The band performed their first UK date since their New Year's Eve show in 1999 at the nearby Millennium Stadium at the 600-capacity Coal Exchange.
The band took the opportunity to completely destroy all their equipment, following an hour-long set which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1. The band completed their show with an anthemic version of 'A Design For Life', at the end of which singer James Dean Bradfield took his prized white Les Paul Gibson guitar and smashed it into two pieces against the stage, before walking off.
Bassist Nicky Wire followed, smashing his bass, before walking over to the amplifiers and pushing them over, and doing the same to the drumkit.
Wire then stood on the drum riser, surveying the destruction in front of him.
He gave a smile, waved to the audience, and left the stage.
This followed a set which showcased the Manics' intention to return to their stripped-down, punk sound.
The band played nine songs from their forthcoming album, 'Know Your Enemy', as well as Manics classics such as 'Motown Junk' and 'You Love Us'.
They also played raw versions of their more orchestral moments, including 'You Stole The Sun From My Heart' and 'Australia'.
Fans had been queuing outside the small venue since 7am today, to see the band.
One told NME.COM: 'I've been waiting 12 months for this. I just wanted to make sure I was at the front.'
Once onstage, Wire was on acerbic form. Wearing a white nurse's uniform, and knee-high pink and white socks and a tiara, he disregarded the show being aired live on national radio, spitting at the end of 'Miss Europa Disco Dancer': 'Braindead motherfuckers' over and over again.
That song also saw Wire take the lead guitar duties, with James Dean Bradfield playing bass.
The setlist ran:
Found That Soul
So Why So Sad
The Masses Against The Classes
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Let Robeson Sing
You Stole The Sun From My Heart
The Year Of Purification
Miss Europa Disco Dancer
Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children
You Love Us
A Design For Life