Archive for August, 2009

An Amazing Weekend Of Music Feat. Crocodiles, Camera Obscura, Mariee Sioux and Final Fantasy @ Various Locations Across Cardiff

When four bands that you really rate highly play your home city in the space of a weekend it’s bound to be good. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this good. Cardiff has in the past been a bit quiet in terms of live music but a recent influx of new promoters has seen a whole load of awesome bands playing here, and the brilliant shows that I was lucky enough to see this weekend are testament to their efforts.

First off we saw Crocodiles at Clwb Ifor Bach on Friday night, who I was pretty excited to see after downloading their album a couple of weeks before. Riding on a wave of hype, the band attracted a fairly sizeable crowd for the bottom floor of a small club. I knew the band only features only 2 members and was naturally expecting a drummer and singer / guitarist. Instead the band make good use of a drum machine and loop pedal with both members playing guitars and singing. The wall of sound they created was pretty cool and evoked a Jesus & Mary Chain vibe that sounded brilliant in the intimate surroundings. They also have a really cool electronic edge which mixes in perfectly with the drones and swathes of guitar feedback they play. Although they only played for about 40 minutes, the band really made an impression and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

Crocodiles

I’ve been listening to Camera Obscura’s latest record My Maudlin Career a lot recently so it was a pleasant surprise when they were announced to play a free festival in the centre of Cardiff. The crowd was absolutely terrible, which I guess is kind of inevitable at a free event which also featured bands like Kids In Glasshouses and The Zutons but the band held their own and played a set full of jangly melodies and pounding rhythms. The band seemed to enjoy playing despite such a disinterested crowd, proclaiming themselves to be “Dr. Who nerds” as well as joking around when messing up a song.

Camera Obscura

French Navy was probably the best received song of their set and the crowd seemed to warm to them slightly as they played on. In hindsight they were an odd choice for such an event; an obscure twee-pop band at a commercialised free event hosted by cheesy radio DJs but they still managed to give a good account of themselves. They thanked the crowd for watching as they walked off and my friend quipped ” I like how she said watching, not listening”, which I think was a fair judgement of the reaction they received.

As Camera Obscura finished me and friends drove to the other side of town to catch the Mariee Sioux & Final Fantasy show. I had been really excited about this for a while, with the venue being a renovated church with stunning acoustics and stain glass windows.

I think there was another support act but Mariee Sioux was the first artist we saw. Sitting on the stage with just an acoustic guitar, Mariee played a gorgeous set of finger picked melodies combined with her incredible voice, pitched somewhere between Laura Marling and Joanna Newsom She seemed very shy and thanked the crowd repeatedly whilst sipping from a bottle of wine, yet her shyness did not seem to affect her playing. Her final song which she dedicated to a late friend who was supposed to accompany her on her trip was incredibly touching and received a rapturous response from the audience, wrapping up her set perfectly.

Mariee Sioux

As Owen Pallet took to the small stage of the venue the crowd hushed and the lights dimmed as he tuned up his violin and introduced himself. The venue itself seemed pretty much custom made for an artist like Final Fantasy, with the stage being framed with ornate carvings that seemed to suit Owen’s complex melodies perfectly. I’ve read of Final Fantasy using projections on stage in past sets but not at this show, eschewing even a backdrop and performing in front of just a plain black sheet at the back of the stage.

Final Fantasy

Instead of performing with a setlist, Owen seemed prepared to play what he felt like playing or just asking the audience, which was cool. Everyone was sat down on the floor and there was a really lovely communal atmosphere as he worked his way through the set. I liked the mix of material he played, ranging from He Poos Clouds and He Has A Good Home to some tracks of the new record as well as a cover which I really enjoyed. I found myself constantly astounded at the sheer talent of this guy. Not only is he an incredible violinist, he sings like an angel and is also an accomplished pianist which when combined produced a spectacle of genuine brilliance.

Final Fantasy

After about 50 minutes of playing Owen announced that he was being forced to finish his set due to the licensing laws of the venue. This is where things got really fucking cool. Instead of finishing the set in the venue he performed a further four songs in a car park opposite the venue with the audience crowded around him! It’s funny how quiet 200 people can be in a carpark if they’re trying to hear Final Fantasy play, with the only other sounds coming from the occasional passing car.

Incredible.

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Thanks for checking out Acid Math!

This blog will hopefully act as a conduit for me to pass on stuff I think is awesome, to you, the music appreciator. There will be new stuff, old stuff, well known stuff and unknown stuff, everything will be good though, you can be sure of that.

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