By Ciarán Kennedy.
All clad in black, James-Dean Bradfield is much more understated than the man to his left, bassist Nicky Wire, whose microphone stand tonight is a fluorescent pink, draped in various types of fluffy cheap scarves it seems.
Together, the duo jump around the stage and swing their instruments so much that they do well to not come across as a middle-aged Busted. This is indeed, a very energetic showing from the Manic Street Preachers.
The band’s latest release, 2010’s ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ was generally well-received by critics and fans alike, with lead guitarist and singer Bradfield saying that they had gone for ‘big radio hits’ on the album. This certainly shows tonight, as songs such as (It’s Not War) Just the End of Love and title track Postcards From a Young Man stand-up alongside Manic’s live staples A Design for Life and Motorcycle Emptiness.
There’s no visual help or lighting to add to the performance, just a few small statues of what appear to be animals and naked women.
Their confidence in their newer material is proven by the fact that Your Love Alone and Motorcycle Emptiness turn up as early into the set as songs two and three respectively. While mid-way through the evening, If You Tolerate This… makes an appearance and brings the very-nearly-full Olympia Theatre to its feet: cue mass sing-along. Despite this, the performance never dips in quality.
Manic’s fans were queuing outside as early as 18.00, and their reward was a greatest hits set that touched on everything from The Holy Bible right up to Postcards… And there’s no encore, just a twenty+ strong set that ends with a Design For Life, and the chorus has never seemed more appropriate.
Based on this showing, the band deserve a higher billing come Punchestown in July.