CIVIL FOES [N/A] from Aberdare were originally looking forward to playing tonight, looking forward to the chance to shine, however, due to circumstances within the band, they have sadly called it a day and have split up. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see them perform but we wish them all the best in any and all future projects.
CLEAR THE AUDITORIUM  are the first on stage and get the daunting task of having to set the bar early on, but boy do they do it in style. Playing a mixture of tracks from their “2021” and “The Final Broadcast” EP’s, their blend of alternative rock and dub-infused electronic beats goes down a storm and it’s hard to tell which is more energetic; the music or the band themselves! Front-man Dafydd Richards getting into the full swing of the occasion, climbs 12-15 ft up one of the venues walls, runs through the crowd, throws himself around the stage…it’s a confident, determined all-round display that demands your attention and is nothing less than impressive.
Up next are Cardiff’s LAST VENDETTA  who, despite delivering a quality dose of melodic punk-pop, just can’t quite live up to tonight’s opening act in terms of performance and hunger. Their set was good, the band are tight but really they lacked any real spark. The inclusion too of MICHAEL JACKSON cover “Man In The Mirror” didn't help matters tonight either, as while the track itself is a good one, and it was played brilliantly, when a band is looking to impress, you should be looking to stick to original material, it slightly cheapened the performance.
Finally then, we shift gears once more for the final act of the night, Bridgend’s SET TO BREAK  who pummel the unsuspecting crowd with a ferocious set of hard hitting metal-core. Their performance is strong, their technical ability, musically, is superb and vocalist George Ross has an impressive set of pipes on him to say the least. Inspired by artists such as ARCHITECTS and PARKWAY DRIVE, they end the night in brutal fashion playing songs from their newest EP; “Redemption”, leaving the judging panel with a lot to mull over…
Having taken each of tonight’s three performances fairly, weighing up pros and cons, the judging panel firstly decided that it was between two of the three bands without a shadow of doubt. Secondly, the panel took into consideration that tonight’s winner would be opening the main stage of Merthyr Rock, they would need to set the tone for a great day of live music and entertainment early on, supporting a mixed line-up of artists with a mixture of styles…and with that in mind, the panel reached a unanimous decision. The winners…Clear The Auditorium.
We wish the boys from Pontypridd all the best and look forward to seeing you again on the 17th, commiserations to our runners up, Last Vendetta and Set To Break, we’re sure you’ll be back for more in future, but this is CTA’s moment, and its thoroughly deserved.
For tickets to Merthyr Rock, please visit http://www.merthyrrock.com/
Article photo courtesy of Menai Richards: https://www.facebook.com/MenaiRichardsPhotography