Tiger Please + Funeral For A Friend - Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
FFAF do a secret gig... and it's amazing
There's an air of excitement about tonight's Tiger Please show. Not just because the headliners are celebrating the one year anniversary of 'They Don't Change Under Moonlight's release, but because their main support is local talent Escape Artists Never Die, known to most of us as Funeral For A Friend. We knew it would be the talking point of the evening, but it was by no means the highlight.
If you're looking for a good way to open your show, it might be handy to invite Samoans, who assault us with an intricate, angular, mathy racket in such a casual manner it makes for a set that bewilders and dazzles in equal measure. It's a bit lost on much of the crowd, but while they sound appreciative and surprised to see so many people in the room, they reward us with an impressive set.
Escape Artists Never Die tell us they're the worst Funeral For A Friend cover band in the world, probably because they cover songs that aren't even released yet. Their first gig with new recruit Richard Boucher on bass and old new recruit Gavin Burrough taking up the six-string (vacated by Darran Smith), tonight's show is all about showcasing the band's future. The only well known tracks aired are ‘Roses For the Dead’ and the closing ‘Escape Artists...’ Every other track is lifted from recent Pledging fans-only EP, 'The Young And Defenceless', and two brand new tracks; 'Man Alive' and 'Front Row Seats To The End Of The World'. It’s a risky move, but while the crowd don't start pits, the songs are well received thanks to the fact they're nothing short of fantastic - Matt Davies-Kreye's lyrics in particular continue to improve. Technical difficulties stall momentum and piss off Kris Coombs-Roberts for the rest of the set, but Matt tells us “that’s what happens when you let us set up our own shit” and ends the set diving into the crowd to finish the show moshing and screaming along with the rest of us. Despite Kris’ annoyance, the band have nothing to feel bad about. On the strength of this scrappy DIY support slot, their future sounds very exciting indeed.
You might think anything following such an appearance would make whatever followed an anti-climax, but Tiger Please play an absolute blinder. The amount of love in the room quadruples, as the band tell us the stories behind the songs and intermittently thank more people than an Oscar winner as they play 'They Don't Change Under Moonlight' in full. From most other bands this would be cringe-worthy back-slapping, but Leon Stanford - like so many Welsh musicians - is so down to earth it feels as honest as their music. 'Strawberry Moon' and 'Without Country' are delivered with such passion you get totally enveloped within them. You need to remember where you are, though, as Stanford occasionally bounds into the crowd to sing at us, dance with us and lead us in massively satisfying "whoah oh oh"-ing. Getting through the album and material from more recent EP 'Seasons' so quickly, they decide to play us material so new they don't even have official names yet.
This might seem like a sure-fire way to kill momentum, but the songs sound more anthemic than ever. Stanford's voice is incredible, and tonight they're joined by Sophia Glennon on violin, adding that much more emotional weight to these songs. Most impressive of all, however, is the sheer quality of these songs. For a band that haven't been around for long and don’t have an extensive back catalogue, they not only play like veterans, but make picking a weak song to drop from future sets incredibly difficult. Tiger Please should have been totally overshadowed by their big-name support act, but these likeable local lads tonight prove why their even more likeable songs are something that’s definitely worth celebrating.