Music Gear

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

#LiveReview @Magnumonline with @VegaOfficial @O2Academynewc 22/05/2016

Magnum: Still Rocking With the Same Spirit

The show opened with tight harmonies from 6 piece band Vega and a cracking tune called Explode. The band were keen to get the audience on board with the second song Kiss of  Life, from their first album. A new song from the latest album Every Little Monster made us think of AOR legends Honeymoon Suite.

The band understand the protocols of one foot on the monitor singalong AOR big numbers that get an audience's fists in the air. All Or Nothing has a passing resemblance to Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me and the band acknowledged this by chucking in a line from the song. This song however was better for not containing some rather weak rap. The new album Wherever We Are has some great driving music like White Flag that wouldn't be out of place on a Top Gear compilation. Saving Grace. This was great AOR and the band never put a foot wrong, or indeed on a monitor. Nick Workman has an enviable vocal style perfect for these songs. He got the audience singing along with this final chorus, something not often seen with support bands.

Magnum opened their set with Soldier Of The Line, and followed this with On A Storyteller's Night, getting those audience arms waving. These songs are so beloved of real Magnum fans. The band's devotion to their craft after so long surely has to be respected.

Bob Catley is still the gameshow host of rock and Tony Clarkin is still firing shards of virtuoso guitar, and Mark Stanway creates the melodic glue from his banks of keyboards. The formula of this music is so popular with Magnum's fans so why change it? Bob Catley is a unique frontman who always tries to make the audience feel special. He and the band have been hugely underrated over the years but retained a loyal following, who keep turning up for the tours.

Bob's voice did sound as though the touring is taking its toll, however with all the hay fever and colds around, it could have just been a sore throat giving it that slightly gravelly quality. I've seen Magnum a few times, although the last time was about ten years ago and the vocals definitely sounded different at this gig. The new rhythm section have settled in well, creating the great big sound Magnum fans love.

A few new songs deflated the atmosphere somewhat, this is not an unusual occurrence at gigs but Bob didn't introduce these songs which is not like him at all. His voice coped better with the ballads like the amazing Your Dreams Won't Die and then the audience were back in the party with the line "they are the victims of the night..." and we were all singing along to How Far Jerusalem and Bob took the opportunity during the guitar solo to get a drink and tend to his hair, we could see you Bob!
Les Morts Dansant and All England's Eyes were clear audience favourites. Magnum embody the classic rock ideal with songs that speak to the soul and everyone in the band is darned good at what they do. It may not be your cup of tea but a room full of people went away very content from this gig.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver at the gig, embellished by Joanne Oliver of Jowheretogo PR

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