Is there any better way to raise awareness of mental health than to put on a multi-venue inner-city festival? No, is the answer. So, that’s exactly what Cardiff-based charity MIND did. For over 65 years MIND have been committed to ensuring that those experiencing mental health problems receive the help and support they deserve. Local promoters God Is In The TV Zine, Rockpie and Red Medicine grouped together to organise the two-day, four-stage showcase of local talent that put the .
Backed by quotes from well-known personalities who deal with mental health issues (think Stephen Fry), Third Party took to the surreptitious Four Bars stage. Despite facing a slightly thin-on-the-ground crowd, the quartet filled the room with their post-punk bass lines and ska overtones to the enjoyment of the few who had turned out.
My Name is Ian, whose noise sounds a little like the result of Frank Turner disregarding his folk-punk progressions for something more like Morrissey on a good day, stole the show with their sharp lyrics and excessive reverb, managing to get the room moving enough to fight off the numbness that had overcome punters due to the Arctic weather that took residence in Cardiff during the weekend’s proceedings.
R.Seiliog, moniker of Robin Edwards, gave a consistent set of hypnotic krautrock full of trance-like repetition and keys that reverberated in the upper octaves. Lyricless, Edwards and his band moved seamlessly between songs bringing an air of minimalism to the tiny underground setting that couldn’t have been more overflowing.
Welsh-singing soloist Gwenno took it down a notch with her melodic, synth-led pop providing just the level of calm that was required before Heavy Petting Zoo arrived with their headlining set. The Swansea foursome brought the night to a close in the dingy yet entirely homely basement that is Undertone. Gyrating, white tux wearing dancer in tow (never underestimate a band that have a resident mover), the ‘post-punk-garage-rock wet dream’ that is HPZ did not disappoint.
Other highlights came from Gindrinker and Love Bazaar who, despite playing earlier on in the evening enticed the crowds away from other pre-Friday night escapades. As a festival playing host to such a multitude of performers, it would be easy to forget the bigger picture. Despite this, MIND Cymru were never too far from anyone’s thoughts throughout the weekend of musical fund raising festivities. It’s clear that their impact will continue to be felt long after the last chord has been played.