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THE AMAZONS / CUPIDS / HIMALAYAS | LIVE REVIEW

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THE AMAZONSTHE AMAZONS / CUPIDS / HIMALAYAS | LIVE REVIEW

5stars

 

Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Fri 3 Mar

Having made the grade for the BBC Music Sound Of 2017 longlist, much vaunted Reading quartet The Amazons brought high-spirited panache to a packed Clwb Ifor Bach for a second date on their UK tour.

Cardiffian band Himalayas wasted no time in blazing into full-throttle garage rock mode, setting the pace for a raucous near hour-long set. Exchanging cheeky quips with attendees in between tracks, charismatic lead guitarist Mike Griffiths eagerly immersed himself with the punters, swirling off stage in frenzy-like intensity, garnering spry approval and enthusiasm in the process. In this respect, the downstairs space seems uniquely designed for the raw unvarnished zeal with which the four-piece seem to thrive. This is particularly apt when performing Intoxicate Me, a dizzying exercise in pared-down, proto-punkish verve: a band in their element, unafraid to let rip at opportune moments.

Cupids continued in a similar vein, maintaining a steady supply of adrenaline-fuelled hard rock, albeit with a subtle nod to 90s Britpop in their softer vocal harmonies. The group excel in coupling unadulterated riff-driven vitality with a world weary dose of political subtext, delivered with a tenacity that seems cathartic in the current febrile social climate. Together with playful rapport-building antics from co-frontman Jake Fletcher and a soaring performance of Kickin’ In, the band showcase capacity to deliver and connect with a crowd.

Headliners The Amazons grace the stage, erupting into a raging rendition of youthful anthem Stay With Me. The outfit fizz with a propulsive prowess that vividly maintains traction with the burning energy of Ultraviolet, whilst an agile performance of Black Magic beguiles the room into trance-like head-swaying synchronicity. This signifies how far they have progressed, with singer Matt Thomson noting the meagre six person-strong attendance on their previous visit to the Womanby Street venue, in stark contrast to this sold-out stint. The kudos is well-earned as all four members effuse with peppy vigour and a genuine appreciation of their fanbase, Thomson’s vocals carrying a sense of yearning gravitas and integrity seldom seen with other contemporaries. Something refreshing to witness.

words CHRIS HAMILTON-PEACH photos JON HERRON

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