Photograph credit R Davenport.
Bianco’, performed by ‘No Fit State Circus’ was the last show I went to see at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I left the circus tent shaking in awe. When a performance has given you a lump in your throat that makes it hard to even cheer or clap, you know they have done well. Every section beautifully designed that was enhanced by the power of the live band.
There were no individual stars but an ensemble of talented performers, each bringing their own expertise to the stage. Even though this was a stereotypical contemporary circus show, they brought so much emotion to the way they performed that it stood out from any other circus acts. The music and the lyrics especially helped create this emotion and made mini-narratives for each section. There were moments in this show where I felt I’d left reality behind and stepped into a dream. It was aesthetically pleasing in every sense that I couldn’t believe it was happening before me. I never wanted it end. What was more interesting is that I felt like I was part of the production myself. The constant change of positions to re-arrange the performance space made it become even more immersive. Sometimes it took away from the essence of fantasy, yet it was necessary.
It was evident that every aspect of the show was well thought out and infused with professionalism. Every person so physically fit it was inspiring to watch. Overall ‘No Fit State Circus’ is heightened with pure talent, innovative imagery and a set to be admired at. Step into this tent and leave reality behind.
21/06/2014 – 22/03/2014
In this glorious sunshine, I went up to Llandeilo to the Dinefwr Literature Festival. Well renowned for this yearly display of culture and my lack of festival experience, I was very eager to attend.
The festival is known for its promotion of literature from novels, to poetry, musical displays, workshops, comedy and much much more.
Food stalls were provided from local vendors that made delicious smells across the area with the use of local produce. Little shops including bookshops, tokens from the weekend and a Dylan Thomas styled book van also was a nice addition and admittedly, much of my money went on these, coming away with much reading to get started on! Between this, it was great to meet the sales persons; at times were writers themselves giving inspiration, for example a lady who felt that a poetry book wasn’t for her so made pockets of her collections and hand made them with a sewing machine and a printing kit. Myself as one who isn’t necessarily conventional, felt that this initiative was very appealing.
The variety of mediums gave a great choice throughout the weekend. The ability to also drop into these and drop out when needed gave great flexibility to the weekend. However, the programme itself didn’t give a great indication at times to how long these sessions would last and with so much going on, there were times when I missed events that I wanted to see as I was so interested in the one before that crossed over.
Workshops were also few and far between. Many seemed to only appeal to the same persons to which I lacked interest in. I didn’t manage to attend any of which I am sure they were interesting none the less, but there seemed a similarity to who they wished to appeal to and that wasn’t enough to evoke my personal interest. If more diversity in these workshops and a great deal more workshops overall were offered then I would have attended these.
Lectures and talks also seemed to follow a similar pattern. While, very interesting none the less, such as a combined talk with two novelists on their new books that looked at characters with mental health issues was very interesting, and gave a great insight to anyone at times of stress of need to talk to someone, showing that writing is an excellent medium to express this, the pattern of talking about the books, and for us the audience to watch and listen, waiting for question and answers which were limited in time, felt very routine and almost like a conference, not a festival.
Interjections of music and comedy, however, did give a little break from this. Hilarious feminist comedian Bridget Christie gave a session of work in progress, giving an insight to how comedians write material, giving a good way of audience interaction and us feeling more a part of the event. Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds ended the Saturday on a high with fantastic covers of well known songs, but with a folksy twist definitely evoking the festival goers inside everyone.
Dylan Thomas’s boat house also made an appearance, with the encouragement for poetry writing from the festival goers. Myself and my friend had a go at this, and my piece on the ‘Voyeuristic Cow’ inspired my younger self inside who used to love and write poetry to now continue this again.
The festival provided a range for all ages, S4C also made appearances for the children and comedians gave risky performances for the adults. As a festival, it was fantastic and completely revitalised my creativity in literature aspects but I wonder, with all the eagerness of participants, more could be gotten out of the weekend if extended so not to go away feeling regret at missing other possible inspiring and interesting activities.
We have had requests for the lyrics from Ruffstylz TCWA2014 Rap so please find it in all its glory below!
For the second year it is with the greatest support
The Theatre Critics Of Wales Awards
Welcome to a world of world/Many rabbitholes
That show what we have at home stands its own to match the globe
These Living Pictures we live in when we visit ’em are limitless
A visionary link to our religion
As we hand shape our urges ’cause Praxis Makes Perfect
Let’ celebrate the landmarks on the landscape we’ve furnished
Classic opera filled the stage/So did ballet
We can even innovate in No Fit State
It’s a Sherman tank that whirrs and cranks with steel traction
And drives off the middle of the road to find real passion
So our Waking Exploits/Stimulating like sex toys
Activating the bed’s noise/Making the legs moist
For ugly matters we sing a Bloody Ballad
But if you want some lovely action in a cuddly fashion
Here Be Monsters Sleeping Beauties and Silly Kings
Colourful fun like silly string as we stay addicted to delivering
New types of life’s depth yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg
Theatr Genedlaethol/Clwyd/Tonypandy-monium/A nice spread
The next Chapter in our Art’s Centred around you
And you and you and you too with you too
Gather up actors dancers emcees and others too
And use the country as a stage like NTW
So let the Earthfall and planets shift out of balance
Manipulating thoughts into matter/Talent
Being part of the never ending quest for true art
‘Cause it’s like being shot in the chest with a new heart
That’s why we push to make things we’ve never seen ever in our lives
Then equal it eleven times along Parallel Lines
Now we’re all filled up with petrol and ready for the next road
But for now let’s be amazed at our achievements/Let’s go
HOLLYWOOD RHYMING OUT NOW
2x Longest Freestyle Rap world record holder (17 hours)
The Zeitgeist Movement (Cardiff Chapter)
Facebook – Zeitgeist Cardiff www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_104282302969121
Please note the credit for Winner of Best Music and Sound TCWA2014 should read;
Best Music and Sound
‘ The Bloody Ballad- Lucy Rivers’
‘ The Bloody Ballad- Dan Lawrence and the Bloody Ballad Company’
Dan Bettridge. “For those who don’t like country and blues you’re not gonna like this” lucky for Dan Bettridge we are one of those many people that do. One of the ones to watch according to Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn and we definitely agree. His soulful voice of the country blues genre will appeal to the fans of Bon Iver , Willy Mason and Sam Airey, and from what we have seen of his performance in the Senedd in cardiff (as a part of Take Over Cardiff run by the British Council) he also appeals to the younger girls.
The event kicked off with some young poets from Literature Wales describing their perceptions of Wales to young children. Then we were taken to see a dance group called Rubicon who showed us an Ethiopian Street dance and this was a treat.
Bettridge is a talented musician and we are expecting big things in the next few years. He has already played the likes of the well known Green man festival and is set for A bright future. He is a skillfull musician not only can he sing but also plays guitar to accompany his heartfelt lyrics (that he has written himself).
Bettridge is a talented young rising star who we can see following in the footsteps of the likes of Jake Bugg.
Photos by Nadine Ballantine
One of the most recognised British metalcore bands of the 21st century, I was rather impressed to see that Bring Me The Horizon had included a date in Wales on their Sempiternal tour alongside Crossfaith (whom I undeniably looked forward to seeing, as their music has literally appeared to spring on to the music scene from nowhere) and heavy progressive band Empress from London. An easy representation of their recent fame is proven in the fact that tickets for this singular Cardiff date sold out within an hour or two of release. Luckily, I was not about to miss this opportunity and made my way downstairs at the early hour of 9am to ensure I got tickets to this unmissable tour date.
Anyway, I arrived on the night, May 5th, an hour before. The line was already filled with ecstatic chants and eager conversation of those who were there before me. Some even arrived earlier on in the day and sat around towards the front of the queue; dedication of fans is often unquestionable in the rock scene.Upon enetering the venue I followed through the hall straight to where crowds were gathering in front of the stage. Empress were already playing by this point. Though I hasten to add the lack of enthusiasm across the room, the band is relatively small and unknown, but they were cheered on and listened to regardless. For a rather insignificant band, yet to make their impact on rock magazines and television, they delivered a rather impressive, heavy set list. Lead singer Ollie Loring also promised to hang around by merchandise after the show for anyone who wanted to strike up a chat, and they seemed like a decent group of friendly guys.
Between Empress and Crossfaith, pits began to open up and I was pushed to the front few rows of the crowds where I awaited Crossfaith’s entrance. Considering the band is Japanese, don’t speak much English and have never been to the UK before, many were apprehensive, but their doubts were quickly swept away. Bursting in with their hit single Monolith, the fans erupted with loud outbursts and movement. Members of Crossfaith certainly took pride in stage movement; jumping around and into the crowd to join the rest of their fans. I knew their music was impressive before, but the adjective ‘lively’ would be such an understatement that I feel it unsuitable to use. It was hard to keep both your feet on the ground from the excitement that echoed through the hall during their set. They take the crown so far for the most impressive support act I’ve ever seen. If you’re into deathcore, circle pits and violent head banging, I genuinely put this band forward as a suggestive music alternative.
Time came for Bring Me The Horizon to soon make their way on stage. At this point, I was one row away from the barrier and surrounded by fans holding letters and toys to throw up on stage to the members during the set. Conversation bubbled around the room as stage technicians set up the instruments and everybody prepared for a terrific end to an already good night. The lights went out and there wasn’t one person in the room not roaring or screaming in anticipation. By this point, some people had already broken down into tears as they prepared to meet their heroes. Strong strobe lighting illuminated the room, and lead singer Oli Sykes, surrounded by the rest and equally credited Bring Me The Horizon members took center stage. They opened with the globally recognised new single of theirs; Shadow Moses. Fans gladly sang along and it made me pleased to see Oli genuinely smiling about the fact that he was there.
Fortunately, by this point I was fully at the front, on the barrier. I was able to see every member of the band enjoying themselves (including Jordan Fish, the recent synth player addition to Bring Me) as well as getting a good view of everything that was going on. The significant point I noticed during this gig was that every song had an even greater impact on the band members than the crowd. As lead Oli began to scream his own lyrics, he stood up to face everybody and there were tears in his eyes already, this early on into the gig. The fact that somebody who wrote and had heard the song a thousand times was so easily broken down by it really showed the emotion and meaning behind what they stand for as a band.
He got on his knees, and sung into the floor while he trembled and took sharp, short breaths from trying to stop himself fully breaking down in front of everybody. Never have I seen anybody so close to their own music before in my life, and I thoroughly applaud him for his vibrant, inspiring expression of emotion during this concert, and it quickly blew BMTH’s vastly growing ‘mainstream’ reputation away from my mind. The rest of the night was equally as brilliant. Even fifteen rows in front, I could still feel the pushes and shoves from the mosh pit at the back of the room, and felt the crowdsurfers landing on my head to be brought over the barrier by the security guards. The good thing about rock music is that there’s always a beat for every fan to follow even if they don’t know the words, and an amalgamation of old and modern tracks on the setlist proved a very successful idea.
Overall, the night was one of the best of my life. Empress and Crossfaith members were hanging around merchandise; making friends and signing tickets. I briefly had photos and talked to them (genuine friendly guys) before leaving, and it was only when the cold night air hit me that I realised how incredible the night actually was. To summarise how much I recommend Bring Me The Horizon to mediocre metal listeners, at 11pm I was still sat outside the venue, bawling away because it would be ages until their next tour. A fantastic mid show to Bring Me’s Sempiternal tour.
Review Hannah Rhianne Newberry
Photos Nadine Ballantine
The Bloody Ballad
At Volcano, Swansea
15th April 2013
Murder, incest, kidnapping and arson don’t sound like the perfect ingredients for a feel-good rockabilly music show yet Gagglebabble’s The Bloody Ballad is guaranteed to leave you with a huge smile on your face (and possibly a nauseous feeling in your stomach).
Meet Mary Maid (Lucy Rivers) and her band The Missin’ Fingers. Mary’s had a tough week and would like nothing more than to share her tale with you before the authorities catch up with her.
After a few warm up tunes – including a brilliant rendition of Johnny Cash classic ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by guitarist Dan Messore and an astonishing drum solo from Tom Cottle – Mary tells all about ‘What my Daddy Done (in A minor)’ pun most definitely intended. Knowing her back story it doesn’t come as a surprise when Mary falls for the first man to show her real romantic attention – a mysterious, shifty yet charming wanderer Connor (Oliver Woods) who works his magic on the whole audience with his velvety vocals.
After a week-long whirlwind romance Connor betrays naive Mary and the consequences for him are not pretty at all. Mary may be young but she can sure look after herself – leaving a trail of blood and bodies behind her. Including the body of Connor’s psychotic, snakeskin wearing Mama played (with more energy than can be safe) by Hannah McPake.
Lucy Rivers is perfect as our ill-fated heroine, with a tortured look in her eye and a mean singing voice, a bit like True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse but a lot more kick-ass! By the end the stage is littered with severed fingers, a snake’s head and a whole lot of blood!
Drawing on clichés of 1950s Mid-West America – the isolated gas station, the mysterious wanderer, hillbilly culture – the cast get every bit of humour out of the brilliant script (also written by the hugely talented Rivers). The amount of musical skill on the stage is phenomenal, every member of the cast could play, sometimes multiple, instruments and all had brilliant bluesy vocals.
It’s so refreshing to see such a raw and passionate production that, although professional, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The performers’ love for the show was so infectious and it was an absolute crime that more people weren’t there to share the unforgettable experience!
Not only will the toe-tappingly good tunes replay over and over in your head but the great flair for simple storytelling will ensure the tragic tale of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks will haunt you for a long time.
A truly original and daring production that smashes through so many genres –part folktale, part Tarantino violence and part rock and roll gig – 100% unmissable!
This is THE best touring music show you will see.
Seriously get yourself a ticket for the tour then go see it again in Edinburgh!
For more on the company : www.gagglebabble.co.uk
Gwyn Hall, Neath
Date & Time: 17th April, 7.30pm
Box Office: 0300 3656677 / www.nptartsandents.co.uk
Tickets: £9, £7 members, £5 students
St Donat’s Arts Centre, Vale of Glamorgan
Date & Time: 19th April, 8pm
Box Office: 01446 799100 / www.stdonats.com
Tickets: £12.50, £10.50 conc
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Date & Time: 24th April, 7pm
Box Office: 01267 67 6669 / www.ticketsource.co.uk/tsd
Tickets: £6, £4
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
Date & Time: 25th-26th April, 7.45pm
Box Office: 01646 695 267 / www.torchtheatre.co.uk
Tickets: £12/£10 conc/under 26s £7
Soho Theatre, London
Date & Time: 29th April-4th May, 7.30pm
Box Office: 020 7478 0100 / www.sohotheatre.com
Tickets: £10 Mon + Tues, £15 (£12.50 concs) Weds – Sat
Despite the teeth-chattering Welsh weather, crowds gathered to the small yet intimate venue of ‘Clwb Ifor Bach’ in the heart of Cardiff to hear the sounds of up and coming singer songwriter, Lewis Watson on his first headlining tour. Known for his popular YouTube channel, ‘HolyLoowis’, with 58,142 subscribers and 2,881,495 video views its clear to say he is following the footsteps of major artist, Ed Sheeran. The fresh faced Oxfordshire twenty year old has already released 2 EP’s, with another on the way this month, it is evident he is capable of having a successful year.
As the support acts finished off, Lewis Watson finally ambled on stage following his band to a welcoming mix of screams and cheers and went straight into pleasing the crowd with the song ‘Even If’ from his second EP ‘Another four sad songs’. Following this was a mix of songs from his EP’s and also a cover of a well known ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ tune. The night included a lot of crowd interaction; even the many confessions of love were recognised and returned by blushing Lewis in-between his amicable talent showcase. It is obvious to say that he may not be used to this attention as he seemed slightly overwhelmed by the support in Cardiff. Although, his lyrics are deep yet well thought out and Lewis allowed his music to speak for itself. Mid-way through his gig, Lewis decided he wanted it to become even more intimate and politely asked the fans to sit down and make a small circle in the middle of the floor. This resulted in a one-off unplugged session, and for those close enough, a face to face serenade.
As the gig came to an end with Lewis teasing his audience with his newest EP ‘Into the Wild’, he announced that he’d like to come out and meet all of his fans once he’d finished. Time couldn’t have gone any slower for the waiting fans, but eventually he emerged and began willingly signing everything, from shoes to phone cases and happily took countless photos with the lively crowd. Although still new to the music business, Lewis Watson knew what he was doing and managed to satisfy the demanding crowd.
One Direction ‘Take Me Home’ World Tour Review by Samantha Tiernan;
After fighting for tickets over a year ago, One Direction fangirls were finally able to see their world famous idols perform their latest album ‘Take Me Home’ on their sell-out tour in Cardiff’s very own, Motorpoint Arena. This extreme demand resulted in the five young boys performing 2 evening shows and 2 matinee shows from the 1st of March to the 3rd of March, meaning the city of Cardiff was filled with over excited teenage girls desperate to meet Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne.
After the long wait in the queues, spiralling all the way around to the back of the arena with enthusiastic singing from almost everyone, the doors opened promptly and a rush of screaming fans found their seats and waited impatiently for the support acts.
Firstly, American singer ‘Camryn’ appeared and sang several of her own songs and covers, including Kelly Clarkson’s ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. However the crowd didn’t seem to find her entertaining, with the majority staying in their seats despite her attempts to stimulate the room. It was clear the unimpressed fans did not find her enticing as she announced her next song, which followed with an echoed sigh throughout the audience. Whereas the second support act, 5 seconds of summer wowed the audience with their material as well as a rendition of ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry. The Australian band proved to be much more popular than the earlier act and managed to get most of the crowd on their feet in preparation for One Direction to storm the stage.
Eventually, the time came. Avid fans got their signs and glow sticks ready as videos on huge screens showed the boys introducing themselves during a pretty exciting party. The well designed set became known to the audience, including ramps, stairs, a platform and obviously the band before the five boys appeared to roars of screams.
Starting with a hit from their previous, debut album the boys introduced themselves with ‘Up All night’ which erupted the arena leaving everybody jumping and screaming. After several upbeat performances from both of their albums they slowed it down with the song ‘Change My Mind’ and stepped onto the platform in the centre of the stage. Amazingly, on the platform they made their way over the audience to the second stage towards the back of the arena while singing their hearts out, causing some dedicated fans to ball their eyes out. The boys are known for their brilliant interaction with their fans and this show was no exception, as they answered questions sent to them from twitter, having the audience in hysterics at them attempting to speak welsh. As the boys headed back to the main stage they continued to please the audience with their lively music, including a cover of the well known ‘Teenage Dirtbag’.
Finally, Zayn, Louis, Liam Harry and Niall said their thankyou’s and goodbye’s and headed off stage leaving a frenzy of fangirls unsure of what to do with themselves. Outside, the surroundings of the Motorpoint arena consisted of grinning girls wearing as much merchandise as they could and plenty of declarations of love.
Mumford and Sons, Cardiff Motor Point Arena.
The mumbling conversations of eager, enthusiastic fans were silenced. The rumbles of each member of the audience’s applaud and their high pitched screams and cheers took their place. Mumford and Sons were about to begin, and the anticipated night ahead could now fulfil its prophecy.
Leaving no time for the audience to catch their breath, Mumford and Sons burst onto the stage, beginning with their newest single ‘I Will Wait.’ The energy that Marcus Mumford created with the incredible lyrics and his beautifully intoxicating voice is something that, in my opinion, could only be completely understood when heard live. The four breathtakingly talented men, played a passionate set of old and new songs, from Babel, their newest album, and Sigh No More, their first album released in 2009, which portrayed not only their dedication for their profession, but their consistency in their music, and their hard-working ethics.
During their performance, Marcus Mumford produced pitch perfect vocals, whilst flawlessly playing various instruments, like the acoustic guitar, mandolin and drums. Winston Marshall provided incredible harmonies, as well as playing the acoustic guitar and banjo immaculately throughout the night… Ben Lovett played mostly keyboard instruments, which complemented the set beautifully. Finally, Ted Dwane played a variety of instruments throughout the night, such as string bass, guitar, as well as backing vocals, giving each song the ‘western folk’ feel that Mumford and Sons are known for. Each song in the set was finished and immaculate, but thanks to the string instruments used and Marcus Mumford’s naturally rugged voice, they still maintained the rough, folk-like feel that everyone loves.
They performed a range of upbeat, country-like songs, as well as slower, more meaningful songs. Personally, the highlight of the evening for me; was their emotional performance of ‘Timshel.’ Each member of the band; stood in a line, with their hands behind their backs, facing the audience. All four members sang the lyrics ‘you are not alone in this.’ Everyone in the audience was silent, staring up to them in awe. The majority of the song was performed softly and full of emotion, inspiring to me, and I’m sure many other members of the audience.
Their incredible performance seemed to put a smile on everybody’s face, so as their set began to draw to a close, I think everyone felt slightly deflated. However, Mumford and Sons brought it back during their final song, ‘The Cave.’ After only about three seconds into the song, the audience came back to life, and sang each word back to the band. The upbeat and lively song was a perfect way to end a perfect night. The band accepted a powerful applaud for the final time, and walked off the stage. The lights turned on, and each person I saw leaving the arena, was smiling uncontrollably. After seeing Mumford and Sons, any doubts that they couldn’t perform as well live have completely vanished, and they have proven to be an extremely talented, unique band that deserve to be in everyone’s top 10 playlist!