Landslides, as part of the Free For All Festival, at The Moon Club, Cardiff, 12/01/12

7 Feb

I was asked along to film this band, and must admit, had not even bothered looking them up online in advance, but found myself pleasantly surprised by the quality of the grunge-pop served up by Landslides. Sometimes it’s nice see a band with absolutely no preconceived ideas.

Landslides have been going for a little over a year, but singer Bex has only been part of the set-up since November, after their previous singer left to pursue her career as a policewoman. Bex hails originally from Washington DC, but is now settled in Cardiff. With a strong voice, straggly blond hair and sassy self-assurance, she makes an excellent lead. Despite this being her first gig with the band, there were definitely no signs of nerves as she jumped around in a section she made her own between two speakers below the front of the stage, seemingly full of energy. She even dared try out some slightly lame Christmas cracker-type jokes between songs.

Having a chance to briefly catch up with the band afterwards, I learned the reason for her self confidence – she has, as I might’ve expected, been in bands before. In fact, it seems that that the whole of the band has had previous projects, which is perhaps quite often the case with this kind of scene. People get into rock at a young age, and being fully engrossed in the genre is the nature of the beast. Guitarist James has been involved with different bands for 15 years, including a hip hop band called No Sleep Police. Drummer, Dorian is in fact currently in no less than six bands! I’ve met people before who are in 2 or 3 bands, but I think 6 is a record! Remembering which songs he’s playing is not the difficult part, it’s learning them, he says. I would’ve thought just remembering which band you’re playing in each night would be something, but perhaps that’s just my age showing. Quite a good way of hedging your bets I suppose – surely one out of the 6 will succeed! On their showing tonight, there’s a good chance that Landslides will be the most likely.

Saying that, Dorian is also in Clay Statues, the headliner of the night. Clay Statues’ singer’s vocal range is somewhere between Lemmy from Motorhead and Black Francis of The Pixies: it’s loud. Loud is the operative word in fact – it’s just the 2 of them on stage, but they would put many a 4 or 5 piece to shame. Forget The White Stripes or local band, Gin Drinker – this is a two piece that’s so loud they had me genuinely wondering why any group would ever have more than 2 band members!

Also sharing the bill were God Bomber. With an almost excessive 3-man line up, they too were pretty ear-splitting; perhaps atom-splitting is more the phrase. The shirtless drummer and bassist combined to make a lively rhythm section. The singer’s voice was the only slight let-down, lacking slightly in grit and phlegm, but he made up for this with some boisterous enthusiasm on the eve of his birthday, he let it be known.

The night was part of The Full Moon’s Free For All festival, featuring 80 bands over 26 days. With free entry each night, it’s a great way to encourage people to go out in what is usually a quiet month. By the end of the year, it’ll be interesting to see which of these bands will have progressed and gained wider support – I wouldn’t bet against any of the three on show tonight. Landslides have just done some recording at the Atrium, so look forward to some recorded output from them soon.

This article was first featured on Welsh Icons, photo by Dom, full collection here

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