Manic Street Preachers // Suede // Live Review // Cardiff Castle // Wales

Manic Street Preachers // Suede // Live Review // Cardiff Castle // Wales

Tonight sees the third leg of the Manic Street Preachers and Suede co-headline tour of the UK take place at Cardiff Castle. The band’s developed an affinity for each other after touring Europe together in 1993 and rekindled this connection with a co-headline US tour at the end of 2022. With 17 songs on each band’s setlist, the night’s £65 entry fee was certainly good value.

Typically for a day in the first week of Wimbledon, the Castle grounds were hit by a fair amount of rain for 30 minutes before Suede took to the stage, but most people in the crowd were prepared with jackets and ponchos (a seller of the latter outside the gates may have had a lucrative evening).

Suede started first, beginning with ‘Turn Off Your Brain and Yell’  from their most recent record, ‘Autofiction’, followed by garnering enthusiastic singing from the crowd on early hit songs ‘Trash’ and ‘Animal Nitrate’, whilst frontman Brett Anderson balance-beam walked along and jumped off the stage monitors. Just as the rain cleared up, and slowing the pace, Simon Gilbert’s thunderous drums kicked off ‘The Drowners’; Anderson began to neatly swing his microphone from hand to hand by its cord, followed by taking a walk through the sea of arms and phones in the front rows of the crowd, despite the muddy ground.

After playing ‘15 Again’, the pace slowed down again with Neil Codling’s lovely keys on ‘By the Sea’. A small reply was given to Brett’s request for clapping at the beginning of a new song, the post-punk-flavoured ‘Antidepressants’, but the response grew warmer in the song’s final third. Anderson brought the personal touch on 1996’s ‘Saturday Night’, hugging fans and grasping hands up and down the full width of the front row, while Richard Oakes’ guitar gave a comforting sound. “Some fine, fine singing Cardiff, well done,” Anderson opined at the end.

Introducing a vision of a “lovely summer evening” with a “gin & tonic and a bowl of crisps,” Brett finally used his mic stand for ‘She’s In Fashion’, with Codling and Oakes combing on acoustic guitars. “The sunshine will blow my mind, and the wind blow my brain” echoed all around with singer and fans in unison. The last song from the band’s most recent album to get an outing tonight is ‘She Still Leads Me On’ – it’s played with enough drive to almost lift you to the heavens with Anderson pointing upwards on “Sometimes when I look up at the sky, she leads me on, she still leads me on.”

Suede completed their set with great energy on ‘So Young, Metal Mickey’, and ‘Beautiful Ones’, with Anderson in a sweat drenched shirt still strutting, jumping, and lassoing himself with his mic cord – a fine example of a guitar-less frontman performance.  “Cardiff – you have been beautiful!”

Suede Online



The Manics’ set started at 9:30pm. After an instrumental remix of the band’s own ‘1985’ played along with a video of neon graphics and words, the Manics began with the glam rock early single ‘You Love Us’, providing a lively kick off to proceedings. ‘Everything Must Go’ followed, with Nicky Wire’s bass providing a marked level of punch over the studio version. The almost 6-minute-long ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ shows lead singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield’s frontman credentials, as he’s seen hopping and pirouetting around on one leg, playing a riff that encompasses most of the fretboard, and singing lyrics like “Organize your safe tribal war. Hurt, maim, kill and enslave the ghetto.”

Next, the band performs a rock version of ‘Suicide Is Painless’ (Theme From MASH), with drummer Sean Moore helping to propel the song into a ferocious ending that’s far faster than the original theme song. This was followed by the uplifting ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, with red and orange lighting and graphical flames on the background video screen providing a warm glow to the stage. Bradfield sang a few lines from ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ towards the end of the song and those lyrics worked well with the keys in the background. Almost all songs in the setlist tonight are hit singles from the Manics’ catalogue, but the band next played a deep cut with the glacial-guitar-driven ‘To Repel Ghosts’, fitting well with the Castle’s Norman Keep being bathed in red light to the left of the stage. The song is performed perfectly, but only gets a decent response from the crowd, perhaps unsurprisingly given it was a part of the commercial failure album that was ‘Lifeblood’.

The Manics then welcome recent collaborator Catherine Anne Davies (aka The Anchoress) on stage to perform duet vocals duties on ‘Little Baby Nothing’ and ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’. The latter song is let down slightly by touring musician Nick Nasmyth’s keys being too prominent in the mix at times whilst Davies sang. Regular set closer ‘A Design for Life’s’ position at song 10 on the setlist might have taken several fans by surprise, but it still received a strong response (introduced as a “song for Wales” by Bradfield), with the crowd on second verse singing duties. Unprompted, the crowd started to sing the guitar riff for the opening of ‘La Tristesse Durera’ (Scream to a Sigh) before the full band joined in, driven along by Moore’s Hip-hop influenced drum beat.

Off of the back of the news that the Welsh National Football team is seeking a new manager, Bradfield suggested that Nicky Wire’s name should be thrown into the hat; however, Wire provided the second of tonight’s rock & roll food and drink suggestions by responding that his diet plan of “Ribena, Kit-Kats, and chips” wouldn’t be well-suited to the team. The band then played ‘No Surface All Feeling’, beginning with Bradfield’s rough and fuzzy guitar tone and ending with a snippet of ‘Today’ by the Smashing Pumpkins (a stated influence on the composition for No Surface). The Manics then finished off the night with a soaring ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’, leaving a very satisfied crowd with a Richard Burton quote on screen: “Every word I write, I suspect the next day.”

Review written by Adam Lusby (No.1 Manic’s fan!)


Photography: Emma Painter

Pacific Curd Photography


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