Two bands that I have seen and loved as support acts on my travels, Daxx & Roxane (supporting Bad Touch at Livewire) and The Dust Coda (supporting Tax the Heat in Exeter) playing on a bill together for a tenner? That had to be done! Unfortunately the nearest opportunity to have that pleasure was Cardiff, so a six hour round trip for great music it was!
I got there for doors open but appeared to be the only person there! Cue a little panic that I had the wrong night, but no, a sound check blasted out and I relaxed thinking I was just there early and chilled out at the bar. As the clock ticked onwards it became clear that the number of bands touring this Autumn (I currently have twelve gigs in my diary for October!) is hitting small gigs like this hard, as when the doors did open the crowd wasn’t much bigger than when I arrived. That didn’t stop either of the bands from giving it everything, which is something I have huge respect for.
Walking in I met an old friend from Saltash, Daxx & Roxane’s crazy photographer Kriz. He shepherded me over to the band and they were more than happy to have a chat. Despite sounding like the Swiss winners of a Eurovision song contest, Daxx & Roxane are a bloody brilliant, hard hitting and entertaining rock band that are a pure joy to watch on stage. Their songs are catchy and tend to bounce around in your head almost as much as Cal Wymann bounces around the stage. Singer/bassist Cedric Pfister is a consummate entertainer, Simon Golaz on rhythm guitar would look out of place anywhere other than in a rock band and drummer Luca Senaldi is delightfully eccentric. I would love to see them on a festival stage. They deserve a bigger audience (certainly a MUCH bigger one than tonight!) and once seen it is pretty much impossible not to become a fan.
The Dust Coda bring a totally different energy to the stage. Their set opening is a bit different. At first I thought it was somebody sound checking the bass as a complex rhythm boomed out from the speakers, but then Tony Ho appeared alone and ignited the kindling. Drums then joined in as Scott Miller took his seat and waves of rhythm vibrated the old building to it’s foundations. John Drake took centre stage and Adam Mackie his position, the flames had built and together they blitzed through “All I Got”.
The Dust Coda are very different to the party of Daxx & Roxane. They have an almost angry edge as Drake snarls out lyrics and stares out from the stage with a powerful intensity. Their sound is a kind of dark blues. You can hear a melodic hook that draws you in. You know you will be singing it later, but then there are layers of power that add an edge that many bands lack. “Sun Goes Down” illustrates this beautifully. “Nobody Now” slows things down and outs the hairs up on the back of your neck. Penultimate song “The More it Fades” has a Zep sound to the vocal and set closer “”Best Believe” hints at even more to come.
Huge credit goes to both bands for putting on sets that were deserving of a packed room rather than the few who found their way there, but also to those who did out their hands in their pockets and come out to watch a couple of great live acts.
Review and pics – Rob Wilkins