It's in the unique and glorious surroundings of Cardiff Castle that I find myself surrounded by 10,000 mods, scooter boys, Weller clones and various forty-something's awaiting their hero 'The Modfather' , otherwise known as Paul Weller. With some 36 years in the business (25 of them as a solo artist), Paul has an enviable back catalogue ranging from The Jam through to The Style Council and of course his solo career. Not known for his love of nostalgia, I'm curious to see how he approaches tonight's set.
With the warm sun beating down and the castle serving as a perfect backdrop I wonder why more artists don't play here. Everyone is relaxed, stretched out on the lawns and generally enjoying themselves in the run up the main event. Before we get there though, we have two bands opening for Weller. First up are 'local' boys The Hearts from Newport. Their set bursts with hook-laden anthemic guitar pop.
A fine opener indeed, a far different proposition are The Rails who offer a perhaps more gentler feel to the evenings proceedings. The perfect accompaniment to a lazy sunny evening in Cardiff. As I wander the crowds, the vibe here is definitely chilled. It's easy to forget you are within the centre of a major city.
The field becomes notably fuller as the evening wears on as we inch closer to Weller taking the stage. Despite there being the best part of 10,000 in attendance, the site coped well and it never felt too busy or packed.
So, it's a little after 8.45pm and finally Paul Weller and his band make their entrance opening with 'Sunflower'. The energy onstage and from the crowd is electric as he powers through 'From The Floorboards Up' and 'Wake Up The Nation'. However,It's not all about post-punk rock ‘n” roll tonight as Paul shows us his other side through the gorgeous 'You Do Something To Me' which as the sun was setting was as perfect as it gets. Things rev up again with a fiery 'The Changingman' .
It's perhaps a testament to Paul's song writing that I don't notice that he hasn't played anything from The Jam or The Style Council yet. However this is soon addressed with the joyous 'My Ever Changing Moods' bringing a tangible feel good vibe to the castle. Without introduction (indeed has been the case for most of the set) Paul and his band tear into 'Start' and the field literally erupts with 10,000 voices singing every word back. For a man fast approaching his sixties, Weller puts everything into his performance and shows no signs of letting up.
The night closes with another classic from The Jam 'A Town Called Malice' leaving everyone the worse for wear (in a good way). All in all, it's been a very special night in the capital in a very special venue. As I leave I am offered flyers for no less than 5 after-show parties across Cardiff, such is the draw and demand for all things Weller related. Orchard (the organisers) have pulled a blinder for the capital….
latest on this festival
tickets go on sale on Friday
line-ups & rumours
Paul Weller's Cardiff Castle concert 2014 review