| Llandudno Venue Cymru - 01/12/2021 Review
|| All Music Magazine
|| Tuesday 7th October 2021
|| Desh Kapur
Getting to Venue Cymru nice and early I was quite excited to catch new young Welsh indie rockers, Himalayas, having been aware of them for quite a while. They were one of the bands on my must-see list before the pandemic hit and closed everything down. They didn’t disappoint; they played a set of classic indie rock, tight and loud with nice punchy choruses. I like what I heard and saw and look forward to seeing them again when they headline their own tour.
So, as I waited for the main event, I started thinking about what a band the Manic Street Preachers are. Formed in Blackwood, Wales in 1986, they rose to massive fame and really had their halcyon years in the 1990s. The band were originally a four-piece consisting of James Dean Bradfield (vocals, guitars), Nicky Wire (bass, occasional vocals), Sean Moore (drums, backing vocals) and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards who mysteriously vanished on 1 February 1995, leaving the band as a three-piece from there on in.
The Manics released their debut album Generation Terrorists in 1992, and since then have released 19 albums, including the most recent release ‘Ultra Vivid Lament’. They have had 3 UK number one albums and fourteen UK top ten albums. Also two UK number one singles and fifteen top ten UK singles.
Their accolades include the Best British Album and Best British Group at the BRIT Awards in 1997 and 1999 and they were lauded by the NME for their lifetime achievements in 2008.
So now we know why Venue Cymru was packed out and the age group spanned all decades from sprightly young things the early ’20s to old rockers in their late ’50s.
The stage went black. The noise level in the crowd started to rise in anticipation. The screen at the back of the stage started playing a procession of semi-political and life slogans. Then the Welsh indie punk rockers walked on, and the crowd erupted in mass applause. The band looked happy and relaxed. Nicky Wire looking resplendent in glittery pans and the obligatory big black shades; this man still oozes cool.
As the first chords were struck, the screen at the back of the stage flashed quotes from the likes of James Baldwin, plus images of the band from their younger days and the band launched into “Motorcycle Emptiness” from their 1992 debut album “Generation Terrorists”. Then it was into “Orwellian” from their brand-new number one album “Ultra Vivid Lament”. Two songs that were written 28 years apart… the Manics have stood the test of time and tonight they seamlessly played songs old and new, side by side.
“Your Love Is Not Enough” from the 2007 album “Send Away The Tigers” was next (this was originally a duet with Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish band the Cardigans). The setlist tonight was heavy with tracks from their latest release, but the classics were all there, “A Design For Life”, “If You Tolerate This”, “You Stole The Sun From My Heart” “Everything Must Go”, with even enough time to throw in a brilliant cover of “She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult.
In truth, The Manics are a very different band from the one that started out over 24 years ago. The punkiness has gone, the songs are straighter, but the knack for writing great songs with big choruses has never changed. Mixed in with songs of love and heartbreak, The Manics have always had something to say with intellect and perception.
So as the band left the stage with much adoration, and the crowd left the venue happy after an electrifying performance, it felt to me that tonight was not about the new or the old, it felt to me like tonight was a celebration. Not just about celebrating an iconic Welsh band but about celebrating an iconic British band. 22 years and 19 albums don’t lie. They really have earned their stripes.
DIOLCH YN FAWER IAWN