The hottest ticket in town had to be The Libertines playing the compact and frankly undersized venue Clwb Ifor Bach. Could probably have sold it out ten times over and demand would still have been feverish. With doors being delayed by a good ninety minutes the queue snaking down Womanby Street was like the entrance to Wonkas factory as people clutched their golden tickets. The band has been loyal to Cardiff with several shows in the city over the last few years and then with a new album set for delivery towards the end of March it was time for the boys in the band to regroup and test out some of the new songs on audiences around the country and what better way than in small grassroots venues that would be packed to the rafters and boy was Clwb Ifor packed.

Arriving on stage fashionably late The fab four waste no time in getting on with business. It’s a work through ‘Up The Bracket’ and ‘Vertigo’ to warm things up and loosen the voices of the semi-inebriated audience who were all looking to make the best of this opportunity to catch the band this close and personal. The recent single ‘Run Run Run’ was the first song off the new album to be aired and the masses were already throwing themselves around and singing along like it had been in the set for years. it wasn’t long before a couple of other new songs were played in the shape of ‘Night Of The Hunter’ and ‘Shiver’ with the former being the chance to grab an early breather as the wall I found myself pressed against was actually perspiring I swear it and on Stage right Pete was still wearing his Crombie buttoned up and a hat with a rather fetching Rosary bead wrapped around his forehead for dramatic effect no doubt not something I can see catching on but hey, you never know. Pete and Carl were their usual busy selves on stage interacting as they took the mic for their lines like a well-oiled machine and as the set developed the audience began to fall over itself at the lip of the low stage. There were calls for people to take a step back which fell on deaf ears and instead whilst nobody was injured the security did a decent job in refreshing the audience with bottles of cold water.

The middle of the set eased back with ‘Shiver’ from the new album before a rousing sing-a-long of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘What Kate Did’ before the cool swagger of ‘Mustang’ played out the last of the new songs. It was heads down and time to get busy before the curfew was ignored and ‘Death On The Stairs’ lit a torch under a magnificent run through ‘Time For Heroes’ and the main set was done.

A swift towel down and it was ‘Gunga Din which happens to be my favourite song off the last album before ‘The Good Old Days’ loosened the audience up for one last hurrah of an epic ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ and this sweaty mess was over and we could all wander out into the cool January night and some much-needed oxygen. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to go to a sold-out sweaty show by a big band in a small club and it was indeed one of those nights where you’re grateful to have discovered this thing we all love called Rock n Roll because The Libertines are one of the best if not the best live band the United Kingdom has produced in decades and these sweaty gigs are where they shine brightest. It’s their natural habitat From the magnificent rhythm section of Gary Powell and John Hassall who never drop a note and pour petrol on the fire in the engine room of The Libertines that enables Carl Barât and Peter Doherty to weave their merry notes like they are two sides of the same person yet very different in their delivery and approach and that’s where the magic of nights like this lies. A Magnificent night of music pure and simple.

Now then, Can we do this all again sometime it was a blast and I’m sure every single person who is lucky enough to attend one of these shows will testify just how bloody good The Libertines are. OK, maybe bigger venues so more people can witness how damn good a night out should be.

New album pre order Here


Author: Dom Daley

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

Well, it most certainly is in Cardiff city centre tonight, as trying to find a parking space close to the venue is verging on the impossible. I mean it’s only 7pm, yet I’m having to hotfoot it halfway across Cardiff as I don’t want to miss any of tonight’s openers, punk rock supergroup, Ultrabomb. That’s because tonight’s gig is one of those dreaded club (or should that be clwb?) nights with an early start and curfew. It’s “time to burn” indeed.

I’m not alone in my desire to catch UltraBomb either as the top floor of Clwb Ifor is respectably full for the arrival of ex-Hüsker Dü bassist Greg Norton, The Mahones guitarist/singer Finny McConnell and drummer extraordinaire Jamie….no wait, that’s not him behind the kit, that’s Oliver Perry who also just happens to be drumming for tonight’s headliners The Bar Stool Preachers too. Yup, step up that man, because tonight, for one night only, Perry (as he’s affectionately known by his bandmates) totally owns Cardiff, playing two sets on the bounce, and there’s plenty of that to come that’s for sure.

On paper, the Irish folk undertones hidden within UltraBomb’s music shouldn’t really be my musical cup of tea, but when they’re driven headlong into the more distorted and frenzied influence of the band’s rhythm section it all comes together to make one magnificent racket indeed. Frontman Fin cuts an immediately affable persona with the band playing a mixture of songs from da Bomb’s debut record ‘Time To Burn’ along with a few choice cuts from his and his bandmate’s previous bands, the pick of which for me was probably a particularly rousing version of ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’. Of UltraBomb’s original tunes ‘Star’ shone brightest over the Cardiff skyline tonight, and talking of wise men RPM’s head honcho Dom Daley arrives (fashionably late as always) just in time for the double whammy of ‘Sonic Reducer’ and ‘New Day Rising’ that brings things to a close. If you are lucky enough to have tickets for the handful of dates left of this run of shows make sure you get in early doors because UltraBomb really are the, err… bomb!

As the lights go up I take some time to look around me at tonight’s assembled throng to fully appreciate just how far The Bar Stool Preachers have come since the release of their third album ‘Above The Static’, and just like my gig going amigo Mr Daley observed during the band’s Newport show all the way back in May, the thing that immediately leaps out at me is just how diverse the audience is. Granted there’s probably around double the number of people in here than that Le Pub show but with the power of Bauer and a great record behind them they really do seem to be crossing over from their original punk/ska fanbase.  There’s a guy in an Iron Maiden battle jacket stood next to a girl in an Interrupters shirt who’s chatting to a couple on a night out who are stood next to a mother and son and yup there’s still a fair smattering of us old bald heads present too. The thing we all have in common though is our mutual love of all things Bar Stool Preachers, which is never more obvious than when the band explodes onto the stage with opener ’Call Me On The Way Home’ and the whole place, as one, goes suitably nuts.

‘Grazie Governo’ and ‘All Turned Blue’ quickly follow before I realise that the Preachers are a man down this evening, guitarist Karl having recently broken a leg in three places and having to sit out the rest of the tour.  However, this has to be for the best as the versions of ‘DLTDHYOTWO’ and ‘One Fool Down’ (complete with acoustic and full throttle versions just like prime-time Scorpions would have done back in the 80s) that immediately follow are so powerful it’s impossible to stand still and all I can say really is “get well soon fella.” It must be soooo frustrating though to be missing out on these shows as The Bar Stool Preachers really are on fire right now.

That’s what comes from working your arses off though, and along with Grade 2 these lads must be the hardest working band in the UK right now….and trust me, it shows. There’s a real arena quality in frontman Tom McFaull’s delivery and he’s never sounded better than on the likes of ‘Doorstep’ or the encore of ‘Lighthouse’ where the quality of the band’s songwriting really does speak volumes.

I’ve told Tom a few times over the years that every time I see him and the band live they always seem go up a notch, and tonight is certainly no exception as the band somehow manages to squeeze every drop of energy out of the Cardiff crowd, with the likes of ‘Don’t Die Today’, Choose My Friends’ and ‘Flatlined’ all getting the audience and dancefloor bouncing to the extent that I fear we all may end up in the dressing rooms below, and then there’s the main set closer ‘8.6 Days (All The Broken Hearts)’ perfectly slotting into the BSP set list jigsaw leaving everyone soaked to the skin in sweat, and not just their own either.

Returning to the stage with Tom proudly announcing that the band will be back in early 2024 for another set of shows, before then unleashing a brutal “skank off” version of their signature tune ‘Bar Stool Preacher’, I cannot help but think that the next 12 months will be crucial to the next stage of the band’s evolution not just here in the UK but worldwide. Their peers like Bob Vylan and Kid Kapichi are already getting added to major US rock festivals next year, so the time has (on the face of it) never been better for the Preachers to take their righteous fight truly global.  Whatever happens next though, I’m sure you’ll join with me in wishing them well.

“Merry Christmas and ‘appy New Year everyone!”

Author: Johnny Hayward

Sŵn Festival is a multi-venue music festival based in Cardiff city centre that started in 2007 with a focus on new music, emerging artists and homegrown talent. This year RPM decided to take the plunge and get involved in Saturday evenings entertainment and try and race across as many venues as possible. First things first I’d like to make a comment just how friendly the staff were at each of the packed venues there were plenty of staff about and every venue was pretty packed it has to be said and considering it was a Saturday night in a busy city centre this was no mena feat. Whilst the venues mainly concerntrated around the Womanby St area it was only a ten minute wlak to Jacobs basement and the Tramshed which were away from the main hub but not far enough to cause an inconvenience. Now I’ve been going to shows in the city for over 4 decades and I ventured into a couple I’d never set foot in before and didn’t even know existed but the Sŵn insta page was well singed and running times were easy to navigate.

Wristbands and passes were aquired smoothly and it was off we went to see The Shunkos hit Tiny Rebel and the very busy venue quickly adjusted their trousers and put on their shit kickers for some hardcore punk rock from Port Talbots finest new kids on the block, and they didn’t disappoint with a impressive set climaxing with a cover of ‘Chaise Longue’ that taught the original a thing or two about delivery and having a good time before ‘Beer And Gear’ made it all ok. Hearing the band through a very nice n noisy yet clear PA was a treat. Top turn all round and it was smiling faces all round as the temperature was rising and the bar had been set.

Time for a wander and it was into Fuel to catch a few songs from Death Cult Electric before we ventured off to find Jacobs Basement for some DIY garage psych courtesy of Family Battenburg where it was strictly one out one in as the packed venue shook their shit as the post-punkers rattled out an impressive and infectious set of Alternative rockers.

We also had time for a few DJ sets just to focus the mind as this quick paced festival catered for all tastes in all typres of venues whilst the so called normal world carried on with its business outside the festival bubble.

It was time to head over to Tramshed for BC Camplight and their piano driven radio friendly alt rock that certainly had its fans in the appreciative crowd. After a quick turn around it was time for the fantastic Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.

They delivered a powerful and heavy set that shook the very foundations of the packed venue with the likes of ‘Rubbernecker’ and the excellent ‘Ultimate Hammer’ as the Geordies turned in a festival topping performance where Matthew Baty led the band through a Sabbath meets QOTSA dessert sessions set of mighty metalic perportions. The set was jaw dropping and exhilirating and seeing the Stone Cold t shirt made me smile something the great man would be proud to be represented at Hell Yeah! that was ass whooping stuff.

Whilst Pigs were dropping audio bombs on the Tramshed it was the turn of Getdown Services to show Tiny Rebel how to do a proper mash up with their very real and working class observational alternative pop with parts Goldie Looking Chain and part Sleeford Mods if youre looking for lazy observations but they had something about them with catchy songs that caught your attention and made you move and smile which in this day and age is always a good thing.

In summery its fair to say we were really impressed with what Sŵn festival dished up and we’re most definately going better prepared next year. Happy smiling people packing out every venue regardless of who was playing just gig goers out for a good time. Going for the whole three days and trying to defy logic and cover more bands for what was one of the best shows we’ve been to in a long time. Punctuality, friendlieness and bloody good music from a wide variety of genres which to be honest was its single most noticable super power. Diolch yn fawr iawn Sŵn, we had a blast and watched as many great bands play as possible. Heres to next year when we do it all again time 3.

Swn Festival

Playing downstairs in the oddly shaped room of Clwb Ifor Bach to a sold out audience is a tasty proposition. They’ve played to a sold out audience upstairs last time I saw them here which was several years ago now and that was messy I’m sure if memory serves me well downstairs was carnage last time so a lot to live up to.

I was thinking when it came to writing this that I’ve seen them in the Globe, Uni, Arena and Clwb Ifor Several times in this fair city and they’ve all bee exceptional for one reason or another be it the first post covid comeback to supporting the mighty Libertines but Clwb can be a bit special.

Trampolene come from Wales bestust city and for one reason or another there is a rivalry and people of the capital lovingly refer to the good people of Swansea as “Jack Bastards” however the insult was quickly embraced by the people out west and chanted at football matches as a bage of honour and being a greeting between fellow “Jacks”. I digress, back to the sweaty pit that is Clwb downstairs. As the strains of the national anthem belt out of the PA the trio of invaiders stride onto the compact stage like marauding panto villians before launching into ‘Gotta Do More’ as a beaming Jones struts back and forth like a peacock absorbing the chants of “you jack Bastard” like some superhero using it to energise his performance because for the next hour he’s going to need it. Let the carnage begin!

‘Sort Me Out’ from the new forthcoming album and ‘Shoot The Light’ pepper the beer and bodies that are thrown around in the lively pit that is bouncing along. It’s like the worst stag do has gate crashed a party and the two quickly realise that they are a marrage made in heaven and need to make the night last forever because its not going to get any better than the here and now. The band are on a tight timeline and have a new album to promote which they throw in some of the new songs into tonight tight and focussed set. I love the debut album and the stand out songs which are getting thinner as they release more albums and there is only time to play a verse of ‘Beautiful Pain’ as well as the compilation of ‘pick a pocket’ with the highlight from the album tonight being ‘My Bourgeoisie Girl’. ‘Ketamine’ and ‘Poundland’ are raced through like terrace anthems as Jones surrenders himself to the pit. It was a pleasant suprise to see and hear the band rip through the classic that is ‘Yma O Hyd’ before having to call time on the evenings madness.

Before it go too messy ‘Uncle Brian’s Abattoire’ was an unlikely singalong but boy was it delivered.

The new songs sounded like a band on the up as much as I love the releases the new tunes that are going to be on ‘Love And War’ like ‘Money’ sound next level. There is so much happening so quickly its like trying to ride a wild horse. the trick is to live in the moment and whatever happens happens. Theres no grief, no agro just a room full of smiling happy people loving life and its current soundtrack which just happens to be getting better. ‘No Love No Kisses’, ‘Together’ both add to the soundtrack surely now is this the time for Trampolene to kick on? I certainly hope so. They deserve it, they love it and they are delivering Rock and Roll by the bucket load. With a cheeky smile and a tune or two Trampolene have the X Factor – so now its over to the new album coming out and the band being elevated to the premier league where they belong. Now dry off soak up the beer and to the next time – catch them in a small venue and embrace the madness and chaos it wont be long before we reminise about the time we saw them in Clwb Ifor and such rooms – Trampolene are coming the beautiful Jack Bastards!

Author: Dom Daley


It’s time for my first gig of the “roaring twenties”, but tonight is sadly also the last one to be put on by Drew and the Cardiff Punk Rock Bowling team as they are seemingly disbanding after tonight’s event. From my experience, it’s always a mixture of joy and pain (well it is the next morning) when you see Wonk Unit live so they as returning headliners for this PRB Awards night feels like the perfect choice to see out this vibrant and close-knit community of Kingpins.


Kicking things off tonight at a time when most people are seemingly still enjoying their first (much cheaper) pint in one of the nearby watering holes are Chepstow’s Bottlekids. It’s six months since I last saw the trio live downstairs in this very same venue and inbetween they’ve released a debut self-titled EP to widespread critical acclaim, and here with the benefit of Ifor Bach’s main room sound system the likes of ’25 Days’ sound like stadium filling anthems for the next generation. With a string of German tour dates already ahead of them these are busy times for Bottlekids make sure you check them out.

If Bottlekids see the stadium punk of Green Day as their musical peers then Manchester’s Aerial Salad must look up to DJ Rubble from Paw Patrol. They look so young I can’t help but wonder if they are actually legally supposed in the venue at all. Don’t let their child like appearance fool you though, as once these boys get into their stride, they’ll rip your throat out.  I should perhaps admit that the last time our paths crossed I really didn’t “get” all the fuss that was being generated around the band at the time, and they just kind of felt like a harder pop/punk version of Arctic Monkeys to me. A year and a half on though and tonight I have to say Aerial Salad are nothing short of phenomenal, and I can now see the trio’s immediate appeal plastered across the smiling faces all around me. It’s kind of reassuring to know that the future of punk rock is very much safe in the hands of Jamie, Matt and Mike. Fantastic stuff!

It only feels like a few weeks ago that I was last penning a live review of Wonk Unit for RPM Online, and that’s because it was. Yet as the Wonk faithful know all too well you’ll never get tired of seeing the greatest band ever to come out of Croydon simply because there’s never two Wonk gigs alike, and with the insanity (and nudity) of their valleys shows of old missing from proceedings tonight it really is time for the music to do the talking. So, with added Véronique on keyboards coupled with the aforementioned Clwb Ifor rig I’m pleased to report that Wonk Unit really have never sounded more amazing than they do tonight in the 20 plus times I must have now seen them live.


As always Daddy Wonk’s ability to mix deep cuts with “the hits” is always a delight to behold as the Unit are kept well and truly on their toes with the likes of ‘Girlfriend Is A Lunatic’ (from the band’s debut ‘Flying The Japanese Flag’) and ‘Judus Betrayers’ (from the far more recent ‘Terror’) thrown into the set seemingly on a whim, but it is their upmost credit that they never once fail to rise to the challenge.

Likewise it’s great to hear curveballs like ‘Old Trains’ and ‘We Are The England’ sandwiched in alongside the ferocious ‘Depressed?’ and the pogo-tastic ‘Go Easy’ plus there’s the chaos of returning set closer ‘Johnny Rambo’, and I’ll say it again the eclectic influences at the very core of Wonk Unit is what makes them such an essential live band.


Clwb Ifor was packed out tonight just 24 hours after Subhumans had done just the same, remind me who was it that said punk rock was dead?


Well tonight it’s never been more alive, exciting, or essential… FACT!

Author: Johnny Hayward

Wonk Unit Facebook

Aerial Salad Facebook

Bottlekids Facebook

What I hear you say Two live reviews from Jim Jones in a couple of weeks.  Well, one is from the start of the tour and the other (this) from the tail of the tour.  Besides it would seem both nights were fucking spectacular so the internet being flooded (ok maybe not flooded) with Rock and Roll can only be a good thing and if you’ve never seen this band then take some advice and get down and get with it if they’re ever playing near you (which they probably will)

Johnny took care of the support act as I was busy negotiating the M4 that had taken on the look of a rapid river such was the downpour this evening.

If uber did arks you can bet your bottom dollar there would be a rank of them parked on Castle St just around the corner from Clwb Ifor Bach tonight. Such is the ferocity of the rain that walking up to the venue I think to myself that maybe I’ve walked onto the film set of Seven…or perhaps make that Severn as I by the time I do finally reach the gig I look like I’ve been for a dip in said river.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s on nights like this that gigs can tend to suffer attendance-wise especially with walk-up crowds and some lost souls even when they have bought tickets in advance then simply can’t be arsed to get wet and make the effort to get out the front door. Not so tonight though as even before the ungodly hour of 7:30 pm there is more than a healthy number of Righteous Minds in attendance to bid a very warm welcome to last-minute support act Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy.

Joe’s mix of deep south (wales) blues and folk actually proves to be the perfect pick me up tonic after our early evening soaking as the two-piece set up (of guitar and drums) deliver songs like ‘Home’ from their recent ‘The Road’ EP that spark and glow like a warm campfire that the audience can huddle around to dry off.

There’s a haunting quality to Joe’s guitar that recalls David Lynch movie soundtracks and his husky sour mash fermented vocals are straight outta the Usk Delta, whilst on earlier songs like ‘Babylon’ I can see why some folks are getting a little bit excited and calling him a modern-day Dylan.  As a band dropped in at the last minute to replace two other acts that had sadly fallen by the wayside due to illness Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy just make their left of field take on this rock ‘n’ roll malarkey look oh so easy…


What, We carried a review from York on this tour but such is the undeniable force of nature that is Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind how could we not top and tail the tour? Having only seen the band play a few months ago on the opening night of the album’s release this was JJ&TRM having bedded in the new tunes and with some distance from their birth, this was another perfect night to check out one of the UK’s finest Rock and Roll bands currently treading the boards.  Like a finely tuned beast and with a new single on show they were never going to disappoint it was more a question of how good they were going to be.


In fairness to Jim he has always played this neck of the woods and this must have been the umpteenth time I’ve seen him perform with one line up or another and I’ve never left a show unenthused or thinking about missing the next time he breezes through town. Kicking off with the wonderful stomp of ‘Get Down Get With It’ it’s hard to believe that things can’t go anywhere but downhill from here but following on from the glam tastic cover its ‘Boil Yer Blood’ and a couple more from the marvelous debut ‘Super Natural’ before we get a peek behind the curtail and the band wheel in a wonderful dramatic ‘Shazam’. ‘Sex Robot’ and ‘Satan Got His Heart Set On You’ as the band then flip flop from one album to the other picking the audience up then slamming them down before knocking out a rough house version of ‘Helter Skelter’ the band are absolutely in tune with one and other as they spar off each other trading guitar lick or bass line or percussion fill with the lap steel and piano chipping in with uplifting fills at every opportunity.

Looking like the Cult of real Rock and Roll in their roll necks  or some brothers in arms armed with Guitars and music rather than Bullets and Bombs they’ll be queuing out the door to sign up to join the collective with these guys providing the soundtrack and message. It warms my heart to hear them rally against Austerity and tory Britain and how Shit Island is heading down the pan with clowns and Jokers at every turn but whilst were led by the snout by greedy politicians and right-wing loons I’ll take this soundtrack and I guess selfishly Great Rock and Roll always rises up in tough times and hearing the sermon of ‘I Found A Love’ for one evening the world outside can wait whilst I get carried away on a wave of Righteous Rock and Roll.  After taking a walk through the audience and taking the message to the people on ‘Base Is Loaded’ they are called back for an encore that they richly deserve.

With the clock ticking the band has time for ‘Hold up’ and a blistering ‘Alpha Shit’ before we rejoin the rank and file on the rainy street of Cardiff with our ears ringing and another night of the finest Rock and Roll you could wish for pumping around our hearts.  Amen to that Brothers Jim and the rest of the Righteous Mind you raised the bar a little higher than before – now when can we do it all again?


Social Experiment hit the stage at the early time of seven-fifteen due to Cardiff seemingly giving up its city to the busiest night in a long time as the Stadium Across the road having seventy thousand petrol heads in for a show but the clued in people of South Wales braved the gridlock for the main event happening on one side of Womanby Street. Puddle is quite the striking frontman with his wonderfully pert mowhawk as he belted out the words to their songs stalking the front of the stage like a caged beast the four-piece sound tight and deliver their hardcore punk with gusto.  Tackling social issues and hammering out tracks drawn from their most excellent album ‘Rumours Of Our Demise Are Not Greatly Exaggerated’. The only local boys on tonight’s bill kick things off with a really impressive set they’re hard to ignore and certainly prove to be a tasty chaser for tonights session.


Rich Ragany and The Digressions have battled horrendous motorway traffic and vuvuzela brandishing speedway maniacs to make their Welsh debut tonight. So, after all that just as they launch into the sublime late summer sounds of ‘Little Let Down’ and guitarist Gaff’s amp decides to go up in flames, I must admit my heart kind of sinks a little bit for them.

Fear not though (power)pop pickers as after a quick on-stage tactical reshuffle this little hiccup is quickly put to one side and the remaining Digressers set about delivering a finely woven set of songs largely drawn from the ‘Like We’ll Never Make It’ album, Rich’s debut solo release.

Highlights? Well, there’s the rambunctious ‘Scotty Thompson’ which crops up mid-set, which is a song that could very easily out Cockney tonight’s headliners in its composition. Then there’s the bristling energy of ‘Your Distance’ where Rich along with rhythm guitarist Kit Swing combine their voices to lift even the hardest of hearts in attendance tonight.

Having already supported the likes of alt-rock legends The Lemonheads and The Rolling Stones buddies The Dirty Strangers it’s easy to see why Rich Ragany and The Digressions have such a broad church appeal and I must admit I was enjoying myself so much along with most of the rest of the audience that I didn’t really scribble down anything else. Then again isn’t this what Saturday nights are supposed to be all about?

With the good decision to take this to the main room it was time for headliners The Bar Stool Preachers to stand tall and show the good people of this city exactly what all the fuss is about.  Without fanfare they didn’t so much hit the stage but gave it a right seeing to with a size ten. The energy and enjoyment oozing from the band is a joy to see and they waste no time at all winning the crowd over who have come to dance and have a seriously good time.

Without the blink of an eye this (now) five piece really work the stage and audience alike and their love of the music wins over even the hardest cynic and with ‘One Fool Down’ coming fairly early on in the set is a real blast.  There are plenty of people singing every word as the songs from their first two studio albums get peeled off the bands hard work ethic is really paying off as they might be a guitar lite they are still tighter than a pair of soaking wet rizlas the three out front lock-in and move like its been choreographed or rather a well-oiled machine who’ve toured their backsides off in Europe and America over the last few years.

There was time for a few new songs as well which even on first or second time of hearing already sound like the band has taken another step up the ladder thats not to say songs of the first two are weak because they are absolutely not but this is shaping up to be next level stuff. older sounds are welcomed like old mates songs like ‘Ballad Of The M1’ and ‘Start New’ are fresh and ‘DLTDHYOTWO’ sounded magnificent and Tom was (Bar Stool) preaching to converted as he expressed his feelings towards the current unwanted encombant of Number 10.  It’s great to hear a band so driven and right up for it and bloody well enjoying every second of their journey and its a journey I’m more than happy to jump on board with.  One of the best bands the UK has to offer right now and if you get the chance to see them play a club show anytime soon then take it because when the next album comes out you’ll be having to see them headline venues the size of the University across town and who knows from there.

One of the most enjoyable night’s entertainment for a long long time with three quite different bands but all with a common bond – they love music and play with their hearts on their sleeves and leave nothing behind (well apart from a Bass guitar), They have something to say and say it well – with passion, conviction and enthusiasm that’s infectious and great to see.

This was The Bar Stool Preachers third time in South Wales and their first headline show and they totally owned it and looked so comfortable like they’d been headlining for years and years.  Come the revolution if there’s to be a soundtrack then these boys will provide it.

Author: Dom Daley & Johnny Hayward (who reviewed Rich Ragany)

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 ( 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