Raveneye, Skam and Dead Shed Jokers, The Globe, Cardiff
Sometimes gigs just feel a little flat. Maybe it was because this was a Monday evening, maybe it was because the audience in a half-full Globe insisted in talking loudly throughout the gig to the point where it was hard to hear the inter-song chat of the bands or maybe it was because Raveneye have created a buzz which they strain to meet on occasions.
Highlight of the evening for me was opening act The Dead Shed Jokers (8). I’d seen the Aberdare/Merthyr outfit before, but tonight they pushed the envelope. Although the majority of those in The Globe had little knowledge about the band, it was still a brave move to fill their opening slot completely with new songs from an album not yet released. As it was, it proved to be a masterful decision with the new tracks soaked in old school Zeppelin, The Doors and The Stones. With the three guitarists swapping places more often than the Liverpool forward line and Hywel’s deadpan humour between songs bringing some much-needed laughter, focus remained on the quality of the music which was delivered with a swagger and confidence. Album number 3 should be good.
Leicester’s SKAM (7) were main support and they treated the slot with the respect it deserved. The trio hit hard and although their music is radio friendly, it certainly is listenable. The band are watchable too, with the gurning of bassist Matt Gilmore addictive as he raced back and fore; dare I say with more energy than Adam Spiers? Steve Hill can hold a note and his clean vocals were aided by a decent sound. His guitar work is slightly more restricted, possibly on purpose given the virtuoso who was to follow but it didn’t detract. Playing a collection of old favourites and new tracks from their bizarre concept release The Amazing Memoirs Of Geoffrey Goddard, the slightly larger crowd responded with roars of approval to Holy City, the Planet Rock favourite Take It Or Leave It and closing track Massacre, complete with snippets of War Pigs and a riff similar to the Beastie’s Sabotage. A cheap shot which got the crowd excited, once again proving that cover bands will always be welcomed in South Wales.
I’ve seen headliners Raveneye (8) several times, including the memorable outdoor bash at Steelhouse when the heavens opened, and the band played in a downpour. No such climate drama this time, but a slight move towards Airbourne in style at times, especially from hyperactive drummer Adam Breeze who is turning into Lars Ulrich in capacity for getting up and down all the bloody time! For a three piece there is always action on the stage and with Spiers careering round and round, there was more than one near miss with vocalist and guitarist Oli Brown. The band tore through a set filled with classics, astonishing considering they have one album and an EP to their name. Come With Me got the crowd singing, plenty of jumps from the bass drum as the evening went on and the customary wander through the crowd with Brown on Spiers’ shoulders eased considerably by the space on the floor.
A couple of new songs were also aired, and they appeared okay, slotting in with the rest of the set although time will tell of course. Three quarters of the way through the set, and with several of the crowd deciding it was time to leave, I wondered why that was. Raveneye never give less than 100%. They have a high tempo approach that leaves you breathless just watching. But tonight, they seemed to be pushing harder than necessary to make a natural thing happen by force. It wasn’t poor, in fact in comparison to many bands it was red hot, but there was something missing. The acoustic Eternity, with all three members on guitars was marred by the gibbering of idiots who refused to be quiet, and although the band ended on a high, there was still something missing. Maybe my previous experiences set the bar too high. Next time, I’m sure it’ll be storming again.