Bob Catley, Wolverhampton 2014. Photograph by Judith Hall
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
There are homecomings and then there are days when the bunting has been prepared for weeks, the ticker tape pouring off machines and road sweepers gladly earning overtime as they have brushes at the ready and every condition met to be remembered as a cog in a big machine of musical outpouring. With the sun pouring down on the Staffordshire City, its football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers having made it a very successful season and confirming Championship status for the following season, all that was left was for Magnum to come home to the Wulfrun Hall and give a splendid performance.
Bob Catley in action. Photgraph by Ian D. Hall
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. October 2009.
They opened the show with material from their new album Into The Valley of the Moonking, including the fantastic Cry to Yourself but Magnum soon reminded the audience of their past work with Brand New Morning and the effortless When We Were Younger.
The biggest cheer of the night deservedly went out to the thought provoking Les Morte Dansant,
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. September 2009.
Hot on the heels of the release of their third album, Aussie foursome Jet treated their fanatical audience to an evening of strong riffs, fine lyrics and the occasional bit of crowd banter.
They opened with Get What You Need from 2003’s debut album Get Born before going headlong into the superb She’s a Genius, the band’s first single from the new C.D. Shaka Rock.
Despite some derogatory comments from a tiny section of the crowd, lead vocalist Nic Cester kept his cool and let the music do the talking with Beat On Repeat, the radio hit Are You Gonna Be My Girl? and the foot stomping Seventeen.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. May 2009.
Opening the evening with Suave and Suffocated from 1992’s Are You Normal and the excellent All I Ask Of Myself Is That I Hold Together from 1995’s Brainbloodvolume, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin came, saw and conquered an absolutely packed audience with a set that never once let up on pace.
With much reminiscing, the band blitzed through classics like Until You Find Out from their debut album God Fodder, Walking Through Syrup and the amazing Two and Two Make Five.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. My 2008.
For a night of classic acoustic rock, you couldn’t go far wrong than a gig by singer/songwriter Midge Ure. Where other solo artists would struggle to fill the stage, Midge seemed to revel in the sparseness.
He began with Ultravox’s Loves Great Adventure and Personal Heaven before playing his co-creation of Visage’s Fade To Grey and delightful rendition of One Small Day.
Midge pulled a couple of classic covers out of the bag with Peter Green’s Man of the World and a stunning version of the Walker Brothers classic No Regrets, before finishing the set with Dancing with Tears In My Eyes.
Alan Barrow of Magnum. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. May 2008.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the now classic Wings of Heaven, Magnum arrived on stage to thunderous applause from a near capacity audience.
Opening the night with Back to Earth and the impressive version of the bouncy crowd pleaser When We Were Younger, the Midland based band breezed effortlessly through a two hour set without comprising their subtlety of sound.
Other old favourites such as the stomping Vigilante and Midnight You Won’t Be Sleeping were given a new lease of life, helped in part by Magnum’s borrowed drummer, no less than Thunder’s Harry James.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. March 2008.
Having just celebrated his 50th birthday, Gary Numan appeared as fresh and as good as he has ever been whilst still appearing to be mean, moody and more than able to please a near capacity audience.
Coming on stage to huge applause, Gary and the rest of band postured and preened through the openers of Replicas and the stunning Me, I Disconnect From You.
With no need for introduction of each song, Gary was able to speed through the set whilst retaining the honesty and meaning of classics such as Praying to the Aliens, I Nearly Married a Human and the wonderful It Must Have Been Years.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. April 2007
With their latest album barely two weeks old, Porcupine Tree arrived fresh, eager and ready to showcase their new material.
Opening the set to mass applause with their brand new album title track Fear Of A Blank Planet; a dark look at modern-day British youth, they carefully mixed current material, including the stunning My Ashes and the epic Anethetize , with old favourites like Gravity Eyelids and Lightbulb Sun.
Frontman Steve Wilson’s delivery was perfect for the intricate soundscapes deftly created for this show, with touring guitarist and backing singer John Wesley providing superb musical and vocal support.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. September 2004.
It is apt that the resurgence in the popularity of classic guitar rock, Magnum are still around performing and touring with a brand new album, which some have said goes back to their pomp rock roots.
A strong loyal home following was treated to a one hour, 40 minute set which opened with the classic All England’s Eyes. Tracks from the new album initially got a lukewarm welcome, but by the end of Brand New Morning everyone had their arms in the air and there was generous applause.
Fun For Everyone.
Originally published by The Birmingham Mail. June 2004.
You are never sure what to expect at a Divine Comedy gig-except that you’ll be leaving the venue in a very good mood.
From the outset main man Neil Hannon had the audience in an almost reverential hush as he told them, jokingly, that he had thrown away the set list and was going to do the music in alphabetical order. By kicking off with Absent Friends, from the new album of the same name, Neil set the standard high. From then, until ending the gig on the letter T, he barely put a foot wrong.