“Youlove us! You love us! You love us, you love!!!” Yes Manic Street Preachers, yes we do.
And that was how the mighty Welsh band announced themselves to the crowd at the Roundhouse on Sunday as they headlined day three of the iTunes Festival. Tearing through old songs and new ones, the band played with renewed vigour allowing us to forget that these are now family men in their forties and return to their lipstick and leopard print glam-punk years.
Nicky Wire, resplendent as always in oversized sunglasses and feather boa, provided the animated focal point on stage with scissor kicks and some particularly acerbic comments about the royal family. James Dean Bradfield as ever eschewed his bandmate’s flamboyance, opting to wow the crowd with his guitar playing and there isn’t a British musician alive today that can make a Les Paul sing like he can.
The Roundhouse is a fabulously intimate venue to see a band of this stature, the acoustics under the domed roof are excellent. Also, the 20-foot tall digital screen behind the band provided the backdrop to show the music videos of their biggest hits as they were played live.
Support in the night came from promising up and coming five-piece Ramona, catchy pop-rock heavily influenced by Blondie and Kim Wilde although it appeared frontwoman Karen Anne has been studying the stage movements of Elastica’s Justine Frischmann too. Second up were over-hyped yawn-fest Dry The River. Whilst admittedly better than their acoustic show on the Roundhouse roof at the Camden Crawl, it us still astonishing that anyone would pay good money to see more whiny faux-Americana.
The night was of course utterly owned by the Manics and their devoted (and slightly unhinged) fanbase. Masses Against The Classes, Motorcycle Emptiness and Faster all started mosh pits while Everything Must Go, Life Becoming A Landslide and If You Tolerate This all prompted mass sing-alongs. There were obligatory new songs from 2010 album Postcards From A Young Man but the evening ended with traditional closing anthem A Design For Life and a huge shower of red, green and white confetti.
Manics fans still contend that missing guitarist Richie Edwards is still alive and one can only hope he saw this gig which was broadcast live on the iTunes website. He’d be so proud of his boys.