29 May 2010 – Pendulum
Cardiff International Arena
Pendulum's appearance in the rock music press is questioned more so than The Prodigy, ironically the band they're most likened to. However Pendulum are rising above the tags thrust upon them, into a realm where there are only two pigeonholes to be placed in: Good music and bad. Here in the CIA, groups from seemingly every stereotype are present. There are pill-popping ravers having their glowsticks removed by security, there are cap-wearing chavs lighting up sneaky fags and hardcore kids with plugs in their lobes big enough to jump dogs through. There are Goths in corsets, cyber punks in PVC and townie girls in ridiculous heels for a gig. Ages range from young enough to be our children to old enough to be our grandparents, and none of them give a shit about whether Pendulum should be covered on our review pages, they only want to see one of the most electric live bands on the circuit.
Before that, though, thumping beats warm us up by making us wait for over a bloody hour before Sub Focus begin. We get the feeling we're the only ones in the building who don't know who this DJ is, but he goes down a storm. There's no concert 'feel' though. While cuts like 'Splash' are excellently put together, if you took away the impressive ring of lights surrounding his booth (it looks like he should have been part of a circus Ferris Wheel) it's no more than an above average night at a non-mainstream drum'n'bass club.
Pendulum are a different matter altogether, though. Bounding on stage with opener 'Salt In The Wounds', they may have extravagant imagery vomiting colours everywhere, but it's the band who invite attention, Rob Swire hurtling across the stage and the rest of the band fitting behind their instruments. It's an energetic performance, but it's nothing compared by the energy erupting from the crowd; whether they're dancing, bouncing, moshing or all three, everyone moves. Songs from all three diverse albums sit alongside each other with ease, and each track is met with an ecstatic response. New album two-part centrepiece 'The Island' is a dance masterclass, while their rocked up version of 'Blood Sugar' is as impressive as the circle pit it kicks into fifth gear. Their set is sadly lacking 'The Vulture', which would have gone down a storm, and their decision to end with 'Hold Your Colour' after an ecstatically received 'Tarantula' is an anti-climactic mistake, but aside from this, whatever side of the musical pendulum led you to them, it's an otherwise faultless night. Bangin'.