What a way to finish off a bank holiday weekend. A triple header of heavy rock music at one of Cardiff’s premier music venues – The Tramshed. The queue of people outside, well before doors opened was just a clue as to how much people had been looking forward to this.
Towers of London
Clad in the 1980s alternative uniform of boiler suits, the Towers of London exploded onto the darkened stage, immediately striking up their guitar led punk sound. It is no wonder that Snell (drums) chose to appear shirtless – his thunderous 120bpm drumming warmed up the venue pretty quick. The fast beat was vaguely reminiscent of the punk era with hints of the Ramones and Sex Pistols as the band leapt round the stage. The crammed Tramshed seemed to enjoy the full on energetic set, but were reluctant to join in the demands for audience participation. Their 30 minute set was a mix of their older songs and finished off with the typically punk rebellious ‘Fuck it up’. With a newly developed line-up, the band are seemingly looking to re-kindle their successes from their early days. They are definitely worth checking out.
Donny Tourette (Vocals)
Dirk Tourette (Rhythm Guitar)
Tommy Brunette (Bass, Vocals) Rev (Lead Guitar)
Second up were massive Wagons – a personal favourite of mine. It is impossible to watch them without wondering where Baz Mills gets his energy from. During the 45 minute set, he does not stand still. The rest of the band encourage and assist his unique front man style as they perform tracks that have become so familiar over the last couple of years. Including new music in their set (In It Together) as well as old favourites, it was a set performed flawlessly, despite the bands drummer (Alex Thistlethwaite) taking some time out to prepare for a new arrival in his household. Dave Steen did a great job nailing the drums. Finishing off the set with Fe Fi Fo Fum, their traditional finisher, the Tramshed erupted with cheers and applause. Once again, I am in no doubt that they gained many more fans tonight.
Baz Mills Vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite – Guitar
Stevie Holl Guitar
Adam ‘Bowz’ Bouskill Bass
Dave Steen-Drums (replacing Alex Thistlethwaite on this tour)
The Wildhearts have had a chequered history since they formed in Newcastle in 1989 and have had many line-up changes. The current line up seems to be one that works – I have never seen Ginger so at ease with himself as this.
So popular is the headline act in Cardiff that the crowd in the packed Tramshed didn’t wait for the band – giving their vocal chords an early start joining in the bands entry music, ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ eventually being rewarded by their appearance, The singing was replaced by which loud cheers and applause as the band struck up with ‘Dislocated’ – the first track of the evening from the recently released album ‘Renaissance Men’.
Bringing in a few tracks from their huge selection, the fans were in their element. Ginger remarks from the stage how lovely it is to be back in cardiff, where they have enjoyed popularity in the past. He seems genuinely happy and relaxed, losing himself in the music, and taking the time to make jokes at the expense of a crowd surfer, ejected from the venue.
They have a huge following, and out of respect for fans who go to several shows, the band have mixed up their sets for different shows. This keeps the show fresh, and some tracks will always go down better than others. In a symbiotic relationship, the band feed off the energy from the crowd, who give it back in spades. Every song has several hundred backing vocalists and arms wave in the air in true rock gig fashion. ‘Vanilla Radio’, ‘Caffiene Bomb’ and ‘Top of the World’ appear as if by right and show why, even with all their historic ups and downs, they are hugely popular – vibrant and exciting to watch and listen to.
As they get to ‘Jackson Whites’, mid way through the set, it is evident that the band are still one of the most popular on the circuit. Preferring to fill their set time with music than chat, there is no self indulgence, no egos, just good old rock. The final track on the main set is ‘Diagnosis’ So new is this, that CJ has the lyrics in front of him…. just in case. On the far side of the stage, Danny stands, as he plans to do for the whole tour, and together with Ritch, they are a top class rhythm section.
The band leave the stage. In their demands for an encore, the crowd once again strike up ‘Don’t Worry About Me’. The long wait is worth it, as they return for their well deserved encore.
If you haven’t seen this tour line up yet – get on it. Three bands who are top quality on the same bill. Shouldn’t be missed.
Ginger (Vocals, Guitar)
Ritch Battersby (Drums)
Danny McCormack (Bass)