Manic Street Preachers – Leeds Arena, 20th May 2016

May 22, 2016

ManicsIt’s 20 years since Everything Must Go was released and to mark the fact the Manics are touring and playing the album in its entirety. Tonight’s show happens to be on the anniversary of the actual release date.

In my view there’s a real problem with playing whole album shows and that is that choosing the running order for an album is completely different to selecting a live set. I think, with that caveat, the first part of the show worked reasonably well, despite a slight impression that the band weren’t entirely convinced!
The second half was excellent and I was pleased to hear NatWest Barclays Midlands Lloyds, from Generation Terrorists, particularly as I’d been listening to it earlier in the day. A standout was the cover of Fear Factory‘s Feels Like Heaven. It was also interesting to hear Nicky Wire reminiscing about playing the Duchess Of York pub/venue back in 1991.

I don’t like arena shows but sometimes what choice do you have if you want to see somone? As arenas go Leeds is the best I’ve been to.

Set list:
Part One: Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool PierA Design for LifeKevin CarterEnola/AloneEverything Must GoSmall Black Flowers That Grow in the SkyThe Girl Who Wanted to Be GodRemovablesAustraliaInteriors (Song for Willem de Kooning)Further AwayNo Surface All Feeling
Part Two: Ocean SprayRaindrops Keep Fallin’ on My HeadMotorcycle EmptinessWalk Me to the BridgeYour Love Alone Is Not EnoughNat West-Barclays-Midlands-LloydsYou Stole the Sun From My HeartRoses in the HospitalShow Me the Wonder(Feels Like) HeavenYou Love Us;
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next


Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Leeds Arena, 27th April 2016

May 1, 2016

Noel GallagherI saw Oasis back in 2000, headlining the Leeds Festival and I though they were good. Not the best band I’ve ever seen but worth seeing.

As the whole world knows the Gallagher boys couldn’t work together so Noel called it a day in 2009. Following that acrimonious split the rest of Oasis re-grouped as Beady Eye, released two so-so albums (Different Gear, Still Speeding in 2011, and BE in 2013) before calling it a day in 2014.

Noel’s solo career has taken a much better turn. Two decent albums (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2011 and Chasing Yesterday in 2015, both topping the charts) and sell out tours. On which topic, the Arena is sold out tonight. The support act is Super Furry Animals but I didn’t rush to see them as I was distinctly unimpressed last time I saw them.

It seems to me that Noel Gallagher is a very shrewd man. He knows that Liam is a Rock singer and that he isn’t, so he doesn’t try. Instead he performs slow and mid tempo songs, including the 10 Oasis songs he performs among the 21 strong set list.

He knows how to write a tune and he has a band that can play them. That makes for an enjoyable show.

What’s not so enjoyable is the behaviour of many of the audience. These beer fuelled Liam look a-likes are embarrassing and a little threatening. It’s as though they’ve read a manual on how to behave at a rock show.

Anyway, let’s try and end on a positive note. Here, for my money, is Noel’s finest post-Oasis song.

Set list: Everybody’s On The RunLock All The DoorsIn The Heat Of The MomentRivermanFade AwayThe Death Of You And MeYou Know We Can’t Go BackChampagne SupernovaBallad Of The Mighty ITalk TonightD’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?The MexicanHalf The World AwayListen UpIf I Had A Gun…Digsy’s DinnerThe Masterplan.

Encore: Wonderwall(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record MachineAKA… What A Life!Don’t Look Back In Anger.


Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – Leeds Arena, 19 March 2016

March 28, 2016

Heaton & AbbottAfter 31 years of releasing records, many of them hits or fan favourites, it must be difficult putting together a set list. If you’re Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, wanting to persuade the concert goer who only knows The Beautiful South or, at the older end of the demographic The Housemartins, to listen to the two excellent albums you’ve released since getting together as a duo in 2013 it must be even harder.

Tonight only a quarter of the setlist is from the period after The Beautiful South – one song from What Have We Become, eight from Wisdom, Laughter And Lines and nothing at all from Heaton’s three solo albums. I think that’s a shame because that means not hearing a lot of good songs.

Having said that the audience are treated to some lesser known Housemartin and Beautiful South tracks – Heaton says he hasn’t played Anxious for 29 years!

A great show then, excellent songs played by a first class band, what more could you want?

Support is from Trudy, a young three piece who have clearly never played to an audience of this size before. They hold their own and the tracks on their Soundcloud page are worth a listen.

Setlist: Wives 1, 2 & 3; Pretenders to the Throne; (Man Is) The Biggest Bitch of All; Have Fun; The Horse And Groom; Five Get Over Excited; Prettiest Eyes; Sundial In the Shade; The Queen of Soho; Old Red Eyes Is Back; I Don’t See Them; Anxious; Rotterdam (Or Anywhere); I’ll Sail This Ship Alone; The Austerity of Love; Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud): D.I.Y.; Happy Hour; Perfect 10; Caravan of Love.
Encore: A Little Time; Don’t Marry Her.
Encore 2: Heatongrad; You Keep It All In.