Friday 16 March 2018

Feeder, Rock City, Nottingham

Supported by Marsicans

So to my second Feeder gig in four days, well it is a special occasion being their 21st Anniversary.

They are supported by a young indie quartet from Leeds called Marsicans, who go down pretty well with the sold out crowd both for the quality of their performance and their infectious enthusiasm.

As regards Feeder, the big question for me is whether anything different would be chucked in to what they played in Leeds. Apparently they teased the Birmingham crowd on Thursday by offering 'Crash', another oldie, but didn't play it.

Their crowd are a diverse bunch. They have amassed a devoted following over the years that has stuck with them through thick and thin. For them, this Tour has been a sort of payback time with the band delving deeper into their classic debut album 'Polythene' than we’ve seen for many a tour. Among the many that are here reliving the old days, you could probably include the band themselves. Although judging by his Mohawk and shades, no one has dared tell Taka that he's over 50 now.

They have also continued to attract new fans and I don’t think they’re all the offspring of their older fans. Popularity wise, the band are bigger now than they've been in fifteen years and are selling out decent sized venues up and down the county.

The gig itself turns out to be very similar to Leeds, obviously just in a better venue. There is a slight set change in that 'Stereo World' is moved earlier to follow equally terrific 'Insomnia'. This means that the three in a row from ‘Polythene’, that happened at Leeds, doesn’t occur tonight. In fact it’s not even two in a row because, as expected, the set is trimmed to fit Rock City’s curfew and ‘Cement’ loses out. Fully vindicating my trip to Leeds.

Marooned on it’s own 'My Perfect Day' steps up gallantly to fill the void and soars ever higher tonight as it is joyfully welcomed home by all the hardcore oldies (and youngies) down the front, me included.

Other highlights are another ‘Polythene’ song that is a set regular ‘High’ which is emotionally dedicated to Jon Lee, the band’s former drummer who is no longer with us. ‘Piece by Piece’ is again outstanding and ‘Yesterday Went Too Soon’ sublime nestled in the middle of the five song encore.

Hopefully those who have come mainly for the hits from the early 2000s will also appreciate these early songs and also Feeder’s material from the last decade which includes some of their finest work. Songs which Grant Nicholas is always rightly very proud of and keen to play. The likes of ‘Renegades’, ‘Borders’ and ‘Eskimo’ show what those who haven't been paying attention have been missing out on. 

Appreciate it I think they do. Nicholas himself looks almost shocked at how well everything goes down and I am intrigued to see where Feeder go from here. Their set has always been a bit of a hits package because Nicholas has always seemed reluctant to leave anything ‘big’ out in case he offends anyone, which can makes things a touch repetitive at times. He’s got around this dilemma for this tour by pushing the set out to two hours, and they have cleverly paced it as well, never playing more than two nights back to back. This has enabled them to jump deeper into the archives to keep awkward customers like me happy.

The question now is can they put the genie back into the bottle and go back to shorter sets? Probably not... I hope not... and this celebration of their first 21 years won’t kill off the repeated calls for ‘Polythene’ to have a birthday tour of it's own. Here's to the next 21 years...
Feeder Setlist Rock City, Nottingham, England 2018, The Best Of Tour

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Feeder, Academy, Leeds

Supported by Team Picture

Feeder are out on another big tour to celebrate the 21st anniversary of their first release, 25 years of existence and last year’s ‘Best Of’ collection. They have promised to dig deep into the ‘Best Of’ to dust down some of the classics they haven’t played for many a year.
I’d booked tickets for the ‘warm up’ show in Lincoln last week to see if they were going to make good on that promise but sadly that show was snowed off. So instead, with tickets already for Nottingham on Friday, I thought an extra trip to Leeds was in order.

The support bands are Sweet Little Machine and Team Picture. Feeder have been offering their support slot up to local bands and tonight they have teamed up with Kerrang! Radio to offer two of them.

I miss the former but the latter, dressed as some sort of toy soldiers, are eclectic knob twiddlers and guitar pedal geeks if you like creating an almost psychedelic sound. It’s a slightly obscure mix of sounds that might take them somewhere but might not. Good luck to them.

Feeder meanwhile don’t disappoint, playing 24 songs and clocking five minutes over two hours on stage. This was the biggest Feeder show I've ever seen. Of course they played all their big hits as usual and opened with ‘Feeling A Moment’. Never a great favourite of mine and I’ve never been too sure about it as an opener either but I guess it gets it out the way. From there onwards they really rocked.

The crowd took a while to get going but they got there eventually. The big question though was what were the band going to dig deep for. Sadly there isn’t time in the set to give new mini album ‘Arrow’ a fair hearing and only ‘Figure You Out’ features but you can’t have everything.

The first nugget of gold was ‘Piece by Piece’ which is so rare that despite being a serial Feeder gig goer I’ve never heard them play it live before. Criminally it wasn't even played on the Echo Park tour despite coming from that particular album, so it has been a very long time coming. It was just WOW.

However the main meat of their back catalogue digging came towards the end of the main set, after the band had done another first and taken a mid-set siesta after playing ‘Tender’ or was this just to get Grant Nicholas’s cat Bamboo up on the big screen. Don’t ask.

The meaty highlight was a trio of tracks back-to-back from the bands début full LP ‘Polythene’ from 1996. First was punchy début single ‘Stereo World’, then the illusive legend that is ‘My Perfect Day’ which was dedicated to Jon Lee and then my beloved ‘Cement’. ‘Cement’ being the track that got me into Feeder all those years ago and unheard live by my ears since 2001 (that 'Echo Park' tour again) where incidentally they also played ‘Stereo World’ before retiring it. It was so terrific to hear both live again after 17 years.

The Polythene pair were included in an audience vote for which only hard core fans need apply along with Silent Cry’s 'Who’s The Enemy' from 2008. A rather unfair choice as the excellent but not well known ‘Who’s The Enemy’ could do with the exposure.

After the usual jump around to ‘Buck Rogers’ the band return to play a five song encore that really wound the 'casuals' up who had been shouting for the closing ‘Just A Day’ since about the third song of the evening. We all love a bit of ‘Just A Day’ of course but sometimes you wish they're throw it in early so then the rest of us can then enjoy the rest of the set in peace.

First Nicholas aided by Tom Gleeson on guitar played an acoustic ‘Silent Cry’ before Dean Deavall joined them to add keyboards to ‘Children of the Sun’. The pace is gradually being ramped back up and next is the always epic but not always present ‘Yesterday Went Too Soon’. It is immense, as ever.

Now guys you can go mental to ‘Seven Days in the Sun’ and ‘Just a Day’.

It was possibly the best set I've seen Feeder do for 15 years and well worth the long drive. Now to Nottingham, where sadly they may have to trim the set a little due to the strongly enforced early curfew there.

Feeder Setlist O2 Academy Leeds, Leeds, England 2018, The Best Of Tour