When I first listened to Feeder in 1997, I knew then, that there was something very special about this band. So it came as a huge relief, to hear that Grant and Taka were to carry on, following the tragic suicide of drummer Jon Lee, in January ’02. Perhaps what is most remarkable about Feeder’s comeback, is that under such sad circumstances, they have produced an album of great depth and beauty, with the aptly titled Comfort In Sound, which many fans and critics agree, to be their most accomplished work to date.
Jon’s spirit, is without question, embodied in many of the songs lyrics, and whilst the mood and content of these songs is reflective, they are at the same time optimistic. Grant explained: “I think there should always be light and shade in music, and that’s the way I write”.
Feeder have achieved success the old-fashioned way, by touring non-stop, honing their sound and growing with each album release. 2001 was their most successful year to date, with the commercial breakthrough Echo Park, which spawned the massive hit singles Buck Rogers and Seven Days In The Sun. Although described by some critics as “Bubblegum Metal”, these songs gave Feeder the recognition, they so rightfully deserved.
Grant has always maintained that Feeder are about songs, and his ear for catchy melodies, is equally evident in both the heavier and mellower sides of the band’s music. So if Reading ’02 was an emotional return to the stage, then this, their biggest headline tour of the UK yet, will show just how much they love playing live, and just how fine a live act they are.
Even though I only know a couple of singles, by support act Hell Is For Heroes, their explosive performance is impressive, with a savage sound reminiscent of SOAD. Frontman Justin Schlosberg, has incredible stage presence – jumping everywhere and even stage-diving into the crowd, after the final song. I will definitely check out their debut album The Neon Handshake.
As the Comfort In Sound angel shines out from the video screen, Feeder rock the crowd from the outset, with Come Back Around, Insomnia and We Can’t Rewind. Grant’s first words to us are: “Good evening, this was the last single from Echo Park”, before Turn, he then continues: “Isn’t this a great venue (which receives a big cheer), I used to come here when I was a kid to watch rock bands”.
My Perfect Day, described by Grant as a “typical Feeder song”, is as fresh tonight as it was 7 years ago, and a beefed-up Godzilla really gets the crowd going, “That was a quiet little number” he says jokingly. It’s so nice to see the band this happy – Grant and Dean are beaming from ear to ear, and Taka is bouncing from one side of the stage to the other (in his gigantic trademark trainers), whilst waving his arms to encourage audience participation. Although Mark Richardson (ex-Skunk Anansie drummer), isn’t a full-time member yet, he’s doing a superb job, and his playing, be it powerful or understated, is well-suited to the overall dynamics of Feeder.
Just The Way I’m Feeling has been all over the radio and TV recently, and its crossover appeal is undeniable – tonight is further proof, that it has become one of Feeder’s strongest anthems. Afterwards, the band momentarily pause to take in the fans adulation, before continuing with the crowd-pleasing Buck Rogers and Seven Days In The Sun – which simultaneously ends with the lyric and video screen message “YOU BLOW MY MIND”.
The band then leaves the stage for a short while, before the encore. As chants of Feeder, Feeder, Feeder… grow louder, Grant returns for a gorgeous acoustic version of Love Pollution, which along with the captivating Moonshine, is my joint-favourite track on the new album, and will hopefully be a single!
Feeder are once again at full-strength, for the classic High and Comfort In Sound, with the feel-good Just A Day closing the set. “Cheers, you’ve been fantastic, I want to see everyone standing” says Grant, as he prolongs the guitar intro, even stopping for a second, to watch Taka leading the fans do do do dos. Another knockout gig, by one of Britain’s best bands!
Thankfully, through sheer will and determination, Feeder
are continuing where they left-off, and can only go from strength to
strength. Whilst dealing with the painful loss of Jon, they have re-focused
on their hopes and dreams, by finding Comfort In Sound.
COME BACK AROUND