Review: Peter Broderick & PWRHAUS @ Four Bars, Cardiff
Four Bars, Cardiff
Saturday 15th August 2015
The lights are low and the mood is somewhat hushed as I head into Four Bars, venue of choice for the Cardiff leg of Peter Broderick's small tour of the UK with Portland, Oregon's PWRHAUS.
Where there would usually be a decent sized dancefloor now sit rows of chairs, awaiting fans of this critically-acclaimed artist for what promises to be a very intimate show. Broderick - who returns to Wales later this week for an appearance at the Green Man Festival - has visited the city before, thanks to his involvement with Danish dream-poppers Efterklang. This time around he's going solo, touting his album Colours Of The Night, the latest in a huge number of releases since he started recording aged 19 back in 2007.
First up, we're treated to a half hour of sparse love songs from Tony of PWRHAUS (pronounced Powerhouse, if you hadn't worked that out already). The crowd builds steadily as he meanders through songs from his band's latest release Is Love Enough, last year's Magic Spell and the odd, obscure cover version. The highlight of the set is when he is joined by Broderick for a trio of songs which are accentuated by the addition of an array of instruments played by the multi-instrumentalist.
The majority of seats are filled during the break in sets, and both artists mingle with an enthusiastic crowd, chatting about what they have just witnessed, and what they are about to see. Just where Broderick has found the time to release so much music - from experimental instrumentals to gentle folktronica - as well as being a regular contributor to many other bands, is a mystery. It also makes for a great show, as with a back catalogue such as this, it's hard to ascertain what is going to come next.
But what does come next is a delight. Despite Broderick's standing, there are fewer than a hundred souls in the room, making the evening a little more special than many shows in Cardiff you're ever likely to see. With a wide array of instruments on stage, all played by Broderick (as well as a return cameo from PWRHAUS), the sounds that accompany his voice are eclectic to say the least.
The title track from the new record begins with a stunning vocal intro, complete with loop pedal and continues to enrapture the hushed crowd, whose only contribution is whoops and applause in appreciation. I've Tried, from 2012's These Walls Of Mine is another stand-out in a set full of surprises. A touch of a cappella here and a touching violin solo there (a piece penned for a friend's wedding ceremony) all go towards a standing ovation and encore at the end of the set; a sight never witnessed by this reviewer outside of venues 10 times the size of Four Bars.
Both artists stick around after the show, signing records and marvelling at the reaction of the crowd. A finer night out it's impossible to imagine and for anyone heading to Green Man this coming weekend, Peter Broderick should definitely be on your shortlist of artists to see.
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- Review: Owen Pallet @ Portland House, Cardiff Bay
- Review: Efterklang @ The Globe, Cardiff
- Preview: Peter Broderick @ Four Bars