Manchester’s False Advertising took to the road a little over two weeks ago, playing shows to support their debut album, Brainfreeze. We headed to Cardiff' The Big Top for a night of brilliant live music.
First to take to the stage was Bloom (8). This duo has been relentlessly playing shows in South Wales since their formation in February and after hearing them play live, it’s no surprise that their name is on so many gig posters right now. They filled their set with enjoyable original songs which showcased frontwoman Sophie Bryan’s phenomenal vocals. From the incredibly pop-punk ‘Advantages’ to the funk-infused ‘Can’t Take Me Anywhere’, Bloom’s set was filled with intelligently written toe-tapping tunes.
The pair, with their sound filled out by session bassist Max Theobold, offered a really enjoyable set. What they perhaps lacked in stage patter, they made up in character; Sophie was pulling faces and really getting into the lyrics she sang. Bloom enjoyed their time on stage just as much as we enjoyed watching them.
After Bloom came Big Thing (6.5). Another of South Wales’ new musical offerings, their softer vocals and almost shoegaze style was interesting, but let down by some backline issues. Their songs combined three-chord simple punk with dreamy 90s synth-pop. Vocalist/guitarists Jen and Dan provided stunning harmonies which worked in awesome contrast to their bolshy sound.
The pair of vocalists joked around on stage, lightening the mood and warming the small crowd up to them. Their set, which included originals ‘Eye to Eye’ and ‘Fridge Full of Food’, was enjoyable but commanded less attention than the powerful Bloom’s. Big Thing was a powerful band when things came together, but their stage presence, unfortunately, wasn’t enough to wow us last Saturday night.
False Advertising’s (9) live set breathed new life into Brainfreeze. While it’s far from stale, hearing the songs live in all their glory offered an interesting new dimension to the music. The three-piece gave a dynamic performance and they clearly had a blast. Jen Hingley’s vocal was incredible, and with drummer/frontman Chris Warr and bassist Josh Sellers completing the line-up, they really shone. The crowd, while disappointingly small, were tapping toes and nodding their heads as False Advertising flew through their colossal set.
‘Uncomfortable’ offered a strong chorus which surely stuck in people’s heads for days afterwards. False Advertising were relentless, keeping up a fast pace even when swapping instruments. Chris Warr as a frontman offered a different yet still enjoyable vibe. His vocal in ‘We’ve Heard this All Before’ complimented Jen’s, while his rough, distorted guitar sound offered a slightly new dynamic.
From old song, ‘Hey You’, to newer single, ‘Reading it Wrong’, False Advertising’s set was tailored to capture attention and show off their evolution as a band. While their sound, style, and confidence on-stage may have changed a little over the years, at the heart of all they’re doing is a passion for their music. Our only real complaint about our night in Cardiff was that there weren’t more people watching False Advertising.
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