What better way to start the Bay Series at Alexandra Head in Cardiff Bay than with Biffy Clyro, a band that does live as gloriously as their prolific studio work? The crowd are eager for some respite and sheer entertainment amidst this unpleasantness; luckily, all of the bands tonight feel the exact same way.
After a vaccine card check (DON’T FORGET THEM, unless you like LFTs), merch vendors and food and drink stalls dot the mini-festival layout along with a very long bar, plus welfare tents and accessibility for all. As the picturesque sunset covers the sky directly behind the stage (it’s almost like they planned it that way!), the PA starts to sound off on some drum level checks. Here we go.
Kicking things off at high speed are London rockers Chubby & The Gang, delving straight into a non-stop half hour set of dirty rock’n’roll and snarling lyrics aimed at a range of establishments such as the police and landlords. This is it, though – this is how you start a show like this, fuelled by guitars and drums and a vocal vocalist like Chubby. That was fun.
Next on the bill are Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Frank himself professes his own disenchantment at recent times with his opening statement: “It’s been two fucking years I’ve been sat at home!” He’s well up for this, throwing himself into the crowd by the third song, and if you know these guys you know how he enjoys a crowd, and they him. A few tech issues don’t stop them rocking the sun down.
A blackened sky now frames the stunning light show that follows. Biffy Clyro have not lost anything, instantly capturing everyone with their infectious alt-rock and soaking up the crowd singalongs such as Mountains and Black Chandelier. Simon Neil thanks the crowd in Welsh, and the brothers Johnston are equally grateful for performing in Cardiff by delivering a career-spanning setlist that is eaten up by all. An essential rally for live music and a triumphant return for the Biff to the ‘Diff.
Alexandra Head, Cardiff Bay, Thurs 16 Sept
words JOE PRESCOTT photos TIM ALBAN
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