Tiger Please - Cardiff, St David's Hall
In terms of rock music St David’s Hall has been somewhat marginalised in recent years with ‘Black Night’ being usurped by Beverley Knight. T’was not ever thus however, the steps of the hall were a Saturday afternoon Mecca for the skaters and metalheads from all over the South Wales valleys in the 1980s. The first four bands I saw there, or indeed anywhere were, in order, Cheap Trick, Motley Crue, Anthrax and Metallica. So, while things may have become a little more sedate in recent years Tiger Please are in good company. The drawback being, of course, that no-one is expecting a proper rock band to play at the Hall so the crowd is thinner than you’d normally expect for a Cardiff show.
With the unusually palatial surroundings enticing the extended Tiger Please family out to see their boys in action there’s a cosy feel to the event which the band do their best to, unintentionally, dispel by kicking a pint of beer over their effects pedals and watching an amplifier go up in a puff of smoke minutes before they take to the stage. A replacement amplifier is thankfully found and as beer soaked rags are wrung out behind the bar the band launch into ‘There’s No Hero In Heroin’, the first of five songs culled from They Don’t Change Under Moonlight their recent debut mini-album . We’ve got albums and shirts for sale at the back, £5 each vocalist Leon Stanford cheerfully announces before adding or we’ll do you a deal and you can have both for a tenner.
Having thoroughly confused his audience he manages to capitalise on this, seizing the opportunity to encourage them up to the front of the stage, where they are almost joined by drummer Lewis Roswell as, by the end of the set, his drums have been driven across the stage by the force of his pounding. The Pearl Jam comparisons arising from the album are reinforced onstage, the music being devoid of egotistical, flash guitar solos which would only detract from the power and intensity of Leon's incredible vocals. That's not to say that the music is simplistic as there's a great deal going on, not least Luc's multi-tapped delay patterns which tip a nod and a wink to The Edge without ever straying into the realms of plagiarism.
Tiger Please can hardly fail to win people with a five song setlist fashioned entirely from a record without a single weak point: and they should be applauded for their decision to release an absolutely killer mini-album rather than pad it out with filler, the ‘leave them wanting more’ maxim certainly applies here. The hugely dynamic ‘Without Country’, complete with chucklesome false start, is the highlight of the set and despite the band’s reservations about the setup being too quiet it sounds immense out in the crowd. We’ve been Tiger Please and this is the last song announces Leon before being halted by a heckle from the audience - Why are you called Tiger Please?. He doesn’t need time to think, replying, We couldn’t think if anything better. ‘Lights and Sounds’ is an anthemic set closer and provides the sage advice to open your eyes to the lights and the sound. Take heed, this band has something special and the best thing about it is that I don’t think they even really know how good they are. At one point in the set Leon catches himself swearing, check himself and apologises, explaining that I’ve been told not to swear as we are going for the Disney/Nickelodeon market. He’s joking of course but if they can keep producing songs of this standard then they really could be tapping some global markets in the not too distant future.
There's No Hero In Heroin
Lights and Sound
(Words and Photography: Steve Burnett)