Music thuds through the walls, and the building shakes from the blaring pulse of the speakers. As doors fly open, and countless people weave in through the darkness. The packed-out gig is hot and humid. Filled with laughter and noise, beer and chanting. Livelier than any stadium, a wall-to-wall show at Fuel promises to please. The band on stage certainly do not disappoint. Gritty guitar work, blaring vocals, and clashing drums engulf the room, delighting the eagerly awaiting crowd.
An atmosphere that is surely engrained within heavy metal band SouthBound, who celebrated the release of their debut EP ‘Even Angels Sin’, to a packed-out show at Cardiff’s Fuel Nightclub in January. Determined not to let lockdown deter their spirits, the band have been working hard on creating their sophomore release. Proudly presenting, latest single ‘Bermuda’ to the world.
A gritty guitar anthem, you can really sink your teeth into. ‘Bermuda’ roars with feminine ferocity. Lead vocalist Megan Jenkins sets the tone, as ravaging guitars and drums whir around her. Choosing to keep pitches low and biting to begin with, the band allude to that sinister tension, building throughout their music.
Providing sublime guitar pitches, substantial enough to satisfy any rock n’ roll fan. Classic influence from giants such as Slipknot, Slayer and Avenged Sevenfold are clear to be heard, and evoke this bands hungry desire. Resulting in the grungy, alternative soundscape that charges ‘Bermuda’.
Rooted within the heart of the Welsh Valleys, a passion for music runs deep in the veins of SouthBound. There is such resonating energy present, that rings clear through their music. Instruments are pushed to breaking-point, with a fearless style of playing. Vocals are steeped in Megan’s rich Welsh accent. It is these bold touches of home, that push SouthBound forward in Cardiff’s metal scene, and ‘Bermuda’ is certainly a promising catapult.
MojoJNR is the alias of South Wales Musician Josh David-Read. Pairing the dreamiest of summer soundscapes, with husky vocal musings. His canvas of creativity spans far and wide, crafting music that will surely delight any listener. With a deep and unique approach to indie-pop, composed from the world around him. Josh harnesses a brave expression of his own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Utilising a vibrant spectrum of personal experience, to share his colourful musical universe with us. Friends and those he meets along the way may play a helping hand in what finally culminates as Mojo JNR. Yet the driving force, evoking and breathing life into the project, truly is Josh himself.
Sophomore single Peach Out is a clever play on words. Written about holistic methods of coping with anxiety. The idea for the track was originally derived from a text sent by Josh, with Peace Out, having been auto-corrected to Peach Out. This little quirk looped around in Josh’s mind, and together with a bit of research, he stumbled upon a crystal called peach aventurine. Discovering its benefits to soothing stress and worry, the concept behind Peach Out was born.
Josh explains how “Peach Out is essentially a light-hearted bedroom-pop track, focusing on how difficult it is to relax, even when you are doing nothing.” With swirling thoughts around anxiety, coupled with lockdown. Josh found himself determined to write the lyrics for the track, record, and self-release it by the end of July. Achieving that and more, Josh has proven himself to be a complex and motivated musician. It is truly awe-inspiring to behold his creative flow, from start to finish.
Peach Out pairs husky soulful vocals with simmering instruments and synths. With lead vocals from Josh harmonising exquisitely with backing vocals of fellow-musician Ci Gofod (Jack ThomasDavies) who features on the track. As the two vocals gently brush off one another, their overall warmth combined with keeping the pitch fairly low, results in a sultry summer-time track. Peach Out will perfectly resonate with fans of folk-rock singer Paolo Nutini, as well as the power-pop musings of an 80s Bowie.
Instruments are not overbearing, but instead infuse with the gorgeous vocal musk concocted, to create a soft yet rousing track. Without being raucous or loud, Peach Out is a woozy exploration of self-expression, evoking imagery of moody sunset blues.
Peach Out swiftly follows Mojo JNR’s debut offering Miles Away, which was released back in May. A brooding and slower guitar-fuelled love song, Miles Away stirs our senses, bringing to the forefront that one person we all need to move on from. With a smooth ability to easily transcribe a breadth of emotions, into lyrics. Josh is a remarkably keen songwriter, and it is clear to hear this talent reflected through his music. Miles Away is a marriage of music to lyrics, and a strikingly beautiful debut.
Mojo JNR is certainly one to watch, and amongst many others, I find myself incredibly excited to behold what the future has in store for this musical muse.
Peach Out and Miles Away are available to stream on Spotify
3:00am. Despite the stillness of the night, you find yourself lying awake. Looking again for the hundredth time, at the hand crawling around the clock. “Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock!” rattles through your brain like a dull ache. Bleary eyed and tired. Your inner monologue just won’t stop tonight. Sleep would be nice, but the thoughts are too loud.
Latest single Thought Number 3 from Rosehip Teahouse embodies those lonely hours we share with the moonlight. Basked in nothing but our own thoughts. Sleep will not come, because we are too exhausted by our minds.
Peering in through the glass of Rosehip Teahouse, we steal a glimpse at the thoughts keeping lead vocalist and songwriter Faye Rodgers awake. What begins as gentle musings, soon spiral.
Wrapping sincere lyrics within soft, delicate sounds. Rosehip Teahouse create emotional music, without any crushing weight to it. Instruments are kept light, and twinkling synths sparkle throughout the track like stars.
The woozy, dreamlike soundscape sets a scene of calm and tranquillity. Lyrics highlight Faye’s gorgeous song-writing abilities, and flawless vocals remain perfectly harmonious. The soft nature of the song, almost for a moment, allows for an escape from the sadness behind the words sung to us. Until we are jolted by the poignant finale.
Pairing opposing elements, of deep sadness and soothing music, together so beautifully. Fragile emotions are cradled and vocals lullaby soft. As though warming us with a comforting glow in the darkness.
At just over a minute and a half long; Thought Number 3 is a tender little indie-pop track, with huge emotional, poetic, and personal reach. For Rosehip Teahouse to have conveyed music so moving and resonate within such a short duration of time, is truly wonderous.
Thought Number 3 is available to stream now via Sad Club Records
Ahead of the release of her strikingly-beautiful Debut EP Open Up, Honey which will be outthis Friday (24th July). GILLIE has shared with me the EPs lead single Winter Girl, which I am beyond delighted to introduce to you today.
Combining rich earthy tones, with a sheer and beautiful whimsicality. GILLIE blends a variance of sound to create the most sublime music.
Winter Girl is heartfelt and staggering. A stunning debut, from a very promising EP.
A lyrical journey of change. The track encapsulates growth from a pained past. Yet bravely explores elements often unspoken, through recognising that progression may not be easy.
Flourishing in the freedom of her self-expression. The track provides hope and clarity, whilst not hurrying past moments of doubt and angst. Recognising that in time, one can move forward with them.
GILLIE’s songwriting is raw and truthful. Encasing this within delicate yet fiercely unwavering vocals, and finessing amongst the gentle strums of a guitar. GILLIE has self-produced a track that is open, and enriching.
Providing a wonderful welcome of what we can expect to hear from Open Up, Honey upon its release on 24th July.
Listen to the first track Winter Girl exclusively here
Spirited and sassy, Welsh rockers Chroma are back with their latest single Head in Transit. Since hearing the powerhouse that is Girls Talk, I have eagerly anticipated and devoured each single released. Head in Transit has certainly not disappointed, in fact I am yearning for more, as my adoration of this band only grows.
Filled with as much fire as I expected. The single begins with a shredding guitar riff, before powerful vocals from front woman Katie Hall scorch their way through. Embodied with all of the richness of her glorious Welsh accent, Katie projects an impressive vocal range, at every possible altitude. Lullaby softness quickly breaks into furious, heartfelt vocals. Screaming through with as much passion as fans had longed for.
Unapologetically loud, Chroma have such a way of clashing together rampant guitars with gorgeous pragmatic vocals. Energetic, with just the right amount of chaos thrown in for good measure. Lead vocalist Katie is surely set to become a fiercely talented icon of female-fronted rock, for the next generation.
Even more admirably so, what really gives Head in Transit the most clout, is the deeply emotional message it conveys. Having written from her own personal experience, Katie has shared in an open letter that the context of Head in Transit surrounds a very poignant time in her life, when she worked in a Call Centre. Emotional phone calls, difficulties of work pressure, cruel bosses, and various other aspects all culminated to have a detrimental impact on her mental health.
In our current time of crisis, Katie has shared Head in Transit in the hopes it will urge people to be more empathetic towards those who are continuing to work hard, ultimately to help us. Treating these individuals as though they are nothing more than just cogs in a machine, is selfish and wrong.
Head in Transit showcases Chroma in all their glory. I applaud Katie for having the courage to share this deeply personal track.
It is undeniable that musically, Head in Transit is brilliant; vocally sublime, rooted and charged by heavy, ‘rock n’ roll’ instrument playing. However, it is ultimately the moving lyrics and fundamental message behind the track that have resonated with me, and I hope others, the most.
Head in Transit is available to stream on all platforms now
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.
I could not love Panic Shack any more if I tried. Their fierce bad girl attitude, tongue in cheek humour and adoration for chaos, all creates an impressively powerful emerging punk band. How close they are means they are more like sisters than friends, and they are quickly becoming the band that everyone wants to know. Causing carnage with raucous live shows, and acquiring a cult following. Panic Shack have already supported infamous punks Amyl and the Sniffers, and are tearing up Cardiff’s live music scene as they go. Once you have seen Panic Shack perform at a gig, you certainly won’t forget them. A band that were born to break the rules. Combine crazily good music with an infectious amount of energy, and they are able to command a crowd and deliver a gig like no other.
Panic Shack’s debut single ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ was a roaring success. The band are renowned for playing a number of unreleased songs at their gigs, so fans already knew what to expect from their loud and untamed debut, and its popularity has continued to soar ever since. At Panic Shack’s headline gig in March the track had its first live outing since its release. A boisterous crowd and a night fuelled with frenzy, meant their debut hit went down a storm, and blew the roof off Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach. Since its release, the single has received airplay on a number of radio stations, including BBC Radio 1. YouTube views are racing up by the day, and streams are continuing to spiral. A lockdown is not going to reckon with the force of Panic Shack.
Today the band are releasing their latest single ‘Jiu Jits You‘. An unapologetic anthem that is as bold as its title suggests. The track tells the tale of a night out, and the idiots encountered along the way. Not shy in speaking their mind, Panic Shack do not hold back on this brilliant spoken-word story and express in no uncertain terms what they would like to do to anyone causing them trouble. In true Panic Shack style it’s all delivered in good humour, proving they are as fun as they are fierce, but you’d still be a fool to think you could mess with them. Especially if they really do know Jiu-Jitsu!
Their ability to blend spoken word stories with rebellious punk music, provides Panic Shack with a unique edge that certainly makes them memorable. Many punk bands can spit out their lyrics with a harshness and throw themselves around a stage, but Panic Shack have a different appeal. Although rebellious and wild, they also bring in a girlish charm and there is a bubble gum pink theme surrounding them. A female-fronted punk rock band with two personalities, that clash gloriously together.
Bringing in an added element of fun with the song’s catchy chorus and shout-out chants, ensures that ‘Jiu Jits You’ really sparks to become a hit that you can sing along to. It is not for the faint hearted, but is fun and fiery, and I love that they make no apologies for that. Guitars blare, and vocals shout out to pack a punch on this screamer of an anthem.
‘Jiu Jits You’ will plant itself firmly in your mind and knock you out by how good it is. It is a very strong follow-up to Panic Shack’s debut single, that shows listeners exactly what they are all about.
You can follow Panic Shack on their socials below:
Forever entwined in some way or another, Wales’ chaotic but lovable indie rock band Trampolene and music-heavyweight Pete Doherty are certainly no strangers. With Pete initially having taken an interest in the bands front man Jack Jones for his poetic flair way back in 2015. The two formed a firm friendship after Jack became the resident tour poet for The Libertines on their 2016 Arena Tour. Jack and Pete have only grown closer every day since, with the pair working continuously together on a number of musical projects.
Pete Doherty is now a family figure to Jack and the band as a whole, almost acting as a mentor for their musical journey. With immense experience fronting one of the most successful UK bands of all time. For a young indie band like Trampolene with stars in their eyes, he’s certainly a very good connection to have.
Over their five year friendship, Trampolene have supported The Libertines across several tour dates already. Front man Jack is also a guitarist and occasional vocalist within Pete Doherty’s new gypsy-punk band The Puta Madres, and Trampolene drummer Jay Bone is also a member of Carl Barat & The Jackals, which is another band of The Libertine’s co-founder Carl Barat.
It is evident to see that within just a short period of time, their ties run pretty deep. Therefore for Trampolene and Pete Doherty alike, it must have been an exciting and engaging prospect to collaborate on a song with one another. Surely a means of cementing their bond, for all to hear. Asides from Jack’s participation in The Puta Madres, for us fans this will be the first time we have the pleasure of listening to Trampolene and Pete performing together on one track.
It is an adoring ode to how close they all are.
It almost feels as though it is full circle from where they began, with Jack’s poetry being that initial spark to ignite their relationship…
Written and performed entirely in isolation. ‘Uncle Brian’s Abattoir’ was given its first spin on BBC Radio 6 this morning. Radio Presenter Chris Hawkins explained how the track consists of poetry recorded by Jack on his phone in Swansea, which was then forwarded on to their producer Mike Moore in London, and finally over to Pete Doherty in Normandy, who added vocals for the chorus and backing. Jack’s poetry is the main focus of the track, so it almost feels as though it is full circle from where they began, with Jack’s poetry being that initial spark to ignite their relationship way back when. It is a glorious and touching sentiment.
To anyone unfamiliar with the works of Pete Doherty and Trampolene, the track may seem a little eccentric. However, to fans its charm will remain undisputed. Jacks existing poems have grown to become so popular amongst followers of Trampolene and The Libertines, they are chanted out at gigs and recited word for word as though they are anthems. I do not doubt that in time, this song will be no different.
Hailing from Swansea in South Wales. Jack’s Welsh accent always shines beautifully throughout his spoken-word poetry. This is no exception for ‘Uncle Brian’s Abattoir’. There is a delightful rhaspiness to Jack’s vocals on this track, which emphasises the songs emotive lyrical content, whilst rightfully demanding the attention of the listener. Contrasting exquisitely with the high pitched and warped vocals that emerge from Pete Doherty during the chorus. Pete’s vocals somehow pour through, and add a light hearted aspect to the track. The giddy oddness of the style in which they’re delivered allows for this, and showcases that unique spirit and personality that runs between the two joyous and loving individuals that are Jack Jones and Pete Doherty.
The idea behind the new track was curated by the marvellous mind of Jack Jones, who was inspired by a painting created by his young cousin. The little artist had depicted a world where animals and humans live as one in harmony, but as is the innocence of a child, had mistakenly called her “farm” painting an “abattoir”.
Being the keen lyricist he is, it wasn’t long before Jack’s mind pondered over those thoughts and ‘Uncle Brian’s Abattoir’ was born. As Jack’s inspiration wound to seek out the skewed aspects from the painting, in its innocent error. The finished track expresses a harmonious existence inspired by the child’s idea on one hand, but also a caged one on another, due to the harsh truths we know to exist within the title. Additional inspiration was sought from the current UK lockdown.
‘Uncle Brian’s Abattoir’ is being released on Friday 22nd May, as a means of celebrating the creation of new record label, Strap Originals
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.
For me personally, it would be a crime not to start this post with my absolute favourites. It is no secret to anyone who knows me, that I am a huge fan of Trampolene. Not only because they’re the most friendly and down to earth band, you will have the pleasure of getting to know, but because their music is out of this world. Upon initially discovering Trampolene, I was hit in the face by the sheer power of their lead single ‘You Do Nothing For Me’ but after listening to them more, I discovered an incredibly soft side to the vocals of lead singer Jack Jones, and this is what I fell in love with. How someone can sing with such raw spirit and passion on guitar shredding songs such as ‘Alcohol Kiss’, and then utterly tame their voice to a beautiful soothing lullaby on other songs like ‘She Sits With Me’, it just melted my heart. I’ve seen this band perform live several times now, and every time I see them they just get better. Despite the recently sad departure of drummer Rob Steele; Trampolene continue on their journey with Jack Jones, Wayne Thomas and new drummer Jay Bone. You can catch them at select locations on the upcoming Libertine’s Tour.
Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard
I will admit I was a bit late catching on to the brilliance of Buzzard, but by god am I glad I’ve joined that party. I’d heard of Buzzard’s chaotic, fantastically flamboyant live performances, but I’d yet to see them for myself. With my Swansea Fringe ticket in hand, I was eagerly excited to see Buzzard, and they didn’t let my high expectations down. Lead singer, Tom Rees, is a law all to himself, with not only a fantastic voice in the bag, but a wonderfully fun on stage presence that I dare anyone not to be captured by. Buzzard are brilliant to watch live, and since the show, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned up the volume of ‘Love Forever’ and ‘Double Denim Hop’ in my car. If you want a proper feel good, fun Welsh band, with a modern twist on a classic rock n’ roll sound, then look no further than Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard.
I’m going to mention one song, and one song only here, ‘Girls Talk’. It is phenomenal. Hailing from the welsh valley’s, CHROMA really pack a punch with their sound and unmistakable Welsh vocals. I absolutely love it when a Welsh band really let their accents come through thick in their vocals, and it’s truly glorious from CHROMA. Beautiful and powerfully female-fronted, CHROMA are fantastic to watch live. Katie Hall is a wonder on stage, and really gives you that girl-power vibe, keep doing what you’re doing girl! Also, if anyone is a Welsh speaker, this band are even better for you, as they have a lot of songs in the Welsh language. Even if you’re not a Welsh speaker, I still urge you to give them a listen anyway, as Katie’s vocals are mind-blowing, as are the guitar, bass and drums.
With a new album looming on the horizon, and a number of live shows already under their belt, Rosehip Teahouse are definitely ones to watch. I’ve been lucky enough to see them play twice in a short space of time now, and I just get a warm, fuzzy feeling from watching their live performances. As well as their individual crafted sound, their material is heartfelt but also has the boldness to touch upon delicate subjects. Music is a message, and to see a songwriter and band having the courage to show such expression and heart in their lyrics is truly admirable and fundamentally important. The words are hard-hitting, but are sung so softly, that they caress and linger on your skin. Every single time this band finish their set, I’ve been left wanting more. I really can’t wait to see the journey Rosehip Teahouse are going to take. Having the pleasure of also having watched their sound checks, and seeing them after gigs, I love that you can see how close they are. There’s a real homely feeling to their sound and character, and I just love it. I’m excited to see what the future brings for this band.
Those Damn Crows
Your local Welsh rock band, Those Damn Crows. This band has skyrocketed over the last few years, winning multiple awards and taking their music across the length and breadth of the UK. I really feel proud of what these guys have achieved, and how far they are going to go. I’m a sucker for a good, classic rock band. Give me a guitar, give me drums and give me a powerhouse of a lead singer and I’m there. The Crows really bring it. I saw them support the incredible ‘Massive Wagons’ over a year ago now, and they almost stole the show. A Welsh band performing in the heart of Swansea, with a dedicated following in tow, trust me when I say you could feel the crowd’s excitement swallow the room. Onstage, The Crows will bring you a loud, energy-packed rock show. If you ever go and see them play live, get down the front, take your earplugs out and get into the atmosphere for this band. They will blow you away. Songs such as ‘Rock n roll ain’t dead!’ (get it) and ‘Blink of an eye’ are stand-out favourites for me.
I know Dan Bettridge is a solo artist, but his backing band are lovely, so they’re being included in my blog post. I’m sorry if this is technically against the rules.
Where do I start with this? Well I think it’s fair to say that Dan Bettridge has an old-romantic soul, which is reflected stunningly in his music. He’s a singer that could soothe you to sleep. Now I’m not saying his music is boring by any means, instead think of it as a warm hug. I adore acoustics, and Dan really has that folky, acoustic guitar sound that I love. Think of a Welsh Paolo Nutini, but with more of an American-folk style. I can just imagine sitting in the New Orleans sunset, on a big ol’ American porch, listening to Dan’s music. His voice is so unique and comforting, everyone should have his songs on repeat. If you’re feeling a little stressed right now, and need something to listen to, put on ‘Rosie Darling’ and I promise you’ll feel a bit better. His music is soothing and his live shows are mesmerizing. Last time I saw him in the cosy downstairs room of Clwb, I actually found myself having that lost in the moment feeling. I was just consumed by the beauty of his voice. As much I love a loud, rowdy gig; I truly adore those moments where you can be so still, just listening, and you feel yourself connect with the stage. To be in a gig where you can’t hear a pin drop but the sound of the band, where the crowd are stood in awe of the beauty of who they are listening to. Have I got your attention yet? Trust me on this.
The People The Poet
With a jagged edge to the voice of lead singer Leon Stanford, it is hard not to enjoy the sound of The People The Poet. A homegrown band, who are as friendly as they are musically talented, have an infectious on stage spell that they cast over anyone who sees them. You can’t help but be charmed by them and their music. They’re the loveliest bunch of boys you’ll meet and are so deserving of all the success they are set to achieve, after putting in years of hard work playing across Wales in every small venue you could imagine. They have a classic old rock n’ roll style, accompanied by Leon’s whiskey-smoke vocals and flawless playing. They’re different to your usual modern rock band, and this works tremendously in their favour. So many rock bands are just carbon copies of each other, but The People The Poet are a refreshing change. I wish them all of the success for their future, and I’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye on them.
Having just released their first English language single ‘Wine Time’; primarily Welsh vocalized band Adwaith have seriously impressed me with this swirl of indie goodness. Following in the footsteps of Welsh heavyweights Boy Azooga, Adwaith recently walked away with the Welsh Music Prize. Unlike all of the other bands I’ve written about in this list, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing Adwaith perform live. Therefore taking this into account coupled with the ever-frustrating fact that I can’t speak my homeland’s language. I’m ashamed to say that, rather narrow-mindedly, prior to the release of ‘Wine Time’, Adwaith’s music was a lost cause on me. As this band had been making a quiet buzz in my peripheral vision and were certainly on my radar of music events, I really kick myself for not seeing them before now. Their sound is very up my street, and I have definitely learned my lesson that language is certainly no barrier in your own unique music tastes. Don’t be a fool like I was, give Adwaith a chance, I promise you won’t regret it.
I’ve only discovered Apostle recently, after seeing them support Dan Bettridge, and honestly I thought they were so great, I needed to write about them! The Cardiff based band are different to the usual genre of music I listen to, with more of a pop sound, but honestly this is refreshing and their songs are incredibly catchy. Apostle were a pleasant surprise for me on stage, having a totally different sound to what I expected. They’re a band I’ll definitely look out for if they are embarking on a solo gig or supporting in the future, just because their music is so upbeat and exciting. The band work wonderfully well together when performing, and I love how they mix the vocals between lead singer Sion Russell Jones and other members of the three-piece band, it adds a lot more variety into their performance and helps you to focus on all of the band rather than just the lead. They really left a smile on my face after their set, and isn’t that what live music is all about? If you want to feel happy too, and have a little dance in your room, listen to ‘Lavender’.
Anyone who has read my first blog post should have had a pretty good idea that I’d be including Panic Shack in this list. Fresh off the back of supporting Amyl and The Sniffers in Cardiff, Panic Shack certainly gained a room full of fans that evening; myself for one. Their set was fantastic, and I loved how brilliantly they moulded together as a band. Their 80s style, combined with raw powerful vocals and intensely played instruments make for incredible music, and really brought this band to the forefront of ‘wow’ for me. You can read my full review of their set at Clwb here. For now, just let me say, that this band are most definitely ones to watch. I’m so glad I discovered them when I did, and I can’t wait to see how far they go.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and that you find the time to listen to a few if not all of these incredible bands. However, if there is a Welsh band you could scream at me for not having included here, please get in touch. I always LOVE listening to new music, and discovering bands to worship along with my favourites above. Please don’t be a stranger.
Is it fair to call this a gig review? After last night’s show, I’d say it’s more a declaration of love.
Last night, Clwb opened its doors to Australia’s phenomenally loud female fronted punk band Amyl and the Sniffers, and by god did they show Cardiff how live music is supposed to be done.
The night began at a steady pace, music boomed over the speakers as Clwb began to fill up. The gig had sold out, and as Amyl’s reputation precedes them, I was ready for a jam packed room, a beer fuelled crowd and an electric atmosphere. I was not disappointed.
I arrived ever so slightly late, as usual, just catching the tail end of first support Ratbags’ performance. The anticipation in the air was apparent; although for the moment, it was calm. The atmosphere began to build as the next band Panic Shack appeared on stage. By this point I had weaved my way through the crowd and was lucky enough to get a space near the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Panic Shack, as I had never heard of them before, but they were fantastic.
It was their persona and fun energy from the moment they walked on stage, that caught my attention straight away. They looked almost fresh out of the 80s with their style; mullets and clothing to boot. They really captured my heart and the crowd’s, particularly by how much you could see they were enjoying being there. Similar in sound to Amyl herself, lead singer Sarah threw her lyrics into the crowd with a mixture of blood stirring vocals, and equally passionate spoken lyrics. With a cheeky play on words, including a song about Lambrini – they made me smile, laugh and dance, all whilst being entranced by their performance. Seriously, if you haven’t seen them before please go and check them out.
After Panic Shack had finished their set, I could feel the wave of people that had filled the room close around behind me. The energy was building, people were excited. Panic Shack had got the crowd ready for what was to come. What had felt like a swirling storm of dispersed chaos before, had turned into an excitable, eager crowd, packed together waiting for Amyl to take the stage. I was in the heart of it.
The crowd went wild as Amyl appeared from the side of the stage. In that moment, I’ll be honest I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves, wondering if I’d bitten off more than I could chew being at the front for this one. Amyl greeted the crowd with a girlish charm and politeness, that contrasted spectacularly with her stage presence as soon as the bass kicked in. Amyl is a powerhouse of female sexuality, raw emotion and spirit. The way she grabbed the attention of a room packed with young and aging rockers was mesmerising. I couldn’t help but be in pure awe of her. Is it bad that I couldn’t even tell you what the first song was now? I was just lost in how brilliantly she commanded the room. Everyone went mad for her, from the very second she took hold of that stage floor, the room swirled and sang, the storm was well and truly back, chaos has taken over Clwb. It was incredible to see.
Her rip-roaring vocals on songs such as I’m Not a Loser and Control were heard early on, and I knew the set would not be anything other than a dream. The band worked harmoniously together, I felt as though the other members were as much in awe of her as we were, as she danced and wrapped herself over the stage. There was a sublime sense of madness from not only Amyl but everyone in the crowd. People were taking the stage and surfing throughout the set. No one was told to get down, nothing felt wrong. There were no rules, the band relished it. The admiration from the crowd was incomparable to that of any I have ever seen before. Losing control in the very best way possible myself; I screamed the lyrics of GFY back to her as she flared her smile and drank in the craziness.
The atmosphere never faltered; the sweat, the smiles. People were captivated. Especially in the moments where Amyl would pour herself off the stage, flailing limbs and energy, honestly it was beautiful to behold. Monsoon Rock and I’ve Got You brought us to the climax. Amongst the swirl of the crowd, I found myself having a moment where I stopped and looked around the room, people were thriving in the chaos. This really was live music at its best. As Mutts Can’t be Muzzled closed the show, an Amyl classic, you could see that nobody wanted this night to end. The crowd swarmed to thank her as she left the stage, arms reached desperately out in gratitude. Amyl had scorched their Australian heat over Cardiff on a cold November night, with what was easily the best live performance I have seen.
Aww that’s lovely to hear, thanks Becky. I will let you know my thoughts soon too x
Oh yes definitely! I can imagine there are a few book snobs out there too! 🤦🏻♀️ Hold on to those…
Yes, I think the same goes for books too. It’s sad people judge people for something they like when it’s…
Aww thank you lovely!! I’ve listened to such a variety of music over the years I’d be a huge hypocrite…
Honestly love that you are open to listening to all genres. I don’t know why but when I talk to…