Welsh Rock

In the past decades Wales has become one of the main producers of rock bands. Bands like Lostprophets, Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers are just a few of the bands Wales has managed to raise. Wales, a country known for its heart felt national anthem, the Eisteddfod and folk style dancing and singing, has more recently come to be known for something else- breeding rock bands.

In the late 70’s when the punk scene exploded, Wales wasn’t a country to miss out. Bands like the Tax Exiles, The Oppressed and the Cowboy Killers became well known within the scene, even Welsh language bands such as Llygod Ffyrnig were a part of the scene. Previously, Wales was known for Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey but thanks to the new music scene, Wales was becoming known for something different.

Soon, American bands were beginning to dominate the globe with their new mainstream punk influenced sound and small punk bands in Wales and the rest of the UK were old news. One of the first Welsh bands to take on board the new music scene and to create their own sound with it were Lostprophets. Their mix of punk and nu-metal gave Lostprophets much success. Their first album, the Fake Sound of Progress, sold 250,000 copies in the UK. Their success led them on to an amazing career, during which they have headlined at Download festival. Another band to do the same was Funeral for a Friend. Famous for their ‘emo’ sound, Funeral for a Friend’s album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation went on to sell 100,000 copies in the UK.

Feeder and various other bands already mentioned have influenced the forming of new bands currently exploding out of Wales. These bands have been recognised in magazines such as Kerrang. Lostprophets, Funeral for a Friend and Bullet for My Valentine are all Welsh bands who have won the Best British Newcomer award in Kerrang. As a result, they have inspired many young people to form their own bands and some of these bands, in turn, are becoming successful. Kids in Glass Houses and The Blackout are two bands that are gaining recognition across the globe. These small bands from Wales have had the incredible chance to tour with Lostprophets and Funeral for a Friend. The opportunity has given them the chance to get their music across to a wider audience.

Funeral for a Friend played in Aberystwyth in March 2011 and they took Tiger Please on tour with them, another small band from Wales. By playing different venues within Wales with bigger acts, these bands are able to follow in their idol’s footsteps.  Getting noticed in this way gives them the opportunity to play on a bigger stage and to bigger audiences. The Blackout supported My Chemical Romance on their UK tour in February 2011 and Kids in Glass Houses supported Paramore in 2008 on their UK tour; a massive honour for these small bands.

There are many music venues in South Wales. In Cardiff some of the most popular venues for bands are Barfly, Live Lounge and Clwb Ifor Bach. In Swansea there is Sin City, The Garage and Locker. Even the Cardiff University Students’ Union has held a few famous bands on their stage. Many famous bands, Welsh and others have played these venues and have then progressed to play on bigger stages. Welsh festivals such as the Ponty Festival have attracted attention from well-known bands. Maes B is a famous festival for young Welsh speakers to get the chance to see Welsh speaking bands such as Derwyddon Dr Gonzo, Y Bandana and Yr Angen.

Wales has become one of the main filters for rock bands and this is something to be noted. Many bands within Wales, like Hollow Tone, a metal band who hail from Swansea who have just been signed to a label, give many thanks to these bands. Many bands are still forming in Wales and they are slowly following in the footsteps of their Welsh peers. Wales, a small country often forgotten about is proving to be unforgettable thanks to these rock bands, and this is certainly something to be celebrated.