Gig review: Feeder at The Wardrobe, Leeds

Feeder. Picture: Steve Gullick
Feeder. Picture: Steve Gullick
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“We’re holding steady at number three,” Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas tells the intimate crowd gathered under the fairy-lights at Leeds’s Wardrobe, “but Lewis Capaldi is going to take us.”

He grins. “F***ing Capaldi, he gets everywhere.”

The veteran Newport singer-songwriter is jesting of course, but even so, with the omnipotence of solo male folk-poppers littering the charts, their return to the UK albums listings will make for a refreshingly out-of-the-norm throwback.

The Welsh rock group have arguably weathered more than most of their contemporaries and aren’t always given the due they deserve – they were one of the more consistent post-grunge, alternative outfits around the turn of the century after all – but here, at a launch show for their latest LP Tallulah put on by the city’s much-respected Crash Records, they’re being received like the heroes their status deserves.

Played in a stripped-back setting, with bassist Taka Hirose and the rest of the band seated around Nicholas, it’s a brief, sub-hour evening of hook-heavy gems cut back to the bone. The band have noted that Tallulah is one of their most focused offerings to date and they certainly don’t skimp on it here either, with more new than old aired on stage.

Pared back from fully fleshed out arrangements, they’ve all got an effortless campfire quality; cuts such as Fear of Flying and Daily Habit both earn strident singalongs as evocative power-pop jams while Blue Sky Blue makes for a plaintively pretty cut. Figure You Out, from 2017’s greatest hits compilation, is shorn of its trumpet refrain, but carried as a chant, it transcends itself.But the old stuff is just as good too. There’s only a handful of tracks from their halcyon singles chart days, with the superbly sad escapism of High and Just the Way I’m Feeling remaining absolutely watertight.

The close comes with the inevitable Buck Rogers, dispatched after a few further snippets of extra new songs, intended to whet the appetite for when they return to West Yorkshire in the autumn with the full band proper. One imagines it’ll be just as uplifting a night as this one.