Sometimes the best will in the world is not enough to guide you through an itinerary of bands you want to see, and post-Focus it was startlingly apparent that we had seen a very different festival to a lot of our friends and associates.
We started off so well at 10am, with a Greasy Spoon breakfast in one of Wrexham’s less swanky cafes. Then Tom Carroll (of Liverpool’s Bad Mood) sent me a fateful text, it simply read.. ‘Pint?’
Garry Davies, Tom and myself were soon joined in one of Wrexham’s less swanky pubs by Rob Mercer (of Gintis) and it went downhill from there really…
Downhill for our equilibrium that is… Our musical intake was still on a high and that dizziness was ably maintained by the talented Andy Hickie at The Royal Oak. He entertained us immensely with Irish, Scouse and Welsh folk songs that had us laughing, singing and crying (sometimes during the same song!), particularly Calon Lân – Ten out of ten for merriment.
Kip was on at The Old No.7, great voice, great guitar and immense talent. Although he played crowd pleasing covers (against my religion), he really pleased the crowd who watched and listened intently. Our momentum carried us on to St Giles’ Church… Selling 8% cider had us converting to Christianity as local boy James Macgregor wooed us with his dulcet tones and acoustic tunes.
Ty Pawb is hosting Gravves, this Deeside band make a huge sound for a 3-piece. Drums that are pummelled, a bass that is clouted and a guitar that is distressed. Add the foreboding vocals that almost fill you with anticipation, as if you’re being told a horror story and the scene is set. Please fasten your seat-belts, there’s going to be a lot of turbulence.
The Rock Suite is graced with our presence for the first time, as were we by Eitha Da. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this harder version of Mowbird and they didn’t disappoint. Promoting their debut album ‘Voma’ which includes a contender for Song Title Of The Year with Southern Fried Ruthin, Eitha Da volley bursts of fuzzy-garage absurdity that rings spectacularly our ears.
We stumbled upon Mexican Walking Fish upstairs in Central Station, their line-up has shrunk and the sound has hardened. It’s still that flowing Americana and they are threatening to transfer that sound onto an album this year. In fact, the trumpet adds an almost spaghetti western style, but there’s no gun duels here, just beautiful songs that ebb and flow with Kyle’s softening vocals smoothing over the top of them.
White Ether are over in Saith Seren, I must have seen them about ten times by now and still I don’t tire of their steely rock-punk sound. They’re a tight unit, well rehearsed and well versed and the new material has upped the tempo and shows a gritty resolve. Great performance.
As we chit and chat, South Walians Al Moses take to the stage with a sound of a 90s guitar band with shades of psychedelia-grunge that is way beyond their tender years. The vocals are shared, one has a cockiness about him, the other is more reserved and they are applauded by an appreciative audience.
And that’s just about it, we left (in a sorry state).. Kath had earlier joined us and went on to see Baby Brave etc. Steve Crocker and the White Ether boys remained to enjoy Quiet Marauder and Alffa.
Garry bought 4 cans of 14% Polish beer…
If you’ve not sampled the delights of this truly excellent festival then I wholeheartedly recommend you do so next year… Cheers…