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Sunday 22 October 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: The Dust Coda & Doomsday Outlaw (Live Review By Paul Hutchings)

The Dust Coda  & Doomsday Outlaw – The Globe, Cardiff 19.10.23

Throughout the day, Cardiff has at times been wetter than an otter’s pocket. But tonight, it’s heartening to see a good 100+ souls have roused themselves from the sofa and headed to The Globe in Cardiff for an evening of outrageously good hard rock and roll.

Date three of the Loco Paradise UK tour, and a nice combination to enjoy. The Dust Coda have been on the radar for several years and have released one of my favourite albums of the year in Loco Paradise whilst support act Doomsday Outlaw are road hardened, having been out with Jared James Nichols in the preceding weeks.

Little fanfare as Doomsday Outlaw (8) hit the stage. The Sheffield band start slowly, but quickly hit their stride with one of three from their 2023 release Damaged Goods. It’s easy to see why the band are well respected in the NWOCR circles, for their music is easy on the ear, but contains the necessary steel to appeal to more than the ardent fan. In Too Deep shows the band’s underlying swagger, and although five of them are on stage, they make the most of the limited space available.

Vocalist Phil Poole is an enigmatic character. He’s improved measurably since I last saw the band in 2018 supporting Graham Bonnet, and now has developed a much more confident style. Vocally, his soulful bluesy delivery works well, with Turn Me Loose and Runaway, both also from Damaged Goods catching the ear. He’s good with the banter, bemoaning the challenge of finding parking around the venue (he’s right. It can be a nightmare). There’s some stellar lead guitar work throughout, whilst the engine room is tight and focused. Smiles, gurning, grimaces, Doomsday Outlaw have a good time on stage and encourage you to do the same. As they finish with Bring You Pain which sees bassist Indy Chandra spring to life on backing vocals, its job done. The venue is warm. Very warm. And Doomsday Outlaw have stoked it up just a little bit more.

The Dust Coda (9) are approaching that difficult stage between new band and veteran. Three albums and a decade under their belt, they prove tonight why they remain highly rated. Loco Paradise is a stunner, a heady mix of styles, from delta blues to hard rock, seventies influences swap fluidly with more contemporary sounds. It’s a delight from start to finish.

Frontman John Drake smoulders. Three songs without so much as a nod to the audience, he looks like he’s having a bad day. But you quickly realise that this is a band who are focused on their job, and that’s delivering a high energy set. Over the 75 minutes they play, Drake smiles a couple of times, but I think that’s more his style than surliness, although the looks that are fired at those daring to chat during his solo performance of The Streets threaten to do serious damage.

I may be being a bit harsh, for as the set develops, he and his colleagues visibly loosen. They are only three shows into their tour, and as many musicians have told me, it takes a handful to get the cohesion going. Set wise, we get treated to a fabulous mix. New tracks such as Call Out The Dogs, the emotional Lovesick, opener Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise and closer Road To Hell are premiered, interspersed with a smattering of older songs that are greeted with whoops of approval by the band’s hardcore following down the front.

Halfway through the set and The Dust Coda are fully into their stride, the crowd are engaged, and it is turning into one cracking show. The Welsh crowd may not be the most raucous, but the applause that greets each track confirms that they know good music when they hear it. Good music, excellently performed, there’s not much else to say. The Dust Coda are an excellent band, and this show demonstrates exactly why they are so well placed to push on to the next level. If you can get to see them on this tour, then you really should. Like Empyre, another band who sit within the same genre, headier days await.

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