Whilst they came through on the shirt tails of punk and certainly had some punk tendencies, there was always a little more to this band than their contemporaries.
An early support slot for The Clash and with their Charles EP getting to the attention of DJ John Peel, they were quickly picked up by Virgin Records, though to many, they were more Art School than Punk Rock.
What set them aside from many of the stable mates was the serious guitar work of Stuart Adamson, once describe by Peel as “the new Jimi Hendrix” and the distinctive voice and lyrics of front man Richard Jobson.
Producing a succession of singles that regularly charted though rarely troubled the top ten, much of their work proved an inspiration to many who followed, something which both U2 and Green Day acknowledged with their cover of The Saints Are Coming for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Opening the show with This Is Our World from the Burning Skies album it set pulses racing with a pounding bass and with Jobson bouncing around with his “Dad at a disco” dancing, something quite impressive for a man of a certain age !
It was 35 years since they last appeared in Cardiff and they quickly made up for lost time with Charade, Of One Skin and Working For The Yankee Dollar getting instant feedback from a crowd perfectly in tune with the band and singing at every opportunity.
Obviously the loss of Adamson is sad as he’s so difficult to replace, though in his former Big Country band mate Bruce Watson and his son Jamie, they proved very able deputies for the great man.
Dusting down their old 1978 EP, Charles got a great response along with brilliantly tight versions of Circus Games, Masquerade and Into The Valley and such was the passion of the Tramshed crowd two encores followed what was a quite stunning set from a band who, apart from Jobson included former band members Bill Simpson on bass and Mike Baillie on drums.
Speaking fondly of late Stuart Adamson, Jobson shared with the audience what an important part of the band both his playing and song writing was and the performance was a fitting tribute to their former partner.
Ending the evening with the fan favourite TV Stars and it’s shouted chorus of “Albert Tatlock” it was another triumph for the Tramshed and the band, with the promise of a return to South Wales early next year.
Images: Tony Chapman