Wales has a proud history of rock ‘n roll when you think of it with Budgie and Man being stalwarts of the rock scene in the seventies and Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics keeping the dragon flag flying in more recent times.
Florence Black – Oli Brown & The Dead Collective – Valhalla Awaits
Cardiff Tramshed – 8 April 2022
Words and photography: Georgia Brittain
Something has stirred in the valleys recently, though with Haxan, Beth Blade, Scarlet Rebels and Those Damn Crows, among many others providing an exciting input to the UK rock music scene.
One band with a growing stature in that scene are Florence Black and they’re close to home in Cardiff tonight, so a sold-out crowd of their countrymen and women are here and ready to give them a big welcome.
However, the first to hit the stage are Valhalla Awaits, another product of this proud nation. Described in some quarters as the Welsh Alter Bridge, this seems to be right on the money. Their big riffs and soaring melodies create a heady mixture that has the whole venue nodding along in appreciation.
They have a fine frontman in Andrew Hunt, and he gets the crowd involved throughout the show while showing how strong his voice is. That strength was put to the test in a final scream which had the crowd going holy shit! A startling way to close a fine set.
Bluesman Oli Brown is an experienced performer, but tonight marks his tentative first steps on stage with The Dead Collective. Along with Wayne Proctor, Sam Wood and Steve Amadeo, they released their first song, Haunted, only four days previously.
There were some nice dirty riffs and a Rival Sons and even Soundgarden edge to the sound. The pacing of the set was good, and with the obvious potential here, it will not be long before they really fire out from the stage and get audiences roaring.
You get the feeling with the talent in this band that it’s only a matter of time before they find that form.
Florence Black is a power trio with a Welsh rock tradition that they take very seriously. They have a massive sound coming out of the three figures on the stage, and they fill the sold-out Tramshed with a controlled ferocity that whips the crowd into a frenzy.
They got the pacing of their set spot on and were confidently able to let the energy peak, bring it down when needed, such as during the melodic parts of a spellbinding Black Cat, and then drive it right back up through the roof any time they wanted to.
This band have the power, the musical sensibilities and the hunger to reach for the stars, and everyone in the room can feel that tonight.
Their cover of Budgie’s Breadfan is brilliant, with just enough respect for the original mixed with their take on its twists and turns. But songs like Sun And Moon show that they can write their own hugely memorable tunes, and the crowd sang along heartily just to confirm that.
This was a terrific show from a band that has paid their dues on the road as a support and are ready to grasp those headlining slots and make the most of them.
Judging by tonight, all that will change is how big the venues are they’re going to fill.
On the ropes
Bird on a Chain
Can you feel it?
The Deep End
So Far Away
Sun & Moon