Manic Street Preachers at Barrowlands, 25 May

Article by Dave Kerr | 29 May 2009

Another dreich night in Glasgow fails to dampen the spirits outside the Barrowlands as the hordes bay for the live premiere of Journal for Plague Lovers. Playing a brand new record in its entirety might seem like a risky strategy, but it’s a sure win scenario when you’re dealing with the frankly frightening devotion of the Manic Street Preachers fanbase. Songs that have only been available legally for a week are greeted like old friends and Richey's name is roared all night, the long absent lyricist’s recently exhumed words bouncing off the walls like machine gun fire. “The more I see, the less I scream,” starts James Dean Bradfield on Peeled Apples, but the reality is that the Welsh trio are refusing to recline into middle age with any such apathy.

Embracing their post-punk roots, Bradfield’s distinct Magazine-like riff work reigns over adrenalised centre-pieces All is Vanity and Marlon J.D. before drunken, out of tune singers oblige a plea from a subdued Nicky Wire (enduring a gammy back) as he signs off Journal... with William’s Last Words. A second set comprised of hits (If You’ll Tolerate This), rarities (Sorrow 16) and a bizarre medley (Stop in the Name of Love spliced with Motown Junk, anyone?) completely ignores Lifeblood and Know Your Enemy but ensures the Welsh veterans keep the Barras in their grip. Prolapsed discs aside, if there’s one thing the Manics bring to the table tonight it’s a brand of piss and vinegar we'd foolishly feared long lost. [Dave Kerr]

Read our event preview for Manic Street Preachers at Barrowlands

Manic Street Preachers play T in the Park, Balado on 11 July.