By Jord McEvoy
‘Where’s the music?’ is a cry heard all too often around Bangor, and on the surface, it may well seem that question has some validity. If you look away from the nightclubs and in the smaller, more enigmatic venues however, you will see that there is a lot more to Bangor than initially meets the eye.
Our student populace has allowed us to expand on the arts and culture which were already prominent in the area, with the likes of Blue Sky Cafe offering sets from people both local and from all around the country. A mix of acoustic/folk music, spoken word events and more offer an enticing, eclectic atmosphere which tend to compliment the acts who travel (sometimes a great length) to play in them.
One of the most prominent underground bands in Bangor currently is Krank – a punk/rock hybrid who have taken the locals by storm. Their entrancing and downright weird songs with catchy, energetic choruses are the result of the perfect formula for live music. If you ever go to a Krank gig, you’ll see a packed room of friendly, soon-to-be familiar faces who know all the words, and will be presented with a standing argument against the statement that Bangor doesn’t offer much diversity in the form of music – Krank’s music is diversity.
In The Skerries, not too far from Bangor’s pier, there is an Open Mic night every Sunday hosted by James Phillips and John Harley – two men devoted to providing music, entertainment, and a friendly atmosphere to all. We see the opportunity for everyone and anyone to step up to the mic and show their unique talent and musical ability. Alongside this, a jam session for all is hosted by Paul Bryce prior to the Open Mic segment once a month. This night is also for spoken word, comedy, and any other form of art for both entertainers-to-be and those already cemented in their crafts.
The Open Mic nights are almost an investment scheme – you can come to the jam sessions, learn a few things, then present what you’ve learned and what you enjoy doing during the Open Mic segment. When you consider this happens every Sunday, you can see that Bangor’s creative side, especially musically is booming with potential.
Bangor is a hotbed for undiscovered talent and enigmatic acts that you wouldn’t expect to see in a small, student-oriented city. It’s a place where people of all variations of talent can perform intimate yet intense shows and hone their sound, ready for the bigger world. We see regular acoustic, jazz, and comedy performances in Blue Sky Cafe, which offers a soothing alternative to both the mainstream club life and underground rock scene. We also see Pontio offering regular exposure to Welsh art and music, which allows you to immerse yourself into talent which reflects the area’s language and heritage. It’s a special place; you just need to know where to look if you want something a little out of the ordinary.