When we heard that the hotly-tipped Welsh indie outfit Pretty Vicious were heading though Cardiff as part of their UK tour, we had to send Xune’s own Joe Russ along to Clwb Ifor Bach to see what all the fuss was about…
Clwb Ifor Bach is an incredibly important part of Cardiff’s independent music scene, and has been for many years, so it was the perfect venue for Pretty Vicious to play at on Saturday. Hailing from Merthyr Tydfil in the Welsh valleys, they burst onto the scene in 2015 with their singles ‘It’s Always There’, ‘Are You Ready For Me’ and ‘National Plastics’, and have managed to stay prominent despite not yet releasing a full studio album.
I arrived at the venue shortly after the doors opened to catch the support bands. Fellow Welsh band Tracy Island and Northern Irish Brand New Friend were supporting, with both bands performing blistering sets, which got the crowd warmed up incredibly effectively. Both are set to release new music soon, with Brand New Friend due to release their debut album on April 27th, and Tracy Island planning to record their first EP next month.
The venue filled quickly in the lead up to Pretty Vicious’ set, and was completely full at least 10 minutes before they were due to take the stage. You could taste the anticipation of the crowd, as they sang along to songs played by the DJ at the top of their lungs. The noise was deafening as the band walked onto the stage, and opened with ‘Are You Ready For Me’. The crowd were instantly bouncing up and down. The atmosphere was electric right from the word go, and the band wasted no time jumping into their second song of the set ‘It’s Always There’.
Bassist Jarvis Morgan’s bass began to play up during the song, so they without half of their rhythm section for a lot of it, but this didn’t stop them, and carried on playing with the exact same intensity that they’ve become known for. Later lead singer Brad Griffiths joked ‘Everything we touch seems to break’.
Next up came ‘Down My Way’ from their ‘Cave Song EP’, before their three newest tracks, ‘These Four Walls’, ‘Move’ and ‘Blister’. The crowd seemed completely and utterly tireless. Despite the venue being completely full, and it definitely felt like it, they were jumping around and singing along right the way through the set. The only thing separating the crowd from the band is the stage, which anyone of any size can easily step onto, so it was unsurprising when the energy from the crowd caused guitarist Tom McCarthy’s mic stand to take a tumble.
Photo by Luke Chapman
The band then played arguably their two most successful songs to date ‘National Plastics’ and ‘Cave Song’. I thought by this point the crowd had reached their peak levels of energy, but I was so wrong. What I thought was their 10/10 turned out to be an 8, and they kicked up to 10 when the intro the ‘National Plastics’ came blaring through the speakers. Jarvis Morgan jumped into the crowd during ‘Cave Song’, much to their delight, and it simply added even more the intimacy of the gig.
The band rounded out their set with ‘Are You Entertained?’, before leaving the stage, sweaty and exhausted. They had given their all in their set, and it was clear to see. The set lasted 45 minutes, but it absolutely flew by, and it felt like they’d only taken the stage ten minutes prior to leaving it. The band may not be from Cardiff, but they seemed to treat the show like a homecoming, and the crowd treated it like that too. It’s evident that this band has something really special, and they certainly display that in their live shows. They have recently been recording their debut studio album, and I for one cannot wait to hear it.
Review by Joseph Russ
Listen on Spotify: