The Cardiff Big Weekend
The Cardiff Big Weekend is described as "The UKs
biggest free outdoor music festival offering three days of quality live
music", which it may well be, but, in my mind, it tends to conjure
up scenes of
I arrived in time to see The Automatic in full
flow and given that they had recently lost their only charismatic member
in Alex Pennie, they seemed to be trying their hardest to get the crowd
going. New member Paul Mullen (ex yourcodenameismilo) seems to be fitting
in well, but as a band they will forever be lumbered with the albatross
that is the track "Monster" and try as they might I can't
see them hitting those dizzy heights again. Whether to prove they are
not a one-band-song, they did the aforementioned track early in the
set, but unfortunately that meant that for the less dedicated fans there
was little to look forward to. The new single "Steve McQueen"
is getting quite a lot of air play, and sounded good live, so perhaps
all is not lost. They finished off with "Raoul" just as the
heavens opened for the first of several downpours.
Next up were the new saviours of rock'n'roll
I'll be honest in saying that I cannot name one Young Knives track and after last night that it not likely to change. Where as the previous band had been dressed only in black, they hit the stage in fetching tweed suits (not a look I find instantly appealing). Unfailingly cheery all the way through their set, they tried to engage the audience with small talk between songs and in fairness there were people present who found them entertaining. However it seemed to me that they just proved that the Mercury Prize judges give nominations, by in large, to bands that have no real relevance, and I spent the whole time they were on stage musing over the fact that guitarist Thomas "The House of Lords" Dartnall looked very much like a young Ronnie Barker (but unfortunately not as funny).
Finally headliners Ash arrived to provide a burst
of energy to proceedings, although in truth their set list seemed to
veer from classics to unknown new songs/album tracks with alarming regularity.
Having shed the token women in Charlotte Hatherley they are back to
a three piece with no discernable difference to their sound. Tim Wheeler
is a likeable front man and an accomplished axe-god, especially when
striking poses with his Gibson