Tonight, the vicinity of Clwb Ifor Bach is heavily populated by testosterone-fuelled teenage boys, who seem to be using their actively sought out drink as their currency, sheepishly smuggling in hip flasks to the amusement of one another. These shenanigans are repeated most weeks at this venue, where a 10pm curfew acts not only as a licensing rule but a safeguard for the minors to sober up before they are forced to revert back to reality, pass up the posturing and face their parents. The Pitchforks, however, appear to only be bystanders to such alcohol-induced antics, despite the fact that the culprits are most likely their own friends. Instead, they seem to take their position as a product of their genre with the utmost respect, hanging in the corners and crannies of the venue, observing the support acts with a steady focus. It is small acts of devotion like this that prove the band’s steadfast commitment to progressing past their peers.
Their live set ultimately personifies such dedication; The Pitchforks have started to reap their rewards and god, are they relishing in them. No-fuss, no-mess – storming straight into an eleven song set as soon as they walk out, it is wholly evident that the four-piece is still in disbelief at the fact that this is their biggest headline show to date. The punching, almost pulsating rhythm of Afflictions makes for a cacophony of raucous riffs that reverberates around the room, a mighty magnitude that is not lost later on.
A mid-set Arctic Monkeys rendition is a given, y’know, for good measure but tonight’s arrangement only replicates the original. It is the use of indie rock tropes, such as an unimaginative cover, that puts The Pitchforks at risk of falling into the lineage of the denim-clad dreamboats who fail to surpass a string of This Feeling nights at locals across the country. You feel forced to bemoan the clichés that they could do without, for the sake of the fact that so much potential is resting in their back pockets.
The rapid home-run of turbulent singles Waste A Day and Headlock puts any uneasy thoughts about the credibility of the band to rest, establishing their position as the finest on Cardiff’s gig circuit, which is arguably at its zenith – in recent years, it has given birth to Al Moses, Monico Blonde, Parish et al. The Pitchforks, perhaps, may be the youngest of the litter but tonight they have proven, with self-assured swagger aplenty, that they are most certainly not the runt of it.
Words by Sophie Williams