The Cruel Knives – Clwb Ifor Bach (27/4/24)

The Cruel Knives – Clwb Ifor Bach (27/4/24)

2nd May 2024 1 By Gavin Griffiths

“I’m gonna’ give you what you need…I’m gonna’ make your ears bleed…”. Now, for those who know, you know, for those that don’t, these are the now iconic opening lyrics to “The King Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” by DANIEL LIONEYE, used as the theme song for BAM MARGERA’s “Viva La Bam”. The MTV phenomenon took Bam from the creator of the “CKY” home videos, and a star of “Jackass”, to a Bonafide reality TV star and a household name in the early 2000s.  

A massive influence on this reviewer, he was scheduled to undertake his first UK tour in a decade, doing a run of Q&A shows with Matt Stocks, and I was looking forward to seeing him for the first time, since our interview at the second FUCKFACE UNSTOPPABLE tour. HOWEVER, after completing two dates in Ireland, and a date in Scotland, Bam suddenly pulled the tour, and these plans went all the way nipples north. Not being able to get a refund on the Bristol hotel with my friend James, and the Swansea ticket, because I was expected to travel to Swansea, to take the physical ticket back to the shop. (Honestly not worth the travel mate, keep my money) I found myself with time off, yet no weekend plans. That’s where today’s band comes in like the most random of Plan B’s…the B standing for Bam bastard bailed. Let’s talk about THE CRUEL KNIVES. 

The last time I saw The Cruel Knives (Consisting of vocalist Tom Harris, guitarist Sid Glover, bassist Rob Ellershaw, and drummer Al Junior) they were supporting THE PRETTY RECKLESS in 2022, at Bristol’s O2 Academy, and they impressed. Between holding their own with a crowd thirsty for Taylor Momsen, sounding crisp, and complimenting the main act wonderfully (Not to mention selling their own merch outside in the rain to boycott the O2 Academy’s fees, and mad respect there) I had decent expectations going into this last-minute gig at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach. Despite competing with Noizzefest next door at Fuel, here’s what went down in the Welsh capital on April 27th. 

Tonight’s opener, who I assume were local as they aren’t on any poster I can find, I sadly missed. Thanks to the trusty rail replacement service bus, what should have been a 50-minute journey tops, took over 2hrs, and so by the time I dropped my belongings off at my room for the night and gotten to the venue, I didn’t even catch their name let alone hear a single chord they played. A shame, truly, as odds on you were decent, and I’d like you to reach out if you read this so I can do this some kind of justice. Maybe. Perhaps. No guarantees and possibly sign a waiver. I’m sorry (Not sorry) in advance. 

The main support for the tour as a whole was CRASHFACE [7], who to their credit put on a really energetic show. With core members Charlie Hinton and Otto Balfour, they blend elements of industrialized emo and avant-garde nu-metalcore instrumentation, to create something truly in your face, and abrasive in the catchiest manner. Tracks like “Tripwire” are raw but blend hooks that balance things really well. We have “Ultraplasticplanetkiller” off their 2021 EP “Heavy Infectious”, which brings a hardcore punk aesthetic and it’s an absolute ball of vitriolic piss and vinegar, while “Molotov Smile” sounds dark and defiant in the best ways. The recent single “C.H.A.I.N.S.A.W.” houses subtle rap elements really capturing their modern nu-metal style, and it’s a fantastic slab of angst. These lads have stage presence, and a ton of potential, which we like to encourage, despite tonight’s sound clarity not helping them much in this instance. Keep an eye out for them in the future though for sure.  

Eventually, then, we have tonight’s headliner THE CRUEL KNIVES [7] and at this stage, I have to point out, that we are DOWNSTAIRS at Clwb, in the venue’s smaller room, and this is important. The last time I was in this part of the venue, it was for an acoustic set by Dick Valentine of ELECTRIC SIX, a completely different kettle of fish to the harder rocking ensemble tonight, and sadly it plays a part in tonight’s enjoyment. Sound quality with support bands, you can kind of give a pass for at times, as they are often finding their feet; growing, and getting tour experience while putting their name out there. It’s always a learning curve. There are a plethora of reasons why things can sound a little off. Sadly, tonight seemed to be a venue thing. 

As stated, I’ve seen The Cruel Knives in Bristol and they sounded great, tonight however, for all of their playing qualities, the microphone level was not good, which is a shame, as Tom can belt it out. They open up with “The Life That We Made” and to be fair they do tear through it. There is a simplicity to the chorus that allows for ample sing-along participation that gets the crowd into gear, and it’s a decent hard-rocking opener.  

“Black Eye Friday” has this military-esque sense of regimented percussion that really builds into the track, and there’s a seriousness to this; this isn’t a band pulling any punches at first glance. At last glance really, they just socked you twice and now you look like a raccoon, but I digress. It’s got a great catchy groove to it, and it sounds strong. It’s like the unofficial soundtrack to the UK’s black Friday sales, I want to see this in a Currys commercial! “Kill The Messenger” in places sounds like it could be a PAPA ROACH B-Side which is in no way detrimental. It’s got that clean vocal tone and subtle vibrato, coupled with an energetic presentation and swagger-fuelled dose of rock.  

The recent single “All Your Heroes Hate You” is appropriate given its timing, and I’m looking at you Bam…you better reschedule this tour you mother of all fuckers! I jest. It’s a slow jam, that meanders between lulled vocals and intense flurries of harder rock and it’s a wonderfully balanced track. A classic-inspired solo puts the cherry on top and it’s delivered well. The latest single then “Itchy Trigger Finger” provides another entertaining dose of up-tempo, bluesy hard rock, with harmonic backing vocals, grit, and hooks, highlighting a band having fun creatively. 

As I stated previously, I know the quality that The Cruel Knives possess, having seen them play to bigger crowds in bigger venues, and while their level of performance and musicianship can’t be questioned, tonight, downstairs in Clwb, it just doesn’t quite work. It’s a small, enclosed room, the sound mixing wasn’t quite up to scratch with the microphones and truthfully, they ARE better than this. Knives can be cruel in the wrong hands…a band’s set can also be spoiled in the wrong hands of a sound desk and venue too, and sadly that’s what we had tonight. This is honestly a band worth checking out however and don’t let my experience on this particular night put you off; the sound might have been dulled but these knives are sharp, and I’d recommend you acquaint yourself with them. Scrap that, no, that’s terrible advice, we at All About The Rock don’t endorse self-harm, which is rich coming from the Jackass fan that just complained about Bam canceling. With that being said, please excuse me, while I go yeet myself into a bush out of a trolley.  

How useful was this post?

Click on a thumb to rate it!

Average rating 1 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!