Manics preach to the converted

For the first time in their expansive career, the Manic Street Preachers came to Lincoln on Saturday October 16th to perform a sold-out gig at the Engine Shed, with their trademark brand of Welsh rock.

Supported by alternative-rock upstarts British Sea Power, the Manics are touring the country in support of their latest album release, “Postcards from a Young Man”.

The sense of anticipation was massive even before fans had entered the Engine Shed, with die-hard supporters queuing up hours before the show to ensure their place at the front.

This shows just how much support the band is still receiving almost twenty years after the release of their first album, “Generation Terrorists”.

British Sea Power did a commendable job of working up an unenthused, but steadily growing crowd. Their high-energy alt-rock was not at all out of place that night, with tracks like “Waving Flags” and “No Lucifer” really standing out.

Whilst the band knew the crowd were there to see the Manics, by the end of their heartfelt set, they had won themselves a roar of approval and perhaps some new fans.

When the Manic Street Preachers took to the stage and ripped into the first chords of “You Love Us” it was clear the band are just as relevant and powerful as they had been twenty years ago. Frontman, James Dean Bradfield, has a level of stage confidence that can only be gained through a lifetime of performance.


Manic Street Preachers treated Lincoln a career spanning set of hits. Photo: Hall Or Nothing PR

Joking with the crowd after the first song came to an end, before pushing on to the pulse-racing one-two punch of “Your Love Alone” and classic track “Motorcycle Emptiness”, which the crowd of young and old fans alike almost drowned out entirely with their chanting along.

The energy gained with those first few songs stayed for the rest of the show. New tracks such as “It’s Not War, Just The End Of Love” and “Postcards From A Young Man” nestled in perfectly next to fan favourites.

“We’ve never been to Lincoln before,” declared Bradfield as he settled into the set. The sold-out Engine Shed crowd was definitely glad they had finally made it here.

The band continued to crank out hit after hit, with crowd pleasers such as, “Ocean Spray” and “Tsunami”.

Towering bassist Nicky Wire jumped about the stage with the energy of a man half his age, his unique fashion sense matching the band’s stage setup, which included everything from Welsh flags to glittering mannequins holding guitars.

There was never a dull moment for the entire time the Manic Street Preachers played. Every track was met with rapturous applause, as fans screamed and clapped along.Even when Bradfield was left alone on stage with just his acoustic guitar for songs, such as “You Stole The Sun From My Heart”, the energy never seemed to go away.

“This song is for Richard James Edwards,” shouted Bradfield into the mic as the band tore into classic track, “Faster”, showing how, though the band’s long-missing guitarist may be gone, he is never forgotten.

The gig began to draw to a close as the last chords of the chart-topping epics “Masses Against The Classes” and “If You Tolerate This” rang out across the Engine Shed.

“We haven’t done an encore in twenty years,” declared Nicky Wire after Bradfield had introduced the rest of his band to the crowd, including long-time drummer Sean Moore and prolific tour guitarist Wayne Murray. And with that the band dove into “Design For life”, which the crowd sung along so loudly to that Bradfield simply pushed the mic stand towards the crowd and let them scream the lyrics he had written so long ago.

“We are the Manic Street Preachers. You’ve been beautiful, Lincoln.” These were Bradfield’s final words to an exhausted but thoroughly entertained crowd. Many would argue that night the Manics performed one of the best gigs the Engine Shed has ever seen.

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