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Manic Street Preachers/JJ72, Smithfield, Dublin, 4th May 2001

How JJ72 got to be as big as they are is beyond me. They don't have either the songs or the stage presence for a gig this size. Guitarist Mark Greany ponced about the stage acting like a spoilt child while throwing every clichéd, used-up old rock 'n' roll star pose in the book. At least they put their poor instruments out of their misery at the end of the set by destroying them.

The Manic Street Preachers, on the other hand, had the crowd on their side from the word go. The double opening blast of "Found That Soul" and "Motorcycle emptiness" set the standard for the rest of the set. Not a very mosh-pit kind of band, the crowd was none the less very energetic and the Manics obviously fed off this. Nicky Wire spent the first five songs scissor-kicking like his life depended on it, while James danced about the stage on one leg. Surprise songs came early on in the form of "Yes", which was of course dedicated to Richie James. It's been a long time since they have played something as dark as this track from the "Holy Bible" live.

Nicky, dressed up in a plaid kilt (he later explained he got his fashion tips from an Irish nurse), while not flashing his knickers, even found time to play guitar on "Miss Europa disco dancer" with James taking over on bass. New and old material mixed well live but they didn't over burden us with new songs. "Let Robeson sing", "Kevin Carter" and "You stole the sun..." were all met by a great crowd response. Never a band to do the expected James at one point set off playing the riff to "Sweet child o' mine" before switching to "Baby love" and of course from there into "Motown junk", which had the crowd going twelve shades of apeshit.

A brief acoustic set slowed things down in the middle, "Small black flowers" being the highlight here. Things were then sped up again after this with "Faster", "The masses against the classes" and "Australia" bringing the set to its end. Finishing with "A design for life", Nicky proceeded to trash the stage. Feedback screaming from the bank of wrecked amps, destroyed drums and a sample of someone shouting "Revolution, revolution!!", over and over meant there could be no encores.

Kenneth McGrath

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