Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Feeder mix up old and new in Belfast's Limelight

WHEN it comes to reviewing bands like Feeder there’s always a nostalgic feeling someone my age usually gets.

I’m a fan of the band, but when I say “fan” I don’t mean one of those “buy every t-shirt” types.  I mean I like what they do, always have and happy to see them live, no more so than when they played Belfast’s Limelight on Monday (October 17th).

Feeder will always be one of those bands who just always seem to be around.  Never making too much noise but usually doing something in the background – the true secret of their success.  They’ve garnered a really solid, loyal and growing fan base out of being the reliable sort.

That’s not to say they don’t have their magical moments - for someone who used to hold quite a crush on frontman Grant Nicholas I’ve found myself at the centre of many heated arguments among friends who like and dislike the band.

Headed up by Grant on vocals and Taka Hirose on bass, Feeder have always had one live trait that I admired - no matter what musicians were drafted in to play live or on their albums they’ve always been a solid, tight band.  

You might say that as a professional band they should be - and you’d be right.  But as we all know it’s not always the case.  On stage at the Limelight were a group of musicians that you could easily believe had been playing together a lifetime.

On stage Feeder were flawless in their performance but one thing I noticed this time, that I hadn’t noticed last time I saw them live (a few moons ago) was that there wasn’t a lot of crowd interaction as there should be.

The band opened the night with ‘Another Day on Earth’ from their latest album ‘All Bright Electric’ (released July 2016), an indication of was to be the template for the night: a classic sound with lots of new material in there too.

This is a band which knows they’re trading on a lot of nostalgia but who are keen to make sure their new material is well heard.

‘Universe of Life’ led nicely into an old classic Feeling A Moment (Pushing The Senses) after which Grant paid tribute to local support act R51.

When they announced ‘Pushing The Senses’ set the crowd wild, as if things were finally going the way they wanted it to.

The thing about Feeder for me is that they straddle confidently the lines between light grunge, indie and rock giving them a unique but almost universal sound.

Despite a sound malfunction during ‘Pushing The Senses’ where the vocals couldn’t be heard at the front of the stage all was now right in the Limelight world

Although if I’m honest - and this is something about Feeder crowds - they were a little lifeless except for the diehards at the front.

But I wonder is that indicative of two things?  The fact that Feeder are one of those rock bands you can chill out to, but also the kind of band that can make you feel inspired and energised all at once.

What I love about Feeder is that they’ve always been a modest and simple band, free from the ego of contrived styling and elaborate set design.

As most artists of these genres do they used a back wall projector and lighting in an unassuming but effective way.

As they returned to their new material ‘Eskimo’ the almost polite audience seemed captivated by the song which had a more electronic feel to it.  A real pounding beat that resonated across the room.

Although the song was well received by the crowd I felt my interest waning.

It’s lacking a hook and to me that’s crucial in a song which came next in Paperweight, another song from the new album.

There’s something about this tune, to me it has a 70s undertone with an 80s post punk era vibe to it.

This is definitely one of those songs where you have to do the old step back slower head nod rather than a full head bang but it keeps a nice double beat coming in and out to give it a bit of variety...definitely more a “headbang while you’re drunk” kinda song.

Next up was Tender (double A-side with Shatter) which is one of those “must do a ballad for the girls” songs, soft keys, girls swaying, beautiful guitar solo….Grant on vocals...swoon!

Back to reality and the band liven things up with the classic ‘Come Back Around’ at which point the crowd lights up and you could almost see them reminiscing about carryouts and graveyards!

Sticking with the old school they launched into ‘Insomnia’, which was faster, bouncier, noisier and had much more texture to the song.

The audience was a real mix of passive onlookers and engaging hard core fans and funny enough this is how many felt about the music, Feeder songs are either passive chill out tunes or big anthemic songs.

Next up were ‘Borders’ and ‘Geezer’ before the band launched into yet another classic in ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ much to the appreciation from a more lively audience.

Throughout ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ the audience went from singing along to jumping around during the chorus before going totally wild to ‘Buck Rogers’ It’s not surprising that the set was ended on the loudest and saw the crows more active than it had been all night and why not. Buck Rogers is definitely iconic of an era.

Of course that wasn’t enough from the Belfast audience who were chanting “one more tune” for what seemed like an age before the band came back for the encore.

Finishing off with ‘Infrared-Ultraviolet’, 7 Days In The Sun and as expected ending the night on ‘Just A Day’  it makes me wonder in the days of Facebook Live and Snapchat, how different could that “fan” video have been.

All in all it was a great gig and the band were excellent.  Moving through the crowd at the end as they were going wild the diversity of Feeder fans was evident.  From hipsters with perfect hair, skinny jeans and tweed jackets to long-haired, band t-shirt wearing metal heads they were all screaming “How did we end up like this?” by the end of the night to the perfect defiance anthem.

Review by Tina Calder
Pics by Darren McVeigh
Reproduction by written permission only.

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