Music of Cardiff
A number of rock music performers have begun their careers in Cardiff, from bands like Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Stereophonics and Feeder to bands like Kids in Glass Houses and Funeral for a Friend, as well as McLusky, The Loves, Los Campesinos!, The School (UK), We're No Heroes and Brave Captain who dominate Cardiff's music scene today. In 2006 The Independent described the Cardiff music scene as "more vibrant and alive than ever", with more promoters, venues and bands than ever before, often based on the styles of the scene's more famous products such as Stereophonics.
Cardiff is home to the world's oldest record shop, Spillers Records, which was established in 1894, and was situated in The Hayes area of the city centre before relocating to the nearby Morgan Arcade in 2010.
A study by the Performing Rights Society revealed that Cardiff is the second most musical city in the UK based upon the number of bands having their origins in each UK city.
- 1 History
- 2 Music acts
- 3 Festivals
- 4 Venues
- 5 Record labels
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
1960s Cardiff produced Amen Corner, one of the top pop acts of the era and the first Welsh group to have a number one hit. Also from the 1960s was Love Sculpture who had a minor hit with Sabre Dance. Love Sculpture featured Dave Edmunds who also had chart hits in the 1960s and 1970s in his own right. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Cardiff music scene was dominated by hard rock and blues bands, and included heavy metal pioneers Budgie. Budgie released a string of hit albums in the 1970s including the gold-certified Bandolier. Budgie's influence reached bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, and Van Halen, all of which have covered Budgie's songs at one point or another. Post-punk influences spawned the three-piece Cardiff band Young Marble Giants, who influenced a number of musicians. Young Marble Giants contributed two tracks to Is The War Over?, a compilation featuring unsigned bands from the Cardiff scene.
The scene was populated by a series of smaller often short-lived outfits which made a small but notable local impact. These bands included Ectogram, Crac, Monk Dave, The Pier and The Awkward Moments.
2000s and 2010s
Since the 1990s there has been a more steely edge to the sound of the valleys, dominated by metalcore. Most prominent are Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend and Lostprophets, who had a number one hit in 2006 with their 3rd album Liberation Transmission on indie rock imprint Visible Noise. Pop rockers, The Automatic, grew out of this scene, playing underage gigs in Cardiff and associating themselves with punk group Jarcrew. Ragga metallers Skindred are also a prominent band on the Cardiff rock scene, known for mixing reggae and alternative rock influences with a more contemporary punk rock and metalcore sound.
Following the success of punk and post-punk music in Cardiff in from the late 1970s until the 1990s, its decline was noticeable in the 2000s with the demise of bands Mclusky and Jarcrew. However, former members of the two bands united to form new Cardiff alternative rock band Future of the Left.
Cardiff University has produced music acts in the form of students Los Campesinos!, a pop-rock group, and Drone, alter ego of Cassidy Phillips, who is part of the area's electronica scene, tapped into by promoting venues and supporting club promoters around Cardiff such as Plug Two, which is set to put out the downbeat selection of Drone. Plug Two has benefited from the support of the Welsh Music Foundation (WMF), an organisation set up to support the country's creative industry. Its prime mover is Huw Williams, once a member of 1980s band The Pooh Sticks and former manager of Newport's 60 Ft. Dolls. Local talent is also supported by the likes of Ankst Records, which specialises in Welsh language recordings.
Another local label is Machine Records that has an electronic preference. When the label started in 2001, there was no scene to connect with, though gradually it has built up a roster of around 25 artists that have come out of the studio and performed live at regular Cardiff showcases and in Newport, Swansea, and London. Between 2003-2006 the label also used its monthly Terminal club night to bring UK acts on Warp Records and Planet Mu to Cardiff. Machine Records won 'Best Label' at the Welsh Music Awards in March 2005, and its 2008 compilation 'Machine Music! The New Dance Sound of Cardiff' was selected by DJ Adam Walton as one of the ten best Welsh albums of the decade.
More recently a number of Cardiff acts have found favour on the Dubstep and Electronic Beat scene. Mary Anne Hobbs whilst on BBC Radio 1 included artists such as Stagga, Zwolf and Darkhouse Family within her show, whilst other Radio 1 DJs such as Rob Da Bank and Huw Stephens have also included Monky, Curtamos and Ital Lion. Many of these have also been played on influential stations such as Rinse FM and in 2010 BBC 1Xtra invited Chrome Kids to record a mix of Welsh Electronic Music for their 'In New 1Xtra DJs We Trust' show.
Much of the Welsh hip hop activity centres on Cardiff. It has spawned names who have broken out from Wales, touring and gaining steady press attention. Such acts are Barry- based producer Metabeats, rap group Astroid Boys, Beatbox Fozzy, Chrome Kids, Squid Ninjaz, Mudmowth, Y-DUB, Ruffstylz, and Ralph Rip Shit. Also from the city, in 2009 trio Dead Residents produced Triple Crown, described as one of the most enjoyable Welsh hip-hop albums in recent memory by Cardiff-based hip hop journalist Adam Anonymous.
Welsh language music
Cardiff is home to a number of bands and musicians for whom Welsh is often their language of choice. These include Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, who have now disbanded, though their former members continue to work in and around Cardiff. In 2006 Euros Childs released solo album Chops, while former sidekick Richard James embarked on a more folk 'n' country-influenced direction with The Seven Sleepers Den. They now live in the Pontcanna area of the city along with most of Super Furry Animals. The album was put out on Cardiff's Boobytrap Records, originally set up as a monthly singles club by Booby Baz and Huw Stephens. The latter now promotes Welsh music as a Radio One presenter joined by Dean Proctor.
- Acts associated with the contemporary Cardiff music scene
- Other acts from the area
The Sŵn Festival is an annual music festival curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens in Cardiff. The first Sŵn Festival took place on 9–11 November 2007. Bands playing included The Cribs, Beirut, David Holmes, Edwyn Collins, Cherryghost. Art and Film are also incorporated into the festival schedule. Welsh language bands are well represented on the line-up.
The Cardiff Big Weekend has taken place annually since 1995 as part of the Cardiff Festival organised by Cardiff Council. Billed as the UK’s biggest free outdoor music festival, it offers three days of quality live music and entertainment. Alongside the live music stage runs the UK’s largest travelling funfair around Cardiff's Civic Centre. Each night comes to a close with a firework finale. There is always a line of up and coming artists, world music and established artists, and traditionally the Friday night has always had a strong presence of Welsh bands.
The Welsh Hip Hop Festival, also known as Roxe Jam, aims to brings together all elements of hip hop culture as a two-day free event in one of Cardiff's largest city parks, in Grangetown, with support from The Arts Council of Wales, Cardiff Council and Communities First Trust Fund and with the help of Welsh hip hop artists.
The Cardiff Multicultural Mela also known as the Cardiff Mela is an annual large-scale outdoor multicultural festival, held in the city's Roald Dahl Plass, in Cardiff Bay. It celebrates many cultural aspects of Asian life, particularly music and dance. The 2009 festival featured bhangra, Bollywood and rnb singers including H Dhami, Mumzy Stranger and Navin Kundra amongst others. The 2010 event attracted over 30,000 visitors and featured a performance from Bombay Rockers.
Cardiff has also hosted the National Eisteddfod several times that features Welsh language music acts.
The Under Construction Youth Music Festival started in 2007 and is the result of work from a group of teenagers from the Cathays Youth and Community Centre. The festival hopes to fill a gap in music provision for teens while promoting local talent. The 2010 one-day festival will take place at the Maindy Centre on 14 August, and the main stage will host bands playing music from metal to punk while a newly added acoustic stage will showcase emerging talent from young singer/songwriters. There will also be workshops and activities including a skate ramp, bmx biking, free running and an inflatable football pitch.
In 2011 the inaugural Cardiff Music Festival was launched by Only Men Aloud! member and Cardiff local David Mahoney, with concerts and recitals including an opera gala with Dennis O'Neill, Wynne Evans and Only Men Aloud! director Tim Rhys-Evans.
Cardiff International Arena
The Cardiff International Arena (CIA) is one of the largest concert venues in Cardiff and Wales and, has recently played host to Travis, Busted, Duran Duran, Paramore and Blondie. The venue has a capacity 7,500 and is more than often one of the venues visited by the most popular touring acts. The arena is also used for exhibitions, sport and other live events.
St David’s Hall
St David's Hall has over 450 performances a year, including classical music, rock, pop, jazz, children's events, dance and comedy. Past performers include Lemar, Chris Rea and Suzanne Vega. It is situated in The Hayes. St David's Hall is the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales, and hosts the annual Welsh Proms, an Orchestral Series attracting renowned conductors and performers, and the biennial Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Wales Millennium Centre
The Wales Millennium Centre is a performing arts centre in Cardiff Bay. Opened in 2004, the centre has already established its reputation as one of the world's iconic arts and cultural destinations. The centre usually hosts West End musicals, opera ballet and contemporary dance.
With a capacity of 74,500, the Millennium Stadium, national stadium of Wales, hosts only the largest of concerts by the most famous of performers, such as U2, Oasis, Take That, Kasabian, Madonna and Paul McCartney. The stadium has also hosted international music concerts such as Tsunami Relief Cardiff in 2005.
Cardiff City Stadium
Opened in 2009, the Cardiff City Stadium is a 30,000 capacity stadium owned by and home of Cardiff City Football Club and is rented out to Cardiff Blues RFC. The Stereophonics will be the first group to play at the stadium in June 2010.
The Cardiff University Students' Union has hosted The Coral, The Polyphonic Spree, Turin Brakes, The Doves, The Darkness, The Thrills, Athlete, Star Sailor and Electric Six in the past. The venue is in Cathays, north of the city centre.
The Coal Exchange
Formerly the stock exchange for coal in Wales during the 19th century, the Coal Exchange is Van Morrison’s favourite venue and previous concerts include the Eels, Jools Holland and PJ Harvey. It is located in Cardiff Bay.
Clwb Ifor Bach is a principally Welsh-language venue on three levels and caters for anything from hip hop to skate-punk to folk. Past guests include The Strokes, Coldplay, Roni Size and Elbow. The club often hosts new bands on the Cardiff music scene, and gigs of the Sŵn festival. The two venues are located near Cardiff Castle. Metro's is an underground club, popular with students. Goth, metal, grunge and rock are the main genres played here. It is situated near St. Mary's Street. The Engine Rooms in Cardiff Bay equally focuses on rock and metal music.
The city's principal mainstream clubs include Evolution (in the Red Dragon Centre), Oceana, Liquid, The Philharmonic, Exit Club, Bar X, and Walkabout (in the city centre). Moloko's music styles vary throughout the week, from drum n’ bass, to funk and r’n’b. It is situated in The Hayes. Journey's is an independent establishment in the Roath area of Cardiff and frequented by local bands and DJs performing live, from electronica to country music.
The Gate Arts Centre is a live venue which often hosts parts of the Sŵn festival, and has hosted bands such as Los Campesinos! The Cardiff Arts Institute is a new venue, hosting arts events most nights, but is described by WalesOnline as "pretentious". The Norwegian Church hosts live music, mainly focusing on world, folk and acoustic artists.
Buffalo Bar is an independent venue with live music every night from unsigned and local showcases to larger touring bands. In the past the venue has hosted Shonen Knife, James Blake, Times New Viking, Jets to zurich, Marnie Stern, Kissy Sell Out, Ugly Duckling, Simone Felice and Jeffrey Lewis. Sister venue 10 Feet Tall holds intimate folk, acoustic, Americana shows as well as funk, jazz and hip hop, fashion shows, film & literary events. Its recently relaunched basement venue Undertone stages small live events from local bills to touring bands, reggae, ska, rock, indie and drum'n'bass clubnights.
The Full Moon, Gassy Jacks, Vulcan Lounge, O'Neils, Pen n Wig, Gwdihw, The North Star are some of the small places that promote and host acoustic nights.
Amongst the record labels based in Cardiff are:
- CUJO Recordings
- Peski Records
- Placid Casual
- Plastic Raygun
- See Monkey Do Monkey
- Golden Boy Records
- Grooveland Records
- Barely Regal Records
- Shape Records
- Bubblewrap Records
- Businessman Records
- Sabreskin Records
- Associated Minds
- Machine Records
- Visit Britain Cardiff: Music
- The Independent Cardiff music scene: 'The scene is more alive than ever 30-11-2006
- "World's Oldest record shop ready for move", BBC Online - South East Wales, 25 June 2010.
- GuardianCardiff | The A to Z of Cardiff music bands
- BBC Amen Corner
- Perfect Sound Forever
- Wales Arts International The rise of Welsh rock and pop
- BBC Young Marble Giants
- NME Future of the Left
- "Stagga". The Beats Saigon. 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "The Power Of Zwolf | Chrome Kids". Chromekids.blogspot.com. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
-  Archived 22 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- "BBC Radio 1 - Rob da Bank, Chilly Gonzales in session". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "CURTAMOS, Saturday Skank". Curtamos.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "Events on Tonight - Summer of Lovestep - LINTON BROWN + ITAL LION + WASCAL". Woic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "BBC Radio 1Xtra - In New 1Xtra DJs We Trust, Twin B presents". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- BBC The hip hop scene in Wales
- BBC The Darling Buds
- BBC About dance and electronica in Wales
- Un. "Winter & Williams Band | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- Welsh Hip Hop Festival 2008
- Cardiff Mela
- GuardianCardiff | Festival organised by young people hopes to fill music scene gap
- "David Mahoney outlines his plans for the first Cardiff Music Festival". Western Mail. 9 September 2011.
- Visit Cardiff - Music
- Wales Millennium Centre About Us
- Millennium Stadium Paul McCartney
- Stereophonics official website
- WalesOnline | Cardiff's music venues
- Cardiff Life Clubs in Cardiff