The Cavern is the ideal location for a Tigercub gig in Exeter. The dark and gloomy atmosphere goes hand in hand with their sound, which fits somewhere in between the loud-quiet dynamics of Nirvana and the swagger of Queens of the Stone Age. Tigercub are a three-piece from Brighton, and earlier this year toured with fellow Brighton band Royal Blood. Tonight they headline, however; this is the second night of their 10 date UK tour in support of new EP, Evolve or Die, and their first time in Exeter since playing the Bike Shed early in 2016.
The evening’s first act is My-Hi, a hard-hitting alt-rock outfit, who also hail from Brighton. What they lose in originality they more than make up for in energy; their set concludes with the guitarist (whose hair fell out of a tight bun over the course of the show) diving into the crowd to play the final solo before tumbling over the barrier back onto the stage.
Next up were punk sibling two-piece Cassels. It was an utter joy to see a support act with such a high degree of originality. They stormed through a set full of in your face riffs and constantly shifting time signatures accompanied by thoughtful and witty lyrics. It becomes clear quickly that both brothers are masters of their instruments, and it makes watching them hypnotic. As the set progresses they become more comfortable talking to the audience, introducing songs about their “their shitty hometown” and “what priests shouldn’t be getting up to”. The beginning of this month saw the release of their debut album Epithet, which succeeds fully in translating the energy of their live show to record. Cassels are truly one to watch for the future.
A tough act to follow if ever there was one, and Tigercub get quickly to work. They arrive onstage to the thunderous drums which mark the start of ‘Omen’. The Cavern isn’t sold out this evening, but the crowd remain enthusiastic and energetic throughout, although it takes the explosive bass line in the middle of ‘Burning Effigies’ to really get things going. A mosh pit of six, featuring members of My-Hi, forms in front of the stage and it barely lets up until the band have left the stage.
The dark and gloomy atmosphere goes hand in hand with their sound
Tigercub are currently on tour in support of their new EP, Evolve or Die, which was released in September. The band have confessed to it being their “most divisive” musical offering yet, due to the experimentation found throughout. Tonight’s crowd seem decidedly undivided on the matter, however, and each new song is as well received as the last. Early in the set are two offerings from this EP, the first of which is ‘It’s Only Love’. The song sees singer/guitarist Jamie Hall reaching for his keyboard to play the delicate opening chords before the song erupts into Screamadelica-era Primal Scream. The next is ‘Into The Ashes’, which contains some of the prettiest melodies the band have ever written, and it garners the largest reaction of any of the new songs, again highlighting the fan’s appreciation of the change in pace the new music offers. The EP isn’t a complete departure from their noise-rock tendencies though, and later in the set the chaotic and politically charged ‘The Divided States of Us’ is unleashed.
The EP marks the first new music released since debut album Abstract Figures in the Dark, which was released last year. It’s a dark and deliberate yet thrilling album, and much of it receives an airing. This included the heaviest track of the evening, ‘Migraine’, a relentless whirlwind of distorted guitars coupled with the piercing screams of Hall. Pre-album fan favourite ‘Destroy’ keeps the momentum going, with the repetitive opening riff acting as a reminder that often simplicity is just as effective as complexity. An evening of intense and energetic performances at the Cavern comes to a close with the glittering synths and shout-along chorus of ‘Control’. Earlier in their set, Hall had said that he was shocked that so many people had turned up. If they keep playing the way they did tonight, they won’t be playing to crowds of this size for much longer.