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Thursday, 28 July 2016
Friday, 22 July 2016
Leeds band Clay came into being in June 2014, and consist of songwriting brothers Joe and Jack Harvey, bass player Rob Gration, a childhood friend, and Danny Armitage.
The bands track Sun Dance was picked up by Zane Lowe back in 2014, who played it BBC Radio 1 as one of his last ever Next Hype features.The track was also featured on prime-time HBO show Ballers in the USA starring Dwayne Johnson shortly after.
Since then the band have gone on to release two more tracks, Oxygen and Stay Calm!, both of which have been received with the same acclaim from the likes of Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart at BBC Radio 1, their debut EP, Heaven was released on July 15 and they will be heading out on tour shortly with a date at Cardiff’s Moon Club scheduled for August 8.
How did Clay come together as a band and where did the name come from?
Clay came together primarily as a result of a collective ambition to get out of suburban Leeds and see the world. The band comprises of two brothers, me (Joe) and Jack. We'd been writing together for some time and it was only when we approached Rob and Danny, who we met through mutual friends, that the body of work we had amassed started to become a coherent set of songs. Unfortunately, there isn't a particularly interesting story behind the name! One syllable all the way, though.
How would you describe your sound?
This question never gets easier. I'm sure most bands would agree but it's particularly difficult for us. Perhaps that's a good thing. It's an eclectic mix really, we don't directly try to emulate anybody in particular, although I think we're subconsciously influenced definitely by modern pop music. We listen from everything from Stormzy to Tears for Fears so I'd like to say somewhere between that, whatever that means!
You’ve just released your debut EP, can you tell us about It?
Its called the Heaven EP! I wholeheartedly see it as our best work yet. The songs are ambitious in every way, we channeled the modern pop production we obsess over and made it truly unique. Lyrically, it's very direct and honest and I think that's really going to connect with people. The content is about isolation and ambition so it's pretty universal. We can't wait to get it out.
You’ll be playing Cardiff, is this your first Wales’ show and are you looking forward to it?
Yeah it's our first Wales show which we're buzzing about! It's strange because we record in Wales and our producer, Gethin, is from Pontypool, but we've never done a show there. It's still a surreal prospect for us that our music is being received so well in places that we've never played. It's almost as if the songs have traveled further than us which is very humbling.
Finally what are you listening to at the moment?
I think it's important to have an evolving music taste so we listen to whatever is current, be it what we hear on the radio, or discover online. I think that's particularly important in this day and age, where everything is instantly accessible. Our music needs to reflect modern life and culture, and I think dwelling too much on old music can be damaging to a band nowadays. We're really digging new American band LANY at the mo.
- Visit moonclub.net for booking details.
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment section The Guide on July 22, 2016
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Friars Walk Shoppers were given an added bonus of colour, as well as sunshine, on Tuesday morning as stage stars turned out to promote this years Riverfront pantomime, Cinderella.
Riverfront Panto regulars Elin Llwyd and Richard Elis were fully kitted out as Cinderella and Buttons and were joined by Lloyd Green as Prince Charming along with Nic Gibney and Liam Tobin as The Ugly Sisters.
Actress and TV presenter Elin Llwyd is looking forward to returning to The Riverfront stage in the lead role of Cinderella. “Its one of my favourite jobs of the year,” she says, “I get to come back to Newport. It’s a lovely company here and you get to dress up in nice dresses!”
Miss Llwyd also confirms that the Friars Walk shopping centre is also a big attraction for her, “Of course it is,” she laughs, “there’s Christmas shopping to be done, I’ll be buying something for somebody else and something for me!”
Former EastEnder Richard Elis has become a familiar face to Newport pantomime audiences in recent years. Mr Elis, who will shortly be seen in a new BBC3 sitcom pilot A Brief History of Tim, will play Buttons and is delighted to be returning to the Riverfront, “I love it here,” he says, “I love the audiences and I love the feel of the theatre, its brilliant!”
West End Actor Lloyd Green lists the role of Sky in Mamma Mia among his musical theatre dance acting credits; however Cinderella will be his pantomime debut, in which he will play Prince Charming. Mr Green, who is currently holidaying in Cardigan is looking forward to stepping into the role of Prince Charming, “Who wouldn’t?” he says, “I’ve seen Cinderella the most, its the only one I ever remember!”
The panto cast were on hand to launch a social media competition to try and find out where 6 shoe related images are located in and around Friars Walk and The Riverfront. The competition which can be entered by following instructions from @riverfrontarts on Twitter will give entrants the chance to win a brand new pair of Skechers and a family ticket to the pantomime.
Cinderella will be produced by both The Riverfront and Hiss and Boo, who also produced last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime. The performance, suitable for all ages, runs from Tuesday November 29 to Monday January 2, 2017, with tickets ranging in price from £6 to £20 with family and group tickets also available.
Ticket information is available on The Riverfront’s website at www.newportlive.co.uk/riverfront and via the Booking Line on 01633 656757.
Saturday, 16 July 2016
FOLLOWING their first two releases, 2012’s self-titled debut and 2015’s Expect Delays, London five piece Evans the Death are back with a brand new album Vanilla, seeing the band’s sound progress into a more aggressive, extroverted and raw direction.
Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’ radio play, Under Milk Wood, the band was formed by brothers Dan and Olly Moss after meeting singer Katherine Whitaker at a Let’s Wrestle show. After numerous line-ups, the band is now completed by James Burkitt on drums and Daniel Raphael on bass.
Evans The Death are also back on the road, with a return visit to Cardiff a year on from their last visit. Andy Howells recently put questions to Dan from the band.
It’s a year since you played Cardiff and you’ve had a bit of a line-up change – what’s been happening with the band?
James has left so Sam Yardley from Porridge Radio will be playing drums with us, other than that it’s the same.
You’ve also got a new album with Vanilla, what’s the inspiration behind it?
Lots of things, mainly just how we felt and what was going on in our heads during that year.
Evans The Death was named after the character in Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, what was the reason for choice, do the band have any Welsh connections?
The name was an arbitrary thing really, although Olly and I have some Welsh relatives. Our 2nd cousin plays in the under 21s football team.
You are back in Cardiff soon, what can fans expect?
Definitely come down early for Neurotic Fiction and Anxiety, we’re looking forward to watching them. Porridge Radio too of course. We’re particularly excited for Cardiff actually, last time was loads of fun, we wrote down all our songs on bits of paper and did a setlist tombola, but I doubt we’ll do that this time.
Are you looking forward to bringing new material?
Yeah, although it’s not all that new to us anymore, we played some of it last time. Generally the newer stuff is more exciting to play because of how the songs are constructed, it’s more dramatic.
What else for 2016 ?
I think we’ll be a bit quiet for a while, working towards another record, we want it to be our masterpiece. A good thing about our name is its high googleability. I suppose our facebook page or twitter is best for news.
- Evans The Death play The Full Moon, Cardiff on July 21. Visit ents24.com for ticket details.
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus on July 15, 2016
Martha who hail from Pity Me near Durham released their second album Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart on July 8. Martha comprises of J. Cairns on guitar, Daniel Ellis on guitar, Naomi Griffin on bass, and Nathan Stephens Griffin on drums, all of whom share singing and song writing duties .
Martha have been busy since the release of their 2014 debut Courting Strong not only with their own band, but also playing for others. Daniel and Nathan also play in Onsind, while Naomi also plays in No Ditching.
The band will be heading out on a UK tour later this month and play Bristol’s exchange on July 23. Andy Howells recently put questions to Nathan from the band.
How did Martha come together and what was the inspiration for the band’s name?
Naomi and I are siblings. We've known Daniel since we were toddlers. We met JC when we were a bit older, playing in bands as teens. We all have similar tastes and views on the world, so we decided to try and start a pop band together. We're named after the last surviving passenger pigeon. She died in the early twentieth century and the species was extinct. It's fitting because we all care about animals, and we like to think we can look back and learn from the past.
Its two years since your debut Courting Strong, how have you developed as a band in that time?
Mainly we've just tried to get better at what we do, especially with the craft of song writing. It's been harder to exist as a band, as some of us have gone from being relatively able to do stuff to having much less flexibility and there are all kinds of work and life commitments that have made touring trickier. But it's also made us appreciate the band more and informed the way we do things and conduct ourselves.
What is the inspiration behind your new album Blisters in the Pit of My Heart?
If the first album was about punks growing up, this one is about grown-ups who stayed punk. It's a collection of energetic pop songs about struggling to keep doing the things you love in the face of obstacles like money, work, and mental illness. There's always been a side to what we do that's been about the intersection between the very sweet and the mucky imperfections of life. There are love songs and sad songs and angry songs.
You have a variety of inspirations on this album. Christine, is a love song taking inspiration from the 1980s Nuclear war TV drama Threads, Precarious (The Supermarket Song) finds romance in the washing powder aisle, and Goldman’s Detective Agency re-imagine s 19th century anarchist Emma Goldman as a private eye vanquishing corrupt cops and politicians. How do you sit down and come up with such diverse ideas?
We always try to write about what we know, but draw inspiration from worlds beyond our own. I also think it's important to acknowledge the way that cultural narratives impact on reality and the way we understand and fit ourselves into the world. JC and I both had similar experiences watching Threads, experiencing panic and nightmares, and we've both always been morbidly obsessed with the end of the world and nuclear apocalypse. The juxtaposition between that and a very human love story our friend told us seemed fitting, a combination of love and anxiety. We just try and write about stuff that's interesting and heartfelt. We know that musically we're not reinventing the real, but I like to think lyrically we sometimes offer something that people won't or can't get elsewhere.
You’ll be playing Bristol shortly, what can people expect from the show?
We're really excited about it because it's with our friends WOAHNOWS and TWO WHITE CRANES. It's a really great lineup and we're very excited to be playing! The past couple of times we've played in Bristol it's been in the amazing cafe/bike workshop 'roll for the soul'. It's a shame we won't be there again this time, but it's also very exciting to be playing a bigger space and I think the show itself will be really fun- we'll bring as much excitement and energy as you can handle!
Will you be playing any South Wales shows soon?
We have nothing booked in South Wales but we'd love to come back soon. Possibly in August. We were meant to play Wales Goes Pop! last year but our van broke down so we had to pull out. It was very frustrating and sad. Maybe they'll ask us back next year.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
Big Star, Thin Lizzy, The Replacements, Tommy Tutone!
- For tickets to Martha’s show on July 23 visit exchangebristol.com
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus on July 8, 2016
Sunday afternoon sees the family favourite A Day at the Movies from Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra return to the Hall. Panto star and comedian Mike Doyle will host a rollercoaster ride along the red carpet featuring themes from Star Wars, Frozen, Indiana Jones, Mary Poppins among others.
For more information, times and booking details visit www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk
or call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444.
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Over twenty top class performing companies from across the UK and beyond will be bringing over fifty free street theatre shows to the city centre, from high wire, slapstick, dance, and fantastic walkabouts. Performers including Stopgap Dance Company, Nofit State, 2Faced Dance and Les Enfants Terrible, will perform at Newport Live’s The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre, following the river down to the University of South Wales City Centre Campus, and at Friars Walk and Commercial Street.
A wide range of free workshops and activities will also take place throughout the two days, hosted at The Riverfront, thanks to sponsors Western Power Distribution. For Under 5s, Newport Live’s Tiny Tots will be putting on soft play, free play and sports activities in the Dance Studio across both days, and The Flying Start team take over the mezzanine with creative play throughout.
Flossy and Boo will host a number of English and Welsh workshops at The Riverfront, diving into stories and adventures, presenting them through the magical art of Theatre. NoFit State will be running circus skills workshops alongside their performances on Saturday and Sunday, as they transform Newport’s Big Splash into a hive of immersive circus activity where anything and everything can happen, and plenty for the whole family to take part in and enjoy.
More opportunities come from Wheel Acrobatics, or ‘Rhönrad’; a spectacular acrobatic discipline in which the performer executes tricks inside and around a rolling wheel. Invented in Germany, it has thrived there as a gymnastic sport since 1925, more recently gaining international exposure due to its growing popularity in circus performance.
|Les Enfants Terrible|
As well as theatre workshops, the Grow Wild Team, funded by the Kew Gardens Grow Wild Project, will also be out on The Riverfront terrace on both days offering some hands on gardening experiences for all the family.
There will also be free music from Railroad Bill on Saturday, who will perform two sets of skiffle classics on washboard, tea chest and guitar at Usk Plaza awhile on Sunday, 25 piece Wonderbrass will play three sets of Ska, funk and soul fusion at The Riverfront, Friars Walk and Riverwalk.
To find out more about The Big Splash, including schedules for the weekend and details of the workshops and companies at the festival, visit www.bigsplashnewport.com. To follow the festival on Twitter @BigSplashFest and like the Facebook page at facebook.com/bigsplashnewport