Sunday, November 29, 2015
Live Review :: Mt.Wolf :: Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff - Nov 20 2015
Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
November 20 2015
Words / Photo: Pollyanna Sheehan
Touring on a rotating three-act bill (with Whyte Horses and My Grey Horse), Mt.Wolf were second on ‘stage’ – if you can stretch this to encompass a very small corner of an already small bar downstairs at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach.
Regardless of the strange setting and sparse 20-person crowd, the London three-piece - Sebastian Fox, Stevie McMinn and Alex Mitchell, and joined live by a female fourth member, Tree, on synth - delivered a performance that proved them more than worthy of Clwb’s larger gig space, which would have allowed for more production to couple the atmospheric intensity created by Mt Wolf’s live show.
Mt. Wolf’s set weaves together a mixture of folk-inspired acoustic guitar melodies with subtle electronic backings to create layered soundscapes that showcase the appeal and critical intrigue that surrounds them already. It’s a sound best described as a cross between the intensity of Big Scary and the folk-sounding vocal of Justin Vernon, with an extra helping of electronica for good measure. Either way, it’s an incredible combination of styles that blend together well.
An early treat came in the form of ‘VIII’, taken from the band’s much-loved EP ‘Red’ which solidified Mt. Wolf’s standing as newcomers to watch. The haunting vocal melodies (Fox delivering superbly on main front duties after the departure of Kate Sproule in the band's earlier incarnation) and sparse textures that start this track were soon contrasted as the band extended their live performance with an instrumental section – as they did many others – to show no only their individual talents, but most of all to show how much they enjoy being able to perform their music live.
As the set continued, it was incredible to witness the transition that occurs within each song; the band built from minimalistic and delicate foundations to create a full, intense sound through layering synths and introducing an incredible duo of acoustic and electronic guitar melodies. All the while the drumming became more raucous and propelled the band towards an incredible sound-explosion: Recently unveiled new track 'Hex' is one of those that builds in epic profusion to it's drum climax.
Closing the night, ‘Life Sized Ghosts’ and ‘Hamburg’, both incredible performances, solidify everything the band had worked to achieve during the set. Offering a level of astounding atmospheric intensity, with moments in which it was impossible not to become truly immersed in their sound, Mt. Wolf have definitely proved themselves as a band worth the hype – and then some.