Feeder - O2 Academy, Newcastle 10.11.2019
Feeder are one of those bands that, really, should have been huge. Everything looked right for them. They had more than enough songs that counted as hits, plenty of promotional pats on the back, tours that would constantly sell. But yet there was something that either held them back or was a step that the band were reluctant to take. Either way, it's not a question that can be really answered by the likes of myself. I've seen them a good few times over the years, from catching them at Newcastle's Riverside with my friend Mark just as 'High' was breaking as a single from their debut album to catching them on never ending tours for "Yesterday Went Too Soon", "Echo Park" and "Comfort In Sound". However, there's been a good few years since seeing them live so I jumped at the chance of being able to see them again.
Warming up the audience for the tour are Indie Pop pups NOVACUB, featuring Russell Lissack and Louise Bartle from Bloc Party. NOVACUB is Louise's vehicle for her songwriting so instead of drumming she commands the front of the stage. The band are joined by bassist Iona Thomas (who spends most of the gig with a mile wide grin) and drummer Tony Alda who has the band's name scrawled across his bare chest in a nod to "The Shining". The band's set is short but sweet, all jangling guitars with Louise's vocal style being pitched part way between Indie faves Sleeper and Mancunian legend Mark E Smith from The Fall. They pull from their collection of single releases that have the audience all nodding along. NOVACUB may have just slipped into our periphery but they're certainly ones to keep an eye on.
Feeder have got to celebrate at the moment. Their new album "Tallulah" is filled with infectious tunes that really grow on you and, as frontman Grant Nicholas points out, debuted at number four in the charts the same week Slipknot hit number one. And let’s not forget Grant and Taka’s recent appearance on “Bargain Hunt” where they lost out to The Darkness. It's inspiring really that the band have elected to draw heavily from their recent album while still being comfortable to add in older hits and deeper cuts. This is reflected perfectly in the opening trio of 'Youth' from their current album, 'Lost & Found' from "The Singles" album and 'Feeling A Moment' from 2005's "Pushing The Senses".
Joining Grant is long term bassist Taka Hirose, possibly one of the coolest guys to walk the planet, a black mohawk just as long as his beard, and Karl Brazil whos been battering his drums John Bonham style with the band for the last decade (There’s a sneaky nod to ’Whole Lotta Love’ later on in the set, as well as some other Rock classics). Added to the touring lineup is Dean Deavall on keys and backing vocals, and Tom Gleeson on guitar and backing vocals, both of whom have been playing live in the band for the past few tours. There's a real cohesion to them all playing together, handling the various song textures with ease. Taka holds his own pocket of stage, bouncing away or grooving away like he’s in his own little galaxy.
They take the decision to play two or three new songs before plucking a gem from their back catalogue. It shows confidence in their newer material while still showcasing the strength of their back catalogue. Songs like ’Daily Habit’ and the heavy fuzz Rock of ’Kyoto’ go over well with the mixed age range audience and you can imagine them fitting well in the set in years to come. The only throw backs to more recent releases are ‘Figure You Out’ and ‘Eskimo’ with the rest of the set drawing from their first five albums.
And what a back catalogue! Tunes like ’Just The Way I’m Feeling’ and ’Come Back Around’ are pure gold. But then so are ‘Insomnia’ and ’Comfort In Sound’. And ’High’. And ’Turn’. Damn it, so many older classics to choose from, every one showcasing their ability to write some of the best Pop Rock songs from the past few decades. Once you consider a set closing duo of ’Seven Days In The Sun’ and ’Buck Rogers’ and everyone would have been happy. However, then band come back with ’Blue Sky Blue’ from “Tallulah” and a rousing ’Just A Day’ that sees a circle pit actually form. And this probably leads me to my one main gripe of the show: the older audience member (generally male) with probably a few drunks in them who rush to the front after being stood at the back and sides for most of the night, trying to slam dance and recapture their youthful memories of 2001. It’s time to stop gents, you’re behaving like dicks.
It’s wet as we all exit the academy but it’s not like anyone really cares. Pretty much everyone is grinning and humming one of the tunes played tonight. Feeder aren’t back, they never went away. It’s time for people to start listening to the band again and, on the strength of tonight’s gig, they will be. Let’s hope for some more dates next year.
Feeder - https://www.facebook.com/feederweb/
NOVACUB - https://www.facebook.com/novacubmusic/
Photos - G's Gig Shots
Review - Scott Hamilton