Renegades - Monto Water Rats, London
If a band can have a musical mid-life crisis, it’s fair to say that Feeder have probably had one. After mixed reviews and poorer-than-expected sales for Silent Cry in 2008, the band went back to the studio and weren’t heard of until last December when their website mysteriously changed to say the word ‘Renegades’ and a six-date intimate tour was announced. Feeder had been reborn and reinvented as Renegades together with a new drummer in Karl Brazil after the band ended their partnership with Mark Richardson. It could prove to be as successful as J.J Abrams’ reinvention of Star Trek.
Renegades doesn’t just constitute a name change: the complete musical style of Feeder has changed. With more recent output putting the band in danger of becoming another MOR rock act, Renegades sees them go right back to their roots with the tracks being more reminiscent of heavy punk rock, closer to their debut mini album Swim. Nearly every track showcased during the set comes with thumping bass hooks, a ferociously fast tempo, catchy riffs and a powerful vocal.
Tonight’s set is rattled through in around 45 minutes to leave the crowd exactly how they should be in a intimate venue like the Water Rats: sweaty, exhausted and raring for more. Three of the four tracks from the Renegades EP that came with tickets for tonight’s gig are played with the exception of ‘Time Goes By’, but the main highlights come from the completely new material; ‘Left Foot Right’ is as heavy as anything Feeder have ever done and ‘Down By The River’ is a true epic in every sense of the word with a beautiful vocal from Grant Nicholas and a brilliant central riff which leaves it destined to become a future single.
They even have time to fit in a trio of songs that Grant describes as “covers from a band you might know” which sees them raid the Feeder archives and come up with a truly terrific trio of classics: ‘Tangerine’ (which in a good gesture, Grant dedicated to Jon Lee), ‘Sweet 16’ and ‘Descend’. Understandably they provoke the biggest reactions of the night and turn the limited space in the venue into one continuous mosh pit with endless sing alongs and air punching. ‘Descend’ retakes its rightful place as the set closer and the climax of it is so brutally huge that it threatens to bring down the fake chandeliers hanging from the Water Rats’ ceiling. The “covers” fit so perfectly within the Renegades set, that it brings hope that archive raids for future Renegades gigs might be a constant, and brilliant, thing.
Most importantly, the band seem completely comfortable on stage as if any burdens they carried had been lifted with a simple name change and it results in them sounding as tight as ever. It leads to some great crowd interaction such as after ‘Tangerine’ is played, someone from the crowd shouts out to play ‘Tumble And Fall’ to which Grant just laughs and says “you’ve got to be kidding”. It seems there is a definite breaking point for how late into Feeder’s career that Renegades will go in their covers.
The actual result of this side project for Feeder is still to be discovered: will they release their new album under the Renegades name or just use the new material in the seventh Feeder studio album? Either way, if it ends up sounding half as good on record as it does live, it could prove to be the band’s finest effort since Echo Park. Then we could have a whole range of bands undergoing a musical mid-life crisis on our hands.
LEFT FOOT RIGHT
DOWN BY THE RIVER
END OF THE ROAD