Nic Armstrong and The Thieves
One way to invoke some sympathy from the crowd is to tell them how you've been stuck in America for months because you couldn't afford the airfare home. In one stroke you have the majority in the palm of your hand; you've laid the foundations for closeness with your audience. So, having done this, what do Nic Armstrong and The Thieves then do? Why what else, they shout out how great it is to be back playing in England! Not exactly appropriate etiquette or indeed wise when your playing a stadium in Cardiff. Did someone forget to tell them that crossing the Severn Bridge actually takes you into another country? After tentatively gaining some support from the crowd, Nic Armstrong and The Thieves succeeded in earning the first boos of the day. But they were short lived as the band proceeded to redeem themselves through their music.
Playing a mixture of sixties and seventies influenced rock, Nic Armstrong and The Thieves seem to resemble the type of music made famous by The Kinks. Although a dirty, aggressive undercurrent is present, the songs also capture a popiness that makes them accessible to a wider variety of tastes and is well suited to performances such as Noise and Confusion. Most people had not experienced Nic Armstrong and The Thieves' music before but through their confident stage presence and the songs they play, they were able to at least get something that resembled a positive reaction from the crowd. It also helps when your drummer is the epitome of the stereotypical crazy rock drummer. This is a guy who would make Animal from The Muppets look mellow. Limbs flay out in all directions as he aggressively pummels his drum kit. With so much anger going into his music it's surprising just how well and coherently he can actually play. A jovial quip by lead singer Nic that we are being honoured by the drumming genius of Phil Collins today is reciprocated with, of course, a one fingered salute. Very rock and roll, but then that's what this band is all about and with a drummer like theirs, could they be anything but?