Nicky Wire pulled down the curtain on a hugely successful ten days at The Guardian Hay Festival on Sunday. Michael Took was there to review the Manic Street Preacher's first solo appearance
Nicky Wire is following in the footsteps of fellow Manic Street Preacher James Dean Bradfield. Both artists have taken time out from the group to concentrate on solo projects with Wire plugging songs from his forthcoming debut album I Killed The Zeitgeist. On Sunday night, Wire, pictured, graced the stage with his band The Secret Society in a loud pink suit - and around 45 minutes behind schedule - but this did little to quell the first few rows' obvious excitement at seeing the outspoken showman tackle the live arena on his own. Beaming at the prospect, Wire asked, 'Have any of you been to James Dean Bradfield's solo shows? Well, this is going to be a lot rougher'.
Wire kept to his word with opener Withdraw/Retreat, dedicated to JD Salinger and paying an obvious homage to The Buzzcocks with fuzz guitars and screamed vocals.
Wire polished off wine at a canter, first of all opting for a glass and then just gulping it straight from the bottle.
It didn't affect his performance as he switched moods from light to dark with the melancholic Goodbye Suicide.
On the subject of the Manics, Wire told fans he would be recording with the band the following day as they are currently working on an album he believes sounds like Guns N' Roses at their rocking best. In fact he described it as, 'Appetite For Destruction Part 2'.
The set rolled on with The Shining Path, an obvious nod to New Order in which Wire actually name-checked lead singer Bernard Sumner and mocked his own vocal limitations.
Wire twisted the knife into topics including Tory leader David Cameron and the band Snow Patrol who sound 'just like Deacon Blue without the girl singer'.
The set closed with a song penned by Wire and his absent soul mate Richey Edwards called Condemned To Rock And Roll. Wire told the audience he might have played his first and last solo gig. The show was full of baroque comedy, colourful language, forthright opinion and a scattering of decent songs. With a Welsh tour pencilled for later in the year, it is likely Wire will be spreading the word of The Secret Society for a while yet.