Fans must go further afield to help Manic Street Preachers mark anniversary

Manic Street Preachers are returning to Leeds.
Manic Street Preachers are returning to Leeds.
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Everything must go, according to the title track of the Manic Street Preachers’ fourth album, but not every act must come to the North East, and they’re not.

The Welsh band’s upcoming tour to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Everything Must Go, a No 2 hit following its release in May 1996, is bypassing the region, just like their last five years’ worth of tours, but they are making a swift return to the First Direct Arena in Leeds following their last visit there in March 2014, and that, it being just a two-hour drive away, will have to do for their fans in this neck of the woods.

Making the trip of almost 100 miles or so all the more worthwhile is the fact that Editors will be supporting them.

Tickets for their Leeds date on Friday, May 20, cost £41 or £54.50. For details, go to www.firstdirectarena.com or www.manicstreetpreachers.com

The Manics haven’t played in the North East since a radio station competition prize-winners’ gig at Newcastle’s 02 Academy in September 2010, but Editors have been more regular visitors over recent years, playing at the same venue last October, supported by the Twilight Sad, and in 2013 and 2010.

The Welshmen are also playing in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Swansea, as well as in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The band – consisting, as has been the case since the disappearance of rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards in 1995, of James Dean Bradfield on vocals and guitar, Nicky Wire on bass and Sean Moore on drums – will play two sets on the night, the Everything Must Go album in full followed by an assortment of rarities, other hits and new material.

The 1996 LP was their first without Edwards and also their big commercial breakthrough, going triple platinum in the UK and selling more than a million copies, as well as picking up multiple Brit awards.

It features four top 10 singles – A Design for Life, a No 2; its title track, a No 5; Kevin Carter, a No 9; and Australia, a No 7.

Although some songs from Everything Must Go, reissued in expanded form in 2006 to mark its 10th anniversary, are still cornerstones of Manic Street Preachers gigs – three of them having featured in their last Newcastle set, Kevin Carter, A Design for Life and No Surface All Feeling – several of its tracks haven’t been played live since 1996. They also played two of its 12 tracks at their Leeds show last year, A Design for Life and the title track.

It was their biggest hit at the time, just missing out on the No 1 spot, but they went on to claim their only chart-topper to date with its follow-up, 1998’s This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours. Their fifth album also yielded one of their two No 1 singles, If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next, the other being 2000’s The Masses Against the Classes.

Six of the seven albums that followed made the top 10, Lifeblood, a No 13 in 2004 being the odd one out. Know Your Enemy got to No 2 in 2001, Send Away the Tigers did likewise in 2007, Journal for Plague Lovers and Postcards from a Young Man both got to No 3 in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Rewind the Film was a No 4 in 2013 and Futurology was a No 2 in 2014.

Prior to Everything Must Go, the band, formed in 1986 in Blackwood in Caerphilly, made it to No 13 with their 1992 debut LP, Generation Terrorists, to No 8 with the year after’s Gold Against the Soul and to No 6 with The Holy Bible in 1994.

Two of their three compilations have also been top 10 hits, Forever Delayed getting to No 4 in 2002 and National Treasures to No 10 in 2011.