When bands I like go on tour I normally have to travel to Bristol (if not London…Depeche Mode I’m looking at you!) to see them – Goldfrapp, The Boxer Rebellion, Wild Beasts, Manic Street Preachers – the latter whom I travelled to Colston Hall to see live on Monday.
Like any self-respecting Manics fan I dressed up for the occasion. I didn’t go the whole hog like I have on previous occasions (white jeans, floor length leopard print coat, feather boa etc) but instead opted for my sailors jacket, printed t-shirt, and the obligatory lashings of eyeliner. I love this aspect of Manics gigs, it’s always fun. Apart from the 2 hour train journey home afterwards where you’re just a dishevelled, bruised, sweaty mess of smudged eyeliner and spray-paint.
There was also no queuing from sunrise on this occasion like I have been known to do many times before. Instead I arrived at about 2pm (which placed me about 20th in the queue) and happily sat and waited until doors opened (at 7pm). Very luckily for us, Colston Hall had allowed us to queue inside! And how very lovely it was.
I always go into gigs with the thought that the support band are a boring annoyance that are tolerated rather than enjoyed. But on this occasion I was proved wrong. Public Service Broadcasting were outstanding, and very unusual. No singer, just two guys playing mesmerising music whilst old black and white footage was projected onto a screen on stage. It was incredible. Apparently they are playing in Bristol again in a few weeks time, and I would highly recommend catching them if you can, I definitely will be.
Now the wait is finally over. I have my place at the front centre, the lights have dimmed, and on walk the band. It is wonderful to see them again. It has been too long.
The set was a perfect mixture of old and new, with some surprising album tracks thrown it. The band were their usual bouncy selves, as were the crowd (and I have the cuts and bruises to prove it). It was wonderful to hear tracks from the new album (Rewind The Film) and witness James’ beautiful acoustic guitar playing. I was unsure before the gig how the new songs would mesh with the older more raucous songs, but everything slotted into place and the change of tempo always kicked the crowd up another level.
I am bruised. I am bloodied. But I am happy.