I went to see the Manic Street Preachers this week, playing a very very special gig at the O2 Arena to celebrate the release of their new singles compilation ‘National Treasures’. They played the entirety of their back catalogue of singles to a sold-out crowd, along with a whole host of special guests, so it really was an incredible night! Luckily they mixed up the order of the songs, otherwise there would have been a predictable lull somewhere in the middle. Hearing some of their best tracks playing out to an adoring audience over 3 hours just confirms to me that the Manics are still one of the greatest live bands. We were left with smudged eyeliner, covered in stray feathers and smiling as we walked back to the station. What a night to remember.

The (lengthy) setlist was:

You Stole the Sun From My Heart
Love’s Sweet Exile
Motorcycle Emptiness
(It’s Not War) Just the End of Love
Everything Must Go
She Is Suffering
From Despair to Where
Empty Souls
Let Robeson Sing
Life Becoming a Landslide
Kevin Carter
Little Baby Nothing
This Is the Day
The Everlasting
Indian Summer
Stay Beautiful
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)
Found That Soul
There by the Grace of God
Some Kind of Nothingness
You Love Us
Suicide Is Painless
The Love of Richard Nixon
Ocean Spray
The Masses Against the Classes
Roses in the Hospital
So Why So Sad
Postcards From a Young Man
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Slash ‘n’ Burn
Motown Junk
A Design for Life


On Saturday was the rescheduled Manic Street Preachers gig at Brixton Academy. I’ve had the tickets for it since May last year, so to say I was looking forward to it would be an understatement. Honestly I think it was the best Manics gig I’ve ever been to. The venue was ram-packed full of fans, old and new, with some having queued all day in the freezing cold for their spot at the front, and I arrived just in time to see British Sea Power take to the stage. I wasn’t expecting much from them as the last time I saw them I had been bored out of my mind and the singles I had heard on the radio weren’t great. They really took me by surprise with their stage presence and enthusiasm and I found myself really enjoying them. I think I’ll have to check them out properly in the future. Song recommendations please!

Manic Street Preachers came on just after 9pm and spent the next two hours blowing everyone away. The only way the setlist could have been any better, was if they took out ‘Tsunami’ and added in some more tracks from ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’. They only played four songs from their latest album and then the rest was a divine mix of hits and fan favourites. I think the highlights for me were opening with the energetic ‘Slash ‘n’ Burn’, hearing ‘Enola/Alone’ for the first time and the beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, which had the whole audience singing along as loudly as they could. I think the band were trying to make up for rescheduling the gig, as they were bounding around the stage even more than usual, getting the audience to sing along and laughing and joking in between songs. It put the crowd in such a good mood and I think everyone left the gig smiling.

A lot of people seem to disregard Manic Street Preachers based on their more recent (and usually rubbish) singles, but if they delved deeper into their back catalogue and live shows they would find a band with some fantastic songs, who are consistently amazing live.

Slash ‘n’ Burn
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Motorcycle Emptiness
(It’s Not War) – Just the End of Love
Everything Must Go
Roses in the Hospital
My Little Empire
Postcards From A Young Man
You Love Us
Suicide Is Painless (Theme from MASH)
A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun
Motown Junk
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
Small Black Flowers That Grow In the Sky
You Stole the Sun from My Heart
La Tristessa Durera (Scream to A Sigh)
Some Kind of Nothingness
Me and Stephen Hawking
A Design for Life

More gigs this week! December has been a pretty busy month for me.

Tuesday was Tim Minchin at the O2 Arena. Having seen him on his last tour a stupid number of times, I had gotten a bit weary of seeing the same show over and over, so this was a welcome change. It was mostly new material, beefed out with a 40 piece orchestra and theatrics that can only come with touring arena-sized venues. Tim seemed to make it work, although I do miss the days when I used to see him in tiny 200 capacity rooms. The new stuff was very funny, and I especially enjoyed his religion-based rants and songs about taking things out of context. No doubt some of the dates on the tour have been filmed for a new DVD, so everyone will be able to enjoy it.

On Wednesday I went to Brixton Academy with my mum for the XFM Winter Wonderland. Due to tube fuckups we arrived late and missed all of Mona (not a great loss) and all but one song by The Drums. We slotted into our favourite position (front right, just by the middle barriers) in time to see Two Door Cinema Club. I hadn’t realised before just how many singles they had released, so it came as a surprise to me when all but one of their 6 song setlist was a single. The crowd seemed to enjoy it though and bounced around gleefully. The music may not be a work of genius, but it is very catchy and fun.

Next up was White Lies, who surprised everyone else by not playing many singles at all. It was mostly tracks from their new album, which as it is released in January they are obviously very keen to promote. I’m not sure how well it went down with the XFM crowd though, as the audience seemed to thin out towards the end as people headed for the bar. I liked it and I’m definitely going to be getting a copy of their new album.

The penultimate act was Suede, who unfortunately had to do a quick acoustic set as their drummer was off sick. It was a bit of a disappointment for me as I had been looking forward to seeing them, but it was still pretty good. They played ‘Trash’, ‘Animal Nitrate’ and ‘Beautiful Ones’.

Lastly it was time for the Manic Street Preachers who chose the right route and played a set consisting of their greatest hits, rather than tracks from their new album. There were clearly a lot of die-hard Manics fans in the audience and everyone had a great time. It really got me excited for their rescheduled Brixton gigs next month.

Two Door Cinema Club


Manic Street Preachers


On Thursday I went to the Garage for the Relentless Energy Sessions. Chrome Hoof, Does It Offend You Yeah? and The Sounds were all playing, and I got the tickets from my PureHMV account so I thought it would be a nice free night. It turned out to be a bit weird, because when we got inside it was only about half full and stayed that way for the rest of the night. Most of the crowd were just confused by Chrome Hoof, and although a section at the front livened up for Does It Offend You Yeah?, they quickly left after they had finished. By the time The Sounds took to the stage at around 10pm the room was about a third full and looked like a school disco gone wrong. It just made me feel uncomfortable really and I couldn’t get into the music, so we ended up leaving after about 5 songs. I don’t know if it was lack of advertising, or if people just weren’t interested, but it seemed really strange to me. We enjoyed Does It Offend You Yeah? anyway so the night wasn’t a total loss. They are supporting Linkin Park in November so hopefully I’ll see them with a bit of a better crowd next time.

On Friday afternoon I got an exciting email come through. After roughly 4 years of trying, I have finally got tickets to a recording of Never Mind The Buzzcocks! It’s for 2nd November and my boss has agreed to let me leave at 3pm so we can go and queue and guarantee our seats. I’m so excited, I hope they have good guests!

Today I went shopping to find some bits to finish off my Halloween outfit. Can you guess what I’m going to be? 😉

I also took a look in the 99p store (as I usually do, to see if they have any good bargains), and they had the Star Trek glasses that the American Burger Kings were giving away last year. I got the Spock and Kirk ones as we don’t have much room in our cupboards, but they all looked awesome.

This week I have lots of gigs coming up. Carl Barat on Wednesday at the Scala, Manic Street Preachers on Friday at Brixton Academy and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Robots In Disguise on Sunday at Heaven. I also have a Halloween party to go to on Saturday so it’s a very busy week for once. Luckily I get paid soon!