It’s often intriguing when the support bill for long-established artists is used to open a window into the next generation. Tonight, it’s the turn of Bristol noise-pop duo Superlove, who embrace the biggest stage in their fledgling career to date looking eager to impress. They’re a dynamic bunch – luring you in with sweet-as-pie melodies that wrap a metaphorical arm around your shoulder and gesture at the big wide world to be discovered out there, only to shove your face back down into the mud via intersecting gloom-laden riffs sharp enough rupture a few capillaries. It’s enough to give someone trust issues, but it works wholly to Superlove’s advantage. Save Yourselves from the recently released debut album Colours illustrates the point, a real face-smacker of an opening giving way to vocals so hooky you could use them like Velcro. Superlove looks at home on the big stage, so don’t expect this to be the last time they grace one.
Feeder’s latest offering Torpedo is a record that reaches back over a quarter of a century, tapping into the buzzsaw guitars and heavy fuzz that shaped the nineties for so many whilst launching the Welsh rockers very much into the public consciousness. At least that’s how I remember it – I lost a whole summer to Swim, Polythene and Echo Park whilst playing Championship Manager. Their fourth consecutive top-ten album and their tenth in total, Torpedo underpins what Feeder proclaim is their heaviest live set for years. I won’t be getting that summer back, but at least I’ll be offered a chance to relive bits of it at various points within the hour. Nostalgia you two-faced beast.
This is more than a trip down memory lane, however. Feeder has been around for a while, but there’s a reason they’re still around, and it doesn’t rest on the fact that for a sweet moment in the early 2000s they had every festival-goer across the land passionately singing the word lemon. Fresh takes such as Magpie and the title track from Torpedo shake the O2 Academy with gargantuan riffs, the former carrying the room along within a torrent of dense, grooving guitars and rolling synths that pave the way for newer material to flow seamlessly into the old. Rare outings for My Perfect Day and Radiation from 1997’s Polythene both delight and surprise those who’ve followed the band since the heyday of the grunge era, whilst the biggest singalong of the night thus far accompanies set-closing stoner anthem High, a hark back to Feeder’s first venture into the top 40, and still a song capable of stretching every arm in the room towards the rafters.
As Feeder returns for an encore, there’s still plenty of energy left in the tank. The curtain comes down amid a frenzy via pre-Youtube fan-driven MTV sensation Just a Day, but the opening chords of Buck Rogers are what light the fuse. The crowd lays their sensibilities to one side and the room goes off with a bang as a thousand voices unite to cry those immortal words – “get a house in Devon…drink cider from a…” well, you know.