Manic Street Preachers – Cardiff CIA – 21 May 2011

Last week I had the amazing fortune to see the Manic Street Preachers live, and not just live but ‘at home’ in Wales, in the centre of Cardiff!

I went along with friends Duncan (known for years), Luke (who I’d been to the Belgian Grand Prix with, and other things) and ‘Mr C’ who co-hosts the Sidepodcast F1 podcast and community many of us are addicted to.

We met in the TGI Friday’s opposite the venue (er, eventually.. Mr C was his trademark late arriving which had us a bit worried, with him having the tickets!) where we stuffed our faces with large servings of food. Cheesey double bacon cheeseburger, HUGE.


We got to the Arena in time for the support act, The Joy Formidible. I had an idea of what to expect after Lukeh sent me a link a few weeks ago but hadn’t really had the time to listen properly. Well now I will: they were very good live. We were generally agreed they need a single or catchy song to hang the rest of the songs around, but they could play live to a big crowd, no doubt about that. It sounded more like a complete album rather than a collection of potential singles, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that – I’ll get the album and perhaps it’ll make more sense that way.

They sounded really familiar though and none of us could pinpoint why. Familiar.. but also different. A cross between Editors and Catatonia and Blondie and their own sound too. I liked it and shall buy the album.

Main Event

Manic Street Preachers, Cardiff CIA, Saturday 21 May 2011 (sorry about the poor quality pic)

If you were to ask me to describe the Manics live this paragraph would just be a string of superlatives.

They seemed a bit more polished than some bands I’ve seen, although I reckon they’ve probably toured a lot more too. Polished isn’t always a good thing live because you don’t want it to sound like an album is being played out over the speakers, needs to be an element of ‘live performance’ too. I think they struck a good balance, especially with the acoustic songs.

Never would I have expected an acoustic version of Everything Must Go, I’d only heard that in a live appearance in a radio studio to be honest had forgotten it, so when Bradfield started playing I didn’t think it would work with a huge live crowd – but it did!

There was a song from every album, something for everyone from the angrier more raucous earlier stuff to calmer quieter side. From the anthems which made them popular to the more ‘grown-up’ sounding songs they’ve released over the last few years. For those of us who like the whole back catalogue – and the four of us are in that category – we loved it all.

My highlights were Motorcycle Emptiness, Enola/Alone, Faster, Everything Must Go, Suicide Is Painless and the finale, A Design For Life – during which they launched confetti/tickertape over the crowd!

I was so pleased they played My Little Empire too, one of my favourite songs not just from that particular album but from their whole repertoire. There was something a bit lacking from it (a guitar sound) but I didn’t care.

Some King of Nothingness was pretty damn good as well, come to think of it.

All in all a fantastic gig. We were buzzing afterwards. I hadn’t even been drinking! (Apart from a half.)

Here’s some of Slash’n’Burn, and scroll underneath for the full set list.

Set List

  • Stay Beautiful
  • Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
  • Motorcycle Emptiness
  • (It’s Not War) – Just The End Of Love
  • Life Becoming a Landslide
  • Enola/Alone
  • My Little Empire
  • Faster
  • Slash ‘n’ Burn
  • Solitude Sometimes Is
  • You Stole The Sun From My Heart
  • Postcards From A Young Man
  • Of Walking Abortion
  • Motown Junk
  • If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Acoustic)
  • Everything Must Go (Acoustic)
  • The Masses Against the Classes
  • Let Robeson Sing
  • Some Kind Of Nothingness
  • Suicide is Painless (Theme from MASH)
  • You Love Us
  • A Design For Life

WHAT a set list! There was barely a break between each song as well, consumate professionals, outstanding.

Go to the page which has links to the songs, some of them are live from a random gig and some are promo videos. Great idea for a site because you can listen to songs in the same order as the gig without having to make a playlist or buy the things you’re missing.

Do also have a read of Lukeh’s recap here!

In Closing

I’m so pleased to now have seen nearly all of my favourite bands I listened to as a teenager in the late 90s:
Blur (amazing comeback gig),
Oasis (not long before they split),
not to mention two fantastic R.E.M. gigs! (with Idlewild at one and Editors at another)

I may be ten years late, but that’s an ambition fulfilled! Thanks to all those who helped make it happen.


Earworms: #5, #6, #7

I love Tellison. Their 2007 debut album Contact! Contact! ought to have been massive, there were others albums around at the time from on the face of it quite similar bands with a vaguely similar sound but this was so very much better, the songs are tighter and the hooks catchier, the energy more infectious. It lifts the band well above the competition… yet seemingly nothing.

It barely scraped the surface of popularity, an underground hit reaching success as much through word of mouth as from publicity – though I understand some songs did get played on some E4 shows. Read into that what you will. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t follow the music press so I don’t know who is getting PR and who isn’t, but I like to think I have an idea of who is emerging. It is time Tellison did.

The band has now recorded a second album (I don’t know when it is out) and have set about touring the UK to support it. I am planning to see them tomorrow, Wednesday October 6th where they will playing at The Orange Box in Yeovil, in support of Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.

I’m breaking with the short-lived tradition of this ‘Song of the Day’ series by including three songs. If you like these songs check out YouTube/iTunes/Spotify to see if you like some more but most importantly DO NOT PIRATE these songs. Please buy them and consider getting the full album/s. This isn’t a massive band on a massive record label and they need and deserve the money and recognition from real sales. They make a difference.

Artist: Tellison
Song: Gallery
Album: Contact! Contact!
Year: 2007

Artist: Tellison
Song: New York New York New York (live version)
Album: Contact! Contact!
Year: 2007

Artist: Tellison
Song: Wasp’s Nest
Album: n/a – standalone single
Year: 2008

Contact! Contact! and the single Wasp’s Nest are available on iTunes and Spotify. The new album is out soon.


Hear more of my Earworms.

Earworms: #4

This Wednesday was the sort of day when you say something to someone, or you write something somewhere, and almost everyone questions you about it or takes you the wrong way. Reminded me of a song from a band I loved in the 90s.

Artist: Space
Song: No-One Understands
Album: Spiders
Year: 1997

Shame the image is static on this video, it was the only one I could find..

Hear more of my Earworms.

Earworms: #3

They make ‘concept albums’, the singer has a really whiny ‘teen American’ voice which I normally can’t stand, and I struggle to know what the hell he’s on about most of the time. In fact I have no idea what this song is about I just like the musicianship.

By rights I should absolutely hate them.

But I’ve absolutely fallen in love with them.

Artist: Coheed and Cambria
: Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)
: Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness
: 2007
(links are to Spotify)

I first heard of the song The Suffering some years ago and meant to follow it up. It took me a while, but I did I’ve been listening to this and the previous album a hell of a lot over the past few weeks. I’m not as sold on their later stuff, though perhaps it’ll grow on me.

Hear more of my Earworms.