Who would have thought that in 2019 we would have a Busted tour? The trio went through a rather public break up in 2005 and all went their separate ways after a press conference in London. The band were finished, and there was no way back.
In the following years, Charlie Simpson focused on his passion project, Fightstar. James Bourne fronted a new pop-rock band called Son Of Dork, and when that ended he packed up and moved to New York. Matt Willis released a solo record, and also had a stint in the British reality TV show, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.
Fast forward 15 years from that press conference in a gloomy London hotel room, and the boys are back with their second album since reforming, ‘Half Way There’. Tonight, the band play Cardiff’s Motorpoint arena in support of their new record, and boy, is it good to have them back.
Opening proceedings are the relatively unknown indie-pop group, Young Brando . The outfit follow the paint-by-numbers guide to music and, in all honesty, there’s nothing much to report. Vocalist Russell James looks a little uncomfortable on stage but does crack a fantastic joke. You had to be there to get it.
Ending on their best track and single, ‘Holes’, the outfit show their ability to write a catchy pop song. Hopefully the group can find their feet on stage as the musicianship and musical ability is apparent and hopefully they can write a few better songs too.
The Xcerts  walk out on stage next, and right away they prove that they’re destined for the big stages sooner or later. Smashing through a set comprising of tracks from their new record, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’, frontman Murray Macleod and co. set a tough act for tonight’s headliner to follow. ‘We Are Gonna Live’ fills the arena with feel good vibes reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen‘s ‘Born To Run’, and ballads ‘Show Me Beautiful’ and the record’s titular track prove to be a hit, inciting lighters and phones to be raised into the air.
The trio end on their biggest track, ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’, which includes a serenading a capella version of the chorus at its conclusion. The Xcerts continue to prove time after time how they’re one of the most underrated bands in the UK right now, and good on Busted for giving them a platform to perform for a new type of audience. They’ve proved their worth tonight.
The last time that Busted  played this venue was during their comeback tour three years ago, and the hype around them was at a fever pitch. Walking onstage to ‘Nineties’, it’s apparent that the electro tinged vibe of their previous record, ‘Night Driver’, is a distant memory.
The trio race through a career spanning set that’s sure to keep the die-hard fans pleased. ‘Falling For You’ brings a fast pop-punk banger to the table to head bang to, while ‘Britney’ sees the band channel their inner teenagers. ‘Shipwrecked In Atlantis’ is a hit right from the get go and it shapes up to be the highlight of the evening alongside the poignant and nostalgic ‘Sleeping With The Light On’.
The distinct lack of material from ‘Night Driver’ is telling that they’re trying to distance themselves from that sound, and it’s a safe bet. The only offerings come in the form of ‘On What You’re On’ and ‘Coming Home’, with the latter providing an incredibly anti-climactic beginning to the band’s encore.
Finishing with pop anthem ‘Year 3000’, the confetti cannons shoot off and the arena kicks off. It’s easy to forget how much fun Busted can be at a live show, but moments like these prove that they’re up there with the best for creating a party atmosphere.
Tonight is undoubtedly a triumph for the lads, and it proves that their comeback wasn’t just a move for a quick and easy cash in. They’re in this for the long haul.