I must confess that before the gig I had never before heard of either the venue (The Kazimier) or the headline act (The Phantom Band). As shameful as both of those confessions are, I could not be more grateful with regard to my ignorance. Why, I hear you ask? Because The Phantom Band and The Kazimier are a match made in heaven making the night a sublime introduction to both the music and the venue.
The night was kicked off by the energetic and punchy sounds of local band, Lives who did a fantastic job of bringing the audience out of their shells, especially considering they were the first support of the night. They combined some fantastically catchy ‘poppy’ guitar riffs with raw and edgy vocals, altogether creating an extremely memorable set; these guys are definitely ones to watch.
After this strong start to the night’s festivities Gulp took to the stage, the new venture from Super Furry Animal’s Guto Pryce and his wife Lindsey Leven. Although a completely different style from Lives’ upbeat indie rock, Gulp’s unique brand of electronica was soon filling The Kaz with a summer evening atmosphere. However, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed by the less than seamless transitions between each song. Instead of any real interaction with the audience by Leven, or even any musical bridges of any kind, we were instead left with utter silence that proved extremely awkward when contrasted with the vibrancy of their music. Overall though, a great performance by Gulp in what are still relatively early days for a very promising band.
The Phantom Band was, from the outset, a force to be reckoned with. Within their first song they managed to break the audience out of their Gulp induced trance and a palpable atmosphere change (for the better) occurred, the venue was finally alive. Playing mainly from their new album, Strange Friend, as well some of their older tracks, this gig was definitely the best introduction for someone like myself to their genre bending style of music. Rick Anthony’s stage presence was magnetic; everyone’s eyes were fixed on him straight away as he didn’t just sing the songs, instead managing to create a profound sense of story telling which hung over their entire performance. Despite being a band that I said I would come and review despite never having heard a single one of their songs, it has to be said that from the first moment until the last they managed to energise the crowd and leave them shouting for more, I was not disappointed.