In recent years with the emergence of bands such as Catatonia and the Stereophonics, Wales has become to the late nineties what Seattle was to the early half of this decade. Undoubtably Manic Street Preachers, or just the Manics, are at the forefront of this Welsh takeover. It's never been so popular to be Welsh since Tom Jones asked "What's new pussycat?".
The Manics are a band with a much publicised history. From the glam punk sloganeering of their first album "Generation Terrorists" through the nihilism of third album "The Holy Bible", all the way to the disappearance of band member Richey James and through the other side to mainstream acceptance and critical acclaim with the post-Richey albums "Everything Must Go" and "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours". (when I say post-Richey I mean he wasn't around for the recording, as he did contribute lyrics for some of the songs on "Everything..", for example 'Kevin Carter'). Highlights from all these events are present tonight.
The band kick off with 'You Stole The Sun Fom My Heart' from the new album following it up with 'PCP' from "the Holy Bible", at which point I went nuts just hearing maerial from the excellent, but 'difficult child' that was the third album. The rest of the set continued to mix old songs: 'Motown Junk', 'You Love Us', an ill-received 'Yes', and anthemic 'Motorcycle Emptiness', with newer, more well-known songs: 'Everything Must Go', 'Design For Life', new one 'Tsunami', their number one hit 'If You Tolerate This…'. But the real 'song of the night' had to be 'Kevin Carter'. As soon as James introduced it with "He turned in his grave, when they invented instant cameras - Kevin Carter" the crowd went insane, the whole of the Point singing the words back to him like it was a religious creed, like it was THE religious creed.
All in all a great concert even if it was in the Point Depot. A couple of my own favourites were missing, 'Faster' and 'Roses in the Hospital', but the inclusion of 'PCP' and 'Yes' more than made up for the loss. Plus the video of 'You Love Us' being played behind the band on the triple video screen, while they themselves played the song, showed just how far the boys have come and how Richey may be gone, but he's certainly not forgotten. They finished with 'Design For Life' with the video screens silently belting out 'This Is The End' to a back-drop of feedback and distortion.
What's new? The Manics, eh, 'pussycat'.
by Andrew Kelly