April 13th, 2005


Manic Monday

Well, OK, Manics Tuesday. There were quite a gaggle of people outside the Corn Exchange trying to sell on one ticket each, mostly without success, which was sad. But when we got in it seemed really busy anyway, and there was a nice atmosphere. The support band were called The Delays, and I hadn't heard of them though I think Mike had: he listens to 6music though and therefore has an unfair advantage. I quite liked them on the whole, more engaging than Monday night's Generic Indie Rock Band they were less rock and more waily. Something about blokes with girly voices lately. Anyway I definitely enjoyed some of their tracks except when they went off into mad pretention, and there was at least one point where I realised that the guitar solo was letting them down not because it was monumentally crap but because it was merely amateurishly OK, and the rest of the sound was quite tight and professional.

Once they'd finished Mike, Ned and I headed down the front, to find ourselves in a sparklier bit of the crowd, featuring tiaras, feather boas, glitter and the like. And for a while I was a bit out of it and had a bit of a "why am I here" moment, especially since I was feeling out of place and like a big fat lump. Still. Once they came on stage I had a good time. It's kind of strange going to see a band you quite liked once and have one album you know really well and a couple of others you know a bit, especially when you're going with a huge fan. So I could sing along to may 1/3 of the songs and mumble along to quite a few of the others, but for the rest it was a case of bounce along with the crowd and try not to feel too embarrassed about not knowing all these songs which are clearly huge favourites. So yes, highlights for me definitely included Motorcycle Emptiness and You Love Us (complete with nice anecdote from a Cambridge gig in 1992). And it was amusing to have Mike yell "Stay Beautiful" into a sudden quiet spot and have that in fact be the next track. I also rather enjoyed the acoustic solo of The Everlasting despite it being a bit of a twee track really, and the one that followed it starting with just singer and electric guitar then bringing the rest of the band back partway through was excellent, even if I didn't know it. And I can see why even straight guys have a bit of a soft spot for Nicky Wire. "He's just a big girl really" says Mike, which is rather telling! Serious charisma and the crowd nearby (including us, 5 or 6 people back and right in front of his mic stand) were lapping up every smile. The finale with a cover of GnRs Paradise City sequeing into Motown junk was suitably upbeat, though it was surprising to have the lights go straight up without even a hint of an encore - I'm just not used to that.

Mike had a fabulous time, and I enjoyed myself too, and *next* time I'll know the words.