Manic Street Preachers + Wolf Alice @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – Sunday 6th April 2014


Review By Paul Quinton & Russ Powney, photos by Russ Powney

The Manics are now regular and welcome visitors to the Civic, despite their years filling arenas and their occasional diversion to Birmingham Academy, and it’s a testimony to their enduring excellence that they can still fill the Civic, a venue for which they’ve always expressed a great affection.

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice

Support for this part of the tour came from Wolf Alice. The name led me to hope that we might be seeing some hirsute bad of noise merchants from the Southern States of America, but they turned out to be a four-piece from London. The opening track had promise, though, it could easily have been recorded in Seattle in 1991, although the gentler tones of singer Elle Rowsell make them sound a lot less generic. The biggest problem I had with Wolf Alice was that their style didn’t stay in the same place long enough for the listener to really get a handle on what they were about. If the set opener was grunge influenced, then a later song, title unknown (the band weren’t very big on stage announcements) could easily have emerged from San Francisco in the late 1960s and another sounded very influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Some of their longer songs caused the audience’s attention to waver, but nonetheless, their 30 minutes seemed to go down fairly well, and I don’t doubt there’ll be a few people looking out for them in the future. PQ

Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers

Rapturous, exuberant, almost Biblical, such was the greeting that met the arrival of Manic Street Preachers here on Sunday night. Onetime punk activists, sometime pop idols the atmosphere within the Civic was electric. An expectant crowd fuelled with much anticipation were breathless. Two tracks in and the unmistakable intro to “Motorcycle Emptiness” exploded in to life. Nicky Wire and co certainly know how to start a show.

Feather boas were absent, however this did not detract from Nicky Wire’s enigmatic patrolling of the stage, prowling, jumping and singing along with long time collaborator James Dean Bradfield, who himself skipped and danced, whirling from chorus to solo, belying their 28 year spanning career totalling 11 albums.

Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers

New tracks from the soon to be released Futurology blended seamlessly with classics such as “Your Love Alone Is Not enough” and “You Love Us”. Proof if proof were needed that talk of their demise and irrelevance as a band are premature. Their credentials are impeccable. All bands have ups and downs, such is life, the Manics more than some are painfully aware of this fact. They continue to be viable and breathe creativity, new and old songs given credence by the very essence of the people who came to see them.

Long live The Manic street Preachers , they are not ashamed of who they are, what they have stood for and continue to stand for. RP

1. La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)
2. You Stole The Sun From My Heart
3. Motorcycle Emptiness
4. It’s Not War
5. Europa (Geht Dursch Mich)
6. Stay Beautiful
7. Everything Must Go
8. Rewind The Film
9. Die In The Summertime
10. Your Love Alone
11. Enola Alone
12. If You Tolerate This
13. This Was Yesterday
14. From Despair To Where
15. This Sullen Welsh Heart
16. Archives Of Pain
17. Futurology
18. The Masses Against The Classes
19. You Love Us
20. Tsunami
21. Show Me The Wonder
22. Motown Junk
23. A Design For Life

See more of Russ’s photos here