Wednesday, 2 February 2011

This Is Yesterday

16 years ago, Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers walked out of the hotel he was staying in, and never came back. This guy didn't realise how much of an inspiration he was to his and the future generations with just the power of his words. Depression is such a bitch. But of course it would be wrong to sum him up to something as simple as that.

I was lucky enough to see the Manics again on 21 January 2011 at the Brixton Academy. I got seating this time which was good because I got to listen to them properly. But I was itching to get up from my seat and jump up and down like a maniac a good few times (I somehow managed to restrain myself). I looked around me, and it was filled with people of all ages, nationality and race. In front of me was a guy probably in his early 50's singing along to every single tune. Next to us was a girl who just leaned forward all night, her face in awe, hardly saying a word. There were a few students behind us who analysed their early days work whilst the stage was being prepared. There seems to be a form of solidarity with Manic fans that you don't tend to get with other bands.

Again, I tried to take some videos on my crappy iphone, and again they turned up not too great. As a tribute to Richey, I found some of my favourite Manic songs - some written by Richey, and some by Nicky Wire - which I wanted post.

James Dean Bradfield did a three song acoustic set midway through the gig. "This is Yesterday"was my favourite. My eyes were all welled up during this song, as also were a lot of people around us. It just shows Bradfield's talent in its pure form. Richey and Nicky write the lyrics, and James puts it to music. I can't fathom the talent of being able to do that. For someone to be able to put your words to music perfectly. He gets it right with every single song. Plus, his voice is bloody amazing.
"Faster" - this is my favourite song of all time. I remember being actually scared of this song when I first heard it because it sounded so in-your-face and accusatory. But slowly, it became such an empowering song to me. It actually makes me feel stronger when I hear it. Like I can take on the crap gets thrown about for those few minutes.
"Roses In The Hospital" - just a great song to sing (shout) along to. Sounds fantastic live.
"Revol" - another one of my all time favourites, and probably my favourite videos with 'Faster'. But gosh does Richey look so vacant and apathetic in this, heartbreaking in retrospect.
"La Tristesse Durera (scream to a sigh)" - this was written about war veterans. Every word is so powerful and emotional in this song. 
"Little Baby Nothing" - Legend has it that they originally wanted Kylie to sing the vocals. Thank goodness her corporate record company didn't let her. Instead, Richey managed to get Traci Lords to sing with Bradfield. Lords couldn't be around for the video and the rest of the band couldn't be bothered to do it. So its just Bradfield, a Lords 'looky-likey' and a bunch of MSP fans with loads of slogans. I think this is a fantastic video as every time I watch it, I find something new to think about. To me, this video is the core essence of the Manics - no compromise.
Richey's presence is always felt around them even though he vanished so long ago. Whenever they play, the area of the stage where he always stood, is always left vacant, ready for him in case he decides to come back. They did have an extra guitarist (I think he was there at the XFM as well), but he respectably kept his distance towards the back. Is he dead, or wondering the sights of Goa? Everyone has their own opinion, I have mine.

People either can't stand the Manics, or are devoted, die hard fans who research every reference and lyric and quote from their songs in order to derive the true meaning to what they are trying to tell us. To me, the Manics are just so clever and intelligent. They don't write about romance or having a nice day. They are far too political and real for that. I remember listening to 'Your love alone' and then reading somewhere that the title came from a friend's suicide note. They don't do love songs! These guys have known each other since they were six or seven and they are still the best of friends, maintaining their roots when they could have gone all LA. I know I have dedicated quite a few posts to them, and I hope I don't come across as some Manics crazy nut. Its just that the band, and Richey's 'manifesto' as they call it, has become to mean a lot to me again over the last year. The Manics always comforted me back during those awkward teenage years because they made it alright to be different and not conform. Although some of their songs and behavior have proper pissed me off, they'll always have a corner of my heart.

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