Manic Street Preachers brought their UK tour to Leeds last week. Review and photos by Anthony Longstaff
“I wonder what the Manics would sound like now if Richey Edwards was still alive”, I overhear a guy in the ticket queue saying. Well that’s a double barrelled question: he’s only ever been declared ‘missing’ and they would undoubtedly be distinctly different from the colloquial entity they’ve transformed themselves into over the years.
Their sound has been variously described as having elements of Britpop (don’t tell Nicky Wire that), Glam and punk, but none of these really do them justice. Angst Rock, there’s a more fitting tribute to a band that has created some masterpieces over 12 albums.
It’s actually a brilliant line up for an arena gig tonight: support comes from Editors, a band in fitting with the political slant of the headliners, and frontman Tom Smith has a masterfully powerful voice. With songs like ‘Munich’ and ‘Blood’, they aren’t short of a hit or two either. A well-crafted support slot leads the way for Blackwood’s finest to take stage.
James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore are unequivocally masters of their trade.
It’s not pretentious, it’s hard working and it’s about us – you know, us, working class folk. I think that’s what the Manics own – the ability to write about being there, social angst, politics, living off nowt, common life and that’s what’s kept them at the top of their game for such a long time.
They’d already kicked out a plethora of hits by midway, while most bands are only just starting to wake up a crowd.
Their set list includes ‘Design For life’, ‘Australia’, ‘Kevin Carter’, ‘You Stole the Sun From My Heart’, ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’. Plus a cheeky little cover of Burt Bacharach’s ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’.
Not a band you’d consider seeing live? It’s time to reconsider that stance.
Manic Street Preachers also play the following UK dates:
28 May: Everything Must Go 20th Anniversary, Liberty Stadium, Swansea
16 July: Truck Festival
27 August: Victorious Festival