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08/05/18 - Buzz - Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Review

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05/05/18 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Publication: Buzz
Date: Tuesday 8th May 2018
Writer: Chris Andrews

In the same way one has to experience a Welsh rugby international to see the passion and what being Welsh really means, every Welsh person should probably watch the Manic Street Preachers at least once in their life. A band who have transcended above being merely a band to become a full-on Welsh institution, on the back of new album Resistance Is Futile and on a bank holiday weekend, the Motorpoint Arena is at breaking point for the boys from Blackwood.

As the lights go down, the boys stride on stage like homecoming heroes and launch headlong straight into recent single International Blue – a song which, at only a couple of months old, is the perfect opener and already sounds like classic Manics. Actual Manics classic Motorcycle Emptiness is up next and the crowd are right up for this tonight, feather boas and eyeliner everywhere like it’s 1994 again.

The band play with the same urgency and vigour they always did: this could be the local dive in Blackwood for all they care. Nicky Wire [top] and Sean Moore, one of the most underrated rhythm sections in rock, hold it down effortlessly as frontman James Dean Bradfield [above] attacks his guitar. Motown Junk – which hasn’t been played in a long time, Bradfield reminds us – is given an airing before the rest of the band take a back seat and James treats us to a stripped-back acoustic version of Faster.

The Welsh love a singalong, especially if it’s Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, and the Motorpoint Arena belt it out with Bradfield in unison. The massed chorus continues with You Love Us before things calm down a tad for Walk Me To The Bridge. I didn’t think I could be surprised at a Manics concert in 2018 but, not forgetting their punk roots, they belt out an energetic version of the Sex Pistols’ No Feelings and make it their own.

Slash And Burn and A Design For Life round off a triumphant night for the trio. When they are on this kind of form, there aren’t many bands that can compare to the Manic Street Preachers for energy, enthusiasm and a catalogue of songs to die for.