The first gig I ever went to unaccompanied by a responsible adult was Feeder, at the Brixton Academy, in the late Nineties, when they were performing there as part of their Yesterday Went Too Soon tour.
How time flies. 12 years on, they (and I) returned on Friday to South London to what is now officially known as the o2 Academy Brixton, where the band were performing once more, on the same day that – fittingly enough – I found my first grey hair.
This time around they were promoting Generation Freakshow, their eighth album. The set featured a good mix of old and new – the new very much falling into classic Feeder territory; solid, ear-pleasing guitar riffs and strong, emotive vocals courtesy of Grant Nicholas.
Stand-out new material included “Tiny Minds” and “Idaho”, which both had hints of Feeder’s distinctive tenderness and earnestness mixed in with shouty, feel-good, sing-along choruses and fierce, angry guitars. The former in particular had a serious catchability about it, so much so that you might get the feeling you’d heard it before, even if you hadn’t – it was just so Feeder-y … in a good way.
The band aren’t simply re-hashing old stuff though, there is definitely a new freshness about it. While they do seem be following their Feeder formula to an extent – and a decent one at that – there is the sense of the band progressing and evolving too.
However, and perhaps inevitably, the tunes that got the best reaction of the night were undoubtedly “Insomnia”, “Just the Way I’m Feeling”, “Yesterday Went Too Soon” and “High”. Those were the times that the energy on-stage really translated to the crowd – during their newer songs, the audience politely watched on and shuffled their feet about for good measure, but it wasn’t until Grant & co pulled these tried and tested classics out the bag that people really started moving and moshing like they meant it.
Fans of Feeder do seem to enjoy the nostalgia factor involved in revisiting these hits, but the band has plenty to offer new fans. Straightforward indie rock, without the bells and whistles (and synths, banjos, crack pipes etc) of this decade’s hipster music scene may not be particularly en vogue at the moment but – as Grant promised during the gig – it will come back. When it does, hopefully Feeder will once more receive the attention and the sales they rightfully deserve.