Manic Street Preachers relive rebel youth in London

16th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers celebrated the 20th anniversary of their iconic third album "The Holy Bible" this week with sold-out gigs at one of London's most iconic music venues.

Their three-day residency at the Roundhouse saw the band re-create the urgency of their chaos years -- which to many defined their original mix of social realism, literary quotes and heavy guitars.

At the first concert Monday in the 19th-century former railway engine shed in north London, in front of a crowd of 3,300 people, they dedicated the first half of the concert to playing their third album, originally released in 1994, track by track.

The "Manics", now respected musicians in their mid-40s, took to a camouflage net-clad stage, singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield wearing a navy blue sailor shirt akin to his outfit from the mid-1990s.

Bass player Nicky Wire sported a camouflage jacket and drummer Sean Moore had on the same military beret he wore on the back cover of the album.

Like the record, the show opened to the sound of a sample from a documentary on prostitution and without a word, the band stormed into "Yes".

In the song, Bradfield omitted the line "I hurt myself to get pain out", a possible mark of respect for lyricist Richey James Edwards, who vanished in early 1995 -- just months after the release of "The Holy Bible" -- and had a history of self-harm.

He was officially declared dead in 2008.

Formed in the late 1980s by school friends living in a small village in the south Wales mining valleys, the band never took on any other full-time members after the disappearance of Edwards.

For the first part of the show, the Manics came on as the trio they became in 1995.

After a short interval for both band and crowd to recover from an intense first half, the Manics came back with their regular extra guitarist and keyboard player with a more varied and uneven second set.

Their epic 1992 single "Motorcycle Emptiness" was a favourite but there was a more subdued response from the crowd to tracks from their latest and 12th studio album "Futurology", heavily influenced by German Krautrock.

The show ended with "A Design for Life", the song that brought the band to a more mainstream audience in 1996.

Introducing it, Wire said this was no "Britpop anthem" and instead dedicated it to "everyone trying to keep libraries open".

The seven-date December tour, ending in London, sold out in minutes back in September and four more dates were added for May and June around Britain.

© 2014 AFP

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