It was one of the most extraordinary gigs of recent times. Not because of the music but because of the circumstance. No Devotion, a fresh group made up of the five remaining members of Lostprophets after lead singer Ian Watkins was jailed in December 2013 for a series of heinous child sex offences, played their first show last night (July 22) at CF10 Cardiff. Having recruited former Thursday member Geoff Rickly as lead singer, they released their debut single ‘Stay’ at the start of July. In interviews they’ve said they would never be able to listen to, or play, Lostprophets songs ever again. We spoke to a selection of fans about their experience of the first night of the new band’s first UK tour.
Luke Jones, Blackwood, 21
When I heard about the stuff with Ian Watkins, I was gutted. I have conflicted feelings about the gig and about Lostprophets too; listening to the later albums, ‘Weapons’ and ‘The Betrayal’, and knowing it was being made when this horrible stuff happened is strange, but me and most of my friends were still happy to come and hear the new stuff. I don’t think it was too soon – No Devotion needed to do this for themselves and the different direction does mean they’ve shown to themselves they can still make good music. We will definitely be supporting them as I’d like them to be as big as the Lostprophets – partly as a fuck you to Ian. I think they will be able to play the same places like Reading or like they did in the Union (Cardiff student’s union) tonight, but I doubt it will get to the main stages or the mainstream as they did before.
Joe Disson, Abergavenny, 29
I was a bit of a Lostprophets fan and loved what they did for the Welsh music scene but I was just interested to see them because they’re Welsh boys, they’re expanding their sound and shooting bigger than before. I didn’t want to see them because they used to be Lostprophets, I was interested to see what they’d do as this stuff is another entity. I don’t think it was just about it being the return of a band – the music tonight felt so far left-field from what it was and because of that I’m really keen to see what they can do with it. The gig was superb and you could hear the quality of the songwriting. You could almost hear their second album in the live songs even before they’ve released their first – there’s so many places they can take it and so many things they can do, it was really exciting stuff.
Michaela Harris, Newport, 15
I didn’t know what to expect really but we came as we’ve supported the boys all the way – I was at their last gig as Lostprophets and wanted to be at their first as No Devotion. Nothing has changed about how we feel about Lostprophets – my whole family have never stopped listening, even with everything that was going on. It broke my heart but one man isn’t the band. He was just the vocalist and the others deserve another chance. Literally a week after it happened we were tweeting them to say not to give up and to start up again. When Geoff [Rickly] came in, I was a bit wary about it though – I’d never heard of him and part of me still expects to hear Ian’s voice with the music. I’m disappointed they didn’t play any Lostprophets songs because it is their music. I think more fans would be behind them than they think. I did enjoy tonight and support the band but I am still a big Lostprophets person – I’m still wearing their wristbands.
Martin Hallet, Cardiff, 54
I was a Lostprophets fan but I mainly came tonight because I was sent the download of the single ‘Stay’ a few weeks ago and was impressed by it, so the quality of the gig was expected. They handled the expectation really well though, because it felt like easily 80 percent of the people in there were big Lostprophets fans and it could have been hard to please them.
Carwyn James McFarlane, Pontypridd, 22
It really hurt when I found out about Ian Watkins because the band are from my hometown and they played comeback concerts at my school so it was a really personal thing. I still think you can separate a man from his art though and one bad apple doesn’t rot the whole bunch so I came because I still love Lostprophets’ music and wanted them to carry on. It’s amazing to see them getting back on their feet and with such an immense new frontman. From the second I heard ‘Stay’ I thought it was fresh and better than the Lostprophets later stuff on ‘Weapons’. It’s obvious they’re enjoying it. I think by tonight’s standards, they are way better live than they’ve been for years and I think hearing a different sound reminded me how talented they are.