The TramShed in Cardiff is a somewhat peculiar place, from its off-the-beaten-track location in the Welsh capital to the strawberry and rhubarb cider available at the bar. Looks can be deceptive though; the venue is spacious and large, certainly befitting a band of MARMOZETS‘ current position. This is the first night of their second UK leg supporting sophomore album Knowing What You Know Now and they’re rightfully seeing their venues increase in size and stature; expect them to be even bigger come the end of the year.
As with their first run in the autumn, QUEEN ZEE are direct support and they fare much better tonight than before when yours truly was present in Bristol and their official name was QUEEN ZEE AND THE SASSTONES. Looking far more comfortable on a stage with room to move about, their punk rock comes across crisper and edgier and it’s a competent, joyous set by a band stuffed to the gills with potential. Song topics range from celebrating transvestitism to falling in love with Satan and disappointing sex, and they’re led masterfully by Queen Zee herself, an excellent blend of Joan Jett and Siouxsie Sioux. Closing song Fly the Pink Flag is preceded by an impassioned speech on the LGBTQ+ community that helps win the crow over further and when QUEEN ZEE return to the city to play Clwb Ifor Bach in April, they’re sure to have plenty of faces from tonight watching them again.
With the new album now a week old, MARMOZETS waste no time in throwing a bunch of new tunes into their set and open with the live debut of New Religion, a strange, sedate choice for a band well-known for their high-octane performances that explode out of the traps. Following track Habits fares better being a single released pre-album, but even with a glittering performance from Josh Macintyre, who is on top, top form this evening, it’s a curiously slow start from the Bingley quintet. Mercifully, Is It Horrible lights the touchpaper superbly and the MARMOZETS beloved across the country finally kick into overdrive and, quite appropriately, Start Again (another live debut and graceful in its delivery). There’s a storming outing for Suffocation, one of the highlights of the new record and Run With the Rhythm is as haunting as it gets, but the songs from the band’s incredible debut The Weird and Wonderful are still sounding massive – Particle is already an arena anthem and the likes of Why Do You Hate Me? and Born Young and Free continue to impress. There’s also no room in the set for the anthemic Hit the Waves, the swaggering Like a Battery and the schizophrenic math-rock tones of Vibetech, which goes to show just how many massive songs MARMOZETS already have in their arsenal.
Above all though, the star is Becca Macintyre: superlatives are running out for the 25 year-old singer who has gone through so much trepidation to get back on a stage and you can tell she’s relishing every moment as if it were her last. New song Insomnia is her absolute magnum opus this evening; it’s criminal at how versatile and adept her voice is as such a young age and she’s already in the picture for the best frontperson in British rock and metal at this moment in time. Her recovery from her knee operations over the last couple of years was nothing short of astonishing, especially when you throw her hypermobility syndrome into the mix and to see her still as emotive and ferocious is an absolute joy. As the set finishes with the magnificent Captivate You and the song ends with every voice in the audience singing as one, Becca is visibly moved at the love the room has for her band, proof that she – or indeed the rest of them – are never going to take this for granted.
Check out our photo gallery from the night’s action in Cardiff from Serena Hill Photography here: