New Wave Presents: Town, plus support, Clwb Ifor Bach, 1 March 2012

23 Mar

The Welsh Club celebrates St David’s Day with a foursome of new Welsh acts, including headliner, Town, who are being talked about, but there’s no monster crowd.

I walk in to the wall of sound created by The New Objects. Here is an exemplary rock band, with everything in place and properly fine tuned. We have a singer looking like a young Bruce Springsteen with a voice as strong, yet clearer than Thom Yorke’s. They are reminiscent of Sugar, although this is a slightly lazy comparison. They slow things down a little with “C’est le Fin” which has an intro like “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins, but it’s the heavier songs that work best for me.

On stage, they look stylish: the drummer has tattoos and tilted cap; the bassist is tall, in skinny jeans, and, like Nicky Wire, has a leopard skin guitar strap; the singer looks business-like in plain black shirt; the rhythm guitarist has Top Man style, looking cool like the Killers in a blazer. They’re all individual, but somehow look the complete band.

This band competes with the best of them, and would not look at all out of place supporting even the biggest rock giants like U2. Tonight they play a short set of 6 songs as the singer is struggling with his voice, but despite this, he still sounds great.

The Lash were not quite as I expected. Judging by name alone you might mistakenly think this was a bunch of pissed up kids, but they’re a bit more sophisticated than that. Instead, this is bluesy rock that I could imagine a rammed high school disco rocking out to. There’s something of The Blues Brothers or School of Rock about them – certainly they could be the soundtrack to an American teenage rock movie, with a slightly zany side. Sadly, it didn’t quite work in a half-deserted Welsh Club. 

I think they need to work on making the sound a bit cleaner, or maybe the club’s sound engineer was slightly at fault. Couldn’t really fault singer Erin Mac’s vocal, although it got slightly lost in the mix at times. She was possibly a little too static.

Carwyn aka Colorama mellowed things down with some nice tinkling organ sounds and songs that were alternately in Welsh and English. He would suit a smoky bar, remaining peripheral as people chat round tables in the background, taking in the music nonchalantly. Sadly such smoky bars no longer exist, and in their absence, the audience hugged the walls instead as the glitter ball shone light upon an empty dance floor.

He commanded more attention as he sang of being “empty…fucking empty” and then of “an old fashioned girl who doesn’t care for diamonds or pearls.” A bit optimistic there I thought – it’s the old fashioned ones who do care for such things isn’t it? He sang of lights flashing where there’s no sound but a situation, and nicely created a sombre mood.

And finally there was Town. Town is a name that demands to be noticed, and so I’ll summarise them in bulletpoints:

  • Town are all killers, no fillers.
  • Every song is made for a pretty hectic moshpit.
  • Town’s sound is as tight as a mate who’s made money when it’s his turn to buy a round.
  • Town have already played the Cardiff City Stadium, have supported Lost Prophets, and are due to support Hard Fi,
  • They have songs reminiscent of The Jam at their most manic, and one song that’s based on Billy Bragg’s “New England”.
  • They have a teenage anthem (“Teenage Sky”) which, regardless of the nod to The Undertones, I think even John Peel would have liked.
  • Town are a lads’ band, when I’m not totally sure there’s a need for a new lad’s band.
  • Nonetheless, the word about Town is: convincing.

This review first appeared on the Welsh Icons website.