Inglorious/ Wayward Sons – Pontypridd, Muni Arts Centre – 30 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by David O'Neill   
Sunday, 08 October 2017 04:20

Both these bands played Steelhouse this year, so the chances of a triumphal return to the valleys was looking pretty good when the gig sold out three weeks before time. Admittedly the venue, at 400+, doesn’t have a huge capacity, but it doesn’t really matter because, the times I’ve been here for gigs, the audience get a great view of the elevated church hall stage from everywhere in the room. Once again the sound engineers did a superb job with the only complaint I heard in the audience was that the lead vocals for Toby Jepson could have been a tad louder.  

 

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 On the whole though it didn’t matter. It also didn’t matter that the Wayward Sons have only done seven gigs before this. They were slick, polished and provided an excellent show. They kicked off with the belter ‘Alive’ and the rather partisan audience lapped it up. Despite Toby having been around the scene for a while, and is more than capable of holding an audience, the entertainment is also readily provided by Nic Wastell on bass, who danced and pouted his way through the entire set, the same as he did at Steelhouse.

 

Sam Wood looks every part the rock guitarist with his long blonde hair and huge grin plastered all over his face throughout, and what’s more he can play too.

 

‘Ghost’ rapidly followed the rapturous applause and cheers of the crowd. A quick look around gave you an indication that it didn’t matter what the band did, the audience were here for a good time and were on the whole of the right age to recognise good quality classic rock when its put in front of them.

 

‘Don’t Wanna Go’ started up with the rhythm section of Wastell and Phil Martini driving the staccato lyrics of Jepson supported by Wood on vocals and guitar. ‘Killing Time’ continued in the same bass/drum driven style. Being probably the only sober person in the hall gives you an advantage in terms of objectivity on the performance. Objectively, I was really enjoying it - but having bought the album I didn’t really expect not to. Everyone else with their beer goggles/lugholes on was lapping it up.

 

Wayward Sons 1

 ‘Crush’ is a very pop/rock track which could easily make the crossover into the mainstream charts with the right promotion. ‘Small Talk’ and ‘Be Still’ followed in rapid succession and by this time the band were enjoying it as much as the audience were. ‘Something Wrong’ is a much slower bluesey track and Jepson’s vocals carry the songs along really well.

 

The final track of the night was appropriately titled ‘Until The End’, and while everyone was loving it and asking for more, the limited back catalogue made an encore unlikely. However, the audience (being Welsh valleys folk and having had a few sherbets) were lustily joining in with the chorus which the band wound the volume back to hear everyone joining in.

 

Fantastic start to the night. Not only that, after stage down the band came to the merch area to meet and get photos with the very appreciative (and bit drunk) crowd.

 

Inglorious are a band that have been growing on me following the plays they get on Planet Rock (which is nearly always on in my car, except for the deadzone that is the duration of the A472 between Pontypridd and Pontypool). On top of that Spotify “research” has revealed most of their back catalogue to me. A little bit of band research finds the good and the bad of Nathan James, but whether you love or hate his previous journey to this point I cannot but admire his vocal range and style and in parts find myself comparing him to David Coverdale (in parts I said). With this band I feel they could get to the point of taking the mantle of classic rock bands who may be retiring/on the verge of doing so.

 

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The performance was highly polished and covered much of their back catalogue in the 90 minute set. I thought Nic Wastell was animated: hell, Colin Parkinson was Westall on RedBull, double espresso and Pro Plus! Both these bass players put me in mind of Jon Lawhon from Black Stone Cherry in their animation. Then there is the other member of the rhythm section, Phil Beaver, a big hairy lump of a guy who beats the kit with so much effort that I was surprised he didn’t join Nathan James at the front of the stage by the end of the night. In contrast to all this animation, Drew Lowe barely moved on stage, but I suppose he would have struggled to find anywhere to go with Parkinson next to him. Andreas Eriksson is a real find on lead guitar, slightly built with flying fingers and almost as active as Parkinson on stage the entertainment factor is definitely in this band. And then there is Nathan James. A long dark coat with a peacock on the back and arms just about says it all about the showman in him.

 

The set kicked off with ‘Read All About It’ before rattling into ‘Breakaway’, ‘A Change Is Coming’ and ‘Making Me Pay’. ‘Black Magic’ really got everyone into a great mood. A rhythm section instrumental by Parkinson and Beaver ramped up the performance and wound up the crowd. However, after the rapturous applause and cheers, they quickly returned to the whole band for the rest of their superbly crafted set.

 

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‘Taking The Blame’, ‘Hell Or High Water’, ‘No Good For You’ and ‘Inglorious’ really got the crowd on their side before Nathan and Phil took it down with acoustic tributes to Chester Bennington, with a superb version of Linkin Park’s ‘Numb’, and Chris Cornell, with Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’. Both of which were carried along by the now well-oiled audience. Fair play, the valleys guys and girls had held up their end of the bargain by drinking the two bars dry of beer by this point! (I wonder if the venue landlord put a limit on the beer available per person to avoid any trouble.) It seemed that Nathan was quite emotional afterwards. The return of the band saw ‘Faraway’ lead into the final section of the set. This is where Nathan’s voice got to carry the song along and it suited the mood after the tributes. Upwards and onwards to ‘Unaware’, ‘I Don’t Need Your Lovin’, ‘High Class Woman’ ended the set, before Nathan got into the crowd for ‘Holy Water’ and ‘Until I Die’ for the encore.

 

The crowd wanted more but the usual curfew said sorry. I really hope both these bands return to Wales in the not too distant future, ‘cos there are at least 400 Welshmen and women who would be there next time, and my youngest son and I will probably be two of those.

 

PHOTO CREDIT:  All photos © BandTogs/Über Rock.

 

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