The main support band for the night were Macclesfield psych-rockers The Virginmarys. Pre-concert I hadn’t heard much about them, apart from their music being reminiscent of rock legends from the 70s, such as Led Zeppelin. However, there are a fair few modern bands trying to re-create this fantastic era of music at the moment who don’t particularly do it well, so I went into the night slightly skeptical. Strangely enough, they blew me away!
They opened strongly on one of their older songs Bang Bang Bang. This jumps out at you right away with choppy drums and guitars, as lead singer Ally Dickaty’s gravelly northern vocals cut out from beneath the beautiful ruckus. This remained dominant throughout tracks Just A Ride and Lost Weekend, as even audience members who were unsure at first slowly adapted to this new and exciting band. By Out Of Mind, their new found fans seemed to be eating out of the palm of their hands.
Next came My Little Girl, which is a ballsy tune that seemed a perfect man-chant while downing a pint or ten with friends on a Saturday night. This was followed in succession by Dead Man’s Shoes, which struck me as perfect to set the scene for any bar brawl that followed the previous drinking session. The band wrapped up their set with Dressed To Kill and Portrait of Red. While Dressed To Kill offered the nearest thing to a ballad that they had performed all night, telling the dark tale of a romance gone wrong, finale Portrait of Red provided the perfect summary of their exciting retro-rock.
Next up are Feeder, a band that I have personally had a bit of a soft spot for since I first saw them live in 2001. Annoyingly, the last time I saw them was around the time that Silent Cry was released and I was slightly disappointed. Luckily tonight I was not. Anticipation was built up to the band’s entrance with a quick play over the PA of 20th Century Trip from their first album Polythene, as the three-piece then burst onto the stage with Oh My from the new album. This is a catchy song perfect for opening the set, but with a more mature feel to it than some of their older tracks such as Seven Days In The Sun. Next track, Insomnia is one of their older tunes, with a pop-punk feel to it. This was then followed by something more recent, Sentimental from their Renegades album and Tiny Minds from the new album Generation Freakshow. Overall, a nice little intro from the band to set the scene for the rest of the evening, but not give too much away.
What followed excited me a little too much, as Feeling A Moment is my favourite Feeder song and I wasn’t expecting it so early in the set as it is one of their ‘hits’. Then again, I suppose that they have got so many hits that they can afford to spread them all out throughout the course of the night. Renegades and Pushing The Senses kept things upbeat for the next few songs and had both the old and young members in the audience dancing, but with uplifting songs like these it’s hardly surprising that Feeder don’t struggle at all to keep people watching and moving about.
A moment of calm was provided by Tender and Just The Way I’m Feeling. I have never particularly been a fan of Tender, but frontman Grant Nicholas’ vocals coaxed me into enjoying this track live. Just The Way I’m Feeling kept this part of the set relaxed, but warmed the audience up vocally for the next anthem as most people sang along. The band brought the now nicely calmed down crowd back to reality with a bang in the form of Buck Rogers. This was the hi-light of the night for many, as Grant joked beforehand that he didn’t want to play this one and when it kicked in everyone was jumping, singing and generally having an amazing time.
The last little section of the night was rounded up largely by songs from their new album, which for some reason always makes me think of road trips when I listen to it; Idaho, Hey Johnny, Borders andGeneration Freakshow were all played. There was also a nice little surprise for older fans of the band in their performance of High from their debut album Polythene. This is a beautiful power ballad which I imagine reminds some of the people in the audience of their teenage years.
The encore saw Grant returning to the stage solo to perform Children Of The Sun with an acoustic guitar, as he was lit by a single spotlight. The ambiance surrounding this was rather beautiful. It did not stay quiet for long though as his band mates returned to the stage for the louder songs of the encore. Sweet 16 and Descend provided a reminder to their fans of where they came from, as these are both tracks from one of their earliest EPs Swim (released originally in 1996). The night was nicely ended with an energetic song that I am pretty sure most fans know a lot of the words to, Just A Day.
All in all, a fantastic evening and judging by the audience’s reception to everything, it shows that this band have a continued affinity with their fans regardless of whether they are new or old.
Photos © Carrie Humphries and must not be reproduced without prior consent