settled in, to our amazement for an hour or so we had our own luxury area. The bar was huge, and the balcony overlooked the whole foyer of the 02. We stood with our drinks, just looking at eachother in disbelief that this was real. It felt so much like a dream. 

We were on such a high. The euphoria spread through us both, how lucky we were to not only be attending The Brits, but to have this experience. I’d say that our time in that lounge, was as amazing as the show itself. It was so luxurious and sophisticated, as more people joined us in this little almost VIP area, it wasn’t long before we were able to take our seats for the evening.

Walking from the gate down the stairs of the 02, I almost felt my heart skip a beat. The seats weren’t just good, they were incredible. We were seated just above where the stage is, merely a few rows from the front. We could see the stage as clear as day to the left of us, and to the right were all of the circular tables, filled to the brim with celebraties. From where we were sat, we could clearly see celebrities such as Harry Styles, Paloma Faith and Lizzo at their tables, to name a few. 

It was so bizzarely brilliant to have this behind the scenes peak that you don’t normally see on the television. The atmosphere is built up with loud music pumping through the arena, getting people in the mood to party as they take their seats. We are told to enjoy ourselves and have fun, with a countdown every so often of how long we have left before the show is aired live for the nation to watch at home. 

The Brits began with such a vibrant introduction. Jack Whitehall hosted the 40th Show in his usual hilarious fashion, and we were thrown straight into the live performances. Vibrant pop songs from the likes of Mable and Lizzo blew up the stage in flashes of colour. Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi brought slower, powerful performances, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room after Lewis had sung ‘Someone You Loved’. Stormzy and Dave graced us with fantastic rap and hip hop performances. As well as smooth, heart wrenching songs from Billie Eilish and Celeste. Honestly to be in the same room as all of these celebrities and to hear such an array of immensely talented individuals performing was completely mind-blowing. The energy in the room was monumental, and there were swirls of laughter and joy throughout the evening. Despite The Brits having such a high-profile and being televised, I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed the atmosphere was. It is apparent when you’re there, watching everything unfold, how incredibly well organised and structured this event is. The whole night runs so smoothly, there is barely a hiccup. During the breaks where there would be adverts on television, in the arena we are still treated to further live performances and interviews between the stars and host Jack Whitehall that are so brilliantly relaxed and very funny. It’s wonderful to see all of the celebrities mingling with eachother, and there is so much fun to be had in going to The Brits. To be honest, you really do feel like a part of it. In the sense, that you’re more than just a spectator of a show. The audience are hugely encouraged to be involved throughout the night, in a way I didn’t realise before. The behind the scenes look is seriously impressive, you are treated like a VIP from the moment you arrive at the 02 and at no point did the evening ever fall short of my expectations. 

The Brits is a fantastic celebration of music, conducted with the upmost professionalism, all whilst having such a captivating comedic element and charm about it. Being in the arena itself, you really are able to capture and behold the awkward human moments of the celebrities, as you see them stumbling from their seats to the stage to collect awards, those presenting the awards chatting to production staff whilst the nomination tapes are being played on screen, and people making their way off the stage in fabulous, flawed fashion. It brings home that despite the glitz and glam of The Brits, there is such a strikingly lovely human side to the show, that makes it so special. 

Last but not least, the show was closed with a performance from Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, the chaos of the evening calmed down as the ceremony came to an end. The room started to empty, as we all poured into the nightlife of London. Myself and Charlotte were on a complete rush, the event we had waited for so eagerly was over, but we were left with memories and moments that we are to treasure for a lifetime. The buzz and absolute euphoria of being at The Brits was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It wasn’t a gig, but it wasn’t an awards show either, it was something so much more special and magical. I am so grateful to Charlotte for taking me on the incredible journey with her. What a night we had!


If you follow me on my social media pages, you will probably have seen that I shared a lot of clips from the night with you all. However, if you’re not yet following me, I will be including my stories from the night as a highlight on my Instagram page. 

Preparing for The Brits

Preparing for The Brits

Recently I’ve received an incredible surprise from my friend Charlotte, she has only gone and won us both tickets to The Brits! At first when she called to tell me the news, I honestly thought it was some kind of a joke. I just couldn’t comprehend that it was actually happening. The Brits is one of the biggest musical awards shows in the UK, celebrating the songs, albums and artists that are most loved by our country. Hosted in the capital city of London, The Brits is a night of glitz and glam, an award show also featuring incredible live performances. A hoard of celebrities attend and to think that we will be in amongst them is completely mind-blowing. This year the ceremony is being hosted by Jack Whitehall and will feature live performances from the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Stormzy, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and more. To say I am excited, would be such an understatement. It almost feels ironic that just after starting my music blog, I am lucky enough to be attending the biggest music celebration in our country. I am so grateful.

After the initial shock wore off, my mind turned to actually organising this. Asides from the amazing event that I was soon to experience, I was only consumed by one attention to detail, and that of course was what on earth was I going to wear? Being a lover of indie rock music and in turn all things alternative, I have to confess a glittery dress and high heels isn’t my usual go-to outfit for a night out. Scrolling through pictures of attendees from previous years only fuelled my worries further. Was I going to be too dressed up, under-dressed, so many thoughts swirled through my head. The idea of walking through central London in stilettos was not ideal. Luckily, myself and Charlotte, who shares a similar style to me, found solace in the incredible YouTuber and Influencer Helen Anderson, who has attended The Brits on a few occasions in the past. Helen has successfully managed to look glam, all whilst keeping her outfit quirky and low-key, with her own unique flair. Seeing the confidence Helen had made me realise I could rock my own style at an event like The Brits, and not be afraid to do so. Outfit, done.

Helen Anderson at The Brits in 2017

Next, I started thinking about where we would stay. Charlotte and I wanted somewhere close to The 02 where The Brits is taking place, but didn’t want it to cost the earth. Luckily, we have found a reasonably priced hotel, and are travelling in style from Cardiff to London on the Megabus. Brits on a budget, and we are working it! Neither of us are too showy or flash, so as long as we go and have an amazing time together, we won’t mind. Providing of course we both love our outfits, which is obviously the best part asides from the event.

I’ve spent the last few days packing bits I want to take, all whilst trying to keep my stress levels to a minimum. I know its an AMAZING opportunity, and I’m so excited to go. However, I know I won’t be alone when I say that such a high-profile event, with TV coverage, a red carpet, and all the rest, is bound to bring on just a little bit of anxiety. My excitement is swirled with nerves too, but I know that we’re going to have such an unbelievable experience, and I really can’t wait. Being a music lover, having a chance to go to The Brits is so surreal. Something I certainly never envisaged happening in my lifetime. I can’t believe how fortunate we are, and I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am that Charlotte is giving me this wonderful gift. We’re the closest of friends, so having this happen together is going to be so lovely. Charlotte is one of those friends that can make me laugh on any occasion, and she never fails to cheer me up. We always have so much fun together, so expect a lot of silly photos and shenanigans to come.

Charlotte (L) and Me (R)

Only time and a short trip to London stands between us and The Brits now. 2 days and counting.

I will keep you all up to date on this amazing experience, through Instagram and Twitter during the day and night. Of course, once I am home there will be a blog post to follow, so keep your eyes peeled.

Follow my socials below:

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard release new single ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ and announce signing to Communion

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard release new single ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ and announce signing to Communion

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are back with their latest single ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’. Having toured the UK extensively, and recently supported the likes of The Mysterines and The Magic Gang. Buzzard have been very busy, even making appearances in countries such as Canada. The band are also due to fly to Texas in March for SXSW 2020, alongside other Welsh artists including Rosehip Teahouse and Dan Bettridge. It’s safe to say that Buzzard have been teasing us with a lot of new content during live shows, which has been very exciting. However, as far as released music is concerned, I’ve survived by replaying their three singles ‘Double Denim Hop’, ‘Love Forever’ and ‘Late Night City’ on repeat for the last year. Therefore I have to confess that I am delighted to have another single to devour, and that is not even the best part. Alongside their new single release, Buzzard are celebrating the announcement of their signing to UK/US based record label Communion. Easily one of the best emerging bands to breakout in Wales’ music circuit over recent years, the signing is such an amazing achievement for them. Buzzard have done themselves and Wales proud. I am overjoyed to see that they have signed a record deal, and am so glad that they will be getting the recognition they deserve.

If you’re wondering what Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard sound like. I would describe them as retro rock, with a modern twist. Channelling the likes of early Queen and Supertramp for inspiration, their music encapsulates a wonderful nod to the 70s. A nostalgic sound delivered with fantastic flair and passion, ensures that they certainly make their own unique stamp on our modern music scene. Their latest single ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’, is another triumphant release for them. I have heard it live already, but the crisp album recording is certainly rather special. The new single is as catchy and energy-filled as I could have dreamed. An ode to idolising various musical figures as though music is a religion, with the central protagonist being John Lennon. Lead singer Tom Rees expresses how the song “developed into a conversation around idolisation, and how fandom, servitude and dedication to certain characters is universal, and not limited to any particular religion or art form.”

Lyrically the song is captivating, and provides quirky storytelling throughout by taking us through the many musical loves in their lives, and showing how they worship them all. Musically the song is driven in the usual Buzzard style, which certainly does not disappoint. ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ is a short song, at just over two minutes long, but Buzzard’s return single does the job by providing just enough flavour of what we can expect from their hopefully impending album.

The music video for ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ on the other hand is very long. The contrast shows us Buzzard’s desire for chaos and uncertainty, as just as you think the music video is coming to an end, we are treated to an organ rendition of the song by Tom. Following this is a comical car scene with the band, concluding with them performing the single again, with the band replacing the dancers that graced the video initially. Over eight minutes long, the video is definitely a treat, and is essentially four different music videos for the single mashed together. However, it works brilliantly well, and showcases all aspects of Buzzard’s personality beautifully, with a little bit of craziness and fantasy thrown in of course.

There is certainly no falter in their fun, colourful characteristics as a band, and I’m certain their debut album will be everything us fans want and more. Full of songs with charging lyrics about politics, religion, love and history, all wrapped in Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s fabulous sound and style frenzy. I for one cannot wait. It’s absolutely no secret that I adore the flamboyant and chaotic performances that Buzzard bring, and I am dying to see them perform again soon, hopefully in their hometown of Cardiff.

Read my previous article on Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard here, where I included them as one of the 10 Emerging Welsh Bands that you need to know about.


Independent Venues: The Heart of Music – Part 3

Independent Venues: The Heart of Music – Part 3

Independent Music Venues that I adore, and I know you will too

Through my last two posts, I have shared with you the reasons why I love going to gigs in independent music venues, I have spoken about the wonderful music community ensuring their survival, and have hopefully inspired you to visit to your local independent venues too. 

For my last post in this series, I’d like to introduce you to some venues local to me that I absolutely adore.

This article is going to involve venues in South Wales, so if you are not from this area, think of this as your handy little guide to some independent venues in South Wales. Hopefully I can persuade you to pay us a visit sometime, and when you do it will be well worth you knowing where you should check out, for some amazing gigs and nightlife.


Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The venue that really takes the crown for me, is Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach. Situated in the heart of Womanby Steet, a music hub in Cardiff, home to an array of similar music venues and bars. Clwb is a venue that I truly feel most comfortable and at home in, if I could only choose one venue to attend for the rest of my life, then this would be it. Clwb may be small in size, but they host mighty gigs. Brilliant artists perform here, including well-established musicians, as well as emerging talent. I have seen so many bands and have made some fantastic memories along the way. Clwb really holds a special place in my heart, by being the place that ignited my love for independent music venues.

The venue currently has two rooms, allowing gigs to be hosted both upstairs and downstairs. The downstairs room has a lush, cwtchy atmosphere. There isn’t a stage as such, rather a performing area, so bands are at floor-level which provides a wonderfully intimate gig-experience. This is really rare, and strips music back to it’s roots entirely, allowing bands to connect with their audiences on a much closer level. There are no barriers, or a gap between the crowd and the stage. This setup allows for some truly incredible moments.

The upstairs room at Clwb is a little bit larger, and is the main room for bands to perform in. This is the part of Clwb I have visited the most, and being honest I just love everything about it. From the exposed brickwork, to the layout. The room is the perfect size, so that you don’t have a bad view wherever you’re standing. There are no pillars or barriers blocking your view, and the room is the ideal width and height to be small and intimate, without being claustrophobic. The bar is in a separate room, which reduces the problem of noise often experienced in gigs. As a live music venue, Clwb Ifor Bach really is the reigning champion in my eyes, and I’m sure many others too.

Clwb is also set to expand in the future too, with recent rebranding suggesting this won’t be too far away. The venue plans to make use of the derelict building next door, with plans for a 500 capacity venue downstairs and a 300 capacity one upstairs. The 1980s venue we have all come to know and love a lot, is going to be changing, but hopefully its 21st century makeover will bring an even better era for our beloved Clwb Ifor Bach.

Clwb Ifor Bach

The Moon, Cardiff

The Moon is Cardiff’s pint sized music venue. Again, this venue can be found nestled amongst Womanby Street, opposite Clwb Ifor Bach. Here you will receive a warm welcome. The entrance is wrapped in cute fairy lights. As you make your way into the basement venue, in no way does it feel encroaching, instead bunting, string lights and colour decorate this vibrant venue. The Moon is tiny, but being so small gives the space a unique charm, with the stage nestled in the corner. A miniature venue, with a huge amount of charm.

The Moon is a space for emerging bands to showcase their talent. However, if you head downstairs in this venue then there are old gig posters plastered all over the walls, as if they were wallpaper. The posters show that some pretty well known bands such have all started out playing gigs here. The Moon has an incredible catalogue of very successful bands having began their very first tours here! Boasting that The Moon has been home to some renowned initial gigs, means that the venue clearly provides bands a wonderful platform to boost their musical careers. The posters themselves are incredible to behold. When I first visited the moon honestly I spent quite a bit of time just looking at all of them. Whoever came up with the idea of decorating the walls with these posters deserves a medal. It makes for incredibly cool decor, giving the moon a quirky individual style all whilst showcasing past gigs.

Decor aside, The Moon is also a brilliant venue to watch bands performing in. Again the size of the venue works in their favour and means there isn’t a bad place to stand in the room (minding the poles that support the ceiling of course). The bar is in the same place, however people tend to remain respectful when gigs are on from what I’ve seen, meaning that drinks being served doesn’t interfere with the music. I really enjoy watching bands perform in the venue, and The Moon is a wonderful little venue for music, certainly not one to be overlooked on your trip down Womanby Street.


The Globe, Cardiff

Located just outside of the City Centre of Cardiff, The Globe is a wonderfully unique music venue, although it may not be what you’d expect. The Globe is an old cinema, dating back to as early as 1914. Therefore as a music venue, it makes fantastic use of beautiful historical features. The stage is very grand, but also unkempt enough to provide an edgy-punk vibe. A lot of the original features within the room have also been kept and harnessed, despite the seating having been cleared, I expect the building has been mostly unchanged from what it would have been originally. It really is fascinating and brilliant to see The Globe standing proudly as a music venue. Of course the room is designed to enhance sound to an audience, so the purpose compliments the building perfectly well.

The Globe is a fantastic gig environment, which gives you a cultural experience as an added bonus. Initially you feel the room is small when you walk in, but the space is very wide, which means you’re closer to the stage than you would be in a lot of other venues. The Globe also has a brilliant balcony area, which you can choose to watch bands from if you don’t feel like standing. This gives a vastly different viewpoint, not often found in many venues asides from arenas. Whereas on arena balconies you’d be metres away from the stage, but not in The Globe, as the balcony overlaps the standing area.  

The Globe provides a mix of music and comedy, and is an eccentric, but wonderfully different music venue to pay a visit to. With an array of acts performing there, you never know shows The Globe is going to advertise next, and this adds an intriguing element that makes you keep your eye on who is going to be playing there. Following in the footsteps of Clwb and The Moon. The Globe also has an impressive list of acts who have previously performed there, and my guess is that there will be many more great names to come.


The Tramshed, Cardiff

The largest venue on my list is The Tramshed. However despite its medium size, this venue does not lose charm as an independent venue. I’ve been to a few gigs in The Tramshed now, and every time I’ve been blown away by the professional, quality of music delivered from this venue. From the sound to the stage, they really do have the art of delivering a live music performance spot on, regardless of whatever band graces the stage. That list is impressive enough by itself. I have stood at the barrier of Tramshed, and I have stood at the bar at the back of the room. Either location provided me with an equally as satisfying gig experience, which tells me this venue knows exactly what they are doing, with confidence.

The Tramshed is a cool, industrial space. It’s origins as a Tram Depot, mean it is exactly what it says on the tin. The outside of the venue is fascinating before you even step foot in the door, consisting of bright, red brickwork and semi-circular windows. The building itself dates back to 1902, and was categorised as a listed building in 1997. The Tramshed as we know it now, opened in 2015.

Hosting an array of gigs, with a large number of bands playing there. The Tramshed has quickly risen to become one of Cardiff’s finest music venues. As I’ve said their monthly range of gigs is seriously impressive, with the venue hosting a number of well-known musicians and bands, as well as tribute acts that are so convincing you’d swear they were the real thing. I’d also like to praise their marketing team, as whenever I’m looking up gigs at The Tramshed, there is always an organised list of who is playing there over the next few months available. Despite advances in social media, a lot of music venues do still just rely on posters, so for The Tramshed to be actively encouraging a larger audience in this way so efficiently, makes me realise how they have established themselves in the scene very successfully over a short time period. A huge well done to all of their staff!

The Tramshed

The Bunkhouse, Swansea

Located in the city centre of Swansea, The Bunkhouse is a small, passionate independent music venue that packs a punch with the quality of music it delivers.  The venue has only been open for just over a year, but has already been awarded ‘The Best Music Venue of 2019’ from the Swansea Bay Tourism Awards. The Bunkhouse has done incredibly well, and their staff should write the book on how to successfully launch a music venue from scratch. Welcoming emerging talent from Swansea and further afield, The Bunkhouse primarily provides a mixture of rock and indie music, but has a variety of genres on offer. It is a brilliant vibrant fast-paced music venue hosting some of Swansea‘s finest bands, along with a few more famous names thrown in.

As well as gigs, like many other venues on this list, The Bunkhouse is also home to club nights, following in the footsteps of Clwb and The Moon on this front. More excitedly though, The Bunkhouse also has even bigger plans up their sleeve. As their title suggests, a gig venue isn’t all we can expect from this vastly growing little music hub. The Bunkhouse, as their name suggests, also has plans to provide accommodation in their form of an upstairs hostel. This will provide accommodation for bands on tour, gig-goers or anyone wishing to stay at a reasonable price within Swansea city Centre. If this wasn’t enough, The Bunkhouse also announced recently that below their music venue and bar, lies a basement spanning the entire floor length of their existing bar and music venue. The Bunkhouse have obtained planning permission to convert this space into a 500-capacity music venue, which will enable them to host even bigger gigs.

The question is, which will they do first? The Bunkhouse may be a small venue now, but their sights for the future are very huge indeed.

The Bunkhouse

I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering a little bit more about some of my favourite Independent Music Venues in the South Wales music scene. I’d like to thank you as always for taking the time to read my writing, and I hope I’ve inspired you to pay a visit to your nearest music hub. Independent venues, wherever they may be across the UK, all host a fantastic range of gigs from incredible emerging acts. If you have a particular venue that you adore, please let me know. I’m always looking to broaden my music horizons! I have trips to Bristol and Bath coming up in March, so any suggestions are warmly welcome!

Writing this series ‘Indepedent Venues: The Heart of Music’ has been incredibly meaningful to me. I’m passionate about attending and in turn supporting Independent Venues, and along with many others, I hope to strive to do all that I can to ensure their survival. These venues are all so unique, and full of character. They are run by passionate music lovers, and adored by fans and bands alike. A fundamental core of any music scene. With all of us continuing to show our love and dedication for them, I hope they will remain with us forever.

You can read the other two parts of this post series here:

Part 1: Why I Prefer Gigs in Independent Venues

Part 2: The Community Spirit Surrounding Independent Music Venues


Independent Venues: The Heart of Music – Part 2

Independent Venues: The Heart of Music – Part 2

The Community Spirit Surrounding Independent Music Venues

Together we are the music community. All of us care for and love our Independent Music Venues. It is our spirit and dedication that will keep the heart of music beating.

Since I’ve started my blog I have felt more involved in the warm, friendly community of our music scene than ever before, and it has truly overwhelmed me how kind and encouraging everyone has been towards my writing. I have been so welcomed into such a friendly and supportive network, that makes up our music community. Everyone involved in the music scene has an ultimate shared love, of helping talented emerging artists to grow, but with this exists a fantastic sense of belonging, passion for music and care in the way music is manifested, that is far more intricate than I ever realised before. In my local area, names in the industry are all so encouraging of one another, it is truly beautiful to behold. However you are involved within the music scene; whether you are a fan, someone who works within it, or are part of a band, then you must see that this lovely community are so important. Hence why we must protect our Independent Venues at all costs.

Independent Venues provide spaces for bands to perform, and for music to flourish. They hold moments, they hold memories, and are such brilliantly vibrant places to visit. Despite all being home to the same purpose, none are carbon copies of each other. Each has their own quirky design, décor and a valid place within the community. Independent Venues have a charm and spark about them, which I personally think you’d struggle to find anywhere else. They are run by a team of hardworking individuals, that are supported by equally as hardworking organisations, along with musicians.

Now, more then ever, we need to support our Independent Music Venues. Many of them have been in danger of closure over the last decade, and a lot have unfortunately had no choice but to close in recent years. Crippling business rates and economic struggles have made maintaining these venues a lot of work, and this is a terrible shame as they are such a fundamental, and loved part of our music scene. Thankfully for those that remain today, there has been some marvellous news arriving from the UK government recently. A 50% reduction in the business rates of small and medium sized music venues, releases a staggering £1.7 million back in to the live music sector. This is a huge, rejoicing moment for these venues, that have been provided with a helping hand needed to survive financially. This announcement came from the Music Venue Trust. An organisation established since 2014, working with immense drive to support these music venues and fight for their survival.

MVT Logo

On a local scale, across the UK in each town or city, there have been outpourings of care and generosity in helping our much loved venues to remain in business throughout difficult times. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, before the announcement was made, certain situations involving closure were inevitable. In the last year alone, Cardiff has sadly lost both Gwdihw and 10 Feet Tall’s Undertone, which has broken the hearts of our Capital. We’re an adoring city of music with a thriving scene, yet there have still been venue closures. Independent Music Venues are primarily businesses of course, but they are also so much more than that. These venues are workplaces to an array of staff, a stage for incredible rising musicians, and a place to enjoy and make memories for music fans.

Despite the continuing fight against closure, there is one important word to hold on to and remember, this a fight. It’s an ongoing one and it may not be easy at times, but it is one we strongly hope and believe we can win. There has already been great support with government funding. It is worth remembering though, that by doing something as simple as buying tickets, visiting these venues and showing your love for music, you are helping to support these venues and keep them alive too. A small act can make all the difference.

Horizons Presents Gruff Rhys at Clwb Ifor Bach (IVW 2020)

Many organisations host brilliant schemes which in turn support venues also, by enabling emerging musicians to begin touring and performing within them. In Wales there are currently some wonderful funding schemes for musicians available from companies such as Horizons Cymru. An example of this is their Launchpad. This scheme is currently open to bands and artists based in Wales, who are starting their musical journey. Up to £2,000 can be offered to each successful applicant, funding activities that will help them reach their musical aspirations. If you are interested, or know someone who is, then applications will need to be emailed to Horizons by February 9th. Further details can be found on their website which I will link below. By supporting emerging artists, these companies harbour the existing potential of music venues, but also help them to grow.

Caring individuals and organisations in each locality keep their music community knitted together. These wonderfully kind and passionate people provide the heart and drive behind our venues, true champions who help local venues to thrive. Our music community is made up of many different shapes and sizes, all of whom work equally as hard to protect and nourish different areas of the music scene. These people help to create a music hub, which allows music venues to thrive, despite economical challenges. Independent Music Venues will never stand alone. Take for example Cardiff’s Womanby Street, home to a number of music venues and a variety of similar bars and supportive neighbouring businesses. The music scene there is second to none, it’s always lively, quirky and vibrant, providing a wonderful atmosphere of hope, that music is certainly set to remain.

Venue owners and staff, promoters and event organisers, journalists and bloggers, bands and musicians, fans and so many more. Together we are the music community. All of us care for and love our Independent Music Venues. It is our spirit and dedication that will keep the heart of music beating.


The final post in my series, Part 3, will be shared on Friday. Thank you all so much for reading.

Read Part 1 on Why I Love Independent Venues here: https://beckyandthebands.home.blog/2020/02/03/independent-venues-the-heart-of-music-part-1/

Links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1YXY6BtqVpCc4T12BZ7hdzV/launchpad-fund-2020

Independent Venues: The Heart Of Music – Part 1

Independent Venues: The Heart Of Music – Part 1

Part 1: Why I Prefer Gigs in Independent Venues

I have been an avid gig goer for a number of years now, and during this time one recurring thing has become apparent to me, that I felt would not only be interesting, but crucially important to write about. In the heart of this blog itself, you’ll see that I do not hide my preference for attending gigs in smaller independent music venues, over larger corporate arenas and stadiums. Following on from Independent Venue Week, through a series of posts I will be writing, I want to share with you the many reasons why I love smaller venues, show you the wonderful community that comes with them, and help bring recognition to hardworking venues that I’m sure you’ll love as much as I do. I hope to inspire you and in turn highlight how truly important these venues are to the local music scene.

Intimate Gig Experience

It wasn’t until I became older and my music tastes developed, that I discovered smaller local venues, and it’s safe to say that from the moment I did, I fell in love. For me, a smaller venue provides a much more intimate gig experience. Home to a gorgeous array of musicians, longing to perform and passionate in doing so; I have been able to see so many unique, talented bands and musicians in a very short space of time thanks to my local venues.

More Connected With The Bands

Independent venues are often smaller in size, and due to this enable a better view of the stage, and what I have found to be much more intricate gigs. On almost every occasion I have attended smaller venues, I have been provided with a happier, more enriching experience. I personally feel closer and more connected with the band I’m watching, and find that it’s nice to have musicians playing at a level where you can interact with them, rather than them being miles away, separated by barriers and a sky-high stage. I love a gig where band members are able to dive into the crowd if they so wish, not ones where they’re so far away you can barely see their faces unless you’re stood at the front.

The Amazons, at Clwb Ifor Bach, February 2019

Able to Speak to Bands and Musicians

More often than not, you will also get the chance to speak to the bands and musicians, before, during and after the gig at independent venues. I have met and spoken to musicians I absolutely adore in smaller venues, and although larger arenas and stadiums can offer meet and greets, it just doesn’t quite have the same appeal to me as a band that are just mingling around after the show for the love of it. I’ve had drinks with my favourite band members, and even become friends with some of them simply through interacting at gigs.

Myself and Trampolene’s Jack Jones

Smaller Crowd Helps Reduce Anxiety

Independent venues tend to house a smaller crowd, which is great from the perspective of being able to watch a band and interact with them. However, a smaller crowd can also be a huge benefit for a much more meaningful reason, which could help support more people than you’d realise. Due to these venues being smaller in size, they generally allow for an overall easier gig experience, by having less people in them. A smaller crowd, reduces the swell of gig-goers, and the common problem of pushing and shoving that puts so many off going to see a band. Although of course this may vary depending on the genre of gigs you prefer. I’m not the most confident person in the world, and as a result I don’t always enjoy being crammed into a larger venue with thousands of people, especially if I’m standing. Personally, I find smaller venues far less anxiety-inducing, and would argue that these venues make being able to watch live music much more accessible for those who may have anxiety, autism, or phobias which often make them feel uneasy and distressed amongst a large group of people, especially a boisterous crowd. Smaller venues have clear entry and exit points, and everything is in easy reach, thus reducing the claustrophobia effect which many people can find frightening in an overwhelming, crowded environment.

Matt Maltese at Clwb Ifor Bach, 16/11/19

Low Price of Tickets

The next point I wanted to talk about was how incredibly worth your money, a ticket for an independent venue is. Ticket prices do not often rise above twenty pounds, which makes seeing a band in a small venue an amazing bargain. Also many smaller venues cut out the admin and booking fees that can be attached to the cost of tickets purchased from giants in the industry. The low cost of tickets at these venues, mean you can afford to go to more gigs as a result, and in turn you will get see a lot more bands and musicians. Not to mention all the better for visiting that precious merch table. Keeping costs low also allows you the means to visit a variety of local venues of the same nature, many of which even host free gigs or club nights that don’t require a ticket for entry. I cannot emphasize enough how important exploring your local venues is, if you have five minutes spare take the time to look them up and follow them on social media. See what they have to offer. You never know who may be appearing on stage next.

Tickets for Trampolene in the Bunkhouse at just £8.00 each

Multi-Venue Events

Local venues bring so much variety to the scene, by not only hosting amazing worthwhile gigs, but also special events. All-day gigs and charity events can be a regular occurrence, and these usually have a high number of acts on the bill, allowing you access to not just one but half a dozen of brilliant musicians. Just last week, I attended a gig hosted by Horizons Cymru, which was free and only required a contribution to Children in Need on the door. There were eight different musicians in the lineup, all of varying genres and I thoroughly enjoyed. Events like this are not uncommon amongst independent venues, who are passionate about what they do and love music. In addition, many local venues often collaborate together through multi-venue weekend festivals such as Cardiff’s Sŵn Festival and Swansea’s Fringe Festival. These events bring your local venues together, by hosting different bands in each one and giving them the opportunity to showcase themselves to a wider audience throughout the event. Bringing the music community together. Tickets for events such as these are usually very reasonable also, for the multitudes of entertainment they have on offer. If you fancy trying a multi-venue event for yourself, Ritual Union is Bristol’s answer, and this will be taking place at the end of March. I will link further information and tickets at the end of this post. 

Supporting Emerging Bands, Culture and Economy

By attending local venues you are not only helping to support your local economy, but you’re also helping to nurture culture within your town or city. Local venues allow you to support and help grow wonderfully talented emerging bands and musicians. In return, you get to see these bands at the very beginning of their career. I can say from experience, that it’s such an incredibly humbling privilege to witness a band developing their music career. Even the most famous have started somewhere. As I touched upon at the start of this post, smaller venues allow you that space to be at one with a band, you can get to know them, support them and follow their journey. To think that attending a gig in a local venue can allow you this pleasure should make anyone want to buy a ticket for their next gig right this second. Smaller venues are home to so much talent, and many of these musicians are more than capable of really making it big. For example, Cardiff’s Sŵn Festival, hosted a set from Sam Fender a few years ago when he was only just stepping out in to the music industry, and look at how successful he is now. Even if bands you see at smaller venues do not initially make it big as the industry would define, then I’m of the opinion that I’ve gotten to know and see some absolutely wonderful, talented individuals, and that is certainly not time wasted. Bands are so grateful for your support at local venues. If you don’t choose to go to these gigs, then you’re not giving these emerging bands and musicians that chance to prove themselves. Support what they have to offer you, and you’ll have an amazing time doing so, discovering some fantastic new music in the process.

Discover Your Own Unique Music Tastes

I have my own unique flare and music tastes that I am overwhelmingly fond of, and I have these musicians and lovely venues to thank for it. Smaller venues have allowed my love for music to truly flourish. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Music will allow you to find yourself, if you give it the chance. By supporting independent music venues you are enabling this opportunity.

A photo of me

The Community Spirit

The last and most crucial element in why I love small venues so much, is the wonderful sense of community they bring with them. This leads me on to the next part of my series ‘Independent Music Venues and the Community Spirit Behind Them’ which I will be sharing with you in a couple of days time.


Links:

https://ritualunion.seetickets.com/event/ritual-union/various-bristol-venues/1466219

Lindsay Munroe Releases New Single ‘Mirror’

Lindsay Munroe Releases New Single ‘Mirror’

Yesterday, Lindsay Munroe released her brilliant new single ‘Mirror’.  A song with a powerful opening, possessing captivating lyrics that draw the listener in instantly. This is an incredible debut release that demanded my attention on my very first listen. Lindsay, an alternative-indie singer/songwriter, from Manchester, has a voice that is powerful without being overpowering. There is no harshness in her tones, instead she has gorgeous, steady and strong vocals that also carry just enough softness. Blending together to make them beautifully pleasant to listen to, whilst being assuring and driven enough to really capture your curiosity. Think Marika Hackman meets Angie McMahon and you won’t be far off what I’m referring to.

Being a writer myself though, of course it was the lyrics that really sparked my interest straight away. Lindsay is a fantastic songwriter. There is no long, winding intro into this song, instead we dive right into the heart of what ‘Mirror’ is all about from the offset. Lindsay begins by confessing to us past fears and worries that controlled her into always conforming and following the rules in younger years. Many of us, including myself in some ways, have adhered to these unset rules we follow, growing up without rebelling and straying from the norm. Hence why I found that this song really resonated with me. The quiet child who always behaved, and did as they were expected, wonderful on paper and in the eyes of others, but in life and by themselves they were held back by concerns over failure. Insecurities arose from fears of not meeting expectations set for them. These concerns are often ones that manifested from within themselves, through anxieties and a nature of over-cautiousness.

The song progresses into a strong chorus, as we learn that Lindsay is referring back to her poignant past, with such a different outlook on life now. The lyrics grow into passionate self-assurance of someone who knows who they are now, and has become strongly willed by realising they are the answer in changing their course in life, and there are no set rules in where it can take them. ‘Mirror’ is a brilliant song of strength and finding your freedom, breaking out from your own worries and insecurities in youth. Growing with confidence and bravery, by recognising that past mistakes and self-deprecation are in no way a reflection of who we are now. Lindsay comments: “I started writing Mirror whilst reflecting on a fantasy I had as an insecure teenager. I used to wish I could be physically malleable, like a clay sculpture, able to change my body to fit into different standards and situations. That made me really angry, that I had ever felt like that. But the song is also a celebration of the way that other people can see you more clearly than you see yourself and how that can change our self-perception.”

For Lindsay to have such a bold opening single is superbly impressive. It is a deserving of a very warm welcome into the indie scene and is a release that I feel is going to attract those within the industry, and fans of it. With Lindsay being a new artist just breaking out into the music scene, I can safely say that ‘Mirror’ has blown me away. Certainly not an artist to be underestimated by any means, Lindsay has a fantastic voice that really shines and places itself firmly in your brain as being someone who you want to hear more of. Indie London have praised Lindsay and describe ‘Mirror’ as “a hugely promising debut from an extremely talented young artist.” The song itself incorporates a steady drum beat and guitar rhythm, which allow for Lindsay’s vocals to take centre stage. ‘Mirror’ sounds as crisp and well recorded as though Lindsay had been recording albums for years, and is a credit not only to herself but the team behind the release also. Produced by Chris Hamilton who works with artists including LUMP and Torres. The single also features Fern Ford from The Big Moon.

I cannot wait to see what Lindsay Munroe brings next, with her EP ‘Our Heaviness’ due to be released this year. This will be an EP I will be highly anticipating. Lindsay has already graced stages supporting the likes of Luke Sital-Singh and David Kitt, as well as having obtained continued recognition from BBC Introducing and achieving the title of ‘The Manchester Acoustic Scene’s Most Exciting Graduate’ from the Manchester Evening News. I have a feeling there is a lot more success to come for Lindsay, and I am so excited to follow her journey.

You can catch Lindsay performing live at her upcoming UK tour dates below:

1 Feb- In Store at Wilderness Records- Manchester

2 March- Castle NQ supporting Heather Woods Broderick- Manchester

6 March- FortyFive Vinyl Café (Headline)- York

9 May- Soup Kitchen (Headline)- Manchester

15 May- The Grace (Headline)- London

Tickets can be purchased from https://www.alttickets.com/lindsay-munroe-tickets



Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed hearing all about Lindsay’s brilliant new single. Let me know what you think of it by leaving me a comment, or by getting in touch on any of my social media accounts below xx

My Year of Vinyl

My Year of Vinyl

If you are following me on Instagram, then you will know that throughout January I have been sharing a series of posts as a part of my Year of Vinyl challenge, through which I have celebrated owning my beloved Crosley Record Player for a year, by sharing with you my favourite albums on vinyl.

Although I didn’t post as many as I’d have liked, I feel that those I have shared with you all are undoubtedly favourites that I own and are a wonderful reflection of my music tastes. Therefore, I feel I have shared quality and not quantity on this occasion, at least in my eyes anyway.

The albums I have chosen were created by artists and bands whom I adore. I will be writing the frank and honest truth about why each vinyl is held so dearly to me, sharing with you the stories of how I came to own each one and the meaning behind them. I will delve into my subconscious and share with you all my reasons for loving each album, as well as giving you more insight into the tracks that I enjoy the most from each and a little more about what to expect in terms of music style from the artists themselves.


Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese

Without further ado, the first album I chose to share on my Year of Vinyl challenge was Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese. If I had to pick one vinyl to play for the rest of my life, then I can safely say that this would be it. Bad Contestant is an album I have treasured, the sound is sublime on vinyl, and I relish the crackles and imperfections over any clean-cut studio recording. This was one of the very first vinyls I bought for my player, and was also my first signed one that I came to own. When I first opened it, I knew that this album would be very special to me. Matt Maltese is an artist that was born for vinyl, his vocals hums of the 70s. Vintage, with a modern twist, this album is truly unique in both its lyrical content and overall style. Home to songs that suit every mood, I have laughed with this album and I have cried with this album. It has been spun many a time on my record player, and I could not imagine having had the year without it. I adored this album before I owned the vinyl, so I do not doubt that it will always be one that I cherish and play repeatedly. Stand out favourites for me are ‘Like a Fish’ and the vastly contrasting ‘Less and Less’. 


That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon

Next up to be shared with you were the striking blue vinyl discs of That’s Your Lot by Blaenavon. An album I have found so beautiful since my very first listen. Although the blue vinyl version was a recent purchase, I already owned this album on standard black vinyl, which I still cannot allow myself to part with. This album has accompanied me through poignant times in my life, and Blaenavon have in turn comforted my many a sleepless night with their soothing songs. Hence why I find myself instinctively drawn to the softer side of this album, with songs such as ‘Let Me See Happens Next’ being held particularly close to my heart. I first discovered Blaenavon through ‘My Bark is Your Bite’, however I initially stumbled upon the acoustic version. Having played this repeatedly via Spotify, it wasn’t until I decided to actually look further that I found That’s Your Lot. To this day, I have no idea why in late 2017, I procrastinated in listening to a band I would find such solace in, for so long. I continue listening to Blaenavon through to the present day, they are a band I completely could not imagine existing without. I have had such an intense love affair with That’s Your Lot. Owning the blue discs was a mini victory for me, having previously dismayed at them being completely sold out. I rejoiced when only last year, this glorious album was restocked in not only blue but was also signed. I think actual tears may have fallen that day.


Isaac Gracie (Self-Entitled) by Isaac Gracie

To say I adore Isaac Gracie would be too weak a sentiment. Isaac Gracie’s music is a part of me and I have grown into the woman I am since discovering his music way back when I was still in university in early 2015. I began listening to Isaac when his music was just early demo releases on Spotify. I have played his pre-album recording of ‘Last Words’ to death, and even now, I still find myself listening to it often. I remember clearly when Isaac announced his debut album release, and again I am certain I cried. Isaac Gracie releasing this stunning album to the world made me feel like a proud mother. It was surreal hearing his music getting radio airplay, when it had previously been with me in my loneliest of times whilst I was away from home. The album consists of a gorgeously, soft, string of melodies. Isaac’s flawless, melting vocals lead us through songs that are deeply emotive, and lyrically poetic. Throughout there is a strong sense that Isaac Gracie is confessing and sharing his secrets with the listener, eluding tales of a broken heart and a wounded relationship. Isaac did so well to release this album that clearly means an awful lot to him, and I remain so immensely proud of his work. Although, I cannot help but feel a wash of sadness when I listen to this album sometimes though, and this is purely for my own selfish reasons, as unfortunately I was not able to make any of Isaac’s live performances on his first tour. Various commitments, fears of travelling and so on, got in the way. I look back now and dismay at why I felt this way at the time. However I hope he will tour again soon. I can assure you I will not miss out a second time. My absolute favourite song from this album, and I would even say of all time is ‘Silhouettes of You’. It is absolutely beautiful and one that I cannot recommend you listen to enough.


Dream On by Alice Boman

Although this is a very new release, I still felt it was fair to include this in my year of vinyl, as I was so highly anticipating this album. My thoughts, and idea of what it was going to be like were in my head long before it was in my hands. Dream On by name and by nature, I myself dreamt of owning Alice Boman’s stunning debut album for months. I first heard Alice’s gorgeously haunting vocals through BBC TV series Wanderlust. The programme itself was a masterpiece of television, capturing so transfixingly the struggles of marriage and love, Alice Boman’s songs laced within the episodes were a match made in heaven, and captured the raw emotion of the programme so beautifully. I found myself completely fascinated with her voice, and as soon as an episode would finish, I would be frantically hunting the song down online. Eventually I’d built up my own little library of Alice Boman songs through her early EP and single releases. Eerily, quiet vocals that scream in your mind, Alice’s music delivers an intense emotional hit that’s also serenely comforting in other ways. I eagerly awaited the release of Dream On as though it was a drug, and I was not disappointed when the dose was administered. My favourite from this album is ‘The More I Cry’ which is an absolutely beautiful piece of music that I will resonate with forever.


Swansea to Hornsey & Pick a Pocket or Two by Trampolene

Where do I start with my next post, an ode to the loves of my life that are Trampolene. Home-grown and oh so beautifully humble for it, Trampolene are without doubt the friendliest band you could ever dream of meeting. I discovered their music initially through Spotify, and was hooked after my first listen. Coming to realise that they were from South Wales like me, I quickly found myself posting on their fan page and it wasn’t long before I was at one of their gigs for the first time. Hand on heart, I would say that this was the best gig I have ever been to in my life, and I’ve been to a lot. Trampolene’s music is fast paced and fantastically driven on bangers such as ‘Alcohol Kiss’, but this band also have the wonderful capabilities to deliver sensitive, acoustic songs, that are so tender and emotional. Look no further than ‘Cinderella’s Shoe’. My heart and mind was stolen from me as I stood directly in front of eccentric front man, and charmer, Jack Jones. A whirlwind on stage and in life, Jack is a fire that burns wildly. His presence is captivating and you cannot help but be drawn in by him. If you go and see Trampolene for yourself I’m sure you too will see how amazing their music and live presence is. Their albums are reflections of this. As an added bonus I also feel it is worth mentioned, that by listening to Trampolene’s music and engaging with the band and their followers, I’ve made a lot of friends, many of which I would say will easily be friends for life, whom I love dearly. I hold the band, those who work with them and their fan base very close to my heart. Trampolene are more than a band to me now, and I feel this highlights the power that music can have in brining people together and creating a sense of not only identity, but community.


Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers by Porridge Radio

Last but not least is the story of how I came to own and love Porridge Radio’s vivid red, energy-packed album that is Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. Possibly the most simple explanation, is that I found myself experiencing love at first sight. I initially set eyes on two members of Porridge Radio, Dana and Sue, at Coventry Central Library when they were supporting the sweet angel that is Phoebe Green. I had travelled from South Wales to England to see Phoebe for the first time. I was immensely happy about this, and truthfully I hadn’t even factored support acts into my little bubble of excitement. My god, did Porridge Radio show me the error of my ways. Despite lacking their full band for various reasons, Porridge Radio certainly did not lack by any means whatsoever in completely captivating me. Dana was mesmerizing and I fell head over heels in love with her voice. I’ve been to many gigs so far in my lifetime, and have been impressed by many bands on stage, but never before and I doubt ever again will I feel as completely flummoxed and utterly in awe of a band as I did that day. I practically fell over in adoration as I approached the merch table, literally threw my money at them and could hardly speak. An unbelievable effect that I have never forgotten nor would I ever want to. I bought this vinyl that day and became a firm fan of their music. Personal favourites of mine on this album are Eurgh and Barks Like A Dog. I love this band and will support them for as long as they exist, because their music is truly unique, powerful and stunning all at the same time. As well as being emotional, meaningful and riveting. I can exasperate so many adjectives and still not achieve what I truly want to say. All I can stress to you is that please, if this band ever appear on your radar, go and see them. If they don’t appear on your radar, then I urge you to make it so. Porridge Radio are a band you need to hear live. I assure you that their album is equally as magnetic. Porridge Radio’s next release Every Bad is due on 13th March. New singles ‘Lilac’ and ‘Sweet’ from Every Bad are available to stream now.


Well that concludes my Year of Vinyl Roundup. I hope you’ve enjoyed having an insight into my love for music, by learning a little more about these fantastically talented musicians, and myself also.

If you would like any more information on any of these vinyls, or if you’re curious to hear about any other albums I own. Please feel free to leave a comment or message me on any of my social media accounts below, and I’ll be glad to get back to you.

All my love, and thank you so much for reading this rather special (and probably too honest) blog post!

I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Let me know your favourite vinyls too! Xx


Horizons Independent Venue Week Gig at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach – Gig Review

Horizons Independent Venue Week Gig at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach – Gig Review

Last night saw Clwb Ifor Bach become home to a wonderful music event, hosted by Horizons Cymru. Showcasing some incredibly unique and diverse musicians and bands, spanning across all genres. There really was something for everyone. Acts including Sonny Winnebago, Panic Shack, Lucas J Rowe, HANA2K, Codewalkers, Esther, Darren Eedens and Gruff Rhys all took to the stage to perform, for the gig celebrating Independent Venue Week 2020.

Each act had a short-burst set of half an hour, which was just enough time for them to give us a flavour of what they were all about. The night began with Sonny Winnebago and Panic Shack, who I heard performed amazingly well. I was gutted to have missed their sets at the start of the night, but time got the better of me on this occasion. Arriving a little later than I’d planned, I just managed to get through the door as Lucas J Rowe began his set in the downstairs room of Clwb. With a sound similar to what I would describe as Bruno Mars meets the Weeknd, Lucas brought hip-hop pop to Cardiff, and it was definitely something different for me to see on the stage, compared to my usual indie-rock gigs. I enjoyed his set, it was refreshing to explore a different genre to what I’m used to seeing live, and I loved how much he interacted with the crowd and brought everyone’s attention to the stage.

This gig had an upstairs, downstairs approach, which was entertaining, as after each set finished, a hoard of us would all dash between the top and bottom rooms of Clwb. One band would play downstairs, and as soon as they’d finished the next would be upstairs, so it added an unexpected bit of comedy to the night, with everyone running back and forth. This was highlighted in the moments where each band was introduced before their set, with Minty from Minty’s Gig Guide hosting the stages. I’ve always been a fan of Minty. He is fantastic at promoting and supporting Cardiff’s local music scene, as well as of course always being on the pulse with sharing upcoming gigs and events to look out for. Minty was a great on-stage host, and made us all laugh on multiple occasions, it was fab to see him taking on the role so confidently and boldly.

The next act on upstairs was HANA2K, so we all dashed up to watch her perform. Hana was introduced by Minty, and the rising pop-icon took to the stage. Hana has had a marvellously successful few years, most recently even performing at the Welsh Music Awards, which is a fantastic achievement. This was my first time seeing Hana and her music did not disappoint. I was expecting a pop-princess, but Hana is so much more than this. Incorporating meaningful emotive, heartfelt lyrics, all whilst remaining sassy and confident, providing an upbeat, bubbly performance. Hana reminded me of Zara Larsson, with the lyrical power of Maisie Peters, a great combination. Hana is one to watch, and I have a feeling this is only the beginning for her.

As soon as Hana’s set finished, we were back downstairs ready for the next band that followed. Stand out surprise favourites of the night for me, Codewalkers blew us away with their energy-packed set. Their music is a swirling mix of genres, ranging from rap, to rock, with a touch of reggae thrown in. They effortlessly switched genres even within each individual song. It really was great to see, and I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face throughout their performance. It was different, unique and really brought life to the downstairs room of Clwb, with seemingly everyone in the room getting involved and engaging with them. The band were clearly enjoying being there, and all mashed brilliantly together when performing. Codewalkers were smiling and laughing throughout their set, a confidence which exuded marvellously in the fun but fantastic show that they gifted us with. 

By this point in the night, Clwb was getting really busy, and there was a great atmosphere building. It was lovely to see that so many people had turned up to support these bands, and with every person walking through the door making a contribution to Children in Need, it was all even more worthwhile for such a fantastic cause. The gig was obtaining coverage on BBC Radio 6’s show, as well as being recorded by Horizons. It was a high-impact event and a great celebration of Independent Venue Week. In the slight breaks in between sets, it was apparent to see that it was also a chance for people to network and get to know each other better. Everyone was chatting and laughing, and it was clear that something rather special was taking place. I managed to chat with several people I knew myself, this included meeting the very talented Welsh Music Podcast boys for the first time, who were so lovely and chatty! Saying hello and meeting people at gigs is always a favourite part for me.

Following Codewalkers set was the sublimely mesmerising Esther. Channelling an angelic, bohemian style, Esther danced and sang her way through her set. Carrying a softer tone to her vocals, when compared to the previous acts that had performed, I did feel that it was a shame not all of the crowd acknowledged this by giving her set the respect it deserved. Esther battled admirably against the noise and chatter that was rising due to the venue getting busier. However, I will admit I did struggle to hear some of her lyrics which was a shame, as the songs I was able to hear were beautifully delivered. I’d absolutely love to see Esther perform again in a quieter room, with an audience dedicated to her. Esther possessed a voice that was soothing, yet bold in parts, and I’d love to listen to her more closely.

Next up was Darren Eedens and his band The Slim Pickin’s. Wow, were they a breath of fresh country air. Bringing fantastically fun country music to Wales, Darren Eedens set was absolutely brilliant, and got the room up and dancing. Canadian-born Darren told us how he’d moved to Wales five years ago, and explained how welcoming he’d found all of the local Welsh people. It was a lovely little nod to our Welsh spirit and culture, and in turn he is sharing with us his wickedly quirky, country music, that really sent out such a feel good vibe across the venue. His set was an explosion of fun and friendship, with everyone seeming to enjoy it and get involved! Darren Eedens is definitely someone I’d recommend you to see live if you love a muscian that can have fun, all whilst still being incredibly talented. Darren Eedens and The Slim Pickin’s played an array of instruments from the banjo to the violin, that brought together this sensational country music collective.

Last but not least, the headline act Gruff Rhys embraced the stage. Having achieved success in both his solo career, and through a number of bands, Gruff Rhys is certainly not new to the Welsh music scene. It felt like a real privilege for me to get to see someone who many consider to be a Welsh music legend on stage for the first time. The beginning of his set mainly consisted of his Welsh language songs. Not being a Welsh speaker myself unfortunately, the lyrics were lost on me, but I was appreciative of the music and it was wonderful to see how in awe of him his fans were. His music is certainly something I could enjoy given a few more listens, just as I love other Welsh language music from bands such as Adwaith and Chroma. The second half of the set really picked up though, when Gruff began playing his hits that everyone knew and loved. I could hear the crowd singing and there was an electric atmosphere. The room was absolutely full to the brim and full of life, which wasn’t bad at all for a mid-week gig on a rainy Wednesday night.

All in all, I found this gig a lot of fun. It was so interesting to see such a variety of brilliant musicians, that really gave it their all. The gig brought a strong sense of community spirit to Cardiff’s music scene. Everyone involved rallied together to put on a fantastic show, and had clearly all worked incredibly hard to make this event so successful. They should all be very proud of themselves. The night was in aid of two well deserving causes; for charity, and for promoting Wales’ wonderful musical talent, within Cardiff’s great music scene.


Although I sadly missed Panic Shack performing at this gig, I have seen them previously and written about them in my very first gig review which you can find here: https://beckyandthebands.home.blog/2019/12/01/my-first-blog-post/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1WhvnGjVSWVwMTtLw0GXkJ8/what-is-horizons-gorwelion

Dream On by Alice Boman – An Album Review

Dream On by Alice Boman – An Album Review

Alice Boman confesses most intimately, emotions we have all felt at some point in our lives, but rarely admit to.

What I would easily describe as my most anticipated album of 2020, and we’re only in January. It has been no secret that I was, and continue to be incredibly excited about Alice Boman’s first full-length debut album ‘Dream On’. I’ve fallen deeply in love with Alice’s dreamy vocals following her already successful EP’s ‘Skisser’ and ‘EP II’, so the thought of an album full of her stunning heartfelt songs was overwhelming, and kept me waiting at the door for my post to arrive since the album release date last Friday. On Saturday, the gorgeous vinyl was placed into my hands and I was ecstatic. I’d resisted the urge to stream the songs on Spotify, and now I had the glorious pleasure of listening to this stunning album on its crisp, freshly-pressed sunset yellow vinyl disc.

My first listen was harmonious. Alice Boman’s music is unashamedly heart-breaking, and Alice is a musician I personally adore. Her songs are so beautifully understated, but Alice’s delicate vocals are not shy in cutting sharply with their agonisingly relatable lyrics of wounded love. Alice’s songs on ‘Dream On’ are as poignant, if not more so, than those from her previous releases. From the moment the album starts to play we are met with the touching beginning of ‘Wish We Had More Time’ and as the album progresses, it continues to delve so much further into the tender subjects of love, loss and intimacy.

Songs flow seamlessly in and out of one another. There is nothing harsh or jarring on this album. It is truly tranquil and Alice sings of heartbreak in its purest form. There is no anger or vengeance noted in her lyrics, she simply sings of the agony endured from being hurt by the person you love most. Although very emotive lyrically, the melodies are comforting enough to soothe you to sleep. Tranquil, soft tones are used throughout the album. There is also the sense that it isn’t overly reliant upon instruments, but instead compliments Alice’s sweet vocals with subtle hums of guitar and piano, accompanied by a sound that would make you believe it was recorded in the 1940s/50s, which is a sublime addition to the albums nostalgic ambience, and a credit to album producer Patrik Berger. Songs such as ‘Heart on Fire’ and ‘Who Knows’ stood out to me immediately, falling either side of my favourite on the album, ‘The More I Cry’.

Alice Boman confesses most intimately, emotions we have all felt at some point in our lives, but rarely admit to. When we are going through a breakup, we are often told by those around us to forget about them, to dance away our pain with friends and loud music, and move on. However, what if it’s not that easy? What happens when your support network no longer help you, and you are left missing the person that’s no longer yours? Alice Boman sings of the pain felt when you are unable to move on, or more aptly, when you may not even want to move on. The excruciating agony of missing someone, who you feel is just beyond your reach, may love you half-heartedly, or not at all.  We all know them, they’re the one you can’t stop thinking about when you’re trying to sleep, that person you love and want so painfully to love you back. If you are reading this with a stiff upper lip, holding on to the opinion that this doesn’t apply to you, then I feel it is fair to say that Alice Boman’s music may not suit your tastes now,  but listen to her if your heart has been broken, and I am almost sure you will find her music so much more compelling.

The truth is, Alice Boman sings of what we are all too afraid to say. Alice doesn’t sing of moving on, getting that bitter-sweet revenge and everything in between that we are meant to feel. Alice sings of what we really feel, and what she can only emphasise so beautifully as an indescribable pain, that certainly doesn’t fade overnight, despite how badly we might want it to.

On an initial listen I found myself describing Alice Boman’s ‘Dream On’ as heart-breaking but truthfully, it is so much more than that. I’d say if anything it has the capabilities to be heart-saving. Although there is an undeniable sadness in the songs, I suspect that when you find yourself in the situation reflected from this album, Alice’s music isn’t a sadness, it becomes more of a comfort blanket. Alice will be a musical figure to lean on, someone who knows what you’re going through. Her music harbours pain, but truly it is soothing to the listener. ‘Dream On’ has the clue in it’s title. The album is a dream, a dream that we are often wrongly ashamed of, to be reunited with our lost love. Alice Boman sings unashamedly of these feelings, and ‘Dream On’ is something we should all have the strength to embody. Love is not a weakness, rather one we perceive to be a weakness. When in truth, love is our strength, love is a dream, and dream on we will.


Porridge Radio Release New Single ‘Sweet’ and Announce Album ‘Every Bad’

Porridge Radio Release New Single ‘Sweet’ and Announce Album ‘Every Bad’

Porridge Radio hold a very special place in my heart, and since the release of their previous single ‘Lilac’, I have been eagerly awaiting their next announcement. What I didn’t expect, was to receive not only news of another single, but also fresh tour dates and an impending album release all in one day. Porridge Radio have well and truly spoilt us. Their next album ‘Every Bad’ follows their recent signing to Secretly Canadian. I always knew the album was in the process of being made, but I was so incredibly happy to hear that it is going to be out this soon, with a release date scheduled for 13th March.

Singer and songwriter Dana, projects her feelings through song and has admitted that music is a means of expressing her vulnerability and allows her to be open. This makes a lot of sense, as Porridge Radio’s music is so beautifully exposed, it could only have come from the mind of someone who cares deeply about what they are writing and performing. Porridge Radio are an actual wonder to behold on stage, I’ve never seen a band perform so mesmerisingly that they completely silence a room. You don’t just watch Porridge Radio, you are transfixed.

The lyrics of their latest single ‘Sweet’ continue in being as raw and honest as previous releases. Dana does not shy away from delicate subjects, transforming them into heartfelt music. Porridge Radio have the wonderful ability to sing softly to begin with, and then drive their songs into a screaming frenzy of passion and chaos. Nothing about Porridge Radio is artificially constructed, they are a real band that are not afraid to be themselves. This is what ‘Sweet’ embodies.

Lyrically the song begins with Dana exposing a vulnerability that she has been made to feel from projections of other people’s opinions onto her. Being described as a nervous wreck by such a close figure as her mother in the song, has undoubtedly had an impact, and has so wrongly led to her feel ashamed. Dana refers to herself as a child, which stresses that she feels held back and controlled by these negative afflictions, that must be overwhelming if she is wishing someone dead. The song continues to emphasise this with her mother’s constant references to depression, which I feel suggests it is unclear as to whether Dana actually feels this way, or has been made to feel this way by her mother.

‘Sweet’ flourishes in its soft chorus, with Dana reassuring herself that she is so much more than what she has been made to feel like, by taking ownership in moving away and going on to realise she is a sweet and charming person, deserving of being loved by others. This self assurance is linked to what I feel is growing self-care and a positive mental outlook, taking the stigma away from the hurt and shame we can be twisted into feeling from the cruelties of others.

Although intensely delivered and hard-hitting, the real message behind ‘Sweet’ in my opinion, is to not feel shame from having been hurt and controlled by other people, but to have strength in escaping from the insecurities they have inflicted on you. Discovering that belief and love in yourself, realising that you are worthy, and learning that other people are clearly able to see this too. Porridge Radio possess a strong advocate for mental health in their lyrics in my opinion. Their music is incredibly important, as I expressed strongly in my review of their previous single ‘Lilac’.

‘Sweet’ is a delicate but powerful single, in one sense it’s comforting, but it also has the ability to violently shake you. Shame, nerves, anxiety and being hurt by the opinions of others, particularly those closest to us, can affect us all, but truthfully we have nothing to be ashamed of. ‘Sweet’ consists of our innermost anger, and the yearning, passionate delivery from Dana and Porridge Radio makes the song even more intense. One of the heaviest musical outpourings from Porridge Radio to date, it is guitar driven and menacing in its sound. Delivering intensity in not only it’s lyrical content, but it’s music too. Pushing the bands energy and instrument playing even further. This is clear to see if you have witnessed them performing ‘Sweet’ live, which I am lucky enough to have been able to.

Porridge Radio are already an incredible band, but if their latest single is anything to go by, I have a strong feeling that they are only going to get better and better. I cannot wait to watch them grow. You can pre-order ‘Every Bad’ and tickets for their upcoming tour are on sale now. You might even fall in love.


My First Listen of The 1975’s ‘Me & You Together song’

My First Listen of The 1975’s ‘Me & You Together song’

The 1975 have released their gorgeously soft single ‘Me & You Together song’ tonight. Played exclusively with a live performance on BBC Radio 1. We were treated to hearing a stripped back version of the single for the first time, from the band themselves. Before being played the studio recording from the album. Of course the band performed the song flawlessly in my eyes, even though Matty confessed he had gotten some of the lyrics wrong, I doubt anyone would have noticed. On my first listen, I could hear that the song oozes romance and memories, having an instant nostalgic charm that carries you away in its day dream.

In the interview that followed live on Annie Mac’s Show, Matty explained how lyrically the song transports the band back to when they were teenagers, and is influenced by the music they grew up with. He describes their latest single as being “a bit of life” and later goes on to say “that it is straight up vibing and straight up happiness.” The single takes The 1975 back to their very beginning, and is such a rare reminiscent moment, at what is arguably the very peak of their career. It is humbling that a band with such successfully innovative and bold ideas, can still give such a nod of adoration to where they came from. Despite being one of the most progressive bands of our time. ‘Me & You Together song’ is a time machine conducted admirably well.

Lyrical storytelling at its finest, ‘Me & You Together song’ takes us on a lyrical journey of love and life. It isn’t a fairytale romance, with whimsical words, but seemingly a real and truthful tale of the ups and downs of an everyday relationship. Its chorus clearly highlights the one thing that keeps us together, love. Whereas its verses speak of the forethoughts of youth and those lovesick emotions that we all feel, whilst life progesses at the pace of the ever-ticking clock. By being so open, real and raw, the song is made all the more beautiful and unmistakably heart-melting. Delivered in a lush, soft style, whilst not being overly melancholy.

The 1975 even hinted at having given us a window into their lives, by peering through the glass of this single. With Matty admitting that the lyrics draw on his own relationships and experiences, expressing that the song is based on at least four people he knows. The single is clearly emotional for both the band members themselves, and fans alike, but somehow possesses that bizarre happy-crying feeling that makes it so special. Rather than just being happy, or sad, Matty explains how the song incorporates both. With catchy instrument playing, and nostalgic lyrics combined, the single contains an array of emotions in its very bones. Lyrical content aside, the melodic pace of the music takes you on a journey in itself. Whether you choose to sit and listen, or get up and dance, is up to you.

As well as the new release, tonight The 1975 also announced that their upcoming album ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ is to consist of 22 songs. Yes that’s right. 22 songs. Not only in its song content, but in its size, this album is going to be colossal. So many thoughts are already buzzing around in my brain, and I can’t help but wonder how many genres this album will cross, what the songs will be like, and how The 1975 will deliver this highly anticipated record. Matty spoke about being open to criticism, which does make me think there may be a few more controversial singles like ‘People’ ahead. Matty has confessed the album will not hold a typical 1975 style so to say, but instead will incorporate every aspect of the bands sound in one album.

Due to the ever-growing scale of ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’, the band did inform us during tonight’s interview, that it will inevitably be released a little later than planned. Rather than 21st February as originally intended, the album is now hoped to be released on 24th April instead.

Honestly, I’d happily give this band all of the time they need to finish ‘Notes on Conditional Form.’ If this album is going to be even half as brilliant as I think it will be, it is going to be an absolute triumph.

Links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d94j


Talk Show Announce First EP and Tour Dates

Talk Show Announce First EP and Tour Dates

A real funhouse for your senses, Talk Show will almost certainly leave you wanting more, and more.

One of my favourite edgy, punk bands Talk Show, have announced their first EP today. ‘These People’ is due to be released on 27th March, and the band have given us a glimpse of what we can expect, as initial single ‘Banshee’ is available to stream online now. I can tell you, this is one that you definitely need to listen to.

The single opens with a drum beat and bass guitar, before vocals emerge from lead singer Harrison. Initially the words are spoken slowly and wistfully, as though Harrison is practising distortedly what he wants to say to someone. The song builds into an instrumental, with Harrison increasing his vocal pitch and urging the person he wants to speak with, to say the words that he knows. The tempo of the song rises, and the fantasy evolves as Harrison’s mind seemingly works overtime, progressing into the dark chaos of the mentally-driven conversation. Are these lyrics hoping for a break-up, a reconciliation, or something else? Maybe that is for the listener to conclude.

Talk Show have always possessed a dark undertone to their music. When I first saw them live, their show was unlike any other I had witnessed. The lights in the venue were completely dimmed so the room was in total darkness, and the stage was only lit by a red glow. As I have said in a previous blog post, lead singer Harrison took to the microphone with a limbering approach, as if a force was resonating through his body. It’s apparent that the devil takes hold, and the exorcism begins when this band hit the stage.

Talk Show have an unnerving element to their song lyrics, but there is something so intriguing about them. This band deliver their music so powerfully well, it grabs your attention and throws you full throttle into what they are all about. Hard, punchy rhythms, that consist of wonderfully twisted lyrics. A real funhouse for your senses, Talk Show will almost certainly leave you wanting more, and more.

‘These People’ will consist of four new singles. ‘Banshee’ being the first to be released today. I do not doubt that the rest of this EP will be as formidably mesmerising.

You can catch Talk Show on their headline tour in April, at various UK locations. Tickets go on sale this Friday 17th March.



Albums I Am Anticipating in 2020

Albums I Am Anticipating in 2020

Here are 3 albums being released this year, that I am most excited to hear.

Alice Boman – ‘Dream On’ due 17th January 2020

Swedish singer Alice Boman has a rare gift. Her vocals and talent for song writing are incredibly unique, and as a listener you can’t help but be captivated by her. Alice has not lost her eerily gorgeous vocals since her introduction to music in 2013. Her early EPs ‘Skisser’ and ‘EP II’ are sublime, and if you haven’t heard them yet then you definitely should. The song ‘Waiting’ actually gave me chills when I first heard it through TV series Wanderlust. The song was so well placed within that particular scene, but it was Alice’s vocals and words that I found haunting me. The song had such resonant lyrics at that time in my life, I was instinctively drawn to finding out who she was and desperately wanted to hear more of her songs. Since then, it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen deeply in love with her music. Alice Boman’s debut album ‘Dream On’ is being released this Friday 17th January. Having already treated us to four beautiful singles, it’s clear that this album is set to be stunning.

My favourite single released to date from the upcoming album is ‘The More I Cry’ which struck a chord with me on my very first listen. I always feel that Alice has somehow gotten into my head, and I will say that her songs are very relatable for anyone who has ever been hurt or has lost someone they loved at some point in their lives. It’s hard not to listen to an Alice Boman song without crying, but honestly they’re so beautiful, the emotional outpouring is worth it. Just think of her music as a way of detoxing your soul. Alice is really one of those artists that has a scary way of putting your most intimate and deepest feelings into a song. It’s clear to me that nothing is hidden in her music, what you are listening to is Alice’s own heart placed into the very core of her music. Her thoughts and feelings are delivered through the most delicate, tender vocals.

The gorgeous sunset yellow vinyl will be Alice’s first full-length album. Describing her latest venture as a journey, Alice has written the lyrics over a number of years, in various locations from London to Stockholm, where the majority of the album was recorded. ‘Dream On’ has been carried through Alice’s life and held dear to her. Now, we too are so close to drifting away in this special album and its lyrics that are so meaningful and heartfelt. I cannot wait. ‘Dream On’ is available to pre-order now. Alice will also be playing a few intimate shows at the end of February, in Brighton, Manchester and London.


The 1975 – ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ due 21st February 2020

What was instantly a love it or hate it song. ‘People’ gave us our first taste of The 1975’s highly anticipated album ‘Notes on a Conditional Form.’ The 1975 are not shy in shaking up their genres and music style. Their sound can vary between songs, and their ability to play such a range of music is stunningly admirable. In a live show, The 1975 will perform a heart-wrenching acoustic single such as ‘Be My Mistake’ and then make the crowd dance with the likes of ‘She’s American’. Their songs are truly ground-breaking and nothing short of beautiful. The band have inspired so many other musicians and fans alike, spanning across so many genres, it’s wonderful. The band have skyrocketed to fame over the last few years, and I feel their fame and success is so well deserved.

Despite The 1975’s continued success and innovation in their bold song releases. Their first single from their upcoming album, sent shock waves across what felt like the world. ‘People’ was entirely different to anything The 1975 had released before, and many of their fans did not know what to make of it. I have to admit though, I did not hesitate in falling unashamedly headfirst in with those that adored this song. Despite their genre swaying between indie, pop and rock. The 1975 took a huge leap straight into the heart of the rock category with this screamer of a lead single. I absolutely applaud their bravery. Personally, I relished the change. It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but I long for the rest of the album to follow suit. I love the rebellious streak in Matty’s vocals and demeanour. I found it refreshingly different, despite still being a long-time fan of the band and their existing albums.

Change happens, and although we want our favourite bands to stay the way they are, sometimes it just isn’t realistic. Look at the difference in bands like Bring Me The Horizon, and Paramore over the years. Bands directions change, their thoughts, feelings and love of music will develop and grow. Just like our own. If ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ is a different take on The 1975, then let them flourish with it. Different isn’t necessarily bad. I can’t wait for this album and I hope it does bring a buzz and divides public opinion. I’m sure the band are up to the challenge.

The 1975 did comfort concerned fans with their latest single ‘Frail State of Mind’ that does consist of a more typical sound you’d expect from The 1975, similar in style to their existing single ‘Tootimetootimetootime’, but I must confess that I am still so intrigued by initial single ‘People’. I’m curious to see where they go with this album. Hopefully their next single release will shed more light on the situation for us. You can hear the single ‘Me and You Together Song’ have its first exclusive play on BBC Radio 1 at 7pm this Thursday 16th January, during Annie Mac’s show. The 1975’s album ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ is available to pre-order now. You can also catch them on tour in February at various locations across the UK.


Creeper – ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ due 22nd May 2020

Having waited patiently in silence, Creeper made their storming return to music in November 2019 with their latest single ‘Born Cold’. Keeping fans in suspense since then, January 11th saw Creeper make a very exciting announcement, treating us to news of a comeback tour and an album in 2020. Championing the modern emo in all of us, Creeper stab our hearts with their gothic punk-rock tracks. The heartfelt, powerful vocals of front man Will Gould give Creeper a distinct sound and what I’d consider to be an advantage over many bands in the genre today. His vocals are gorgeous, and his impressive range means he can hit the high and low notes with equal strength, as well as possessing an eerie tone that drives the very core of the band.

Their new album’s lead single is a lot darker than those from their first album ‘Eternity in Your Arms’. ‘Born Cold’ is certainly different, but is a strong comeback for Creeper, and proves that they can grow and adapt with their music and style, giving us a taste of what we can expect from their next release. The song pushes their vocal and lyrical boundaries further than they’ve ever gone before, but it still has that unmistakable Creeper sound that we all know and love. It is without doubt that their first album was a triumph and paved the way for a new wave of emo music. Built up with theatrical, bold vocals and lyrics that are as heart-breaking as they are heartfelt. Creeper sing of the pain we endure from living but urge us to carry on. You really get the sense that Creeper sing from their heart and soul. The band put an adult spin on emo music. I’m in my twenties and adore Creeper as much as I would have if I were in my teens.

Personal favourites of mine are ‘Misery’ and ‘Crickets’. The band’s other vocalist Hannah sings ‘Crickets’ incredibly beautifully. These songs have played a significant part in my life over the last few years, and I’m sure were the reason why I clocked up 72 hours listening to the band in 2018, according to my stats from Spotify. Asides from the fact that I was also of course in mourning of them throughout November and December. Being a fan of Creeper provides a roller coaster of emotion, especially after they sent myself and fellow fans into meltdown on November 2nd 2018. Creeper broke up live on stage at The Koko in London, announcing that it would be their last show by discarding of their Callous Heart jackets. Thankfully we know now that this was just a period of change and growth for the band, as on that exact date a year later Creeper returned with an immense comeback show under the guise The Fugitives of Heaven, where they debuted their new look and new single.

Since ‘Born Cold’ has been released, the band have completely cleansed their social media accounts to start a fresh. Combining this with their change of style at their comeback show; along with many others, I’m getting the encroaching sense that this is going to be a new era for Creeper. With such an intense single leading the charge, it suggests a much darker tone will be present within Creepers next album ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’. I for one, cannot wait to see what 2020 brings for this endearing band. I already adore Creeper and hold a lot of their music very close to my heart. I am sure their new album will be one I will also cherish, and hope I can secure tickets to see them on their upcoming tour. Tickets go on sale for venues across the UK on Thursday 16th January for those who have ordered the album, otherwise General Sale is Monday 20th January. ‘Sex, Death & the Infinite Void’ is available to pre-order now.


Thank you for taking the time to read this. If there are any albums you’re looking forward to in 2020, let me know either by leaving a comment or by getting in touch on social media. I’d love to hear from you!

Links:

https://www.aliceboman.com/

https://store.universalmusic.com/the1975/

http://www.creepercult.com/


Apostle (plus support) – Gig Review

Apostle (plus support) – Gig Review

09/01/20 – The Moon, Cardiff.

If you haven’t heard already, this January, The Moon in Cardiff are hosting several gig nights as a part of their ‘Free For All Cardiff’ event. No tickets are needed for any of these gigs, just turn up and you can have the pleasure of watching some wonderful live bands and musicians for free. The Moon are catering for all genres of music, from rock to hip hop. The full schedule is available on The Moon’s social media pages, which I will link below for you. Last night, the popular pint-sized music venue welcomed local heroes Apostle to headline the stage, along with four other up and coming support acts.

For once, I actually made it to the venue (almost) on time, I was only five minutes late which must be a new record for me. The Moon is such a gorgeous, inviting little music venue and club. As I arrived there, I was greeted by twinkling fairy lights and vintage bunting at the entrance,  I opened the door and was comforted by the soothing sounds of first band Point of View drifting towards me from the stage that is nestled in the corner. The venue wasn’t overly busy at this point, but I could see that already this duo had captivated their audience, as every person present had their eyes on that stage. Point of View are just starting out on their musical journey, but they have established their own really lovely sound. One of my favourites from their set was their closing song, called ‘Nostalgic’. The lyrics are really touching, and combined with their sweet sound, it proved to be a gem. It’s definitely one I want to listen to again. Point of View have a warm and friendly onstage presence. They seem so nice and I’m sure they will do really well in 2020, their music is honestly lovely. 

After a short interlude, the second band that appeared on stage caught my attention straight away. Colourful lights, glitter and a groove-box accompanied them. They introduced themselves as Branches and Sequels. By possessing a wonderfully unique and quirky style, they sparked my interest instantly. I always love seeing bands that bring something different to the stage. Branches and Sequels initially had what I would describe as a synthesised pop sound, but after listening to their set all the way through, some of their songs also incorporated punchier rock elements. Pop blended with rock, what’s not to like? They performed songs such as ‘Premonition’, ‘Let me Know’ and ‘Paradise.’ Mixing up styles and genres throughout their set, a pick and mix of music that worked wonderfully well. Branches and Sequels have an EP due to be released very soon, which I cannot wait to hear.

By the time Branches and Sequels had finished their set, I’d noticed the room had really started to fill up. For a small venue, surprisingly The Moon can pack in quite a few people. It was wonderful to see that so many had turned up, on a cold, rainy Thursday night in January to support their local music scene. The Moon was alive and crammed with music, laughter and conversation. It wasn’t long before the next act took to the stage. Last Girl on Earth are a band I am already familiar with, but before last night I had yet to see them perform live. Therefore, I was highly anticipating their set. It’s definitely fair to say that as soon as they began playing their first song of the night, I was not going to be disappointed.

Performing in what I would describe as a moody, indie-rock style, Last Girl on Earth dominated the stage and commanded the attention of the crowd, by drawing their audience closer. Lead singer Ines poured out eerily beautiful vocals, that were encased in smooth rock music provided the lead guitar, bass and drums. Last Girl on Earth performed a number of songs including one I really liked called ‘I Like it When it Burns’, which really fused together their edgy sound, but also a showed a delicate side that made them more than just another rock band. Last Girl on Earth have a unique sound, that I found myself falling for. Their latest single ‘Take Me For a Ride’ was great, and I really felt the atmosphere changed when Last Girl on Earth came on. The Moon was at it’s busiest and the band were even called upon to perform an encore from the crowd, ending their set with a song called ‘Run’. Last Girl on Earth seriously impressed me, I can’t wait to see what this year brings for them. 

As the night was drawing later and with it being mid-week, I did notice a few people heading home after Last Girl on Earth’s set, however I’m pleased to say that the atmosphere didn’t falter. Even though The Moon quietened again, those who were left were still excited and ready for the penultimate band to perform. Twin Stranger were up next, and they were a pleasant surprise, their sound struck me as being a play on the popular emo genre. They gave me vibes of an early Mayday Parade, particularly with their song ‘Yellow Flower’ which I loved. Twin Stranger packed in loud instrument playing and swayed between catchy pop-punk songs such as ‘Crushed’ to ones with a more serious lyrical undertone. I really felt like this bands confidence grew as their set progressed, and it was wonderful to see them bloom.

Last but not least, Apostle took to the stage, bringing a brilliant sense of fun to the night. Lead singer Siôn introduced the band, along with their matching dungarees, which made everyone laugh with their infectious light-heartedness. Apostle are so down to earth, and it’s clear to see how adored they are by those who know them. The crowd didn’t feel like a crowd anymore, they felt like friends. This was the first time I had seen Apostle headlining, having previously seen them supporting Welsh singer/songwriter Dan Bettridge back in November. I was blown away by how catchy their songs were then, and loved their friendly manner with the crowd, so I was overjoyed when I heard they were going to be playing The Moon as a part of this fantastic January ‘Free For All’ event.

Apostle performed with so much heart and soul, and it was one of those gigs where you could really see they were enjoying being there. We were treated to a stunning performance of the bands latest single ‘Lavender’, which happens to be my favourite song of theirs. Even though the lyrical content is actually quite sad, the song is just so upbeat, you can’t help but want to have a little dance to it. Watching Apostle perform really does give you that feel good feeling, they’re like an endorphin. However, Apostle did show a more sombre side to their music, with heartfelt tracks ‘In the Dying Day’ and ‘Tears in the Rain’, these tracks really showcased the bands playing skills, and exactly how powerful Siôn’s vocals could be. Siôn is an incredibly talented singer, along with bass player Carys who harmonises and compliments his voice with gorgeous backing vocals. The pair, along with drummer Jordan, perform so well together. We were introduced to new singles ‘Fell Under Your Spell’ and ‘Leave a Light on’ which were both brilliant in their own rights, and the band closed their set with fan-favourite ‘Luck Be On My Side’. Of course they were not getting away that easily though, as fans demanded an encore at the end, which Apostle happily obliged.

With cheers and applause, the gig came to a close, and Apostle thanked everyone for coming out to see them. I thoroughly enjoyed my night at The Moon. The gig showcased an array of new and emerging Welsh bands, all of which were very talented. Each were uniquely different from one another, but together they provided a brilliant night of musical entertainment. To pass this gig off as just a night of local bands, would be a crime, as it was so much more than that. I’ve heard some music that I am aching to hear again, and gotten to know some bands that I will definitely be looking to follow-up and write about when any future releases are introduced.

Thank you so much for reading xx

The Moon’s Social Media Links:

http://www.instagram.com/themooncardiff

http://www.facebook.com/themooncardiff

http://www.twitter.com/themooncardiff