OTB took an outing this week to Jealous Lovers Club at Clwb Ifor Bach to watch and talk to headliners Playlounge, supported by Joanna Gruesome and HAMAMAMA. Jealous Lovers Club is an indie/alt club night that takes place around Cardiff, providing great nights out with an alternative tinge. Coming soon: we will be covering Jealous Lovers Club’s next club night at Clwb Ifor featuring The Chapman Family
HAMAMAMA kicked off the proceedings as they produced a hectic yet tantalizing display of percussion laced rock with a near-psych feel. Accentuated by their eccentric fashion sense HAMAMAMA let loose a series of powerful riffs. They stood as something of a mystery on stage as songs chopped and changed rhythm and style within themselves. The majority of their tracks exist without lyrics in the typical sense, instead vocals consist of repeated noises, from screeches to single syllable sounds almost reminiscent of indie pop bands such as Vampire Weekend, though their style varies. This produces and interesting but chaotic sound. ‘I’m Gonna Write the Saddest Song for You’ showcases that they are capable of producing lyrics and a sound with some direction, however the rest of the set, whilst a fascinating concept proved to be difficult listening with some elements being entirely lost in the self-created chaos. They’re a band of musical ability, frequently switching instruments between songs, but one without the appearance of order.
Next up was Joanna Gruesome, a Cardiff band that produced melodic noise pop anthems driven by energetic guitar. The four piece’s emphatic sound was a hit with fellow musicians. Sam, the drummer/singer of Playlounge confidently and politically announced that Joanna Gruesome’s latest work is probably his current favourite record. The duel male/female vocal combined to produce an intimate and enjoyable sound however was often found outgunned by the sheer volume of the guitar. The four-piece produced a striking sound with energetic guitar driving throughout epitomised by the guitarists crashing about on stage, but beneath the powerful guitar lies the strongly melodic sound of their riffs that are better revealed when the thundering bass noise takes a break. In the past Joanna Gruesome have been likened to a mixture of My Bloody Valentine, Superchunk and Dinosaur Jr. They’ve been tipped to go far and their planned tour alongside Playlounge this April will only add to this, so keep an eye out.
Sam and Laurie are the twosome that make up Playlounge, full/part-time Caffeine experts by day, the night sees them shed their aprons and don instruments instead. First influenced by a shared love of 80’s hardcore when they met, there were some clear hardcore influences in their set as they produced a short bust of powerful energetic rock. Their sound is driven but accessible to a wide variety of music fans, producing tracks with heavier influence combined with the catchy riffs and and lyrics too. Big Go-Team fans, they told me that they were inspired by their melodic sound after seeing them live and that they would be their ideal gig partners if the chance presented itself. They also pointed in the direction of Johnny Foreigner, who they recently played with at Gwdihŵ, the Home of the “adorable little owl” in Cardiff, citing them as an important band to them. A really easy going pairing, Playlounge went on and produced a strong performance in spite of Sam feeling medically speaking a little less than his best. Asking if they had anything big in the pipes the guys responded by saying that besides their upcoming tour with Joanna Gruesome (who Sam could not stop praising), there was something big on its way, but that it had to remain a secret. Though they did clue that they have being releasing a lot of new material recently, so budding Sherlocks at home, get your magnifying glasses out whilst the rest of us wait on tenterhooks.
Playlounge also wished to give a big shout out to Benny, the driver from Megabus who impressed them with his musical choices on the journey into Cardiff – so, uh, kudos to you Benny.
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Jack Meredith @JackMeredith7