A night of stoner rock from some of the best bands in the genre 8/10
It’s a busy and exhausting day in Cardiff because everything seems to be happening today – Cardiff play Leicester in football, Cardiff are playing Scotland in rugby, WWE are in town and four stoner rock bands are also putting in an appearance. Needless to say, the city centre is a little bit busy and getting to Cardiff University’s Great Hall isn’t the easiest of tasks.
Doors to the venue open at 7pm and Black Moth are on at 7:10pm, so the hall isn’t very busy when Black Moth take the stage. Despite that we are treated to a wonderful performance by the Leeds crew who very quickly win over the slowly growing crowd. By the time they reach their third track, Sisters Of The Stone from their latest album Anatomical Venus, Harriet Hyde has the crowd in the palm of her hand. It’s only a short five song set tonight, for which Harriet apologises but her invite to join the band at the merch stand gains a roar from the crowd before Black Moth closes with Blackbirds Fall. A brief but perfect set that got the crowd warmed up thanks to Hyde’s mesmerising presence backed by animated performances particularly from guitarist Jim Swainston. Black Moth in person are must see whether you’re a fan or not. 8/10
Unless you happen to follow Scott Reeder on Instagram then you’d be completely unaware that he wasn’t on this tour and was being replaced by original bassist Helen Storer. Fireball Ministry are flawless but struggle to follow Black Moth and an early “This isn’t working, I can’t hear you” from James A. Rota II doesn’t seem to go over well with the crowd. Even their best known song The Broken doesn’t seem to really get the crowd going which must have been frustrating for the veterans. Stoner rock isn’t something that generally lends itself to frantic pits and while Fireball Ministry are a great listen at home, live they aren’t visually exciting and their set seems to last forever. Rota is a talented guy and does his best to entertain which the crowd seems to appreciate but it would have perhaps made more sense to have them on first. 5/10
The crowd comes back to life as Orange Goblin take the stage and it’s easy to see how they’ve had a career that spans three decades. Ben Ward is literally and figuratively a giant amongst front men and easily one of the best in the business, as he encourages the crowd to form a pit and leads them through a mix of classics through the new material from latest album The Wolf Bites Back. The band open with Sons of Salem, a perfect opener thanks to its huge sound and infectious riffage; this is a class in music entertainment which shows how having a singer who doesn’t play an instrument can make a gig far more exciting. Orange Goblin are pros through and through, they know how to pace a set and how to have great banter with the crowd without drawn out gaps between songs. New tracks Burn The Ships and Ghosts of the Primitives are equally well received as their older, more established songs and we’re left with instructions to tear each other apart to last song Red Tide Rising. Orange Goblin are larger than life itself but come across as grateful and genuinely humble as they set a very high bar for Corrosion of Conformity. 9/10
Corrosion of Conformity
COC open with the classic Seven Days which sets the pace for their set – a cool and smooth vibe throughout. Corrosion of Conformity, particularly Pepper Keenan, are the coolest of cool motherfuckers and they aren’t attempting to follow Orange Goblin, they are setting their own pace with some classic tracks like Broken Man, Wiseblood and Who’s Got The Fire then slow the pace right down with 13 Angels. With the slower pace and a guitar change which breaks the momentum a little, Corrosion of Conformity encounter two problems – 1. A lot of the crowd have been here for three and a half hours so are burnt out and 2. Cardiff has an idiotic system where there are no late trains on a Saturday night in one direction so people need to leave at 10:30 if they want to catch the last train home. The incredibly laid back pace proves a jumping off point where some of the crowd start to leave and while the tempo picks up again with Vote With A Bullet, it feels like COC have lost some momentum. Then there’s one more problem as they over-run their set time so Cardiff Uni staff switch the house lights on giving us the bizarre experience of set closer Clean My Wounds being played in a fully lit venue. Even so the crowd are still into it and Corrosion of Conformity end on a high note. Corrosion are a great band but their song choices were a little odd and the set could have benefited from more live crowd friendly tracks like King of the Rotten and The Door which have been staples of their set previously 7/10
Overall a really good gig but too long and the running order would have perhaps been better with Fireball Ministry opening followed by Black Moth, then Corrosion of Conformity before ending on the higher energy Orange Goblin. Overall 8/10