Monday, 28 April 2014

Focus Wales Round Up

I enjoyed my Wednesday night out at Central Station, as part of Focus Wales so much that I went back on both Friday evening and Saturday to check out some more bands. And more great bands there were.

I had too much of a good time on Friday night with a lot of Beer and Tequila consumption and ended up missing a couple of the bands so I thought I'd just tell you about the stand out bands that I saw on both days instead.

First up (and I note not the best picture I've ever taken) were The Bluebottle Veins at The Commercial. Now The Commercial is that kind of dingey, dark pub that every town has but the staff are friendly, the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere there was great.

The Bluebottle Veins are a local four-piece band comprising members Terry Cowley, Gareth Jones, Steven Owen & Dylan Tattum. They describe their sound as a visceral mix of rock 'n' roll & blues. These guy's went down a storm in the packed pub with their cool sounds and guitar riffs, similar to The Arctic Monkeys I will definitely be going to watch these gents again.

Heading over to Central Station I was impressed by the sounds of The Earth. The trio, lead by singer Dionne Bennett really brought a soulful sound to the evening. Dionne has an amazing 'out there' afro to go with her powerful and sultry voice. Now I love a good femaile lead singer (my previous obsessions being Skin from Skunk Anansie and Shirley Manson of Garbage) so The Earth were a great listen for me. They also got people down on the floor dancing which was a welcome sight.

Unquestionably the bext band of the night though were Islet. Formed in Cardiff in 2009 they describe themselves as 'a band without rules'. Islets sound is best described as Art Rock. They really get involved in the live performance jumping from the stage into the crowd for interaction. They also switch up instruments as they play. I can honestly say that I've never seen any act similar to Islet and their show/sound.

I was completely blown away and I really think this band will be huge in the future. The crowd at Central agreed and Islet left the stage to a rapturous applause!

 Moving onto Saturday I decided to take my little mokey Riley to see some good bands in a bid to steer him away from the sounds of Justin Bieber and One Direction! Focus Wales set up a big stage in the centre of Wrexham, Queens Square.


 The square was buzzing with people and lots of little stalls and fairground attaractions. After hooking-a-duck and grabbing a brownie we took a seat in front of the stage and checked out a couple of the acts.

Grace Hartrey was first up bring her cool acoustic sound to the stage. We both really enjoyed her set. She is a very talented songwriter with a lovely voice. I would liken her to KT Tunstall in style.

After a wander around between sets Queen Beats Jack brought the music back to the square. A four-piece band featuring accoustic guitars, percusion and a double bass their sound is a mixture of Folk & Jazz. There was a lot of support for these local guys and both I and Riley danced along as they entertained the audience.

Unfortunatley the rain brought an end to our little day of bands and we sadly headed off home. Focus Wales has been truly brilliant this year though and I look forward to attending it for many years to come.

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