Gig review: Feeder at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

On the back of a lengthy national tour, the Welsh-Japanese rock stalwarts dial it back with light and shade at an intimately stripped-down album launch show.
Feeder. Picture: Steve GullickFeeder. Picture: Steve Gullick
Feeder. Picture: Steve Gullick

“I just want to say a massive thank you to everybody that has bought a copy of the new album,” Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas tells a packed-out Community Room at the Brudenell Social Club, nestled away in the student enclave of Hyde Park in north Leeds. He blinks owlishly. “That is assuming you have.”

A ripple of laughter runs through the crowd, and he chuckles. “There’s still time!”

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It’s rare to see the Newport group this up close and personal. Though they may be the best part of two decades removed from their commercial heyday, they still find themselves comfortably at home packing out four-figure capacity venues across the nation.

This intimately stripped-down album launch show, played to just a few hundred people tucked around the side of a onetime working men’s club, is as close to the whites of their eyes that most will ever get with them.

Not that there is pretension to their stop here. Held in conjunction with the city’s Crash Records, this date on the back of a lengthy national tour last month comes as they debut their latest LP Black/Red, and forms part of the promotional efforts behind it.

Amplifiers have been thrown out of the window; mutedly tasteful semi-acoustic renditions are the order of the evening on a balmy spring night.

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Those hoping to hear the hits across a fifty-minute performance are liable to be shortchanged; there is no Buck Rogers, no Just a Day, no Borders here. What there is however is a slew of new songs that take on greater light and shade when pared back to their bones.

At 56, both Nicholas and bassist Taka Hirose stand defiant against their age; it is the gently winsome power of Soldiers of Love and Submarine that the laughter lines crinkle and the emotions swell.

Still, the handful of times they dip into the past are the most directly affecting; Just the Way I’m Feeling and Yesterday Went Too Soon are magnificent rock ballads laid bare for the brilliance of their pop nous.

“This song is the reason we didn’t get dropped by our label all those years ago, and I owe it to keep playing it,” Nicholas says before a climactic High sees arms thrust aloft in unison.

They practically float off-stage afterwards, its refrain echoing into the twilight; a moment preserved in glorious amber for those lucky enough to be there.

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