All Ages: Introduction & Round-Up #001‏

ALL AGES 001

At Alt Scribe, we have a lot of love for Welsh music, a love that was inspired by one of our favourite bands, Kids In Glass Houses. Over the last few years, Wales has been hit hard by the loss of its successful bands, including our beloved KIGH, and has seen a significant drop in the number of Welsh bands and artists breaking through into the UK’s rising scene. This series of break-ups has led music fans to believe that Wales’ music scene is ‘dead’ but, in fact, they couldn’t be more wrong.

There are bands and artists from a wide range of genres packing out venues in Newport, Swansea and Cardiff; South Wales’ music scene is thriving more than it has done in years – it is far from dead, it’s just that no-one is looking in their direction. One of the issues lies within encouraging a new generation of musicians and fans to support its growth and divert attention back towards Wales. This is where former members of Kids In Glass Houses, Iain Mahanty and Andrew Shay, come in.

 

“Hopefully Iain and Shay have started something that takes off not just here in Cardiff, but across the UK.”Declan Andrews, The Cradles.

 

They have been keeping pretty busy since the Kids In Glass Houses split last year. We recently caught up with Iain to talk about his venture into film soundtracks for Liam Hooper‘s October 2015 release, Strangers Within. Shay has also been providing us with a different kind of soundtrack, every Sunday evening on Nation Radio. His show gives listeners the chance to hear the newest music from up and coming Welsh bands and artists, familiar ground for Shay, who hasn’t hung up his bass guitar just yet; his band, the filthy and furious En Garde, released their debut album, ‘Weekenders‘, earlier this year.

For their latest project, Iain and Shay have teamed up to bring us All Ages, an event which hosts live shows by young performers for young audiences. With the alcohol-free nature of the shows, cheap tickets and the venue doors opening at 2pm on a Saturday, the event is primarily targeted towards under 18s, although music fans of all ages are obviously more than welcome.

 

All Ages is a new event in Cardiff, offering young artists, bands and musicians the platform to perform.” – All Ages Facebook

 

Though this statement is completely true, All Ages is far more than just a new event, it’s an opportunity. It gives bands and artists the platform not just to perform but to break down the boundaries separating young music fans from their passion.

 

“Most of the gigs we usually play are 18+, which excludes younger music fans hoping to get involved in their local scene. We’ve often found that those being excluded are more enthusiastic about live music than older crowds, so the launch of such an inclusive initiative can only be a good thing.”Kieran O’Brien, The Cradles. 

 

“We’ve always said that live music needs to be far more accessible to younger people, otherwise fans miss out and bands play to smaller audiences which obviously takes a lot of life out of live shows. Especially now with the influence of the internet, people are too happy to sit in front of computers listening to music in the background so it’s important that everyone who wants to access live music is given the chance. If anything, it’s the young people with the most free time to support new music that are being cut off from it.”Declan Andrews, The Cradles.

 

 

With the combination of exciting new bands and artists, live music and a teenage-friendly atmosphere, All Ages provides the platform needed to encourage the new generation of music fans and bands alike to support the rebirth of the Welsh music scene.

 

“I think All Ages is exactly the sort of event that Cardiff’s been missing…”Kieran O’Brien, The Cradles.

All Ages is in partnership with Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach and the Young Promoters Network, volunteers from the YPN help run the events by manning everything from the social media promotion to the venue itself.

I went out flyering in Cardiff city centre with the YPN for All Ages’ first show (Saturday May 30th) and stayed to watch the show, being familiar with the bands on the line-up, I was excited for the event’s launch.

Paint Happy

paint happy 2

(Photo taken the band’s Facebook.)

Merthyr’s hardcore hip-hop rockers, Paint Happy, opened the show. Being frequently played on Shay’s Nation Radio Airplay, it was no surprise to see the boys performing. Their set mostly consisted of tracks from their new EP; beat-heavy, techno-infused and often haunting in sound, these atmospheric songs show a slightly mellower side of Paint Happy in comparison to their older, riff-filled material, (songs like ‘Running With My Eyes Closed‘ come to mind). Showcasing their lighter sound didn’t compromise the energy of their set, however; Paint Happy played brilliantly, as usual, and succeeded in catching and holding the attention of the young crowd who turned up not knowing a single band on the line-up.

Following the release of their fantastic EP, Paint Happy have been playing shows tirelessly, and you can see why. As a live band, Paint Happy are enthusiastic, professional and always appear genuinely humbled to be playing. This simple expression of gratitude apparently goes a long way, Paint Happy can be seen more and more frequently supporting bands at some of South Wales’ most popular local venues; their recent efforts have been a build-up to their own hometown headline show at Merthyr’s Redhouse this Saturday (June 13th)

Including All Ages, I must be coming up to about my tenth Paint Happy show, I always enjoy their performances and look forward to catching them again next month with one of my other favourites, The People The Poet and Safari Gold in Clwb Ifor Bach.

 

The Cradles

the cradles

Next to play were my favourite rock & roll throwbacks on the South Wales scene right now, The Cradles. The Cradles list bands such as The Kinks and The Beatles among their influences, true enough, the tight Cardiff five-piece sound like they’ve just staggered out of a dingy 60s rock bar, and their haircuts suggest they might have done so too.

The Cradles are not only gifted songwriters in the sense that they understand the formula to create a good song, but in the sense that they are also storytellers. Songs like ‘Socialising‘ and ‘Stamp Man‘ draw you in in the same way a good piece of literature or film would. With these songs, the lyrics narrate the story and the melody makes sure you remember what happened even after it’s ended.

Having seen The Cradles a few times and being quite familiar with the set, it was exciting to hear them open with a new song ‘See No Difference‘ which shows real progression in their sound, other new additions to the set, ‘Denmark Street‘ and ‘Dog Song‘ show that The Cradles have only improved their talent for writing memorable songs with strong, rhythmic basslines and anthemic choruses.

Another element The Cradles are constantly improving on is their live ability. As performers, they’re a sharp unit. They are polished but appear relaxed enough to echo the atmosphere their sound creates. Their growing experience as a live band is largely down to their commitment to live shows. This year they’ve already crammed in a short Welsh tour and a UK tour amongst other stand-alone shows, despite having only recently finished their UK tour, The Cradles have barely stopped playing live and are building up a larger fanbase by balancing their own headline shows and a variety of support slots to reach a wider audience.

Their appeal is obvious, All Ages set-finishers ‘Locking My Door‘ and ‘Ideal Girl‘ are some of their best songs and the audience were soon tapping along to their catchy choruses. All Ages host, Iain, must be pretty keen on them too because he’s set to record some of their new material with them very soon.

 

“We’re really pleased to have been involved in what’s obviously an important initiative for live music.” - Declan Andrews, The Cradles.

 

Always eager to play live, The Cradles continue to build a name for themselves as one of Cardiff’s most prominent, up and coming rock & roll bands, they’ve probably just been booked for another show as I type this.

 

We’re No Heroes

we're no heroes

And finally, headlining the All Ages debut were recent Welsh Music Wednesday features, We’re No Heroes. After holding them in such high regard since researching them for WMW and really enjoying their sound, I had big expectations and was not disappointed. Despite being fairly familiar with their songs, I hadn’t previously seen We’re No Heroes live, so what I didn’t know was that their drummer is also on lead vocals. This is an impressive feat in itself, but even more-so when you take in how lively and animated their performances are.

Opening their set with the the funk-inspired riffs of ‘Dark Dive‘ and following it up with my favourite song of theirs ‘Wild Life‘, We’re No Heroes were off to a strong start, pulling the crowd off their seats and onto the dancefloor, yet another impressive feat at 4 in the afternoon.

We’re No Heroes are dynamic, charismatic, and on top of their infectious melodies never leaving your head. they are instantly likeable as people based on stage persona alone.

We’re No Heroes rounded off their set with two new songs, the first of which being their latest single ‘Voodoo‘ (radio play: 2hrs & 8mins in) which is officially released on July 31st. ‘Voodoo‘ combines the strongest elements of all the different styles We’re No Heroes have experimented with over the years; live, it’s clear the guys have already started settling in to a solid sound that they’re comfortable with and confident in.

We’re No Heroes closed their electric, upbeat set with ‘Stay Weird‘, the lights went up inside Clwb Ifor Bach and that was a wrap on All Ages 001.

It was expected that the debut for Cardiff’s newest live music event would be difficult, and it was challenging, but everyone managed to pull it off; fans, volunteers and bands were in high spirits by the end of the afternoon. The response from the audience was positive and showed promise for the next show.

ALLAGES2

Artwork by Ben Griffiths (also featured in header image).

The next All Ages event takes place on Saturday July 18th; headlining the show are fast-rising pop-rockers, Glass Giants, who have recently finished recording new music with Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Bring Me The Horizon, Kids In Glass Houses, Funeral For A Friend, The Blackout). Glass Giants’ Summer schedule seems to be filling up pretty fast, which is no surprise. Check out one of their older releases below and see why for yourself.

Support for All Ages 002 comes in the form of melodic, indie rock, Chepstow-based band Birdcage and rock & roll five piece, Local Enemy, from Merthyr Tydfil.

For a follow-up on these bands and their performances, check back next month for the next All Ages Round-Up, until then, you can buy tickets for the event here.

And that’s your introduction to All Ages all over, an event that gives you merely a glimpse at the younger side of the Welsh music scene in 2015. They’ve taken a blow, but Wales is on the brink of a new wave of bands storming through; the bar has been raised and they’re going to launch right over it.

RRW
By RRW.