Casiokids/Flashguns/The Answering Machine - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

I’ve heard of ‘old skool’ bands but pre-school bands are, I must confess, a phenomenon I was hitherto blissfully unaware. Casiokids stole a march on everyone though, they identified and plugged that unseen gap in the market and, having undertaken a 12 date tour of Norwegian pre-schools, are now here playing to the difficult and cynical bigger kids of South Wales. I don’t know about you but Norwegian electro music accompanied by shadow puppets would have terrified me at a time in life when I was mainly interested in sherbet fountains and whether Gordon the Gopher would ever adequately fill the shoes of Posh Paws, but these days I’m all for it. Scandinavians though, eh? They are either slightly kooky popsters or exceptionally evil, black metal murderers, there’s no middle ground and thankfully Casiokids fall resolutely into the former category. Influences are myriad and the end result is a compelling mash-up of tribal rhythms which I shall christen Neu! Rave. It would certainly take a hard heart to deny their infectious charms and, by the end of the night, they succeed where many, many have failed before and get the people of Cardiff up on the dance floor; the results are not pretty but, hey, it is the intention that counts.

Sharing the bill tonight are the Flashguns, about whom all I know is that they entered and then quit some god-awful Britain’s got Indie Talent type show. I only know this because they walked out of the show claiming that they didn’t want to be known for being the band that won the show. Master of Ceremonies, pray step forward and beat upon the mighty Golden Gong of Painful Irony BONG! Now the question now is can they do enough to make that little vignette redundant? On this evidence you’d have to say that the jury is still out; Harriet Harman has been on the phone demanding answers but the Court of Public Opinion remains in session in Cardiff. The Flashguns’ formula appears to all be in order, a touch of every successful indie band of the 80s from Joy Division to the Smiths, but it is a little too formulaic for anyone to get really engaged in the show. They are still young though, I mean really young – I was half expecting the Casiokids to put on a bespoke kindergarten performance for them – and so there’s room for cautious optimism. They’ve got all the ingredients in the cupboard, they just need to cook up something with a bit more panache and originality.

Completing the bill, which rotates on a nightly basis, are The Answering Machine. Now, I know all the best band names have probably been taken but really…I can’t think of many things which conjure up a less appropriate image for a rock band but there you have it. As far as the performance goes, well you’ve seen it all before. Skinny ties, flick haircuts and a copy of The Strokes songbook are all that is required for the show. Definitely a case of don’t call us, we’ll call you.

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