Old bands ‘going back to their roots’ is nothing new, but when Feeder completely regenerated as Renegades, something changed significantly. Gone were the slow and thoughtful songs of old which dwelled on the untimely death of original drummer Jon Lee and in their place fans found the energy and simplicity of a fresh new band, as if the group had been transported back to their formation in 1992.
In the transition drummer Mark Richardson was replaced with Karl Brazil, from the relatively unknown band Ben’s Brother, who encapsulates the bands new-found new energy with furious and relentless drumbeats.
Front-man Grant Nicholas, who you imagine came up with the ‘back to basics’ concept, continues to impress on stage at The Electric Ballroom, a venue far smaller than the likes of the Hammersmith Apollo which they played on the Silent Cry tour only a few years ago.
Nicholas admitted he had a soft spot for the Ballroom, saying: “I love this venue. We haven’t played here for about 12 years, but even now I remember the great atmosphere it always has.”
Posters on the front doors warn Feeder fans expecting the likes of ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Just A Day’ that the band will be playing ‘predominantly new material’, and sure enough they don’t disappoint, the most recent, and debatably well-known, of the tracks played is 2006’s ‘Lost and Found’.
“We know you all want to hear the hits”, Nicholas cries across a crowd spanning decades, “but this is really about the new material and moving forward.”
Luckily the new material delivers the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from Feeder over the years, albeit a bit more gritty, new band anthem ‘Renegades’ has even the most lost-looking fans singing along and ‘Home’ and ‘Down By The River’, a nod to the bands native Wales, stand up well on stage.
Free with the gig comes Renegades EP2, complete with four tracks: ‘Home’, ‘Goodhead’, ‘In Times Of Crisis’ and ‘All I Ever Wanted’, making a perfect souvenir for fans who are now left salivating expectantly for the bands new(/debut?) album.
For those feeling out-of-step with the Renegades there were a few ‘covers’ of Feeder tunes including ‘Tangerine’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘Sweet 16’ and grungy set-closer ‘Descend’.
While many may have been disappointed with the lack of hits – the crowd broke into ‘Just A Day”s infectious main riff more than once – the band is doing what it wants to do, from the plain but bold style of the merchandise to downsizing to smaller venues, and it feels a lot more personal and as though they are more connected with their fans than ever before.
Verdict: Possibly too much for the Feeder pop fans, but for those longing for some dynamic and striking music from fantastic musicians the night was nothing short of amazing.