Manic street Preachers - Not Rawkus, All Feeling

June 22nd 2017
Bristol, Harbourside, UK

***3/4

The Manics stole the sun for Bristol

Manic street Preachers *** 3/4 are the second act to play this years Bristol Sounds event, other acts playing this year included on the Wednesday Bonobo,  Friday Craig David and  Saturday Hacienda Classical with Peter Hook. But for us it's all about the Indie bands this year, Tonight with the Welsh Indie Gods the Manic street Preachers and Saturday at the very special Hacienda Classical event... sadly these are the only ones we can make this year... and what a ones they are going to  be.

Here at Music Trespass Magazine we have all been fans of the Manics since the 90's, but not quite old enough to go to the Hacienda Club in Manchester when it first emerged, so the Classical event is going to be something to behold. Following sets from the promising singer The Anchoress and weird bears photo bombing the crowd with British sea Power, the anticipation could be scrapped with a knife... as the Manic street Preachers take to the stage. The Harbourside venue is peaking close to it's capacity and some fans start to snake their way to the front. to get a glimpse of their favourite Indie Rock heroes.

The Manic street Preachers really do have a huge back catalogue of chart hits, from the No.1 single 'Design for Life' to the epic 'Motorcycle Emptiness'. The Manics are unarguably one of the most important bands to the Indie Rock genre ever. You wouldn't have so many bands if it wasn't for them, from King Adora to Muse to Coldplay to The Libertines to Feeder and many more including stadium fillers The Stereophonics.

Manic street Preachers open proceeding with 'Motorcycle Emptiness' from the band's debut album 'Generation Terrorists'. The question from the get go was wat allowance to make for a band in their 50's considering it was their first concert in the last nine months. Telling the audience they hadn't played in nine months, felt like managing expectations, and parts of the set felt a bit laid back and dare I use the terms plodding and going through the motions.


We were never going to see the Manics of the nighties  with James Dean Bradfield wearing a balaclava - or even the energy of the naughties. Their new music isn't as political or radical as their earlier material. But, you really don't see Iggy Pop or The Rolling Stones, sitting back and their in their 70's.

The definitive old man moment of the night was when James said "We can't possibly go over our curfew" what happened to "Repeat after me F**k Queen and country" not everyone is afraid of terrorsits, especially terrorsits of Rock... Manics "We want our 'Generation Terrorsits' back!!!".

But neither can you say the Manics are stuck in their time. Like it or not  the bards have moved with some of  their audience - those that were older at the time -  and speak a lot more to middle age concerns, cranberry juice and loss. They are 'Generation Terrorist' no longer and I guess that imagery doesn't sit so well with folks at the moment. We think less of the type of anarchists depicted in the 90's sitcom bottom, engaged in class war and more of Jahadi Jamal.  While they don't have the angst and excitement they once had it is a living death for artists to become parodies of themselves and never evolve or move on their material at all - but god I loved the angst. 

For me the first three albums 'Generation Terrorist, Gold against the Soul' and 'The Holy Bible', were the albums that really had an inpact on me. I love the fact that they were a band with something to say, and that they weren't afraid to say it. Nicky Wire was known for his onstage rants, which sadly there is none of tonight. I actually think he might not have even spoken tonight. Of course the Manics changed a lot after these albums with the disappearance of Richey James Edwards in 1995.

Even though for me these are the definitive albums, the Manics came back with what could possibly be their biggest album ever 'Everything must Go', only time can tell... I think they still could release one that will be bigger. Because on albums they have released in the last ten years there are moments of genius, even on some of these later releases... like 'Everything must Go' the band have used some of the lyrics Richey James Edwards wrote before his disappearance .
 
One of the highlights of the evening is 'Kevin Carter', the first song tonight to feature a trumpet player, one of the others is the heart felt 'Ocean Spray'... which has a great section of the song that uses this instrument too. On some songs James stumbles his words and even admits he is forgetting lyrics for some songs he hasn't played in a while. But when nearly every fan in the place knows every word you feel he is a little shown up. But the Manic street Preachers have always been a band that have some quite obsessive fans, that have followed them all round the World over the years.

For me the first three albums 'Generation Terrorist, Gold against the Soul' and 'The Holy Bible', were the albums that really had an impact on me. I love the fact that they were a band with something to say, and that they weren't afraid to say it. Nicky Wire know for his onstage rants, which sadly there is none of tonight. I actually think he might not have even spoken tonight. Of course the Manics changed a lot after these albums with the disappearance of Richey James Edwards in 1995.

Even though for me these are the definitive albums, the Manics came back with what could possibly be their biggest album ever 'Everything must Go', only time can tell... I think they still could release one that will be bigger. Because on albums they have released in the last ten years their is moments of genius, even on some of these later releases... like 'Everything must Go' the band have used some of the lyrics Richey James Edwards had written before his disappearance.

I have to say I forgot how many brilliant songs 'Everything must Go' actually had like the singles 'A design for Life, Kevin Carter', the title track 'Everything must Go' and the mesmorising 'No surface all Feeling', all of which are in the bands set tonight. This is not to mention the singles off the follow up album 'This is my truth, tell me Yours',  They again played the title track of the record and the live favourite 'You stole the sun from my Heart'.

You are taking back through the years with 'You love Us', a single that I had on tape cassette and 7 inch. I have to say wore out both, from over play. I used to put the needle on the record, then when it had finished... I put it back to the start and started again. This would go on for quite a longtime, like on their hit single 'Roses in the Hospital' which I drove my friends crazy with.

I have to say we could not ask for a better day, the sun was out ... It wasn't too hot and we heard some great music. The weird thing is, despite the criticism I have come away from the show listening to more and more of the music and loving the band even more. There are not a lot of shows I come away with this feeling. Mostly after the glory of the night wears off, I start to query how much I really did like it and put the bands CDs back on the to play shelf for a few months. 

Manic street Preachers - Setlist
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Motorcycle Emptiness
Everything must Go
Your love alone is not Enough
Walk me to the Bridge
Indian Summer
You stole the sun from my Heart
This is the Day
Kevin Carter
Found that Soul
The Second great Depression
No surface all Feeling
If you tolerate this your children will be Next 
30 year War (Acoustic)
Ocean Spray (Acoustic)
You love Us
Tsunami
Show me the Wonder
A design for Life

Review by Dan Devour and Devorah Ward and Photo's by Dan Devour

Check Out! the Video for 'You stole the sun from my Heart' Below...

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