When it’s a sleepy Sunday night and there are seats in the gig space of a venue, you could well be in trouble if you’re hoping to conjure a crowd. The Brudenell wasn’t swelling with rows-deep bodies in its Community Room, but that didn’t spell a lack of energetic performance from Cardiff’s Himalayas*. Quite the opposite.
If you’re a regular Record Weekly reader or follower on Instagram, it should come as no shock that it was utterly disappointing when Glasgow’s ferocious Dead Pony pulled out of the supporting role last-minute due to illness. They’re on a stupidly impressive upwards trajectory and very much an outfit to get boxed off the immediate, emerging artists bucket list.
The line-up switch saw a local three-piece, Kath and The Kicks, seize the spot. Their gritty blend of rock warmed things up, and their enthusiasm wasn’t marred by an unfortunate drum pedal issue that saw their frontwoman and bassist continue themselves for two songs, navigating the scenario with a commendable play-on attitude.
Outside the realms of rock, ‘scuzzy’ is an odd descriptor, but it’s designed as a seriously favourable — and accurate — one here, when I say that Himalayas served up a healthy dose of that sort of sound. Rightly, they’re a band that’s crossed off big festivals such as Reading and Leeds, along with Texas’ leading SXSW. And when you add that to having also supported the mighty Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics, the crowd size at the Brude really didn’t do them justice. Yet, they still managed to deliver a presence on stage that was super-compelling to witness.
Through their tight drumming, wild energy, use of breaks and transitions, and beguiling moodiness — capped off by Joe Williams’ charismatic and distinctive vocals — Himalayas struck a punch. They have an album pending, which meant that they wheeled out various as-yet-not-dropped offerings, sprinkling their showcase with intrigue. But of their most popular material, ‘Sigh on a Hurricane’ handed us bursts of upbeat, somewhat pop-tinged indie, in an otherwise sea of shredding riffs and screeching amp feedback. The latest gambit, ‘Out of the Dark and into the Light’, was immense, too. And they very slickly ended with their chief streaming success, ‘Thank God I’m Not You’.
Hats off to Himalayas for also being the chattiest band who genuinely wanted to meet fans just minutes after playing. No messing around in the green room; straight out to speak to those who had turned out.
*With thanks to Terri at Wild MGMT for the press passes