Lorna Reports: Absolute Radio 10th Birthday Party

Absolute Radio are celebrating 10 fabulous years on the airwaves in the best way possible, with a huge birthday party gig at the o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Tickets sold out in a matter of minutes, and with 3 great acts performing it’s going to be a party to remember.


Hosts for the evening are Absolute Radio DJs Dave Berry and Danielle Perry, and they take to the stage to introduce the first band, Blossoms.

 The 5-piece indie rock band from Stockport, led by singer/guitarist Tom Ogden, play a cool, late 60’s style rock and have a Woodstock era #stagestyle to match. Sadly, it’s only a short set tonight, but includes the extremely catchy single ‘I Can’t Stand It’. Their performance is well received and kudos to the lighting technicians, who create a varied and atmospheric light show all evening.

 There is a huge cheer for the next act, George Ezra and band. With a clean cut, preppie style George is pleasant enough, he chats and plays songs from his hugely successful album ‘Staying at Tamara’s’.  Finally, it’s the main event. The headliners are the band I’ve been waiting for, and judging by the abundance of glitter and animal print in the front rows, it’s the band most of the crowd have been waiting for too.

Of course, it’s the Manic Street Preachers.

 Time constraints mean it’s only an 11-song set tonight, but the band put on a fantastic show, opening with classic 1992 single Motorcycle Emptiness, quickly followed by 2018 single International Blue. 

Always glamorous, Nicky Wire is resplendent in silver trousers, (all the better to catch the light when you scissor kick across the stage) while Sean Moore is fashion-forward in a leopard print shirt. I was lucky enough to see Sean before the gig and managed to snap a close up photo of the stylish drummer! 

Bonus Sean in Leopard Print.

The crowd-pleasing greatest hits continue with Your Love Alone, Everything Must Go and another single from the most recent Manics album People Give In. Highlight for me is a stunning rendition of If You Tolerate This.. then James Dean Bradfield cries ‘You Love Us!’ and the crowd go crazy to the punk-fueled anthem.

Last song is, as always, A Design For Life, James and Wire bounce across the stage in unison and the crowd shout all the caustic lyrics. A great end to the evening, and a great way to celebrate the success of Absolute Radio, here’s to the next ten years!

Thanks as always to Sean Moore, and tour manager Angus Jenner.

All words and pix: Lorna Cort

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