The Welsh scene is strong at the moment and a resurgence of young bands after a lot of bands fell off the radar. Bands like Dream State and Holding Absence have paved the way for further bands to start stepping up but we are now in a time where we are seeing the bands mentioned above step into debut album time and it’s an exciting one. Holding Absence have recently dropped their debut self-titled album and it has received fantastic reviews. Now on their champion tour showing off their new release the band stride into Cardiff stronger than ever supported by Luke Rainsford and The Nightmares.
Seeing a local band from South Wales on any bill as support is an exciting one for the music scene. With some amazing talent pouring out of Wales there is a level of expectation and excitement when this happens. Given that this support slot was meant to be for Capsize, the expectation was never that The Nightmares would fill these shoes but instead provide something fresh on this line up. The Nightmares  provide an odd blend of punk, emo and extenuated pop punk style vocals that generally mixes well. On record it makes for an interesting listen though unfortunately the band fall a little flat live, especially on the vocal front. For a band playing Cardiff for the first time to a crowd that, on paper, would be fully invested band you would hope they come out of the gates swinging though the moment they step foot on stage the crowd is faced with quite the opposite. The melancholic, emo style of a band playing can work well but there is a fine line between looking stylishly moody on stage and looking completely un-infused. They do very little to shift the crowd despite the odd glimmer of talent shining through and single “Dorothy” is the moment where the set lifts for the first time though this is unfortunately the last. Final song of the set is the first time the band really let loose and its where they shine. The sound isn’t perfect but at this point in the set it is just a relief to see the band have a bit of fire in their bellies. It would be great to see these guys translate what is on record to their live set more efficiently in the future. Luke Rainsford  has made quite the name for himself on the underground circuit. The acoustic emo style singer-songwriter brings a full band set to The Globe and it’s great. At this point the crowd are in need of a wake up and his soaring vocals and strong raspy tone, especially on the harsh vocals, bring an instant sense of passion to the show. His band are tight as shit too and the way these tracks translate live with a full band make for a really interesting sound. Highlights come when the three way vocal harmonies kick in and this is when the band take further leaps. The crowd are very much there for it. With well-balanced moments where his songs chop and change between calm and chaotic provides great diversity in the set. Between songs he talks about mental health and what the songs he sings mean for him but that it fills him with pride knowing that these songs have positively helped others. There is something quite nostalgic about his performance in the sense of his over-accentuated vocals and sense of belief in the music he sings. A set where Luke wears his heart very much on his sleeve and after tonight’s performance it is very clear that there is a place for it in the music scene.
Holding Absence  walk onto stage as if they were entering the ring on match day. Opening with “Perish” the crowd are there for it in the now packed out Globe. This tour is their biggest headline set to date and their recently released self-titled album has sent them into the stratosphere. The band look wear this success like war paint on stage and their mix of tenacity, ferocity and musical talent is infectious. “Your Love (Has Ruined My Life)” follows and at this point the set already feels ritualistic. As if by this point the crowd aren’t pumped enough, “Monochrome” kicks in without any break. The song is one of the bands set highlights and sees the fans bunching up around the stage. Going back to where it all started with “Permanent”, straight into “Dream Of Me” and then “Saint Cecilia” and at this point of the bands career it is already easy to forget how many bangers they released pre-album. These three singles highlight the bands progress to date and pinpoint some amazing moments for them already. Despite the length in time between these songs alongside the variation in musical style the songs fall effortlessly into the set alongside the newest release tracks.
Finally taking the tiniest of breaks, the opening sequence to “Wilt” kicks in. the song is an absolute monster and it’s not just the passion they put in but the feedback they get from the audience is truly spectacular. As fans flit between looks of awe and the shedding of tears it’s clear that the sheer power and importance of this band is something special. As the songs begins to draw to a close the band leaves before Lucas Woodland returns to perform “Marigold” on his own. A single spotlight shines on him as he plays the dispersive but truly wholesome song and it provides a really highlight of the set. The full band re-joins and a long intro leads into “Like A Shadow” which goes absolutely off. Arguably the bands most successful and most promising song off the album it translates beautifully live. Woodlands vocals are nothing short of spectacular. The band play their absolute opus of a single “Penance” to close and there is such a buzz in the air as it draws to a close.
It’s hard not to get invested in the bands performance when they put absolutely everything they have into it. They truly define the saying “play like it’s your last…”. It is equally as difficult to not get invested in both the emotive lyrical content of their music and it’s impeccable delivery from Woodland.
This night felt more like a homecoming and the whole of South Wales was invited to the party. It was difficult not to get drawn in when there are pure tears of happiness, sadness and everything in between. The atmosphere both on stage and offstage felt entirely unified and with barely any breaks between the music, largely helped by the track playing behind them and there wasn’t a moment to stop. This was one special show that made only part of a monumental landmark moment for a band that show so much promise that they could be looking at the world in the palm of their hand in the next decade.