First act of day 2 was Aled Rheon at the Angel Hotel. It’s a weird venue, and feels like I’m attending someone’s wedding, but the melancholy nature of Aled’s songs would perhaps not be entirely fitting. His soft vocals and delicate finger picking mean I’ve never been so relaxed to hear about the shit hitting the fan in You Had Me Now, and when the set finished with the murder ballad Tawel fel y Bedd, I feel strangely reassured.
Next on is Right Hand Left Hand. My housemate got me into them a while back, so I’d previously seen them in Buffalo. This time they’re playing Four Bars in Dempsey’s, where the audience is on the same level as the band. It’s fascinating to see the non-verbal communication between them, as the complex loops add layer upon layer to develop their sound. It’s thoroughly modern music – it wouldn’t have been possible some years ago without the technology, but it’s exhilarating to watch.
My friends and I then got caught in the rain, as does the rest of Cardiff. We attempt to check out Wolf Alice, as their stuff sounds pretty cool on the Swn website, but there’s a massive queue to get into Clwb. When we head back to Dempsey’s, there’s a massive queue outside there too, as everyone tries to get inside to hide from the rain. We don’t manage to see anyone for a fair bit of time, before we head in to see Beard of Wolves, whose music is driven, and very focussed on maximum impact. They make the most of what they have (their 2 voices, drums and bass) to deliver a remarkably full sound. Their songs are very direct, with the funk and synth tinged My Father Drives the Death Star deviating from the path a touch. A very powerful set.
Last on at Four Bars and last band of my night is Samoans. They’ve been bolstered up to a 5 piece from the usual 3, with an extra guitarist and a violin. They focus on new material, which seems to be about confounding expectations – it’s very difficult to predict, with rhythm changes (and back again) mid-song. Their new stuff seems less riff heavy. Dynamics have always been a strength of theirs, but they push this element even further in their new stuff. Their singer Dan has lost his voice, so the vocals kick off a little quiet, but they’re still strong and by the last song but 1 he’s screaming and giving it some beans. Thoroughly enjoyable stuff.