London 5-piece Cosines who describe themselves as a 'mathematical pop band' hit Cardiff tonight in support of their new single 'Commuter Love'. Formed in 2009 they have honed their songwriting skills to produce a kaleidoscope of sixties fused sun-drenched pop.
But before we get to them, there are 3 other bands on the line-up tonight. First up is My Name Is Ian who wastes no time opening with ' I Watch Too Many TV Shows' with rapid fire delivery as he spits out his lyrics.. How he breathes and sings at the same time during the verses shall remain a mystery. Influences range from folk, rock, blues, gospel entwined with vivid tales of life. He has an immediacy, not just in songs such as 'Larger Than The Largest Dinosaur That's Ever Existed' but with how he relates to the crowd. Not only is he a frisson of energy on stage while performing, we also get an insight into his world between songs as he shares stories and anecdotes in an endearing and honest way. A glorious 'Lord Have Mercy On Me' ends the set.
HMS Morris alter ego of Heledd Mair Watkins,is a very different beast with her brand of psychedelic indie pop. She has a uniqueness that sets her apart due to her diverse arrangements, musicianship and writing. As the set unfolded, I found myself getting lost (enjoyably so) in brooding electronica reminiscent at times of Massive Attack. But there are so many flavours on offer tonight that it's not possible to label HMS Morris one thing or another. A simply breathtaking 'Shipping Forecast' leaves me (and I'm sure others) wanting more.
The Lovely Wars have been creating a bit of stir in Wales, fronted by Ani Saunders (formally of The Pipettes) they are fine purveyors of catchy melodies and classic pop. They also have something to say, its evident they are fiercely proud of their Welsh heritage and are unafraid of social comment.
The charismatic Ani looks every inch the pop star as she moves and dances whilst commanding the stage. With additional vocals courtesy of Alice Knipping on guitar and Ceri Sweet on Keyboards, they flesh out their sunny pop with gorgeous melodies especially on welsh language gem 'Bran I Fran'.
What is clear so far is that any three of these bands/artists are more than capable headliners. Speaking of which, it's the last band of the evening and headliners Cosines turn to impress. Which is exactly what they do as they charge their way through 30 minutes of sheer pop indulgence.
An irresistible 'Hey Sailor Boy' is as sublime as it is catchy, thanks to the juxtaposition of Alice Hubley's aloof vocals and the bands joyous driving melody. On 'Commuter Love' they show a slightly darker and rockier side with this foot stomping, glam-rock inspired offering. Before they end the set, Francesca Dimech (a musician in her own right and one fifth of Fizzi Events who put tonight's show together) joins them on-stage to play trumpet which is a surprising and welcome addition.
It's this which sums up the night perfectly, to be in a room with like-minded people where lines are blurred between audience, promoter and band. Everyone is here for the right reasons, and it shows!