After such a tremendous night and line up yesterday, I would have happily stayed at home satisfied that I had seen a great festival… That was only round one of three however… Escorting Garry Davies through his birthday weekend, we booked into our accommodation and set off toward town, meeting up with Tom Carroll (of Liverpool’s Bad Mood) for some celebratory beverages.
We hit the Royal Oak, the place where a lot of acoustic acts appear during the course this magnificent festival… St Asaph’s 1987 til Present is playing his allocated 30min slot. As is with a lot of acts, his songs can get lost amid the chatter and laughter of this exceptionally busy pub… Those attentive enough are treated to warmth with songs like Head2Joes and the transcendent Flashback To Maths Class.
Steph and Hannah of Glove are outside, bursting with enthusiasm, we all head to St Giles’ Church to see Meilir perform. There’s a stall selling the devil’s juice (K Cider 8%) for £1:50 a can… We could be here all night… Meilir mixes it up from previous performances, the huge church organ is playing as he makes his entrance through the pews, banging a snare drum like a soldier boy. The acoustics are incredible and hearing Next lifts my already high spirits. He’s using a piano, laptop, a gravel bag and a typewriter during his all too short set.
Un Deg Un is our next port of call to catch Lolfa Binc, fronted by the barking Bard of Bethesda, Rhys Trimble, who is in fine form and ably backed by Emma’s exalted drumming and Tom’s abstract-psychedelic bass playing. Trimble throws his shoes into the audience as he rants from his paper reams of resentment. New songs too, that wreak of disappointment with the world and, err… orange tape. The performance is furious enough to set off the fire alarms and we all spill onto the street. Tom Carroll returns Rhys’ shoes, saying it’s the best live performance he’s seen in a long time… We head off to Saith Seren.
I quoted on my Instagram that my love for Glove has no boundaries, and I’d happily carve that statement into the side of a mountain after seeing their portrayal of life, the universe and everything this evening. Their minimalist and cannibalistic performance displays unadulterated passion for what they do… From primeval chanting to syllabic ranting, it’s all from the heart, and those two hearts are pounding like the floor tom they smash. The chop-sing crowd soon stop and turn and stare; some are open jawed watching in wonderment as Glove paint the prettiest yet most bizarre yet most brilliant musical picture of the weekend.
We hang around for Radio Rhydd, another Bethesda export, although they have been quiet of late due to vocalist Cai O’Marah spending time travelling (he’s off again soon). They’re far slicker than what I’ve previously seen; yes, Cai is still shouting at this tired world and he’s just as anarcho-angry as he’s always been, but the band are more in tune with each other… The music rages against the machine, if you get what I mean.
Seazoo have just blessed the large crowd with their swirling contagious tunes as we arrive at Un Deg Un, but the skies darkened; it’s started pelting down with rain. The Gods are running in fear of Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard who are making a thunderous noise. They are one of Wrexham’s biggest success stories of recent years with their tuned down sludge guitars of pestilence. Don’t be fooled by Jessica’s goth-pixie looks and that sweet voice, for behind her is a defiling sonic wall of absolute despair… Absolutely fantastic.
The beers and cheers have us floundering… I’d be lying if I said we strolled to Central Station; staggered diagonally would be more fitting. The Revolutionary Spirit are on the side stage, Garry and myself shuffle to the front and promptly sit cross-legged as that calm after the mammoth storm cleanses our susceptible senses. The sound is mesmerising as it soothes all that has been before and for ourselves at least, rounds off an outstanding second day at Focus Wales.