Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

Tonight, Merthyr Tydfil rockers Florence Black roll into Bournemouth, part way through their UK tour; promoting their sophomore album “Bed of Nails”. The album which was recorded with world renowned Rock producer Romesh Dodangoda was released last week and it’s already hurtling towards the top of the Rock charts. The band have plenty of history within the South Coast with previous gigs at Nozfest, Love Rocks Festival, Joiners and here at the Old Fire Station supporting Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons a couple of years back. Their popularity is going from strength to strength and the band have pulled a near capacity crowd here tonight as headliners.

Before the Welsh trio arrive on stage, we have two support acts to entertain us. The first is a hand picked 4-piece Garage/Punk band from Southampton called Strayers. This quartet seem stoked to be opening the show and their positive enthusiasm from the start is clearly obvious. Opening with their single “Everyone & Nobody”, they show a hard-edged sound full of creative twin guitars along with some powerful rhythms.

Featuring Sammy Rowles on Lead guitar, Christopher Watts on guitar/lead vocals, along with their newest recruits including former Bloodhounds bassist Tom Oliver-Hawkins and Luke Mitchell on drums. “Don’t Fade Away” shows them with their Punk-infused Grunge and draws the audience in with plenty of energy.

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Their high momentum continues with a newer song “Only Human” and a track from their debut EP “Elsewhere” called “Table for Two”. The best is saved until last with a brooding track called “In the Way”, with Sammy displaying some impressive atmospheric guitar sounds and Christopher showing off his considerable vocal abilities.

Don’t you just love going to a gig and absolutely falling for an opening band you’ve never seen or heard before? The crowd seem to love all they have to offer, and one can tell they just don’t want to leave the stage.

Next up are James & The Cold Gun who were here back in in December 2022 supporting Bournemouth band “South of Salem”. Tonight, there are a few changes to their line-up and notably their tour photographer Luke Shadrick is filling in on bass after only a brief crash course of their set. Their frontman is former “Holding Absence” bassist James Joseph who has now swapped to guitar and with his flying V and James Bliss’s Rickenbacker, they launch into their first number “Seven” from their 2022 EP “False Start”. The track is an ideal opener as it just builds and builds with forthright heavy rhythms.

“Chewing Glass” is up next and the powerhouse of Jack Wrench drives the track from the back with some formidable drumming, while James shows his worth on vocals delivering each line with the pomp that the song deserves.

James And The Cold Gun
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The band have played many notable gigs, including opening for Guns N’ Roses in 2023 and supporting Pearl Jam in 2022 – both at Hyde Park in London. Tonight, their energy is unbounding and the smile on photographer-come-bassist Lukes’s face is worth the ticket money alone. You cannot tell that he was not a permanent fixture as he is doing a great job. James’s impassioned speech about music being the one thing that keeps him going during his darkest periods radiates to all of us in the crowd and this makes the lyrics from the next track “Cheating On The Sun” all the more relevant.

Tonight’s rowdy crowd all seem to appreciate the band’s efforts and there is plenty of movement from the crowd during final number “Long Way Home”. The band and particularly Luke leave the stage triumphant with plenty of cheers from the well entertained Bournemouth crowd.

At 9pm the lights dim and it is time for the headliners. Florence Black takes to the stage with much pomp and circumstance, teasing intro music, brooding lighting and masses of cheers from the excited audience. Opening with the title track off the new album; Welsh lads Tristan Thomas (Guitar/Vocals), Jordan Evans (Bass/Vocals) and Perry Davies (Drums/Vocals) thrill the crowd doing what they do best. This trio are a unit with an immense amount of musical chemistry, who display some immeasurable musical skills and provide an amazing live experience.

I can honestly say that I have not heard such a huge sound from a three-piece of the like these guys create. They all provide key factors within the instrumentation and the three all provide majestic vocal accompaniment.

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If you thought their debut album “Weight of The World” was impressive; they and Romesh have certainly upped their game on this twelve-track masterpiece. We are treated to “Solid 9”, “Start Again” and “Taxman”; with each being a guitar masterclass. Tristan plays his Gibson with an unfathomable skill, getting some great sounds from the pedals at his feet. Rock music is in his blood, and he has clearly been brought up listening to some of the greats of our time. Surely a future single, “Look Up” shows the band producing a much more radio friendly catchy track with some infectious melodies. While one of the highlights of tonight’s set in contrast is “Rockin’ Ring”, a commandingly heavy track with some dominating rhythms and a guitar solo you would sell your soul to the devil for!

The band’s adopted track “Breadfan” gets a new tour makeover and shows the band reaching new heights, getting a dazzlingly energetic reaction front the crowd. “Bird on a Train” and one of my personal favourites “Zulu” round off the evening’s entertainment. The band leave the stage and the crowd loudly start demanding more. As the curfew is approaching, it’s not clear if they are returning? However; the lights stay down and they return with probably their most well known track to date, “Sun & Moon” which had earned the band plenty of national radio across the UK and Europe.

It has been a fantastic night and the band have tapped into a new rich vein of creativity that will hopefully take them on a journey. I’d love to see them perform at some of the larger festivals in UK and Europe this Summer, capitalizing on this new material … Andy Copping are you listening??

Set Lists
Florence Black
Bed of Nails
Start Again
On the Ropes
Solid 9
Don’t Hold Me Down
The Deep End
Look Up
Warning Sign
Black Cat
The Forest
Can You Feel It?
Rockin’ Ring
Breadfan (Budgie cover)
Bird on a Chain

Sun & Moon

James & The Cold Gun
Chewing Glass
Cheating on the Sun
Meet My Maker
– Jam –
Something to Say
Long Way Home

Everyone & Nobody
Go It Alone
Don’t Fade Away
Black & Blue
Only Human
Table For Two
In The Way



Words By David Chinery (Chinners)
Photographs & Transportation by Lynn Bert of Lynn Frances Photography
Additional Media by Becky Crowthall-Brown of BC Events Photography and Media

Florence Black