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Manchester Academy 10 September 2012
Hogarth has been steering the good ship Marillion for 23 years and 13
albums. It was somewhat ironic, therefore, on a night when they were
airing songs from their new album 'Sounds That Can't Be Made', that the
biggest cheer of the night was for 'Sugar Mice' a hangover from Fish's 4
year tenure at the helm.
must be time to put to bed that part of the Marillion legacy?
the Hogarth era, while not without its challenges, has been remarkably
consistent musically. Perhaps tellingly though, there has been no
'classic' album and in many ways that may have been the band's
salvation. Not only do classic albums often signal the beginning of the
end for internal relations, but they also hamper a band's ability to
make the best of their back catalogue.
Marillion, who in recent years have gone from strength to strength:
solvent, a viable business model the envy of many, a fanatical fan base,
and in Hogarth a frontman who deserves far wider recognition. While the
line-up of Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas, and Ian Mosley
remain a static presence (and pretty much literally on stage) Hogarth is
a bundle of nervous energy.
the audience his vocal deliveries are impassioned in a way most
performers can only aspire to and unlike many of his contemporaries he's
lost none of his range. There's no question of going through the motions
he lives each and every moment of every song.
of an albatross (Fish aside) means the band are free to dig deep and
rummage around their back catalogue safe in the knowledge that even
their most remote and infrequently aired numbers will be greeted like
old favourites from the assembled faithful.
And so it
proved to be on a damp autumnal night in Manchester when alongside four
songs from 'Sounds That Can't be Made' they explored 'Marbles', 'Holidays In
Eden', 'Somewhere Else', 'Happiness Is The Road', 'Brave' and 'Radiation'.
vocals were as raw and visceral as Rothery's uncharacteristically incendiary riffs.
news is that the new material, perhaps not unexpectedly, sits
comfortably with the old the perfect example being the set opener. To a
darkened stage the opening strains of 'Splintering Heart' gave way to
rumbling keys, searchlights strafing dry ice and a flash bomb providing
a dramatic backdrop to 'Gaza' from 'Sounds That Can't be Made' - a song
about the futility of the Middle East conflict. Hogarth's vocals were as
raw and visceral as Rothery's uncharacteristically incendiary riffs.
As a signal
of intent for a gig that saw more crowd participation than is sometimes
seen down the road at Old Trafford it was a powerful statement and if
there was a complaint as a casual observer - about the set that followed
- it was the absence of some of the band's more 'obvious' material.
part of the game plan and one that keeps Marillion fans always ready to come
back for more. No, Marillion, don't believe in going through the motions
and their fan base has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the band's material.
It's a love / love relationship and one that looks set to last for many
years to come.
Splintering Heart (excerpt) / Gaza / You're Gone /This Town / The Rakes
Progress / 100 Nights / Sounds That Can't Be Made / The Other Half /
Neverland / A Voice from the Past / Power / Fantastic Place / Real Tears
for Sale / The Sky Above The Rain / The Great Escape. Encore: A Few
Words For The Dead / Sugar Mice.
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