|The Smoking Hearts - Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach - 23rd February 2010|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Tuesday, 02 March 2010 09:00|
We've been lucky enough to have had a promo copy of 'Pride Of Nowhere', the debut album from The Smoking Hearts - released on March 8th on George Street Records - stripping the paint from the walls of ÜRHQ for some time now. Caustic, carefree yet killer, this album is already duking it out with some much bigger names in our Album Of The Year lists. I couldn't pass up the chance to see them live for the first time, purely to see if the promise of the album would explode without studio walls to hold it in.......
Another freezing night in the capital. Clwb Ifor Bach is respectably full. An air raid siren is planted in front of the low stage and, within seconds of emitting its howl, is quickly drowned out by the ballsy, badass blitz that is kicking its way out of the speakers, levelling buildings in its own incendiary way. The band's own description of their sound - The Ramones on heat playing Motorhead - can hardly be argued with, but throw a hefty dose of Norwegian legends Gluecifer into the punk 'n' roll mix, by way of The Bronx, and you'll already know if this band is for you or not.
There is nothing more exciting when seeing a band live than witnessing every member of said band being into it 100% and going for it - guess what? Actually, that would probably describe The Smoking Hearts on an off night. Tonight's set is, like the awesome debut album, done and dusted in under half an hour. Always leave them wanting more? This performance leaves an impression that you will never forget - imagine prime-time Mike Yarwood doing a Linda Lovelace.
The confidence, along with attitude, is almost dripping from the stage. Bassist Calvin, a mass of flailing hair and Faith No More tattoos, is as much of a focal point as vocalist Lethal who is himself all over the venue's tables and chairs as much as he is the stage. Flanking the blurred mess of flawless, breakneck drumming that goes by the name of Matty are guitarists Barker and Nobba who drive this noise into your head via your rattling fucking teeth. There is no finer sight in music than a pair of ass-kicking guitarists churning out winning riff after fucking riff of their own personal brand of rock 'n' roll. Towards the end of the set, Nobba snaps the headstock clean off his guitar and simply throws the battered plank into the monitors, picks up his spare, plugs it in and continues to kick up a shit storm with only the laughter of his bandmates as proof that anything untoward has happened. If you've ever seen a six-string widdling wanker almost burst into tears when he breaks a string and, like me, pissed yourself laughing, then you too would have loved what I just witnessed.
I can barely remember anything about the songs played, 'Thundersludge' and 'Give 'Em The Suit' stick in my mind, but the rest just passed me by like the coolest sound blur that I have been lucky enough to witness for a long time. Y'know when you see or hear a band and you just know that you have witnessed something special? Like you've just witnessed the start of something big? Like the first time I saw The Wildhearts before they'd ever released anything. That's how I feel when I walk out into the freezing February night with my ears ringing and my face aching from the perma-grin that this band have slapped onto my face.
The difference back then was that when I discovered something awesome it was finding people willing to listen to my ravings - now I have a website with millions of hits so I have the opportunity to do the decent thing, and educate you fuckers! Check out The Smoking Hearts now because they are, to coin a phrase, seriously on the road to explode.