Tag Archives: cardiff music

Save Womanby Street!

In case ya hadn’t heard, here’s the deal. The Gatekeeper has put in an application to convert some of the building to be Cardiff’s first Wetherspoons hotel. Unfortunately, it happens to be located right in the heart of the alternative musical heart of the city: Womanby Street, a place we’ve spent many hours stumbling around, weaving from venue to venue, smoking, eating burgers, drinking pints, putting the world to rights. Whether you’re a boozehound or not, late alcohol licensing is totally vital to this epicentre of alternative music, and venues are worried about the implications of having the hotel there.

To try and safeguard the venues on this street, there’s a “Save Womanby Street Campaign”. Do your thing, join up, get educated, lobby those that represent you.*


Here’s the vibes:

Save Womanby Street

Backed by Cardiff’s grassroots music venues, the Save Womanby Street campaign is lobbying the council to recognise the street as an area of cultural significance for music and performance arts.

Home to live music venues Clwb Ifor Bach, The Full Moon, Fuel Rock Club and Bootlegger, Womanby Street has been described as “the epicentre of Cardiff for grassroots music” and “the heartbeat of live music”

According to campaign organisers, late alcohol licensing and live music is vital to the venues’ survival.

The addition of a hotel will benefit the area but current systems of law could threaten the unique nature of the street.

As a result the group are calling on Cardiff Council to designate Womanby Street a cultural night time economy. This will protect the street and allow businesses to continue to flourish.

The decision under the current systems of law has been met with widespread objection, with folk singer Frank Turner joining nearly 7,000 others to petition against the move.

However, Save Womanby Street organisers have stressed that the wider issue lies with planning permission policy and not the pub in question.

Under current regulations any  complaints regarding noise pollution would threaten the livelihood of the street’s venues.

In addition to the local planning changes, the campaign will lobby the Welsh Assembly to adopt the agent of change principle in relation  to planning permission, making it the responsibility of the developers of any new premises, commercial or residential, to find solutions to noise from nearby pre-existing business.


What can you do?

Lobby your councillors (see above)

Join the Save Womanby Street Facebook

Peace out


* (if any of you live in Butetown, like I do, good luck trying to lobby our councillor Ali Ahmed for anything, all he ever does is reply saying what’s happening and that there’s no way of changing anything, not once have I ever experienced him actually representing the views of local people – especially on the crazy bonanza of flat building that’s going on around Hamadryad Park. Although I just read he hasn’t been reselected to stand in May, and to be honest, good riddance. How can you live in Penylan and represent Butetown?)


HUB Festival ’16 – all the music you can eat in Cardiff this Bank Holiday weekend

August Bank holiday weekend in Cardiff promises a veritable smorgasbord of musical delights, as HUB Festival returns to Womanby Street with an extended selection of music, comedy and poetry!

HUB Festival 2016

Looks pretty incredible, right?? Tickets are a mindblowing £12 per day or just £20 for the full weekend!

Keep up to date with all news at the HUB Festival 2016 – Facebook event page

In the meantime, here are HUB Festival’s vital statistics …

HUB FESTIVAL 2016 – 200+ acts, 12 stages, 3 days – music, art, performance!

Tickets are £20 for 3 – days, on sale in Spillers Records, Diverse Music,Bristol Ticket Shop, WeGotTickets, SEE Tickets

THE STAGES: The Full Moon, The Moon Club, FUEL ROCK CLUB, Clwb Ifor Bach, Four Bars at Dempseys, Urban Tap House Cardiff, City Arms, Cardiff, Dempseys, Busker’s Revenge Pirate Ship and our Outdoor Stage!

The Wave Pictures, RICHARD DAWSON, Johnny Cage & The Voodoogroove, Junior Bill, Crinkle Cuts, Hipicat, Desert Storm, We’re No Heroes, Sigiriya, Cowboy and the Corpse, Climbing Trees, Maddie Jones,Featherjaw, Lacertilia, Quiet Marauder, A N i • G L A S S, Harri Davies Music, Fingertrap, Heil Zilla, GOAN DOGS, Clay Statues, Tendons,Roughion, Boris a Bono, Pizzatramp, MY NAME IS IAN, Rainbow Maniac,Tides Of Sulfur, Mumbleman, Tommy & The Trouble, Winter Coat, Shop Girls, Heavy Flames, Aaronson, Bryde, Luk, HVNTER, Matthew Frederick,The Marks Cartel, Meilir, V A I L S, HOMES, The Johnstown Flood,Kookamunga, Seas Of Mirth, Punks not dad, VAN-illa, Thee Manatees,Dave Morris and the Knock, HODAD, Grand Tradition, This Is Wreckage,Local Enemy, Esuna, OldSamuel, Dead In The Water, La Forme, The Irascibles, Sophie Lynch and the Special FriendsFountainhead, Soviets, Great Revelations, Nuclear Lullaby, Rozelle, Everything by Electricity, Keto,Chloe Foy, Joe Bayliss, Grace Hartrey, The Fused, Alex Stacey, Cameron Trowbridge, The Sonny Bonds Duo, Welcome Back Delta, Eleri Angharad,Ellie Parris, Capra Mamei, Ofelia, Think Pretty, Sam Fowke Music, Blood Lips, Matt Troy, Fran Murphy, Mark Curtis, Fran Smith, Fritz O’Skennick, Clive Oseman, Mario Fiorrillo Umberto, Terri Hoskings, Gareth Davies, Natasha Borden, Will Ford, Ellie Powell, Georgia Paterson – Singer/Songwriter, To Bear Sir

CURATORS INCLUDE: All My Friends, BlueBox Promotions, Bubblewrap Collective, Blue Honey, Electric Harmony, LUCKYMAN RECORDS, Pi and Hash Music, The Psychedelic Priests, Radio Glamorgan, Rockpie, Sound Affects PR, The Hold Up, Young Promoters Network

This year sees the addition of a beer festival featuring local craft brewers, a new street presentation with designers decorating the area, as well as musicians, poets, comedians, performing arts and street food.

Too many artists for you to keep up with? HUB have made a handy Soundcloud page, giving you a ‘greatest hits’ of this year’s bands. Put it on and let the music wash all over you!

See you down the front


Make Noise Wales – swap broken electricals for fixed-up electronic beats!

Love ace music? Love recycling? Combine these loves at the launch party for an exciting new venture from Make Noise.


The Make Noise manifesto offers programming cutting edge electronic music events and making entry 100 per cent FREE in exchange for a piece of electrical recycling.

Party-goers just need to bring something to hand over at the door; a broken mobile phone, hairdryer or laptop – anything with a plug or a battery! Since it began, Make Noise has packed out venues all round the UK and recycled tonnes of electronic waste.

To kick start the 2016 tour, Make Noise will take over Cardiff’s Gwdihw on Tuesday 19th July 2016 for a very special and intimate launch event. The evening will feature a special live performance from Heavenly Recordings very own Stealing Sheep plus support from R.Seiliog.

Make Noise started in 2016 and is a unique partnership between ERP (European Recycling Platform) Heavenly Recordings and for this new Welsh chapter, Resource Efficiency Wales


Parti Lawnsio gyda gwesteion arbennig:
Launch Party with very special guests:

Stealing Sheep + R.Seiliog playing live + Heavenly Jukebox and Nyth DJs

Nos Fawrth Gorffennaf 19 – Mynediad am ddim gyda teclyn trydanol i’w ailgylchu!
Tuesday 19th July – Free entry with a piece of electrical recycling!

Cyflwynir gan / Presented by Heavenly Recordings, ERP, Resource Efficiency Wales + Nyth

Gwdihw Cafe Bar
6 Guildford Cres
CF10 2HJ

Make Noise Wales Facebook event


Big Love Festival line up announced! 29 April -1 May, Baskerville Hall

YAS KWEEN, you heard right: there’s a new three dayer in town, with a massive line up and in a gorgeous location! The Big Love Festival will take place from 29 April – 1 May in Baskerville Hall. And it looks set to be a doozy.

Maybe you should just watch the video? Yeah. Do that. Then let’s talk.

Looks good, right? The line up is crazy, the location is amazing, and it’s only an hour from Cardiff! WINNING!

First wave line-up released, and here it is: Ibibio Sound Machine / RaggaTwins Crew / Ugly Duckling (Official) / SOOM T / J-Star JSTAR  / Beans on Toast / Afrikan Boy / Jodie Abacus / Matt The Hat / Mathilda & Lady Jelly / Fantazia Music / Shades Of Rhythm / Easygroove – Techno Dread – UrbanFront / Kenny Ken / Bump and Grind /  Dutty Girl  / Richie Vibe V (Old Skool Garage) / Big Swing Sound / HypeMan Sage /  RUMPSTEPPERS / Eclectic Mick / Alfresco Disco / Blue Honey / TEAK Bodywork / We Like To Party / City Bass / Gung – Ho Collective / Trax On Wax / Vintage Dub & Reggae Sound System / Clwb Ifor Bach  / BBC Horizons /  @FantasyOrchestraBristol /  StreetFeastCardiff present Dirty Bird Fried Chicken / El Salsa / Slow Pig / The Parsnipship / Handlebar Barista-Brew Bar / Patagonia Steak Shack … 

Big Love Festival Weekender

Imagine a festie-holiday at the wildest resort on the planet, where you can sleep in hotel rooms, gypsy bow-top caravans, yurts or under the stars: where you can rave till dawn in the dining room, wake up and go for a swim, have a sauna and explore the woodlands. Welcome to Big Love!

Big Love is an independent three-day festival/holiday camp set in and around a huge country mansion hotel, steeped in festival history and located in 130 acres of the lush scenery of the Wye Valley in Wales. Pretty nice, eh?

The food will be curated by Cardiff Street Food, so you know you’ll be well fed over the weekend …

Early bird tickets are already sold out … so get your groove thing on and book now!

Big Love Festival – book tickets

Big Love Festival – website

Big Love Festival Facebook


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The roots of rock … Peter Finch goes from Cardiff to Mississippi and back

The lovely Peter Finch has written a book called (you’ve guessed it) The roots of rock – from Cardiff to Mississipi and back. And to celebrate, there’s a launch party!

roots of rock

Peter’s book draws on a life long love of music and the need to trace its roots … he explains the book way more eloquently than I could ever dream of, so I’ll just let him tell you what it’s about:

“I want to find out where the material I listened to as a young man and which became the backdrop to my life came from. I want to discover where it lived. How it was. How it is. How it got there. I want to find out on the ground how the blues, hillbilly, old time dance music, bluegrass, Hank Williams country and western, rockabilly,  Nashville slick and straight ahead Rocket 88 rock and roll came about. What were the components of these musics? How did they cross the Atlantic? What parts came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales?”

“Most importantly I want to discover how the magic all this became made the transition back to rain drenched Wales. How did it flow across the Bay of Tigers to manifest itself in the bright blue drape jackets of Valley’s born Teddy Boys?  How did it appear amid the banjos plucked in folk clubs in pub back rooms on the Welsh Capital’s Broadway and Charles Street?”

How did it rock in the dance halls of Sophia Gardens, Cowbridge Road and Death Junction? And, in particular, how did it inform the taste of more than one Welsh generation? Mike Harries, Man, the Sons of Adam, Amen Corner, The Sun Also Rises, Edward H, Meic Stevens, the Manic Street Preachers, Cate Le Bon, Richard James, Georgia Ruth, Gruff Rhys,  Trampolene, Baby Queens, Climbing Trees, and Euros Childs.

The book starts in south Wales, in the place I come from. The Cardiff delta.  The flood plain made by the three city rivers – the Ely, the Taff, the Rumney – aided ably by the Roath Brook, the Nant, and that long lost waterway, the Tan. Cardiff is not the centre of the music universe by any means but it has had its moments.  Bill Haley came here in 1957 and played the Cardiff Capitol. Lynyrd Skynyrd did the same thing in 1975. John Lee Hooker was here in 1964 at a surf club on the Wentloog flatlands. Jerry Lee played  Sophia Gardens in 1962. Dion wandered to the Capitol in 1964. Chuck Berry duck walked there a year later. Johnny Cash visited in 1966. Elvis never. How and why? I want to know.

So there you go! I can’t wait to read it.

See you at the party?

Butetown Arts and History Centre
4 Dock Chambers, Cardiff CF10 5AG
Monday 7 December, 19.00

The Roots Of Rock From Cardiff To Mississippi And Back  by Peter Finch will be published by Seren Books on 7 December, 2015. There’ll be a paperback at £9.99 and a e-book at the same price. You can order your copy from Seren Books.


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A Sound Reaction: chat from Cardiff music man, Dave Owens

Look around any decent Cardiff gig and you’ll probably see this guy somewhere in the venue, wearing his coat and holding a pint. His name is David Owens and he’s been mad about music in Cardiff for longer than he’d care to remember. It’s taken me nearly three years of harassing, but finally, he’s given in and done me an interview, about his upbringing in Cardiff and the music that he chased around the city.


What was Cardiff like for you, growing up?

This was the 70s and 80s, so I knew little beyond my immediate circle of family (mum, dad, one brother, one sister – both older than me) and friends. We weren’t poor but we weren’t well off either. We lived in a rented council house, so my adventures were confined to my locale.

Trowbridge was an estate that had been built in the mid-60s and my family were one of the first to move in. As luck would have it, many of the neighbours’ families were of a similar age, so I had plenty of children my own age to play with. Looking back I was incredibly lucky, because remember this was another age when you could play out on the streets to late and run around with your mates without fear or inhibition.

We never went on foreign holidays, I never flew until I was 22, but we would go to Barry Island and Porthcawl, and for me that was glamour and wide-eyed adventure personified. I never knew much of the rest of Cardiff, save Grangetown and Tremorfa where my nan and gramps lived. And their houses seemed like relics from a bygone age compared to the council estate I lived in. The house in Tremorfa I loved, because my nan had a massive pantry I would hide in. She also made incredible cakes! They lived near to Splott Park and I would spend endless summers watching the holidays drift by in the park playing on Jessie the steam locomotive that was positioned in the park. Sadly it was removed in 1980 due to vandalism.

Grangetown was also a joy because my nana and grampy lived in a rambling three storey Edwardian Turner house with all the original features. So visiting them as I did every other Saturday on the way to Ninian Park to see Cardiff City play with my brother was always memorable, as much for the homemade chips and bread and butter she would ply us with. They also had a real coal fire that was the burning heart of the house, a godsend in winter, and as warm and as welcoming as they were.

When did you start getting into music? What was the music scene like for you, growing up?

I loved music from an early age. My mum tells me I was always singing along to songs on the telly and was an avid watcher of Top Of The Pops. I had an older brother and sister who were my musical barometer. My brother Stephen was into the likes of Smokie, Dr Hook, Gilbert O Sullivan and Barry Manilow. So it was enough not to be turned off music for life. However he also love ELO and Status Quo. And there were two songs in particular that his little brother loved – Rockin’ All Over The World and Mr Blue Sky. I have vivid memories of those two songs on repeat on the old music centre we had. It was like a wooden submarine with a record player and radio in it. It was massive.

My sister meanwhile initially loved The Bay City Rollers, who I detested, as was my wont as her little brother – we’re there to take the piss, it’s our role. She then graduated to Roxy Music and loved loved LOVED Bryan Ferry, whose perpetually wonky vocals I would mercilessly ape much to her annoyance obviously. When she started seeing my brother in law Stuart, (see accompanying story) that’s when my tastes changed and I underwent musical puberty – if you like. However, I later grew to love Roxy Music and still do thanks to my sister.

By the age of 10 I was a mini-mod and wore a parka to junior school. Remember this was a glorious time to be a kid into music. This would be 1978/1979/1980. The music scene was a glorious amalgam of tribes – mod/punk/two-tone/new wave/new romantics – with the most incredible music being made. I loved it all and quickly started buying records from Woolworths, John Menzies and Boots on Queen Street who all sold records/Spillers in the Hayes/Buffalo in The Hayes opposite Spillers and also Virgin Records which was then on Duke Street opposite the castle.


I can’t remember the first record I bought, but I was immersed in the mod revival scene so it was probably something by The Jam, Secret Affair, The Chords, The Purple Hearts, The Lambrettas or The Merton Parkas. All my pocket money would be spent thumbing the racks. The sound and the smell of vinyl, the shelves laden with albums and singles and even the little vinyl bags they would be housed in just served to fire my imagination. I might have been a mini-mod but I also loved The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, The Selecter, The Beat, Dexys. Squeeze, Blondie. I could go on – it was a golden era for music and I was lucky enough to grow up during this incredible period.

Can you tell us a bit more about the bands you saw here in Cardiff in your youth?

If you’re in your 40s or older and lived in Cardiff during the ‘80s, there’s every chance you would have heard of the New Ocean Club. Set three miles from the city centre, nature and industry clashed at the crossroads of eastern Cardiff amidst the mudflats of the River Rumney’s tidal estuary and the smoke-choked East Moors steelworks that dominated the landscape. For reference sake it was situated between Tesco and the Fitness First (or whatever it’s now called) in Pengam.

A peculiar location perhaps, but on stepping through the doors of this unremarkable single-storey building, you entered another world altogether. An old-school social club, formerly known as The Troubadour, with a sprung hardwood dance floor, revolving stage and huge mirror-ball that bathed all beneath it in shimmering moonlight, it was the venue around which my formative musical education revolved. It was a proverbial mecca for any teenager demonstrating a pubescent yearning towards music that eschewed the mainstream. It was the place where, in the early ’80s. I first encountered then-aspiring US alt-rockers REM, crowd-pleasing Welsh tub-thumpers The Alarm, and the bellicose Bard of Barking Billy Bragg, as well as faux mod-soul acts such as The Truth, Small World and Big Sound Authority.

It was where I first wielded a tape recorder in anger as an aspiring fanzine writer, fanning the flames of my journalistic fire. It was a pivotal point in my musical rites of passage and will forever conjure up the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear; of beer mats on bars, of long-lost brews such as Allbright Bitter and Double Diamond, the inexorable ebb and flow of youthful exuberance pulsing across the dance floor – and of clothes steeped in the stench of smokers’ fumes.

It was also the venue at which I promoted my first-ever gig, a three-band bill headlined by Cardiff power-pop favourites A Sound Reaction – the outfit from which this column takes its name – alongside youthful modernists The Choir (from Cambridge) and The Revenge (from High Wycombe). I was 15 or 16 (I looked older in fairness to door staff who rarely quizzed me on the finer points of my birth certificate). The details are hazy, and just how I staged the show fuzzier still, given all the arrangements were made from a phone box – not for our generation, the luxury of mobile phones and the internet!

The New Ocean Club closed not long after, the sustainability of what was a relic from a fast fading and quickly forgotten era finally catching up with it. As the mid to late ’80s hoved into view, my focus shifted. Five or six years before Wales became the citadel of rock ‘n’ roll reinventing itself as Cool Cymru, the local music scene in the late ’80s was as grey as the slate scratched sky and as dark as the prevailing political mood.

Back in the days when Chapter Arts Centre promoted live music most nights of the week in the original Chapter Bar, it was a dimly-lit room rather than, what the bar is nowadays, a communal gathering point for the practice of borderline alcoholism and the discovery of manifold European brews.

There I marvelled to a slew of wonderful bands, fantastic should-have-beens such as Papa’s New Faith (featuring Alex Silva – now in house engineer at Hansa Studios in Berlin, but better known as the producer of The Manics’ Futurology and The Holy Bible), Peppermint Parlour (starring frontman Alan Thompson he of Radio Wales fame), The Third Uncles ( a cabal of literate art pop dandys) and The Watermelons ( a highly politicised heartbreak trio whose tub-thumping frontman Paul Rosser from the Rhondda was a gravedigger by day).

While Chapter was my main squeeze, Clwb Ifor Bach, The Square Club and The Venue were at various points my bit on the side. Clwb afforded me the opportunity of watch the nascent Cool Cymru movement germinate thanks to the flowering of such bands as Y Crumblowers, y Cyrff, Ffa Coffi Pawb and U Thant – featuring soon-to-be members of Catatonia and Super Furry Animals.

The Square Club on Westgate Street was a den of iniquity a freakish zoo housing tribes of every form – goths, psychobillies, indie kids, Madchester clones and some seemingly not yet classified. The club was famous for its enigmatic manager Frank (no one ever knew his surname), whose past was shrouded in mystery. Recognisable for the trademark white leather cap that never left his head, he had escaped to Cardiff and many believed he was in the witness relocation programme given his fondness for discussing his associations with The Krays. Unforgettable was the in-house DJ The Lizard who spun his discs in a cage mounted on the side of a wall, forgettable were the horrendous toilets which were more public inconvenience, than public convenience – and the place where you could probably have picked up your first swimming proficiency certificate if you were so inclined.

The Venue on Charles Street burnt brightly but briefly – notorious for hosting a gig by The Stone Roses in March 1989 where only 21 people turned up. This was a couple months before their debut album was released and they quickly soared into the strata of superstardom propelled by the golden wings of their sublime debut album. A concrete sweatbox we lost inches off our waistlines in sauna-like conditions while furthering our musical educations thanks to memorable shows by such indie names of yore as The New Fast Automatic Daffodils, Birdland, The Inspiral Carpets and The Pooh Sticks.

Add to this Neros (Greyfriars Road), The Stage Door (now Minskys), PCs (City Road), Sams Bar (St Mary Street a/Mill Lane), Bogiez (Penarth Road), The Philharmonic (St Mary Street), Subways (at The Great Western Hotel), The Model Inn (Quay Street), Metros (Bakers Row), and The Dog and Duck (Womanby Street) and the 80s alternative thrillseeker had plenty to satisfy their cravings outside of the mainstream.


Dave Owens is a multimedia news and features journalist at Media Wales. Follow his writings at A Sound Reaction – Facebook page

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In Review: Arcade Fire’s Owen Pallett at Portland House, Cardiff

Writer Ellie Philpotts went along to enjoy this show at one of Cardiff’s oldest-new venues, Portland house, on Pallett’s final year of touring.

Owen pallett playing violin

Owen Pallett has some impressive links. He’s collaborated heavily with indie-rock band Arcade Fire and worked with big deals such as The Pet Shop Boys; Linkin Park; Snow Patrol; Robbie Williams and even Taylor Swift, conducting her single The Last Time, from smash-hit 2012 album Red – which impressed me because I’m one big Taylor Swift fan. But away from these notable affiliations, Owen is a renowned name in his own right. Just last year, he was even Oscar-nominated, for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures – Original Score, for the film ‘Her.’ Basically, he’s a talented guy. And his Cardiff Bay show on 3 June at Portland House accurately reflected this.

The night was a success in every way. I was actually the first to arrive at Portland House (unusual for me, so I must’ve been eager!); got chatting to some interesting fellow solo gig-attendees; and revelled in the varying styles of the support acts. The opener, Scriber, a Welsh lad who describes himself as an ‘alt-folk presence’ (http://www.scriberofficial.com/) sang lovely lyrics such as ‘it’s hard to lose grip on something if you know you always have it’, paired with charming guitar twangs. To follow was King of Cats, a very unique band with loud beats, belting out refreshing tracks which included the line ‘I will not walk in the garden of Eden but I’ll die in the garden of eating.’ Makes a change from typical love-songs centred around human love, doesn’t it!

Then it was time for Owen. The man, the legend. He had stage presence, asking the audience direct questions – he was asked whether he’d sampled a ‘cheeky Vimto’, which apparently is a local delicacy, although the Welsh man next to me dismissed this notion, having never heard of it. Demonstrating that Canadians can have flawless knowledge of British culture, Owen replied that he hadn’t, but he had heard of ‘cheeky Nandos.’ Fortunately, a cheeky Nandos does indeed sit right round the corner from this venue in Cardiff Bay, so maybe that’s where he headed afterwards to celebrate a successful show! Although, his status as fitting in with us Cardiffians did slip up when he enquired if there even is a Welsh language. But his music was so good, we’ll forgive him.

Owen isn’t to my usual style, but I was genuinely blown away by his skill. He turns what it means to be a violinist on its head – exciting fast-paced beats teamed with a brilliant voice, and this wasn’t the extent of his instrument-playing – he was no stranger to the keyboard either. The Secret Seven was my favourite of his tracks – he described it as ‘a song about not killing yourself, but about killing someone else instead!’ Only figuratively, I should add as a disclaimer. I also appreciated how he played recordings of his music on loop to compliment the live performance. All in all, a very interesting perspective on that wide thing called ‘music.’ I can see why he’s such an in-demand musician!

After the satisfied audience began to bid a sad farewell to Portland House (in a move mirrored by Owen, as this was one of his final ever tour dates, let alone in the UK!), I was lucky enough to meet the face of the show himself. We had a photo – excuse the lighting – strong lights at gigs just aren’t atmospheric, don’t y’know! Owen is not only a fantastic performer, but also a lovely guy, so I’m sure I speak for many others in saying that Cardiff will miss him!


Owen Pallett and Ellie Philpotts

Portland House


Ellie Philpotts

Ellie Philpotts is in her first year at Cardiff University studying English Literature, Journalism and Media. Follow her blog or Instagram.




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H. Hawkline residency, Thursdays in February 2015, Clwb Ifor Bach

To celebrate his forthcoming album on the Heavenly label (oooo!), the delectable H. Hawkline has escaped his tour duties with Cate le Bon and Sweet Baboo and landed his very own residency at Clwb in Cardiff, on Thursdays throughout February. Each show will have some very special guests. Read on for more info…

H Hawkline

“I wish I knew where I’d left me keys…”

Here are the shows – more guests are to be announced! (keep an eye on the Facebook event)

5th Feb


12th Feb


19th Feb


26th Feb

V spesh guests TBA!


More details about the rest of the tour….

h hawkline tour 2015

H Hawkline Clwb Ifor Bach residency – Facebook event
H Hawkline Facebook page


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Our Cardiff geography – Baby Queens

In today’s personal geography, the Baby Queens step up to answer my questions!

Baby_Queens_SnapRockAndPop_ - 03

Listen while you read: Baby Queens Soundcloud


Q. Introduce us to your group

Estelle: Hello! Baby Queens is two cousins, Ruth and Monique, two sisters, Cara and Estelle, and our good friend Vanity.


Q. How did you (the group or individual) end up in Cardiff? Are you born local or moved here…

Vanity: Ruth moved from Gloucester, Vanity grew up in the Bahamas and moved to Cardiff as a young girl, Cara and Estelle are from North Wales and Monique hales from Cardiff.


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Q. How did you all meet, and how long have you been playing together for?

Estelle: We met through music and we have been playing as a band since September 2012


Q. Explain your sound to us

Cara: Our sound is fusion, in that we fuse so many different genres together to create our sound, we literally take influence from all genres and all true and beautiful musc from the last few decades even reaching back as far as the 1940’s . We all have a very eclectic record collection, from 50’s rock n roll, to experimental 60/70’s bands and artists, we love mowtown, two tone, physc rock, rock n roll, punk rock, roots hiphop and reggae, to contempary hiphop and reggae, soul, jazz, and electronic music wise DnB, House, dubstep the list goes on. We wanted our Sound to represent as much of the music that we love as possible, the music inspired us and the music that drove us to write, and we incorperate these influences into our sound resulting in the “difficult to define” sound that were kinda proud of.


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Q. What’s your favourite Cardiff venue? Can be one that doesn’t exist anymore…

Estelle: I used to love The Point but it closed down.


Q. What parts of Cardiff have you lived in so far?

A. Docks, Splott, Canton, Llandoch, town centre

Baby_Queens_SnapRockAndPop_ - 04

Q. What was the BEST gig / show / rave you’ve ever been to in Cardiff?

Estelle: A SomBom techno night in 2007 where Green Velvet played


Q. What was the last film you watched

Ruth: Marvel – Avengers Assemble


Q. Tell us a secret

Monique: We are always fashionably late for everything!


Q. What’s your favourite place for breakfast in Cardiff?

Ruth: Central Perk off Albany Road


Q. What’s your local pub?

Ruth: Rileys Canton


Baby_Queens_SnapRockAndPop_ - 14


Q. Tell us a hidden part of Cardiff that you love

Cara: The Wetlands is a little nature reserve alongside the water in the Cardiff Bay area, it’s incredibly beautiful and is a breeding ground for swans and ducks, we go there to watch the sunset and find creativity.


Q. What music are you loving at the moment? Bands, DJs …

Cara: MNEK, Rudimental, Danny Brown, Angel Haze, Royal Blood, The wkend, Frank Ocean, Jamie Woon.


Q. If you had some friends coming to visit for the weekend, where would you take them?

Cara: I would take them to Barry beach, on the quiet side – beautiful views and summer sunsets


Q. If people want to see you live, when’s their next opportunity?

A. We’ll be playing at DimSwn this year, catch us there!

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Twitter: @baby_queens

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Baby Queens were photographed at rehearsal by Joseph Singh (SnapPopAndRock) 

Cardiff: my personal geography, by Elliot Bennett of Slowly Rolling Camera

For this personal geography, we get all up in Elliot Bennett’s grill – he’s the drummer for (mostly) Cardiff-based jazz band, Slowly Rolling Camera. Read on for Elliot’s slant on the city (he’s second from left in the picture).

Slowly Rolling Camera by Claire Cousin

Tell us about your Cardiff connections …

Although Dave (Stapleton – pianist/composer) now lives in Newbury, we were all students that studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It was here that we started composing and playing together. Similarly, whilst still being a student, I was also the house drummer at the old Toucan Club, and Dionne (Bennett – vocalist/lyricist) was the vocalist in the funk and Latin band that played there on the weekend.

Tell us how Slowly Rolling Camera formed.

The band started out with Dave and myself discussing the need to write some new music that differed from our quintet. The want for a fresher approach that could have a wider a reach and echoed more of the things they were listening to, such as the Cinematic Orchestra, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, Massive Attack and Portishead.

The writing process began with Dave sending me some ideas to see what I thought. Hooked on what I’d heard, I began playing around with the ideas presented and recorded some grooves and rhythms that would cement and support the phrases and melodies. This process continued for sometime, until we both realised that an ingredient was missing, the voice. There was only one person I had in mind that had the depth, warmth and soulfulness needed for what had been written. It was then, that I pitched the ideas to Dionne Bennett, a lyricist and vocalist that I had worked with many years ago.

Once Dionne had added some ideas, again me and Dave thought that a more electronic, produced sound pallet was needed to bind the existing ideas together, which is when I called upon my old university friend Deri Roberts to help. Like Dave and Dionne, I had worked with Deri many times in a number of different ensembles, some of which included the others. Fast forward to the present day, the four us through our friendship and work in various ensembles have written – I believe – music that has a little of all our personalities and life’s journey embedded with the fabric of the album.

Where was your first gig?

Our first gig was at Chapter Arts Centre, which I guess is regarded as a bit of a hub for music, drama and the arts in Cardiff and therefore, seemed the perfect location to showcase what we had written. Thankfully, the gig sold out and the response and feeling from the audience and players booked for the gig was great. The four of us now knew that the product worked, both as something to listen to at home, or as a live performance.

What are the great things about living in Cardiff?

Cardiff is a very friendly, lively and cosmopolitan city. It has great entertainment, a diverse music scene, good night life, and shopping all within walking distance.

Penylan Pantry - one of Elliot's choice spots in Cardiff
Penylan Pantry – one of Elliot’s choice spots in Cardiff

How does it feel to be releasing an album?

I’m sure I speak for the others when I say that we are very proud to release this album. We wanted to collectively create something that appealed to a wide audience, that didn’t fit into a neat label or box that say’s ‘genre’ on it. Something that musicians would appreciate, music that would stand up for its production, engineering, the way it was recorded and mixed. It’s an album that contains snapshots of our life as friends and musicians, which like our name have slowly, rolled and evolved.

If you had friends coming to visit Cardiff for the weekend, what would you recommend they do? 

During the day, stop for a coffee and a bite to eat at the Pen-y-lan Pantry or maybe visit Cardiff’s award-winning farmers’ markets on Sunday 10 – 2pm. And team that up with watching a knock-out performance from an amazing new band called ‘Slowly Rolling Camera’!


Elliot Bennett plays drums in Slowly Rolling Camera. The band’s debut album is out now on Edition Records, and you can catch them live soon – see tour dates here.