After TIGERCUB blew my petite mind at their Falmouth gig last November, I’ve been a self-confessed enthusiast of the trio. So naturally, when I scoured their 2016 tour dates I knew that I had to make any form of a pilgrimage to receive my next fix of Nirvana-esque grunge bliss. This pilgrimage found me at The Bikeshed Threatre, Exeter, and what arose reassured my fangirl obsessions, and left me ravenous for more!
Opening the event were Bellevue Days, a group who incorporated all the resonances of Manchester Orchestra with a 90s emo edge. Given their young ages I wasn’t expecting the marvel that proceeded, but frankly, their set left me in a state of admiration.
With near-perfect harmonic vocals, amalgamated with poignant instrumental rock dexterity, the foursome played a set that demonstrated a professionalism well beyond their collective years. Highlights were Pepper Tea and Sleep, both played with an avid competence, and tracks that are undoubtedly worth your pennies if you fancy broadening your musical taste. Certainly, the band have a few tweaks to make to their group dynamics – the frontman stood far too close to the mic when belting out heavier vocals – but given the quality of their material, I’m willing to forgive that.
Up next were TIGERCUB, a band that I would candidly articulate as being superior to Nirvana – and with their live performances sounding so close to their recordings, it would be hard for anyone not to be in a world of utter worship at one of their gigs.
With the highlights being Pictures of You, Bittersweet Motherfucker and Centrefold, the group played heavy interspersed beats with a combined elusive affection and lyrical intelligence. It was a set that left me wondering how they haven’t grasped world domination yet, as their talent appears to breed friskily on a daily basis.
In an ideal world, the gig should have been a sweat-bathed riot of head banging and moshing. It should have been wild and frantic and untameable. Yet neither band can be blamed for this lack of chaos, the venue just wasn’t well prepared – and who honestly wants to play to a crowd slouched down on chairs, possessing all the energy of a graveyard population? Still, TIGERCUB – with all their raucous palatability – demonstrated that they need no crowd dynamism to still perform with quality.
Words by Keira Trethowan
Photography by Craig Taylor-Broad