Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Oct 8th 2009 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Indeed, this latest cross-country tour marks the Manics' first stateside visit in a decade, and while their lack of chart success on this side of the Atlantic would seem to justify the long absence, the group has maintained a hearty, hungry cult following.
Wednesday's capacity crowd shouted along with anthems old and new, responding as vociferously to opener 'Motorcycle Emptiness,' a selection from band's 1992 debut, 'Generation Terrorists,' as it did 'Peeled Apples' and the marvelously titled 'Jackie Collins Existential Question Time,' both from this year's 'Journal for Plague Lovers' album.
The new record features songs co-written by original member Richey James Edwards, the emotionally troubled guitarist and wordsmith who went missing in 1995. Although his body has never been found, Edwards was officially presumed dead last year. As a tribute, Bradfield, bassist Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore crafted their latest album -- the Manics' ninth overall -- using lyrics their comrade left behind.
Bradfield referred to Edwards during Wednesday's show as "the reason we're here," though he refrained from the kind of solemn eulogizing one might expect from the leader of such an earnest band. Instead, he and his cohorts kept the talking to a minimum and ripped through some 22 tunes, melodic arena-rock epics played with punk conviction. Wire struck rock-star poses and the whole gang often pogoed to the beat, infusing the music with a joyfulness and inclusiveness not always apparent on the Manics' records.
The brawniness of 'Faster' and 'You Love Us' hinted at what the Clash might have sounded like had Joe Strummer been blessed with the mighty pipes of Klaus Meine, singer for German metal gods the Scorpions. 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next,' meanwhile, built from a bouncy Brit-pop number to a U2-grade sing-along.
"Not bad for a bunch of f---ing 40-year-olds," Wire said at one point, grinning from beneath a white sailor's cap and the loose strands of hair that fell from his shaggy haircut. If the bassist's fashion sense represented the glam-rock side of the group's sound, Bradfield's cropped hair and naval uniform were ironic testaments to its unflinching left-wing political leanings.
Before launching into the closer, 'A Design for Life,' Bradfield told fans there would be no encore, as the Manics prefer to burn themselves out during the regular set.
"It's not because we don't love you from the bottom of our filthy Welsh hearts," he said, secure in the knowledge that feeling was mutual.