(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #344: The People the Poet

By on Friday, 27th February 2015 at 12:00 pm

SXSW 2015 will be a special time, as Music Wales will be presenting a nighttime showcase on the first night of the official SXSW Music festivities, on Tuesday the 17th of March. It’s just the beginning of an amazing week of evening (and afternoon) programming on tap for festival punters at the British Music Embassy, back at its usual home of Latitude 30 on San Jacinto Boulevard. The People the Poet from South Wales will open the Music Wales night and definitely start the UK contingent’s programming off with a bang. The band were bestowed the honour of being just one of 12 acts chosen out of over 450 who applied for Horizons, the BBC Cymru Wales and Arts Council of Wales project committed to supporting the independent music being made in Wales and helping them with their careers.

Formerly known under the moniker Tiger Please, the little bit folk, little bit pop, little bit rock band released 2009’s ‘They Don’t Change Under Moonlight’ and 2010’s ‘Seasons’ EP, both critically acclaimed. At the end of 2013, they released their long awaited debut album ‘The Narrator’, under their new name The People the Poet. The hard graft of the five-piece over the last 7 years plus paid off, with the self-released LP reaching #38 on the iTunes Rock Albums chart on release day without management or major label backing and it receiving a nomination for the Welsh Music Prize. Tyla Campbell of the band told me they had previously applied for a SXSW shout twice and without success, so third time’s absolutely a charm for them this year, as they make their maiden voyage to Austin next month.

We’re not sure where the band’s current name came from, but the juxtaposition of the two images their name conjures up – the passionate proletariat masses represented by “The People” contrasting with the calm, brooding and introspective “Poet” – describes their sound quite well. ‘Nobody Else Like You’, inspired by the loss of a parent, features guest vocals from legendary ex-It Bites frontman Francis Dunnery, his voice lending a bit more heft to The People half of their enterprise. In its sweeping grandeur whilst describing the life-changing event of fatherhood, track ‘Stabilisers (I Will Be)’ from ‘The Narrator’ will remind you of Coldplay and Keane at their most anthemic.

Lyrical content for the tunes on their debut album was all crowd sourced, with The People The Poet humbly asking their fans to send in true stories about their lives. This allowed the band to engage their fans in an incredibly personal way that I don’t think had ever been done before, so I have no reason to believe they won’t be able to get the crowd at Latitude 30 eating out of their hand and backing them in quick order either. Get in to see them in reasonably sized venues while you still can.

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