Review & photos by Rich Ward
Billed as the Homecoming show, it’s been 25 years since Chepstow born Grant Nicholas has played his hometown, so this show at the Racecourse is understandably a big deal. Along for the ride are Newport’s Dirty Youth and opening the evening are Wide Eyed Boy. The Liverpool band deliver a set of pleasant enough set of pop rock tunes that would appeal to the likes of Coldplay fans. Although performance wise, their set is a little rigid and there doesn’t seem to be much effort to engage with and win over new fans.
By contrast, The Dirty Youth are an entirely different entity. They take to the stage in a flurry of activity and there’s no time at all before singer Danni Monroe is up on top of and in front of the monitors engaging with the audience. Not only are they far more confident in their performance, but they also are having so much more fun and this gets the crowd going who need little encouragement to jump and dance along with to their unique blend of punk pop-rock. They make full use of the stage available to them with guitarist Luke Padfield throwing shapes stage left while Matt Bond shows a little more restraint on the right. ‘The One’ goes down particularly well with its infectious riffs and chorus, and they were certainly a good choice for warming up the crowd tonight with their lively and spirited performance.
Having recently signed to Marshall Records, their backline is suitably impressive, and the stars seem to be aligning for TDY. It’ll be interesting to see where their third album will take them.
With some recently changeable weather, you couldn’t have asked for a better day for the Homecoming show. The sun had been out for most of the day and it was still comfortably warm when it turned dark and Feeder took to the stage for a set lasting a little over 90 minutes. This ensured that most of the crowd were packed down the front for Feeder’s set, although the high numbers in attendance also meant that a fair number of fans were taking advantage of the elevated views from the stands.
The band kick off with ‘Universe Of Life’ from last years’ All Bright Electric album, which certainly makes an impact with intense strobe lighting. While undoubtedly the faithful are onside from the off, it’s second song, ‘Insomnia’ that sees the energy level rise for the majority of the audience.
Hometown shows are usually that little bit more special, but as it’s been so long since they played Chepstow it makes it more so. Not only have their local fans turned up but a lot of their long standing fans have traveled long distances to be here. I even spoke to one couple that had traveled from Norway! The fans are rewarded with a set that cherry picks newer songs along with many of their career highlights; ‘Feeling A Moment’, ‘Renegades’, ‘Pushing The Senses’, and ‘Lost And Found’ are all present and delivered with passion.
Before ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ Nicholas lets us know that 30 years ago he was across the road cleaning cars, and urges everyone to follow their dreams as he’s living proof that dreams can come true if you work hard enough for them. They then continue to reel off the hits with a rousing ‘Come Back Around’ and ultimately close the main set with a teasing laid back intro before launching into a raucous ‘Buck Rogers’.
While many bands will reserve their biggest tracks for the encore, Feeder have no problem slotting in a new one; ‘Figure You Out’, which gets a live debut tonight just before ending the night on a high with ‘Just A Day’ and right back to the start with Swim‘s ‘Sweet 16’ which rounds off a fabulous evening and a great start to the bank holiday.