Homemade stickers, dance routines, tracksuits and the presence of a camera or two: Clwb Ifor Bach welcomed in the Horizons x BBC Introducing 6 Festival last night with a bang. A sold-out, all-Welsh lineup featuring Hemes, Malan, Adwaith and Panic Shack, 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson and Horizons’ Bethan Elfyn made sure to introduce each act with enthusiasm for the local scene the festival had touched down in.
Hemes introduced the night with her own brand of pop vocal hooks and a selection of tracks taken from debut ep Matters Of The Mind, incorporating electronic elements throughout. The groove-fused closer Faking A Smile was just one example of Hemes’ melancholy yet danceworthy numbers.
It was north Wales-based Malan’s first show as a full band, but you couldn’t tell. Their carefree jazzy feel and upbeat sound created a euphoric atmosphere with the addition of light scatting, plunky yet expressive piano chords and a Cleo Soul cover thrown in for good measure. The delicate Busy Bee showcased Malan’s early writing style, compared with soaring newest single Go With The Flow and unreleased tracks Glitter and Strawberry.
Welsh language rockers Adwaith take to the stage, fuzzy guitars in hand to balance out the pulse of like-minded booming drums. The Carmarthen trio offer excerpts from their upcoming album Bato Mato – due out on July 1 – along with theirwidely toured, award-winning debut Melyn.
There’s confidence to the Cardiffian headliners Panic Shack that you are swept along with. Their fierce tracks encapsulate you with their lighthearted, witty lyricism. After all, aren’t we all sick of being serious all the time? Panic Shack has it all: choreography, themed outfits and the crowd in the palm of their hand. Vocalist Sarah Harvey sings the lines of slowburner I Don’t Really Like It – “When you look at me like that / I don’t really like it” – while looking the audience directly in the eye. You want to turn away, but you can’t take your eyes off the four-piece.
Promoting debut EP Baby Shack, out on Fri 8 Apr, Panic Shack delivers crunchy, shouty hits with a stage presence worthy of bigger stages. Past single Mannequin Man being the perfect excuse for some dance freezes alongside uplifting harmonies. There’s even a moment where the band transitions into a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In The Name – the crowd cheering in response to all small stops, starts and changes thrown their way.
words and photos EMMA WAY
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