Little Cavalier Festival @ The Flapper, 25-26 May 2019

Little Cavalier is a rock festival with smaller bands, but that is nonetheless impressive. I decided to come to the festival the day before and I didn’t know any of the bands, but arriving at The Flapper on a sunny day and seeing so many people outside waiting for the next band to start made the night look promising. Inside people were already enjoying themselves while many balloons were thrown around the venue. 

Saturday 25 May 2019

The first band I saw was Death Cult Electric, who put on their first ever gig. Their alternative hard rock music was chaotic, raw and, while at times a bit disjointed, they looked confident and it was obvious that they put their souls into their music. The lead singer had a stimulating presence, complementing the guitarist’s rock star attitude.

They began their set on a high and left the crowd energized and ready for the next bands to come. 

Next on stage was WMN (originally ‘Women’), a duo composed of Gareth on the drums and Jon on the guitar, who came from the Black Country with a ‘less is more’ approach to hard rock. The duo re-released their self-titled album last year, which is based on some of their old ideas. From the beginning you could see the good chemistry they have between them. They started with some jokes and interacted with the crowd during their whole performance. They sang a few soft notes, but their main focus was to set a story with their instrumental, oozing with their riffs and their beats.

The drummer was wearing a rainbow unicorn top, probably in honour of the LGBTQ+ pride, happening the same weekend. All their songs, like ‘Frwll’, ‘52 Yrs An Imbecile’ and ‘Weep Now in The Mire’, flowed really well and covered themes like death and destruction. 

Outlander came next, bringing more indie vibes into the rock festival. They recently released a new album called The Valium Machine. The four-piece created an emotional rollercoaster using only instrumentals, showing their musical genre as doomgaze, shoegaze, and experimental. They showed the full power of pedals while creating melancholic and soulful sounds. Some of the songs they played were ‘Sinking’, ‘Drown’ and ‘The Valium Machine’.

They reminded me of the theme song from the film ’28 days later’, but a more up-beat version. Their whole performance was mesmerizing and left the audience speechless. 

Next came UK math rock band A-Tota-So, who brought chaos and a unique sound to the night. At the beginning you would say they sound familiar but then you realise their greatness and desire for innovation.

The set went from energetic riffs to quiet and heartfelt fingerpicking interludes, changing the tempo frequently and keeping the crowd on the edge of the unknown. All the sounds are thought out and well executed while also being playful and quirky. The trio started with ‘Clever Liver’ balancing heavy tones and riffs with rigid structure and calming/nostalgic beats. They also played ‘Black Market Broccoli’ which brought even more energy with its high and lows sounds, divided between drums and bass. Each song had an electrifying energy that made the people in the crowd dance, while externalising their emotions felt through each note. 

Coming from South Yorkshire, Body Hound showed their energetic and individualistic personalities until the end, fascinating everyone with their progressive/math rock. This year they finally released a full length album, No Moon, about which they said, “We have twelve tracks in total, but the whole record has been made with the intention of it being experienced as a journey from start to finish.” Some of the songs played by the four-piece were ‘Bloom’, ‘Spectrum’ and ‘Ceaseless’.

Their whole performance was engaging and erratic, with crushing riffs, witty beats and overall technical wizardry, making an immediate connection with the crowd. One of the guitarists made goofy expressions the whole time, while the front man, rocking a Freddie Mercury moustache and attitude, played the bass and went from laughing to having a very professional rock star look in no time. Having a reckless façade, their music actually covers a lot of meaning and emotions, something that could be felt everywhere in the venue. 

Haggard Cat came next to the stage to give everything they have, an energy that was well received. The duo from Nottingham is composed of vocalist and guitarist Matt Reynolds and drummer Tom Marsh, who were previously a part of the hardcore four-piece HECK. After not taking themselves too seriously and just playing some local gigs, they realized people actually like what they are doing. That’s how, a few years later, their debut album Challenger was born. Their music covers a broad range of sounds, from bluesy rock ’n’ roll to passionate and head-banging metal rock, combined with powerful vocals and choruses.

They promised to come back to Birmingham and the crowd couldn’t be more excited. 

Sometimes a few drinks give you more confidence and can make you a bit crazier. I don’t know if that’s the case with Damien Sayell, the lead singer of The St Pierre Snake Invasion, but he disclaimed from the start that he had too much to drink and might get sick, making the crowd laugh and hoping that won’t happen.

After talking a bit about how it is to be ginger, the artist being ginger himself, he advised everyone to always meet fire with fire. Damien Sayell, together with Szack Notaro (guitar/vocals), Patrick Daly (guitar/vocals), Sam James (drums) and Sanjay Patel (bass), make the 5 piece band, originally from Bristol. Their music is a mix of punk, garage, alternative and rock, covering contrasts and reflections upon struggles, ego, self-importance, joy, love and individuality.

They announced their new album Caprice Enchanté, finally coming out this month. Probably the head-banging highlight of the night would be the song named the same as the album or ‘Braindead’, also included in the album but released last month as a single as well. The lead singer put on a performance during the whole set, spending most of the time in the crowd, going from doing press ups to talking about interviews and fights to giving fist bumps to people. He was charismatic, energetic, funny and had very good crowd control, apart from having an incredibly powerful voice, being around that thin line between genius and madness. Some of the other songs they played, also included in their new album, are ‘Carroll A.Deering’, Remystery’, ‘Pierre Brassau’ and ‘The Safety Word is Oklahoma’.

Everyone was more than pleased with the show and fans were still humming their songs while leaving the venue. 


SUNDAY 26 May 2019 

Another theatrical and thrilling performance started with Death and the Penguin coming on stage. The London based band, named after a novel by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov, draws comparisons to Radiohead and Minus the Bear, as their music is avant-garde alternative rock, combined with math rock and indie. Lead singer Toby Smith passionately expressed himself from the middle of the crowd when he wasn’t playing the guitar.

The crowd got riled up during the tasty riffs and powerful beats of songs like ‘Colour In Me’ and ‘No Blood, No Sport’. 

Right Hand Left Hand came from Cardiff to create magic with only two guitars, drums and a loop station. Recurring soft notes smartly combined with hard rock beats and some impressive riffs left everyone speechless. They created some of the most interesting sounds I’ve ever heard by knocking on the guitar to create live looped vibrations.

The two-piece band comprised of Andrew Plain (drums/guitar) and Rhodri Viney (guitar, vocals, drums) announced a new album coming out later this year and fans couldn’t be more excited. 

To The Wall came to the Flapper with energy, chaos and powerful voices. The lead singer went all over the stage during the whole set, handling the microphone stand or trying to hand the mic from the ceiling. Something which maybe small but different from other bands was how fluidly they made it between songs, playing some John Martyn music, in contrast with their metal rock sounds.

Some of the songs they played are ‘Blue & Grey Mountains’, ‘When it moves’ and ‘Stockholm’. 

Kagoule ended the evening. The trio makes alternative rock music, with tones of indie and grunge and hardcore punk vibes. Composed of Cai Burns (vocals, guitar), Lucy Hatter (bass, vocals) and Lawrence English (drums), the band has two albums released, Urth and Strange Entertainment. 

Cai and Lucy put themselves on the stage and expressed their personalities and styles, complementing well the 60s look. After Cai asked everyone what they want tonight, Lucy admitted that she wants to see a fight (someone in the crowd actually offered). They finished with ‘Adjust the way’, ending the festival on an optimistic note. 



Review and Photographs: Andra Tudoran 

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