December 18, 2004

Design For Life

"If you're not to keen on going out but you do anyway, those are the best nights out ever" Spanky, 2004

I have an infection which manifested it self as a medium sized and painful to touch lump. Fine, except it popped up in my armpit. When you have a family history of breast cancer this is possibly the least amusing place to find a painful lump at 2am on a Wednesday morning. No sleep then, and straight to the doctor's at 8am to get told it was an infection and I needed more powerful drugs. I got a HC2 form last December. It's a little beauty which entitles its student holder to free perscriptions (as well as dental treatments and eye tests). Get one. I'd be broke now if I hadn't had mine.

Anyway, the drugs are giving me awful indigestion. I mean really really bad. So, unable to move without burping and unable to burp without feeling sick, I didn't really want to go out tonight. But I was even mmore unwilling to waste £26 which I had spent on a ticket… to see the Manic Street Preachers. Now I always see the Manics, every year, and I am not missing them for anything as lame as some side effects.

Now at risk of dribbling on like a teenage girl at a Busted concert, they were absolutelyfuckingunbelievablyamazinglygreat! Support act Razorlight were good value, even if their singer had to run off stage at one point to "cough up blood", and this got me going. Forgetting the desire to burp/vomit wasn't easy (especially as I'd had to dose myself up again on the train on the way there) but I did.

The MEN Arena is not a great venue. It's a big soulless barn which hosts England international netball matches and Ronan Keating concerts. I am indisposed towards it and have been since I was forced to sit through a set by Toploader there once against my will (the price I paid for wanting to see Idlewild and Catatonia). It's cold and you wouldn't want to be sitting as the seating is miles from the stage. We were standing. Phew.

Lights up, an intro track starts. The big, impressive visuals kick off. And then they're there. James looks like James as ever. Sean looks like the lead singer of Embrace. Nicky's wearing tight trousers and a big leopard print fur coat. Mmm, nice…
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next Argh, I love this one. It soudsn huge which in a barn like the MEN takes some doing. But the sound is nice and clear. Ok, I'll give the MEN that. The screen shows those disturbing people with no faces from the song's video. Weird.
Faster Wooooooo! Loud and angry. Spirit of '94. The moshpit is bouncing but I still don't feel up to it yet.
1985 New one. Kyle turns to me and says "you were born in 1985". I was born in 1984. He should know this as he's my brother. Awesome visuals including big scary Margerat Thatcher shot. Traumatised.
No Surface All Feeling James fluffs the intro. Twice, once verbally and once on the guitar riff. Sounds really massive though. Finally a song fills the MEN.
You Love Us Cocky buggers but they are right. I attempt some minor boucing and don't burp my brains out. Promising.
Cardiff Afterlife Very poignant and obvious track about Richey. Audience subdues as it is throughout some of the new stuff.
Yes Dedicated to Razorlight. Copious swearing and a big sing–along. Nice.
Kevin Carter Kyle's favourite song. I talk him out of lobbing his packet of crisps across the crowd. Not sure why as he was planning to throw them unopened. Kyle debates whether he should ring his mate Carter, but decides not to. Mild dancing. I feel fine.
The Love Of Richard Nixon A popular new one. Sounds very good live. Nice bassline but the MEN's big problem is the bass can only be heard not felt. I want to feel the bass. That's why I learned to play it myself.
La Tristesse Durera Strangely subdued, I've heard this one done better.
Die In The Summertime Very loud. Kyle is impressed, he doesn't know this one and quizzes me about it. Conclusion: heavy=good. He's such a bloke.
Solitude Sometime Is One of my least favourite tracks off the new album. Sounds better live but I don't know the words so big sing–along Holly is not in evidence.
Australia This is more like it. Jumping around now, no problems. Drugs and side effects completely forgotten.
Archives Of Pain (acoustic) Probably one of the least likely songs to play acoustic ever. No one's entirely sure what to make of it but we like it.
Small Back Flowers That Grow In The Sky (acoustic) I agree with the girls stood behind us who were gazing into space, arms around each other. This was haunting stuff. Truly great and even those people who obviously only knew the singles (and were a bit scared by Die In The Summertime and Yes) were captivated.
You Stole The Sun From My Heart Proper jumping around now. Nicky had by now changed into something more comfortable, a plain white top and a pink, fluffy miniskirt. He showed this sartorial masterpiece off by high kicking his way across a speaker stack. Nice underpants, Nicky. Considered calling Housemate:Els during this song as she once sent me a very bizarre text incorporating lyrics from this song but I forget cos I'm having too much fun.
This Is Yesterday A nice slow one but we want to be jumping round now.
Empty Souls Gorgeous new single rendered strangely flat. The first time the MEN effect kicks in and neither subtlety nor volume can be discerned. Disappointed as I like this one.
Tsunami Woooooooo! Rock on! I unleash the Holly dancing. This is basically just me jerking round like an idiot and jumping occasionally. I once pulled a muscle doing this at Top Banana and suffered for a week through football matches and training without admitting why I was hurt.
I Live To Fall Asleep After teasing with a snatch of Sleepflower they play this instead. The audience noticably would have preferred Sleepflower but this will do.
Motorcycle Emptiness Now here's a song which can't go wrong. Brilliant and thay play the long version which is still not long enough. Everyone's bellowing along now. And why not, this is their second best song and let's face it, their best song is my favourite song ever and, oh look, here it is…
Design For Life Call Niamh and leave this on her answerphone. Awesome. Completely brilliant. Singing along, jumping like a loon. I would sit through Toploader and Ronan Keating to hear this live. Go home completely ecstatic. Rock on.

Marks? Seems a bit, y'know, pointless and… 10/10


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  1. Sounds like a class gig; more Razorlight details please! :-)

    18 Dec 2004, 01:43

  2. I wish gigs were cheaper, I'd go to loads and loads, I'm not really a huge manics fan but I would have gone if I could afford it, I usually go to 5 or 6 gigs a year. So far for the year ahead I have 2 lined up, Oasis and Feeder, they have to be two of my favourite bands, I can't wait.

    18 Dec 2004, 10:44

  3. I'm very jealous, but the cost did put me off going. I too wish gigs were cheaper, though going to see new bands is a way to save money- Bloc Party and Futureheads this term (I may have mentioned this elsewhere, heh) each for under a tenner :)

    18 Dec 2004, 11:14

  4. Razorlight? I've seen them twice this year, once at this gig and once at Leeds Festival so I've not actually intended to see them at all. However they are good, very good infact. My guitar playing brother was very impressed by their guitarist (Bjorn) and although he comes across as a cocky little sod in interviews Johnny the singer is a great frontman.

    Obviously, as I don't own the album (yet?), I really only knew the singles well, although one song which wasn't a single had struck me so much at Leeds that I was quite chuffed when they opened with it last night (Don't Go Back To Dalston). Oh and they played a new one which was absolutely fantastic.

    Seriously, the NME should hire me to review gigs and then cost wouldn't be a problem (although the risk of seeing the new Toplaoder remains (Maroon 5 = New Toploader)).

    18 Dec 2004, 12:21

  5. Ha ha :) they really are.

    18 Dec 2004, 12:48

  6. I wish I had your talent for reviews, Holly. I went (was dragged) to see Snow Patrol Thursday, and although I wasn't expecting much, it was awesome. And that's pretty much all I have to say about it. I watched The Zutons last night and they were Really Awesome. I got a free T-shirt and the setlist. I'll try and write a proper review type thing actually, because I think people need to know the extent of awesomeness. Just need to figure out how to, y'know, review stuff. It'll come to me I'm sure.

    18 Dec 2004, 15:51

  7. Oooh I saw them the Thursday before last and yes I agree they were absolutelyfuckingunbelievablyamazinglygreat- i cannnot think of another word that describes it better than yours. I thought Razorlight were very impressive and promptly purchased their album the next day. I would like to add that I was also ill but with an unidentified lump of the colon which was and indeed still is very painful and they made me forget my illness too, thus proving their brilliance. Just in case it did need proving. Probably not but there you go.

    20 Dec 2004, 16:56

  8. Manic Street Preachers- curing ailments across the country.

    20 Dec 2004, 23:29

  9. I thoroughly recommend the Razorlight album. Don't Go Back To Dalston is but one of the many fine non-singles. They were top notch at Glasto. At times Johnny Borrell is rather pretentious and bombastic but it mostly succeeds in being epic and the music's 'super tight'.

    Currently listening to The Holy Bible, which I got for Christmas – surely the only Manics stuff you need. Plus Design for Life, Kevin Carter and half of Generation Terrorists.

    29 Dec 2004, 17:29

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