Caught Live: Feeder (with The Tuts), o2 Academy Liverpool 24th March 2017

It’s been six years since Feeder last visited this city (and this venue), as frontman Grant Nicholas mentioned during this show. In the interim, after the release of ‘Generation Freakshow’ in 2013 the band went ‘on hiatus’. Nicholas released a solo album (‘Yorktown Heights’) in 2014 and toured it, before Feeder finally reconvened last year with the ‘All Bright Electric’ album. This run of dates is a ‘UK tour part two’; this time around they are playing several towns and cities they didn’t get to last autumn.

Incredibly, for a major city often left off touring schedules, there was a competing gig across town on the same night. Local band Circa Waves were playing at the nearby Mountford Hall (a venue much-underused in my view, a topic for another day!) and had sold that place out. With that in mind, the turnout for the Feeder gig may have been affected but they still pulled around 800 (by my reckoning) to the larger upstairs hall.

My work schedule at the moment means it is a little tricky to get to a gig at doors, even if it is here in Liverpool, so apologies to opener Tom Speight whose short set I missed. I was there in time to catch The Tuts, a punky powerpop all-girl trio, however. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nadia, bassist Harriet and drummer Beverley, they were infectious and enthusiastic and Nadia expressed her delight at being invited to support Feeder for this gig, as she cited them as childhood heroes. That made me feel my age (!) since I would have seen Feeder myself at around the time she was talking about, but she and the band were genuinely happy at performing on this stage. She mentioned an upcoming gig of their own in Manchester (which got a predictable response!) Bassist Harriet interjected that it isn’t easy to get a gig booked in Liverpool (that WlLL be a subject for a future post); I know little to nothing about what is involved in getting bands on but would like to know more about this as I’m one of the most vocal complainers about how often I find myself travelling along the M62, even when (to my eyes) there are comparable venues in my own city.

Feeder at Liverpool o2 Academy

Feeder at Liverpool o2 Academy

Feeder pulled a surprise (to me, at least) when they came on stage: there were five of them! The band as publicised consists only of Nicholas and bassist Taka Hirose; on stage they were joined by guitarist Tom Gleeson and keyboardist Dean Deavall. The latter also contributed vocals, helping take the load off Nicholas as did Gleeson with his additional guitar. Regular touring drummer Karl Brazil (currently one of the most in-demand sticksmen) was unavailable to tour this time around and so his place was taken (at Brazil’s suggestion) by Geoff Holroyde. Opening with the slower ‘Another Day On Earth’ from the latest album, their set really kicked off when they launched into ‘Universe Of Life’ – a more characteristically lively number.  The set did include several off the current record, but they made the effort to cover their back catalogue as much as possible. They even performed ‘Shatter’, a more obscure number which only appeared on album as part of a compilation (‘The Singles’).

Feeder's Grant Nicholas with sparkly Jazzmaster

Feeder’s Grant Nicholas with sparkly Jazzmaster

The expanded line-up worked well on stage, and I was particularly impressed with Geoff Holroyde behind the kit. He looked a little like Black Stone Cherry’s John Fred Young and hit like him too! All in all it was a more enjoyable experience than the last time I saw this band in 2011, that night I got the distinct impression they were trying to be Britain’s answer to Nirvana, but tonight was a more ‘together’ performance, and although the frontman still prefers Kurt-style Fender Jazzmaster guitars, he no longer emulates Kurt’s look. There was plenty of bouncing around in the crowd, and even Nadia and Bev from the Tuts joined in the fun towards the end (even getting themselves a shoutout from Nicholas). Naturally enough they closed the main set with hit ‘Buck Rogers’; even though the famous ‘CD player-player-player’ hook hasn’t stood the test of time (we all stream nowadays, Grant!*) it didn’t stop a mass pogo down the front.

Last time I saw these I said I’d go again if they came back to Liverpool, it took a while but I’m glad I did when they eventually did return!

4 – Deserving

  • Actually, not true in my case. I recently picked up ‘Echo Park’ on CD for the princely sum of 20p from a well-known used electronics and entertainment chainstore and yes, it went into my older car’s CD player-player-player!

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