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Wednesday 1 December 2021

A View From The Back Of The Room: Bad Touch, Piston & Dead Shed Jokers (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Bad Touch, Piston & Dead Shed Jokers, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 29.11.21

Once again Clwb Ifor Bach rumbled with the sounds of rock n roll as three more bands made their way into the venue to play for the South Wales fans.

This was supposed to be the one South Wales show on the tour when it was rescheduled. However a night at The Patriot had been added for the day before which split the crowd between the two venues leaving Clwb the worse off. Still there was a lot of diehards ready to be rocked on a cold Monday night.

Having seen the headliners do what they do numerous times a good show was guaranteed however for a lot of the early fans on attendance, it was openers Dead Shed Jokers (8) who they were here to witness. The gig marked the band's first show in two years and the first show on from frontman Hwyel's hospitalisation with Viral Encephalitis in November 2020. Happily due to resilience, his family and the amazing staff of the NHS (some of whom were in the venue) he was able to pull through. (When told, my good friend Mr Hewitt, who is a Nurse Practitioner, called him a lucky MoFo for pulling through). So that meant this show was extra special. So special on fact that the rest of the band weren't actually able to play the show so he managed to grab some of South Wales' finest musicians (his words) and play the show, nicknaming the group Dead Shed Imposters. 

We got one song from most recent effort All The Seasons (Phantom Pains)  and one, Means To The End came from Peyote Smile. The remaining three were all new songs, Car Park Blues and A Minor Worry were great but the last song Best Of Times, which closed the set was written as a dedication to everyone that looked after him during the hospitalisation. DSJ have always been something of a unique prospect on any bill marrying psychedelic blues, with grunge and dark Americana. Best Of Times especially brought to mind the twisted genius of Ton Waits as Hwyel's vocals wailed and wandered across the ringing guitars and thumping rhythms. Again totally out of place but they had a mesmerising set and the best sound of the night too.

Next up after a change over were Midlands based rockers Piston (6), doing the rock star walk off then walk back on again, in a small, not crowded venue seemed to be a little odd but hey who am I to judge. They whipped up excitement with WaxAudio's Whole Lotta Sabbath mash up as their intro tape and proceeded to deliver their hard rock swagger. The band are all decent musicians and extra kudos goes to their drummer for playing the show with a broken rib but for me their style of music is a little too similar to the myriad of other bands around at the moment. 

Not generic but just a little underwhelming, the set not helped by the muddy sound and a cover of Proud Mary, a song that has been covered by so many artists most wouldn't even know who wrote the original (it was John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival fact fans). Still a lot of the die hard crowd were moving to Pistons obvious rockstar swagger and they have to be commended for playing the gig like it was Wembley. They support Thunder on the Birmingham date of their tour next year so I'm sure this will help them make an even bigger splash.

The final band of the evening were Bad Touch (7) they got things going with the opening riff to Lift Your Head Up waiting for singer Stevie Westwood to hit the stage, there was quite a long opening until he finally came through the crowd saying down the mic that the side door was locked so he had to run around! A small Spinal Tap moment but they kicked off with the song before sliding into the hip shaking rhythms of Good On Me (the best song written about Jeans) and Strut where Stevie proceeded to do just that. Again like Piston the sound was a little muddy and at one point the mic completely cut out leading a bit of impromptu karaoke. 

Having the biggest crowd they were playing to room that was on fire, the drink was flowing and that helped digest Bad Touch's rock n soul sound playing a glut of tracks from their latest album along with some classics, there were also two covers. 25 Miles originally by Edwin Starr and Pocket, their version of Hand In Pocket by Alanis Morissette, a guitar solo spot and an Xmas Song in the encore. It was a fully fledged hard rock show heavy on the clich├ęs but undeniably entertaining. As they closed out with 99% this hard working band, Cardiff was their 11th show with four remaining, got the crowd well and truly involved even on a Monday which is an achievement to be recognised in its own right. Slick rock n soul that we'll be certainly hearing more of on 2022.

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