Shiny Toy Guns/Viva Machine/KC - Cardiff - 6/3/07


12 Mar 2007, 23:26

Tue 6 Mar – Shiny Toy Guns, KC, Viva Machine

First on stage is Newport-based female rapper KC. A rather odd choice of support; think a short, blonde, female Dizzee Rascal accompanied by a laptop, she seems to go down well with the crowd. Her grime-influenced brand of rap makes for quite heavy going at times, but her obvious intelligence and the humourous aspects of her songs shine through.

Next up is tour support Viva Machine. Following an EP release on renowned local label Mighty Atom under the name Ipsofacto, the band have re-branded and consequently garnered significant interest from the national press. A high profile support slot on The Automatic’s month long U.K. tour during October and November of 2006 served to highlight their growing potential. The band has clearly prospered from such a hectic touring schedule; their performance is slick, and well-honed. Three-part harmonies that are nothing short of spine tingling are reminiscent of Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. The band are a clear influence, crowd favourite and debut single ‘My Jet Set Radio’ sounds like it could have come straight off ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’, but is so toe-tappingly good that it can hardly count as a criticism. The explosive energy of frontman Gareth Carter further marks them out as a formidable live act.

A band brimming with potential playing a (near to) hometown show is always going to be a tough act to follow, and so it proves for headline act Shiny Toy Guns. With the impending release of their album ‘We Are Pilots’ to the U.K. market, the band have embarked on a massive 38 date stint, which takes in just about every corner (and everywhere in between) of the British Isles. Despite the venue being packed out the atmosphere seems somewhat subdued as the band take the stage, and this continues as the set begins. The electronica elements that give the band their distinctive sound seem drowned out on stage. The female vocals of Carah Faye Charnow also come across as weak in comparison to the recorded tracks.

Forthcoming single ‘You Are the One’ and stand-out album track Don't Cry Outlift the performance to above average, but the rest of the set is dull and largely uninteresting, and as they leave the stage after just over 30 minutes the Barfly is filled with a sense of ‘is that it..?’ Forthcoming U.K. dates with Fall Out Boy combined with their image and a record deal with Universal will no doubt ensure that Shiny Toy Guns will shift records, but on the basis of tonight’s showing the band lack the depth or character to become superstars.


  • bonneyboy

    hmm..i was at this gig and i do agree that there was something missing from the gig in terms of atmosphere and excitement, but for someone who's been waiting to see STG for ages i thought they were very good.....The female vocals may not have been as strong as they could have been but with songs like chemistry in a car crash and stripped it didn't matter. I thought they were good live... As for them being in the barfly, that was a crying shame, with the lights they had and such they would have been much more at home on a larger stage, perhaps solus at the student union. Kc i thought was lost on everyone there too, not many people seemed to enjoy it, everyone around me was kind of laughing.....

    17 Mar 2007, 12:57
  • my-my

    Damn! I can't believe I missed Shiny Toy Guns. I live in Cardiff too!

    18 Mar 2007, 4:43
  • whereistherent

    the lighting was HORRENDOUS! the barfly is no good for that kind of thing, it was clearly designed for use in a larger venue, to be fair. but it was horrible, they'd have been better off without it.

    20 Mar 2007, 12:00
  • robertandrews

    Were you at the same gig I was at? I discovered the Shiny Toy Guns album in February after being at their press conference in Cannes but having no idea who they were up to that point. I was dead excited about experiencing their fresh brand of mature electro-synth guitar pop and wasn't disappointed at all. Seeing these electronic tracks reproduced live was great. Fact is, the band have slower tracks on the album. Those unfamiliar with those tracks were respectful, if not delirious. But when they pumped out tracks like Le Disco, Don't Cry Out and Rocketship, the crowd went bouncy-wild. In such a claustrophobic setting (so used to dedicated rock bands), the synth sound coupled with the absence of any stage lighting other than the pin-point strobe at back, made it feel like a rave. Excellent stuff. KC, on the other hand - good grief, where did the middle class girl get her attitude?

    23 Mar 2007, 15:03
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