Record Store Day Review
RISE Propaganda music editor, Gavin Facey, sums up the triumph of sound that was Newport Record Store Day 2018 in the Gallery Space.
Record Store Day is fast becoming a highly anticipated date in the Newport events calendar and 2018 saw the City revel in the celebration bigger and better than ever. Funded by Newport Now and curated by Diverse Vinyl, no less than six venues hosted live music and spoken word in Newport’s burgeoning independent quarter. The newest of these venues, The Gallery Space, located upstairs of Newport market, showcased seven of South Wales finest artists, five of which appear on the limited edition record ‘Spread Love – Volume 1’ assembled by The Gallery Space and RISE Propaganda.
SHIMAI opened proceedings, their warm melodies a perfect accompaniment to the late afternoon sun, shining through the spectacular glass ceiling. Mid-April maybe, but this felt like a convincing prelude to the festival season that will hit the UK in the summer months; a taster of things to follow. Fans were already refreshing themselves with the help of craft beer and cider, courtesy of Baa Brewing and Uplands Cyder. They also got a first taste of the record as the girls brought their set to a close with Live it – a fitting end to a bright and uplifting start.
Second up was NP19’s Joe Kelly. Short of his superb backing band The Royal Pharmacy, but armed with his acoustic guitar, harmonica and expressive vocals, Joe put on his now customary compelling performance. For anguish, see Joe, for elation, see Joe, for tales of the beginning and the end and everything in-between, see Joe. Joe is currently recording his debut album with his band and judging by the strength of songs showcased, it’s going to be a belter.
Quiet and unassuming away from the stage, you’d be forgiven for not knowing Boy Azooga frontman Davey Newington is one of the hottest new stars on the British music scene. Garnering nationwide attention and regular airplay on both Radio 1 and 6 Music, his confidence when centre of attention is clear and the crowd enthusiastically feed on it. Newport looks forward to welcoming him back with his full band in Le Pub this June.
Following such a star can’t be easy, unless you’re Caldicot’s Bug Club, who took full advantage of the increased crowd and buzzing atmosphere. They also drew one of the biggest roars of the day as guitarist Sam ripped through the guitar solo of the Woodstock sized Bill O’Wright – a more than apt closer to both a captivating set and side one of Spread Love.
Once in full flow, who better to turn to than Apple Tree Theory! A band that never fails to instantly puts a smile on your face, they enjoyed the stage as always and the crowd loved every minute of them. They encouraged an exciting atmosphere and the audience couldn’t help but move to their set. Always popular with a Newport crowd they never disappoint and once again lived up to their reputation.
The night’s penultimate act was Jack Perrett, who at 24 is already a stalwart of the Newport music scene. No-one lives and breathes Newport more than Jack, Rhys and Morgan and their loyal and growing following are treated to a high-octane set including latest single Nothing for Anyone, the yet unreleased Fever and their rendition of Blur classic Parklife (aptly re-titled Portlife), a timely ode to the city they love and champion so passionately.
Headliners Keys need no introduction, having been a permanent fixture on the circuit for nearly 20 years. They blitzed through a rip-roaring set, taking the crowd on a 45 minute tour of their back catalogue, culminating with fan favourite Fire Inside. Davey made his second appearance of the evening as he took to the drums with his Cardiff counterparts.
The night was indisputably a success, enjoyed in equal amounts by fans and artists alike, all of whom stayed to watch their fellow performers. Jack ecstatically declared:
“There is a music scene in Newport!”
He’s not wrong, there is definitely something brewing in the City and it needs to be seized upon, this has to be the start rather than the climax.
There is a plethora of talent in Newport and the surrounding suburbs, yet only a fraction was on display here at the Galley Space; it is imperative a platform is given for both current and future artists to display their talents. Spread love and spread the word, Newport is on the rise.