Pretty Vicious Photo's: Peter Rea

Pretty Vicious
Photo’s: Peter Rea


These 4 indie rock lads from Merthyr Tydfil are blazing a trail into the bright lights, having received Radio 1 and XFM airtime, with just 5 months of gigging under their belts. They’ll be appearing at some of the major UK festivals this summer, plus, they’ve signed a record deal with mighty Virgin EMI Records… but tonight, they’re playing to a few dozen people on the first floor of a converted terraced house, around the corner from my flat.

Flesh, support. They’re local too. The eccentric lead singer is able to point us in the general direction of his house, while cradling a red guitar that’s covered in fur, and looking as though he’s arrived straight from a game of football. They’re like a blend of Brit pop, college rock and early Oasis – their Mancunian-ness cannot be hidden under influences that initially appear to be somewhat American. They’re also very funny – an inflatable man has been employed to model their t-shirts “you too can look like him” – it’s difficult not to like them and their energy. Songs that they categorise as “snotpop”, entitled ‘Champion’, ‘Vauxhall Casanova’ and ‘Dead Lonely’ – stand out in a well received set.

A roadie who has the longest dreads that I’ve ever seen finishes the soundcheck, and young Pretty Vicious descend from the loft into this sold out hall. They’re as fresh-faced as you can be, following a 7 hour car journey stuck in traffic from south Wales. Brad, Thomas, Jarvis and Elliot (each either 16 or 17 years old) proceed to hammer their musical instruments with contempt, making a glorious racket. I half expect the neighbours to start banging on the walls… maybe they are?

Pretty Vicious

Pretty Vicious

‘It’s Alway There’ kicks off a 9 song set in frantic fashion, and it’s already apparent that this is going to be great gig. Words like “quality band” and “these are going to go all the way” can be heard amongst the loud applause between songs. They’re great musicians with a growing armoury of catchy, energising songs, delivered by an enigmatic frontman. It’s little wonder they’re causing a stir.

‘Black Sheep’ is one of 5 song’s that I’ve marked as a highlight, along with ‘National Plastics’, and their most catchy and accessible tune – ‘Cave Song’. They finish strongly with ‘Are You Entertained’, which contains the lines “…I wanna live, wanna be…” – summing up their attitude and sound, perfectly.

Comparing them to obvious welsh alternative rock bands such as Manics or Super Furry’s would be lazy – they strike me as a cross between The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, or more recently, Parma Violets. They don’t sound like The Stereophonics, but the attitude and background that those Welsh rockers had when they started out remind me of what we have here – working class lads who sing optimistically while surrounded by tragic local stories. There’s definitely a 90’s vibe about them. I’d be very interested to hear them write something slower.

The sweaty drummer is kind enough to run upstairs, post-gig, and get the lads to write out a setlist for me – which they all sign… so it’s over to you to make the inevitable happen, and increase this piece of paper’s value. The next stop for them is Glasgow – hopefully their journey up to Scotland is as smooth as their rise to fame.

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Pretty Vicious Setist

Pretty Vicious Setist


Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.