Manic Street Preachers get ‘Ultra Vivid’ in Brighton

Posted On 15 Oct 2021 at 4:27 pm

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

MANIC STREET PREACHERS + LOW HUMMER – BRIGHTON DOME 14.10.21

This was my first ‘big’ gig since lockdown so anticipation was high and it was comforting to see the Brighton Dome had a well oiled and organised system in place regarding the Covid restrictions that sadly have to be followed in these testing times.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Manic Street Preachers need little introduction, but for the uninitiated here’s a bit of a potted history. They formed way back in 1986 in Blackwood, Wales and consisted of a group of lifelong childhood friends. The band were James Dean Bradfield on vocals and guitar, Nicky Wire on the bass, Sean Moore on the drums and Richey Edwards on rhythm guitar.

The audience at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

They have amazingly, after all these years, managed to keep that very same line up apart from Richey Edwards who sadly went missing in 1995. Their first single was in a punky vein (‘Suicide Alley’) and their debut album in 1992 (‘Generation Terrorists’) quickly launched them to cult status across the world.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Since then, they have released 14 albums in total and headlined festivals as popular as Reading and Glastonbury, not to mention the numerous awards they have garnered (NME/Q/Brit Awards) as well as nominations for a Mercury Music Prize in 1996 and 1999. They have celebrated No.1 hits at least four times over the years and most recently with their newly released album ‘Ultra Vivid Lament’ which beat the mighty ‘Steps’ to the number one spot. They are so legendary in their Welsh homeland that one of their old local pubs (The Vulcan) has been moved and is currently being rebuilt in St Fagans National Museum of History (Cardiff), for all Manics fans to worship at the bar for eternity.

Low Hummer live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

First up tonight were Low Hummer from Hull who have been described as indie rock crossed with electronica. I thought they were more indie rock with an early punk tinge (The Fall, Jonathan Richman etc) but the electronica bit did come into play as their set progressed.

Low Hummer live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Their line up was :
John Copley (Guitar/vocals)
Aimee Duncan (Guitar/vocals)
Jack Gallagher (Bass)
Stephanie Hebdon (Keyboards)

Low Hummer live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pics Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pics to enlarge!)

I thought their set was quite intriguing and definitely a band that is hard to pigeon hole (which is a good thing). The male vocalist spent the first song pacing the stage with his hands in his pockets while looking into the audience and shaking his head in a nonchalant way which brought to mind an unsettled hybrid of Ian Curtis meets Jarvis Cocker. One of their songs had a section that totally reminded me of David Bowie’s ‘Fashion’. They seemed to have quite a few followers in the audience and when they played one of their more funky songs (‘The Real Thing’) the crowd were won over. A band to watch out for I reckon.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Then, it was time for the main event – Manic Street Preachers. The venue at this point was very quickly filling up with mainly 50 somethings which is different to the early 20’s brigade that were following them in their early days, but I suppose the crowd have grown up alongside the band over the decades. My correspondent on the street (Mel G-T) was chatting to some Manics fans during a covert cigarette smoking mission beforehand and discovered they were from Wales and had been following the whole tour thus far. One of them owned a pub which Nicky Wire was occasionally known to frequent and apparently he is a very down to earth guy which I don’t doubt. By this time, the venue was a sea of heads waiting for the off.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Manics hit the stage accompanied by an eye retina stinging cascade of lights to their well known crowd pleaser ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’. James Dean Bradfield thanked the crowd for waiting for this tour to happen as it had been postponed like many other events in these Covid times. The next song was the lead single from their new album (‘Ultra Vivid Lament’) by the name of ‘Orwellian’ which I have really grown to like. When the band announced that their new record was heavily ABBA influenced I waited with baited breath but they were right! The piano melody is pure Scandinavian power pop.

The audience at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

They played another new song later on which also cemented the fact with it’s singalong section. Another highlight was their rendition of ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’ which has a good message and whipped the crowd up into a bobbing head frenzy. About midway through the set there was a brief acoustic interlude from their frontman, James Dean Bradfield before the band came back on again. Nicky Wire had changed into a new spangly suit top and did his legs akimbo dancing which he mentioned played havoc with his 52 year old knees.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

There was a fair bit of banter on stage and the band’s childhood friendships definitely shone through. Nicky Wire said that James D.B was a cross between Tom Jones and Stuart Adamson and at one point I thought he was going to launch into a Big Country song. They did launch, however, into a ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ cover (Guns N Roses) which was a surprise that went down well with the fans. Another highlight was when they played one of their early songs ‘Slash ‘n’ Burn’ which featured a rocking riff to die for. They completed their mammoth set with a rendition of ‘You Love Us’ and ‘A Design For Life’ which went down a storm with the crowd.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Overall, It was a really good performance to a very loyal audience who were singing along to every word as if their life depended on it. It made a change for me to see them sitting down and focussed, rather than stumbling around an early 90’s festival site. They didn’t do an encore, but after a two hour set, who needs one? The gig had a good atmosphere and I think it was a much needed release for many people who have been striving for some sort of gig going normality. I’m sure all these years later, Richie would’ve been proud.

Manic Street Preachers live at Brighton Dome 14.10.21 (pic Sara-Louise Bowrey) (click pic to enlarge!)

Manic Street Preachers setlist:
‘Motorcycle Emptiness’
‘Orwellian’
‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’
‘The Secret He Had Missed’
‘Enola/Alone’
‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’
‘Still Snowing In Sapporo’
‘Everything Must Go’
‘Complicated Illusions’
‘International Blue’
‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’
‘La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)’ (acoustic)
‘Sweet Child O Mine’
‘Tsunami’
‘Afterending’
‘Slash n Burn’
‘Spectators Of Suicide’
‘Let Robeson Sing’
‘You Love Us’
‘A Design For Life’

Manic Street Preachers: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Tour flyer

Set times (pic Mike Burnell/is0400.com)

The Manics pub being rebuilt (pic Sonny Tyler) (click pic to enlarge!)

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