The Manic Street Preachers recently made a rare appearance in the North East of England, performing their first show in the region since 2010.

The Welsh alternative rock outfit topped Saturday night’s ‘Live From Times’ event hosted by promoters SSD Concerts. This show was one of a series of seven concerts in the heart of Newcastle city centre which has been spread over the course of two extended weekends.

Mother Nature may not have been entirely co-operating on Saturday, but in true British festival spirit the fans in attendance grabbed a beer, put on their complimentary poncho (courtesy of the O2 Academy Newcastle) and carried on regardless.

Local lads the Old Pink House opened the proceedings as the early birds filed their way on site before Anglo Icelandic outfit Dream Wife grabbed the crowd’s attention with their unique brand of garage rock. 

Dream Wife by all accounts was started off as a fake band by a trio of art students who had the intention of performing as part of an exhibition at a local gallery. However, the group has become way more than that as a result of successful tours across the globe and a record deal with Enfer records.

Tracks like Dream Wife’s latest single “Somebody”, “Hey Heartbreaker” and “Lolita” were incredibly infectious. Lead vocalist Rakel Mjöll captivated the audience with her beautiful voice that in places is reminiscent of Bjork and other parts Debbie Harry.

Wakefield’s favourite sons the Jarman brothers also made the journey north with The Cribs. The band brought their fans out in force, which according to their frontman Ryan Jarman prompted the group to switch up their setlist.

Opening with “Come On, Be A No-One” The Cribs explosive set was packed full of old favourites with the likes of “Mirror Kissers”, “Hey Scenesters!” and “Men’s Needs” all included. The Cribs also took the opportunity to preview their new album 24-7 Rock Star Shit with the inclusion of both “In Your Palace” and “Year of Hate”. The Cribs left the Geordie faithful more than warmed up for the night ahead.

The anticipation for the Manic Street Preachers concert recently has been so high that the show was a complete sell-out. Die hard Manics fans queued up from early in the day to secure their spot at the front, many of whom were donning their faux fur leopard print coats reflective of the group’s formative years.

With a career dating back to 1986, and a back catalogue spanning twelve studio albums the Manics have a lot of material to choose from. Throughout the course of their 90-minute set, the Manic Street Preachers leave no stone unturned. They opened the show with “Motorcycle Emptiness” from their debut album Generation Terrorists and the audience was immediately transported back to 1992.

The crowd were in a jovial mood from the off. A pint of beer flew over the audience towards front man James Dean Bradfield, but it was a near miss. Bradfield later jokingly mocked the instigator regarding their throwing skills for not hitting their target, he expected more from this part of the country, whilst at the same time indicating that this was not an open invitation to try again, much to the audience’s amusement. The band most definitely felt that the crowd were up for the occasion.

Having been performing in the region for the best part of thirty years Bradfield fondly recollects the band’s previous shows in Newcastle before launching into “Indian Summer”. He asked the audience who had seen the Manics perform at the likes of The Riverside, the fondly missed Mayfair Ballroom or even the Newcastle City Hall. Of course, many in attendance had been to one or more of those shows.

With their last studio album being released back in 2014, this show took more of a retrospective look back on the Manics’ extensive discography, with only “Walk Me To The Bridge” from their latest album Futurology included in their set. The show was peppered with crowd pleasing hits a plenty including the likes of “Kevin Carter”, “Everything Must Go” and “You Stole The Sun From My Heart”.

There was even room for a cover of “This Is The Day” by The The before the proceedings were slowed down somewhat with beautiful acoustic renditions of “The Masses Against The Classes” and “Ocean Spray”.

Heading into the final third of their set Bradfield teased the audience with a few bars of Van Halen’s “Aint Talkin’ Bout Love” before bursting into an emphatic rendition of “You Love Us”. The old school Manics fans sung so loudly you could easily mistake them for the Saturday afternoon crowd at the nearby St. James Park football ground.

The night was brought to a close with a triple whammy of “Tsunami”, “Show Me the Wonder” and fan favourite “A Design for Life”, before confetti was projected into the audience from cannons in front of the stage.

It’s a good job that the venue was open air because otherwise, the Manic Street Preachers would have blown the roof clean off Times Square. Just like a fine wine, this band just keep getting better with age.

Manic Street Preachers
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Event Date: 05-Aug-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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