Unplugged Manics still strike a chord with diehard fans
Legendary Welsh rock band the Manic Street Preachers will be performing at the Colston Hall in Bristol on Monday, September 23.
The three-piece, whose hits include You Love Us, A Design For Life and You Stole the Sun From My Heart, are touring the UK in support of their eleventh studio album Rewind the Film, their first major release in almost three years.
The album is the first of two new works to be released over the coming months and, with the absence of electric guitars, marks a significant departure from the band's traditional sound. Described by front man James Dean Bradfield as "atmospheric" and "cinematic", Rewind the Film features guest contributions from fellow Welsh musician Cate Le Bon, singer Lucy Rose and revered songwriter Richard Hawley.
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The current six-date tour, which also sees the Manics perform in London and Manchester before finishing in Glasgow, will be their first in the UK since the end of 2011 and will see them play Bristol for the first time in nearly three years.
The band have a reputation for showmanship and their live sets are regarded as among the most entertaining around, with bass player Nicky Wire's androgynous image and costumes becoming increasingly flamboyant in recent years.
The group, originally from Blackwood in South Wales, enjoyed the height of their success in the late Nineties, with a string of albums earning them both commercial success and critical acclaim. The 1996 album Everything Must Go and 1998's This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours were the band's biggest commercial successes, the latter reaching number one in the UK album chart upon its release.
The band's songs were internationally recognised for their strong political themes, intellectual sensibility and anti-establishment stance, as well as their aggressive guitar style, which took influence from classic rock and punk bands like The Clash and The Jam.
The tragic disappearance of fourth band member Richey Edwards in 1995 became a defining moment in rock history and contributed to the legacy of the band over the following years.
Rhythm guitarist and lyricist Edwards had been struggling with severe depression, alcoholism and self-harm during the recording of the band's 1994 album The Holy Bible which, in the light of his disappearance, has been viewed as a reflection of his deteriorating condition.
The Manics continued on without the iconic Edwards and enjoyed their most successful period immediately following his absence. The guitarist was declared 'missing presumed dead' in 2008, inspiring the album Journal For Plague Lovers, for which the lyrics comprised entirely Edwards' unfinished notes.
A determination to remain relevant has driven the group throughout the last decade as their commercial appeal waned. Although dismissed as unfashionable, their albums have remained consistently strong and a core of devoted fans has stuck with them for the best part of 30 years.
Rewind the Film is released on Monday, September 16.