In support of their ninth album All Bright Electric, the tireless Feeder hit the road again and judging by the swarm of fans eagerly queuing outside in the cold across several roads, interest in the British rock band is still high. The location for Feeder’s first second city gig in many years is the Institute, in Birmingham’s cultural hotspot of Digbeth.
An expectant crowd of people clearly looking forward to renewing an old acquaintance may have been left a little unfulfilled as the band opened up with a trio of new songs before lead singer Grant Nicholas announced ‘Feeling a Moment’, and the throng of devotees rose up as one. The bands were not helped by some poor acoustics and bass levels that made the cavities of the soul reverberate.
The set progressed through ‘Pushing the Senses’ and early Feeder sing along ‘High’, at which point the crowd were nicely warmed up and the sound engineers seemed to bring the competing instruments into a more cohesive order.
Nostalgia was heavy in the air all night, and when Nicholas spoke about days gone by – when people still bought albums, bands made videos, and you could buy tickets to gigs without a glut of obscure charges – it was hard not to yearn for simpler times.
‘Eskimo’ was the next new number to get an outing and it was the strongest of all the new material, which in truth felt a bit like filler while the patient crowd waited for the next old favourite.
Whether it was the venue sorting out their wall of sound issues or the drinks starting to flow, the second half of the gig felt a more joyous and celebratory affair as the band launched into ‘Come Back Around’ and the brilliant ‘Insomnia’ where Nicholas and his long time band member Taka Hirose took us back 25 years as they roared through it.
What’s clear in the quarter of a century that has passed is that the two original Feeder members remain flawlessly in tune with each other, musically and on stage. While the new material may not make the same impression as in days gone by, the quality of their back catalogue is impressive. They are a band on reflection we may have taken for granted amid the Britpop frenzy.
When you finish with the still stunningly emotional ‘Just the Way I’m Feeling’ and the crashing ‘Buck Rodgers’ the crowd will always want more, so after a short break the band came back and regaled the enthralled crowd with the wonderful ‘Seven days in the Sun’ and the irrepressible ‘Just a Day’, before an emotional Nicholas said a warm thank you and departed promising the hiatus will not be so long next time.
James Van Praag