Review: Manic Street Preachers

The Manic Street Preachers.
The Manic Street Preachers.
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Twenty years ago Britpop was at its height. But while the likes of Oasis, Blur and Pulp were basking in its bright unabashed glow, the Manic Street Preachers faced an uncertain future.

The Welsh rockers were struggling to come to terms with the disappearance of their friend and band member Richey Edwards and when they released Everything Must Go, their fourth album, in May 1996, it could easily have been their last.

However, rather than signalling their denouement it became a critical and commercial success, changing their lives in the process.

Bands have come and gone in the intervening years but the Manics have defiantly stayed the course, and as they took to the stage at the First Direct Arena in Leeds to perform their career-defining album the sense of affection from the crowd was palpable.

The album contains several of their best known tracks including the anthemic Australia and A Design For Life.

But great as it was to hear the record in its entirety, it was the second half of the gig that saw the band at their best.

Led by frontman James Dean Bradfield and with Sean Moore pounding away on drums and bassist Nicky Wire pogoing around the stage, they performed rapturous versions of Motorcycle Emptiness and You Stole The Sun From My Heart, among a host of other stand out performances.

The Manics have been mixing punk, pop and politics for 25 years now, and as they head into middle age they do so brimming with energy and verve.

Long may it continue.

By Chris Bond