CONCERT REVIEW : Manic Street Preachers, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow 5th Oct 2021

Photo Credit Stephen Wilson


The Manic Street Preachers are back with a new record, and bring their latest tour to Scotland for a couple of gigs spread across the country, giving their army of fans a greater chance to catch them live, and what a show they brought with them. 

Supported on the night by Low Hummer, a six-piece from Hull, they made the most of their short time on the famous stage, and were warmly received for their efforts, but the sold out audience were desperate for their fave’s to do their stuff, and after a short delay at 21:15 they had to wait no longer, as the hall lights were dimmed, the intro music played out and two dozen searchlights shone their beams across the venue.  Frontman James Dean Bradfield enters the field of play, lifts his trusty Les Paul and screams ITS BEEN A LONG TIME GLASGOW!!!!!!!!! And it has, too long in fact. Five seconds later, however, all is forgiven as the band bursts into early single Motorcycle Emptiness, and the Barrowland Ballroom erupts in a sea of arms, pints and voices. We’re off and running….

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Tonight’s set-list will showcase the bands fourteenth studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament released in September,  with half a dozen tracks or so, but the rest of the set would see enough big hits and album tracks to satisfy even the most picky of fans.  From the latest single The Secret He Had Missed, to early 90’s tracks You Love Us, Slash ‘n’ Burn and a wonderful acoustic solo version of From Despair to Where, the band are on fire, and the crowd are lapping it up, big time. You Stole the Sun From My Heart, Everything Must Go, If You Tolerate This and a cover of the Guns ‘n’ Roses classic Sweet Child of Mine, the tunes were flying out rapid fire, and the atmosphere was pure electricity.

Bradfield has never sounded better, his voice is in fine form and he twirls around the stage giving it 110%, up close and personal with the audience at times at the edge of the stage well away from the safety of his microphone stand, with colleague Nicky Wire to his left, a great adversary on bass and occasional scissor kicks, mesmerising to watch let alone listen to as he patrols his domain with goose steps John Cleese would be proud of.  Sean Moore, a cousin of Bradfield, takes up the role of drum major at the back. 

Highlight of the night, a rousing finale with their 1996 classic A Design for Life, from the album Everything Must Go, and after this, everyone did.  The end to a fantastic couple of hours of classic tunes and great rock music.  The only disappointment for most fans as they left the Ballroom was the band couldn’t have played another two hours.  If only, eh?

The Manics are back and still performing at the top of their game after 30 odd years.  Collectively, Bradfield, Wire and Moore are a formidable force, a great catalogue of work behind them, and live they prove time and time again they are one of the best bands on the circuit, without a doubt. Don’t take our word, go and see for yourself.   

You Love Us they sang.  We certainly do, was the reply.

Review and Photography by Stephen Wilson 

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