PRETTY VICIOUS/THE HEARTS/THE CRADLES
So how does a band that has played only a handful of gigs and has one solitary track on SoundCloud cause a feeding frenzy amongst record labels? Well, PRETTY VICIOUS have managed it and hopefully a night at the sold out Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff will explain why.
However, that was a while off when opening act THE CRADLES sauntered onto stage in front of what was a respectably sized crowd, given the early hour of the night. Looking young, brash and bristling with attitude they gave a good account of themselves. Lead singer Kieran has certainly borrowed a few moves from the Liam Gallagher's playbook, but for me the show was stolen by their bass player who seemed to be (literally) dancing to his own drum, throwing poses and practically body popping. Good on ya, young man!
Having recently bought their debut EP I was looking forward to catching co-headliners THE HEARTS in the flesh. Clearly battled hardened by regular gigging, and having scaled the heady heights of supporting Paul Weller and Arcade Fire, they are both formidable and impressive live. Whilst inevitably front man Alex Nash steals most of the limelight, the band are supplemented by the sturdy backbeat of Hamish Kay, Jamie Roberts and Philip Jenkins. With all bands playing a shortened set tonight, they still included both tracks from the aforementioned debut release. The infuriatingly catchy "Lips" surfacing mid set and then closing a tight, professional and hugely entertaining run through was the anthemic "Celebrate". Definitely a band I look forward to seeing again soon.
Having just signed to Virgin PRETTY VICIOUS now come with a couple of guitar techs, which seems a bit overkill for lads aged between 16 to 18. But I guess that's what comes with being the hottest bands in the UK , having been highly recommended by such knowledgeable sources such as XFM, The Sunday Times and NME. Having seen many bands hailed as the next big thing (and most unfortunately falling by the wayside) their biggest threat would be not living up to the hype. However, that's a concern for another day as they take the stage in the now packed out venue knowing that, for tonight anyway, success was a given playing, as they were, in practically their own back yard.
Clearly a large chunk of the bands' success revolves around their charismatic lead singer Brad Griffiths. Whilst his voice appeared to be suffering from the rigours of their first bout of sustained touring, he could still delivered rasping, snarling vocals when required. When added to his accomplished guitar playing and the surprising proficient sound made by the rest of the band, they put on a show that belied their tender years.
Most of the songs stayed close to a traditional rock feel but, given that they are only just starting out on their journey as a band, that's not unsurprising. Whilst most numbers were new to me, they were still enjoyable none the less. However their short, but sweet, set was brought to a close by the track that has gained them so much attention "Cave Song". Rattling along somewhere between Oasis, the Clash and the Libertines it is self evident why this has garnered them so much attention.
So, are they the great white hopes of the stagnant British rock scene? Well, its hard to tell at this point as they are undoubtedly raw and inexperienced. However, there is clearly potential and, with the right management, there is no reason to believe they won't go on to global success and adulation.
The UK music scene desperately needs a fresh injection of talent and excitement and maybe, just maybe, PRETTY VICOIOUS will fill that role.