Let’s hear it for the Independents!

I enjoy live music and I recently worked out that over the last 40 years I have seen over 60 different bands, some of which I have seen more than once and there was even one band I saw twice in the same week!

In moving to North Wales I did wonder what the music scene would be like, especially moving from Birmingham where there is an abundance of places to watch music and if I am honest I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope, particularly having viewed the forthcoming events at Venue Cymru and there seemingly being a large number of musicals and tribute acts, as well as bands that had seen better days…..…having said that I did see The Shires there and they were brilliant.

Over the years I have seen big headlining acts such as Bob Dylan, Roxy Music, the Eurythmics, Bon Jovi and Fleetwood Mac and enjoyed every one of them but these days there is a real thrill from going to a small independent venue and hearing somebody you have never heard of before and I am discovering that there are a number of such places in North Wales.

My first discovery was 3rd Space at the Great Orme Brewery where I have now been a number of times. The first gig I went to there was Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman. I wasn’t too sure whether I was going to like them as I wouldn’t say I was into folk music but at £10 for a ticket you can hardly go wrong and any singer that starts with a cover of a Warren Zevon song gets my seal of approval.

Since then I have seen Wille and the Bandits and also The Eskies who were heading back to Ireland and you really can’t go wrong with an Irish band playing the final gig of a tour in a brewery. They clearly thought they were in paradise!

Most of their events are on a Saturday or a Sunday which is good for me and you can read more about this venue in Amazing Space

I then discovered Blue Sky in Bangor and that is another great little venue, in many ways putting on similar acts to 3rd Space. By day it is a café, which I have yet to try and by night they have a mix of activities which include music and comedy. Bands I have seen there have included The Jaywalkers who were a bluegrass trio from the North West and  were starting their tour there and Sera who is a local artist from Caernarfon, again it was the first night of her tour to promote her new album.


A lot of the gigs at Blue Sky are mid-week which generally precludes me from attending but if you can make it then it is well worth the visit. A bit smaller than 3rd Space in terms of capacity but just as good and one day I will get there to try the food!

My image of Menai Bridge is that it is a has a bit of a foodie reputation but then I discovered The Victoria Hotel at Menai Bridge, which I don’t think is a place you would associate with being a music venue. I had heard of it by word of mouth and then went to see the Rayna Gellert Trio there and it was another brilliant concert. From what I can see most of their gigs are on a Saturday or Sunday.

If your taste in music is Folk, Americana or Bluegrass then all of these are worth a visit and even if you are not you may be pleasantly surprised!

If you know of any small venues worth visiting then please get in touch.

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