The Xcerts - Cardiff Barfly

Kilmarnock’s Xcerts have been playing together for over 7 years since, aged 13, they formed the band at School. It shows too; their dynamic sound wholly dependent upon the tightness of performance honed throughout a multitude of gigs in places even less salubrious than the Barfly.

For a Sunday night in the aftermath of a Rugby Saturday there’s not a bad turnout and the band seem genuinely appreciative that people have made an effort to come out and see them. Despite having played to only 15 loners the previous night the band haven’t let that dampen their enthusiasm and they do their best to kick start Cardiff into life with a frenetic volley of mind melting tunes. Sadly the sound is particularly bad tonight and the complexity of their performance is somewhat lost in a cacophonous mix which, thankfully, eventually improves in time for new single “Crisis in the Slow Lane”, which is the perfect showcase for the band’s Mogwai-esque dynamic range.

I still don’t really feel able to engage with this emo thing though, it is all very earnest and fraught and, to me, just doesn’t seem very British. What happened to the stiff upper lip? A good few months of national service would probably see them alright. Not that the performance is humourless, there’s some cheery “woo, woos” here and there that wouldn’t be out of place on a Stereolab record and I think there’s more to this band than tonight’s soundman is letting us hear. With his National Health specs bassist Jordan looks like he might be the love-child of David Gedge or Hank Marvin, although the all out aural assault suggests the former rather than the latter. You certainly cannot find fault in the immense power these 3 guys produce on stage, and the kids voraciously lap it up as they raise their pint glasses to the air in appreciation of the anthemic delivery which seems almost indecent on such a small stage. There’s undoubtedly interesting things to come from the Xcerts.

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