Ruby Lounge, Manchester. 26/01/2010
By Ian Burke
This is unusual. A headline band in Renegades that CityLifers has never heard of, yet the Ruby Lounge is absolutely packed to its subterranean gills. Something is clearly afoot.
Before our mystery guests, though, the throng is treated to Lights Go Blue, a very young, stylish and stylised duo, who are as sickeningly talented as they are good looking. Their verses masquerade as Jimmy Eat World choruses, while the actual main hooks are unstoppable, distilled torrents of melody, even if the overtly cheerful backing track pegs them somewhere between the risible Mission District and, gulp, Eiffel 65.
For a band who are so fresh that they’re still flogging their demos for a couple of quid at the merch stall, they show a staggering level of confidence. In fact, the only thing they don’t have is a couple more hunks for 15 year old girls to dribble their hormones over.
It’s just gone 9pm when the roar goes up for Renegades, and with some careful craning of the neck, you can just about make out that the bassist looks like Taka Hirose and that the frontman bares an uncanny resemblance to Grant Nicholas. Wait a minute, it couldn’t be…by jove, it is! It’s only bloody Feeder.
Playing their smallest show in Manchester since a notoriously sweaty performance at the Hop & Grape in October ’97, the trio (completed by the loan signing of Ben’s Brother drummer, Karl Brazil) tear through a set of almost entirely new tunes that eschew their more thoughtful side for high-tempo, muscular riffs, which for a band who built their reputation on anthemic moments like ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘High’ and ‘Insomnia’ seem a little directionless.
The ineffably polite Nicholas, his locks more flowing than they’ve been in aeons, is clearly revelling in the venue’s meticulously decorated confines, engaging in banter that is impossible in their more regular haunts, and – keeping in Renegades character – introducing the ancient trinity of ‘Tangerine’ ‘Sweet 16′ and ‘Descend’ as “cover versions”, the former dedicated to the much-missed Jon Lee.
While Feeder aren’t the crown jewels of British rock, they’re certainly one of the precious gems.