Second gig in a week! Last week was Newport and this week is Cardiff. The last time I saw Bad Breeding was July 2019 when they supported New York band Uniform across the road from Clwb Ifor Bach in The Moon venue. They played Bristol last year, but I was unable to make it, so there was no way I was missing them this time.
Cardiff band Can Kicker open proceedings and they are a nice surprise. Driving noisy slabs of post punk, with gothy undertones, all delivered with a brooding matter of factness by their lead singer Luke. With shades of both Joy Division and Girls in Synthesis, Can Kicker are well worth keeping an eye out for on the circuit.
Next up are the exquisitely named Only Fools and Corpses from up the road in that Newport. Already making a name for themselves in and around the South Wales M4 corridor (they played Swansea recently to critical acclaim), Only Fools and Corpses are a ferocious band who immediately make themselves known with opener ‘Lummox’. With heavy as fuck drum and basslines taken care of by Jack Hughes and Daniel Richards respectively, the rest is left for guitarist and chief noisenik Cameron McIntyre to deafen the audience. Follow ups ‘Swede’ and ‘Feed dawg’ are suitably ferocious with McIntyre’s post hardcore screamo delivery which immediately reminds me of Andrew Falkous of Cardiff legends Mclusky and Future of The Left. I’m not sure if this is a Welsh thing but this lot also inhabit the all-encompassing intensity of the aforementioned bands and this can only be a very good thing indeed.
Richards takes over on vocals on one brilliant track that I don’t catch the name of and again the fluidity of the band is welcome. One of the last songs the band play (‘JCC’?) involves McIntyre playing John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Evidently Chickentown’ from his mobile through the pickup of his guitar. It’s chaotic, noisy and sonically abusive. I’m not sure what is going on, but whatever it was, it was brilliant.
Bad Breeding take to the stage and the crowd moves forward. Surprisingly opening with the final, (and longest) track off their last LP, 2022’s Human Capital, ‘Rebuilding’ is Bad Breeding at their most intense, with a protracted sense of dread. Lead singer Christopher Dodd prowls the stage with a heightened malevolence. What an opener!
Follow up is the lead and title track from 2019’s Exiled LP that really put Bad Breeding on the map. The false start of the track and its 100mph reckoning just ignites the venue and soon enough bodies are flailing and falling about. ‘More the Merrier’ from 2017’s LP Divide is another intense barrage of noise and vocals.
‘Prescription’, ‘Joyride’ and ‘Human Capital’ (all from 2022’s Human Capital LP) are utter avalanches of hardcore sonic greatness that are testament to the endless plaudits and EOTY lists that the album ended up on. Just superb stuff.
Again, lead singer Dodd spends more of his time prowling the club floor than the stage. The last songs are absolutely relentless in their brutality and ferocity. ‘Whose cause?’ off Exiled is a stand out track as is ‘Venerable Hand’ off their 2016 first S/T Release. ‘Burn this Flag’ also gets an outing from this release. Perhaps the incoming onslaught of Coronation celebrations are having an effect on the band? Whatever it is, it’s all encompassing, taking one’s breath away with it’s aggression and brutality and leaves the crowd exhausted and knackered.
‘Red Flag Rising’ and ‘Endless’ complete the set and the band leave the stage drenched in sweat and leaving the crowd dazed and deaf.
Bad Breeding aren’t a band to be taken lightly. They have an intensity on stage that is quite unique and you’d be hard pushed to name a hardcore punk band with the same passion and vigour that this band conduct themselves with. And as well as the live experience, the band conduct themselves with an equally distinctive and academic response to their art with the essays that they have written with recent releases here. Therefore, Bad Breeding aren’t just a hardcore punk band. They are a collection of artists who push boundaries, both sonically, politically and socioeconomically. Every release is a response to whatever shit is happening to the UK at that time, and it’s how that shit is dealt with is what Bad Breeding is about. In my head anyway.
Bad Breeding are one of the UK’s best bands at the moment. Ignore them at your peril.
Find out more about Bad Breeding on their official website
Review by Ioan Humphreys – Twitter
Photos by Kieron Johns