Feeder (Renegades)

Is this really a sign of the times? It’s early 2010 and Feeder is headlining Birmingham’s O2 Academy 3, a venue with a maximum capacity of 250! Surely it wasn’t that long ago when they were playing the main stages at some of the country’s most prestigious festivals: Glastonbury, Download, Reading and Leeds as well as headlining their own much larger international tours.

Perhaps this is a good indication of the life span of the modern music band? One minute you feature heavily on Radio 1’s playlist, riding the crest of a wave, as it were. Then the next, you’re scrabbling along trying to get back to those glory days when your brand new Jaguar had a CD player (player, player, player…) and you drank cider from a lemon (lemon, lemon, lemon…).

Feeder (Renegades)

If it wasn’t for a handful of people queuing outside the venue and a couple of spotlights dancing off the pavement, there’s no evidence to suggest there’s a gig on tonight, never mind Feeder. There are no parasitic ticket touts. There’s no mention in the O2 Academy gig list. Hell, there isn’t even a tour bus! So why exactly am I even here? And why are about 80% of the sold out 250 capacity crowd wearing their brand-new “Renegades” T-shirts so proudly? Could this, by any chance, be a secret gig? Feeder, needing a break from recording their seventh studio album, is putting on a series of six small exclusive gigs under the pseudonym “Renegades”.

Inside there’s not the usual buzz I’d expect to feel when you’re about to witness something this close and intimate, especially given that 100% (that’s an optimistic estimate by the way) of the crowd are die-hard fans.

The unlikely support for tonight is LightsGoBlue.

LightsGoBlue

An Electronic Pop duo hailing from deepest Kent. Their set features some live Drum and Bass breaks, and electronic riffs all with a slight Indie edge. Sadly the crowd just isn’t feeling it – even between songs, shouts of support for “Renegades” doesn’t drum up much support. There was some limited feedback from the crowd with a quote that summed up the situation, “I only came to see Feeder”.

LightsGoBlue

It’s such a pity really – every gig you go to, you’re going to see a support act. Some are good, some are bad, but is it so wrong to not get behind them? Besides, support acts are an ideal way of seeing a band you wouldn’t normally consider seeing or heard before. By this point I’d heard enough and decided to spend my hard earned £2 for their demo CD even if the other 99.6% of the crowd probably won’t.

LightsGoBlue

The theme to “The Good. the Bad and the Ugly” is being played, the lights dim and finally there’s a sense of anticipation in the air as Grant Nicholas, Taka Hirose and Karl Brazil walk onto the stage, mount their respective instruments and burst straight into the first tune of the night amid as much noise as the capacity crowd can muster… it’s Feeder.

Feeder (Renegades)

It’s not until after the third song from their set “This Town” does Grant address the crowd and introduce themselves as “Renegades” with a slight glint in his eye and a knowing smirk. Prior to this, the audiences terrace chants of “FEEDER… FEEDER…” are largely ignored. Between song banter is a mixture of football chants from the crowd showing their love to Grant, Taka, Brazil and Renegades. Grant by return introduces us to “official Renegades member Karl Brazil on drums” followed soon with the line “We’ve been in the studio for too long and wanted to get back to what we enjoy. We’re gonna play mostly new material and maybe some old covers”.

Feeder (Renegades)

Of the entire 13 track set, all but two of the songs are brand new and most likely unheard by the audience. The two oldies “Tangerine” and “Sweet 16” raise much louder cheers and have the audience singing along. When you consider that the old tracks are now well over 10 years old, they blend perfectly with the new material. But is that a good sign? In all their years together it’s difficult to ascertain whether they’ve moved forward musically. But then there’s always going to be the counter argument; they have a knowing formula and choose to stick with it.

Feeder (Renegades)

The entire set barring one comical hiccup is played tight and in control. Given that they’ve spent so much time in the studio and only had three rehearsals before the “Renegades” tour it sure is a good sign. Considering this was a personal, intimate gig put on especially for the fans I would have expected a lot more enthusiasm from the crowd. Maybe if the set featured more old material, the audience would have shown much more energy.

Feeder (Renegades)

But this wasn’t what the gig was about. Feeder could have easily done a full scale tour playing mostly old material but instead “Renegades” chose the risky root and played an almost brand new and unheard set to an appreciative but unknowing crowd.

Feeder (Renegades)

Two things I learned tonight: the front row at an intimate Feeder gig is still a fairly safe place to be. With no shooters pit I did wonder how photographer Wayne Fox was going to cope. Secondly. I asked a few people what they thought of the gig, how they had gotten their tickets, etc. The response was pretty similar; all described it with varying degrees of awesomeness and one particular lady had travelled up from Norwich. Regardless of what you think of Feeder, if someone is prepared to travel all that way, mid-week, to see them live then they’re obviously still doing something good and can consider themselves the proud owners of a very dedicated fan base.

Words by Lee Hathaway
Photos by Wayne Fox

One Response to “Feeder (Renegades) + LightsGoBlue @ O2 Academy 3, Birmingham, UK – 28 January 2010”

  1. mikeyeaton Says:

    Wayne, please get in touch.

    We may like to use a couple of your photos.

    Mikey
    info@feederweb.com

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