A day before Valentine’s day, halfway through a mega-tour and you’d have thought that the love in the air had been peeled away in a venue that had been down-graded in size. Was South Wales falling out of love with a band it had always adored in the past?
Opening the show were hardcore-underground titans Beartooth, who were on the verge of punching through the ceiling into the rock mainstream with their vocal fan base holding them up. It’s easy to see why, from the word go in a room filling up, the kids in the room open the pit and clamber over each other in a sea of flailing limbs. With the grit-lined vocals upper cutting through industrial-steel making riffs and hooks there is two camps you either fall into: 1) It’s all a bit hard-core paint by numbers, or 2) It’s so loud and brutal it’ll blow your nana’s head off! It was a bit of both until they unveiled final song Bodybag, the song that sums up the potential of this band and explaining why they are so adored. It’s so brutal, vulgar and gets the melody spot on.
Taking to the stage next was Bury Tomorrow, playing metal that had a mixture of raspy vocals with smooth silky cuts all over thrashy guitars delivering tight knit riffs. The lead singer climbed into the crowd for set closer Lionheart and then stood aloft like a heroic explorer on top of them akin to him reaching the peak of Snowdon (Wales’s biggest mountain) – the guys have slogged it for almost 10 years now and yet they can still climb up even further to be amongst the greats.
The set from Young Guns was short and sweet, but oozed class. So much class that in the three songs they demonstrated what the UK Rock scene currently misses – daytime-friendly rock anthems that are so well oiled that they are a machine. The set consisted of three songs – two off their forthcoming album and Bones and their punch-the-air chorus which grabs the heavens is modern rock perfection.
Next on were We Are The In Crowd, with music as sweet as a Nutella sugar-dipped pancake topped with Maple syrup and served with a side of strawberry ice cream. Sugary vocal harmonies, cute poster boy/girl looks and some tunes that match, it no wonder that these are current pin-ups in the pop-punk world. Spawning across their three albums are some golden nuggets like Both Sides of the Story, Rumor Mill, The Best Thing (That Never Happened) and Never Be What You Want this is Pop-Rock for a new generation to soundtrack their lives too.
Headlining the night was Don Broco with their lad-tinged rock music that the testosterone squishes out at the seams and what Bedford’s finest are are on this occasion is a league of their own. Synchronised dance moves, push-up mosh pits and a shed load of tunes that have got so much melody, lickable riffs that are on the right side of heavy and just make you want to go bananas. New songs such as Money. Power. Fame inject a new life into a band that nearly over-exposed into staleness. Beautiful Morning reminds me why I fell in love with a band that only writes bona-fide tunes, something not every band can do I remind myself.
As you look around the room, you see an audience just fall back in love with a band that could have faced extinction. So Donny B please be my valentine text year?
Don BrocoY Plas, Cardiff - 13th February 2015
Photographer: Tiegan Neary