It’s apt that Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town is on tonight’s pre-show playlist because… well, they are. Or rather, the kids. As in south Wales’ own Kids In Glass Houses, playing their first reunion show in Wales since the band’s emotional farewell in 2014. Celebrating 15 years since their debut album Smart Casual, the boys have reunited along with a fancy new remaster from Cardiff’s own Romesh Dodangoda (who gets a shoutout on stage from lead singer Aled Phillips) for a tour.
Support tonight comes from Newport’s The Nightmares, whose brand of 80s-tinged synth-rock goes down nicely before the main event. As Phillips promised this writer in a recent interview, KIGH play their debut album in full front to back before coming back to “play the hits”. Opener Fisticuffs rips into life with every single word roared back at the band by a crowd who spent their teenage years worshipping these songs; Easy Tiger remains such an outrageous banger that £6 pints are thrown in elation at how good the band sounds after being away for so long.
“Nine years ago, we played our last show ever in this room… and we lied and came back!” Phillips quips. “Once again, we are Kids In Glass Houses from south Wales!” – cue a ripping Saturday. When we say the crowd roars back every single word, we mean it: there’s so much love in the room tonight that even album tracks such as Lovely Bones and Shameless get their much-deserved big singalong moments.
There’s a cheeky burst of Purple Rain at the end of “slow song” Pillow Talk and the band disappear after album closer Church Tongue to the sound of rain. What could it mean? Well, it’s time for the hits. Hits were promised and very much delivered immediately, with Sunshine greeted like an old friend – while Peace still absolutely bangs, a decade after its release.
Finishing with Matters At All, this has been a cathartic evening for all involved – and there’s one more surprise to come. The band pose on stage with a sign hidden from the crowd, before posting it on social media a few minutes later; it reveals that a new album is coming. What a time to be alive, living the KIGH life again in 2023.
Kids in Glass Houses / The Nightmares, Great Hall, Cardiff University Students Union, Sat 21 Oct
words JOSHUA WILLIAMS photos JON STONE