Tigertailz - Cardiff, Fuel - 17th April 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Matt Phelps   
Saturday, 24 April 2010 06:10

1ajayliveDarkness descends on Cardiff city centre and I'm making my way to Fuel, heading down the stairs and down again, into the temple ......of rock, gearing up for a night of full-on top rocking action, but earlier in the day I'd accidentally smashed a few childhood memories, taking a trip back to Barry Island after a gap nearing 30 years.


I was saddened to find the once glittering jewel in the South Wales coast to be now nothing more than a stagnating cess pit of rust that's most notable attraction is a larger collection of discarded Fosters cans than Paul Hogan's wheelie bin. Hitting 90 years old this year it's hard to imagine that the former theme park wonderland will still be clinging to its sorry life in its centenary year come 2020. A half hearted collection of cheap, ten a penny fairground rides having replaced the friendly white knuckle thrills of yesteryear, acting as a magnet for lager swilling chavs to ponce about showing off their tiny tribal tattoos and inadequate drinking skills. Yet not everything celebrating a major anniversary in South Wales this year is doing so with the same level of tarnished dishevelment. The glimmering brilliance of a certain legendary 1990 album called 'Bezerk' is as dazzling and exhilarating today as it was two decades ago. And gathered in a basement club in the centre of Cardiff, legions of music maniacs are preparing to hit the dirt once again with the greatest glam metal band to ever burn a hole in the ozone - Tigertailz!


Playing an album in its entirety and in sequence could of course force some potentially fatal errors of judgement, especially when your biggest hit and one of your most loved songs is pushed into making an outrageously early appearance only five minutes into the set. Butfirebrand following on from every über bloke's favourite love song, 'Sick Sex', the arrival of 'Love Bomb Baby' delivers a napalm like blast of exquisite glam rock that sets the club ablaze like Pearl Harbour 1941. And before you ask, the answer's "No", nobody yelled "Banzai!", although I was very tempted. 


All fired up and raring to continue it's up to new girl, Sarah Firebrand, to grab the reigns of the galloping intro of 'I Can Fight Dirty Too' and put some platinum attack back into those Bezerk basslines. But not before a quick explanation from frontman Kim Hooker as to why Tailz have chosen to be a four-piece again. Since Pepsi Tate's tragic death in 2007 from pancreatic cancer, Kim, Jay and Matt have carried on as a three-piece with good friend Glenn Quinn acting as a live stand in. But feeling they were short changing the fans and unable to bring themselves to replace Pepsi full time with another bloke, they took a lead from SPiT LiKE THiS and hooked up with a female bass player in the shape of Fuzzbox four-stringer Sarah Firebrand. And boy does she rock out with her ......oh! Wait, that phrase won't work here will it? Ah well you get the drift.


Now General Johnny H has come in for some gentle ribbing in the past about his use of ear plugs during gigs, but tonight he's cavorting around like a cat on a hot tin roof and with good reason. As the amps start to glow brighter and buzz louder, all around reel under the sheer, unrestrained outpouring of volume coming from the stage, yet the Alan Freeman of Über Röck remains unfazed, smugly patting his well protected ears, even though by this point the Noize Levelz Critical! Even Matt Blakout, Tigertailz stick twirling rhythmic backbone, keeps putting his fingers up to his ears between tracks. Presumably to check they're still there and haven't been severed off by Jay Pepper's razor sharp riffing. Bending eardrums takes a backseat for a second as attention switches to pulling heartstrings with the Tailz army in fine voice on Bezerk's only ballad, the heartbreaking 'Heaven'. With every penny raised from tonight's show going to Amser Justin Time, the charity Pepsi's wife Shan set up in his memory, it's a poignant few minutes to say the least. The emotion of the song evident on the faces of everyone that's sweating away inside Fuel.


"Turning over for side 2" it's more "woahs" than a rodeo as 'Love Overload' and 'Squeeze It Dry' sandwich either side of the two most infectiously tasty morsels ever pressed into the grooves of a glam rock record. Where Ace Frehley needs akimhooker special effects team to make his guitar smoke, Jay Pepper needs nothing more than his lightning quick fingers. Burning wood and melting frets take 'Action City' to a level beyond most band's capabilities and sends the ecstatic sea of people heaving in front of the stage into orgasmic realms, then hitting the musical G-spot with the sugar fever of 'Twist And Shake'. 'Call Of The Wild' is obviously left to book end the main set, yet how the four sweat soaked superstars have any energy left to delivery it with the fire and enthusiasm that they do is nothing short of remarkable. Kim is eager to wrap things up and get over towards the bar he's been casting salivating glances at all night, so it's straight on with the encore without even a cursory break from the stage. Introducing "a song you all know", The Osmonds 'Crazy Horses' throws a curve ball that nobody is expecting. Lapped up by everyone in earshot (which is a fucking long way tonight)  it's a riotous encore starter that, again, has everyone joining in at the tops of their voices. As equally surprising as 'Crazy Horses' is the inclusion of 'Natural Born Animal' from 2007s 'Thrill Pistol' which is quickly followed by the splintering 'Wazbones'. This twinning showing that this band never were, aren't now and never will be just another run of the mill powder puff outfit. Candy floss rock this ain't. Tigertailz are the toffee apple of glam rock confectionary, they're hard as nailz and will break your fucking teeth if you ain't careful. The curtains are pulled with the finale of Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades' sending everybody's fingers to their ears once more as Firebrand's bass levels shake the foundations of every building surrounding Fuel for a good ten miles. Taking a quick bow it's off to continue the party at the bar well into the early hours before everyone finally packs off home with ears ringing like a campanologists iPod.






Please join the fight, make a donation to Amser Justin Time here, and help tear cancer's fucking heart out!!!




Photo kudos to Jeff Oram - SilentFoxPhotos   http://www.myspace.com/silentfoxphotos