Estrons return to Cardiff following a nineteen date European and UK headline tour. They look fresh after a four night break from their last show and stride onto the stage with bravado.
The talented backbone of Rhodri Daniel on guitar, Steffan Pringle on bass and incumbent drummer Adam Thomas hit the opening notes to the powerful ‘Lilac’. Lead singer Tali Källström appears to a roar and whoops from the expectant crowd. The band sound tight as she belts into the opening lyric. ‘Lilac’ points to Källström’s encounter with a sorrowful teenage girl in the early hours of the morning, and concludes that there are always people to help those in times of need.
Pringle and Thomas lash into the opening riff of ‘Body’ and Källström gives it her all, posturing and stirring up the audience and many start to chant along to what appears to be the overtly sexually-charged, carnal nature of the lyric ‘you make my body go oh, oh, oh’. There is a clear twist in the context of the song; either hinting at disappointment in the sexual side of a relationship, or towards carnal competitiveness with the lyric ‘I can do that, only better’. Källström is a force of nature, oozing charisma. She sways from persona to persona; from loving mother to all, to simmering dominatrix; she is enchanting, bewitching – is adored at the Globe tonight by the sell-out crowd.
‘Strangers’ contains the most easy listening opening bars of all tonight’s songs, but builds in intensity and tension with heartfelt and sombre lyrics pointing out a low ebb in Källström’s life of anxiety, low self-esteem and sabotaging relationships through self-doubt: ‘I’ve been trying to change myself again, won’t you please just take me as I am’. The song settles to the closing line: ‘I could never find the power to know, guess I’ll figure it out on my own’ and points to hope and optimism toward finding light after darkness. Simply beautiful.
Källström dedicates ‘Cameras’ to her young son, who she tongue-in-cheek and humorously refers to as ‘the little bastard’ before singing the heartfelt lyrics: ‘I will live a life for you, I’ll always win a fight for you’. She goes into a dark place when she defiantly sings ‘Well they can take you away, with me you’ll always stay’. The finale to the song is close to sonic perfection as Daniel’s guitar soars into a solo, and Källström bears her soul as she repeatedly cries out “If I get one love, only one love, then I choose you, then I choose you”. It’s an emotional performance of the bliss and pain of unconditional love as a mother, but also of worry and self-doubt. There is an outstanding and tuneful vulnerability to the vocal.
‘Strobe lights’, ‘Jade’ and ‘Killing Your Love’ are all performed with gusto. ‘Jade’ is a stand out track with the band effortlessly in sync with the sinister groove of the verse, as Källström belts out the lyrics with incredible feeling and anguish: ‘Let your body forget the pain, let your mind forget the misery’; while the chorus of ‘Change your mind, your body, your body awwwrgh’ seems to point towards lustful thoughts, prior to referencing a previous doomed or sabotaged relationship. The song highlights the undeniable strength of her vocals’ relentless passion she puts into her performance.
The evening becomes more raucous and culminates with an encore of the furious ‘Drop’. Källström passes the mic to the audience where Laura Brown, bassist of Rainbow Maniac, assists with singing the line ‘Be, more, like, me’, from the heart of the mosh pit and then flies past overhead crowd surfing; latterly followed by Källström who loses all inhibitions and self-control as she launches herself into the audience in a spontaneous act of joy. Daniels summits the PA speakers where he postures and plays triumphantly in ‘rock god’ mode only minutes after proudly exalting his love to his mother in the audience. It’s another stunning moment after such an accomplished performance on his guitar with riffs that seamlessly portray the emotion to Källström’s lyrics.
Estrons possess a level of musicianship, charisma, sexuality and leftfield-ness that is putting ‘Cool Cymru’ back on the map. No longer the inexperienced virgins of yesteryear, they strut on stage like they wrote the Karma Sutra; there is tangible self-confidence prior to playing a note. Battle hardened from gigging and accruing considerable critical acclaim, they’ve snowballed a loyal following; headlining sell out shows outside Wales. They have earned the right to be arguably the most exciting live band to see in the UK right now. A stunning performance.