‘Leave all pretence at the door.’
When half the city’s grassroots music scene shows up to a gig, it’s a pretty smart indication it’s going to be (as they say in Cardiff) ‘damn tidy’. Admittedly, in a bigger city you wouldn’t fit half the music scene in the Moon club’s tiny (150 capacity) attic, but let that take nothing away. It is one of Cardiff’s most exciting clubs, a place where they offer earplugs on the door for those who need to hear anything but the sound of dying ear cells over the next couple of days, and Free for All festival is a case in point. Over 200 acts, at least a gig a night, varied from spoken word to feminist punk, all aimed at showcasing two things alone- grassroots music, and the lack of resolve in most of those who promised a sober January.
Tonight I can see at least three people who promised me less than three weeks ago: “Nah man, I’m going to focus on (insert hobby/passion/work), and lay off the gigs for a month.” But the lure of Tibet is too strong. This is a band hotly tipped around here to break through on a national scale, very soon. Their blend of influence, taking the very best of a rock ‘n’ roll mentality and fixing it to the unforgettably energetic stylings of indie bands Jet and Cage the Elephant, has seen them gather radio play from Radio 1, Radio 6, and support from Radio X (ex-XFM) with a huge slot at the Noel Gallagher endorsed ‘This Feeling’ club night at the end of this month. The crowd all know this. They’ve seen this band mutate into the captivating four piece, they’ve heard the rumours, and they’ve heard the music. They’re here to have a good time, and they’re here to let the band know about it.
Kicking off with the title track from their EP ‘Fridge’, Tibet give this crowd the perfect soundtrack for it. With a hint of the Beatles ‘I am the Walrus’ psych-pop, bassist Tom and Frontman Joel knock about the stage, the crowd imitating. The energy from this song alone riles the most monkish of watchers. The short set passes without a single drop in momentum, if anything, intensity builds and builds, every lick, chord, chorus and drum beat hit with greater impact, lyrics yelled and crowd feverish until Tom and Joel all but collapse on stage, bumping into each other as they play the final chorus.
The crowd leaves sweaty, deaf, and exactly as they wanted to. They got every bit that they came for tonight, but it’s more than that. With their live act, Tibet have really hit on something many new and established bands alike seem to forget. Most people see bands to enjoy themselves. With their no fear attitude to the odd cheesy hook, Tibet don’t take themselves or their music too seriously. There are no egos on stage, just four friends having the time of their life, playing their music to a bunch of people who want to see just that. Perhaps all bands could do with taking a leaf from these guys playbook.