Walking into the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, as always, I admire the famous staircase, each step displaying huge acts that have graced the small stage. King Tut’s is a brilliant venue for showcasing up-and-coming artists, and Pretty Vicious fit right in. The band have been making steady progress in the music world ever since the irresistible Cave Song landed them their major EMI record deal. Having witnessed the Welsh band play King Tut’s in May, coming back for more, I was expecting a similar performance. However, even in such a short space of time, I sensed a difference in the atmosphere of the legendary venue, with justifiably more confidence in the performance, and a more familiar relationship between the band and their diverse audience, ranging from sweaty men in their twenties, clearly on some kind of illicit stimulant, creating a makeshift mosh pit at the front, to older supporters nodding along with approval.
After their support act, Echo Valley’s, set, the Welshmen abruptly appear on stage, oozing cool and confidence. With no introduction, the band kick into It’s Always There, a toe-tapping anthem with energetic guitar riffs and crashing drums. Since May, a massive improvement has been made in the band’s movement and stage presence, fronted by Brad Griffiths, who leads with vigour and clear intent.
Pretty Vicious maintain this energy throughout the next few songs. Griffiths’ distinctive rough and snarling vocals are complimented by what sounds like an effortless fusion of the groove-oriented wah-wah of The Stone Roses, with the fast paced and heavy guitar sound of chart toppers Royal Blood. Guitarist Thomas McCarthy plays with an air of nonchalance, while bassist Jarvis Morgan gets the audience going, and Elliot Jones drums aggressively, all contributing to the huge sound Pretty Vicious bring to the intimate venue. Griffiths mutters a few words between songs, but, unfortunately, the audience can’t understand his thick Merthyr accent. In the inevitable silence, there are audible whispers; “What did he say?”
National Plastics, the recently released single is the next highlight of the show. Griffiths is at his best here, his rousing vocals intertwining with the aggressive guitar part and tight rhythmic section. Down My Way opens slowly, a welcome break from the frantic pace set early on. Towards the end of the set you can hear influences of Kings of Leon in Ambien and Little Molly. At this point, the band loses the audience’s attention. However, they quickly recover the crowd’s interest with the unmistakable opening riff of fan favourite Cave Song.
The set ends with a worthy finale, Are You Entertained. In the closing moments Jarvis Morgan smashes his bass against the stage in what seems like the perfect ending and a statement of intent. Pretty Vicious are getting stronger and stronger, the question is whether they will one day appear on those iconic steps of King Tut’s. After that performance, I see no reason why not.