LIVE: Yungblud – Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, 16/02/2023

LIVE: Yungblud – Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, 16/02/2023

With an abundance of dyed hair and pink socks occupying the Welsh capital, it was obvious who was to be playing the Cardiff International Arena that evening, and it is fair to say that the Doncaster artist’s debut of his punky and inclusive brand of rock-and-roll pop in the capital was a resounding success amongst those in attendance.

With a blistering opening set from Wrexham exports Neck Deep, Dominic Harrison, known better as Yungblud, took to the stage in his typical theatrical fashion, bursting the arena into the life with the title track from his 2018 debut album 21st Century Liability’. Following this rather raucous opening came ‘The Funeral’, one of the singles from his latest self-titled album, before viral track, and fan favourite, ‘Parents’ rang out across the expanse of the room.

Harrison’s fiery expressionism was perhaps best personified by the numerous uses of pyro throughout the night, a sign of an artist who has been waiting to burst free from the creative constraints of academy sized venues, and graduate to the grandeur provided by larger arenas.

As Harrison and his band rattled through tracks such as ‘Strawberry Lipstick’, ‘Mad‘, and ‘Fleabag’ in their typical noisy fashion, it was long-standing guitarist and friend of Harrison, Adam Warrington who took centre stage, delivering the loud riffs and an incredible solo which helped to breathe so much life into the tightly-packed crowd.

Although the size of the audience was not lost on the punky Northern singer, who aptly described it as “fucking mental!”, the singer’s larger than life theatrics and stage presence demonstrated a willingness to not be swallowed by the larger stages he now finds himself playing on.

Act 2 of the show demonstrated a creative spark in terms of the set design too, with the singer making his way to a grim-looking bathroom box situated in the centre of the arena, purposely with no walls to demonstrate that, as Harrison loudly exclaimed, “when you tear down the walls of the box you are placed in, there are thousands of people just like you!”

This section of the show also saw a rolling back of the years, playing more songs from his debut album, including “Die For The Hype’, ‘Medication’, and at the request of a fan who was celebrating their birthday, ‘California’.

After another theatrical interlude, Act 3 was kicked off with the danceable ‘Sex Not Violence’, followed by the emotional ‘Mars’, dedicated to Brianna Ghey, who had lost her life earlier in the week, and finished with Harrison adorned in a Trans pride flag.

A stripped back moment consisting of ‘Sweet Heroine’ and the long-awaited return of ‘Kill Somebody’ to the setlist which was, of course, well received.

The final act of this immense display of inclusive rock began with a performance of Machine Gun Kelly‘s ‘I Think I’m OKAY‘, on which Harrison has a featuring verse. With ‘Hope For the Underrated Youth’ intended to follow, however it was cut due to two audience emergencies, which lead to the band taking a 5 minute break in order to let people be dealt with safely.

Returning to the stage, and not letting the slight hiccup affect the mood, penultimate song ‘Boy In The Black Dress’ saw Harrison demand every decibel out of each and every person in front of him, chanting the melody along as the song came to its ending. The grand finale saw the cult classic song ‘Loner’ performed at its brilliant best and the crowd revelled in the opportunity to jump and sing one last time.

As confetti spewed into the crowd, and a climatic burst of pyro and fireworks helping to bring the explosive show to a close, it’s clear that Harrison’s first step on his world tour was not only a success, but a firm statement of intent. No longer is the Yungblud show about squashed sweaty rooms and cult-like fandom, it’s about world domination, and dragging the alternative into the mainstream. With the promise of a speedy return from Harrison, it’s safe to say that Cardiff is just as excited about his next visit to the capital as he is, whenever that may be.

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