Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Wed 4 Mar
Genres don’t matter in 2020. London trio Pengshui look like metalheads, spit bars like grime MCs, and pack enough punky guitar chords and techno-dubstep to shake the dust from the rafters. You’d probably consider US metal fusionists like Rage Against The Machine or Body Count to be their distant uncles, with Hacktivist or Cardiff’s own punk-rap heroes Astroid Boys as their siblings. Whatever bracket you want to file their music under, it’s angry and vibrant and absolutely at home in intimate venues like Clwb Ifor Bach.
Frontman Illaman is a versatile MC who throws himself into the show both figuratively and literally; rapping, growling and crowdsurfing with equal sweaty energy. He shines best when flip-flopping the intensity levels on tracks like No Joke and middle finger anthem Control. Bassist and studio producer Fatty is a more static presence, but one that provides a hefty rhythmic backbone to the night along with veteran drummer Prav.
The band’s fluid, multi-genre roots are further evident in their gig antics. There’s moshpits and shirt helicoptering, side by side with the organic mic handovers you’d expect at a grime warehouse rave. Support acts Kid Bookie and Benji Wild (of Astroid Boys) both get their turn to spit, as does Kid Bookie guitarist Jon E Clayface. A drunk lad at the front isn’t sure whether to throw gun fingers or devil horns, so opts for both. Pretty good metaphor for Pengshui in general, I think.
words and photos JASPER WILKINS