“I wanna give you a big fucking kiss, on your Welsh foreheads! You are my friends, you are definitely my friends! And this is one of the best gigs I’ve done in my fucking life!” Baxter Dury recently returned to the UK following his 11-date stint around Western Europe, and Cardiff marks his third live show on home soil. Despite being the only show which failed to sell out, Dury proclaimed his love for the Welsh capital – dedicating his performance to his mother, who grew up not far from the city.
“Hopefully I do this tour justice. I’m gonna bring pure energy… and pussy power!” Manchester artist OneDa is Baxter’s UK tour opener, and on a classically rainy Welsh evening brings the energy with a charisma-infused hip-hop meets d’n’b set. The latter half of her performance celebrated her latest release, Pussy Power EP; Oneda’s spoken words of affirmation, self-love and power energised this crowd with ease.
The crowd simmered in anticipation during the changeover before Baxter Dury took the stage, opening with So Much Money. “Hey mummy, hey daddy, who am I?” he asks in his distinctive tone, before we are introduced to the voice synonymous with Dury’s career – Madeline Hart. Her vocals are the fixed constant against Dury’s gritty drawl, working harmoniously for a striking performance.
On I’m Not Your Dog, he toys between the mic and removing his suit jacket, and by next song The Night Chancers, his final transformation is revealed. Alter ego Mr. Maserati takes the stage: jacket gone, cloth bandana equipped, his layered chains fully revealed, this is the Baxter Dury people came to see. Pacing to either end of the stage, an erratic-improvised dance routine accompanies much of his performance.
A quick recovery is made after technical difficulties in Crashes, as Dury playfully scruffs the head of the sound tech that fixes his mic. With a set packed with favourites like Slum Lord, Leon, Aylesbury Boy and Miami, he works his crowd easily, taking short moments to break character with a smile that stirs the audience into a cheering frenzy.
Cocaine Man is the first encore track, where Dury dons an LED mask – it’s an unexpected addition to the set, but fits with the futuristic vibes – and Prince Of Tears felt emotional and rich. “Fuck it,” Dury exclaims, “I wanna live in Cardiff!” The show closes on a lighter touch, with Fred Again collab Baxter (These Are My Friends) and Shadow transforming Tramshed into a full-blown party.
Dury is an excellent performer in his own right, and the achievements of his band are no less: there’s no doubt about it, this is a must-see act.
Baxter Dury + OneDa, Tramshed, Cardiff, Thurs 12 Oct
words TERESA DELFINO photos JAMIE CHAPMAN