Independent Venue Week – King Creature @ Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff
Nearly fucked this one completely. When King Creature were announced as part of the fifth Independent Venue Week tour that was due to hit Cardiff it was a no-brainer to grab a couple of tickets. Their stunning set at HRH in November 2017 introduced the South West outfit and their Volume One debut cemented the relationship. What we hadn’t counted on was the change in the running order of the bands as they changed each evening.
Independent Venue Week is funded by the Arts Council England and acts as a spotlight on those smaller venues around the UK which put on the bands of today and tomorrow, helping to showcase these vital locations which support and allow live music of all shapes and styles to flourish. Fuel certainly falls into that category although it’s unlikely to win a CAMRA award anytime soon.
So why did we nearly fuck it? Well, anticipating that King Creature were headlining, we stopped for a quick pint at the wonderful City Arms on the way up to Fuel, one of the few traditional drinking establishments in the Capital with the demise of the Rummer Tavern which is now a godawful plastic sports bar. Opening the door to the live area in Fuel, we were panicked to see King Creature (9) already in full flow. Luckily for us, we were treated to a splendid 30 minutes of hard rock which was well worth the effort.
In Dave Kellaway, King Creature possess a real gem of a frontman. Humble but with sufficient confidence and charisma to carry the small crowd along for the ride, he possesses a soulful melodic voice which can snarl and roar with the best. Alongside Kellaway, who also provides the groove with his rampaging bass lines, is guitarist Dave Evans and the Zak Wylde shape throwing of Matt K Vincent whose lead work was exceptional. With Jack Sutton Bassett pounding the skins, this is one powerful outfit. Aided by an unusually clean sound, the band rocked through a selection of tracks from Volume One including the balls-out Power, the calmer Can You Forgive Me amongst others. What I love about this band is their high tempo, their traditional approach but with a blend that really gets the head banging.
Talking briefly to Dave afterwards, we also discovered that the band had been holed up outside the Motorpoint Arena for over a day as their itinerary failed to consider ferry times to enable them to get back from Belfast. Luckily for Cardiff, the bands decided on the Welsh Capital. Cheered on by some bizarre support, including a scantily clad portly chap in a transparent mini-skirt, bikini top, steam punk helmet and knee length boots and a lady whose enthusiasm threatened to spill out several times, the whole set was perfect for a rainy Tuesday night. King Creature’s blend of BSC, Orange Goblin and Trucker Diablo is impressive and if I can get there, their set at this year’s Amplified Festival will be unmissable.
Following King Creature was a real challenge, but Reigning Days (7), a three-piece from Devon gave it a good go. Their contrasting sound was noticeable, as was the audience that had diminished slightly, the majority deciding to hang at the back leaving the band playing to no-one at the front. Their alt-rock sound was totally different with an early day Cure sound amongst those detected in the band’s songs. Dan Steer, Joe Sansome and Jonny Finnis certainly don’t lack enthusiasm and played as if it was a full house. Their music didn’t really cut it for me and after about 25 minutes we cut our losses and headed home. Apologies to The Dirty Youth for missing your set.