This year’s Llais festival has seen many wonderful acts descend on the Wales Millennium Centre, including The Big Moon. Despite the atmosphere of the Weston Studio space being summed up by the band’s bassist Celia Archer – “It feels like we’re playing a school assembly… I promise we’re really good” – the band fill it for their first Cardiff show since the release of their third album Here Is Everything, even if they’re not quite battle fit.
Singer Juliette Jackson is suffering from a “bad cold”, giving her apologies in case she sounds “like a bad singer,” while drummer Fern Ford plays through a wrist injury. The band open with the optimistic Wide Eyes, into a combo of Barcelona and Don’t Think – during which it is so clear that even though half the band are in less than tip-top shape, they’re still having so much fun together on stage.
Indeed, The Big Moon’s chemistry shines through in so many little moments – be that dancing together, their perfect harmonies, or just the care Jackson’s bandmates show her with the cold. Between a double cut of Formidable and Cupid, both from the band’s 2017 debut album Love In The 4th Dimension, Jackson jokes about her “smooth voice”, which – we learn – she’s always wished was a bit croakier. “Like Rod Stewart. I wish I had a better example. But Rod goes on the list of potential dog names.”
Before Here Is Everything cut Trouble, Archer asks the crowd to help Jackson’s ailing voice out. “Close your eyes and pretend it’s Rod Stewart,” is the vocalist’s own suggestion. Even with this assistance, though, she can’t power through much more, and the band end their set early after Jackson audibly struggles before breaking during Your Light. It’s a shame – The Big Moon are a very good live band, but they can’t continue tonight.
The Big Moon, Llais @ Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Thurs 12 Oct
words JOSHUA WILLIAMS photos POLLY THOMAS