Live Review: Green Lung – Cardiff

Live Review: Green Lung – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
27th February 2022
Support: Sigiriya, Haast, Suns of Thunder, Lacertilia, Lowen
Words & Photos: Paul Hutchings

This was an event a long time coming. Rescheduled for a good 18 months due to the pandemic, it was to promoters Snuff Lane’s credit that they retained the original line-up. This meant a six-band bank holiday event was crammed into a Sunday evening in Cardiff and with a sell confirmed two days previously, an evening that was likely to become more frenetic as the evening wore on.

On a bill that saw stellar sets from every band, it’s those who arrived early who were the biggest winners thanks to the early quality. The task of opening the evening fell to London based Lowen, making their first appearance in the Capital. It can only be hoped that they return soon for they may well have been the band that stole the day. The early birds in the audience stood captivated by the progressive Eastern infused doom that this four-piece play. A contrasting visual display with vocalist Nina Saeidi statuesque, allowing her stunning vocals to entrance whilst alongside her guitarist Shem Lucas was a whirlwind of activity, thrashing violently as he ripped out thunderous riff after thunderous riff. Saeidi didn’t need to do any talking between songs, merely encouraging the hesitant crowd to come forward. Clad in beautiful traditional robes, singing in a combination of Farsi, Sumerian, Akkadian and English, she also managed to create even more mystique with the use of a traditional Iranian Daf hand drum, with shadows cast onto its skin. This was a set that for many took first place.

Formed in 2013, South Wales’ Lacertilia were no strangers to many in the audience. Their firebrand psychedelic stoner space rock is laced with some of the heaviest riffs you’ll ever hear. Their 40-minute set raced by in no time, with maniacal vocalist Matt Fry raging like a man possessed. He may be the focal point of the band, but their combined musicianship cannot be overlooked, with Lucas Zalunski’s understated lead guitar work one of many highlights. The audience may have been slightly hesitant to get to close to the stage, I’m sure on part to the heat being generated by the five-piece, but there was still plenty of nodding and headbanging for a set that demonstrated once more why this band are loved by many in the South Wales scene.

By now the venue was filling nicely, the temperature was increasing and the quality on stage showed no sign of reducing. Swansea’s Suns of Thunder whose stoner rock comes with a punkish tint that provides no hiding place for those of a nervous disposition. Matt Williams may have been pulling double duty but there was no holding back as he and lead guitarist Greg Bombroffe swapped vocals, solos, and riffs aplenty in an entertaining and bruising set.  A band now entering the veteran stage of their journey, Suns have a confident swagger that sits just the right side of arrogant. With punchy, intense songs and a power to match. This was another blistering set by some of South Wales rightly revered musicians.

There is always one band that sits as a slight curve ball in a six-band line-up and Haast’s deep post rock proved to be more of a cerebral challenge to many. This is a band who think intensely about their music, with a genuine message to deliver. Utilising recorded intros to their song led to a somewhat disjointed approach, with some reasonably long gaps between tracks. Not that this was a bad thing, as it allowed full digestion and appreciation of the previous song. The combination of dual vocals from drummer Hywel Williams and guitarist Adam Wrench works well, the interplay slick and passionate. With the band back to a four-piece with James Tottle on additional guitar alongside bassist Elliott Blake, who seemed lost in his own world of riffs at times, Haast are a band that will not suit all palettes but if they click with you, they will provide rich rewards. With 2021’s release ‘Made of Light’ still fresh, this was an energetic and impressive performance from a band who have the attitude and approach to go much further.

Live Review: Green Lung – Cardiff

Penultimate band of the evening and it was Swansea’s Sigiriya who were greeted as returning heroes to a room that was now starting to sweat. Matt Williams dropped his guitar to focus on frontman vocal duties and had the audience dancing and moving from the opening bars. The groove that this band lays down is phenomenal and effortless. A new song (‘Little Rager’) popped up amongst the set which saw a good mix of tunes from their three albums. Flanking Williams, bassist Paul Bidmead looked cool and collected whilst guitarist Stuart O’Hara rain danced with falling riffs. Meanwhile drummer Rhys Miles appeared intent on destroying his kit, such was his intensity. Plenty of grooving bike rock ripping through the crowd, and the infectious music quickly saw the most movement of the evening so far. If you haven’t ever seen these guys, then I highly recommend you rectify that as soon as you can.

Live Review: Green Lung – Cardiff

A mere two weeks after Green Lung delivered a stunning main stage show at Hammerfest, the London Occult based quintet entered the stage to a huge ovation. The venue was heaving by this stage, and as Green Lung’s set list progressed, things got a bit tasty with a mosh pit occupying one side of the venue, and some over lubricated fans were removed following some ludicrous and repeated crowd surfing.  Green Lung were concluding a short UK tour and were as tight as they were in Birmingham. This was my fourth time seeing them since August 2021 and pleasingly, they added some of the deeper cuts from ‘Black Harvest’ in the shape of ‘Doomsayer’ and ‘Born to a Dying World’, both a bit prophetic given the current global situation.

Elsewhere, this was a setlist that contained the choicest songs from both albums, with a raucous encore of ‘Woodland Rites’ and ‘Let the Devil In’ now the standard closing duo. Their music was described this time as a cross between Sabbath and Ghost without the gimmicks which I’m sure many would agree with. However you view them, they are certainly riding the crest of  a deserved wave of popularity, with an enthusiastic crowd giving as good as they could in response to another sublime and powerful performance. Where Green Lung go next is an interesting question, but for now it may be time to reflect that it surely won’t be much longer that the band and crowd are able to participate in such an intimate show.

Live Review: Green Lung – Cardiff

All photo credits: Paul Hutchings

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