The Wales Goes Pop weekender has become a staple of Cardiff’s present music scene in our books, so this year we decided to give you all a little insight into the festival, by checking out what was going down on the first night. Headliners on Friday 14th were Scottish sing-a-long champions Honeyblood, followed by Gulp and BC Camplight on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Later on is an interview with Honeyblood, but first here’s a snapshot of Friday’s happenings…
The first band we saw was Neurotic Fiction; a jangly punk group with phased-out lyrics matched with lively, guitar-twanging melodies. The set finished relatively quickly but we absolutely enjoyed it whilst it lasted! Next up was the tie-dye pajama-clad Tender Prey, launching their new EP- ‘Falling Off Chairs’. With impressive energy and an incredible stage presence, they smashed the set, totally bouncing off one another and owning the crowd with great punky, witty, fun tunes. Give Tender Prey a listen when you want to jump up and down and dance with friends, you won’t be disappointed.
Next we saw HMS Morris, who create beautiful electronic-pop songs in Welsh, bringing their own quirky flavor of melodies to the festival as always. Dreamy lead vocals mixed with unique synth sounds made for a brilliant concoction of a set. False Advertising offered a collection of bold, angsty rock music, heavy with gritty guitar grunge.
After getting a lush stone-cooked pizza from the stall outside the venue, we headed back inside to watch Martha Ffion‘s set, consisting of some peaceful folky tunes. In all honesty, I’m not always excited to see an acoustic guitar when I walk into a gig, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what I heard coming from the stage. Fantastic, sincere vocals and intricately played, mellow, acoustic sounds filled the room throughout the set.
Girl Ray followed suit, with a wonderful set full of pop goodness. With sweet nonchalant vocals over joyous vibes created by guitars and keys, they presented the perfect tracks to sway along to, perfect for any summer evening. With the crowd sufficiently chilled out, Girl Ray left us feeling serene thanks to their lovely melodious tunes, giving way to the outrageous energy of Sacred Paws. Their set flourished with radiant, sunshine-y songs from start to finish, drawing the audience to a dance the whole way through.
Last but of course not least, Honeyblood took to the stage, offering banger after banger; charming the room with their usual dynamic, compelling pop-rock songs. The set was lined with both old favourites like Super Rat and Choker, mixed with sparkling new tracks like Walking at Midnight, Love is a Disease and Babes Never Die, with breaks between tracks for drummer Cat to bat balloons into the crowd with a drumstick, much to the excitement of children lacing the front of the stage. Having explained why they don’t bother walking off stage only to come back on, Honeyblood finished off both their set and Friday night of Wales Goes Pop leaving everyone present in love with their fun, too-cool attitude and the outstanding music that comes with it.
Keep reading for our post-gig interview with headliners Honeyblood!
Let it Happen: Hello Honeyblood! Welcome to Wales! How was your first show here?
Stina: Yeah good thanks!
Cat: I used to come on loads of holidays and stuff in Wales as a kid, so it’s cool to finally play here.
LIH: Have you never been out in Cardiff before?
S: No, never. We went out in Newport last night though! We went to a Weatherspoons.
C: Yeah there was a Weatherspoons on… St Mary’s Street? Because that’s where our Travelodge is.
S: There was a football match on which was kinda fun, sort of, if you’re in to that sort of thing, and then there was a disco? I guess you could call it? And they brought out a little podium for people to dance on, which was nice!
C: There were a lot of locals getting involved, we had to explain to our tour manager what a ‘slut-drop’ was.
LIH: Sounds like a standard Welsh night out really! Ok, so we know you obviously swapped members, but first album and second album- what’s different between the two?
C: Mostly me!
S: Mostly Cat! But I think with the second album, we had a clear idea. Like me and Cat had been playing together for about a year and we went into the studio with a clear idea of what we wanted to achieve.
C: Actually not a year, more like 7 months or something… Because I joined the band in September and we went to Europe, then we went to America then we came back and we started writing songs.
LIH: Was it Stina that made the call?
C: She called me up from the other side of the world, because I was in America, and was just like “do you wanna join my band” and I was like “yeah sure! Just let me get back to the UK first”
LIH: What’s your favourite Honeyblood song?
(Cat goes to speak to a fan whilst Stina begins to answer the question)
S: Off the new album, I’d say Love Is A Disease, but there’s an older B-side called Kissing On You. It was when I first started writing so it just feels like I had loads to write about and get out. I know Cat will say Love Is A Disease too… Cat! What’s your favourite Honeyblood song?
C: (coming back over to join us) Uhhh… probably Love Is A Disease.
LIH: Ok, last and most important question… Bowie or Prince?
C: You can’t!
S: We played in Prince’s venue a couple of times, and we played there just after he died and we were like ‘we have to go to Prince’s house’ cus we had the day off in Minneapolis, but it was £70 to get in and you had to book in advance which was sad.
C: You cannot ask Bowie or Prince.
S: I would say… Bowie is probably my favourite..?
Fan from behind us: You have to ask which would be your first dance, Bowie or Prince?
C: Well that’s already happened, my first dance was Beck – Sex Laws. That’s actually what my first dance was at my wedding.
Fan: Well hypothetically then, which would it be between the two?
C: Well I guess Bowie, but I hate that! Cus I love Prince!
LIH: It’s a difficult question in fairness. We’ll leave it there, thanks for your time guys, come back to Wales soon!
Honeyblood: Thanks, bye! We’d love to!