Feeder : London Camden Monarch

Radiohead fans: your worst nightmare [I]rocks[/I]...

I just had the most bizarre dream. There was this mid-afternoon festival slot punk-pop band, right, and they were in the Top Five! Playing arenas and getting asked to collaborate with hip-hop acts! No, really, in 2001! Ridiculous, eh? And you should've heard some of the asinine nonsense they were singing about, made Tweenies look like Ted Hughes, it did. Ah look, here they are, back in their natural habitat of a tatty boghole in Camden and everything's alright...

They may have managed to cram an entire Slipknot gig's worth of kamikaze moshing into a venue half the size of Missy Elliott and Grant Nicholas may have mistaken tonight's High Fidelity DVD launch for a 'Come As Fred Durst With A Wasting Disease' party, but there's no ignoring Feeder's ascendance into the realms of indie aristocracy tonight. Traditionally the Feeder Live Experience was as underwhelming as being smacked in the gob by John Prescott: the personalities never quite filled the stage, the tunes never dared poke their heads above the power-pop parapet, it was all a bit, y'know, slapdAsh. But now they've got the double-barrel gut-shot of 'Buck Rogers' and 'Seven Days In The Sun', the balls to chuck them both away within the first ten minutes and enough arena nous to keep the kids bouncing like kangaroos in a microwave. It could have felt like Feeder belonged down here in the gutter, but instead we're left gawping at the stars.

That Feeder are indie maggots becoming stunning rock butterflies is undeniable, but they're only halfway out of the cocoon. The stench of early-'90s fraggle rockers Ned's Atomic Dustbin still hangs heavy over 'My Perfect Day' and 'Cement', the closing 'Shade' contains a prog segment that curls Rick Wakeman's toenails from 30 years away, and the 'experimental' synth parps on 'Standing On The Edge' have you looking around for heavy vehicles reversing. But while Feeder can't yet bring themselves to shake off the thin crust of grunty metal that dims their inner pop brilliance, when they rev up the pop engines of 'Insomnia' and 'Waiting For Changes' to warp speed, there's no radar that can track 'em. Wake up and shed the blinkers, Radiohead fans: your worst nightmare rocks.

Mark Beaumont

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