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I love this venue, The Moon in Cardiff. A small capacity venue, where music posters, band stickers and graffiti adorn almost every wall and the low lighting gives it a gritty, grunge feel. Perfect for any guitar driven gig!

First up for the night are ‘The Caspiens’ and the crowd are slowly starting fill the floor, the stage is small and low compacting both band and crowd together giving an intimate feel.  Heavy rhythm and blues driven guitar fills the stage and the energy is starting to lift. The band look and feel very comfortable and I’m starting to get hints of later ‘Kings of Leon’ throughout the set, bluesy rock and roll, think the ‘Come Around Sundown’ album and your not far off the sound that’s coming through. They are very well received with a few songs gaining more praise from the crowd than others but all in all very positive. This is my first time to catch these local lads live and after having heard good things I can say that they didn’t disappoint, as the opening band they’ve got the energy up and there were definitely a few tunes in the set that I know I’ll be huming in a few days time, which is always a good thing.

Second up we have newcomers ‘Violet Walk’. Just before they are about to go on I’m suddenly feeling a little claustrophobic and make my way a little further back towards the bar. It’s no wonder, there’s been an abrupt influx of the crowd and the floor is now jam packed shoulder to shoulder. This has definitely raised my attention and I’m eager to see what’s to come. It’s not disappointing! The opening song is syth driven guitar pop rock and it’s something else! As a double female fronted guitar band they are already oozing uniqueness on the scene but it now sounds to me like they’ve got the music to back it up, harmonies, harmonies and more harmonies between the two lead vocals are absolutly incredible! As the set goes on its starting to turn into sweaty packed madness, the type of gig I fucking love! So I make my way back to the front of the crowd. It’s hard to put a single genre on this band, the opener was more indie pop, there are a few that I’d put under indie rock and then there’s some heavier soulful rock tunes thrown in. One influence that keeps cropping up in my mind however is the Fleetwood Mac vibe they’re giving me! I can’t even say that there is a single front woman to the band as they seem equally comfortable taking the centre stage and both are equally comfortable standing back for the other. The set comes to a close with an absolute belter, one of the more rock and roll tunes of the set and the band say many thank you’s and the crowd dissipates. After only a 30 minute gig I’m left feeling that I definitely want to see more of this band! They’re unique, they held the crowd and there’s something very special going on with the stage presence between the two front woman. Most certainly a band to watch in the future in mind.

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ANDREW COOPER

Third up on the bill we have ‘Bandicoot’. Now having already seen this band a handful of times I already know what’s coming but I always try to remain impartial when critiquing a gig. But as soon as they start it’s out the fucking window because I love these lads! You know those bands where as soon as they start playing their tunes you just can’t help but have a dance? That’s Bandicoot! With an alt/indie undercurrent to the tunes I’m thinking ‘Joy Division’ and I can’t help but dance along! Frontman Rhys Underdown is confident and keeps it fresh throughout the set playing guitar and throwing in some saxophone on a few tunes which brings a whole new dynamic to the set and if anything just makes you want to dance even more. The crowd love it and they go down a storm. This is the type of band that delivers consistently, just pure happy beat music that keeps you going, very enjoyable!

And now the headline of the evening – ‘The RPM’s’. It’s hard to go to a gig without some preconceived notion of what to expect, especially when you’ve already heard a few tunes, read a few reviews, have heard what others are saying having already seen a particular band live. Now I’ve seen some bands that people had told me were shite and I’ve gone there with this biased notion that this band will be shite because ‘so an so’ has already seen them and he said they were shite. Well that’s utter shite but admit it, we all do it, it’s unavoidable and it works both ways, I’ve also seen bands hyped up to the max to the point I’m practically salivating with anticipation as they come out on stage and then my buzz is absolutely fucking destroyed because all the hype was bollocks and the gig was shit. That’s the trouble with listening to other reviews, other opinions and other people’s expectations, only ever make your own mind up and ONLY EVER MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP WHEN YOU SEE A BAND LIVE!!!  That’s the most important part. So now here I am ignoring my own advice, standing here like a kid in the corner shop waiting for a 10 pence mix. Why? Because of the hype! It’s everywhere whenever The RPM’s name comes up, it’s just positive reviews stacked up on more positive reviews. Well, thank god this time it seems the others were right. High energy on the stage smashing out the tunes straight off the bat, dancing crowds sweating in the pit with the band practically on top of them – fucking ace! Indie pop reminding me of many a Noughties gig. Another reason why I love this venue, it is that intimate feel that you just can’t get anywhere else, they’re a festival calibre band absolutely no doubt but I feel that the raw energy and power in the performance would be lost on the bigger stage.
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ANDREW COOPER

 After the night comes to a close I can honestly say that it’s one of the best gigs I’ve been to in a while, the line up was quality with a decent mix. Favourites of the night were Bandicoot and Violet Walk with the latter making a very big impression, made more so by the fact that I could see the band enjoying the entire gig down in the pit after their set. It’s always good to see bands showing love and support to the others on the bill. 
Now as I’ve already stated, do not take my word, go and check these bands out yourself! You might find something you love or you might find something you hate, either way it’ll be your own opinion and your own experience!

BLAINE MADGEWICK

PHOTOS: ANDREW COOPER 

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