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Saturday 9 March 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ward Thomas (Live Review By Becca)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just thought I'd chime in and say that as we are a Cardiff based blog we are invited to numerous gigs in the city, this proved to be one of the more interesting ones despite it not really falling into our normal 'metal' remit. However variety is the spice of life and if Paul can review Middle Eastern Jazz then I'm sure we can cover country/folk/Americana. We managed to find a girl (who is a friend of the blog) who jumped at the chance to cover the show and she's done a great job in reporting back. So without further ado here's here review:

Ward Thomas & The Wandering Hearts, St Davids, Cardiff

As we went into the St David's Hall on a Monday night we were greeted by a stage that had been set up nicely, thin mirrors spaced out evenly in front of a white screen. Lights set at bottom of each mirror with beaming from ceiling. The crowd was a massive mix of people, from young children with their parents, middle aged couples and young groups of friends. We took our seats as the opening act came on.

The Wandering Hearts (9) were up first and they started the show with the catchy Fire And Water that got everyone tapping their feet. They told the audience a bit about themselves and gave a brief introduction before each song which was pleasing and of course the mention of Cardiff and how they were excited to be performing in such a “beautiful venue”, got the biggest response. They have previously only played The Globe and radio shows in Wales so they were hoping to return to do more shows in future. As far as a performance goes the lovely harmonies between the vocalists was brilliant and they kept the crowd onside with a lot of communication with audience in between songs. The set was made up of some new songs off their new album such as Your Love Hurts which had a great reception from the crowd.

They stated their album and merchandise would be on sale during interval where they also encouraged the audience to say hello to them (as is only normal in St Davids Hall). They also played the title track from their debut album Wild Hearts before finishing off their set with the biggest crowd pleaser Devil which had the entire audience dancing along and getting out their phones to video the performance. (Poor form - Grumpy Ed). What was endearing was the each member of the band made a point to speak to the audience throughout their performance making it feel more personal. They also all played instruments from guitars to tambourines throughout their set. With the they were playing it music was hard not to tap your feet along too and songs would be stuck in your head the next day. They were perfectly in tune throughout the entire set and a real pleasure to listen too. Lets hope they come back soon!

A short interval between Wandering Hearts and the headliners. This was Country two-piece Ward Thomas (7) who started loud and with strips of flashing strobe white lights that drove them straight into first song Lie Like Me. They then continued with another 2 upbeat songs guilty flowers and same love that really got the audiences excitement up. The dramatic lighting changed in colour and effect throughout the show depending on the tempo of the song which balanced out the basic set well. It was 3 songs in before the girls spoke with the audience. Both of them said how they were excited and happy to be in Cardiff, had spent the day singing at the Castle and were enjoying playing at such a lovely venue.

Most songs would fade out, lights would dim and straight into new song. The band consisting of 4 men then left the girls on stage alone with a guitar and keyboard to do some slower paced songs such as Cartwheels and No Fooling Me. Lizzy did stop singing at this point to ask for the smoke on stage to be reduced. Small issue with lighting during one song with the system shutting down which the crew rushed to try and sort out. This did not stop the sisters performing and was soon resolved. Ward Thomas soon got audience involved to stand up and clap with music. Even making a competition with each sister having one side of audience and seeing who could sing louder.

Throughout the show, Catherine who wore a striking pair of pink flared trousers with a sharp red blouse seemed to interact a lot more with the audience than her twin who wore a less bright black and white dress with a flat cap and diamante covered trainers. (Makes a change from black t-shirts and jeans - Fashion Ed) They made a point of introducing band members and asking audience to give a round of applause to each member. The sisters gave a little insight into some of their more personal songs such as No Filter which inspired a lot of the album. This was based on their experiences of social media in a modern world, they expressed that the album itself had been written based on their personal life experiences such as growing up as twins, having the same friends and living together.

After stating that one of their recent singles Never Know would be their last song, they then returned onto stage alone just the two of them and a guitar each for an encore. They began singing No Fooling Me when Lizzy stopped the show and pointed out that Catherine had accidentally got lyrics wrong and made them start again. Catherine did well to joke about it with audience and said that nobody would have noticed. Once this song was finished the rest of the band came out to do another final song Coming Home. The Audience all stood up and clapped along with final catchy and upbeat song.

Overall it was a really enjoyable show. The girls sound was clean and well rehearsed although a few minor errors such as the lighting problem and Lizzy's need to request less smoke meant the show didn't run quite as smoothly as it could have. The girls had clearly worked hard to sound polished and as a result I think Lizzy had overdone it as her voice which is the slightly more powerful of the 2 appeared to crack on a couple of songs. Despite this it was clear to see that both girls have beautiful voices that balance each other well

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