Monday 23 September 2013

Live: Swim Deep/Wolf Alice/Sundara Karma, Cardiff 22/09/2013

I think the very last gig I attended in Cardiff  this year was at The Globe so I should have been well aware of how long it takes to get inside but with a memory like a sieve I had totally forgot. As the queue snaked its way down the street I was left with sweaty palms wondering if I'd ever make it inside in time to catch Sundara Karma. Isn't it great when you love all two support acts.

Thankfully having only missed one song I found myself behind a sea of Swim Deep fan-girls. I think it's safe to say the audience demographic has definitely changed over the years in Cardiff but who am I to complain when everyone is here for a good time. Wow I remember the boring crowds from yesteryear who'd just stand there, gaping mouths, maybe the band got a cheer if they were lucky. Not tonight though. Sundara Karma powered through an energetic set, their Indie convention of high strung guitars and repleting 'ooohs' are more than enough to get the crowd warmed up to dizzying heights. It's easy to forget these guys are only 17 years old as they formulate glazed sunshine Pop that reeks of a distant summer. If no one snaps them up soon (if they haven't already) it'll be a travesty.

By the time Wolf Alice take to the stage I can't work out whether the floor was just overly sticky or my shoes were melting from the extreme heat. The Globe, if you're reading this, please install a fan, thanks. I was lucky enough to catch Wolf Alice on their recent UK tour this summer so it was nice to be able to hear the new songs from their forthcoming EP in a live setting. It was percussionist Joel's birthday too so spirits were high as the band took the the stage donning comedic party glasses. Not to dishearten their previous performance in the capital (as it was very good) but tonight the band seem a lot more comfortable. There's less awkwardness and a lot more fun as they relax in to commandeering set playing through their EP's strongest hits. It's clear to see why they've picked up so much recognition over the last year or so as they get the crowd jumping from front to back. By the time they reach Bros and Fluffy the addition of crashing cymbals and snares begin to add an edgy 90's revival vibe to their otherwise calm and composed temperament. Following an impromptu Happy Birthday sing-a-long for Joel their new track Blush from the forthcoming EP of the same name gets a Cardiff debut. Its solemn blend of Alice's soft and floating vocals and swirling guitars mix with driving percussion to devastating effect. She, also from the same EP gets a warm welcome with its onslaught of animated guitars before its affectionate middle section stamps its immediate presence on the crowd. It's great to see the band progressing. I guess the question on everybody's lips right now is when will there be a debut record. 

Now if you had any plans on getting remotely near the front this evening you would have to quickly settle for something else as the Swim Deep army occupied much of the near stage area. As the band emerged to raucous screams their glowing sunshine pop began to unravel slowly drowning them out. The current hotbed of talent rising from Birmingham's thriving music scene is unrivalled right now and Swim Deep are no exception. If anything they might just be the instigators. Whilst Austin Williams's skin tight top might not win many awards their music is surely in the running. His silky smooth vocals gliding effortlessly over the sea of waving hands in the air. The quartet’s phonic fruition are akin to a refreshing summers breeze, each song more lustrous than the last as the band play the majority of their recently released debut 'Where The Heavan Are We'. Soul Trippin and Stray, Some of the albums slower songs, are a welcomed sight as the jumping, frenzied crowd recoup and catch their breath.

There's no mistaking the opening chords to the next song as Austin and co break in to a cover of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun. The strange thing is it works really well (that and it's a massive guilty pleasure of mine). After much dancing around the crowd settle to the final song of the evening She Changes The Weather. My favourite from the album it stands for everything Swim Deep are about. It's infectiously looped keys etching their joyous tones deep in to your subconscious. After much applause the band return to the stage one final time for a one song encore consisting of King City. A fitting end to the evening as it was the very first song I heard by the Brummie four-piece way back in March 2012. "I wanna be everything that I am not. I wanna be rich, I wanna show off" shouts the crowd as they echo front man Austin.

With a rousing display of nouveau adolescent Indie at its highest level, tonight has excelled all expectations. If you're heading to see Swim Deep live this year (or Wolf Alice and Sundara Karma for that matter), you're in for a treat!

They continue their tour at the following dates below

September 23 - Oxford 02 Academy 2
September 24 - Cambridge The Junction
September 25 - Brighton Concorde 2
September 27 - London Shepherd's Bush Empire



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