Courting and Home Counties liven up a rainy Tuesday night at Clwb Ifor Bach
I’ve waited a long time to see Courting. Nigh-on 18 months to be precise, and like so many up and coming bands I’ve fallen for, seeing them live for the first time on the ground floor at Clwb has become something of a rite-of-passage in my books.
It’s a rainy Tuesday night in Cardiff, and Womanby Street is quiet. We enter Clwb greeted by Home Counties, who’s keyboardist is squeezing every note out of a primary school recorder. The five piece are dressed almost exactly the same as the crowd, that is to say in keeping with Cardiff’s indie attire.
“…Home Counties feel like a fresh injection of energy, especially with how danceable their music is.”
Their brand is a particularly biting flavour of the current wave of cynically lyriced post-punk that the UK and Ireland are making at the moment. Having seen the revival move from the riot-inducing sounds it was producing back in ~2018, to the more tapered, tight and tongue-in-cheek style we’re seeing this year, Home Counties feel like a fresh injection of energy, especially with how danceable their music is.
Highlights included a track paying an ode to dad bods, and the brilliant vocal work on their new single ‘Modern Yuppies’. Hearing four of their members all singing at the same time has an almost comedic edge to it, and the band are already very tight in their delivery. I look forward to hearing a lot more from them in the future.
Meanwhile, Courting more than made up for the wait I’ve endured since I first came across them. Opening with their barely 2 minute long thrasher ‘Football’, they immediately took command of the crowd and set a punchy tone. Lead singer Sean Murphy-O’Neil, sporting a black blazer paired with the kind of Adidas tracksuit pants you wore in P.E., kept cracking a wonderfully cheeky smile that perfectly matched the jokiness of their music.
“Sean brings out a cowbell for ‘Slow Burner’ that he passes in to the crowd to play along with…”
The band may well have yet to have their breakthrough, but the talent they possess is infallible. Sean brings out a cowbell for ‘Slow Burner’ that he passes in to the crowd to play along with, which I thought was a brilliant touch. Meanwhile, they broke into a Weezer tune in between songs on a few occasions, despite noting that they hadn’t planned to. Courting seem very aware of what they have, and how to wield it.
Their raspy, punchy energy caught my attention immediately back in May of last year, and scored them a top 10 track on the Sourhouse Tunes of the Year 2020 list. I’m pleased to report that it translates seamlessly to their live shows, and surrounded by fellow fans of theirs, it’s clear that their message is getting through. Post-punk is more cynical and comedic than ever, and Courting epitomise that appeal perfectly.
Courting and Home Counties at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 28th September 2021.