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“You can’t come in, doors are at 7.30”, says the disinterested security goon, “…says here doors at 7 Fella” I say in reply, showing him the blurb “….it changed today” says he….I try a different tack, “…where do I collect my media pass please?”, a barely audible grunt yields nothing, so I ask again…..“you’ll have to wait outside” says he, again…..all of this as the, what appears to be, the never-ending queue of students all seeking to quench their thirsts files into the foyer that I am about to be ejected from, it’s obvs going to be one of those nights! So out into the cold Welsh St Davids Day night air go I along with the other recently arrived photographer, who received the same response as I regarding his Media Pass….nice to see consistency!

Stood outside, looking in at the scantily clad female students, (oh to be young again) the two of us compare views on illegitimacy, and the possible causes of his miserable demeanour, needless to say the true reason for him being such a miserable bastard may never be known?

As could be expected given the earlier helpful and caring attitude of ‘Mr Security’, on the dot at 7.30 we, with the rest of the assembled punters, who could be heard muttering about the inclement weather and the apparent associated artic temperatures decided that en masse we would go in, with or without the blessing of the miserable one. The only way to describe the next 10 mins was unorganised chaos, no-one could provide answers regarding Media Passes, and only after a manager (and I use that term loosely) appeared were we eventually given a wristband that appeared to indicate that we were ‘media’…..and behold the world was soon to be our playpen!

A quick look around reveals a smaller venue than I had anticipated with the title ‘The Great Hall’, (Note – The gig had actually been changed at short notice from The Great Hall to Y Plas), anyway, it looked like an Elvana set up so hopefully is was! A chat with ‘Pit Security’ (who was far more chatty and sociable than the other security representative, aka the miserable bastard) confirmed it was the right place, and revealed it was the standard “3 songs and that’s it Mate”, I roll my eyes, yet I begrudgingly accept it, whilst making a mental note to question myself later why I put myself through this?

The support for Elvana this evening is Marisa & The Moths, a band I’m aware of, and heard limited stuff from, but I’ve not seen them before. Given the earlier palaver it’s soon time for the lights to dim, and the stage erupts. Marisa stands before us, and The Moths surround their flame. Needy is the opening track, and it’s the first track on their self-titled album from Nov 2019. To me a cracking little number, a tadge deep though (I’d wager) with such lyrics as So you should fuck me, Maybe that’d help you see, All of my potential, Cause that’s all, It’s all I’m really good for, But I can’t even fill that hole, oh no…..next comes the fabulous Skin, to me a driving track, this needs to be played loud, and this is followed by Pedestal from the Damned If I Do EP released in Jan 2023. Choke is next, a hard hitting track, but in my eyes rather ‘ordinary’, it does go on a bit. Then we are treated to Sad, a track reflecting on expectations and reality. Recently released (Feb 24) as a track in its own right, but taken from the What Doesn’t Kill You, album due to be released in early May. I do like this, it shows Marisa’s vocals off rather well. Fake It Till You Make It released in Dec 2023 is the penultimate offering. This is a cracking little track, I don’t know why, but I like it. It just has something about it. Ending the night is Wither Away, another from the Damned IF EP and you won’t forget this, it batters you around, it starts, it stops, and it draws you in, lyrically and musically it’s fabulous!

Call them ‘alternative’, call them ‘grunge’, call them what you will, but Marisa & The Moths are a band, they’re not a group of individuals, they gel together very well, they seem to play effortlessly, they play some excellent music, and they deserve far more from a public that I suspect, either hasn’t heard of them, or takes them for granted, when they shouldn’t; if you’ve not had the pleasure yet, go and look them up, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what you hear.

There’s a short break whilst the stage crew do their thing, and a few more punters enter the hall, completely oblivious to / unaware of, of the talent that they missed in the form of Marisa and her Moths!

Above the stage the huge silver glitter ball slowly rotates, the sound of ‘Grease’ fills the air, (this is Elvana’s intro music), the world explodes as ‘Elvis’ and the band take to the stage; they are given a fabulous reception, ‘Elvis’ takes the warm Welsh welcome and acknowledges the baying mob before him. It’s obvious they all know what to expect, and what is expected of them, for, if you’re not aware, Elvana are a ‘hands on’ band, if the audience doesn’t participate with them, then they’ll participate with the audience!!!

Elvana are straight into it, Territorial Pissings is delivered in a way that it only can be….in full Nirvana style….it sets the tone for the forthcoming extravaganza. Next up is It’s Alright Mama, an Elvis classic, the audience are already fired up and respond to the antics on stage. This is followed by an Elvana version of In Bloom. There is not a seconds peace on stage “Elvis’ is everywhere, it is certainly ‘dynamic’ up there, and the ‘Confetti Cannon’ going off just adds to it all. Scentless Hound Dog and Rape Me Tender are the next two offerings, they go down well with the assembled masses, who now it appears, (if they weren’t before) are right in the mood as Sliver and All Shook Up are delivered to them in time honoured tradition. They respond and ‘Elvis’ sucks back the energy from them, very much a give and take situation where you can ‘feel’ it in the air. About A Girl Or Never belches forth, there’s definitely some thought gone in to all this!

As a bit of a break from all this, and to (I suspect) let Elvis have a ‘comfort break’ the Elvana’s guitarist (Dan) was due to play a solo slot on an acoustic guitar, prior to disappearing for said break ‘Elvis’ tells us Dan has forgotten the acoustic, and promptly starts a chant of ‘Dan fucked up’, which the audience continues with, as he disappears stage left…..Dan explains himself, and he makes his excuses, and instead of playing a non-existent guitar, he dishes out some banter keeping everyone entertained during the lull. I take the opportunity to go up onto the balcony to get some shots from there, it’s not quite so ‘sweaty’ up there, a good choice on my part!!!

The return of Elvis to the stage is the cue for the previous mayhem to resume, and the crowd haven’t lost any of their enthusiasm. Dive – Devil In Disguise is first, it is delivered with gusto and associated shenanigans! Rapidly following (and with no quarter given are Trouble – Breed Las Vegas / Dumb – Always On My Mind / Jailhouse Tourettes (fabulous!) – Frances Farmer – Suspicious Minds, and just before they leave the stage, we are treated to the fantastic Heartbreak – Lithium! Surely that’s not it, no, of course it’s not…..Elvana are as eager to be back on the stage as are the audience to have them there.

Once the restless natives have been (generally) placated the opening bars of Can’t Help Falling In Love – Heart Shaped Box start it all up once again…..nothing has changed, the energy levels are the same, perhaps they have even risen, and the carnage is resumed. Next is Little Less Teen Spirit, (with the confetti canon makings its final appearance of the evening), and the penultimate offering is an Elvana style Come As You Are. The end is nigh, and it is appears in the form of the crowd pleasing Negative Feeling, and what a crackin’ track to end the night with. The emotions of the night shine through, and looking at the crowd they seem more than suitably impressed with what they’ve seen, and heard.

Worth every single hard earned penny of anyone’s money, Elvana produced the goods tonight, they delivered. They are a unique, high quality, professional outfit, and for all the carnage that you see in front of you, I suspect that it is orchestrated to smallest degree. The obvious question is, would Elvis and Kurt approve if they saw the band in full flow, I think they would, and if you looked over at them, they would be watching with huge smiles on their faces.

Words & images: Taff Wiltshire