The jewel in Cardiff’s independent venues crown is slightly under packed on this monumental Friday night. It’s been four years since Johnny Foreigner have graced the stage of Clwb Ifor Bach and their committed following seem committed to them and them alone. Those who have bothered to arrive early for the supports mingle around the bar as Totem Terrors take to the stage, boasting lovely t-shirts and on-stage patter almost endearing enough to drown out the fact that, by the third song, everything has started to sound the same.
Radstewart take over, slacker-rock ditties and flailing limbs in tow. Proving they’re lyrically the strongest act of the night, they ease through a set of wit filled songs to an ever growing crowd. ‘That song that says cunt’ (also known as ‘Insane Parties’) contributes a large part of what has gained Radstewart such attention in the wake of their recent EP release, ‘Wiccans & Beatlemancers,’ and it’s reception tonight is just as appraising. It seems that, were the crowd not comprised of JoFo fanatics, the Cardiff based quartet could have posed a risk of stealing the show.
Fortunately for Johnny Foreigner, their rabble of loyal fans have their hearts previously bestowed. Accompanied by a backdrop of kitsch videos, flashing everything from Disney World holiday snaps to hand drawn animations at the bewildered crowd, it’s a complete sensory overload. Opening with a new song that’s yet to be titled, they’re playing a risky game, but, as expected, the crowd are wrapped securely around their little finger. ‘Wi-Fi Beach’ crashes in half way through the set, prompting an en masse sing along for the catchiest chorus new album ‘You Can Do Better’ has to offer. The trademark boy-girl vocal battles that mark the band apart from others so strikingly on record do little more when translated to a live environment, leaving the sound far less organised than desired. A self-deprecating anecdote detailing ‘YCDB’s’ recent 3/10 review claiming that JoFo are doomed to the toilet circuit forevermore fills the following between song silence to supportive jest from the crowd and, not quite so fortunately for the Birmingham indie-rockers, remains a niggling voice as the set draws to a close. The impracticalities of an encore in the tiny downstairs room of Clwb Ifor Bach make for more awkward small talk as vocalist Alexei Berrow leads the show to its conclusion with crowd favourite ‘The Coast Was Always Clear,’ whilst we’re left to ponder the uncertain future of this seemingly going nowhere band.