A rare sortie into Derby for the legends that are the Manics. Some say they’re past their best. I don’t.
Date: October 12, 2010
Venue: Derby Assembly Rooms
Manics detractors will have you believe that they don’t belong in this epoch of modernistic, synthy shimmer-pop; they’ll argue that they’re an anachronism whose best work is firmly behind them. They’re also the kind of people who prefer style to substance. Basically, they’re the kind of people who you’re better off not listening to.
While it’s true that time has moved on and the Manics are no longer part of the musical zeitgeist, it’s also true that their last two records were a return to form, and on the live stage, they still soar with an energetic and pugilistic spirit.
Their set cherry picks from a vast and impressive oeuvre, set to a backdrop that includes four silver mannequins. Seriously, it was like Terminator Two re-imagined by Graham Norton.
We get the hits – Motorcycle Emptiness sounds particularly awesome; Roses in the Hospital is beefed up to show off its muscles; Faster, You Love Us, Tsunami, Motown Junk, Kevin Carter, Masses Against The Classes, they’re all present, and James Dean Bradfield treats us to a solo acoustic session that involves wondrous versions of La Tristesse Durera and You Stole the Sun From my Heart.
These all segue seamlessly with the newer offerings, even if new album track Hazelton Avenue does rob its chords from Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over.
And even though Nicky Wire’s white suit and shoulder-length hair make him look alarmingly like Jonathan Ross, it’s forgiven, particularly when a chest-beating, cocksure rendition of Design For Life closes the show.
Don’t belong in modern times? Behave yourselves.