It was with great excitement I got to revisit the place of my mis-spent youth, and also to witness one of my favourite bands ever at work. I lived in Cardiff for the best part of 6 years and have many fond memories of great gigs in The Great Hall A.K.A Cardiff Student’s Union. As well as trying to remain a tad professional I was determined to cut loose and what better way than the Kerrang Tour. With great disappointment Sum 41 dropped out in January to be replaced by The Blackout, and although not a total home gig the distance from Cardiff to Merthyr is negligible so it will henceforth be classed as one. Have to admit I didn’t know an awful lot about the other two bands on the bill, and due to the gig kicking off at ridiculous o’clock I missed the better part of While She Sleeps set due in part to my inability to get to any gig on time and also down to the fact that Cardiff’s 2 main roads around studentville don’t appear to have any Indian sit-down restaurants on them so the walk back from one we did find was huge.
Onto the gig….While She Sleeps, well as I just covered I didn’t get to see a whole lot of their set so it would be unfair of me to have an opinion either way. They were loud (duh!) and the crowd that were able to get to the venue on time seemed to appreciate them wholeheartedly.
letlive I have to say were a complete surprise, and I’m still not entirely sure what it was that I witnessed. It was either a complete car crash, or the most exuberant performance I’ve ever set eyes on. The reason for this confusion is down to one entity (yes entity, as I’m also not entirely sure he’s a real person) frontman Jason Butler. Imagine if you will the Tasmanian Devil (Taz in the cartoons not the real animal) in full whirlwind mode. Now give the same Taz (still in whirlwind mode) a whole heap of white stuff that the police would lock you up for possessing, and you’re getting close to Butler’s performance, a screaming, singing ball of rage, enthusiasm, passion etc etc. He was everywhere….on the floor, in the air, under the stage, in the crowd, not for a second did he stay still. It was exhilarating and tiring to watch, the biggest asset they have which is obviously this guy, but it somewhat detracts from the music. Especially if you aren’t familiar with them and want to take it all in, you can’t help yourself but watch Butler go for it. I would certainly advise everyone who likes a bit of metal to go see these guys as if all else fails he’s an absolute treat to watch perform. After visiting their band page on FB after the gig, I can confirm they have some real quality tunes and remind me a lot of Sevendust, so for now I’ll fall on the side of the fence that said I really enjoyed them.
The Blackout, hummmm for a long time I always regarded them as a poor mans LostProphets, but I’ll happily admit I was totally wrong. I made up a compilation on CD of the set the boys were going to play and immersed myself in it on the rather long drive from Cornwall to Cardiff, and I’m glad I did.
The Blackout really picked up the mantle as one of Wales’ finest exports, and have matured into a great band with some fantastic tunes. It’s fair to say any band playing in their hometown is going to step it up a notch and The Blackout didn’t disappoint.
It’s the second time the boys have played this tour so it’s no surprise that they looked totally comfortable and confident in front of a crowd that’s so familiar with them. Dual vocalists Sean Smith and Gavin Butler combine brilliantly on-stage bouncing about the place with irrepressible enthusiasm, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. It was nice to see them recognise Sum 41 with a cover of ‘Fat Lip’ which went down a real treat, the band having as much fun playing it as the audience were hearing it.
There was a lot of love on both sides of the barrier, it’s easy to see why this band has endeared themselves into the hearts of many.
They had big boots to fill with the band they replaced, and no doubt Sum 41 would have shifted a lot of the tickets alone for tonight’s performance, but I think they pulled it off and did a stellar job.
Cometh the hour, cometh the band, New Found Glory, the undisputed kings of Pop Punk blasted onto the stage with the classic ‘All Downhill From Here’ and never looked back. Although technically touring their new album ‘Radiosurgery’ there were only a few tracks off that included in this set.
Probably even more surprising than that was that given the huge back catalogue they have to pull from, the set was littered with covers. Now anyone who knows NFG also knows they are also the kings of covers, their 2 from the screen to the stereo albums have proven most popular but I think any fan would have traded ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ for ‘It Never Snows In Florida’ and ‘Kiss Me’ for ‘Dig My Own Grave’ and even though it was a belter ‘Basket Case’ for ‘The Story So Far’. Saying that the covers in no way detracted from everyone’s enjoyment, and to say the atmosphere was electric throughout would be a gross understatement.
Personal favourites were ‘Failure’s Not Flattering’, ‘Dressed To Kill’ and closing anthem ‘My Friends Over You’. While totally taking me back to wild gigs on their first tour over here, and an amazing night at Bristol Academy when they toured ‘Sticks and Stones’ with Finch and The Starting Line, New Found Glory remain a stalwart of my current listening catalogue and a total highlight of my gigging calendar.
It’s great to see the band still on top of their game and to see them constantly picking up newer young fans assures me that they’ll be around for a long time to come.