Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Marillion, Sounds That Can't Be Made, TOUR -Review- Manchester Academy

Yet another guest reviewer today, this time Hayley Green (AKA JaneB on the Marillion On Line Forum (MOLF) ).
Hayley has been a friend of mine for a number of years now, we meet up when we can. Good music is and has always been the key to this.
So good music has lead to this review, Hayley attended this gig and was raving about it earlier today to me, so I asked her to write about it, to get over to you my readers; what!, how!, when! and why! we do this crazy little thing called MARILLION!

Manchester Academy
10th September 2012

 Steve Hogarth has never been shy of wearing his heart on his sleeve, and he doesn't disappoint when he comes on stage, from the darkness, with searchlight like spotlight's ranging over the audience, to sing the opening song of their recent (10th September) gig in Manchester. With poundingly loud Arabic type rhythms playing, and wearing a very large CND symbol on his shirt, he launches into Gaza - a 17 minute long impassioned plea for justice and peace in the Middle East and also the opening track of Marillion's 17th studio album, released this month.  If anyone was expecting Marillion to fade away and stop pushing the boundaries of music, then they would be disappointed both with this gig and the album.

On stage from just before 9pm until the curfew descended at 11pm, the band launched into a joyful celebration of 4 new tracks from the new album (Sounds That Can't be Made) along with some old favourites (Neverland, Fantastic Place, You're Gone, The Great Escape) and some tracks that haven't been played live often or for a while, including This Town trilogy, A Few Words for the Dead and Real Tears for Sale.  The new tracks that were played were particularly good, with Power and The Sky Above the Rain stand out tracks for me. I've often thought that Marillion, and Steve H in particular, really connect with their fans on an emotional level, and seeing many of the men near me singing their hearts out to Neverland, and the final encore Sugar Mice, reminded me of this. I think TSATR will become a similar touchstone, especially for men of a certain age.

The gig did have some technical glitches. It is only the 2nd date of their current tour and I'd say the new material benefited for longer rehearsal time. But the new material in particular really highlights the individual talents in the band.  Steve Rothery's sublime guitar playing was as good as I have ever heard it, and RTFS showed that Ian Mosley can thrash out a complex drum rhythm when needed. Was great to see Mark Kelly back on stage and running such complex keyboard given the concerns about his hearing earlier this year, and as always Pete Trewavas added endless energy and solid bass. Steve H, always the consummate front man, singing every song as if it were his last. Love him or hate him - and he does still polarise opinion between some fans - in my view the band would have disappeared years ago without him, and that would have been a crying shame. 

The 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' Tour continues, for details see http://www.marillion.com/tour/

Hayley Green

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  1. Great review Hayley,I was the chap you stood next too and we had a little chat,it really was as good as you say in your review.Tony G

  2. Hi Tony, thanks for your comment. I'm really cross I didn't get my act into gear and get a ticket for Sheffield before they all sold out! Was nice to speak to you at the gig. I always have to go on my own because my husband isn't a fan - which continues to amaze me :) Hayley

  3. I hadn't been able to see Marillion live since 2007 when I saw them in Wolverhampton on their 'Somewhere Else' tour, so I was looking forward to this immensely.
    I wasn't disappointed. The new tracks stood up every bit as well as established material and Steve Hogarth was on fire throughout the show. I thought at one stage that he was p*ssed. The rest of the band were absolutely flawless. It's always a privilege to watch a guitarist like Steve Rothery being put through his paces and his playing was immaculate, at times calling to mind Andy Latimer, David Gilmour and Steve Hackett, but make no mistake, Rothery isn't an imitator. His guitar solos soar and fly unlike any other. They are pitch perfect and emotive. No 20 notes a second rubbish. Every guitar line is carefully thought through and played with total precision. The same can be said of Ian Mosley; the unsung hero of the group. He's always been one of my favourite drummers; silky smooth and unfussy, yet complex and powerful when required. Never showing off, just going wherever the music takes him and always delivering the goods. A top quality drummer in my view.
    Messr's Trewavas and Kelly just do what they've doing for over 30 years; technical, rolling baselines that drive the music on with the former and dramatic/atmospheric soundscapes and shadings played with consummate skill with the latter.
    Marillion blazed a trail of quality music for around 2 hours in front of a capacity crowd that was partisan in it's support of the band. Songs like 'You're Gone', Neverland', 'Fantastic Place' and 'Sugar Mice' are immediate crowd pleasing numbers that get everyone singing along, but 'Gaza', 'Real Tears For Sale' and 'The Sky Above The Rain' are deeper and more complex, requiring attention from the listener.
    It was also good to hear Marillion playing a good chunk from the 'Holidays In Eden' album; always one of the band's most underrated efforts for me. This isn't music for the X-Factor generation. It's music geared towards people that want something more thought-provoking and emotional. Music that resonates and stays with you forever, rather than over-hyped, over-played, here today, gone tomorrow, production line trash.
    In terms of Hogarth polarising opinion, I must admit that I loved him straight away when he first joined Marillion in 1989. He lost me a bit between 'Radiation' and 'Anoraknophobia', when his falsetto warbling started to grate and his low pitch, muttering of some lyrics became almost inaudible. He got it back together with 'Marbles', but was a bit hit and miss with 'Somewhere Else' and 'Happiness Is The Road'. His performances on 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' are nothing short of sensational and I have to agree with the original reviewer. I really don't think that we'd even be talking about Marillion in 2012 if it weren't for him.

  4. Hey Anonymous of 2.57 PM chuck me your name, great words, could use and abuse people like you and Hayley (the OP)to get some great music reviews and the like..would you be interested..?


  5. I am off to see the boys tonight at Wolverhampton Civic, can't wait. Loving the new album. Will pass you my thoughts tomorrow.

  6. Force of habit with the kisses I am afraid.. hehe sorry