You can’t help feeling sorry for The Manics. Ever since the success of Everything Must Go they’ve been struggling, trying to find a direction, and let’s face it, as far as the music press are concerned they can’t win. They go back to their punk roots. ”Try again lads, you’re too old for that angry punk nonsense” they make a mature pop album” you’ve sold out again lads, hang your heads in shame, you fat middle aged bastards!”.
Anyway they may have disappointed us now and again on record (well only the once, with Know Your Enemy as far as I’m concerned), but they rarely disappoint live, and once again at the Brangwyn Hall they remind us (even though we should know better) how much pleasure we can get from loud guitars, beer and sweating profusely! And sweat we did (or maybe it was all coming from the head of Diddy Davis standing in front of me), in a venue so small EVERYONE was down the front! this was rock & roll, and we were making the most of it! (holds hand aloft in that two fingered rawk salute manner). Though I admit to being slightly concerned that the American documentary crew present might have captured a middle aged bloke bouncing up and down to Motorcycle Emptiness!..immortalised on some DVD release for my kids to watch! eek!..
Fair do’s The Manics have never sounded better. The small venue helping even Ocean Spray, Let Robeson Sing and the glossy pop of the Lifeblood material sound raw and exciting. From the moment they came on stage, Nicky Wire, resplendent in his cap and gown (from a ceremony earlier, awarding him an honorary fellowship to Swansea University), they didn’t let up. The glaring omissions of Australia, Kevin Carter and surprisingly, Faster indicated this was no greatest hits set, but one for the fan and the fans were happy! Everyone was happy!..even the fella standing next to me who, during the intro to Motown Junk, voiced his slight disappointment they didn’t play all of Paradise City was happy! heh heh..
Oh, I should mention the support band, shouldn’t I? I was looking forward to seeing The Delays as much as The Manics, and despite ‘technical difficulties’ they were a joy to behold. Opening as usual with the sublime pop of Wanderlust.. They followed with the sublime pop of the rest of their set. Treating us to material from their new album, as well as Nearer To Heaven, Long Time Coming and other poptastic faves. I like The Delays..and so should everyone else..
A great night!..and the British Empire Panels remain intact..phew..
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