Gig Review: MAGNUM/TRILLIUM, Islington Academy, 29 November 2012

A packed out Islington Academy were here to see Magnum in the band’s 40th year, although Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin can trace their musical roots back to the late 60’s Brumbeat era. First up we had Trillium fronted by Amanda Sommerville, who has worked with Kamelot, Avantasia and Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) amongst others. I have only heard the Kiske/Somerville album and a few  songs of the Trillium debut album before tonight and was impressed by the set.

Trillium, photo by Noel Buckley

They used backing tapes for the keyboards following the passing of their keyboard player Simon Oberender (who also worked with Avantasia and Beyond The Bridge). Amanda Somerville certainly has an impressive and powerful voice with the Kiske/Somerville tune ‘Set A Fire’ a stand out. A good support although I’d like to have seen mainland Europe support Neonfly on the bill as well ( a few of the band were in the audience though).

Magnum I haven’t seen for around three years and I think this was the twelfth time I was seeing them, and like the previous times they never disappoint. The set list featured a lot of songs from their albums since they returned back in 2001, showing how good these albums have been.

They even featured a handful of songs of their excellent new album ‘On the 13th Day’ including ‘Dance of the Black Tattoo’, a song which I am sure will remain in their set lists for years to come as it is already a firm fan favourite. A few surprises too including the return of ‘The Spirit’, albeit in acoustic mode and ‘The Flood’ of their ‘Sleepwalking’ album.

Magnum, photo by Noel Buckley

The good thing with Magnum is they do mix their set lists up more (something a band like Motorhead never do) with ‘All England’s Eyes’ back in all its pomp finery yet there was no ‘Just Like An Arrow’. Mark Stanway’s keys for me are an integral part of the Magnum sound, as much as Bob Catley’s voice and Tony Clarkin’s guitar/songwriting talents and they were nicely to the fore in the live mix. Bob Catley gets a chance to shine on ‘Les Morts Dansant’ whilst Tony Clarkin gets to riff away on one of my favourite Magnum tunes ‘Vigilante’.

For encores we had another new song ‘See How They Fall’ and two more classics in ‘Rockin’ Chair’ and ‘Days Of No Trust’. The band seemed to have had as much fun as the audience!

With the rock solid rhythm section of Al Barrow and Harry James, this is the strongest Magnum line-up for me and live they are one of the most consistent acts out  there today.

Jason Ritchie

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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