Friday 14 October 2016

Feeder, Rock City, Nottingham

Supported by The Virgin Marys

The last time I saw Feeder in 2012, which was the last time they toured, they were supported by Macclesfield’s The Virgin Marys. Déjà vu. Look who it is again.

The Marys are a three piece that play loud and fast. You know, pounding drums, heaving bass and screeching guitar. They are brash but tuneful with a sound that just doesn’t really let up. Yet lead singer Ally Dickaty seems such a nice boy when he's not swearing and screeching into the mic. When he is screeching into the mic he's quite a good singer. I bought a CD the last time I saw them and by the time they finish with the brilliant ‘Just a Ride’, I’m thinking I might do so again. 

The Virginmarys Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2016

After a four year break Feeder are back to promote their new album ‘All Bright Electric’ which they are plugging before the start with a £5 download offer being projected continually on to the back wall. Then David Bowie’s Space Oddity comes on, the track they have been taking the stage to on this tour, and the volume is cranked up. We are about to get started. 

Tonight the band have their fullest line up since the Silent Cry tour of 2008 with the return of a second guitarist as Tom Gleeson joins the band for these gigs. Grant Nicholas and bassist Taka Hirose are backed by their usual keyboard player Dean Deavall while Geoff Hollroyde is the man on drums.

Kicking off with ‘Another Day On Earth’ off the new record, a ‘power ballad’ of sorts that builds from a quiet keyboard driven introduction with the guitars and drums gradually joining to take it to a crescendo of noise before it dies off again for a gentler finish. It’s quite an opener.

Next up it’s the heavy guitars of ‘Universe of Life’, which is a much rockier tune reminiscent of their early albums. Which is a sound they have been harking back to much more of late with the ‘Renegades’ and ‘Generation Freakshow’ albums. 

With the track ‘Renegades’ up next, it’s not a start for those who are looking for a populous set full of the hits. I’m already thinking that a lot of people down the front aren’t going to know anything other than the big singles given how indifferently some people have received the opening three numbers. 

Then they kick in to the hits.

From here onwards, aside from the tracks from the new album, it is very populous with eleven of the remaining twelve songs played all coming from one album - 2006’s Singles Collection. 

Of these, it is ‘Pushing the Senses’ that really get things going and the resulting mosh reorganises the symmetry of the crowd displacing the indifferent ones towards the back. Now suddenly everyone down the front knows everything. Subsequently the other non Singles album track ‘Borders’ get a much better reception than ‘Renegades’ did and becomes, surprisingly, one of the highlights of the night. 

Of the new material, 'Eskimo' is classic Feeder, a combo of quiet verses and louder choruses, which will hopefully become a bit of a favourite. It has a ‘fever’ vocal line in the chorus which sounds very like ‘Feeder’ tonight. 

Another new track ‘Paperweight’ is one I’m not so keen on and feels more of a ‘lightweight’ amongst the other selections off the new record. Such as ‘Geezer’, which is the complete opposite, and another much heavier number. Then there’s 'Infrared Ultraviolet' which is played as part of the encore. It’s classy, stylish and just beautiful. 

The main set closes with ‘Buck Rogers’, a track that Nicholas has tinkered with live repeatedly over the years. Currently it has a stripped back almost acoustic intro before leaping into life. As does the crowd. Not that it matters much how they play it because everyone is far too busy singing back the words and jumping around. In fact Taka Hirose may well be playing ‘Enter Sandman’ rather than Buck Rogers.

The band return for the encore and blame the venues curfew for making the crowd choose between early old school classic ‘Sweet 16’ and massive hit ‘Seven Days In The Sun’. I am impressed by the size of the shout for ‘Sweet 16’ which probably shows that it could easily be included in the main set but it is dwarfed by the shout for ‘Seven Days’ which is what we then get. Although I would say that the vote is skewed slightly by a lot of people around me yelling ‘both’.

The night of course ends, as is tradition, with a jump around to ‘Just A Day’.

It’s a cracking gig and it’s a long time since I’ve bopped down the front throughout. I would, of course, have liked a deeper delve through the band’s back catalogue but they are probably right to return after such a long break with a hits strewn set. 

Nicholas has already made all manner of set list promises for their gigs next year and there is also talk of a mini tour to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their debut album ‘Polythene’. So next year could be really special.
Feeder Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2016, All Bright Electric

Thursday 6 October 2016

The Mission, Rock City, Nottingham

Supported by Peter Murphy

Is it just me or does Peter Murphy sound a bit like Chris Rea these days? Ok. Just me then.

It’s only on his lighter moments of course and they're dark brooding lighter moments but there are a lot of them. Somehow I expected a bit more ’punch’ from the former frontman of Bauhaus but then I haven't really kept up with his post Bauhaus career.

The thing is I don't think many other folk here tonight have either and his set falls a bit flat with the majority. Politely applauded but flat nonetheless. Murphy, backed by a guitarist and a bass player, does have his hardcore fans down the front who love every minute but the rest of us were perhaps hoping for a bit more familiarity from tonight’s special guest.

Oh well, never mind, we are here on the occasion of The Mission’s 30th birthday so cue the Dambusters.  

Daaaa da da da d d da da... etc.

And we’re off. ‘Beyond the Pale’, ‘Serpent's Kiss’ and ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ back to back without taking breath. That’s a proper old school opening. Then there’s time to refill your lungs as Wayne Hussey acknowledges the crowds appreciation of their back catalogue before launching into a new song ‘Tyranny of Secrets’ off their new album 'Another Fall From Grace'. The first of three they play this evening with the new single 'Met-Amor-Phosis' going down particularly well.

Guitarist Simon Hinkler had remarked before the tour that he had felt a bit daunted after being asked to rehearse 47 songs but clearly he got with the project as the band have been ripping up the set list every night and slipping in something different at each venue. I really wish more bands took this approach which makes it all a bit more special for the long term fans.

Original members Hussey, Hinkler and Craig Adams are again joined by Mike Kelly on drums and now have a new female singer amongst their mist. Evi Vine is the new Julianne Regan if you like and adds the gloss to a sparkling ‘Severina’ tonight amongst other tracks.

The set is surprisingly wide ranging and well planned considering it consists of just 12 tracks ending with an epic ‘Wasteland’ before the band return for the first of two encores.

An acoustic ‘Black Mountain Mist’ along with Evie, is followed by a bit of jam session to ‘1969’ before ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ and then a rare airing of what used to be the traditional set closer ‘Shelter From The Storm’ albeit a vanilla version which doesn’t ramble off into other tracks like it used to. It’s also good to see that they still hand out roses to this song.

In fact Wayne Hussey was quite generous with his handouts tonight, earlier lobbing his bottle of wine to a girl in the crowd who was on someone’s shoulders. She impressively caught it and the Health and Safety officer breathed a huge sigh of relief.

They return again for ‘The Crystal Ocean’ and ‘Deliverance’ to which they finally leave the stage for good with the crowd still singing the chorus right up to the point the house lights come up.