LIVE: Seazoo, Worldcub, Campfire Social, Ennio the Little Brother - Maesgyn Hall, Wrexham, 12/02/2022 1

LIVE: Seazoo, Worldcub, Campfire Social, Ennio the Little Brother – Maesgyn Hall, Wrexham, 12/02/2022

The pull of Wrexham as a live music hub is beginning to be felt across the area and further afield. Focus Wales – the showcase festival that takes over the city for a few days in May annually – has helped cement it’s growing reputation as the epicentre of North Wales’ live music scene. As a precurser to the festival, the organisers of Focus have put on a series of gigs called Out of Focus to, in effect, showcase the showcase; they’ve highlighted the best of North Wales growing list of impressive bands and artists over several nights.

First on tonight at Maesgwyn Hall – a former Masonic lodge just opposite Wrexham F.C’s Racecourse Ground – is Ennio the Little Brother. Ennio creates a unique blend of laidback hip hop beats and soulful, jazzy guitar built live with a loop pedal, before rapping over it with stories of family and North Walian life. His former single ‘Bunk Beds’ – which caught the attention of Cerys Matthews on 6 Music – is performed with a quiet confidence and tells of growing up the youngest of six children.

The biggest issue for such a gentle and soulful performer is keeping the audience engaged and it’s a battle that he doesn’t always win, but his charm comes through in spades. “Is there anyone in from Connah’s Quay?” asks Ennio to ironic cheers, before launching into his ode to the town ‘A Breeze Hill Dream’; a wistful and wide-eyed end to his set that sees the crowd suitably aghast at his obvious talent.

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Next up are Ennio the Little Brother’s labelmates at Mai 68 Records, Campfire Social – or rather one of them. Frontman Thomas Hyndman plays a solo acoustic set due to illness in the band, and it’s a rare striped-back, glimpse into the writing process of such a fully-formed band.  He uses the platform to perform new songs as well as songs from their back catalogue; some of the songs are so new that they don’t even have names yet.

Hyndman is a naturally charasmatic performer, with a self deprecating humour that allows him to joke earnestly with the audience about a lack of bandmates throughout the set – even doing the old ‘introduce the band’ routine to the empty stage behind him. Hyndman finishes with a rousing rendition of the charming ‘Breathe Out Slowly’, which prompts a sing-a-long with members of the audience that warms the cockles on a cold February evening.

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Now is as good as time as ever to confess that I managed to somehow miss the set from Worldcub, which – despite evidence to the contary – I was really looking forward to. I’m assured I missed an absolute belter of a set that I really shouldn’t have missed, and have been chastised for doing so.

Formed by brothers Cynyr and Dion Hamer, initially under the name CaStLeS, they gained coverage from publications as diverse as The Guardian and Uncut. Major influences on their sound are surf guitar, kraut-rock grooves and spellbinding psych sensibilites, all underpinned with the majority of the vocals sang in the incandescent Welsh language. Note to self – do your research in advance next time.

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Headliners are Wrexham’s own Seazoo (main picture) – a band that have consistently produced a raft of intoxicating indie pop singles over the last few years and have done several sessions for Marc Riley on 6 Music as a result.  Seazoo have a familiar sound – the catchy pop sensibilities of Los Campesinos!, the abstract playfulness of The Lovely Eggs and the experimentalism of The Delgados – but it’s never an infringement.

The locals have come out in force for this popular five-piece and they don’t disappoint. The set goes up a gear when the band play songs like ‘The Pleasure’ from 2020 album Joy, which allows the spontaneous bursts of flailing to break out. This level of enthusiasm continues into the latter part of the set, and ‘Shoreline’ – Seazoo’s sprawling anthem similiar to Belle and Sebastien’s Lazy Line Painter Jane’ – is a stirring conclusion to what is a thoroughly entertaining night. The collective appetite for the return of Focus Wales in May has definitely been wetted.

Photos: Sarah Rutter/Natalie Wright




God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.