Downstairs at Clwb Ifor Bach is almost perfectly suited to loud hardcore gigs like tonight’s four band extravaganza: the floor show vibe creates a great connection between band and audience, and they usually get the sound absolutely spot on. Liverpudlians We Came Out Like Tigers were added to this bill only the day before, having had a show in Sheffield cancelled and appealing via the internet for another slot anywhere in the UK. Their work ethic and political consciousness – which was demonstrated through a well-received speech attacking the government’s health bill – is admirable, but their screamo songs were kind of samey. Stockholm’s No Omega, who are sticking with Bastions for the whole of their European jaunt, were much better, blasting through a short set of brutal metalcore with well-rehearsed presence. They played with devastating precision and feeling, and in drummer Victor Brodin they have a real rhythmic powerhouse.
The last time I saw Goodtime Boys I was left rather disappointed, but I enjoyed tonight’s set immensely. In preparation for the recording of a new EP at the end of April they treated us to a couple of new songs, both of which called to mind the work of US hardcore greats-in-the-making Defeater and Touché Amoré. Frontman Pennie threw himself around the room as if there was no tomorrow, and the band were chunky and tight: a good combination for convincing emocore.
Bastions made a welcome return to Cardiff, albeit with Battle For Paris’ Phil King standing in for bassist Gareth Davies, and tore through a set drawing on their early EPs, debut album Hospital Corners and a couple of new songs. The sound wasn’t amazing – the thundering bass of their records was missed – but otherwise they delivered their bleak hardcore without much of a hitch. Vocalist Jamie Burne has tremendous presence – his troubling lyrics giving a real sense of meaning to their songs – and their touring experience has really paid off: songs such as ‘In the Shadow of a Mountain’ were played with all the power and aggression of their recorded forms. For those who enjoy the heavier side of life, Bastions are a must. JOC