O2 Academy, Bournemouth

Manic Street Preachers

I have always seen two very different stages within the career of the Manic street Preachers. The first was when they arrived on the music scene full of youthful self belief; with a very rebellious side hero worshipping their idols like Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten and Stuart Adamson. When Ritchie disappeared the band had plenty of soul searching to find a way to reinvent themselves and they did this in a big way, producing highly acclaimed album after album. Part of me really misses that angst of the early 90’s that created some amazing modern Punk anthems like “Mowtown Junk” and “You Love Us”. It is great to see though what this band have now become and this month sees the band out on yet another sold out tour of the UK in support of not one, but two new albums “Rewind The Film” and “Futurology”.


Escapists 12

Tonight’s show at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth is opened by a four piece from London by the name of “Escapists”, who take to the stage as a bit of a surprise to the audience as it seems that usual tour supports of “Wolf Alice” and “Scritti Politti” could not make this date. As they confidently start their set a sweet full-on twin guitar sound soon fills this old building and radiates all around. The effect-laden sounds include the use of an ebow that creates some really atmosphere building sounds, seemingly well liked by the audience who show much positive appreciation at the end of each song. The sets ends with a great song called “Breaking It Up” that kicks off with a great fuzzed-up bass line and yet more full-on guitars creating an excellent wall of momentous sound. Guitarists Simon and Oli get a bit enthusiastic pulling a few shapes into eachother when Simon embarrassingly falls over. He is soon, though slightly red-faced back on his feet and thanking the audience for their kind appreciation.

Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers 12345

At 9:15pm a short film of a pretty girl dressed in a marching band uniform walking around a disused mine in Wales is projected on to a huge screen at the back of the stage. The Manics then arrive on stage to a rapturous welcome from the Bournemouth crowd who have had a patient wait since their last visit here in 2010. They kick off with Nicky Wire’s amazing bass line introducing the opening song La Tristesse Durera (Scream To a Sigh), which gets the crowd moving in an instant. With eleven studio albums under their belt and a twelfth “Futurology” well on the way in June there is certainly no shortage on material from which to choose and tonight’s set features a nice varied mix of old and new. The new tracks arrive in the form of “Europa Geht Durch Mich”, quite a departure from previous material sounding like a cross between early Simple Minds and Kraftwerk with James singing half the song in English and half in German.

The crowd revel in all the band’s well known songs which include the energetic “Stay Beautiful”, a rather intimate solo acoustic version of “From Despair To Where” and a massively uplifting “Tsunami”. Looking as dapper as ever in a custom made jacket featuring Star Wars and Sex Pistols patches, Nicky Wire is strangely quiet tonight with no off-the-wall outbursts as with previously, but as dependable as ever with some nice backing vocals and very memorable bass lines. James is as ever the guitar hero making many guitar changes throughout the show, producing some really great work that have seen him possibly exceeding the work of some of his heroes.

The show comes to a close in a slightly unpredictable way with the hyper “Mowtown Junk” which included James playing out a reworked intro of the Gun N’ Roses classic “Night Train”, which when the song kicks in causes complete chaos down at the front in the mosh pit. The epic 90’s anthem “A Design For Life”; with a mass sing-a-long from the audience, completed the band’s brilliant 90 minute set with them still keeping true to their original values of no encores. I have been lucky enough to see the Manic Street Preachers play many times in a whole host of places since 1991 each gig brings with it something really special, a regeneration that other bands seem to struggle with. Tonight was no different I feel privileged to be amongst the audience to witness such an event in the smallest venue of the current tour.

Manic Street Preachers
La Tristesse Durera (Scream To a Sigh)
You Stole The Sun From My Heart
Motorcycle Emptiness
It’s Not War (Just The End Of Love)
Europa Geht Durch Mich
Stay Beautiful
Everything Must Go
Rewind The Film
Die In The Summertime
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Enola Alone
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky (Acoustic)
From Despair To Where (Acoustic)
This Sullen Welsh Heart (Acoustic)
Archives Of Pain
The Masses against the Classes
You Love Us
Show Me The Wonder
Mowtown Junk (Including Night Train intro)
A Design For Life

Faraday Cage
Post Gospel Blues
Phantom Limb
Breaking it up



Words & Videos by Dave Chinery(Chinners)
Manic Street Preachers pictures by Charlie Raven
Escapists pictures by Dan Court.

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