Tuesday 23 April 2013

The Miaow Beasts

Cemaes Bay (photo: Bob Jones)
The small northern Anglesey coastal town of Cemaes Bay is generally more famous for its nuclear power station than for any form of artistic culture. However, for a brief moment in 1981, the town was home to one of the finest cutting edge post-punk combos to emerge from the UK.

Wylfa nuclear power station
The Miaow Beasts seemed to arrive on the scene fully formed - clad in desert-issue army surplus and Tommy Adkins haircuts, quite at odds with the local fashion of the time. Big fans of Can, their songs were sparse and rhythmic, pivoting around drummer Alan Wills' cyclical patterns and his brother Dennis' austere clipped funk basslines. They certainly fitted in alongside such contemporary left field Peel faves as 23 Skidoo, Clock DVA and A Certain Ratio, although front man Tony Byrne's aggressive vocal delivery also had a touch of early Killing Joke to it.

They could be regularly found at Cemaes Bay's long lamented Faraway Club, site of many classic Northern Soul gatherings in the 70s, but would occasionally make it as far as Bangor or Llanedwen's Plas Coch club, where this live performance was captured on 22nd September 1981.

From the start, it was obvious that they were destined for bigger things either collectively or individually, and before long, Alan Wills moved to Liverpool to play drums with The Wild Swans, who were one of the hottest tipped groups in the country at the time. He went on to play with The Lotus Eaters, The Room and Shack and more recently set up Deltasonic Records, where he has brought us a whole new generation of Liverpool groups including The Coral, The Zutons and The Dead 60s. Dennis Wills tragically passed away later in the 80s while Tony Byrne popped up working in the music biz in London a little later. We don't know what happened to the other members - maybe someone out there does?


Tony Byrne - vocals (& trumpet?)
Alan Wills - drums
Dennis Wills - bass
Jeff Turner - guitar
Nelwyn Jones - sax

The Miaow Beasts - Plas Coch, Llanedwen 22nd September 1981

3  All Talk
4  He
5  The Party's Over
6  Tin Pan Alley
7  Crow on a Garage Roof

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