Live Report: Wide Days 2022 | live - Upsmag - Magazine News

Live Report: Wide Days 2022 | live

Scotland’s Wide Days stands out from many conference and showcase events. Produced by Born To Be Wide, the event continues to evolve and respond to music industries and societies in constant change.

Combining conference panels and showcasing, primarily targeting emerging Scottish acts, but also looking further afield. With a growing focus on developing domestic and international partnerships, this year offers showcases from Canada’s BreakOut West, Focus Wales and more.

Making the most of Edinburgh’s strengths as the breath-taking tourist destination it is, there is much more to it. The program offers a Coach Tour that seeks to map interesting spots as well as a Lunch & Whiskey Tasting class. Also on offer is walking tours like the Record Shop Tour and a general music one, pointing out key venues, where international artists played, and Edinburgh-born artists lived and worked. It’s a treat to see a hand-picked selection of Edinburgh’s sights and hear stories told from a non-tourist point of view by insiders, locals with in-depth understanding of the city’s history and tradition.

Having attended Edinburgh’s annual three-day boutique festival, it is not hard to admire its appeal. A fitting example of what happens when a team of organizers, delegates, and guests, who care about music and culture gather to discuss, attend showcase performances, and network with people they know and build new connections.

Scheduled across Thursday and Friday, key industry panels that tackle just about everything from A&R, radio plugging, NFTs, accessibility in music, metadata and much more, there is clearly something to represent every area of ​​the music business.

Day One – Thursday

Feeding off a day one buzz, in La Belle Angele, Thursday night sees Edinburgh’s The Jellyman’s Daughter showcase their craft. Made up of guitarist Emily Kelly and cellist Graham Coe, the Americana-leaning duo are no strangers to Wide Days, and the two local artists provide a thoughtful intro to the event as a whole.

Glasgow based multi-instrumentalist and producer Alex Amor was forced to play to an empty Usher Hall during lockdown, but is finally able to perform to an audience in person. Amor’s distinct pop brand has shared roots in the ’90s with vocals echoing singers such as Nelly Furtado and Avril Lavigne, yet it sounds highly contemporary. Also from Glasgow is Lizzie Reidwho continues to grow her reputation as a singer-songwriter, the intimate performance demonstrates her soft melodies and personal lyrics.

Closing day one is experimental musician extraordinaire Kapil Seshasayee. While artists such as SOPHIE, Sega, and Bodega inspired the earlier days of the songwriter’s journey, he continues to delve into new, completely unchartered sound territory. The use of classical Indian music, blended with genres ranging as widely as hyperpop, trap and alt-rock is original. Performing with two drummers and a flautist, it is an ideal performance on which to end the first day.

Day Two – Friday

The excitement continues to build, and the exact same can be said for the showcases. Friday’s performances run in the order of Liquid Room showcase action followed by a visit to the stone-vaulted venue The Caves. Completely standalone, the venue gives you a genuine sense of being transported to a different time and space. Once referred to as “Whisky Row” due to actual whiskey being stored there, it is the regular provider of concerts.

Scottish-born, London-grown artist Cyrano – James Vettese – is at Liquid Room. Originally from Aberdeen, the artist has moved around to live in different countries, and is currently residing in Edinburgh. The producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist’s set offers plenty of surprises and some probing cuts.

Playing in the same venue is Banchory-bred songwriter Calum Bowie. The musician has been going from strength to strength since the release of his debut album in 2018, and he continues to make a mark on Scottish music. His closest English match probably would be the likes of Jamie Webster and Andrew Cushin, the similarity is in the blend of absorbing melodies and authentic lyrics.

Now it is time to move on to the extraordinary venue space The Caves, where completely different sounds await. dream pop project Swiss Portrait represents the creative vision of Michael Kay Terence, a visual artist from Leith. So far, the DIY artist has mostly been carving a name in the US, but his Wide Days set could be a deal-breaker. Explosive, ecstatic, melodic and immersive in equal measure, the performance leaves no doubt about Swiss Portrait’s potential, and is a one to watch.

In true spirit, it’s straight from one style or genre to another, as Aberdeen rapper Chef aka Ola Akisanya gears up for his performance. Having been nominated for SAMA (Scottish Alternative Music Awards) in the categories of Best Hip-Hop and Best Newcomer, the quest to shine a light on Scottish rap goes on, making sure new voices are heard. The performance is energetic and is a decent taster, a hint of what might be in store. Moving effortlessly between R&B, pop, and trap, the tracks show narrative and character.

Having just about recovered from playing a sold-out show at Glasgow’s King Tuts, the time is ripe for headlining act, the Nigerian-born, Ayrshire rapper bemz to make an anticipated appearance. There is a real buzz in The Caves at this point, and it is no coincidence. Delivering an uplifting, pulsating performance, the BBC Music Introducing Scottish Act of the year 2022 shows once again that he is an artist of sincerity and presence, and an important voice in music.

Day Three – Saturday

The final day of Wide Days has come. The trance-oriented vocals of Welsh electronic music artist Bethan Lloyd open Saturday’s showcases. The innovative use of dream-like, layered sounds is otherworldly. As Lloyd gets the festival takeover underway, a rousing electronic set overlaid with distinct vocals and screams unfolds, if it’s at all possible to imagine Gothenburg band The Knife singing in Welsh, then you might well be onto something.

Lloyd’s sound stands in somewhat stark contrast to alt-rockers Minas, who are responsible for providing the sonic shockwaves at the festival with their loud, uncompromising cuts. Made up of producer James Minas, drummer Greg Davies, and Bob Williams on bass, their songs combine heavy rhythms with fuzzy melody. Tearing the place to shreds, they also leave a fascinating, very unforgettable snapshot.

An irresistible performance is delivered by Canadian folk artist singer and guitarist Beef Sipos, however, whose song material is as devastatingly sad as it is mesmerising. Haunting, gripping, the songs convey intricate storytelling, and the cheers received in response from the crowd only serve to reflect her songwriting talent. the combined treat of experiencing Sipos’ vocal strength and song quality undoubtedly increase any thirst for more of the same; it’s a magnificent performance.

After the experience of numerous standalone moments in Edinburgh, Wide Days shone as a provider of unique Scottish and international performance and industry experiences. A small conference and showcase event, its selective focus on and dedication to quality over quantity, makes it a noticeable player in an industry that is saturated with events of a similar type. Its unafraid-to-be-different approach makes it all the more important and necessary.

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Words: Susan Hansen
photography: Michael Lambert + Gaelle Beri

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