Feeder rock Birmingham's O2 Institute on new tour - review
A quarter of a century since their formation, Feeder are proving to be the fine wine of British rock.
Boosted by the success of their most recent record Tallulah - their second highest charting studio album of all time - Grant Nicholas (lead vocals/guitar) and Taka Hirose (bass) are wearing middle age rather well.
In fact, on the eve of his 52nd birthday, Nicholas has never appeared so content - apart from when Hirose led the O2 Institute Birmingham crowd in a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' ahead of the encore.
These are no ageing rockers though - Hirose puts most 20-somethings to shame with his style, while Nicholas carries himself with the youthfulness of the 25-year-old he joked he was.
Most importantly though, the sound remains familiar, yet still so fresh.
"Tonight is about new music, tonight is about Tallulah," Nicholas exclaimed early in a set that featured nine of the 12 tracks on their 10th studio album.
There aren't many 25-year-old bands who could get away with playing that amount of new music and still send the crowd home happy, but Feeder aren't your normal band.
They had antiques expert Phillip Serrell as a guest for a start - who Nicholas and Hirose met when they appeared on the BBC World Music Day edition of Bargain Hunt opposite The Darkness. Another hint towards their true age.
But the key to Feeder's longevity is the undying loyalty of their fanbase, who continue to follow them in numbers, chanting 'FEEDER, FEEDER, FEEDER' whenever the chance arises.
Eighteen years after releasing it as a B side - then having their arm twisted to turn it into a single by their fans - the band are also still closing sets with the rip-roaring Just A Day.
With a back catalogue long enough to play for more than just a day and still leave fans wanting more, Nicholas struck the balance about right, with nothing from Tallulah sounding out of place among hits such as Just The Way I'm Feeling, Buck Rogers and Feeling A Moment.
This fine wine is still maturing, and it tastes delicious.
Feeder's support Novacub are a band to keep your eye on.
Featuring two members of Bloc Party - guitarist Russell Lissack and drummer turned Novacub singer Louise Bartle - they could well be the next guitar band to break through in a big way, having released their debut EP Future Echoes in September.
Lissack's talent on the guitar and Bartle's impressive vocals - part Taylor Swift, part Kate Nash, but with very much a rocky edge - set them apart from a lot of other bands on the scene.
And they deliver it with a confidence which belied their role as support act.
Expect to see them tearing it up on the festival scene sometime in 2020.