Two venues? Two gigs? at the same time! No I didn’t split myself in two it’s the thing I love about Womanby Street in Cardiff, now the pressures off and developers have been sent packing it really has become a vibrant hub of the Underground music scene, catering for all musical tastes and the atmosphere. Sense of belonging and camaraderie in the crowds lurking outside three venues, all within 50 feet of each other, on both sides of the road, shows what happens when you get things right.

Walking towards Clwb Ifor Bach for another superb offering from our friends at Pity my Brain (you really should keep up to speed with their offerings, they never disappoint and always put on gigs with integrity) I picked up the sound of a band starting up in the Moon Club, I know that voice! So took a quick detour to be confronted with Red Light Syndrome, now you might well ask who? But take it from me these guys are a band that are really coming together. I’ve caught them twice over the last month and what is starting to come together is a sound grounded in Husker Du, tipping a nod towards Jawbreaker but all the time showing a Lemonheads grasp on pop sensibilities. Craigy Rees is starting to build in confidence as a front-man and Dean on Guitar is bringing the noise with a gorgeous punk rock edge to the sound. The too short set to an ever-increasing crowd drawn in from the outside is met with a more than appreciative response.

 

 

Nipping back across the road to Clwb Ifor Bach and we catch the start of Tribeless , its always a pleasure to catch a young band on the up but bringing their own sound into what could be classed as classic rock, with a leaning towards the alternative. (Listening to the single post the night there’s a definite hint towards prime time Evanescence) and in front-woman Lydia McDonald they have a genuine star in the making.

 

Next up we have Bottlekids and a band I’ve been looking to check out for a while Joe Grogan, front -man of the mighty Graveyard Johnnys side project and right from the start that un-mistakable vocal hits you and your off that punk rock underpinned sound drags you out of your seat and draws you right in to the moment. With a new EP due, available to pre-order on the nite, or here (https://bottlekids.bigcartel.com) and a touring schedule that is rapidly filling up they’re in the exchange in Bristol alongside Riskee and the ridicule and the Mighty King Prawn, (what a triple header) October 18th. I would suggest you jump on board pretty quickly! These guys aren’t hanging around.

 

Time is absolutely flying by tonight, and with an early curfew, we’re into the headliners Hands off Gretel before we fully have time to cool down from Bottlekids onslaught.

The music-press I have to say are for once right in tune with a band and a rapidly growing following and everything is in place for Hands off Gretel to explode out of the alternative underground and hit those bigger arena’s. They have the image and with the addition of Becky Baldwin on Bass we have a twin focus a counterpoint to frontwoman Lauren Tate, people in the know might have caught her with Triaxis? If not why not?

 

From the opening chords the crowd are up for it and worth noting tonight, in what is usually a heavy male-oriented audience I would have put the ratio at almost 50/50 great to see and with none of the behaviors that have crept into some of the larger venues and audiences. With Hands off Gretel, you can’t help but make comparisons to some of the bands that exploded out of Seattle at the peak of grunge, but it’s tighter, been brought up to date and not just sung but presented by Lauren and the band. I think the image, the attention to detail, the sound and most importantly the potential for crossover into the mainstream is huge. I’d love to see them on a stage with the likes of Garbage.

 

As the set moved on you could feel the band picking up on the crowd’s energy and shifting through the gears, in turn driving the crowd on, the Mosh pit got bigger and bigger and by three tracks from the end had spilled onto the stage!!

Tracks like SASS, My Toy, Kiss me Girl and Punk Rock leveled the place and again way too quickly they were gone. But on finishing the set the band joined the crowd, taking photo’s, chatting and spending time with the fans, nothing was too much trouble, remember this was a sell out crowd too!!

 

Now the last time I though a band was on the verge of hitting the big time was a band called Estrons, and they blwdi split up. So this time I’ll hold my thoughts, but catch Hands off Gretel now, before they move from the smaller more intimate surroundings, everything’s in place for world domination.

Author: Nev Brooks

I know what you’re thinking,” just who the fuck are Dboy?”

I thought exactly the same when just a few days before this gig I was instructed by the one and only Simon Phillips (yes he of Cheap Sweaty Fun fame) that I had to go to this show at all costs, “this band are the new Turbonegro” he boldly claimed, ”yeah Turbonegro or The Dead Boys”.

High praise indeed I’m sure you will agree…. but most importantly he had me intrigued.

A couple of Bandcamp listens later (I’ll never truly understand the anti-streaming brigade like multi-millionaire Steve Lukather I really won’t) and I’ve secured a ticket for tonight’s show, the last on the band’s debut UK visit. £6 is all it cost me and I feel like Charlie Bucket as I bowl up to Clwb Ifor sixth sensing I’m about to witness something very special indeed.

Also on the bill tonight are two local supports; Nigel, who plough a late 80s early 90s alt rock furrow seemingly intent of making me dig out my Chuck Mosely era Faith No More LPs when I get back home, by splicing the agit punk undertones of that band with some of the more “out there moments” from Pearl Jam into one glorious cacophony of sound. Plus there’s The Vega Bodegas who take the influence gene pool of their predecessors and add a twist of the pop suss of Grunge complete with the dry sense of humour that only growing up in the south Wales valleys can gift you. ‘Complete History of Witchcraft’ which comes complete with frontman/guitarist Jimmy telling a seemingly true story of sitting next to a witch on an Easyjet flight is for me the highlight of the band’s uber tight set. Before a frenzied ‘Monkey Ate The Monkey’ also sees Nigel re-join the band on stage for one last foray into the mosh pit. I can’t help but wonder what chaos these two might be able to conjure up if they were ever to head off on a tour of the UK’s fast diminishing smaller live venues.

The delights of which tonight’s headliners have been experiencing for themselves this past week or so, but then again when you have escaped the Gulags of Russia just to be able to deliver your debut record, I’m sure stomaching a few motorway breakfasts will seem like a dawdle by comparison.

Granted the Soviet refugees decamped to Canada back story that Dboy trade on might be bending the truth just a little bit, but the trio’s mission statement regarding “ending sonic austerity” is one we should all buy into. I mean just yards away there is a venue promoting tribute bands like they are the live music scene’s one and only salvation, and that brothers and sisters I can assure you they are fucking not, bands like Dboy are the salvation and their debut album   ‘Prove Your Love – Live in Belem’ is one I demand you all go out and buy! It’s brilliant in its ability to stun the listener.

Hitting the stage (okay make that floor) with their sublime ‘Dboy for President’ single, I’m immediately mindful of that original comparison Mr Phillips made regarding the mighty Turbonegro. Yes they sound like them (well early days Turbo anyway), yes they have an instantly recognisable image and yes they also have a horde of insane fans (all wearing balaclavas) who seemingly worship the band.  There’s no messing around either as the band take us on a rip ride of 13 songs in what must have been 20 minutes maximum, and as the masked bass player launches himself into his devoted Scouts (that’s what the band’s fans like to be known as) I can’t help adding the muthafucking Dwarves to the list of influences Dboy display.

Special mention must go to the band’s masked drummer who not only hammers his kit like he’s on a hand forging episode of Forged in Fire but also somehow manages to out mince the king of mincing the legendary Pål Pot Pamparius in the process.

Finishing with the double whammy of ‘Born With A Hard On’ and the awesome ‘Three Piece Band’ before then trashing their backline and this ensuring no encore, tonight once again reinforced the fact that great live bands playing original music are still out there, you just need to do the digging, or have your mates do it for you.

Simon Phillips, I owe you one.

Author: Johnny Hayward

Facebook