‘Giddy Up A Ding Dong’ be fucked, ‘we have lift off’ might have been a more apt title for tonight such was the gale blowing around South Wales. This rearranged fixture comes after the original pre-Christmas Tour hit Covid buffers. Tonight it was the turn of Storm Eunice to try to derail this sold-out show but unperturbed, the ‘Giddy Up A Ding Dong’ tour rolls into town thankfully without further incidents or act of God.
Tonight the bill was bolstered by the inclusion of Gary’s newly signed band Dead Freights which was my first introduction to this lively south coast band, it was also another chance to see Local(ish) members of the Libs extended family the wonderful Trampolene.
Dead Freights took to the stage bang on time and proceeded to knock out a very impressive thirty minutes of sharp, loud indie rock with an emphasis on the loud and the rock. Frontman Charlie looked confident with his fringe and skinny jeans as he thumped out the chords to the band’s post-punk, indie rock tunes that had plenty of punch in the rhythm section and some nice choppy guitars to complement that aggressive style. The highlights were ‘Kill Your Man’, ‘Girlfriend Experience’ and the sharp ‘Bat Man’ which mixed up the caped crusader’s riff into the song’s frantic and snarling delivery – excellent tune. A true story that’s every bit as menacing as the story suggests. I was impressed with an excellent starter from this evening’s entertainment and await to hear more from this fledgling south coast band who have recently signed to Gary Powell’s label.
Next up are a band I’ve championed for a while. Trampolene were in fact the first band I was lucky enough to see when we emerged into the new world post-Covid. Trampolene have a brand new album ‘Love No Less Than A Queen’ under their belt.
I’ve always found the band’s live shows to be a sprawling, exciting, bundle of energy from start to finish. Always entertaining and never dull. Whilst they nail the music side of it they have also oozed that “by the seat of our pants” energy that bands need. Stand or fall – they’ll go down having the time of their lives and as previous shows have proven they throw every ounce of energy into their performances be it in a tiny club or on the larger Uni circuit or in an arena.
Tonight was going to be special seeing as the band hail (as I do) from 40 miles down the M4 and aren’t exactly welcome in certain parts of this town, as a result of the superior sporting achievements (obviously) in the last decade. Jack embraces the jovial abuse of ‘You Jack Bastard’ and runs with it, grinning like a Cheshire cat it adds fuel to the fire. As the band get straight on with business ‘It’s Not Rock and Roll’ punches a huge riff-sized hole in the Great Hall air, and get down to the serious job of showing this audience exactly what they have in their locker.
The swelling audience is then treated to some of the stand-out tracks off the new ‘Love No Less’ album mixed with older ones as ‘Adrenaline’ and the grungy ‘Oh Lover’ whip up the audience before Jack introduces the fantastic ‘Beautiful Pain’. The trio totally locked in and took the audience with them on their energetic journey. They tap into the energy of the audience throughout the set that saw their thirty minutes fly by ending with a frenzied ‘Alcohol Kiss’. Jack, Wayne and Kyle take a thoroughly deserved ovation from the appreciative audience who put rivalries aside Cardiff knows a good band when they see one, and once again the Great Hall has a new Welsh band to champion. Trampolene moves on to their biggest headline show this coming Friday as they open the brand new 3,500 capacity Swansea Arena and this has been the perfect warm-up for both tonight’s headliners and their own big night next Frieday.
On this evidence, it won’t be long before they themselves are headlining the Universities of the UK and beyond. Get in there you jack bastards its been emotional.
With the packed out, Great Hall now nicely warmed up – the intro tape of ‘Get Down On It’ is fired up. Onto the stage strides the likely lads – with a spring in their step they take to the stage with some Only Fools and Horses dialogue only for it to be drowned out as the Great Hall hoards roar as ‘What A Waster’ signals the whole auditorium to move like an ocean in a storm. Pure pandamonium. The buzz is maintained throughout ‘The Ha Ha Wall’ and ‘Up The Bracket’ before a chance to catch one’s breath as the brilliant ‘Gunga Din’ plays out and the interplay on the vocals is still spine-tingling and majestic.
Docherty and Barat still have that special energy (that X-Factor if you like) as they collide into one another, but these days it’s more like an inspiring bump, a wink, and a nod rather than previously being a kick up the arse or a sly dig. The tension is less spikey and more an appreciation to each other for what they bring to the music of The Libertines and the stage. Maybe it’s an age thing or now it’s the music that is doing all the talking and not any “off-field” dramas being blown out of proportion and spiraling out of control. The Libertines have been there, done it and bought the T-Shirt but have now moved on. Thank God they’ve been drawn back into each other’s orbit like moths to a flame, knowing that when the four are on a stage it’s different, it’s certainly special and unfinished business awaits. They can do the side projects as well (most welcome they are too) but this band and these songs are special.
By the time the band breaks it down for the more laid-back task of ‘What Kate Did’ followed by the outstanding ‘You’re My Waterloo’ it’s shaping up to be one hell of a performance and setlist. Carl took to the piano stool whilst Pete handled the acoustic guitar until the solo when Carl picked up the Les Paul JR laid his emotional lick out there before signing off the piano part. The highlight of the setlist so far.
With only three albums in neigh on twenty Years they can pretty much fill a ninety-minute set with all killer and no filler and tonight the spread of songs was superb helping the set flow magnificently.
‘Boys In The Band’, ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ had the audience providing vocal harmonies that were clearly having an impact on stage. If I’m correct it was Fifteen songs played before the encore that raised the bar further (if that was even possible).
‘The Delaney’ became something of a new years eve late night sing-a-long before the band rattled out an epic ‘Fame And Fortune’, ‘Death On the Stairs’, ‘Don’tLook Back Into The Sun’ and finally closing a spectacular night with ‘Time For Heroes’ and we then shuffled out into the cold, wet and blustery Cardiff night having witnessed a fantastic night of live music. It felt great to be back out there and see fledgling openers introduce themselves, super confident support with a whole pocketful of excellent songs, and a master class in headlining from one of the best bands Britain has to offer.
If you are thinking about taking in one of this summer’s outdoor shows – my advice is don’t hesitate to get on it. The line-ups will be excellent and on tonight’s setlist and performance The Libertines will more than impress. Energy, enthusiasm, and above all fantastic songs. Now, how about a new album? Pretty please.
Author: Dom Daley