Thursday 22 March 2018


john meagher

manic street preachers

olympia, dublin

Christy Moore has Manic Street Preachers in his sights. Not only is he railing against Diageo for its Arthur's Day shindig, but he has a well-aimed pop at some of the bigger names taking the Guinness cash, including these Welsh survivors.

After plenty of downs as well as ups in a career that has been intriguing to follow, it is unlikely James Dean Bradfield and friends care about the acid words of a has-been Irish balladeer.

There's certainly no shortage of love for them in the Olympia.

It helps that they are in town with one of their best albums in years – the introspective, comparatively stripped-back Rewind the Film. After veering dangerously close to dad-rock territory over the past few years, it's a welcome return to form – even if the material isn't immediately obvious as that of Manic Street Preachers.

From the off, though, the trio are keen to dust down old favourites.

The night kicks off with a blistering take on one of their most emblematic songs, 'Motorcycle Emptiness', before settling into a more relaxed place for 'Your Love Alone is Not Enough' and an excellent new song, 'Show Me the Wonder'.

Some of the material fails to meet expectations – 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next' seems slightly flat, although Bradfield et al are on much surer ground with a memorable take on 'Elvis Impersonator'. One of the night's highlights is supplied by the new album's title track – Bradfield captures the song's nostalgic yearning beautifully (the album version is sung by Sheffield crooner Richard Hawley).

Richey Edwards, the founding member who disappeared almost 20 years ago, is not forgotten with Nicky Wire paying a heartfelt tribute to a much-missed bandmate.

Then it's straight into a frenetic, pulse-quickening version of 'Revol' – one of their earliest songs – in his honour.

The career-spanning set rarely flags. Their performance of 'Ocean Spray' is such that it would encourage even the most ardent fan to listen to the song with fresh ears, and on 'Motown Junk' they truly roll back the years, playing with the sort of abandon of men half their age.

'A Design for Life' – their now traditional set-closer – brings down the curtain on a strong, near two-hour show, and even if it isn't their best take on the song, it hardly matters to a buoyed-up crowd who sing the words back with a fervour that Christy Moore would once have experienced.

Irish Independent

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