The Metalheads descended upon Merthyr Tydfil for the sold-out Florence Black homecoming show in the “intimate” (read; tiny) Redhouse Cymru and proved that once again, our wonderful land of song lives up to its name.
Florence Black, James And The Cold Gun
Redhouse Cymru – 28 August 2022
Words: Gemma Smith
Photography: Georgia Brittain
Support came from the local James And The Cold Gun, playing to a sparse crowd to begin with. However, this didn’t impact their high-energy rock ‘n’ roll.
By the third song, the already warm room was starting to fill out, with the crowd starting to move rather than stand. A few returning fans of theirs were in attendance which spurred the band on, though sadly, their sound wasn’t the best. Their drummer is excellent, however, both their vocalists were nearly lost through the PA for a good chunk of the set.
Their set started well and ended high, with the two best songs saved until last, by which point the crowd was much more responsive to them and dancing. I’d like to see these guys on another lineup, as they were solid and fun during their 30-minute set.
A 45-minute changeover ensued, and so did the exodus to the bar to refill for what became a hot and sweaty show. I have to give a shout-out to whoever was in charge of the changeover playlist; putting Dancing In The Street on it was a great idea.
Having seen Florence Black tear Cardiff’s Tramshed a new one a few months ago, I was very excited to see these boys again, and so were most of the people in the venue. By 9 pm, we were rowdy and waiting.
Redhouse was a hometown show for them, and as venues go, it’s titchy- way smaller than their usual venues, and this showed when it sold out in a matter of hours.
They cracked off at 9.15 with the mighty Zulu, and the crowd went mental. My notes quite literally just say ‘banger’. Thundering through the song, they didn’t let up and flew straight into Bird On A Chain and a slightly lowered Can You Feel It? Clear fan favourites.
Florence Black’s new breed of rock is catchy and sounds just as good live as it does on a record- however, granted, I’ve yet to hear a bad song of theirs.
Crowd interaction could not have been better, we were singing back and the usual stage showboating never felt forced. These guys are completely at home on stage, and it shows, with bassist Foz rarely leaving the front of it.
They slowed the pace down with a few slightly slower tracks, which gave us a much-needed chance to get our breath back after the blistering first few songs. I was expecting this to be a warm one but fuck me it was hotter than Satan’s arsecrack in that room by mid-set and it didn’t relent.
I generally skip Grove Street (not a bad song at all; just personal preference) though live, it’s an absolute cracker. It’s a feelgood singalong, and whilst it’s different to their usual back catalogue, it didn’t feel out of place at all.
A few older tracks were brought out to great reception, perhaps apt at the current time was the politically charged Same Again, leading into The Light to get us straight back up to tempo.
And then…..Breadfan. Good lord.
Vocalist Tristan Thomas called out to ‘the biggest Budgie fan in the world’ present in the crowd, though honestly, the crowd was so rabid at that point it could have been any of us. Now personally, I prefer Florence Black’s version of Breadfan to the original Budgie’s. They’ve done an astounding job of it, and it’s one to be proud of. We were all in agreement clearly cos the crowd went fuckin wild.
Absolute standout of the evening, they blistered through it, the pit opened, and I ended up covered in someone else’s drink and nearly missing my glasses (may I add I wasn’t even in said pit; our illustrious photographer had it open up around her and was hoping she’d survive with her camera intact).
Much like the first time seeing them, Florence Black are an absolute joy to both watch and listen to.
All good things must come to an end, and they finished up with the glorious feel-good Sun & Moon as the encore, leaving us bouncing and singing our way into the night.
Florence Black are becoming local heroes on their way to world domination, and honestly, it’s not hard to see why. They’re becoming tour mates with huge bands, playing festivals and stadiums and touring the world with sold-out gigs becoming a regular occurrence.
These boys are quickly putting Welsh Metal back on the global map.