Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Live review: FEET deliver an instant-classic night of rock to Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach

Riding the wave of a successful UK tour in the Spring, FEET are back on Welsh soil, descending upon Clwb Ifor Bach with their own distinctive brand of experimental rock. 

It is not their first venture in the Welsh capital, nor are they unfamiliar faces for the crowd at Clwb Ifor, which welcomed them with great warmth and enthusiasm, undeterred by the characteristically gloomy weather outside. It is a rescheduled gig – something we have increasingly gotten used to in recent years – but this doesn’t dampen the mood either, also with the help of a punchy support set courtesy of HC-influenced punk rockers Bad Shout, which brings a buzzing energy to the room.

FEET are one of those bands that elude categorisation. Since their debut album dropped to critical acclaim in 2019 they have been described as everything from indie rock to Britpop, by way of post-punk and even the elusive ‘Chamber Psych’ of Spotify fame. It speaks to the uniqueness of their sound, easily the stand-out feature that caught the eye (and the ear) of so many at the beginning and easily what keeps people coming back to their live shows, which are brimming with pleasantly chaotic energy, infused with cheeky charisma and an excellent showcase of a sound that is deeply rooted in the fundamental schemes of classic rock, but with a vein of psychedelic madness to make it all intriguingly unpredictable. Much as the unique quirks of their musical voice are best appreciated in the studio, FEET remain first and foremost a live band, and are best appreciated in the flesh; their Cardiff appearance was further proof of this fact, each track delivered with smooth confidence, getting the crowd to boogie to music that possesses an inherent live-performance charisma.

Credit for this must of course go to the band’s own stage presence, which has grown less frantic now in comparison with their early appearances, but also, one might argue, more confident; the magnetic connection with the crowd is reminiscent of the kind of live charme displayed by the like of Shame, for instance. It is not for everyone to unironically pick up a tambourine and make it look cool for the entire duration of a set, but FEET have a tongue-in-cheek smoothness to their live performances that allows them this and more. They certainly have grown in confidence as well as in sound, and it is a pleasure to see them strut on stage as if well-aware that they own it, without that hint of restlessness that characterised their previous Cardiff outing three years ago.

It feels very much like a classic performance, something that would not have been out of place in a club of the late '60s, which is an apt mood for a band that often draws inspiration from the kind of bountiful creative chaos that was dominant in that era. With a setlist including beloved favourites and more recent entries, it was an excellent broadcast of FEET’s growing breadth of voice as well as a thoroughly enjoyable night of rock music and fun.

Chiara Strazzulla


Images: FEET live at Clwb Ifor Bach // Chiara Strazzulla

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