Cardiff’s Attack and Defend have been making some noises in the Welsh underground recently, while Brighton’s Foals seem destined for starry heights of industry acclaim. Liverpool have just held Barcelona for an away goals win in the Champions League, so it’s all systems go at Clwb Ifor Bach for a night of disparateness and intrigue.
Attack and Defend work like a fantastic discontrivement, melodies and infernal quirks thrown out like confetti at a cup final, and they launch into their slot with a wide-eyed lustre that sets feet tapping and mouths twitching.
Lead singer Mark Thomas creates their tempo with a wired performance of lunar guitar and shouty, staccato vocals which jump to and fro like football-crazed pixies. His surrounding band of electro and rhythm kings compliment him with studious cool, as he takes off through the crowd towards the end, only a fuzzy-haired head and the top of a guitar visible in the pulsing throng, you raise a glass in smiling admiration.
Foals’ storm-in-a-tea-cup is soon to be moving into wider realms. They’ve recently played the NME awards shows with the usual suspects. I was originally suspicious, for there are so many of these sharp-hooks/adrenelised vocals bands around at the moment, all gracing that hallowed front page, that you struggle to tell the wood from the trees. Are they post-punk, post-modern, or post men? As Foals ride on, all unravels like Malatesta’s love life.
Singer Yannis is of Greek origin, his short frame accentuated by outlandishly gelled-down hair, and as he sinks deeper and deeper into the frenzy of the electo-guitar rhythms, the crowd slowly sets on fire. Young girls marked for life by their recent Cardiff support slot with The Noisettes dance in bedevilled abandon to the fiery trail, and everyone in the now-packed venue takes note.
Yannis speaks of Steve Reich compositions and “making songs for girls” in the same breath, and whilst how much his fans care about the former is debatable, he sure relates to them in style. Early demo The French Open (an ode to American tennis player Andy Roddick) and new single Hummer move with slinky bass lines and intense if imperceptible vocals, raising the temperature further and further, and before too long the wild young throng are invading the stage with flailing limbs.
Foals are the type of band that prove music isn’t just a weekend occasion; an intense Dionysian treat for the Apollonian-inclined, and pretty grand for it.