Angelic Upstarts first ever visit to Cardiff came 39 years after their formation in South Shields. Their debut show in the Welsh capital was full of electric energy from both the performers and the punters. This was not a young affair and one fan was sporting an O.A.P. (Old Age Punk) t-shirt! However, the amount of birthdays tallied here did not indicate the immense and intense frenzy that was whipped up! This was a show where the kids of the late 70’s were united and they will never be divided! These street survivors (many carrying several pounds more and numerous follicles less) still make the moshpit a ferocious zone that defies age and appearances!
Upstarts leader Thomas ‘Mensi’ Mensforth has an amiable on stage presence that proves that you should not judge a book by its cover; and, his banter and behaviour in between songs is welcoming. Nonetheless, when it comes to the delivery of his tunes this visceral vocalist is a demon as a maelstrom of missiles are fired across a series of social commentaries.
Songs such as Anti-Nazi, Solidarity, Police Oppression, Red Flag and newer numbers of the ilk of Tories Tories Tories Out Out Out and Bring back hunting give the fox a Gun deliver clear messages as to the political stances of this crew. The Upstarts are old school, socialist, working class champions and that will always be the case!
The tunes are fast and furious and Mensi is in good voice-and, when the anthems are on display the crowd responds with even more vitality The chaotic choreography is a scintillating spectacle and it is safer to survey than participate!
Many moons ago a riot would have ensued but now this affable aggression is just part of the process-and, even though there will be bruised and aching torsos in the morning-the hard core simply do not care!
The band were on top of their game and to hear form favourites: Two Million Voices, Never ‘ad Nothing, Last night another Soldier, Teenage Warning, The Murder of Liddle Towers and Kids on the Street shone brightly and retain a momentum that still makes them towering testaments of their genre. The lyrics of the latter tune even adjusted its lyrics to include the ‘Cardiff kids’ plus the ‘Welsh kids’-and these calls were met with glee!
The ode to Sham 69 closed the concert and the stage was packed to the rafters with the act and a couple of dozen fans-and, it was a colossal climax to a gung ho affair! Mensi then slipped in to the crowd, shook some hands and took well deserved pats on the back. Meanwhile, a lot of happy Welsh worshippers left happy after a night at the font of the Angelic Upstarts!