Junior Bill

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2019

Genre: Reggae

Location: South West

Website: juniorbill.co.uk

Junior Bill have been here all along. Surveying their world from atop a suburban overpass, or a forlorn back alley, they are the eyes and ears of urban Britain. Their witty provincial tales eulogise forgotten peoples, spin empathic character portraits and tell the everyday stories of contemporary city life.
The tunes themselves are catchy as hell. Pretty playground limericks, latin melodies and chanted refrains rattle round the skull, distracting you from the often tragic subtexts of division, decline and gentrification familiar to any British city-dweller. Dubby basslines and concrete grooves underpin a ska-tinged global-local collage of sound. It's a blend that makes them the natural torch-bearers of a vein of Jamaican-influenced British songwriting running from Jerry Dammers to Jamie T.
When frontman Rob Nichols and keyboardist Joel Beswick met at Cathays Community Centre, Cardiff at the tilt of their teenage years, they never expected to take the band to where it is now. Whilst keeping an allegiance to the humble community centre, the youth club loiterers have grown into electric and brilliant showmen who are rightly regarded as one of Wales' most enthralling live acts.