Venue: Buffalo Bar, Cardiff. Support Bands: Curly Hair/Muchuu/Run Toto Run/Zissou Date: 28/01/10 As Clwb Ifor Bach hosted the homecoming of locally loved and internationally recognised Future of the Left, Buffalo Bar was home to what seemed an unusual line-up, put on by Radio 1’s Bethan Elfyn, with a mash up of many potentially incompatible musical genres. Zissou were first to grace the relatively empty Buffalo, but of the few in attendance were two members of the band’s most evident comparisons, Los Campesinos!. Introducing themselves with a lengthy, possibly improvised, instrumental, it wasn’t long before the five-piece’s lo-fi twee indie pop was the focus of the crowd. Slightly sloppy in their time-keeping, and with a few guitar-related hardware issues, the band still managed to enjoy themselves and those in attendance. Possibly not pulling it off completely on the night, but definitely demonstrating some potential in their songs at the least. After a quick change of instruments, as well as the introduction of three luminous strip lights, three-piece Run Toto Run powered-up the laptop and embarked on their 40 minute set of questionable tunes. Combining some of the worse aspects of pop music today – think Cascada meets La Roux – the dance-pop trio were almost unbearable to make eye contact with in such an empty venue. Annoyingly, and to their credit in an odd way, it’s the sort of music you can imagine Chris Moyles and friends playing 10 times a day on Radio 1, or an Oceana crowd going crazy for. The brooding bass buzz that featured at times was almost pleasant, but was soon ruined by the over-matured musical cheese and the desperation to be in the charts. Come the end of the set, a luminous strip light and faded to darkness; symbolic, then, of the slow loss of excitement for this evening. Introduced by promoter and Radio 1 in Wales DJ Bethan Elfyn as a band she has been eagerly anticipating, brother-sister duo Muchuu took to the stage in front of a growing Buffao Bar crowd, helped in parts by their Dad (presumably) watching from a distance. Muchuu are one of those bands that you might not like, but that you feel too terrible to criticise harshly - a bit like bullying those X-Factor contestants who, on the way to their implosion, are told by family and friends just how great they are. With male-female harmonies, piano, a bit of penny whistle, and some bleeping pop synths, the two-piece played songs you could easily imagine in the charts (for a recent comparison, think “Fireflies”). The band could without doubt be appreciated and adored – the sister has a strong voice and the brother can play the keys well - but maybe on a platform such as Eurovision rather than gig venues such as Buffalo. With the time approaching 11 and with Buffalo Bar finally feeling a bit cosier as numbers grew, male-female duo Curly Hair took to the stage, as introduced by Bethan Elfyn. Seemingly impatiently, the two-piece wasted no time set opener “Pumpkin Eye” – a soon-to-be-released split with Alessi’s Ark; their beautiful folk-esque harmonies warming the room, the two voices complimenting each other perfectly. After a little stumble (the soundman was busier trying his luck rather than listening to the band’s sound requests) it became evident to at least those not chatting between themselves that this was the finale we were all so desperate for. The sweetly plucked guitar proving to be much more soothing than the bass-heavy synths that precluded it, allowing the vocals to do most of the talking – whilst a metronome in cute fashion bleeped aloud. Quite twee in sound, the sweetness never turned sickly; Curly Hair sounded how one would expect The Moldy Peaches to be if they were an Emmy the Great and Johnny Flynn collaboration, rather than Kimya Dawson and Adam Green, with an added twee sounding synthesizer. Finishing in intimately perfect fashion, the band relocated to the centre of Buffalo – with a Scout shirt being revealed as the male singer’s jumper was removed – ending with beautiful vocal work, pleasant guitar, and some lovely whistling.