Focus Wales: a journey inside the Welsh music industry part 1

For our 4th year in a row, we lived another hectic weekend in the sunny roads of Wrexham’s town. We made loads of discoveries from many genres during that edition who went more and more under international exposure, but also still concentrated on the local bands and their proeminent creativity.

Again, this year was pretty hectic, full of clashes. We wanted to see as many bands as possible. Running through the different venues, we caught up with so many gems.

This was a pure weekend from Thursday May 11th to May 13th exposing bands like established act British Sea Power or doing the underground promotion of the new refreshing ones.

We started our journey on Thursday afternoon with some interesting conferences about how to sell your own bands to people of the industry likewise and how to grow your chances of making it abroad in that post-Brexit era. Then, we went to some acoustic folk acts performance at the Royal Oak, a small pub in the heart of town. Singer-songwriters Andy Hickie, Garry Rowley and many more took the small stage with their joyful or sometimes melancholic original music and covers. In between, we watched special performances by Kidsmoke’s Lance Williams and folk acoustic experimental Meilir 

We then saw Gorweilion/Horizons sponsored act Danielle Lewis with her poetic voice. She wrote her songs with a touch of magic and makes us travel around the world with her beautiful melodies.

Then we headed to Old no 7 bar to cheer up for our Canadian team, which was amazingly present at Focus Wales. Poor Nameless Boy from Saskatchewan took the open mic to sing lovely folkish songs. After the set, we ran to Rewind just around the corner to rock on to the vibes of Pink Killer, a local Wrexham band who just started a few years ago. With loads of reverb, loads of psych references, they blasted the microphone to start an amazing first festival night. Things got heavier some minutes later with regulars of the festival Doppelgänger. They smashed the Central Station stage with their energetic guitar riffs. It was followed by the beats and rhymes of Spitbucket, a local hip hop collective with the help of Someperson on the background beats. Despite no actual releases, the band got a well deserved jam-packed dancing and sing-along crowd.

But, Focus Wales was also a festival full of hard choices to make. Had to pick between a special and rare performance from Georgia Ruth before she was quitting the gigs for a while and post-experimental outfit False Hope For The Savage. As the venues were close from each other we splitted our time between both, enjoying the synth-folk ballads of Georgia and then headed to hear the melodic instrumentation of Cardiff’s FHFTS. With Mogwai’s alike influences and deep guitar riffs, the band formed by the members of Cut Ribbons, The Echo and The Always and Samoans, delivered the merchandise with such energy.

Just a couple of minutes later, we walked at Un Deg Un to get a little taster from The Immediate new EP due for release in the summer. The Mod-britpop inspired outfit hailing from the small neighbourhood of Mold rocked The Void with their guitar riffs and their jiving sounds.

At the end, we went downstairs to see a couple of tunes from Bryde , a mix of raw rock’n’roll with deep vocals for the likes of St Vincent or PJ Harvey. This girl’s got talent and was so confident on stage. She put the Un Deg Un on fire!

With the rock’n’roll vibes going on, we got back to Rewind to see Delta Radio Band performing their own bluesy tunes intertwined with huge classics like Canned Heat’s On The Road Again. It was definitely a short set like many other we experienced at the festivals, but it felt so intense and raw. The party started on that first Focus Wales night.

We finished our first night with hip hop vibes with Cardiff’s Astroid Boys. While waiting in the jam-packed Central Station, we danced to the beats in a very festive ambience. The rap outfit came onstage a little bit later, spitting their rhymes to the crowd, with the full moshpit going on. What a night ending for us!


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