Zervas and Pepper
Greta Isaac

Venue: The Globe, Cardiff
Date: 1st May 2015

Tonight was the last night of the Zervas and Pepper tour, so of course it was going to come to an end in their hometown of Cardiff. Despite the competition over in town with the Super Furry Animals making their comeback there were still plenty of eager Zervas and Pepper fans excited to hear songs from their new album ‘Abstract Heart’.

The Globe was filling up nice and early for the support artist who has become a firm favourite here at AMP, Greta Isaac a singer-songwriter of exceptional talent, something which can't be faked. Greta opened her set with 'Friend' and from that moment on I was completely captivated by the gorgeous, acoustic melodies and vocals that were filling the venue. Greta was joined onstage by her two sisters who added tender and delicate harmonies for songs from her two EPs 'Down By The Water' and 'Oh Babe'. We were also treated to a gorgeous cover version of 'Tiger Mountain Peasant Song' by Fleet Foxes. Throughout the entire set Greta came across as a performer who believes in the songs she writes and performs, and someone who is genuinely grateful for being up on stage and getting the opportunity to share her music with the world.

You only had to look at how full The Globe was tonight to realise what a good couple of years it has been for Zervas and Pepper. Receiving airplay on both Radio 2 and 6 Music certainly increases your fan base, which is nothing more than Zervas and Pepper deserve for all the hard work they have put in over the years. As soon as they walked on stage Paul Zervas immediately acknowledged the Super Furries comeback by asking the crowd "Why are you not at The Super Furries?”. The band answered that question themselves by launching straight into 'Miller' which was performed with a passion and confidence that ensured the crowd’s attention was instantly grabbed.

Much of tonight’s set was dominated by songs from the new album 'Abstract Heart' which has seen the band develop and refine a fuller sound than on their earlier albums. The tightness of the band around Paul and Kath ensured that the new songs transcended into the live arena. Although the set was largely dominated by the new album we were treated to a rare outing for 'King Of The Skies' from their debut EP released back in 2008 and 'Cigar Store Indian' which resulted in a memorable sing-along from the Welsh crowd.

The set tonight saw the band pay homage to the music that has influenced their lives and the music they write. Cover versions of 'Don't Interrupt The Sorrow' by Joni Mitchell and 'Ohio' by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were clearly appreciated by the crowd as was the set-closer, a rousing rendition of 'Born To Be Wild', yes I could not believe it either but this is a band who are not afraid to give anything a go.

With a Zervas and Pepper gig it is not just the songs that stand out, it is also the chemistry and humour which you get from the band. Tonight's gig including Kath mocking Paul over his shirt, a shirt which I thought looked good, and Paul bursting into an impromptu version of 'Shine' by Aswad. Like Greta who opened the set, Zervas and Pepper always come across as grateful for being where they are. This was summed up perfectly by Kath when she said "It's a pleasure making music, but more of a pleasure making it with your friends".

Zervas and Pepper have proved that you don't have to sell your soul to the devil to get your music heard, all you have to do is continue to believe in the music you create and just enjoy yourself along the way.

Steve Tay

Dim Sŵn 2015

Cardiff City Centre
11th April 2015

Gruff Rhys

Ebbw Vale Institute
7th February 2015

Green Man 2014

Glanusk Park
14th - 17th August 2014

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