How many bands can bridge the culture gap between Question Time and Strictly Come Dancing? Manic Street Preachers have been invited on to the former (acceptance still pending) and have already guested on the latter – testament to their desire to entertain as thoroughly as comment eloquently on the world around them. They are the established anti-establishment.
Manic Street Preachers - Glasgow Barrowland
* * * *
New album Rewind The Film breaks fresh ground for the band more than twenty years into their career, but this set began with one of their biggest crowd-pleasers, Motorcycle Emptiness, before coasting along agreeably for a time with frontman James Dean Bradfield attacking the catchy melodic hooklines like a rottweiler.
Dapper beanpole bassist Nicky Wire, a self-styled “f***-up of fashion and mess” is no one’s idea of a good singer, least of all his own, but As Holy As The Soil, his plea to the band’s missing-presumed-dead guitarist Richey Edwards (“I love you so, won’t you please come home”), was affecting in its sincerity and vulnerability.
The title track of the new album was a subtly epic and dynamic addition to their set, but a slowburn compared to the instant hit of the following You Love Us, while the poetically politicised 30 Year War slotted with distinction into a powerful closing salvo including the ever potent Kevin Carter, primitive debut single Motown Junk – preceded by a burst of The Skids’ Into The Valley to complement an earlier cover of Big Country’s Chance – and the uplifting crescendo of A Design For Life.