Brakes, Tommy’s Bar, Cardiff – 02/02/09

So i met Steve in a blizzard at 8pm and we slid our way down to the bar..
£9 on the door hurt a little, but Steve assured me Brakes live were a must see.
I’d been enjoying the few songs i had by them, on my itunes and thought fuck it.. we’ll have a good night.

We walked in and headed for the bar… but couldn’t get a pint as the beard from Gindrinker was sat on it rubbing his guitar on a ledge of wood above the bar, and making a god-awful racket with a gaggle of lookalike beards looking on in wonderment.
He finally left to a rapturous round of applause and we got the beers in.

We tried to get the Brakes for Blowout Festival in 2007, and they turned down quite a tasty offer that we threw their way… and since then they were dropped by their major label, and the buzz seems to have shrunk around them… Recently signing to a indie, with album number three due in April.
Looking around at the set up at Tommy’s Bar i am surprised. The PA was tiny and the stage an odd shaped mini playground of wires and amps.

They took to the stage… singer in full silver jump suit holding a pineapple like a trophy above his head…

They kicked in and the sound was shockingly shit..

The charisma, aggression, and fun attitude cut through the flat sound and they belted through a set of punk, rock, hillbilly, country, dance and 5 second songs…
They were tight even though, the singer exclaimed, “Its the first time we’ve seen each other in 4 months!”
The between song banter was great with the towering confident guitarist (i’m sure i seen this guy in Electric Soft Parade in TJs years ago) wise-cracking at every opportunity, and the singer, tiny in his sliver babygrow, tripping over himself and apologizing.

‘I cant stand standing next to you’ with its viscous bass riff and dirty break beat completely blew me away… making me think this might be one of the best live bands around.
The finale seen the band go mental and the singer bouncing like a kid in one of those bouncy things you put in a doorway for toddlers… i was in tears.. they are fucking nuts.

The normal beard stroking live gig situation just seemed to be a bit wrong for it all tho…
Outside having a smoke at the end i spoke to the band saying i’d love to get them on a 3am slot at a dirty party with a mad for it crowd on a weekend, they said they get booked in Spain for that sort of thing all the time and they seem to go down a fucking storm.

Fairplay to Forecast for an excellent booking, and an excellent night, but i can’t help thinking with a more mad for it crowd, maybe on a weekend night and in the early hours, with a PA with some bollocks to it… this band could really tear the fucking roof off.

6 thoughts on “Brakes, Tommy’s Bar, Cardiff – 02/02/09”

  1. while it could have been slightly louder the sound was not “shockingly shit”. It was fairly clear and defined. Its a small venue and wherever you stand in the room is going to result in a completely different sound. you were standing right at the back, with 100 or so peoples heads between you and the speakers, which in fairness would probably benefit from being flown on the I-beam.personally I am sick of people mixing far too loud in small venues, usually compensating for the fact that they don’t really know what they’re doing. half the people end up wearing earplugs. also If you’re fighting a less that ideal room sound or the fact that the equipment could be better you’re just doing to lose in that situation.

  2. What more do you expect from a Monday night gig in Cardiff on a cold February evening? Fair play to Forecast for booking them. I hardly know of any venues that host bands at 3am. Most club nights only go on until 4am at the latest. Meanwhile, I will hold my breath and wait for the 24 hour TANTRUM music event.

  3. Personally, Gindrinker were the highlight for me! Catch their longer (cheaper) set at Clwb later this month and see if they can’t work their magic on you too

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