Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Alien Ant Farm come to Cardiff

Let's party like it's 2002

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The sold out crowd queuing round the block to get into the plush new surroundings of Cardiff University’s Y Plas is testament to nu metal’s enduring legacy, with a triple-header of the genre’s mid-table contenders still being met with such rabid enthusiasm over a decade on from their heyday.

Alien Ant Farm’s [6] tentative start seems to waste the anticipation until Movies heralds the first nostalgic hit of the night, with frontman Dryden Mitchell taking off to the middle of the floor to share the mic around. It’s a pattern that’s repeated as two or three filler tracks are split up by a recognisable number, and Dryden’s awkward presence and banter veering between inane soundbites and a hilarious admission that they’re only famous for a cover song – which of course they finish with to a rapturous reception.

What AAF may lack in presence and tunes, P.O.D. [9] make up for with unbelievable aplomb. Having been tacked with an unfair reputation of being po-faced Bible-thumpers, the San Diego mob effortlessly bring the party and good-time vibes, whipping the crowd into a fierce pit that doesn’t stop for the entire set. Even the never-before heard This Goes Out To You and the NYHC-cum-reggae of Revolucion from the upcoming The Awakening are met with feverish exuberance, while the reactions to big-hitters Boom, Will You and a particularly muscular Southtown are nothing short of incendiary. Alive increases the euphoria even more with the band triumphantly departing to a roar that’s nigh-on deafening, capping off an implausibly colossal performance. Who saw that coming?

Unsurprisingly Hoobastank [5] are really up against it and get nowhere near touching their predecessors for most of the set. Playing to a noticeably thinned crowd, there’s no lack of effort or energy onstage, however, it all seems to be spent for little reward, with few sparks penetrating through the identikit riffs and melodies. Of course as soon as the opening notes of The Reason chime in, everyone who had been hanging out at the bar suddenly makes a beeline for the stage to join in the arm waving and mass singalong of the chorus. Some unwisely remain for closer Crawling In The Dark when finally the floor erupts in a similar vein to the earlier chaos. It’s a combo that certainly ends the night on a high but there’s no disguising the disappointment of the headliners’ set or who the real winners in this three-way match-up were.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.