As affirming, as it is agonising. The Debut EP Our Heaviness from Manchester Based singer-songwriter Lindsay Munroe is completely entrancing. With an ability to openly evoke a stirring sense of emotion. Each song conveys such a deep personal outpouring of herself, that one cannot help but explore their own traits, reflected through her.
An anti-spiritual awakening. Our Heaviness exudes itself upon us with prelude Opening. An eerily soothing piece of music that washes over the listener, Lindsay invites us in to her soul with strengthened yet calmed vocals, planting the seed for the heights vocally possible. Opening is unnerving in its welcomed truths and rhetorical questions. Lindsay does not shy away from smudging out the whimsicalities of any delicate notions. As we proceed to understand, Our Heaviness is in no way delicate.
My personal favourite of the EP is Split. Hauntingly beautiful, it sends shivers down my spine every time I indulge in listening, by how agonisingly raw it is. Beginning with soft strums of a guitar. Split bestows a portrait of how Lindsay perceives herself upon us. Painful in capturing almost despised parts of herself, rooted within her past. Lindsay shares her shame, her fears, her anxieties; and divulges them so beautifully. Split really affirmed in my mind, that Lindsay is a fiercely brave songwriter, as well as a singer. I keenly admire her capabilities to explore every fragment, so boldly.
By exposing herself so openly, through tracks such as Split and River. Possibly without even realising, Lindsay has harnessed a strength from her very bones, by stripping out of her previous skin. Denouncing the shackles of her past and welcoming a whole new being. Her music provides the listener with a rousing sense of self-belief. Yet also cradles the need to explore those hidden, painful parts of ourselves, by allowing us to realise that owning them is in no way wrong.
These softer songs are moving and bold in their sentiments. Laced amongst them are tracks Mirror and Easieron You which build the tempo of Our Heaviness. Without knocking the sound off-balance, instead the two heavier tracks compliment the overall tenderness as the guitars are low pitched and rhythmic, providing a woozy rush. Closing the EP, Mirror exhorts a rush of strength and clarity, that Our Heaviness whispers throughout.
A Debut EP that is beyond the beauty of what I could ever put into words. Our Heaviness breathes life into the most shameful dust-ridden corners of our mind, and rejuvenates them. Lindsay Munroe’s vocals possess a gorgeous newness, and any flaw or break found within them, only adds to the earnest honesty of her music.
Our Heaviness is out now
Stream on all platforms or purchase directly below:
Unflinching honesty exposed bare, through the gorgeously soft, yet fiercely brave vocals of Ailsa Tully.
By a brooding bass line, we are drawn into the world of Ailsa Tully. Husky musings pry open latest single Edge as we learn an unexpected truth. On a hazy, glowing twilight of London’s riverbank, an evening full of laughter and life; painstaking anxiety is all that consumes her inner monologue.
As though the river flows calmly, Edge carries the listener along in delicate ripples and waves that never break. Despite the swell of emotive depth conveyed within the track, the music remains soothing and soft. Purposefully evoking a sense of numbness, against racing thoughts and a quickened heartbeat. When a mind cannot stop thinking, there eventually exists an odd state of tranquillity in the confusion, where one is simply lost amongst the chaos. As the brooding bass line plays on and the lull of the nightlife hums steadily in the background. Set against Ailsa’s stunning vocals, the music is reflective of that peculiar state where we feel everything, yet nothing. The surrounding world is meaningless, as our thoughts are all that exist.
The deliberate stark contrast between the music and lyrics is staggeringly beautiful. Creating a dreamlike, lullaby nightmare in Edge, that is nothing short of captivating. As we meander through the song, musical traction is picked up towards the end as the bass heavies and a drumbeat ensues, but an overall eerie sense of calm remains.
Vocally Ailsa heightens her range in parts, as peaks in her worries amplify in reflection of her lyrics. Edge is such a raw, honest, and brave expression of herself, that presents gorgeous vocal capabilities. Ensuring we behold Ailsa Tully as a hauntingly brilliant singer and songwriter.
A deep level of empathy and reflection exists within her music. As listeners, we too feel as though we are wandering the streets of London’s nightlife. Woefully lost amongst the ‘normality’, whilst consumed by our own thoughts and a desperate search for clarity. Yet somehow, we are swallowed by a soft heady calmness that could be our outer appearance to the world. I am completely in awe of the fascinating vocal delivery and backstory of Edge. I cannot wait to hear more from Ailsa Tully.
Following on from their previous release True Secret to a Happy Life, TJ Roberts are back with yet another slice of indie-rock goodness. Latest single Sinceridipity makes no apologies for its bold entrance, as shredding guitars hurtle us full force into the track. Brooding vocals from front man Tom tear through in the first verse, but there is no hiding from that biting guitar lurking underneath, as the track builds to break in its charged chorus.
Blazing to life, Sinceridipity brands its mark, easily becoming one of the finest indie tracks of the year to date. Instruments stampede in a glorious frenzy but complement one another exquisitely well. The track features Zac White of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard on guitar. A musical collaboration of dreams, with fellow BBB member Tom Rees having produced the track. The close-knit South Wales Music Community proving yet again, just why it is so good.
Demanding your attention from start to finish. Sinceridipity is undoubtedly a track that needs to be turned up loud. Especially if you really want to enjoy that minute-long guitar solo that powers through to the end. Hushed thought-provoking verses intertwine with the triumphant chorus; showing off impressive combinations of vocal and instrumental prowess that are driving this band to the forefront.
Lyrically Sinceridipity encapsulates adolescence, and those moments of embarrassment, when we somehow find ourselves looking back over an array of fake, but often misinformed, personalities that developed. A time-honoured tradition of barely comprehensible nonsense. Musical inspiration has been sought from the dark-eyed Lou Reed and Eels’ Mark Everett, as well as the rambunctious energy of Dinosaur Jr. and Fugazi.
The track is available to stream on all platforms via Libertino Records.
Lindsay Munroe is a brave a bold lyricist, baring her soul through music. Her previous singles ‘Mirror’ and ‘Split’ resonated with my very core, and I have been eagerly anticipating her next release.
‘River’ washes over the listener instantly, and is breathtakingly stunning. From its very source, the track is deeply emotive but the vocal delivery from Lindsay is so soothing and tranquil. The most quiet and gentle of her songs to date. The melancholy and heartfelt, ‘River’ finds a way to nestle into your mind and make its home there.
With a heavy emphasis on repeating lyrics, Lindsay is brooding over her pain. The song is slow and winding, allowing us to ponder over our emotions, as well as her own. It is a soulful but soft track. The quiet nature of it is nurturing and not harsh or cutting, despite its emotional heaviness. Instead Lindsay’s vocals convey enough emotion through their almost muted tones, as though they are whispering a secret. It is just enough to invite the listener in.
A songwriter who carves out a part of her heart and places it into the soul of her song.
The lyrics themselves are haunting, as Lindsay conveys such yearning through the depth of her words. Exposing so much of her inner most thoughts and feelings, is once again, admirably brave. Lindsay has such an ability of providing fleeting glimpses into her past, and slight reflections of what may have been, divulging just enough to provoke thought and create in many ways, a story for the listener.
Her self-expression is captivating and certainly makes for a fascinating muse. What I hope I am conveying to you, is that ‘River’ is more than just music and lyrics. It is raw and real, and a slice of Lindsay herself. A songwriter who carves out a part of her heart and places it into the soul of her song. Lindsay’s lyrics are vulnerable and open, however, rather than be deterred by her sheer honesty, Lindsay Munroe is helping it build her.
‘River’ begins with awash of subtle guitar strings and moody vocals. As the song progresses, it also incorporates more elements musically, as drums emerge, and guitars are played a little heavier. Synths and pedals are also used. Although the track is in no way crowded and cluttered with a clash of jarring instruments. Instead instruments simply blend in to complement one another. Lindsay’s vocals and the overall tension of the track heightens in its chorus, but ‘River’ remains to be so soft and delicate; the music carries it along beautifully.
My adoration for Lindsay Munroe is deepening with each song I have the pleasure of hearing, and I am waiting earnestly for her debut EP release. I just know that it is going to provide the most beautiful emotional journey.
Lindsay Munroe’s Debut EP ‘Our Heaviness’ has been rescheduled for release on 19th June.
Rory Wynne is the next shining star to burst out of Manchester’s flourishing music scene. Showcasing a unique blend of indie-pop, Rory is not shy in taking charge of his own music career. You’re saying hello to the writer, performer, recorder and producer of his own music, which is certainly impressive.
Already championed by the likes of Radio 1 and NME, Rory is making a bold impact, and his music speaks for itself. Upon embarking on his headline UK tour, Rory wowed avid gig goers. Since then he has secured a string of residency nights in Manchester, as well as playing a show at iconic venue, Jimmy’s.
Echoes of summer nights, and carefree fun scorch through Rory’s whimsical tracks. His latest single ‘Roses’, is another undeniable indie hit. Dusky vocals scatter like petals throughout, but Rory’s sharp lyrical capabilities soon scar us with their thorns, as the track embodies that peculiar sting from lust for love, and ghosts of mistakes that are capable of entrancing us all, especially when they relate to that one person we adore most.
Driven by want and desire, ‘Roses’ is as lyrically dreamy, as it is catchy. Rory’s passion for music is clear to hear; the track is so brilliantly put together. Each verse, chorus, and even the song’s breakdown, are meticulously crafted to grow a truly beautiful track. 80s synth and modern indie clash, as Rory presents us with a singalong hit you’ll be blasting through your speakers in no time.
Rose-tinted by name and by nature, ‘Roses’ really does bloom. Lustful lyrics and vocals are charged by captivating music, that really emphasises the charm of this track. Lyrically and musically, Rory has got it spot on here, and I’m very excited to hear more from him in the future.
‘Roses’ is out now on Very Clever Records, and is available to stream through all platforms
Rosehip Teahouse are back with a beautiful, woozy track written in isolation by lead vocalist Faye Rogers. Always sharing messages of positivity and kindness, Faye is a movingly brave lyricist who sings openly of our innermost human emotions and fragile experiences. Her latest track is a glowing beacon in dark times. Her vocals soar on the DIY single, and it is a delight to listen to.
A slice of indie goodness, soothing and soft. It highlights a tender, delicate subject and wraps it in sweetness.
Faye of Rosehip Teahouse has a gorgeous gift of comforting listeners through her music. ‘It’s The Wrong Time’ is about those self-destructive thoughts that often invade our minds when we are on our own, and linger. Faye has written and performed the song to raise awareness that we are not alone in encountering these frightening feelings, despite feeling like we might be, and to help those who may be struggling during such a strange period of our lives.
Everything about this song is beautiful; its vocals, its meaning, the subtle backing music. The track is simply made, but truly glows. A slice of indie goodness, soothing and soft. It highlights a tender, delicate subject and wraps it in sweetness. Faye’s voice is set against twinkling sounds from a keyboard, which compliments the serenity of her latest single, and swirls us around in a lullaby haven. Although ‘It’s The Wrong Time’ does have lyrics relating to unnerving thoughts, worry and fear woven within it, the song is subtle and so caringly delivered by Faye, it is a beautiful safety net rather than a trigger. Personally, I believe a lot of listeners will find solitude and peace within this blissfully blended track.
I commend Faye for once again having the boldness and bravery to record such a touching, emotional song and perform it with such wonderful composure.
If you enjoy listening to Rosehip Teahouse’s latest single, please do go and listen to their other singles on Spotify, and tune into any livestream sessions Faye is performing on Instagram. Often, you will be able to hear unreleased music that the band are working on, and I assure you these are equally as stunning. The band hail from Cardiff, and have performed a string of gigs locally and further afield over the years. Next time they are playing near you, it would be wonderful if you would go out and see them live. Their shows are completely mesmerising. I featured them as one on the best, emerging Welsh bands that you need to know about, back when I first started my blog in December 2019. You can read that here if you like.
Follow Rosehip Teahouse on their socials below:
‘It’s The Wrong Time’ is out now exclusively on Bandcamp.
My obsession with Lindsay Munroe is growing. Her debut single ‘Mirror’ was both striking and stunning, and clearly emphasised her strength as a singer-songwriter. The single cut through with direct vocals but maintained a soft element which I was curious to hear more of. It is clear in Lindsay’s lyrics that self-reflection is key to her music. Her latest single ‘Split’ is an intimate exploration of her soul. Encased within a delicate soft vocal delivery that swept me yet again into her daydream.
Words dripping in truths wrap around your core, and soon you find yourself entranced, as though her lyrical confession is being bestowed upon you.
The gentle opening of the single, accompanied by the hum of a guitar, carries the listener away in Lindsay’s arms. Her words dripping in truths wrap around your core, and soon you find yourself entranced, as though her lyrical confession is being bestowed upon you. Lindsay’s heart wrenching agony within this song is clear to hear. Her ability to be so open and honest as a lyricist is truly captivating, and I keenly admire Lindsay’s bravery in baring herself through her music.
‘Split’ evokes but never directly addresses its subject. We are led to believe what our mind takes us to, and somehow we reach back into our own pasts and look at what may have tormented us, through her eyes. Lindsay’s hushed nods to belief and virtues mirror an existence quietened and forced rigid by religion in its verses. However as ‘Split’ progresses, Lindsay heightens her spirit beautifully. The quiet beginning fades, as Lindsay’s confessions spiral and her anger is relinquished. The song breaks into a frenzy, and we really feel her unlock her vocal chords to take centre stage. This is the first time we also harness that euphoric rush of hearing the full band present too, which of course adds to the powerful expression exerted in this moment.
‘Split’ is honestly triumphant. Lindsay’s bold expressions of finding herself and being able to love another have been clearly captured within both of her singles now. Through music it is clear she is flourishing, and the medium allows for an exquisite outpouring of her emotions. Lindsay is utterly relatable, and I feel she will invade the hearts and minds of many within no time. The singles close is a woozy comedown, and as an emotionally depleted Lindsay concludes ‘Split’ with an unfinished sentence and soothed vocals. The final seconds of this single are painfully poignant as though she is defeated. However, I can assure you she is far from it. Lindsay Munroe is in fact, soaring.
Saytr Play are nothing shy of complete craziness. Madchester by birth and mad by nature, this band know how to make music and have a good time doing so. They thrive on loud guitar riffs, stage dives and vocals that pour from front man Fred Farrell who leads the charge. Saytr Play are a burst of energy, and always bring electricity to their live performances. Their engagement with their crowds is euphoric and as for what they do on stage, well, I’m talking climbing speakers, swinging from the ceiling, and almost anything else you can think of. I am pretty sure it won’t be long before this band become infamous for their stage antics, as well as their music.
The bands name Saytr Play is a twist on “Satyr Plays”. These were Ancient Greek tragicomedies, full of drunken antics and sexual deviance, designed to delight their audiences. Quite fitting to the playful nature of our modern-day Saytr Play, don’t you think?
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have such a high volume of energy that they bring to all of their music.
There is no stopping Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Even in the strangest of times, they are still working hard alongside their record label Communion, to create music. Today the band announced not only a new single, but also joyous news of impending ‘The Non-Stop EP’ that’s scheduled for release in July. The EP has a LOT of tracks, and although it isn’t labelled as such, it’s very close to being our first album offering from the band which is incredibly exciting. One of the tracks we can expect to hear is previous single ‘John Lennon is my Jesus Christ’ from February, which I loved. The EP will also include their latest single, and classic Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard tracks ‘Double Denim Hop’ and ‘Late Night City’, besides half a dozen of new songs. Therefore we can already get a pretty good feeling of how brilliant this EP is going to be.
Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard have such a high volume of energy that they bring to all of their music. This is no exception for latest single ‘Hollywood Actors’. Their flare is flawless, and once again they successfully blend in that retro rock twist, that makes anyone want to get up and dance. Although, this is the heaviest release I’ve heard from the band to date.
The electric guitar pulses throughout this track and it features a stunning solo, but the melody driving the song isn’t quite as upbeat as you would have come to expect from them. Vocals from lead singer Tom take on wider pitches, drums bite and lyrics jab at famous faces. This all combines to form a far more expansive sound for the band, and of course it is a little different, but I think it’s great to have enlightened upon this slightly darker shade of their music and progression is clearly present. Buzzard bring all of their flavour, and add a little extra spice to this track.
I am highly anticipating Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard’s EP release in July, along with their headline tour, which will now be taking place at venues across the UK in September instead of April.
I have one word to describe this band and their sound, and that is intriguing. I had never encountered Sorry before 925 burst on the scene. I merely saw an album from a band unknown to me, receiving rave reviews on social media. Therefore of course my curiosity was peaked, and it wasn’t long before I indulged my senses with their debut album release.
925 greeted me as a gorgeous medley of sound. Each song is able to capture a different mood and feeling. With every individual element of each song reflecting this. It appeared to me as though they have been crafted meticulously, from their lyrics through to each note of their musical content. Different instruments are used within every song to create a unique vibe for each.
With each song having its own uniqueness, this does mean that overall tracks on the album do contrast. However, I don’t see this as a bad thing. These contrasting sounds blend together to create a kaleidoscope. Complete clarity can never be captured within this album, as we are taken on a wild ride both lyrically and musically, but I believe that is the point. The album is a trippy, euphoric rush. Moods sway and vocals swing. It’s a meticulous, gorgeous high.
I have seen this band described as having an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. Through the album however, personally I struggle to find this. There is a confidence present of course, although, I perceive Sorry as a band experimenting and breaking boundaries through their debut album. 925 is an experiment with impeccable results surely, I am left wondering how there could possibly be any anomalies present?
Whether Sorry constructed 925 on an arrogant social whim, frankly has no impact on me. I can see they have sought inspiration from and interpolated well-known tracks, however I only have admiration for their boldness. To be so blasé, and use popular releases to create something new. Yes it does snub the noses of their predecessors slightly, but they have crafted their influences into their own forms of artwork. In no way are the songs of 925 carbon copies of resembling sounds before them.
The album is meant to be beautifully woozy and dream-like. This is what we should focus on, if we possibly can. Hazy vocals clash with jarring instruments and create songs that shake and wake you up. Vocals are bordering on mundane but, they’re not. I can’t help but feel that lead vocalist Asha Lorenz, purposefully mutes her sound to stir emotions and hook onto the ledge of a feeling.
To hone in and cherry pick my favourite tracks for you to listen to, would not do this album justice. Listeners who capture the spirit of 925 as a whole, will enjoy the freedom it offers from its fluidity, and relish in the mystery of this intriguing band.
A fresh burst of talent, Dan Burridge, is a young indie sensation and I absolutely adore his sound . He has a very distinct tone to his voice that you won’t be able to get enough of. I feel there is something unique about it that quickly sets him apart from others. I can picture him wrapped around a microphone, balancing off the edge of a stage, with a euphoric energy. Think an early edgy Alex Turner meets the indie pop-fizz of the likes of Declan McKenna. I have a strong inkling this guy will bring so much joy to a music hungry crowd.
‘Just Fooling Around’ is a single that will shake you up and make you feel good again. It possesses everything a great indie track should. A shredding guitar riff, a punchy bass, and a superb vocalist. I cannot big Dan’s vocals up enough on this track. Asides from that though, the instrumental backing to this song sounds tremendous, and it’s made me think that as well as being a solo artist, Dan could also slot perfectly into the role of front man in an indie-rock band if he so wished.
Previously Dan has gigged around South Wales playing acoustic sets, so ‘Just Fooling Around’ is our first taste of hearing him performing with a full band incorporated into the mix. Personally, I feel it suits him exceptionally well. Having that extra flair and spark to the music really drives not only his vocals, but his whole unique sound and style forward, and defines his music fantastically. I’ll be very interested to see how Dan develops musically, and would say he’s certainly a growing artist we should all keep in mind.
This album was released on Christmas Day. Before this, it was kept a total secret. There were none of the usual pre-album single releases, or marketing strategies to prepare us. We weren’t aware this was happening, until the tweet came through on the bands page and the album was available to stream online. What a present it was.
The surprise element sent fans into melt down, and there was no denying the buzz around this album. So many questions teemed about it from not only fans, but names in the music industry too I’m sure. The release was a completely wonderful surprise. As it was Christmas Day though, I struggled to find a moments peace to listen to the album in full. On Boxing Day morning, I seized my chance. I listened to the album in its entirety, twice for good measure. My first impression? Honestly, it’s just stunning.
This new album has stripped Blaenavon back to their roots entirely. Recorded mainly just using a piano and an acoustic guitar. It consists of pure, raw, emotional lyrics that encapsulate singer Ben’s struggle with anxiety and depression. The album speaks of pain and hurt, but also of recovery and redemption. It’s a stunning vocal outlet of emotion and feeling, gift wrapped in gorgeous piano playing and acoustic melodies.
Stand out favourites for me are ‘Michael’, ‘slow down, cyclist’ and ‘write it down’. I just love how real and simply recorded these songs are. I don’t think I can gush about this album more. The way they’ve left dialogue in from where they’ve conducted the recording session, the emotional conversations, the odd bursts of laughter. It doesn’t appear to me that there were any forced retakes, any attempts at utter perfection. This album is perfect simply as it is. Blaenavon. Ben. Honestly this album is a masterpiece, and you should be very, very proud of it.
The songs are extremely touching and truthful. Whether there is intense meaning behind them, or whether they are simply the produce of a recording whim on the spot. The fact they leave the listener guessing and to draw on their own conclusions is magical in itself. For me, this album isn’t one that necessary needs to be understood and dissected lyric for lyric, as I have seen people calling for. It just needs to be listened to. It’s beautiful.
“What happens when you listen to one version of something so much that when it’s properly recorded it’s difficult to accept.”
Well Christmas is almost upon us, and the end of the year is in sight. The festive season is often a period of reflection for many of us. For me, this means an opportunity to look back on all of the amazing gigs I’ve had the pleasure of attending in 2019. Live music is a big part of my life. A couple of years ago I made a promise with myself not to miss out on gigs I wanted to go to. I started going to more gigs in local venues, and it has honestly been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’ve gotten to know so many new bands, and discovered some incredible music, along with meeting the loveliest people.
I thought I’d share with you, 5 of my favourite gigs from the past year.
Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres – Sin City, Swansea, February 2019.
Peter Doherty and The Puta Madres are a fantastically talented band of musicians, that perform blissfully well together. They really are a must-see. Their origins as a band derive from playing together during a string of festivals. At which time they whipped up a frenzy with fresh, exciting music, and firmly squashed rumours that they were merely a side project for Peter Doherty.
In February of this year, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see them for myself. In typical fashion, the gig was running late, door staff had informed me. Peter was out walking his dogs along the Swansea coastline at sunset, and who could blame him? It is beautiful. Once we were allowed in, I remember being puzzled for a second, as the band were already on stage. It took a moment for me to realise what was going on, and then I noticed Peter moving amps around and Jack tuning his guitar – it was soundcheck. They’d let us walk in on soundcheck. It was such an amazing experience. You could see the band were enjoying the unexpected early attention. With the gig being in the heart of Swansea, it gave Trampolene front man (AKA Puta Madres guitarist) Jack Jones, the opportunity to play up to a home crowd, reciting one of his most popular poems ‘Pound Land’. Pete also treated us to a few chords from beloved Libertines tunes, that really got the crowd going. There was no doubt in my mind then that this was going to be something extraordinary.
When the band came back on for their main performance, it was wonderful to see how chaotically perfect they were together. Resembling a gypsy punk-band, The Puta Madres are a spectacular sight to behold. As their debut single ‘Who’s Been Having You Over’ blared out to the crowd. Keyboard player Katia was a stunning free-spirit on stage. Drummer Rafa was the best kind of crazy. Needless to say, if you have read my previous posts you will know the adoration I have for guitarist Jack. Violinist Miki was kind and gentle amongst the madness. Bass player Miggles was more sensible on stage, but was wonderfully close to them all. I got the impression The Puta Madres are a band of friends, a band of lovers even. They have an adoring relationship with each other, and this is reflected beautifully in their stage performance.
The band sang and laughed, engaging with the boisterous crowd throughout the night. To hold on to my barrier position was hard, but by God there was no way I was giving that up. They introduced us to new single ‘Paradise is Under Your Nose’ and other soon to be album tracks. As well as performing hits from The Libertines and Babyshambles. As a treat for Jack’s birthday, Pete also gave him a moment on the microphone where he performed a stunning song ‘Lighter than Paper’, that is still yet to be released.
Honestly, I cannot explain to you just how much I enjoyed this gig. It was different, it was wild. I cannot recommend The Puta Madres enough.
This is The Kit – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, August 2019.
This gig was a real standout for me, because believe it or not, before that night I’d never heard a single song of theirs. I went to see This is The Kit with someone who adores them, in Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach, and I decided to treat myself to the rare experience of hearing a band for the first time on stage. No spotify binging desperately trying to learn lyrics, no frantic searches for past set-lists. I just wanted to enjoy seeing them fresh in front of my eyes.
Honestly, the performance was sublime. Kate Stables, singer and founder of the band has an exquisite voice that really shone under the spotlight the night I saw them. Speaking openly, I’d say I was transfixed for most of that evening. Without questioning her vocal talent, she is also a wonderfully gifted songwriter. The lyrics in her songs are beautiful, and work stunningly well when placed against her voice, and the soft soothing playing of her instruments, whether it be the guitar or banjo. I remember being lost in songs such as ‘Bullet Proof’ and ‘Solid Grease’. I was frantically asking the person next to me as soon as they would finish, “What is this song called?” I went into the gig with an open mind, and it was sublimely rewarding. I was met with a beautiful band, in which all members are gloriously talented. Aside from Kate Stables, other band members such as Rozi Plain, are vocally talented in their own rights. Rozi has a growing solo-career ahead of her too, having recently played Cardiff’s Sŵn festival, amongst other locations.
You can clearly see during a This is The Kit gig, how in love with them their fans are. They have a niche cult following, that I’d guess they have acquired from dedicated festival going. This band can silence a room with their purely gorgeous soft songs, and in the next breath make them dance and sing with fan favourites such as ‘Moonshine Freeze’. All of which I had the glory of beholding for the first time. I watched how adored they were by those that knew them, and I too was captivated.
Now, I cannot even begin to tell you how desperate I am to see this band again.
This is The Kit are a gem certainly not to be missed.
The Amazons – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, February 2019.
Before I begin, I just have to say that this gig really was something special. I’d only managed to find out about it a few days before. The Amazons weren’t playing at many venues and had kept their announcements rather low-key. Probably because they were channelling much of their energy into the new album, but being as dedicated to music as they are, of course they wanted to treat us to a ‘little something’ before the release. I remember frantically searching to see if any tickets were still available, and to my relief, thankfully there were. I was so excited. Especially as I knew the venue was smaller, which makes all the difference. Although, of course I do go and see bands in larger venues, I much prefer a smaller gig, as the band are not lost on the stage and lighting. They are there, right in front of you. No huge barrier gap, no security guards in your way. It’s just you and the band. I think that was what I enjoyed most about that night. The atmosphere was just so intimate. To have the honour of seeing a successful band like The Amazons on a stage at my level, not high in the sky. It was fantastic. Honestly, if you go and see any band you love in Clwb, trust me when I say you will not be disappointed, but The Amazons really took the roof off the place!
I remember the night vividly, the room was awash with dedicated fans, all eagerly waiting for the band to take the stage. On a cold February night, the turnout was brilliant, and it was so great to see. It had been a couple of years since the release of their debut self-entitled album, and at this point in time, us fans had only been graced with new album Future Dust’s first single ‘Mother’. With the new album due in May, anticipation lingered strongly amongst the crowd. We were all anxiously waiting, desperate to hear any new material, and of course the classic tunes that we all knew and loved. The Amazon’s certainly obliged our request, by scattering new songs amongst our favourites. Us fans rejoiced. Any Amazon’s gig would be fantastic, but it really felt exclusive to see them playing in the small but mighty venue that is Clwb. We hung off every word that fell from Matthew’s mouth. Lyrics were sang adoringly back to the band, and they revelled in it. The room was alive, Clwb was alive.
Everyone was there for one reason, to witness the sheer amazing power of The Amazons.
They certainly delivered this, and more.
I remember the ending of this gig was phenomenal. Having kept us waiting, craving throughout the entire setlist. We were hit with it. ‘Junkfood Forever’. Mine, and I’m sure many others, favourite Amazons song. It was fantastic. The room completely blew up, and I’d say going to this gig was worth it just for this song if nothing else. That’s how good it was.
The All-Dayer (Headlined by Matt Maltese) – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, November 2019.
This all day gig was a real treat. Starting earlier than usual, it was a jam-packed line up born from a collaboration between Council Records and So Young Magazine. Bands including Rosehip Teahouse, Drug Store Romeos, Talk Show and Happyness took to the stage. Headlining last but not least of course was the king of wounded lovers, Matt Maltese.
The first band I saw that evening, Rosehip Teahouse, are a wonder to behold on stage, their performances are beautiful every time, and this gig was certainly no different. Personally, I find them so endearing as a fresh, new band that I’ve written about them in more depth in my post on 10 Emerging Welsh Bands.
Drug Store Romeos were a new band on me, but their sound was so unique and different to anything I had heard before. To put it simply, they were nothing short of mesmerising. Lead single ‘Now You’re Moving’ was stunning, and Sarah was fascinating to watch perform, with her ability to sing and play piano, all whilst dancing and engaging with the crowd at the same time.
Despite this gig having a lengthy line-up, the intervals between each band were kept short and concise. I think this is what made everything run so smoothly, the gig was constantly moving, and there was never a point at which the evening lost momentum. In the intervals where bands were not on stage, I could see it was a fantastic opportunity for networking. Event organisers and representatives from the magazine and label mingled in with the crowd of fans, and band members who were also watching each others’ set. People were chatting, and getting to know each other. It really seemed as though there was a community spirit here, and that this was something more than a gig. Something rather special, I’d say.
The next band to take the stage were Talk Show. The lights were completely dimmed, and it was at that moment I felt the atmosphere change. I could see lead singer Harrison limbering himself up to take to the microphone, as if preparing for an exorcism. Holy hell did the devil take hold. Trust me when I say, I was blown away. Talk Show switched the night up in seconds, turning it into an eery, energy-filled punk show. Honestly, this band ripped my heart out of chest and stuffed it back in again with their music. Possessing a real “hold on for your life” feeling. They dominated that stage, and their performance. Talk Show hail from South London, and are similar in style to Slaves or Idles, but with more of a frightening twist to their lyrics and sound, that makes them so much better.
I wasn’t sure where the night was going to go after this, as Talk Show were so different to what I was expecting, given the style of previous bands and the subsequent headliner to come, Matt Maltese. I think that was the reason why, unfortunately the next band Happyness didn’t do it for me after that. I can understand how the mood needed to be changed, due to the complete contrast between Talk Show and Matt Maltese, but for me Happyness just didn’t work here. I hate to review anything negatively, and this is not a reflection on them as a band at all, as I could see how their sound was fun, and catchy, but it was just not right for this segment of the line-up I’m afraid. This is just my personal taste though; the crowd seemed to love them.
Last in the line-up was Matt Maltese. I absolutely adore this man and his music. I discovered him following the release of his single ‘Greatest Comedian’. Matt’s album ‘Bad Contestant’, dominated my summer last year and was mostly all I listened to for the remainder of 2018 if I’m being honest. On vinyl, it is an absolute masterpiece. Matt was at the top of my lists for artists I needed to see, so I was beyond delighted when I realised he was coming to headline this all-day gig in Cardiff.
Matt’s music is very close to my heart, so to say I was excited would be a sincere understatement. His music means so much to me, to describe how I felt waiting for him to come on stage, well I’d say I felt emotional more than anything else. I’d played his vinyl over and over, I’d cried, I’d laughed. Matt felt like more of a companion to me than a musician. So, to be faced with the fact that any moment now he was going to be performing the songs I adored so much, merely inches away from me, it was completely overwhelming but utterly blissful. It is an unreal sensation, which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, when you know you’re going to be in the same room with someone whose music honesty means that much to you. It could have accompanied you through the happiest or the saddest times in your life. I think this highlights why I feel so passionately about the live music scene. These artists are there for us when we could be completely alone, and to then be able to see them and treasure their songs and the memories attached to them in our own lives, is stunningly beautiful. This is what musicians need to hold on to and cherish about their fanbases.
Matt’s setlist that night was utterly gorgeous. To be able to watch him play piano and sing, so closely. Honestly it took my breath away. Matt played songs from ‘Bad Contestant’ including the incredible ‘Like a Fish’, and mixed in songs from his newly released album ‘Krystal’, which is of course a triumph, and I’d argue more emotional in its content than its predecessor ‘Bad Contestant’. My favourite from this album is the track bearing the same name, which I was also lucky enough to hear him perform live that night.
Matt even made time to run his own merch table, and greet fans after the show. Of course I went bounding over, and introduced myself. How could I not? I really felt as though Matt went the extra mile in this gig, not only with his stunning performance, but all by how approachable and personable he was. It really made me smile, ironic really, with lyrics so heart-breaking.
Massive Wagons – Patti Pavilion, Swansea, October 2019
I just had to choose this gig as one of my favourites! I love a good rock show, and Massive Wagons made sure I experienced one in all its glory. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this band a couple of times now. The first gig was on a whim, as we had booked tickets for a Saturday night out. A few drinks and some good music. The added bonus was that I got to see this amazing band! Their live music was great, and during the days that followed I listened to their albums and I was hooked. I had to wait a few months to be able to stream the other songs I’d heard live, as they were touring prior to the release of their next album ‘Full Nelson’. It was this album that really cemented my love for Massive Wagons.
When their next headline show was announced a year later, there was no way I was going to miss out! Although I’ll admit I did have some difficulty getting hold of my tickets due to a local disgruntled ticket supplier, but I was determined not to let anything dampen my spirits! Massive Wagons were coming back to Swansea, and I was so looking forward to it. The Lancashire rockers put on an incredible show, as I knew all too well from when I last saw them. This time though, I loved the songs, I knew the lyrics and I couldn’t wait to be down at the front.
Billed as an evening of rock and roll, there were several bands performing before Massive Wagons took to the stage. Ryders Creed, Scarlet Rebels and Ravenbreed got the crowd ready for what was to come. The room wasn’t packed, but it was a Sunday night and to be honest we were having a such a good time. Who needs a boring Sunday in, when you can go to a rock show?
Massive Wagons stormed the stage. Baz’s hat introduced them, by making a perfect landing on the coat stand, which made all of us laugh and cheer even louder! One thing I will say that makes Massive Wagons so great, is how fun they are as a band! So many rock bands take themselves way too seriously, but Massive Wagons are a real down to earth and friendly band. You can see within seconds of them being on stage, that they love being there and they work extremely hard for it too. Baz, lead singer of the band, recently wrote a very touching piece on their Facebook page, explaining just how much dedication it has taken to keep the band going. For me this makes going to their gigs a million times more worthwhile. This band absolutely love what they do, and for the price of a ticket to go and see not only a rock band that care, but a rock band that put on one of the best performances I’ve seen. It is worth so much more, and it keeps the dream alive for not only them but us as fans too.
Massive Wagons have a mixed following of all ages, and this could be seen that night in Swansea. They’re the type of band that I love, and my whole family could love. Their reach spreads far and wide, and this is fantastic. Their music consists of classic rock and roll, punchy guitar solos, and one hell of a voice. Massive Wagons are brilliant, and really make you want to get up and get involved. If you want a taste of how great they are, just listen to ‘Hate Me’ or ‘Ratio’, and then come back and tell me what you think. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Better yet, if they’re coming to your hometown any time soon – go. You’ll see one of the best rock shows around.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I hope you enjoyed hearing all about my favourite gigs of this past year. Of course there were so many more I enjoyed, and I wish I could write about them all. If you would specifically like to hear about any other gig that I went to, please feel free to get in touch! Alternatively, if there were any gigs you loved in 2019, please share them with me! It would be lovely to hear from you!
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you lots of love, music and happiness in 2020.