Road To Merthyr Rock 2014 Review

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With Kids In Glass Houses disbanding this year, it was a fitting farewell for them to tour through the Valleys for one last time in support of Merthyr Rock Festival. It wasn’t just the headliners that impressed though, with strong performances from Paint Happy and Samoans also.

Paint Happy 

paint happy

Paint Happy are a five piece alternative rock band from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales who combine steady riffs with gritty rap. It’s not easy being a support act, let a lone a support act for a support act. Despite playing intimate venues across the tour; young, unknowing crowds can be very intimidating no matter what their size. Every night Paint Happy faced the challenge of encouraging immediately dismissive crowds to engage with their set, but, as their name suggests, they didn’t let that bring them down. They took to the stage with enthusiasm and energy every night and performed with confidence and professionalism, for a group of 19-20 year old lads, they did pretty good.

Riffs in songs like ‘Running With My Eyes Closed‘ paired with frontman, Malik Furreed, encouraging cheering competitions between left and right sides of the crowd and catchy chants (“I say “Paint” you say “Happy””) eventually got the young crowd moving and people generally appeared to enjoy their set.

Paint Happy were fun, down to earth, gracious and genuinely seemed to be having fun on stage and not take things too seriously. What more do you need from a support band, really?

Check Paint Happy out on:

Twitter@Paint_Happy

Facebook – Facebook.com/PaintHappy

Soundcloud – Soundcloud.com/Paint-Happy

 

Samoans­­­­­­

samoans

Samoans are a math-rock band from Cardiff. Don’t stop reading because you’ve seen the words “math-rock” – it was never a music genre we would have considered to enjoy before we started listening to Samoans. Their songs are made up of strong bass lines (‘I Am Your Destiny‘), catchy but fresh, unpredictable riffs (‘Dancing on the Sea Lion‘ – yep, that’s a song title) and lyrics that fill your head with images so powerful it’s as if you’re hearing Tennyson’s poetry.

Their frontman and guitarist, Dan Barnett, echoes the stage presence of Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil. The way he holds himself and the way he plays guitar expresses his clear influence but still maintains his own unique style and individuality.

The problem with young crowds and support bands is that it’s ‘not cool’ to pay attention; the difference in style to Kids In Glass Houses didn’t work in Samoans’ favour and for a group of talented musicians who tried their best to engage with the crowd and make light of the fact that they knew the audience weren’t into ‘that’ type of music, they deserved a better response than what they got.

There were however, some exceptions, Dan and bassist, Calvin Ley, broke a few hearts as girls lined up to get their photos taken and they sold their last few copies of their EP ‘Elevated Reflections‘ before the end of the mini-tour. Some, including us, bought their new album Rescue and we have hardly stopped listening to it since coming home. So the moral of the story is, always listen to support acts because you could be watching your next favourite band.

Check out Samoans on:

Tumblr – Samoans.tumblr.com

Twitter – @samoanstheband

Facebook – Facebook.com/Samoans

Their music and merch is available to buy (and stream for free) at:

Samoanstheband.bandcamp.com

And is also available on iTunes and Amazon

 

Kids in Glass Houses

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A Welsh ‘mini-tour’ consisting of four shows in a row across the South Wales valleys, starting in Merthyr Tydfil then going on to Swansea, Ebbw Vale and finishing in Bridgend, the Road to Merthyr Rock gave Kids in Glass Houses the chance to play intimate venues to small Welsh crowds one last time. Despite KIGH not playing Merthyr Rock festival itself, the shows were a success, the venues were packed out every night resulting in a very sweaty, alcohol-soaked but emotional few nights.

KIGH are rarely ones to stand still on stage, and they certainly didn’t hold back at these shows knowing they weren’t ever going to play these places again. There was so much energy on stage, it was hard to keep up and you didn’t know where to look, but that isn’t really a problem when you’re in a tight crowd all singing and dancing to ‘Give Me What I Want‘ and ‘Easy Tiger‘. The atmosphere was euphoric but the knowledge that this is where these songs started and they’ll never be played here again lingered for some of us. Swansea in particular was quite emotional when the crowd started singing the first verse of Saturday as soon as they heard the chords instead of waiting for the vocals to kick in. The band also brought back some “curveballs” to the set by playing some songs from their third album, ‘In Gold Blood‘. ‘Diamond Days‘ and ‘Black Crush‘ featured on the setlist and had obviously been dearly missed, this sentiment was affirmed by the crowd through cheers when the band announced on stage in Bridgend that they would be playing the album in full in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff in September.

These shows felt pretty special and there was a definite spark there that you only get at Welsh shows. This Summer brings the last cycle of Kids In Glass Houses shows with the band playing in Japan and Australia and then finishing in the UK and Ireland in October. If the mini Welsh tour was anything to go by, these farewell shows are going to be some of their best ever. Most of the crowds had already booked their tickets for the farewell tour and I suggest you do the same.

Pick up tickets for the Farewell tour here. These shows have been steadily selling out but with the tour not far away, the remaining dates are selling fast so don’t wait around.

You can also pick up tickets for the ‘In Gold Blood‘ show in Clwb Ifor Bach on September 30th here (these are VERY limited), and grab ‘Dirt‘ and ‘In Gold Blood‘ vinyls from Saint November here (these are also limited).

RRW
By RRW.

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