Cardiff is the capital of Wales (UK), and although a small city by most standards, it is a metropolis crammed full of heart and passion. It’s quite unique for a variety of reasons: its inner city castle and National Stadium make it a hugely exciting city for tourists, and the recent success of the Welsh national football team (or soccer, depending on where you’re reading this article) in the European Championships of 2016 has helped put the country on the map for people around the world and introduced many, perhaps for the first time, to a county that lives and breathes culture, art, sport and music.
Cardiff, and Wales as a whole, has had its share of battles over recent years (along with many other cities across the UK) to keep its small music venues open. With many of these establishments threatened (and in some cases worse) with closure in favour of gentrification. The underground community in Wales has taken a stand to prevent this and has had success in saving more than one of these venues (Notable mentions to Le Pub in the neighbouring city of Newport & The Moon in Cardiff).
Over the past few years there has been new life breathed into the punk scene in the city of Cardiff. Thriving largely thanks to a small community of passionate independent promoters (Ross Jones, Lesson NO.1, The Joy Collective, Swine Language Records, Slush Puppy, Pretty Hate Records, DIY Cardiff, All My Friends) that strive to bring the very best in underground music to the city. The past couple of years alone have seen some of the very best cutting edge acts roll through the Welsh capitol: Drab Majesty, Uniform, Haram, Rakta, Anxiety, Boy Harsher, The Lowest Form, Runt, Farce, Efialtis, TV Crime to name just a handful…
Late 2015 saw these promoters and other keen individuals come together with the idea of making Cardiff a more affluent place for music and art of all kinds by creating a DIY Space of its own (inspired by the incredible work at DIY Space for London, Temple of Boom in Leeds and The Lughole in Sheffield) but after the tragic loss of this very writer’s father during work undertaken towards the creation of the space, plans for the venue have been temporarily put on hold.
As a result, many of these shows have been put on in new, independent and DIY multi-purpose venues such as The Transport Club and Cathays Community Centre whilst also utilising some of Cardiff’s best small venues such as Undertone, Buffalo, Gwdihw, The Moon and Clwb ifor Bach for acts that bring in a slightly bigger audience.
The scene itself in the city is going from strength to strength with more established underground acts like Chain of Flowers, Jemma Roper and Artefact being joined by a new breed of younger / newer bands like PERIL, Private World, Perfect Body, ASID, DISJOY, The Snivellers (partially based in Cardiff / Brighton), Night Thoughts, Think Pretty and Salt Bath.
It’s an exciting time to live in and around the city of Cardiff if you’re into underground music, and you can keep up to date with what these promoters, venues and bands are doing by following their respective social media links above. Any bands or artists looking to come through Cardiff can contact the above promoters if looking for a show.
I urge you to keep up to date with what the local promoters in your town or city are doing, put on shows of your own / keep supporting live music and supporting independent music / art in all forms.