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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The View From The Back Of The Room: Panic Room

Panic Room & Matt Cook: The Globe, Cardiff

So progressive rockers Panic Room once again grace The Globe for their strong, emotionally charged prog rock that brings in jazz, folk, rock and also some pop to great style. First though was Matt Cook who took to the stage to no real commotion but proceeded to start his set to the small crowd.

Matt Cook

Troubadour Matt Cook wields a Gibson Firebird and as such can make many guitar sounds ranging from acoustic to heavy rock. He also uses a looper device to create his backing band much like David Ford. He opened with one of his own compositions a driving indie rock song on which Matt showed both his guitar prowess and his strong vocals, so far so good but what really won over the crowd and offset the slower more melancholic songs that Cook plays was his razor sharp humor, he introduced himself first as Phil Collins (luckily it was a joke) before promising a massive finale to the set. As I said his guitar playing was excellent and his vocals were too especially on super ballad Letting Go. As this was a showcase he filled his set with his own songs (available at the back for £5!) and punctuated by covers the main one being Fast Car by Tracy Chapman which was a great cover done with true style. The humor kept coming and I for one found him very funny with his between song banter. Throughout his set Cook took us through his Counting Crows like indie rock filled with soul before after some more strong solo tracks. The promised and greatly hyped ending came in the shape of Avicii's Wake Me Up which evolved into him screaming adverts (Bodyform and Calgon being the two major ones) and then ended with Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry. Yes the ending was spectacular and Cook was very well received, a great showcase for the man and his talent, his own songs are good but after checking his website (the excellently named http://www.thatguywesawlastnight.com) he's also available for parties, weddings, bar mitzah's (probably) and anything where live music is required. Well worth seeking out and watching due to his excellent performance and true stand up style delivery of between song banter. 9/10

Panic Room

With the room full of 'Roomies' already warmed up by Mr Cook, the headliners had very little to do to win over the crowd so without further ado they came on to the stage and ploughed straight into the excellent Into Temptation which immediately showcased the band working at full power. Founder Jonathan Edwards drove everything along with his amazing all encompassing keys and synths, they are the main component of every track and they weave a musical web throughout the night, he is accompanied by the technical jazz style guitar playing of Adam O'Sullivan (who showcased his skills on second song Velocity which has a driving guitar rhythm), not be ignored are the full fat, fingerstyle bass work (and chief cheerleading) of Yatim Halimi and the heavyweight drumming of Gavin Griffiths who showed their mettle on Picking Up Knives and the carnivalesque I Am The Cat. Last but by no means least we have vocalist/guitarist/flautist Anne-Marie Helder whose voice is astoundingly good, although she is no slouch on the guitar or flute either backing Sullivan on the guitars on the heavier tracks. Starting a set with three new songs is a brave move but when your latest album is as good as Incarnate then I for one wasn't complaining, plus the real 'Roomies' knew all the words to the new songs anyway. The set was a mix of old and new with the slinky sounds of Chameleon, the folksy whimsy of I Wonder What's Keeping My True Love and the emotional power of Picking Up Knives all coming from the bands first three albums. Back again into Incarnate with the excellent Waterfalls which is an excellent live song and was followed by the old school I Am The Cat on which Helder prowled the stage, so far the band had weaved their magic through a myriad of songs each one different to the last meaning that the band were never dull, however sound goblins (or possibly over enthusiasm on Anne-Marie's part) meant a small gap in the set as the mic had to be fixed, this didn't pose a problem to the band who embarked on a jazz odyssey interlude to fill the time before descending once again into Incarnate with All That We Are, Nothing New, the super strong title track and Dust ending the main set in terrific style! Off stage for a small turn around and then back out for the encore which started off with a small two song acoustic set of Screens and Song For Tomorrow before plugging in for the final two songs of Close The Door and Promises a majestic set from the prog rockers who play mature, emotionally charged, progressive rock. Catch them if you can!! 9/10       

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