Bill Ryder-Jones

Venue: Full Moon, Cardiff
Date: 11th March 2016

It’s always a great feeling when a show sells out in a small venue - a crowd buzzing with anticipation and excitement and local promoters getting recognition for the hard work they put in to keep the local live music scene alive, and we had all that and more in Cardiff’s Full Moon Club tonight.

First to the stage was Cardiff five-piece The Cradles. This was my first sighting of the band and one that completely won me over and made me want to find out a great deal more about the band; they had an enthusiasm and passion for their music that instantly grabbed my attention. In Joe Norman they have a frontman who enjoys the freedom of leading the band without a guitar and in so doing is able to command the stage in such a natural way. Their set was overflowing with songs that sound like they could be singles and based on tonight’s performance I think it is fair to say that The Cradles are a band who clearly have what it takes to make the world stop and take notice.

Next to the stage was By The Sea, a band who we have been fans of for some time and who treated us to a set full of melodic indie pop at it’s very best. If you are in need of some references think Echo and The Bunnymen and The Cure and you will get an idea as to how great By The Sea are.

With the temperature now heating up in The Moon Club it is clear the time has arrived for Bill Ryder-Jones to take to the stage, and what a way to arrive by launching straight into Catherine and Huskisson. The band soon overcame what appeared to be feedback issues with the bass to give us a gig which those of us lucky enough to be present will be treasuring for quite some time. Looking at the crowd it is clear that Bill is adored by everyone present, we are all hanging on tightly to every word sung and every wonderful melody coming from Bill and Liam Power from By The Sea who also forms part of Bill’s band.

The set was the perfect mix of uplifting songs and heart on your sleeve tender moments where you honestly could have heard a pin drop, including a solo interlude from Bill. The Cardiff crowd are always respectful to those on stage, talking at gigs is always very minimal and tonight the crowd certainly were not there to talk. Much of the set was made up of songs from West Kirby County Primary including Two to Birkenhead, Put It Down Before You Break It and Daniel which has to be one of the most emotional and honest songs ever written. Bill clearly uses music in a therapeutic way and feeling that he can share that with us is something we will always be grateful for.

As you would expect the humour from Bill also made this a gig not to forget, asking the crowd to clap loudly for each band member so as to make them feel uncomfortable, having banter with the crowd upon their request for Bill to repeat the songs he had already played, informing us he has no merchandise to sell and requesting us to buy online so he can make more money.

The set comes to an end with the rousing Satellites and by the time the song comes to an end the work is well and truly done. There is no encore needed, nothing could top what we had just seen. When Bill left the Coral I wonder if he expected to get to the point where he is an icon for so many. Whether that was his intention or not his journey has certainly taken him there, and we all hope it is a journey we can ride with him for a very, very long time to come.

Steve Tay

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