24 March – I missed Johnny Marr when he played the Brudenell in March 2013 at the start of the The Messenger tour but I’m here tonight as he brings it to a close. Regular readers (!) will know that I was less than impressed when I saw him at Leeds Poly in October 2013 but this show more than compensates for that. Playing with his band, Jack Mitchell, Iwan Gronow and James Doviak, he is in fine guitar form as you’d expect but the pleasing surprise is the improvement in his vocals. The set includes three new songs Boys Get Straight, Little King and Candidate, five Smiths songs and a cracking version of I Fought The Law. Given another 12 months, with his new album due in September, they should be even more impressive.
Setlist: Upstarts, The Right Thing Right, Boys Get Straight, The Crack Up, New Town Velocity, The Messenger, Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, Generate! Generate!, Big Mouth Strikes Again, Word Starts Attack, Little King, Getting Away With It, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Encore: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, Candidate, I Fought The Law, How Soon Is Now?’
28 March – My first show at Leeds Arena, and what an excellent show it is. I may have said this before but the Manic Street Preachers are one of the few artists who are still producing work that is equal, or almost equal to anything they’ve ever done. Their last album, Rewind The Film, is very good indeed. What is apparent tonight is their enthusiasm for playing live. James Dean Bradfield is an underrated guitarist, Sean Moore is a bedrock and Nicky Wire is, well, Nicky Wire. A set list that includes everything that you’d want to hear short of a ten hour show!
I didn’t catch the name of the support act, which is a shame as it will make it harder to avoid them in future!
Set list: Faster, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, Motorcycle Emptiness, (It’s Not War) Just the End of Love, Europa Geht Durch Mich, Love’s Sweet Exile, Everything Must Go, Rewind the Film , Show Me the Wonder , You Stole the Sun From My Heart, Enola/Alone, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, Black Dog on My Shoulder, This Sullen Welsh Heart, Archives of Pain, Futurology, Revol, You Love Us, Tsunami, 30-Year War, Motown Junk, A Design for Life