Manic Street Preachers and Suede, Edinburgh Castle review: Britpop outsiders shine

They made grown-up rock music then, so they feel just right now

The guy selling a cart full of pink Stetsons and feather boas on the street outside must have been wondering why he bothered, as it felt like every dress-down 1990s indie gig-goer in Scotland’s Central Belt was reliving their youthful glory years on a grand scale.

What unites both Suede and the Manic Street Preachers, beyond early reputations as androgynous outsiders of the Britpop solar system, is that they each remain a thrillingly energetic, noisy, true-to-themselves live experience. They made grown-up rock music then, so they feel just right now.

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It's uncertain how the bill-topping choice between Brett Anderson’s leaping from amps and parading through the crowd or Nicky Wire’s lanky, daringly high kicks was made, but Suede were up first. The main advantage these creatures of the London night had given away was dusk, but that didn’t detract from the performance.

Brett Anderson delivers like a guy who never wants to disappoint an audience. The band roared through Trash and Animal Nitrate early on and the swaggering So Young, Metal Mickey and Beautiful Ones at the end, with a diptych of Sleeping Pills and Antidepressants (separate songs), the singalong Saturday Night and a tender, acoustic The Wild Ones in between.

When the Manic Street Preachers took to the stage amid sloganeering quotes from James Baldwin flaring onscreen, most people already had their money’s worth. James Dean Bradfield’s roaring voice remains gloriously unchanged, and it was put to good use on an early salvo which included You Love Us, Everything Must Go and Motorcycle Emptiness.

Their set didn’t exactly mellow as it went on, but there was certainly plenty of extra texture, with Catherine Davies aka the Anchoress joining for guest vocals on Little Baby Nothing and Your Love Alone is Not Enough, Wire dedicating Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier to the late Richey Edwards (“this one's for you, beautiful boy”) and Bradfield busting his “John Hughes dance moves” during Walk Me to the Bridge. It was a night which had everything.



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