People. Everywhere. Beautiful, amazing, music fan people supporting wonderfully talented, mostly Welsh artists. Before the event started I counted 25 artists across the five venues, I knew watching them all was impossible, but I made a bit of a plan, which of course I was never going to completely stick to.
Record Store Day 2018 was a bit of a dream come true for me, co-curating a line-up in the market with my Gallery Space mates (together with RISE and Diverse), whilst other mates came to watch and a whole bunch of mates in-waiting played in front of me and a couple of hundred others. Going from curator to consumer and bouncing from venue to venue whilst getting predictably a little bit too pissed was a decent alternative option.
Tiny Rebel seemed like a good place to start considering the music was about to begin and the beer is pretty much untouchable (Hank, Juicy and Rise if I remember correctly). I’d planned to catch some spoken word in The Murenger (Samuel Adams too is a lovely drop), but regrettably I never made it. That’s just life happening, I guess.
Gemini Anderson kicked off proceedings and from what I could tell from my position a little further back it looked good fun, but at this point people were still nattering amongst themselves. Perhaps I should’ve got a little closer. Next up was Burning Ferns, who only seemed to play for 15 minutes or so, I really enjoyed what I saw and I look forward to seeing them play as a full band. Francesca Word Salad was the third and final artist I saw at the bar, I’ve seen Francesca before, she’s hilarious, I’ll definitely see her again.
By this time, I had already missed Finding Aurora and Red Telephone. Not my fault, but Tiny Rebel’s for making beer so good and strong. I caught up with the Aurora lads later on, still out enjoying the music of their fellow musicians (a common and heart-warming theme on the scene), putting up with my blabbering. Probably. My apologies.
Campfire Social (upstairs McCann’s) were as good as I thought they would be. Catchy, warm, melodic and self-deprecatingly funny in-between songs. Check out Breathe Out Slowly, it’s brilliant!
Over to Slipping Jimmy’s for Joe Kelly and the Royal Pharmacy. For people who don’t know, Joe has been in New Zealand for seven months or so and has little time to practice with his full band “this is Niall” he said pointing to the bassist, “we had our first practice in seven months earlier this afternoon”, wasn’t at all obvious though, sounded immense. Tighter than they had any right to sound.
Los Blancos are probably the band I’d looked forward to most in the build-up and they didn’t disappoint in the basement of McCann’s and are now fully enrolled as my new favourite band. Los Blancos sing entirely in Welsh but I sang along to every word. Well, I pretended to anyway. I Love them. Please come to South Wales again soon!
Upstairs for CHROMA, third time in six months I’ve seen them in Newport and they just get better, you won’t hear a more powerful three piece. Again, congratulations to them on their two awards at the Cardiff Music Awards the other week. Some achievement.
By this time, I knew I was struggling (it was at least 10 o’clock) but had enough in me to get over to Le Pub to see a fun and energetic set by Dingus Khan. Unfortunately, by the end of that set I was deep into a fifth set tie break and as far as I am aware missed headliners Queen Zee, but I’m sure I’ll catch them again somewhere.
Record Store Day is now a firm favourite on the Newport events calendar and for me is unmissable. It is exactly what the city needs and I can’t praise the organisers, funders and artists any more. The buzz right from seeing the queues outside Diverse at 8am to the early hours in Le Pub is unique in this city. Anyone who attended will know what I mean and if you didn’t, well, stick it n your diary for next year (the 18th of April) now and be part of something special.