Laura Stevenson / Sin City / Swansea / July 29th 2016

Laura Stevenson got added to The Wonder Years tour with a date at Sin City in Swansea. Having missed her at the Asian Man Records 20th Anniversary shows I had to go and see her play again. Laura plays some really lovely music and when playing the bigger (and louder) shows is usually supported by her backing band (the Cans).

For this show she would be playing solo for the most part and not only held her own against the rowdy Friday night crowd but actually drowned them out. I think it’s an achievement for a solo acoustic artist to hold an audience at a show like this and Laura did it effortlessly. Its really great to catch up with her whenever she plays the UK.

I can really relate to her records. I love listening to music that can capture so perfectly a situation, experience, how you feel or see life especially if you’re like me and can’t find the words or mostly think in pictures.

Also, I have to say how much I love the album photograph for Cocksure by Christopher Hainey. It reminds me of being a teen when house parties were over and we would all just watch the TV hungover, in that surreal space when you know you have to start thinking about having to go home and resume reality, or just keep on going.

Lately at some shows I take two Polaroid shots. I keep one for this thing and the people in them keep the other one. I think this makes a nice memento for that time. So here’s a photo for that time, we had so much fun, it was such an awesome show!

 

Asian Man 20th Anniversary / Thee Parkside / Bottom of The Hill / San Francisco / June 2016

O.K, so I get a bit shitty making words for this and taking photos of all the places I go, but I have to express how much I absolutely adore going to these shows sooo much so, at the beginning of summer a group of us travelled half way around the world to San Francisco to celebrate Asian Man 20th Anniversary, where we saw so many of our favoured bands and musicians for 5 days of music. This was held at two historical venues, Thee Parkside and Bottom of The Hill, all hosted by a lovely human, Mike Park (photo: below) of Asian Man Records who is one of the most inspirational people in this scene.

I had never been to America before and I was really taken back by how friendly San Francisco is.  I’ve been making plans on how to get back there since day 1 of our trip. We stayed at The Green Tortoise, (frikin love that place) the most lovely helpful staff and they have the best breakfast bagels!!

Asian Man Records records have been putting out consistently great records for 20 years now. Releasing some of the best music of my teen years all the way up until records I adore today. It was a trip down musical memory lane seeing bands like Link 80, Slow Gherkin, MU330 and also Mike Park doing a solo acoustic set.

I was so caught up in my new environment most of the time, I managed to take a handful of photos. I am super happy to have seen Cayetana, Murderburgers, Hard Girls, AJJ, Jeff Rosenstock, Cheap Girls, Dan Adrianno and Koo Koo Kangaroo. I met Sundials (photo: above). Their album ‘When I couldn’t breathe’ I listen to on repeat. It’s a solid summer soundtrack for me. I hope they make their way across the sea sometime soon.

The music we saw became the soundtrack of our trip. We made a bunch of new friends and made memories that we’ll remember forever. See you again in just under 5 years!

 

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IRON CHIC / BEAR TRADE / THE CUT UPS / THE EXCHANGE / BRISTOL / 3RD MAY 2016

Iron Chic headlined with support from Bear Trade and The Cut Ups at The Exchange last week. I’m pretty fucking pleased to have seen such inspirational musicians play twice in one week. Firstly at Groezrock festival, followed by a gig presented by my firm favourite, Deadpunk Promotions. Such different settings with so many different people.

Iron Chic (above) signify a lot to me. When I moved back to my home city of Cardiff a couple of years ago I had a different outlook and a new enthusiasm for my life. Listening to their music helped encapsulate those feelings. For somebody who doesn’t articulate themselves very well, it is so special to have an artist that can find the words for me. It is so great to see the crowd all sing along with passion. It elevates me long after the music has stopped. So much good.

I adore it when there is meaning in music; if it tells a story, teaches a lesson or evokes an epiphany. The Cut Ups (below) achieve all that for me. I am drawn to the authenticity within their work. Singing about real life is the side to Punk Rock I admire. There is strength in the vulnerability of being so open.

I am always super grateful when people take some time with me for a photo to commemorate this time and place. It means a lot.

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Bangers / The Cut Ups / Hot Mass / Buffalo Bar / Cardiff / 22nd April 2016

Bangers played what is possibly their last Welsh show for a long while on Friday, with support from The Cut Ups and Hot Mass.  A truly energetic line up presented by the guys at DIY Cardiff.

My camera is bust, so a helpful friend loaned me some equipment as I’ve been without a decent digital camera for a couple of months now and didn’t want to miss out on taking photos at another gig.

Hot Mass (below) are a new local favourite with hazy distorted surfy guitars, gruff vocals and galloping beats. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play again at The Deadpunk Special in May. I like The Cut Ups more and more every time I see them and I’m hoping to get a photo of their lovely faces next time they play in this neck of the woods.

So, pretty gutted Bangers (above) are tbc on whether they are going to be playing any shows for a while. They have been a solid addition to the UK punk scene for years, with great song writing that evolves with every release. They played a strong set and everybody cheered and chanted for more. I hope we get at least a couple more shows from them in the future.

This show encapsulated our local punk scene, attending these shows highlight how much people work together to keep it all going. Thank you DIY Cardiff for hosting another awesome line up giving us something special to do at the weekend.

 

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Tigers Jaw / The Marble Factory / Bristol / 7th February 2016

So MJR hosted the first UK 2016 show for Basement with support from Tigers Jaw and Alex G, at The Marble Factory.

Tigers Jaw play music that evokes sentimentality and nostalgia in me. Playing them in the morning while getting ready, during the commute and during work lights me up and makes getting through the mundane parts of life a bit more interesting. I am totally stuck on the beautiful hum of their fuzzy guitars and keyboards combined with emotionally engaging lyrics. The crowd really came to life singing along to their older material and they even covered one of my favourite songs by The Cure ‘In Between Days’!

It was great to catch a photo of Brianna (0.5 of Tigers Jaw) at the merch stand!

I’ve never been able to see Basement before this show. With a new album coming out, they played a lot of their new material (even apologising for it) but also energised those in attendance by playing through their more popular, established songs. The crowd swung in unison and sung loudly creating a warm atmosphere in the large, re-appropriated factory building.

This show was definitely worth the effort of going out on a Sunday. Even if you had work on Monday and hate the rainy, windy winters like me.

Beach Slang / Petal / Bangers / The Exchange / Bristol / 28th January 2016

Deadpunk Promotions hosted another awesome line up at The Exchange which is slowly becoming one of my favourite venues in Bristol. It was great to see Beach Slang play again with support from Petal and Bangers.

I was blown away by Petal (Kiley Lotz with team below) from Pennsylvania, currently signed to Run For Cover Records. The performance left me in total adoration of her dreamy emotional voice and melancholy music. I hope she plays the UK again soon!

I was short on time taking photos but everyone was really accommodating, took a couple of shots before I had to run for the bus back home. It’s exciting to have Beach Slang (above) play my hometown Cardiff in June. Their first Welsh show! Traeth Iaith! Gadewch i ni feddwi!

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Dimensions / The Full Moon / Cardiff / January 17th 2016

Dimensions played their comeback show with two new members at The Full Moon’s Free For All Festival in Cardiff with support from A Broken Dynasty and Tonepot. All local bands with great support from the crowd.

Dimensions are a four piece from Cardiff. They are experimental with mathy melodic riffs, punk style rhythm sections, blast beats, breakdowns and some beasty vocals on top.  My kind of heavy.

With hardcore shows not being as prevalent as they used to be, it’s nice to see bands like this playing shows and keeping the community going in the area.

When can we all get a Tee?

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