Tiny Rebel, Cardiff, Fri 9 Aug
Despite having never been to Tiny Rebel for a gig before, I must say that I was impressed. Comprising a great atmosphere and an intimate yet warm setting, the bar is the perfect setting for four of Cardiff’s finest alt-rock acts to foster their melodic chaos.
We open with Tacet, whose signature brand of contrasting mournful harmonies with stints of emotional outpouring, owes a lot to traditional indie and emo. Next up, Scavengers excel thorough a sense of tuneful charisma. For both of these bands, performers and audience members feed off each other’s energy and both excel in preparing us for the main acts.
“Be prepared for a crazy show,” someone says to me before Raiders [above] take to the stage. They’re not wrong. The performance exudes energy, as both the music and the stage presence of the musicians seem to burst dynamism. Frontman Sean Smith was formerly one of two lead vocalists in The Blackout, and while there are echoes of their enthusiastic style at play here, there’s more ferocity, anger and fierceness this time around. Smith’s stage presence commands a small room with the same level of confidence with which he commanded arenas; Raiders are supporting Funeral For A Friend later this year and their performance tonight shows how they deserve that kind of recognition.
Calling Apollo [top] are headlining tonight and for good reason, their blend of complex musicianship, ambitious song structures and impressive performances having earnt them a reputation as one of the best acts on the South Wales circuit. The crowd reaction to their set is arena-sized: a flurry of chanting, mosh pits and even a wall of death. Meanwhile, the performances from each of the band members are distinctive and detailed, climbing and subsiding in exactly the right moments, taking the audience on a captivating emotional voyage.
words ALEX SWIFT photos ASHLEA BEA