The common perception of the Manic Street Preachers is, here’s a band who were brilliant in their early years, but, as they’ve aged, the high standards they set for themselves in the first half of the nineties haven’t been matched. Manics dieheards may disagree over which was the last great album, but few would argue that post ‘Everything Must go’ hasn’t been nearly as exciting as pre.

More than a decade on from the album that brought them their first major taste of commercial success, the Manics came up with what their fans, and many a casual observer had long been waiting for, a record that could be considered a genuine return to form. Sure ‘Your Love Alone’, ‘Autumn Song’ and ‘Indian Summer’ had a strong mainstream air about them, but if we’re honest, so does the debut album signature tune ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’. With the Manics, it’s not just how the music sounds, but the way it’s delivered.

“Stronger and more relevant than ever, 'Send Away The Tigers' is the result of a band that wandered in the wilderness for a few tentative years, produced an album of wafty pop, went on to make successful solo albums and then once woke from their happy daydreams to the bloody minded world around them. Witness liberating guitar solos, vocals full of vital energy and a return to the rawness that we always loved in this band, although they may not be getting any younger, Manic Street Preachers maturity is hardly jading their incisive lyricism or musical wit.” Jo Vallance

Read the full review here

The thing that has kept the interest level in the Manics ticking over, regardless of what the material they were releasing at the time was like, was their ability to turn on the style whenever they set foot on stage. At the peak of their most average period, they were exceptional headlining Reading in 2001. Rock Ness might not have been a bill topping spot of quite the stature that they’ve been used to in the past, but that didn’t stop them turning in another first class performance. As
this review shows, the focus on the final night of this Scottish festival was not on the main stage. But thanks to Daft Punk being given a ridiculously small tent to play in, plenty turned to the Welsh rockers for their Sunday night party, and in delivering a set that was “a tremendous reminder of just how good one of the major bands of modern times really are”, the Manic Street Preachers showed that major festivals sometimes miss a trick by opting for the current media favourites with one or two albums as headliners.

Their appearance at the
V Festival saw them produce another typically fired up, attitude driven, hit heavy set, with a large crowd lapping up every second as if they were the bright young future of British rock: oh how that days main stage headliner the Killers would, er, kill for a hits collection to rival them.

The Manics are just coming to the end of another tour, where R13 caught them
in Edinburgh. Unlike in previous years, this tour hasn’t seen them grace arenas the size of Wembley or the MEN, but there’s no harm in being able to catch a band with stadium filling credentials in a more intimate environment. What is noticeable from the three reviews listed in this article, is that the band know exactly how to entertain, by playing predominantly greatest hits sets with a smattering of new songs, thereby ensuring that those who turn up, leave having had one of the best live music experiences of the year.

And that my friends is 2007 in the life of the Manic Street Preachers. Still as good live as they’ve ever been, and back on form in the comfort of a recording studio too. Long may it continue!

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