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Cam FM Reviews Sorry at the Portland Arms

Gareth Scourfield

"A captivating night from a band about to explode onto major success."


Going into Sorry’s gig at The Portland Arms last Wednesday, my expectations were high. Having previously tried and failed to see them last year at Cardiff’s iconic Clwb Ifor Bach, I was anticipating the gig eagerly, with perhaps a slight fear that I may end up disappointed. Suffice to say, disappointment was the last thing on my mind as I left the venue following the show. 

As soon as I entered the venue, I knew it was going to be a good night (in part due to the cracking collection of Tiny Rebel beers). The tone for the evening was set by support act Deathcrash, a band whose post-rock is so incredibly moody and ambient that they seemed conjure a collective spell of unequivocal focus upon the entire audience; you could have heard a pin drop during any mid-song breaks. Rightly so, too - it was unwavering attention for an unwavering band.

Then came Sorry. Opening with their twisted take on Tears For Fears’ ‘Mad World’, ‘Right Round The Clock’, Sorry set the bar high at the beginning of their set. The song showcases the best bits of the band’s staple sounds, namely highlighting the fantastic back-and-forth vocals of Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Brien, the two guitarists. As the gig continued, the inventive use of shimmering synths and vocal samples added a different dimension to the music, solidifying and thickening a sound rooted in the highly effective rhythm section of Lincoln Barrett (drums) and Campbell Baum (bass). 

In songs such as ‘Starstruck’ and ‘More’, the octave lead vocals and interesting loud-quiet shadings are certainly evocative of alt-rockers such as Pixies, however there is something delightfully grungy and moody about them too, like Wolf Alice’s rebellious cousin. The reality is, however, that considering the distorted electronic elements to their songs too, to make any sort of concrete comparisons with existing big artists is something of a disservice to Sorry, who are a truly unique indie entity.

I was truly sold on the gig when the saxophone came out. Despite being a great addition to the set and adding a cool texture to the music, it displayed a slightly lighter and fun side to the band. Proving they can give more than just moody tunes, the sax danced above a great active bassline in a personal highlight that can only be described as ‘filthy’ (in the best way possible of course).
Sorry are infamously a band of few words, a reputation they upheld in full during this gig. However, where with other bands a reluctance to address the audience and interact much can be seen as snobbish and slightly aloof, it seems simply authentic in Sorry’s case – if they don’t want to talk, then why bother? 

A sole criticism I could give of this gig is that at 9:55 I was leaving the venue to go and enjoy another pint of Tiny Rebel. A short but sweet set of just under an hour from the band, but I can’t help feeling that I and others would have appreciated an encore. Nevertheless, with their debut album ‘925’ coming out next month, I feel extremely smug that in 2 years when Sorry are headlining summer festivals, I can say that I saw them at a pub in Cambridge on a cold Wednesday night. 

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