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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
MAGNUM/TRILLIUM: ISLINGTON ACADEMY, LONDON
At this time of year I'm normally making a drunken fool of myself at the Hard Rock Hell Festival over the border in the coldest depths of Wales. However this year I opted not to go because Magnum were playing on my home soil and it was a gig I didn't want to miss, especially as in my opinion Magnum were the best band at last year's Hard Rock Hell extravaganza.
Since Magnum reformed in 2001 after a hiatus of six years, the pomp rockers from Birmingham have been making some of the best music in their (almost) forty year career. 'On The Thirteenth Day' is the seventeenth album and is right up there amongst some of their strongest output.
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For the UK leg of the tour the support came from Trillium. Led by Amanda Sommerville, a beautiful young lass from Michigan who has made a name for herself on the euro goth Metal scene providing backing vocals for bands such as Epica, Kamelot and Avantasia.
With her band Trillium the four piece made many new friends as they cleanly cut their way through their set of crunchy melodies with the operatic tones of Sommerville who looked stunning with her long blonde mane. Sommerville had a friendly approachable manner with the fans down the front and stood out from other bands of this genre by simply enjoying the music. Certainly a band to look out for.
Magnum have seen it all, living through all the rock fads that have come and gone and are still holding strong with their own unique blend of melodic pomp rock with a very British feel. Magnum rightly have enough confidence in their later day material that the first part of the set is made up of tracks from that period including the storming opener 'All The Dreamers' from the latest album. 'Blood Red Laughter' is another well received new track whilst 'Brand New Morning' from the album of the same name is now reaching classic status.
Bob Catley's voice was a little under the weather as he was suffering from a cold but he was still in fine fettle. Tony Clarkin is a man who shows little emotion but surely must be full of pride with the crowd's reaction. They are right behind the band from the very first song.
Harry H James is an underrated drummer and is one of the best in the country providing a very solid back bone. Mark Stanway is having the time of his life on the keys whilst new boy, bassist Al Barrow, has fitted into Magnum very well.
An extended 'How Far Jerusalem' is magnificent while 'The Flood' from 92s overlooked 'Sleepwalking' album makes a welcome return. The acoustic 'The Spirit' is a timeless gem and 'Vigilante' and 'Kingdom Of Madness' is Magnum at their very best, the perfect cue for Catley to do his trademark hand expressing gestures.
Surprising the Russ Ballard penned 'Rockin' Chair' was back in the set for the encore and why not when you've got the lyric "I don't need no rocking chair" because Magnum certainly don't. The pipe and slippers are on hold for a long time yet.
'Days Of No Trust' ended a glorious night from one of rock's most understated bands.
Mark interviewed Bob Catley just before this gig and you can see the interview right here.
Into The Dissonance
Bow To The Ego
Path Of Least Resistance
All The Dreamers
When We Were Younger
Blood Red Laughter
Brand New Morning
How Far Jerusalem
Les Morts Dansant
Dance Of The Black Tattoo
All My Bridges
All England Eyes
Kingdom Of Madness
See How They Fall
Days Of No Trust
You can see MetalTalk.net's Mark Taylor's many reviews and interviews right here. It's an impressive list...