Crossing paths between two seemingly disparate genres is a challenging act to pull off, but Astroid Boys approach it with a graceful, yet aggressive, confidence. I picked up on a slight uneasiness when listening to their newest album through headphones – it wasn’t clear whether they wanted to set up camp either in punk or grime, or awkwardly straddle both camps, or make a whole new campsite of their own – but live, their sound is fully and truly realised.
With a man on the decks, supported by a live drum kit and a guitarist, punctuated by a merry little band of MC’s (and Lee Dainton from Dirty Sanchez, surprisingly, filming it all), the sound produced by this onslaught is uniquely brilliant. It initially felt like a punk gig, with thrashing guitars drowning out anything resembling a grime beat, and a piteous crowd of four or five hate-moshers (if you don’t know what hate-moshing is, YouTube search it and understand why I dubbed them ‘piteous’), but as they settled in, the grime influence became more clear as the vocals and instrumentation fell more in line with a grime structure than a punk one.
Astroid Boys’ stellar blending of genres makes me wonder why this type of sound isn’t more common; appealing to both grime and punk audiences seems like an untouched niche in the market that is ready to blow up. This said, a live experience of this unique sound will always surpass that of headphone listening; unless world-class production skills are employed to convincingly transmit this sound through mini-speakers, this vulgar genre will never achieve its full potential. Leave it to a small, relatively unknown group from Cardiff to alert our attention to this untapped market, wherein, if it takes off into mainstream success, Astroid Boys will be considered trailblazers.