Archive for the 'Show reviews' Category

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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Show Review: Future Of The Left, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Joy Formidable @ Clwb Ifor Bach, 25/05/09.

Flyer

This night almost didn’t happen. My buddy Matt phoned just as I was leaving telling me the gig was sold out, which didn’t really surprise me considering the following that FOTL have. I went down anyway and we managed to get ourselves on the guestlist, in exchange for taking some equipment in that we didn’t ever end up doing.

With the money we saved, we went to the bar next door and got a few drinks before going in to catch The Joy Formidable, who I was pretty impressed by. Although I had never listened to this lot before, I had heard numerous comparisons to bands like Sky Larkin, which I would definitely agree with. The Joy Formidable play uptempo indie rock pop songs that seem to soar and soar before ending as quickly as they begin. Some might argue that they’re a bit one dimensional but I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

The Joy Formidable

We then moved downstairs to see a band I’ve been following for a while without ever really getting into. Pulled Apart By Horses are a hardcore band from Leeds who I have always thought might have taken their name from the Radiohead song now known as ‘Reckoner’, someone might have to confirm this to me though. Regardless of the origins of the name, I was not disappointed by this band, who were absolutely incredible. Even with the lack of a stage, Pulled Apart By Horses play with such energy that it’s impossible not to get sucked in to the atmosphere that they create, seriously, these guys laugh in the face of health and safety and spent a decent amount of the set flailing about the crowd, standing on chairs and climbing up the walls, all whilst creating a truly impressive amount of noise. The band are clearly all pretty proficient musicians, yet avoid the pitfall of many similar bands who prioritise shredding over actual music. Instead, PABH manage to infuse their technical playing with awesome songs. Expect to see some in a future post.

Pulled Apart By Horses

And there’s me looking pretty impressed and wearing red.

We went out for a quick smoke before moving back upstairs to see the headliners Future Of The Left. Being a massive Mclusky fan, I have followed this lot since their inception but had never seen them live so I was really excited for their set. The club was as full as I’ve ever seen it and their was a real sense of expectation as the band took to the stage.

Future Of The Left

The band opened with a visceral Arming Erirtrea and then went on to play a ridiculously energetic set of material from both Curses and the new record. The raw passion that they play with is mindblowing and the crowd duly responded. I have often read how much the band hates people downloading their music and this was confirmed when Andy sneered “You people must have been downloading” when everyone went apeshit for the new songs, which I thought was a bit of a silly comment to make. Clearly the crowd was made up of pretty dedicated fans, and I personally don’t understand how bands can complain that a few people are downloading their music if they are also playing to sold out crowds who are clearly having a great time. Each to their own i guess.

Future Of The Left

I’ve read on numerous forums about the band’s crowd interaction and they were on top form, even going as far as handing out apples to the audience and stealing some guy’s hip flask and threatening to hand it the bouncer. They played for at least an hour and ended their set with a chaotic semi stage invasion that was quickly prevented by the bouncers before the band left the stage and wasted no time in climbing about the ceiling and inviting the crowd to play drums at the front of the stage.

Future Of The Left

All in all, this was a show that I am incredibly glad I ended up going to. It’s quite rare that I go to a show and come away genuinely impressed with all the bands I see play but this was definitely true for this show. I remember sitting outside the venue when Future Of The Left had finished pretty much speechless at the sheer intensity of their show. If you ever get the chance to see these guys, then seriously, you have to fucking go.

P.S. I would put up a Future Of The Left album, but as mentioned, the band hates people sharing their work.

The Joy Formidable Myspace
Pulled Apart By Horses Myspace
Future Of The Left Myspace

All the photos are from here.

Show Review: Black Lips, Mika Miko, Gringo Star @ The Globe + The Invisible @ Buffalo Bar, 17/05/09.

flyer

On Sunday I went and saw Black Lips at The Globe in Cardiff.
I met up with two of my friends in the city centre and we got some cans before walking in the rain to the venue. It was the first time I had been to The Globe and it seems like a pretty cool venue with a good size stage and pretty decent sound.

Gringo Star were the first band on and were pretty good. I’ve heard of these guys for a while without ever really listening to them and I was pretty bummed that I didn’t know any of their songs. Gringo Star played an uptempo set of indie rock mixed in with more country and folk sounds and seemed to be pretty well received by the crowd. The vocals were a bit hit and miss but with a bit of work I think they could turn into a really good band.

Gringo Star

Next up were Mika Miko, a band who I had been looking forward to seeing as well posting their album on this blog. I had read stories about their fabled live show but was really let down. On stage, Mika Miko seem almost aware of their own buzz and so don’t really put any attempt whatsoever in playing a good show, instead just wandering the stage trying to look cool, which is fine too an extent but silly when it gets in the way of the performance. Maybe I just saw them on a bad night or whatever, but I was really let down, especially after enjoying their album so much.

mika miko

What I enjoy so much about Black Lips is the way that they cut the bullshit that so many other bands seem to revel in. The band entered without so much as the lights even turning off, catching most of the audience by surprise. They started with Bad Kids, which was cool and then played for about 40 minutes, dipping quite extensively into their back catalogue. The band themselves played awesomely but the crowd were a bit of a let down, maybe because it was a Sunday night. I was expecting an audience to match the high intensity of the band but no one really seemed into it until the last song of the set ‘Juvenile’. For some reason, I have no idea why, the crowd went crazy for this one, culminating in everybody pulling Cole off the stage so he could crowd surf around the venue, which was pretty fun.

black lips

We then decided to walk down the street to ‘afterparty’ at Buffalo Bar. These things are normally quite bad but i’m really glad I went, mainly due to a band I had never heard of before, The Invisible. Arriving just as their set started, we were treated to an absolutely awesome show of spacey atmospheric yet upbeat music, somewhat reminiscent of TV On The Radio. The vocalist was seriously awesome and i’ll try to locate their album somewhere and put it up here, because if they’re anything as good on record as they were live they could be a seriously interesting proposition.

I should point out, none of the photos used in the post are my own and if anyone wants them taken down then don’t hesitate to drop and a comment. Cheers!

Also, sorry for the delays in posting! I had an exam today though and i’ve got a load starting in about 2 weeks, so i’m sure you can understand my lack of free time.


Welcome…


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.

Clicking on a picture will take you to a link where you can download said album for sampling purposes

Don't be selfish, consider all these links as means of sampling the artist only. If you like something then go and buy it. Equally as important, support your local music scene, no matter how small. Go and see shows.

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