Venue: Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, UK; Date: 28/1/23;
Bands: Danko Jones, The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry; Doors opened 6.00pm; Show started 7.00pm

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Rating: Perfect

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the first show of tour before (I may have but I must not have known) so it was great how they couldn’t say how the previous night’s crowd was loud and crazy.

When I got to Cardiff Arena the queue very almost went around the building. I got there at 6pm and despite the huge queue it only took about 5 minutes (possibly less) until we let us in. Credit to the arena staff/volunteers.

Beer price was decent okay, although I’ve never seen Carlsberg cost £6 before! The venue has to be one of the best I’ve been too. The ground floor is well designed with the toilets being on the stage floor and it had too bars, so not much much queuing (unless paying by cash!). The arena is like one of those smaller venues just on a larger scale. It’s similar to the 02 Academy in Liverpool or Acadey 3 Manchester, just bigger.

This night just had the perfect lineup. All three bands were worthy of being headliners – I would never have put The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry together but they did! The Cardiff arena is definitely a great place to attend a gig!

I also picked up a tip. If you want to get to the front, just bring your child (or rent one – there’s a business for pretty much anything these days! [Just a joke, relax!]) because a father brought his daughter to the show and people just let them move forward. She eventually got the front but he seemed to enjoy the show as well getting some photos and videos of the show – nice tactic! (Althought in that environment your mostly amongst decent people so it’s pretty safe for kids).


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I had never heard of Danko Jones but I do now! They kicked off the show in an explosive burst of energy that just set the tone for the rest of the night.

They were only given around d half and hour (maybe 40 mins) but they truly made it count. They only stopped to introduce themselves. They could have been co-headling themselves.

I just wish they were given a bit more time. Such a great band to kickoff the night!


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I was hoping The Darkness would be second, with Black Stone Cherry closing and that is what I got, however, I have to say The Darkness absolutely stole the show and should be the ones to close the show.

Going into this I knew The Darkness would put on a great performance as they are a showpiece band but I wasn’t expecting anything like that. Yes, they had plenty if special affects, such as the sparks wall, the pyro flames and the shooting sparklers but just the energy they had was incredible too!

Justin Hawkins is such a great front man. They kind of remind me as a modern-day Queen and their performances were similar to Airbourne and Alice Cooper. They hardly stopped for over an hour. Like Alice Cooper, Justin Hawkins goes through quite a lot of wardrobe changes!

They played quite a lot of songs that I had forgotten such as “One Way Ticket”. I only remember “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” so it was nice to hear all of their others songs again – brought back some memories of when they first came onto the scene.

I initially came for Black Stone Cherry, however, I will certainly be looking out for more tours from The Darkness, they were faultless and the only shame was the fact they didn’t close. Everyone I spoke too shared similar thoughts – even those who came to see BSC. I’d love to see a gig with The Darkness, Fozzy and Airbourne because I think that would just be such an awesome show! (Throw in Alice Cooper and Sumo Cyco as support and I think that’s just the perfect gig!). Dare I say but were The Darkness better than Alice Cooper? Quite possibly!

During the intermission and they have the little background playlist, “Tribute” came on and the whole arena just broke out singing, to the point I actually think they turned the volume up! Never heard that before.

Tenacious D must have the “Greatest Song in the World” to get a (pretty much) sold-out arena to sing it when they’re not playing.

That got the crowd in the mood because they ended up singing the next one that came on (I think it was Green Day’s American Idiot, but they could have been in the pub later one – that DJ played some classic songs from the naughties).


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It was a case of “take 2” after the famous fire alarm-gate in Edinburgh but I finally got to see Black Stone Cherry. I couldn’t see how they could top The Darkness but they gave it a go and put on a tremendous display themselves but I think The Darkness still topped them.

They kicked off with “Me and Mary Jane” and then “Blind Man”. They played a mixture of their older songs as well as newer ones. I’m glad they played “Like I Roll” but I would have thought the crowd would be more into that song than they were.

They saved “Blame it on the Boom Boom” and “Lonely Train” for the last two songs, possibly a great choice. Their encore was a “Don’t Bring Me Down” cover – they did a good job with that.

Other songs they played included “Burnin”, “Again”, “Soul Creek”, “In My Blood”, “Out Of Pocket”, “Cheaper Drinks Alone” (this one had the classic drum solo spot, lasted quite a while), “Things My Father Said” and “White Trash Millionaire”.

They’re only doing a small tour but Black Stone Cherry were well worth watching and I’m sure the rest of the shows will just be even better! Black Stone Cherry did not disappoint at all. Hopefully I can see them again. I’ve got to say a thank you to all three bands as they put on one hell of a show. They all made the night so good and I hope the rest of the tour goes well.


My streak of great gigs continue. I think only Alien Ant Farm were only ones I couldn’t get into (Dirty Orange are an upcoming band so it’s unfair on them). Tonight just seemed to have it all. It was a great atmosphere with the energy of the crowd and bands coming together to just make a magical showpiece!

I was truly a great night and there weren’t any nobheads (that I sure). The was a potential nobhead in a leather coat but there were no issues.

Found a great little ŕock bar with DJ and it was weird seeing people dancing to rock songs like they do to 60″s/70″s rock n’ roll songs. Great fun! Cardiff was a great city with friendly people, well worth a visit! (Just Belfast to go now and I’ve completed the Capitals!)

Got to give a nice little shout out to ML Lodge/Gyros Hut. Nice little hotel, with exactly what you need – a bed, shower, kettle with tea bags and a tele! And Gyros do really nice chips tasting exactly like Burger King!

Hope you enjoyed this review. Make sure you join us for the Gigzter review (whenever that will be!). Hopefully, we’ll get a long awaited Sumo Cyco UK tour this year?

Thanks for reading!

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