Florence Black Close 2023 At Scala – Expect Big Things In 2024

Spirits are high in Merthyr tonight, which is really a rare treat. The local ‘Spoons is overrun with black t-shirts and men with long white hair. This can only mean one thing: Florence Black are playing a home show.

Florence Black

The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023

Words And Photography: Georgia Brittain

Florence Black - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Florence Black – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

There are fans here from across the country to celebrate the last gig of the year, some coming as far as North Wales. A few vodkas in and a bit of banter from those behind me (“Where’d you get those cameras then, cash gens?”), and we know we’re in for a great night.

By the time we were ready for Florence Black, I had gone from nicely comfortable on the barrier with my cameras to absolutely squished in. This simply shows how excited everyone is to be seeing the boys for the last time this year.

Florence Black - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Florence Black – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

After my disappointment with the crowd at their last performance at Planet Rockstock (long story short, the band were the best I’d ever seen them, but every member of the crowd stood still), I’m in high hopes for a high-energy hour and a half.

We’re greeted with new-song-now-old-favourite Start Again. As an opener, and it’s got to be my favourite starting song I’ve seen them do so far. Everyone is absolutely bouncing and singing along, and I find myself having to apologise to the people next to me as I’m probably screaming along in their videos.

Florence Black - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Florence Black – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

There’s a great mix of new and old songs tonight, and every single one goes down a treat. When we’re onto the latest single, Warning Sign, I’m a little nervous to see the reaction but am pleasantly surprised to see everyone as happy as I am to be hearing it live. By this point, I’m finding myself apologising again to those next to me as the venue has gotten so hot and sweaty I’m gassing out everyone around me whenever my arms are up (sorry, guys).

Florence Black - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Florence Black – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

It’s time for fan favourite cover, Breadfan, and while I’m disappointed there’s no mosh pit for me to run off into, everyone is clearly headbanging behind me because the front-pushing goes up a notch.

The set is over far too quickly for everyone’s liking once we hear the intro to Sun & Moon, and the crowd is so loud singing it back to the band that you can hardly hear Tristan Thomas’ vocals.

Florence Black - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Florence Black – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

At the end of the show, the band wastes no time coming out and saying hi to everyone at this sold-out show, and after my own greetings, I’m off to wash myself off in the bathroom sink in ‘Spoons (seriously, it was really sweaty).

It is a great end to the year and a great last gig before the band heads off for their UK tour in February, supporting their new album, Bed Of Nails. The release date of the album was moved to 2 February 2024 “due to some exciting developments behind the scenes.”

You sense this will be a big year for Florence Black.

February

01feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | GlasgowGlasgow Classic Grand

02feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | NewcastleUniversity

03feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | ManchesterAcademy 3

05feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | NottinghamRescue Rooms

06feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | WolverhamptonKK's Steel Mill

08feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | BournemouthThe Old Fire Station

09feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | LondonThe Dome

10feb7:00 pmFlorence Black, Bed Of Nails UK Tour | CardiffTramshed

Intërum

This was a night of pure local rock tonight, and the first to warm the crowd up is Intërum. At first, they seemed a little nervous, but after a bit of friendly heckling and banter from those of us at the barrier, they got warmed up and looked much more comfortable on stage.

Interim - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Intërum – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

Their original song Battery is what gets the crowd’s attention, and they keep that attention throughout their entire set. A cover of Metallica’s Seek And Destroy was noteworthy also.

Interim - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Intërum – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

While they’re mostly playing covers, for a night like tonight where no one is taking anything too seriously, it’s what works, and we’re all singing the words back to them. They remind me of myself back in my teen days when I was in a band, and it almost makes me a little envious. I’m looking forward to seeing where these guys are heading in the future.

The Brass Bambees

Next up were The Brass Bambees, who were not safe from the ridiculousness of those of us drunk on the barrier tonight. They get on stage with instant high energy, clearly stoked to be supporting tonight. While I’m trying to figure out what kind of genre we’re listening to, a mate next to me says they’re like a heavier Madness, and with the kind of grooves we’re listening to, I have to agree.

The Brass Bambees - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
The Brass Bambees – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

They’re not songs you can stand still to, and everyone is moving along. They bring the kind of energy you would expect to see at a higher capacity show, and they’re great for getting the entire crowd even more warmed up for our headliners.

Another great local band to be watching to see where they go in the future.

The Brass Bambees - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
The Brass Bambees – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk
The Brass Bambees - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
The Brass Bambees – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk
Interim - The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil - 29 December 2023
Intërum – The Scala, Merthyr Tydfil – 29 December 2023. Photo: Georgia Brittain/MetalTalk

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