Whilst it is obvious that the band have mellowed out a fair bit over the past ten years, it is still safe to say that Feeder are still one of the leading lights in British rock music. Going from strength to strength, they have given us everything from heartfelt ballads to euphoric yet ultimately anthemic rock classics that have transcended the ever shifting pop culture, and are still as fresh and as important today as they once were.
But with their new album All Bright Electric, Feeder have reconnected with their roots which made them such a driving force to be reckoned with in the first place. A band who have reconnected with their kindred spirit, if you please. But as for yours truly, he hasn’t seen the band since Reading 2008, so it has certainly been a while since he had last witnessed them. So how would the band fare at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on this warm April evening? Would it be a lacklustre sense of yesterday’s nostalgia, or would it be a revelatory coming of age with the band playing better than ever?
Until that moment comes, the audience are treated to a support set from Blackpool’s own Darlia. Musically speaking, these guys are not bad by any means. The showmanship that is also evidently clear with their bassist and drummer are the main focal point of their performance, with them clearly showing a sense of passion in what they are doing. But as for the rest of the band, there just seems to be something lacking. That sense of excitement, the sense of spontaneity, the sense of energy. Whilst musically there is not really anything that can be faulted as such, Darlia’s set just seems to be an indie rock snoozefest that really does not excite or thrill. Which is a shame as it is clear that these guys have potential, they just need to find their sense of identity which makes them a truly wondrous presence.
However tonight was ever only about one band. And when Feeder arrive to the set opener of ‘Another Day On Earth’, it’s like the band have never missed a beat. From there on in, its a slow burning soarer of a set that just paces itself to a steady climax. The band (now touring as a five piece) look and sound as fresh and as vital as they ever have done, and it makes perfect sense. Whilst singer Grant Nicholas cannot hit those gritty high notes that he used to be able to, the inclusion of the rest of the band being able to provide backing vocals actually provides for a more harmonious collective vocal range, which in turn really compliments the sound altogether.
Feeder’s set is peppered with great rock songs expanding over all of their back catalogue. Be it newer material such as ‘Universe Of Life’ and ‘Eskimo’, to rare and old cuts such as ‘High’ and ‘Insomnia’, to truly wonderful singalong moments such as ‘Feeling A Moment’, ‘Come Back Around’, and a crowd igniting ‘Buck Rogers’. There really is a sense of humble nature and introverted gratitude that exudes from Grant Nicholas, who has a smile on his face for pretty much most of the set, and it is real lovely to see. It is so very evident that the band are reaching a second wind in their career right now, and it is clear by the band to audience communication and participation as well as in the musical substance within their new material which is also being as greatly appreciated as their older material tonight.
During the encore, the band return to a four song conclusion that begins with ‘Infrared – Ultraviolet’ and ‘Seven Days In The Sun’. However the audience are treated to a rare performance of the song ‘Turn’, which the band said they do not get to play often at all these days – much to the crowd’s pleasure. However it is the final song of the evening ‘Just A Day’, that perfectly rounds up tonight’s stunning performance from Feeder, and leaves the audience awash with smiles on their faces as they are leaving the venue. But if there is absolutely any doubt that Feeder have lost their touch, then one would quite happily like to put it out to any doubters that the band are just as vital and as fresh as they ever have been. They have grown in to a mature and diverse outfit who are still willing to push the boundaries of how British rock music should be seen and heard, and for that alone they deserve every ounce of your respect and time.