Feeder have become very much part of the furniture in British rock since their meteoric rise to fame back in 2001, on the back of huge, feel-good hits “Buck Rogers” and “Seven Days In the Sun”.
Playing to a sold-out crowd, Feeder produced a rousing set at Oxford’s O2 Academy last Saturday to reaffirm their status as one of the UK’s biggest rock acts. It was the first time the band had played Oxford since their late drummer Jon Lee broke his foot on their “Polythene” tour in 1999, and they certainly made up for lost time.
Opening with “Sweet 16″ from their 1996 EP “Swim”, the bar was set for the night, and they maintained that steady pace with their 1999 single “Insomnia”.
The reaction they received was one of almost tangible joy, significant given the band’s lengthy stay away from Oxford.
There was something of a carnival atmosphere in the venue, with a good mix of ages in attendance and various Halloween decorations hanging from the walls.
However, whilst new material such as the heavier “Sentimental” and “Renegades”, were well received by the fans who were lapping up every moment, there was a nagging sense that the occasion could have been so much more .
In truth, their star has not burned as brightly in recent years, which perhaps explains the band’s reversion to type with “Renegades”. That said, this performance illustrated just how adept they are at producing hits.
Whilst the new album sounds very similar to – almost a continuation of – “Silent Cry” – the previous album – the astonishing thing about this performance was the amount of hits present in the set list.
There was an intimate feel to the gig, which took on a totally different feel to previous tours having taken place in much larger arenas back in 2006, when Feeder briefly hit the heights of stadium rock.
The interaction between the band and members of the crowd helped break down the perceived barrier and allowed the performance to take on a more inclusive dimension.
“Do I really have to play ‘Seven Days In the Sun’?” asked frontman Grant Nicholas in mock reluctance before launching into the ever-recognisable riff.
Despite his flippancy, Nicholas did seem jaded to some degree as he played the bigger hits. “Buck Rogers” in particular has become something of a millstone, potentially masking more heartfelt songs like “Just the Way I’m Feeling” and “Pushing the Senses” from the recognition they deserve.
Indeed, whilst the Welsh rockers are best known for those poppier tracks, darker output – “Renegades” and “Silent Cry” – mean that they are one of a very select group of bands welcome in any festival line-up.
The night was rounded off with an extended encore, consisting of “High” and “Shade” – taken from “Polythene” and “Swim” respectively – before launching into the band’s super-hit “Just A Day”, causing the whole of the Oxford crowd to jump in unison and creating what must have been a minor earthquake.
Feeder might not be the biggest band in the world, and perhaps this is the height of fame they’re now destined to stay. But you don’t have to be a global superstars to impress the audience in front of you, and they did just that.Tweet