cardiff

Belly / The Glee Club, Cardiff | 11th of June

It’s the beginning of the night, and doors have just opened. Dedicated fans wearing official Belly t-shirts are already pushed up to the front of the stage, with no barrier to set them apart from where their beloved performers will soon be standing. Half an hour later and the floor is awash with fans. The crowd waits with anticipation for the show to begin.

ISLAND / Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff | 22nd of May

ISLAND cultivated a mesmerising performance and their enjoyment of performing was infectious. They put a lot of feeling into their gig, which furthered its visual quality. Their songs generally consisted of distorted electric guitar riffs which, paired with bass and drums, had a relaxed, dream-like quality.

Efialtis – The Snivellers – Perfect Body / Undertone, Cardiff | 19th of November

In one of Cardiff’s more intimate and underground (quite literally) venues, Undertone; I had the pleasure of enjoying not one, but three contrasting (yet collectively dynamic) bands that stem their roots within the wild and diverse genre of punk rock. Without any prior knowledge to this gig, you could say that I was delightfully given three experiences for the price of one. Perfect Body, The Snivellers, and finally Efialtis complemented one another on this night, each with their own unique approach to fluidly embody what we all recognize as the exciting components that make Punk Rock. From siren vocals to turtlenecks, blue goo to mullets, chain straps to Cheryl Cole; I was absorbed into a menagerie of musical spectacle that left me buzzing with a grin and a ringing in my ears.

Although Perfect Body did not fully start until an hour after the doors had opened, it was most definitely worth the wait. Beginning on what was far from what I’d been expecting; from the hauntingly angelic voice that sang octaves above the deep drones to the slow percussion that gave me vibes of dystopian David Lynch and similarity to the ambient vocals of Julee Cruise. Think Twin Peaks, but minus Agent Cooper. This opening was deliciously a mysterious prelude to what Perfect Body were going to reveal next. By the third song, punk influences became clear with a contrasting and completely unique twist that this group has to offer, exploring a positively upbeat Britpop feel in a massively dynamic shift to how they had first opened with. It was refreshing to see that the leading vocals were in alternation of the members as nearly all took turns to let their vocals shine over clean and articulated guitar riffs and bass melodies. With particularly loud choruses and heavy drums in contrast becoming a theme, it was easy for me to hear the masculine vocal resemblance to iconic British voices such as Ian Curtis and Morrissey. Throughout their overall mid-paced style of punk, the soft feminine vocals that float comfortably above leaves Perfect Body with an all-round perfectly embodied sound (see what I did there.)

It was clear to me however that Perfect Body are a relatively new band; not at all by their musical skill and syncopation, but at times it was evident that nerves were behind their shyness to the crowd. Nonetheless, we could see that amongst themselves they were having a lot of fun, and that’s what really screams volume (no pun intended.) Perfect Body have the potential to go far and I look forward to seeing their name come up again in Cardiff soon. Also, they were lovely to chat to afterwards and very gracious of my obvious praise.

Though the Snivellers must have only lasted about fifteen minutes at most (I’m pretty sure their sound check took longer), I think that any more would have thrown me headfirst into a cymbal coma because boy, oh boy. From the very first screaming microphone check to the last power chord, I was buried within a thick wall of some pretty full-on punkcore. “Is there any chance I can have more on myself?!” were the opening shrieks, and just seconds before the frontman pulled out a rather toxic-looking tub of blue hair gel that would impress even Walter White. The moment he began to lather his entire face and head with it, I believed anything could happen. The moment that he started putting it into his mouth – I repeat, his mouth; I knew anything could happen. From start to finish, The Snivellers retained the same full velocity and energy levels that I can only dream of having after my third triple espresso. Staying true to the typical themes of punk rock that be raw instruments and fast-paced melodies, the Snivellers left myself and the crowd thoroughly entertained and laughing. One particular song caught my ear, with lyrics along the lines of comparing oneself to a cat on their belly as they “wriggle like a worm”. And then, just like that, their set was over. Short and sweet, but with that sweetness being the buzz of a thousand E numbers. My guess is that they probably had to keep their set short as it was only a matter of time before all that hair gel hardened, turning their singer into a sticky blue statue and a nearly guaranteed trip to A&E. For anyone interested in some wild, loud – and I mean very loud madness, with dirty distortion pedals, fast-paced percussion and screaming vocals; The Snivellers most definitely do not disappoint.

Due to the evening getting started later than had been anticipated; I thought that perhaps Efialtis had perhaps pulled out. Nonetheless, I was mistaken and with now only an apparently short window of time left remaining within the venue’s live music licence, these three ladies were evidently down and ready for business. From the onset, it was clear that they’re a tightly knit group whose friendship transcends just their music – and it was enjoyable to watch them joke amongst each other during their sound test. Despite the small amount of audience interaction (time was of the essence by now) their ease and confidence became increasingly apparent, and what unfolded was a fearless embrace of hardcore punk. In contrast to their charming soft voices as they introduced themselves, their vocals that projected lyrics in Greek were far from it. Heavy distortion pedals and equally aggressive drum crashes are reverberated as their consistent dynamical theme – which, had sent my body into full automatic head-banging mode by the end of their hard-edged set. My personal favourite part had to be the song dedicated to Cheryl Cole’s malaria ordeal that left her with only 24 hours to live; all the while the drummer screaming fueled with pure girl power from behind. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Bryony Beynon’s guitar strap was made out of literal chains. This London band are completely badass, and these girls know it too.

All in all, this was a brilliant night of punk tapas, and I say that because each set was relatively short compared to what I’ve experienced in the past. For someone who is fairly unfamiliar with the eclectic world that is punk rock however, this was the perfect taster for me, and definitely food for thought. Although the ringing has finally left my ears, last night has definitely left an electric imprint on me.

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