Manic Street Preachers, Brixton Academy, London
Tuesday 25 January 2011
The savage rip in the Manic Street Preachers' life was, of course, the disappearance and likely death of Richey Edwards in 1995. The loss of their friend and bandmate still brought Nicky Wire close to traumatised tears when he spoke of it last year. Musically too, there was the rupture of the giant stadium-filling singles they wrote afterwards, the almost guiltily ironic achievement of the subversive dreams they and Richey had. Tonight's tremendous, happy gig shows that that scar is healing over.
Richey is, as always, present in the feather-boa draped mic-stand left waiting should he ever return for it. They've moved on from that loss by taking him with them. Last year's album, Postcards from a Young Man, is the crucial change. Because it's possessed of all their previous strengths, it lets them integrate their whole history in this show. It proves that they've only ever been better or worse at being themselves.
A scissor-kick from Nicky Wire introduces their 1992 anthem "Motorcycle Emptiness", an already epic rock song perhaps doubled in length before it rumbles to a stop. Last year's single "(It's Not War) Just the End of Love" follows, similar and practically, pointedly equal. The sudden introspection of "My Little Empire" is followed by "Postcards from a Young Man", a 2010 song with a swaggering climb which makes it feel like the band are about to punch through the ceiling; a deliberately nostalgic song that demonstrates the Manics' power is in the present tense. The choking attack of 1991's punkish "You Love Us" follows immediately. Resonances from the band's history – like the post-Richey freight their cover of "Suicide is Painless" now carries – are observed but don't overwhelm. More important is the way, with songs such as "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next", they still repudiate every community-slashing value of governments like the current one, in a spirit of unifying joy.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils