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FLAMINGODS / HAMAMAMA / PLEASE | LIVE REVIEW

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Gwdihw, Cardiff

Sat 19 Jan

words: GARETH MOULE

★☆☆☆☆

Cardiff-based Shape Records have arranged one of their ‘functions’ in Gwdihw featuring three new up-and-coming artists. Headlining are the foolishly named Flamingods, supported by Hamamama and Please.

Please is a nervous looking girl doing her best impression of Beach House karaoke, who only lasts three songs because she tells the crowd she’ll cry if she keeps playing. Probably not the best start to the night. Next up is Hamamama, featuring some Cardiff musicians including Sweet Baboo, who play with their hoods up and ramble through some vaguely coherent psych/krautrock jams to a mainly appreciative audience.

London group Flamingods take to a stage cluttered with a drum kit and various other percussive instruments, and proceed to aimlessly meander through a set of hitting drums in unison in a sort of vague, faux-tribal experiment. There’s a guitar and a keyboard in the mix, albeit drowned out by a constant paroxysm of percussion that the black-rimmed glasses and ironic sweaters crowd lap up enthusiastically.

It’s pretty clear that the majority of the band have no real musical talent and choose to play intuitively. Having no formal training at music is not a problem and there are plenty of other great bands who have taught themselves to play, whilst writing some of the most memorable songs in the world. This doesn’t apply to Flamingods. The members needlessly swap instruments between songs for no apparent reason, and play a sort of smug, post-Gang Gang Dance amalgamation of tribal drums with meaningless vocals fed through a delay pedal.

It doesn’t help that they are dressed like rejects from Nathan Barley, including ethnic headdresses and ironic Hard Rock Café t-shirts. It is one of the worst shows I’ve ever been to. It’s a sad reflection on the state of live music that a show of such poor quality is so well attended when there are other promoters putting on more interesting and relevant bands that have to perform to a handful of people. If this is cutting edge, I’m glad to be a square.

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  • Black-rimmed glasses

    "…post-Gang Gang Dance amalgamation of tribal drums with meaningless vocals fed through a delay pedal"

    Sounds like my kind of thing, thanks for the heads-up!

  • Clive

    It's sad that well attended gigs have to be shot down. Maybe the crowd were "mainly appreciative" and lapping it up enthusiastically because it was really good? I'd advise that you spent less time worrying about the attire of the audience/bands and more time enjoying yourself, life's too short.

  • Nathan Barley

    Sweet Baboo is not in Hamamama and only one member of Hamamama had a hood.

  • http://www.shaperecords.co.uk Mark Edward Thomas

    It’s pretty clear that the writer has no real writing talent and chooses to write intuitively. Having no formal training at writing is not a problem and there are plenty of other great writers who have taught themselves to write, whilst writing some of the most memorable reviews in the world. This doesn’t apply to Gareth Moule. Gareth Moule needlessly makes up facts for no apparent reason, and writes a sort of smug amalgamation of insults and assumptions with meaningless words fed through a keyboard.

    Gareth, there are going to be plenty more Shape 'Functions' that you are welcome to attend. I hope that one day you will enjoy yourself at a Shape 'Function' as much as we all did on Saturday! Mark x

  • Ramone

    this guy is almost definetly a failure in life who utilizes his spite to belittle what he doesn't understand or is jealous of.
    This is journalism in it's worst form; personal taste over understanding, over use of obsessive anti-hipster ideals when the term is not used in the right context or understanding.

  • Why even bother?

    This is a seriously ignorant reviewer. Why does Buzz have someone so afraid of the new/different commenting on music? I don't see why Gareth, who clearly just hates the band and the scene/label he nonsensically attached to it gets to even see a band like that in the first place. Also, stop insinuating that Flamingods are a hipster band. They are far from it… hipsters just happen to feel welcome too.

  • Flamingods Fan

    Does anyone happen to know what Charlotte Church was doing on Saturday night? Anyone? Feel free to check her Twitter feed to find out. (hint: it may or may not read "off to see @Flamingods tonight")

    I'm not suggesting she is the ultimate arbiter of good taste, but I would rather have a famous fan and this nobody as a detractor, than the other way around!

  • Chris

    I just listened to Flamingods' track Oh Temple on their bandcamp site and they sound like utter tripe! I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    • person

      that is a one off jam, not a carefully structured song or anything. And I think it's a cool sounding track anyway. Is it tripe because you don't like it?

  • Alan

    Indie kids shock horror at someone not liking their taste shock horror.

  • Dissapointed

    Oh Alan… you stereotypical ignorant person. Flamingods don't make their music for 'indie kids' they make it for everybody in the world. They just happen to be 20 years old, poor and stuck in the UK. If they could get residence and play and be more popular in other countries like Africa or Brazil with fans that arent 'indie kids' then I'm sure they would prefer that. Classing all of Flamingods fans as 'indie kids' is just as fucking stupid as yourself. Open your fucking head dude and stop defining bands to 'oh this is for indie kids' 'oh this is for pop kids' 'oh this is for metalheads' 'oh i like to label groups of people so my stupid comments have more value.' pffft grow up.

    Also Gareth Moules, your just a miserable dick that obviously doesn't know how to have a good time just like everybody else in that venue. So well done, you won the award for biggest asshole in Cardiff on that night. Hope that makes you feel better than the Flamingods gig did.

  • James

    Lazy journalism bell end.

  • Gareth Moule

    It makes me laugh that everyone who enjoyed even cares less about whether I liked the bands or not. I hated the gig and don’t see the point in pretending that I liked it to appease anyone. Ramone is right though, I’m a massive failure and jealous of this great music that I don’t understand. My mistake on thinking Sweet Baboo was in the band, so I’ll admit I was wrong there.

  • Mike Fallopian

    Why is everyone getting so angry over this review? It's a review; sometimes they criticise things! Is it because, being products of the postmodern condition, the 'hipster' class utilises music (amongst other things) to construct their vacuous identities, and thus takes this criticism personally? Or is it just because they are a bunch of immature bozos? The answer to both of these questions is 'yes', and perhaps that is why the crowd was 'lapping it up', like rats at a Caroline Street rubbish bin.

    Immaturity here is perhaps best illustrated by the comments of Mark Edward Thomas, the dictatorial overseer of Shape and the infamous knobcore combo, Islet, if I'm not mistaken (sincerest apologies, if I am). To personally attack the reviewer in such a fashion clearly highlights the infantile attitudes at play. Why not defend the music in an objective manner? Is it because your vacuous identity is made manifest in the postmodern farts of Flamingods?

    To 'Why even bother?': how exactly is the music of Flamingods 'new/different'? If you had any knowledge of music, you'd realise that their approach is incredibly trite. Using 'ethnic' symbols and motifs is hardly innovative – in fact, their use borders on an insult to those cultures from which they have handpicked, to the point where Flamingods could be described as a postmodern minstrel show. Imagine if I were to start a band utilising klezmer elements and dressed up as a hasidic Jew – I'd be rightly called an anti-semite for exploiting caricatures of a particular ethnic group.

    Before any of you have a dig at me for any immaturity, etc., I hope you enjoyed a taste of your own, bitter medicine.

  • Ohhh Mike..

    Well Mike Fallopian, I'm not defending that "the music of Flamingods is 'new/different'" I'm not defending the fact their music lacks originality either. Quite the contrary… I'm sure there are a lot of groups of musicians out there that have a lot of drums and play them whilst chanting in an ethnic fashion… so pretty much THE ENTIRE WORLD. You must feel reaallly proud for working that one out because everybody else in the world is apparently completely oblivious to these other groups of musicians.

    What I'm about to destroy your whole argument on is quite simply this. So considering Flamingods touch on Arabian and Middle Eastern themes and their lead singer is in fact half Bahraini and half Turkish and lives IN the Middle East and has done his whole entire life, and the fact that the other four members also lived in the Middle East, 2 of those 4 ALSO lived there their whole entire life. and the third living in Saudi and Dubai as well as other parts of Asia for pretty much his entire life…

    AS WELL as the fact that they touch on afro-carribbean themes where the second of 5 members is IN FACT Jamaican…

    AS WELL as the fact that they touch on Hindi and Indian themes where the third member of the band is IN FACT Indian…

    AS WELLL as the fact that Flamingods touch on the Latin genre and influence where… can you guess it? The fourth member is IN FACT Spanish…

    You just came off sounding like THE biggest douche, accusing these guys of faking their own bloodline, culture and heritage for 'images' sake when if you researched and knew these guys, would find out that they don't give a shit about that. They care about PLAYING MUSIC. Oh so its wrong to like your own culture? Its wrong to dress up as your own cultural heritage? Its wrong to imitate and perform your own country of origins music??? hahahahahahaa what an idiot!!!!! From now on, I suggest you STFU and do some research about an 'ethnic' band before you go running your mouth off about shit you don't even know.

    FYI thank you for that taste of my own, bitter medicine. I LOVEEEDD IT!

  • Pray 4 Gareth

    I hope you're all proud of yourselves. Gareth Moule is now dead. Well fucking done you bunch of insensitive dillengers.

    RIP buddy xxxxxxx YOLO 😉

  • Mike Fallopian

    How can playing an ascending pentatonic scale on a guitar over out-of-time bongos while a guy hits random notes on a cheap keyboard be described as touching on Afro-Caribbean, Hindi/Indian or Latin themes? Get a grip and go back to school, philistine. You can't spell or construct legible sentences either, so remedial literacy classes are in order for you.

    Regarding my comments about Flamingods' ethnic motifs, I was referring to their hackneyed re-approximation of 1980s New Age/'World' music, oh-so prevalent in today's hipster genres (hypnagogic pop, etc.). Even though they use 'ethnic' (yet not specific to any particular culture) symbols/instruments, they are hardly versed in occidental musical systems or practice, as evidenced by their GwdiHw performance where they just bashed out a load of random shit. They don't play music, they play muzak.

    I am Welsh. So, by your logic, could I dress up as a coal miner and play a crwth on a stage decorated with leeks and daffodils, and that wouldn't be an insult to Wales, the Welsh or any notion of 'Welshness'? Also, my grandmother was English and I'm married to an Englishwoman, so therefore could I also dress up as a Morris Dancer as a serious form of cultural expression? 'Race' and 'ethnicity' are unfixed social categories, you fool. Maybe you need remedial reading classes too, as I made no accusation of Flamingods 'faking their own bloodline, culture and heritage'.

    The Dead Kennedys commented on how yuppies in the '80s 'played ethnicky jazz' to 'parade their snazz' on expensive stereos. Today, you hipsters blog about listening to trite versions of such retro trash – a la Flamingods – on Spotify/Bandcamp/whatever. Are hipsters the twenty-first century equivalent of the '80s yuppie? They're clearly just as vacant. Maybe the latent insult really lies at the heart of the sheep-like hipster audience, utilising the trite 'ethnic' symbolism of groups like Flamingods to create and assert a deluded sense of cultural superiority over others.

    Unless you're American, please don't call me a 'douche' – I'd prefer to be called an enema, or if you meant in the French, a shower. Thank you.

    P.S. 'STFU', 'FYI', and 'LOVEEEED' aren't words and I have no idea what you were going on about.

    • http://www.sednaled.co.uk Ellie

      "Unless you're American, please don't call me a 'douche' – I'd prefer to be called an enema, or if you meant in the French, a shower. Thank you."

      You're my hero.

  • http://www.sednaled.co.uk Ellie

    And Flamingods – don't worry about it, any publicity is good publicity. I'll be honest, because of the controversy this has started i'm gonna check out your music later.

  • To Mike..

    "I am Welsh. So, by your logic, could I dress up as a coal miner and play a crwth on a stage decorated with leeks and daffodils, and that wouldn't be an insult to Wales, the Welsh or any notion of 'Welshness'? Also, my grandmother was English and I'm married to an Englishwoman, so therefore could I also dress up as a Morris Dancer as a serious form of cultural expression?"

    Yes Mike.. I am saying that by you being Welsh and dressing up as your own cultural heritage that it wouldn't be an insult to Wales. What a fucking stupid argument to make. Of course that's not insulting. Hell, even somebody who isn't Welsh that imitates Welsh heritage but not in a form of satire but one of appreciation and respect, that is also not insulting. You've got some extremely serious race issues going on dude. Were in the 21st century now buddy. Different races do mix now if you didn't know and take part in each other cultures. Its a beautiful world. I suggest you take a trip out of Wales, travel and become a bit more cultured yourself like Flamingods have done. You then wouldn't have so much beef with people that embrace culture, rather than section it off and call anybody that's not from that culture 'insulting.' Also there you go bringing the word 'Hipster' into it. What an uneducated remark for anybody to make about something they don't actually understand. There is little point arguing with you until you open up that closed mind of yours.

  • Mr B

    In all fairness, forgetting about all the bad blood and not taking sides with anyone on here… Sit back and listen to the actual music.

    Who cares if it’s classed as or performed with ‘being ethnic’ or ‘true to the roots’ in mind?

    It’s GAPING. Terrible. Awful. It’s a group of boys playing music badly. Out of time and tune.

    It saddens me that people stick up for and pretend (God, I HOPE it’s pretension) to like such drivel.

    Apologies to the French showers in this band, you are by no means the only shite band in existence. Just keep learning and improving with this opportunity luck has somehow handed you. With minimal posing please.

    Props to the critic who actually spoke his mind without fear of what little wet behind the ear daps thought about it, and actually did his job.

  • Mmmm Mmmmm

    and we, the fans, wouldn't want it any other way! 🙂 LOVE THEM!

  • Jo Wells

    What bitter weirdo of a reviewer. Go get another job mate. This band are hugely talented and you've obviously done fuck all research to see that their album is musically genius and very very clever.
    Go have a wank cause your time will be better spent on that than reviewing.

    • Gareth Moule

      I actually do this in my spare time and don't get paid for it, so there isn't that much time to wank in between working a 40 hour week, doing this and having a social life. I have listened to the album, which I also thought was completely uninteresting and derivative. If you actually read any of the article you'd realise that I was reviewing their live show and not their album anyway. How is the Flamingods album musically genius and very very clever? If you can explain to me why every band or gig is amazing, then maybe I should never write a negative review of anything ever again. I've written plenty of positive reviews for other bands, so I don't just go around handing out negative reviews for the sake of it. I wholeheartedly apologise to you and everyone else who was offended by me not liking the same band as them. I'll hand in my resignation as a reviewer and solemnly swear to enjoy every piece of music I hear for the rest of my life…even if it is tripe. There's no room in this world for bitter weirdos like me anymore. xxx

    • Peter Vills

      Jo Wells, that's a horrendous comment. You need to wise up.

  • Sarah

    Bloody hell. People resorting to personal insults because they don't agree with a review? Grow up! The whole point of someone reviewing something is to give their personal opinion, otherwise what's the point?

  • TOM

    BOGEYYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • person

    just because you don't know what they're doing doesn't make it aimless