14 Years ago Busted played their first ever Welsh gig at the Centre in Newport, a show which sold out many months in advanced during the bands height of fame and a year later the hearts of many teenagers girls were broken as well as those of Matt Willis And James Bourne as Charlie Simpson walked away from Busted to focus his time on Fightstar which ultimately called time on Busted.
Since Busted came to an end in late 2004 Charlie Simpson has been working solidly with Fightstar, his own solo career and also the more recent Once Upon A Dead Man a band he formed with his two brother Will and Edd Simpson, For Matt Willis and James Bourne things have not been as rosy with both attempting to carry on in the music industry with James Bourne forming the short lived Son Of Dork and both attempting short lived solo careers yet it was 2013 when a massive opportunity for both came about as they were invited to join once rivals McFly to form the six piece super pop-punk group McBusted a band which went on to play countless of sold out shows across the country as well as releasing their self-titled debut album.
When McBusted came to an end in late 2005, Busted announced their reformation with Charlie Simpson re-joining the fold with Matt Willis And James Bourne, they instantly announced their Pigs Can Fly come back arena tour, a tour which sold out in minutes and took over the whole summer of 2016, now we hit 2017 Busted have just released their third studio album ‘Night Driver’ an album which sees a total shift in sound for the band as they ditch the pop-hooks which made them famous and go down a more retro, new wave, synth pop route and they are currently on tour to support that album.
Tonight Busted came back to the Centre in Newport, 14 years since they last played the venue and a lot of things have changed in that time and despite everyone being that little bit older the venue was still packed to the rafters and the fans were still as excited and eager for the nights entertainment to commence.
The support act tonight were New Forest tribal/indie/rockers Natives a band who just like Busted have had a shift in sound over the years but also a name change as the band were originally known as Not Advised right up until 2012 when they decided to reinvent themselves.
Over the past year Natives have spent a lot of time in Morocco and you can clearly tell that this time and experience has heavily influenced them to be the band they are today as everything from their image to their stage set up to the their sound which heavily features tribal drumming, to their well written lyrics have that Africa/rain forest feel about it.
Natives only had a 30minute set tonight and the crowd took to them really quickly and it is easy to see why as the band’s sound is quite fitting for a Busted gig and their energy on stage is outstanding with each and every band member giving it their all throughout and front man Jim Thomas is quite a frontman spending a lot of time interacting with the crowd, even encouraging them to jump as much as they can through a song in order for one fan to win a polaroid snap of the crowd which they took seconds prior.
Through their set Natives play some good songs with ‘Passion’, ‘War Paint’ and ‘Stop The Rain’ standing out the most with the band constantly jamming and knocking out their signature tribal drumming sounds and considering all three of these tracks are from their forthcoming second studio album I can see it doing wonders for the band once released in May.
After a quick change around on stage the lights dimmed and Busted took to the stage to massive screams from the crowd and they wasted no time getting down to business as they smashed straight into the synth driven ‘Kids With Computers’ and within minutes you start to realise that the recently reformed Busted are a much happier band as the three of them are smiling from ear to ear throughout.
‘Thinking Of You’ and ‘On What You’re On’ follows on nicely from the opening track and both go down well with the crowd but it is the later of the two which gets a massive reaction from the crowd especially when the bands touring saxophone player comes on stage and energetically helps fully bring the song to life.
Up next comes ‘Air Hostess’ the first of many classic Busted songs played tonight and from the opening chord the crowd go absolutely berserk as they start jumping around energetically whilst singing their hearts out and screaming their hearts out in-between vocals, and you have to hand it to Busted as before the show I wondered how they would make the old and new songs work in the same set and tonight they have nailed it.
Through their set Busted played a mammoth 9 songs from their recently released ‘Night Driver’ album and it was an absolute pleasure to hear as ‘Night Driver’ might not be the most commercially successful Busted album released but it is the most important and truest album they have ever released and I feel the switch in sound really suits the band with ‘Night Driver’ being one of those albums you can listen to over and over again without getting bored and the songs transformed perfectly for the live circuit.
Obviously the biggest reactions from the crowd tonight were for the likes of ‘Nerdy’, ‘Who’s David’, ‘Crashed The Wedding’, ‘Sleeping With The Light On’, ‘Year 3000’, ‘What I Go To School For’ and these songs sounded as good live tonight as they did 14 years ago except this time arounds Busted have sped some of the songs up and also added synths to ‘Who’s David which the crowd loved, the classic Busted songs may have got the biggest reaction of the night but the likes of newer songs ‘Coming Home’ and ‘New York’ which was renamed ‘Newport’ for tonight also went down well with the crowd.
It was never going to be an easy task for Busted touring after releasing an album with a total shift in sound but they made it work and tonight they came and delivered despite Charlie Simpson forgetting his lyrics on a couple of occasions which you can’t really blame him considering the amount of years he’s spent trying to forget about his evolvement in Busted. On the back of tonight’s show I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for both Natives and Busted as both bands were on top form.
Review By Trigger