Live Review: Kerrang! Tour Cardiff

kerrang 2016

Whilst Dóra was celebrating her birthday in London with Good Charlotte and All Time Low, I was in Cardiff, ready for round #2 of Kerrang! Tour 2016. The plus side of seeing a show like this so early on in the tour means the bands won’t be knackered, vocals will still be on point and enthusiasm will still be high. The downside is that your own expectations are so high, that it’s easy to be disappointed.

K! 2016 isn’t Kerrang’s strongest line-up ever; probably because they spent most of the budget on those big and offensively bright advertising screens on either side of the stage, but then, the headliners were Sum 41, so that’s pretty impressive. Or at least it should have been. Anyway, on with the show.

BITERS

The first act on the K! stage were BITERS from Atlanta, Georgia. See, BITERS, it is actually that easy to look up the name of a city, instead of just addressing your Cardiff crowd as “Wales” the whole time. It’s a little thing, but it makes a big difference for your audience.

I’d never heard of BITERS before the show, but they did catch my attention. I’m not sure if it was the fantastic haircuts or the equally fantastic outfits, but it wasn’t the music. Don’t get me wrong, BITERS are obviously talented musicians, singers and make great toe-tapping, head-nodding tunes that kept myself and the audience entertained for the duration of their set, which is all you can ask of an opening act.

They even pulled a member of the crowd on stage to chug a beer with them (but not before checking his ID), which I thought was a nice touch. They were brilliant at engaging with the audience (even if they didn’t know which city they were in), but musically it all felt a bit exaggerated without any real substance to balance it out.

Sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was watching a rock band or a really good parody of a rock band, they even declared themselves as a “REAL rock & roll band”. I’m still not sure if they were being ironic or not. The thing with ‘real’ rock & roll bands is, they don’t actually have to say that.

Did I enjoy their set? Kind of, it was entertaining.

Would I see them live again? No.

Would I buy their music? No.

ROAM

I’d heard good things about ROAM. The mainstream popularity of pop-punk seems to be growing again and ROAM is a name that keeps popping up but not yet getting the full attention it apparently deserves. I was keen to see if these rumours were true and if ROAM would be the band to stand out to me in the swarm of new pop-punk bands.

Unfortunately, it looks like I caught ROAM on a bad day. Vocally, they’re not the strongest band anyway and their arrangement needs some work, but the main thing that let them down was the sound. You’ve got to feel for a band when the mic cuts out during the first song, especially when they burst on stage full of energy, enthusiasm and pride. I was up by the sound desk and the tech who had been left alone was having an absolute nightmare trying to fix it. Sadly, ROAM’s set was plagued by technical glitches for the entire set, but it didn’t dampen their spirits and that certainly rubbed off on the audience. I enjoyed their songs and would definitely give them another shot.

Did I enjoy their set? Yes, but was let down by technical difficulties.

Would I see them live again? Yes.

Would I buy their music? Maybe, if I enjoyed them live again.

HEADLINERS: Sum 41

Okay the last one… #sum41

A photo posted by Anna (@mustdestroy138) on

Yes, I’m covering Sum 41 before I get to my personal highlight of the evening, it’s not that Sum 41 weren’t brilliant, but they had a hard act to follow in Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Sum 41 are clearly a well-known, well-loved band, and that admiration and success is well-deserved. I have a lot of respect for Deryck Whibley for overcoming what he has in his personal life with regards to his health, it was quite remarkable to see a man who nearly died a few times, performing as if nothing had ever happened. 

Sum 41 locked the entire audience in a pop-punk time machine, storming on stage in a wardrobe from 2001 and hairstyles to match, even their backdrop looked like they’d dug it out of a long lost time capsule, it was the ultimate nostalgia trip. 

Besides the lovely gesture of inviting a handful of lucky fans to watch the show from side stage, Sum 41 didn’t chat much, which is something I personally find adds to a live performance. But Sum 41’s focus was to slam out as many anthems as possible, and they did so spectacularly, showing us why they’re regarded as icons of pop-punk.

The great music more than made up for the lack of audience interaction, although the quick pace with little chatter did make their set seem rushed. I get the feeling this wouldn’t be the case at their own headline shows, they’re a fun band but it wasn’t an overall fun performance, but hopefully the reaction Sum 41 have received on the Kerrang! tour so far means they’ll be back for a run of UK shows at some point. Because it’s obvious their fans have dearly missed them.

Did I enjoy their set? Yes!!

Would I see them live again? I wouldn’t avoid seeing them live again, but wouldn’t go out of my way to see them again either.

Would I buy their music? I don’t think I own a single Sum 41 record, but I’m in no rush to rectify that.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

 

I’m just going to come out and say it, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are too good for this tour and too good for Kerrang! I sincerely hope this pays off for them, in every sense of the word.

I saw Gallows, I saw Pure Love, but I missed The Rattlesnakes when they last came to town, so I was most excited for these guys out of the whole line-up. Which does make me a little biased, but biased with good reason.

The Rattlesnakes took to the stage in front of a large crowd made up of mostly hardcore Sum 41 fans; I was a little concerned about how their aggressively loud punk music would go down in a room of young pop-punkers. (I’m not saying people can only enjoy one style of music, but The Rattlesnakes could definitely be considered as ‘the odd one out’ on this line-up) However, The Rattlesnakes immediately gripped their audience with ease, spinning circle pits the size of the stage and stirring more movement in a single song than the whole of the night had seen so far.

Frank Carter is a natural performer and, in my opinion, one of the UK’s most under-appreciated frontmen. I’ve never seen anyone else quite like him, and to be honest, I never want to, they would never pull it off like he does. Not only did he hold his audience, but made the audience hold him. For a good portion of their set, Frank walked, sang and even did handstands on the palms of the crowd.

Frank Carter was the one. #frankcarter #frankcarterandtherattlesnakes #kerrangtour #kerrang #cardiff

A photo posted by Robert Gascoigne (@robmongascy) on

 

Even when he was on the floor, in amongst the pits, Frank still commanded the entire audience, he even commanded them to sit down. After a few brutal punk anthems, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes showcased a different side in ‘Beautiful Death‘ tender, but with all the same power and intensity as their heavier songs. Aside from a few ignorant assholes towards the back (Frank did ask politely), the whole room was in silent awe, hanging on to every word of ‘Beautiful Death‘.

Without Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Kerrang! Tour Cardiff would have been an overwhelmingly average show. Their set was not only the highlight of my night, but the musical highlight of my 2016 so far.

I rushed out to the merch desk after their set to buy their album, ‘Blossom‘. Frank, who left the stage, sweaty and knackered, immediately came to the merch desk to sign albums, take photos and hang out with fans. I’ve still got ‘Blossom‘ on repeat, days later, and enjoying it just as much, if not more, than Frank’s previous work. Rattlesnakes forever.

Did I enjoy their set? YES.

Would I see them live again? YES.

Would I buy their music? I did immediately after their set, twice. And I would buy it again. YOU SHOULD TOO! 

You can check out Frank’s latest masterpiece in the shape of The Rattlesnakes’ video for their new single, ‘Devil Inside Me’ below.

RRW
By RRW.

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