After last year’s successful dalliance with the old flame of Scabies – James – Vanian & Sensible it seemed about right and proper that the Modern Damned got back in the saddle for some live shows in support of their new album. This the first night of the UK tour sees the band return to Cardiff Uni the city of many great nights in Damned history being the city that had four Damned bassists on stage at once (The now long gone Point Venue) New Ocean Club was the venue where the MCA years took off and who could forget the Night Vanian decided not to go on tour and carnage ensued at the hippo club.

The Damned in 2023 are a more altogether (cough cough) professional unit. With New drummer Will Taylor sitting in the band launch into ‘Street Of Dreams’ to open the show with a sound system that is absolutely top of the shop and every clanging Paul Gray note and the deft touch of the new boy that was seamless and a pleasure to hear driving the songs on in the engine room letting Sensible do his usual sterling job on the guitar.

The second track was ‘The Invisible Man’ before shifting gears through some old classics from ‘Wait For The Blackout’ and an epic ‘Lively Arts’ Vanian then introduced the audience to tracks off the new album thats coming out next month but it wasn’t going to be one or two new tracks the band were going to showcse the flaming lot! Now I know there are your hardcore who will never be pleased with whatever they decided to delve into from their almost half a century of songs but we’ve done the original line up, The Paladium extravaganze the the Black Album anniversery or the Machine Gun in full sets so it seems right and fitting that the band throw a curve ball and play the whole new album. Me, I’m well up for that I’ve seen the band play almost 100 times and as much as I love a ‘Fan Club’ or a ‘Limit Club’ or recently getting a raft of ‘Music For Pleasure songs on the reunion shows this was something else and I love that about the Damned so bring it on.

‘Motorcycle Man’ sounded fantastic and overall I know it was live but the songs knocked spots off the lukewarm last album and they had more bite and energy about them. and before you knew it ten new songs out of the opening thirteen were done. If you left the venue then it’s your loss but the Damned audience can be a tough crowd sometimes but I think the majority were with me and love it.

There was still time as the band sounded tighter than usual and certainly looked to be enjoying the set and the reception they were getting new boy Will was certainly driving them on with a performance that was more Rat like than I was expecting and it only helped spur on the performance. ‘Born To Kill’ kicked into an epic ‘Love Song’ which in turn segued into ‘2nd Time Around’.

There was time for two encores consisting of ‘Eloise’before ‘Smash It Up’ was ruthlessly played before the excellent ‘Girl Stop’ bowed out, leaving us where it always began with ‘New Rose’ and we were done. Captain showed his appreciation and promised to return if they were all still alive at some point down the road and I left happy. Another day another impressive Damned show – Me I fuckin love em and if I could only see one band again it would be this bunch of rogues and their immense catalogue of songs.

Author: Dom Daley

‘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

“a release of intense basic frustration, anger, and aggression, especially that rediscovered by means of primal therapy”.

What better way to release your frustration and anger than at a gig, and what is more Primal than, raw garage rock, alongside a few diversions into other territories, dance, industrial, country and good old raw Rock and Roll, welcome to Primal Scream, one of my fave live entities, always sharp, always intense, always in your face with no punches pulled, hands up who remembers Bobby Gillespie, dedicated ‘Kill all Hippies’ to the massed Glastonbury ranks and not one of them realizing he was taking the piss? Priceless!!

I first caught Primal Scream in Glasgow in 2000 supporting Oasis, just after the release of probably my favourite LP ‘Exterminator’ and I’ve caught them just about every tour since and every time they’ve mutated the sound, changed direction and kept the crowd guessing to what we’re going to get. So tonight for me is a culmination of the last 20 years a set going out under the banner of Maximum Rock and Roll, a best of so to speak happy days.

Openers tonight were a brand new band to me Holy Youth Movement, as far as I can tell not a lot out there to pick up but if tonight’s performance is anything to go by they’ve got the potential to take it to the next level. Grounded in the garage rock sound we know and love, they made a great noise, reminiscent of the rawer side of Primal Scream to be fair, and a great fit, sadly this was the last night on this tour before support bands change over.

On to the main event, and opening with ‘Don’t Fight It, Feel It’ was always going to be a winner for me but to follow it with one of my personal favourite tracks ‘Swastika Eyes’, I could have left then happy. The thing is though with Primal scream they just get better and better as the set moves on, the rush hitting everyone harder and harder, no Little Barrie Cadiogan tonight but Andrew Innes, brought the MC5 influenced raw Rock and Roll sound to the plate, while Simone Butler locked the base down, there was no let up tonight and as the tracks blurred you caught that garage rock and roll underpinning, shaping everything, there were many highlights tonight including the rebirth of Rock and Roll part 2, an inspired ‘Come Together’ complete with a bang up to date Fck the tories, Fck Boris Johnson refrain interspersed in the lyrics, but for yours truly I think the tracks that sent this set into overdrive were a blinding version of Dolls, a jaw-dropping ‘Cry Myself Blind’ and a seriously rocked up version of 100% showing how good the ‘Chaosmosis’ tracks are when given a live slant. And the incredible ‘Kill All Hippies’.
Watching the crowd go mental to ‘Country Girl’, the dedication of ‘Loaded’ to the Super Furry Animals and the encore of ‘Come Together’ before the roof was well and truly lifted with ‘Jailbird’ and ‘Rocks’, 20 years of following Primal Scream nicely rounded off for yours truly. Lets kick off the next decade as usual with a new sound from the Scream (as usual) or maybe a tour playing ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’ (The Memphis sessions version complete with brass section) or the 21st anniversary of ‘EXTERMINATOR’ would be a good shout, but as with all things Bobby Gillespie the only guarantee is it’ll be relevant!!!

Signing out “Kill all Hippies!”

Author: Nev Brooks

What needs to be said about Ricky Warwick, over the years whatever he has turned his songwriting craft to it’s always been of the highest quality.

So with a new Black Star Riders album recently released a tour announced this reviewer could not wait to get his live rock’n’roll fix.

Much to my surprise and delight the band were doing some HMV acoustic in-store shows so when this Cardiff date rolled around I made my way to Cardiff HMV and was treated to a fantastic three-song set  of the highest quality with all band members on great form and it was plain to see that they were clearly enjoying each others company and the interaction with the fans.

So as this crisp October night rolled in I made my journey to Cardiff university for the main event.

At 9:20pm the band arrived on stage and bang we were into the leading track off the new album ‘Another state of grace’ with it’s anthemic chorus and Celtic musical vibes it was a joy to the ears and both band and crowd were right up for it and with the duelling guitars of new boy Christian Martucci and that of six-string legend Scott Gorham going together in harmony like they had been playing together for years it was a joy to behold.

‘The killer instinct’ was up next and with Robbie Crane on bass and another new addition to the band drummer Chad Szeliga locked in pure thunderous rhythm driving force what a joyous occasion this Cardiff night was turning into.

‘All hell breaks loose’ was next up and I can honestly say after seeing Ricky Warwick numerous times over the years his gruff yet melodic vocals just get better and better with each passing year and his range is truly astonishing.

‘Testify or say goodbye’ is another gem and the energy of the band is truly amazing.

‘Tonight the moonlight let me down’ is my personal favourite off the new album and on record it has a lead saxophone break courtesy of a certain Michael Monroe but of course, he is not here tonight so Scott Gorham improvises with a truly stunning guitar solo in its place.

In fairness, Black Star Riders could play any song off their four albums and they would not sound out of place due to the quality of their back catalogue and they duly played some classics in the shape off ‘Ticket to rise’ and ‘Hey Judas’.

‘In the shadow of the war machine’ is another blinder off their most recent album and the energy of the band is stunning as they launch into ‘Soldierstown’.

‘Why do you love your guns’ is a great song about some serious issues in America and as Ricky explains to the crowd the nature behind the songs lyrics the tracks uplifting melody is still a pure joy to the ears.

‘Blindsided’ and ‘bloodshot’ keep this Cardiff crowd entertained which leads us into another new track off the bands latest masterpiece ‘Ain’t the end of the world’ which goes down a storm.

The songs just keep on coming with ‘When the night comes in’ ‘Underneath the afterglow’ ‘dancing with the wrong girl’ and ‘finest hour’ going by with each song being an absolute belter with great musicianship of a band at their best.

‘Kingdom of the lost’ and ‘bound for glory’ bring the night to a close and with that the band say their farewells and take a bow and the last hour and forty minutes have gone by in a blink of an eye and this Cardiff crowd have been entertained to a truly class performance that I can safely say we would all like the night to go on and on.

Black Star riders are one of the best live bands around and are truly at the top of their game so if you like loud rock’n’roll buy yourself a ticket and get along to a show you will not be disappointed and in these trying times we all need the power of music to shine a light.

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

Posted by Black Star Riders on Wednesday, 16 October 2019


“What a difference a day makes,” who was it that sang those very wise words?

I mean 24 hours earlier I was packed like a sardine into a local pub listening to a shed-full of young (and some maybe not so young) punk bands who charged £10 for a T shirt whilst supping lager at £3 a pint. Tonight, I find myself in the University Great Hall in Cardiff where T Shirts are almost three times as much and you’ll be lucky to get two pints for a tenner never mind three. This though by Garbage’s standing is still what you would call “an intimate gig”, they really do not HAVE TO play venues of this size anymore, in fact only the previous night they had played a huge outdoor show at London’s Kew Gardens and having sold over 50 million albums worldwide I’ll certainly not begrudge them any of their hard-earned success.  In fact when Shirley Manson talks glowingly tonight about the University circuit being her bread and butter back in her Goodbye Mr Mackenzie days you know it’s not the usual rock star bonhomie bullshit, she genuinely is excited to be able to for once see the whites of people’s eyes, and it shows.

Having witnessed Garbage live on the ‘Version 2.0’ tour first time around back 1998 (at the Newport Centre if I remember correctly) I’m delighted to see the band still sounding as clinically lethal as they did two decades earlier, maybe even more so with the anniversary tour of said album now adding additional tracks from the two albums the band have recorded since 2010.  Plus, unlike most anniversary tour’s what Garbage do is play selected songs from the album mixed into the set rather than play the whole bloody thing in sequence, something I must admit I’ve found pretty hit and miss when other bands do it.

So tonight it’s kind of like a greatest hits set albeit they don’t play one of their biggest hits (‘Queer’) and with the more recent tracks like the pulsating ‘No Horses’ the prophetic ‘Blood For Poppies’ and the almost ambient b side ‘On Fire’ adding some stunning musical light and shade to the minimalist yet hugely effective stage set up I’m delighted to say this is miles away from being just 90 minutes of nostalgia for the jumpers around the shoulders brigade who tend to blight these kind of shows, in fact there aren’t many of those types in attendance tonight, albeit perhaps a few too punters who could have reigned in their camera phone usage a bit. Still its not every day rock royalty play such an intimate show so I’ll forgive them this once. Just don’t be doing it when The Cult come to town this October, or there will be trouble.

With a set packed full of songs as awesome as ‘Vow’, ‘Stupid Girl’, ‘Push It’ and encore ‘When I Grow Up’ you could almost forget that Butch Vig wasn’t behind the kit tonight (he’s been temporarily replaced once again by the returning Matt Walker whilst he undergoes surgery on his shoulder) especially with Manson, Erikson and Marker on such find form, the trio posing and preening like musicians half their age, and putting some younger bands (I’ll come to Du Blonde in a minute) totally to shame.  Having witnessed a few bands recently where I found myself watching the clock as they trundled into the home straight tonight was a full scale 90 minute musical adrenalin rush and if anything I wish they could have played for longer. Unlike it has to be said tonight’s opening trio Du Blonde who not only looked like they’d just fallen out of bed but also sounded so bloody nice I just wanted it to end, after just a trio of songs. People around me though certainly seemed to enjoy them, but for someone who has worked in the industry for well over a decade now I was perhaps expecting something a little bit more challenging from Beth Jeans Houghton.

Talking of which is was Dinah Washington wasn’t it who popularised ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’, now that was one provocative singer if ever there was one. Du Blonde please take note!

Author: Johnny Hayward