At the end of a tremendous week, in which overcast skies dissipated and something happened in London, Zervas and Pepper celebrated the launch of their new single by taking a parched, eager audience on an unforgettable trans-Atlantic journey.
Despite the battened streets of Cardiff, the upper floor of Clwb filled. Initially settling ourselves comfily on the floor, as is the folk tradition, the squeeze of a sell-out gig forced those at the front to their feet.
Only Poets – aka Owen Bowley and Dave Morris – a new partnership formed from the remnants of Whistling Biscuits, entered the tranquillity with some beautifully constructed a capella lullabies. Complimenting their vocal accords with only an acoustic and electric guitar, their stripped down airs took on fluctuating dimensions and observed, elegiac lyrics.
The real pull, however, were the captivatingly gorgeous Zervas and Pepper, who proceeded to immerse us in their Laurel Canyon style folk. As this was a special occasion, they recruited a full band to fill out their sun drenched Californian harmonies, whose powerful inflections lulled us into an appreciative awe.
With a projector visually narrating a journey across the deserts and highways of western America, their set was riddled with new songs, treating the bulging crowd to a truly unique experience. New single Buffalo Crow equals recent hit Cigar Store Indian in memorable hooks, as I found myself inadvertently whistling it throughout the next day. Allowing themselves a breather in order to gauge a response for their new video, filmed for single One Man Show, we enjoyed a typically hedonistic insight into a summer solstice day, complete with camper vans and countryside dinners.
A truly sublime blend of folk styles, Zervas and Pepper come as proof of the talent and diversity coming out of this city. They may have eyes on America, but they have certainly earned a hometown fan base.
Words: Dom Gilbert