Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Renegades (Feeder)

With Lights Go Blue

Ruby Lounge, Manchester


Rating: 4/5

As I got into the venue, I was confronted by what sounded at first like a competent electro-indie band warming the boards for Feeder. When I got to the stage, I was surprised to find that this band, Lights Go Blue, only have two members- singer/guitarist/synth player Alex, and singer/drummer/synth player Raj. The former has a generic indie vocal delivery, but interestingly the latter (besides being an British Asian rock musician, which is always damn gratifying to see- apart from Som and Ravi in My Vitriol, who is there? Anyway…) sounds more like Davey Havoc from AFI. On the record, these guys kind of lose what makes them dynamic- the fact it’s just two of them. Luckily, genre-wise they are nestled squarely between indie and emo so even if it’s not my thing I don’t doubt they’ll go far.

And now the main attraction, Feed- er, I mean Renegades (cough). With a new drummer (Karl Brazil) onboard after Mark Richardson’s return to Skunk Anansie, they have decided to adopt the Renegades moniker and play some shows before returning to the studio. Consequently, most of the setlist was made up of new songs, played as a three-piece. The highlights were ‘White Lines’ and ‘Home’, which I sincerely hope make the new album. My maths may be poor, but with a main set that lasted 45 minutes and a two-song encore, it seems likely that the crowd was party to the new record in its entirety.

At times, the trio were surprisingly sloppy, and at the beginning of one song had to start again three times. This is sort of to be expected with a new drummer, but when Grant admitted they’d only had time for three practices my first thought was “well sort your act out then”. Their set was in spite of this strong for the most part, and plenty of jumping around the small Ruby Lounge stage combined with some zealous fans made for a great atmosphere. Their new material harks back to first album Feeder, coming across very drop-D-fuzz-pedal grunge, which is alright by me.

Introducing a ‘cover’ and dedicating it to their lost drummer Jon Lee, the band played an incendiary version of ‘Tangerine’, the band’s first single from Polythene. When they encored, Grant introduced ‘an oldie’ before launching into ‘Sweet 16’, the opener from their first EP, Swim, and causing a reaction that with a fractionally lower crowd barrier would have been a stage invasion. Closing on an extended ‘Descend’, again from Swim, the band departed, but not before high-fiving the majority of the crowd and giving out all the drinks they had on stage. A lot of people see Feeder as a singles-only band, or, as a friend of mine once described, “a five-out-of-ten band- you couldn’t listen to a whole album”. I disagree; for a time they were one of my favourite bands, and after a show like tonight, I can remember why.

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