James Dean Bradfield seranades the ‘oldest record shop in the world’
Commuters gaze quizzically at the motley crew of assorted glitter strewn girls and overcoated blokes huddled outside Spillers Records in the heart of Cardiff. Why were we, this hardy bunch, loitering. Was it an early queue for the Stuart Cable book signing in Borders? Definitely not! The orderly queue was waiting to see Manics frontman James Dean Bradfield play an acoustic set in the world’s oldest record shop and launch the new album Journal For Plague Lovers.
He turns up bang on time and pushes his way through the tightly packed crowd. There’s precious little space – the crowd stands two by two in a long snake which runs along the shop counter while a small child perches up on the counter next to the Jamaican Dancehall collection.
James emerges from the stockroom quickly and launches into the set, which begins with the classic Elvis Impersonator before taking in a couple of tracks from the new album. First up is Doors Slowly Closing which will undoubtedly raise the hackles of the Church with its lyrics which describe crucifixion as being ‘easy’. Peeled Apples is less controversial but it is From Despair to Where which really sparks Spillers into life. Lyrically this is Richey’s evening and James pays tribute to him; apologising for taking so long to use the lyrics and explaining that he didn’t understand them for 14 years, but has since been to Manic Street evening classes.
Tributes are also paid to Spillers role in the lives of the Cardiff music scene. James recites a list of records purchased there – Birdland, Husker Du, Young Marble Giants but refutes my suggestion that Bang Tango were in his collection. He later tells me that Husker Du were his first purchase and only smirks mildly when I explain that mine was Number of the Beast. Someone shouts for This is yesterday. No, this is today man he responds before pausing and admitting that is the worst joke I’ve ever told on stage.
The evening closes with a number that Richey had no hand in – Design for Life. For all the, justified, plaudits being levied at Richey in recent weeks we shouldn’t forget that Design For Life marked a new beginning for the band and, in difficult circumstances, they penned the defining social commentary on modern Wales. This band should never, ever be underestimated. Buy the album.
Doors Slowly Closing
From Despair to Where
This Joke Sport Severed
A Design for Life