Manic Street Preachers – Astoria, London – 1994 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Manic Street Preachers to start off the week. From a concert given at the Astoria in London on December 1994, during a period of considerable upset within the band, and promoting their then-latest The Holy Bible, which would be the last album featuring Rhythm guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards, who was struggling with severe depression, fueled by alcohol abuse and anorexia which would culminate in his disappearance in February of 1995. Whether Edwards is on this concert recording, made by BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series isn’t immediately known – but I’m sure someone who was there will know for sure.
Although they were a successful band, they didn’t achieve the meteoric heights they had pushed for. Their 3rd album, Holy Bible reached a respectable #6 on the UK album charts, but failed to make much dent anywhere else. The British Press were very enthusiastic about the band, and it was this enthusiasm which created a deluge of dedicated fans, and were largely responsible for their initial signing to CBS
Manic Street Preachers were more popular in the UK than they were in the rest of the world, and even though CBS was behind the band, getting their popularity outside Britain was a challenge. It could have been a matter of trying to be too many things at once. Once described by Pitchfork journalist Joe Tangari as “walked a weird line between agit-punk, cock rock, romantic melodicism and glam, and was so obviously patterned after The Clash’s London Calling that it was actually kind of cute.”
That they did see themselves as a link between The Clash and The Sex Pistols, was viewed as a reaction to the then-popular genres of Shoegaze and Britpop, which they seemed to rail vehemently against. They nonetheless have had a long and successful career with countless awards and accolades and are still together.
To get an idea what they were up to during their early period – or to familiarize yourself with a band you may not know that much about, here they are from 1994, in concert at the London Astoria.