Carolines bid farewell with a brilliant set at Clwb Ifor Bach
Amidst the sea of autumnal flannel and vintage knitwear on the top floor of Clwb, it was not hard to find someone wearing a Carolines t-shirt. With any luck, most of us who have been following the indie scene of Cardiff for the last few years will have had the chance to see this charming four-piece at least once. Alas, this Thursday marked the end of the road for the band, something which I only managed to find out halfway through the night.
A search on Instagram revealed a post that had slipped by me, confirming the sad news. Having announced their decision to split just over a month ago, tonight was a chance for their fans to come and pay their respects to a group who have been the darling of this city for so many. The mumble in between the sets was as expected: emotional, but defiantly upbeat. Losing a band is never a fun experience.
The night itself was firmly focused on South Wales. First on were Idlechord, who’s sound sits somewhere in the realm of softer, more Radio X-friendly hardcore. Engaging choruses, big guitars and an overall rocker energy make them easy to like, and one hopes that we get the chance to see them develop in the coming years.
Next on were Motel Thieves, who’s Oasis tribute sound I did not get along with. Those seeking easy-going buzz of Britpop will find something to like here, and there’s no doubt that as a five-piece, they gel well together. For me, I just couldn’t get on board.
“I must also forgive them for never properly recognising them for what they are: thoroughbred garage rockers…”
What made the night, however, was seeing how happy Carolines were despite this being the end. As they walked on stage and dived straight into their set, their happiness beamed instantly. I must also forgive them for never properly recognising them for what they are: thoroughbred garage rockers, the qualifications for which they displayed in every song. The more laid back moments were full of tenderness, and the more energetic cuts were mosh-worthy.
‘Inbetween’, my personal favourite by them, was done total justice by the crowd, with whom it was a pleasure to sing along to that gorgeous chorus with. New and final single ‘Rollercoaster’ landed brilliantly, whilst their covers of ‘Snap Out Of It’ by the Arctic Monkeys and their ecstatic rendition of The Beatles’s ‘Helter Skelter’ were a fine touch. I never thought I’d have the chance to see any version of the latter live.
“The finality of the night was hard to avoid, but it was conquered by a need to enjoy to it. “
The night ended with them being told to wrap it up by the management. With the lights up, some of the audience rushed the stage, whilst hugs were shared and people lingered to soak up the last of this atmosphere. The finality of the night was hard to avoid, but it was conquered by a need to enjoy to it. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t achieve much bigger success when nights like this proved that they had the energy, talent and charisma for.
We part ways with a band many in Cardiff’s indie scene held close to their heart, and one hopes that the joy they brought so many will continue to live on through word of mouth and the power of Spotify.
Carolines with Motel Thieves and IdleChord at Clwb Ifor Bach, 21st October 2021