30 Jun 2010 – Tiger Please
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
Photos taken in London 15th July –
First on tonight's potential sandwich of a live bill are RM faves Caesars Rome, and their set becomes another reason to get excited about them. With a short opening slot, they play like they're headlining; hollering at the sparse crowd like they numbered in thousands and playing songs big enough to fill stadiums. New material is aired, and if their forthcoming EP contains more of such quality, we'll need a way of giving more than 5/5 for reviews. Not to be outdone, their established material is tweaked to perfection; soaring vocals and melodic guitar riding on concrete slabs of noise, but it's a heavy as hell surprise cover of 'Helter Skelter' ("If you don't like the Beatles there's something wrong with you.") that nails a short but jaw-dropping set.
Having not encountered The Broadcast before, the influx of young girls in clothes their parents wouldn't approve of has us fearing the worst, but this young Hertfordshire quartet brim with potential. While half their set is made up of forgettable You Me At Six-isms, they win us over with infectious pop-rock numbers like 'The Closeness' and in particular 'Take The Lead'. With more numbers like these, their enthusiasm and appeal to the fairer sex could soon see them headlining venues this size and larger on a regular basis.
The mix is a mulch for Francesqua's set, and the vocals suffer as a result, but they make up for it with showmanship and sheer volume. The sound of You Me At Six again comes to mind, but while their songs are nowhere near as immediate, they're more measured and well-written. They're active on stage - with a bassist who can't keep still - and get the crowd involved as often as possible. Their set is a few songs too long, but 'Boy' really impresses; vocalist Ashley Wilkie and bassist Ben Hordos adding rib-rattling extra percussion to powerful effect.
It takes a few minutes of intro before the four fifths of Tiger Please realise they have to say something "uh, we appear to be missing a vocalist". It turns out vocalist Leon Stanford's having some 'private time' in the toilet, and judging from his appearance taking the stage, maybe he shouldn't have left. It's an awkward start that's frustrated further by monitor problems, but just when everything seems to be going downhill, something simple saves the day. Leon picks up his mic and moves into the crowd. Not only can he now hear his voice, but the crowd go wild, the circle around him singing, dancing and laughing with grins wrapped around their faces. Their Counting Crows meets Gaslight Anthem sounds are warm and personable, and even clearly the worse for wear, Leon's vocals are better than most singers on a good day. They let things get to them too much; struggling to keep frustrated expressions off their faces, but this is a hometown show and while there's too many cheeky f**kers talking, everyone enjoys tracks such as 'Strawberry Moon' and a simply stunning 'Without country' - friends in the audience give Leon surprise hugs and get pulled out of the circle to dance, and set highlight 'Winter And the Storyteller' shakes the walls with its power.
Despite the awkward start, it's a cracking show full of warmth, laughter and anthemic songs. With the support acts destined for and deserving bigger things, the lasting thoughts on the headliners are that if Tiger Please are this enjoyable on a bad day, when things are going right they must be unstoppable.