Saturday, June 02, 2007

Send Away the Tigers and Bring on the Manics

Every now and then I have the urge to get some new music, but today was different. I wasn’t content to buy yet another indie band’s catalogue of pop songs or rock folk ballads and after getting through the whole ‘Just for you’ selection I was still unsatisfied. I wanted something special, something that I could rave about and just because I knew I hadn’t done this for a while I typed in ‘Manic Street Preachers’.

I could have apologised then to my neighbours for the jumping up and down, but maybe I’ll save that for tomorrow when I’ve listened to Send Away the Tigers about ten times. I’m on my second play through now! And well, it sounds ... exactly like the Manic Street Preachers!

They are a band who have always been on my radar from the days that Richey James appeared on the front cover of the NME with the words ‘4 Real’ carved into his arm, but it was with the release of Everything must Go that I really began to pay attention. It was the first album without James and confirmed Nicky Wire as the real strength of this group. Design for life got to number 2 and the CD was rarely off my player.

A couple of years later I found myself in Madrid where the live music scene was dire (OK it was dire if you wanted anything other than Latino music) and then all of a sudden in the space of two weeks Massive Attack and the Manics were playing. I get this feeling that Massive played first. It was a great venue near Retiro Park where pretty much everywhere you stood you could see; always good for a bit of a short arse like me. I was well into Massive at the time. We had a shitty cassette of Mezzanine that we listened to in the car and then one day we finally splashed out and bought the CD and from then on you could regularly hear me waking up the neighbourhood on a Saturday morning blasting out the beginning of Angel. I had this whole image in my head of doing an installation that would have ‘Angel’ as a soundtrack with this massive mechanical Angel that would be gradually lowered and then all you would see were constellations and then as the lights went up the thing would unfold its wings and be blindingly bright. So what I’m getting at is that although I really liked the Manics I wasn’t as excited by This is my Truth Tell me Yours, I had no expectations for this gig other than I would enjoy it because live music is my drug of choice; that was until the lights went up and they started playing. Compared to the earlier albums, Everything must Go and This is my Truth were slick and well produced. But when they began playing all that was stripped away and what you were left with was an energetic guitar rock band. The crowd erupted and that tingle went up my spine to the tips of my toes that kept my head bopping and my shoulders grooving and my feet shuffling for the whole hour and a half. The crowd went nuts when they played Motorcycle Emptiness and La Tristessa Durera, but real ecstasy was achieved when the first chords of Motown Junk filled the club.

When Know Your Enemy was released in 2001, I was now in Paris. What the Manics achieved in that club in Madrid they achieved on this album. It was back to pure guitar rock and Wire’s ability to blend good tunes with politicized lyrics was extraordinary. I was sure they would play Paris, I looked all the time, I looked, I waited, they didn’t.

In 2002 Forever Delayed was released with that classic cover of Suicide is Painless, but it was a Greatest Hits album after all and there were no gigs.

So today I’ve already checked the ticket site and the official website. They are almost at the end of their UK tour and I don’t see a European one. And if they do come I think they should play the Bataclan, because it’s gritty and fairly small and they will bring the house down. And most definitely not La Cigale, because I don’t know what it is with that club, it’s jinxed, bands always cancel there. Well, actually they can play anywhere, just... please... come.


Minx said...

So with you on this. MSP's have always stayed on my periphery music vision, listenable but not a top fav. Maybe I should see them live - that always seems to change perspective.
I have Placebo rattling in me ears at the moment, dotted with Amy Winehouse, Gotye, Chris Cornell and Snow Patrol. Can't live without the music but all may change tomorrow!

Verilion said...

Tomorrow? Who you seeing/doing tomorrow? The Manics are playing tonight at the Truro Hall for Cornwall. Why is it called that? Where else would it be for? Anyway I would definitely recommend them. So many bands that seem great on CD are absolute shite live (e.g. STEREOPHONICS - as much stage presence as a plank of wood). And then bands you don't think too much of are fantastic.

Minx said...

No V, I meant I may be listening to Ella Fitzgerald or Damien Rice tomorrow.
Hall for Cornwall? Don't know but more bands are making that extra journey to get down to us now. The Eden Project is a really good venue as well and the Eden Sessions in August are already sold out (Amy Winehouse, Rufus Wainwright, Lily Allen, James Morrison). Agree about the live thing - a friend saw Madonna recently, a lifelong fan she was hugely disappointed in a poor show.

Marie said...

I love live music too, V. Nothing beats it, though I don't go to gigs much these days - too expensive.

I agree - some bands that may be good on CD might not be good live. I like the Stereophonics, though I haven't seen them live, but I think I did see a live gig of theirs on TV and I remember thinking they weren't so good.

Thanks for solving my problem, by the way.

Verilion said...

Hello Minx, yep sorry too tired to be able to understand English anymore! My friends saw Madonna last time she was here and said that she was pants and they paid an absolute arm and a leg to go and see her. Which brings us round to Marie's point. Yep, it is kind of expensive, which is why I'm a bit fussier about who I go and see nowadays. The last band I saw was The Magic Numbers and they were brilliant, although one member of the audience did tell my friend to stop talking!

Anonymous said...

I am so out of it.

Thank you for dropping names of bands I really need to explore.

Man, I need a life.

apprentice said...

You sound like me, if i get something that I like it gets a complete pounding. I'm enjoying Feist's new album The Reminder. The Park is a great track on it.
Last person I saw live was K T Tunsall, she was really good. She sings on the new Travis album, which is a bit twee for me.

kyklops said...

Ahh, live music. Being a married-with-kid old fart I never get out to see live shows anymore. It doesn't help living in an out-of-the-way place like Miyazaki (Japan). The last "famous" performer I saw was Bob Dylan. In 1997!

Verilion said...

Hi Apprentice, I haven't given the Feist a try I have to admit. I saw KT last year too. She played the Bataclan (Good gurrl) and a jolly time was had by all including the guy in front of me who kept turning round to see if I would squeal - my signal for a good song!
And Kyklops, King Bob! Did you recognise the songs? I bet you're not really an old fart, kids keep you young... or so I keep telling myself.


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