Focus Wales: A Preview

Focus Wales: A Preview

Doesn’t it come around fast? Only felt like yesterday that we were all decamped into the small North Wales town of Wrexham to enjoy the feasts of Focus Wales 2022, and low and behold it’s already May 2023 and we’re about to drive hundreds of miles from different parts of the UK for this year’s event.

The difference this year is that the town is already mid-party after the Hollywood-owned football team secured the National League title and are back in the Football League for the first time in decades. Only on Tuesday, they were lining the streets, watching an Open Top Bus drive about the town with the team and Rob and Ryan up there with the team. So the town is still going to be in the celebratory mood.

Here are a few of our choices for the festivities.

Noah and the Loners (Thursday 9.30pm – Hope Street Church)

These new kids on the block have all the piss and vinegar required for a brilliant, vital punk band. They have specialised in breakneck politically edged excellence on the two singles they have released so far and playing their cards close to their chests. Their live shows are becoming the stuff of legend. Check them out whilst you can still get close.

Kidsmoke (Saturday 6.30pm – Llwyn Isaf)

These Welsh indie dream pop titans released their debut LP A Vision In The Dark in 2020 and have been a bit quiet since but hopefully, this is the beginning of their return. And where better to do that than in their hometown? They’ve managed to snatch a few plays in big TV series and have the feel of a band that could go big. They have picked up the baton from the likes of Delays. The room will be packed for this one.

Opus Kink (Thursday 10pm – Ty Pawn)

This lot is quite the eclectic bunch, several singles down this year alone, they morph post-punk, Avant Garde and pop with startling imagery and hooks that will keep you dancing all night. Another brilliant band from Brighton where you can’t fail to absorb by osmosis the creative elixir in the waters down there. These are ones to watch.

Lunar Bird (Friday 9.15pm – The Parish)

One of the two acts we at God Is In The TV are showcasing at this year’s festival, Lunar Bird are dream pop masters. Originating in Italy but moving to Cardiff, we have had them as a part of our Tracks of the Week and a choice on our Show Magic Podcast. Their synth-pop melodies will hook you in. Get down the Parish and be converted.

Tom Emlyn (Friday 7.25pm – The Parish and Saturday 7.10pm – The Royal Oak)

Hailing from Swansea, Tom Emlyn, the second of our picks for the festival, could be described as a traditional folk artist but his lyrics are contemporary stories of real life and matter-of-fact tales of everyday life, set against sometimes gentle and sometimes rough and ready lo-fi acoustic guitar. He is one to catch once you’re a couple of Wrexham Lagers down (other fizzy beers are available) and feeling wistful.

The Joy Formidable (Thursday 11.15pm – The Rockin’ Chair (Room 1))

Having released their debut LP, The Big Roar, back in 2011 they could be described as veterans now, but if anything the quality is as high as ever. The last album, Into The Blue, came in 2021 so we could be expecting some new songs alongside the classic cuts. It’s a late night set time for them so be ready for the roof to come off The Rockin’ Chair.

Rona Mac (Thursday 6.30pm – St Giles Church, Thursday 7.50pm – The Royal Oak and Friday 7.30pm – The Fat Boar)

In possession of a voice that is intricately dextrous and with diction that makes you fall under its spell, Rona Mac is an artist that is hard to pigeonhole, but then why would you want to? Elements of hip-hop beats, gentle piano, arpeggio guitar and clear pop sensibilities, Rona crafts these songs in her caravan in West Wales. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch her as she is doing three sets across the three days.

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.