Over the past 10 years I've had the good fortune of seeing the Manic Street Preachers three times--at the Reading Festival, V Festival, and most excitingly at Brixton Academy--but never on Los Angeles soil. The last time the Manics toured the U.S. was way back in 1999, when This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours was released. So the band's long longed-for return to L.A.--Friday, September 25 at Hollywood's Avalon--was cause for celebration indeed, reason to get all gussied up in feather boas, white jeans, and "4REAL" temporary tattoos and rock out under the neon loneliness.
I'm not really sure why the Manics stayed away so long. I'm sure their little Louder Than War live-in-Cuba PR stunt and accompanying Fidel Castro photo opp didn't exactly ingratiate them to U.S. visa authorities, although in a conversation I had with MSP drummer Sean Moore a couple years ago he insisted that never prevented them from embarking on another American tour. The Manics' absence probably just came down to simple economics--while they can certainly pack a club in L.A. or New York, they're still incredibly unknown for the most part in almost every U.S. city in between, so a coast-to-coast tour just wouldn't make sense. And no doubt it would probably feel a little deflating to go from playing U.K. stadiums filled with fans openly weeping to "A Design For Life" to dinky half-full Stateside clubs attended by casual onlookers who don't even know who Richey Edwards was.
But whatever the reason, with the release of ninth album Journal For Plague Lovers (featuring lost lyrics entirely penned by the late Richey), the Manics finally came back to L.A. this past weekend, and plenty of open weeping (and some front-row Welsh-flag-brandishing) ensued. The Avalon was fill with adoring fans (I personally brought an entourage of Manic maniacs, and we were more giddy than children at a Miley Cyrus concert), and it was worth the 10-year wait. I'm certainly hoping another decade won't pass before they return.
Stay beautiful, Manics, and come back soon...