Saturday night and the weather has held out for this eagerly awaited, sold out in advance hometown headline show for Cardiff’s Panic Shack. Before them, meanwhile, it’s my first time seeing punchy Bristol duo Try Me: both members are energetic, hopping between instruments and electronic backing tracks. Rotten and Monologuing bring an ease to the room, their style a concoction of influences blended and dressed up in a sometimes humorous, always bold set, whose highlight comes when Try Me bring crowd member Chris on stage. It turns out Chris is a talented rock vocalist and was promoted to that role instantly – announcing, through his mic’ed-up screams, that he isn’t much of a drummer.
The emotionally-charged glam rock/pop sound of main support Alice Low makes the room her own from the very beginning, her light blonde hair a beacon. Using the entire room as her stage, Alice keeps the crowd on their toes, moving through the room mid-song, her vocals fluctuating from plunging notes to screams. Fizzy new single Rim Job is a standout song that increases in intensity throughout.
Panic Shack’s first live headline show in a while sees the band take to the stage in matching pink outfits, owning the promotion from downstairs Clwb Ifor Bach to upstairs. I had seen the bass-heavy act live before, so I knew what I was in for – but was still taken back by the eager crowd. A moshpit or two commenced during songs like Jiu Jits You: it’s clear from the get-go that Panic Shack have some passionate fans in their midst.
With a packed house screaming the lyrics and headbanging religiously to tracks from recently birthed debut Baby Shack, unreleased songs Snakes and Cash Piggy made the occasion even more special, and the group even throw in a mid-set cover of Devo’s Uncontrollable Urge.
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Sat 7 May
words and photos EMMA WAY
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