With more venues in South Wales falling by the wayside, it is refreshing to see someone taking a gamble, especially in the valleys and in the middle of the week, but the old adage of book them and they will come rang true tonight, with a very nearly sold out crowd.
A small tour in preparation for the festival season sees Magnum back in South Wales supported by local(ish) rockers Hand Of Dimes, which in hindsight was a a great idea by the promoters Orchard Live.
With a rather quiet 2019 planned for HOD to concentrate on writing, the offer to blow some cobwebs off was too good to turn down, not that they had gathered any to blow away.
Seated shows can be a hit or miss with a sometimes muted atmosphere but with Nev Macdonald fronting there is no danger of that happening.
Nev has the ability and experience to get any crowd up on their feet joining in. ‘Looking At You’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ kick off the evening, in a 45 minute set that seemed to fly by .
Something of a local legends in these neck of the woods – due to the band Kooga – they give a tip of the hat to their fondly remembered past with ‘Like I’ve Never Known’. Thankfully they don’t need to rely on the past too much withthe rest of the set drawn from their excellent debut album.
No new songs aired tonight, nonetheless a very polished and punchy set ending with my personal favourite ‘Sail On’ leaving everyone up on their feet to a standing ovation.
For a venue as grandiose as the Coliseum, I could think of no other band to do it justice tonight other than Magnum. Having not seen them in around two years, it was time to renew my aquaintance with one of my go-to bands growing up.
A small intro welcomes the band onstage before breaking into ‘Wild Swan’, instantly the crowd ignore the all seated rule and make their way to the front. Bob Catley bouncing at the front of the stage getting the crowd up doing the same, his stagecraft defies his age.
This was followed by a selection of the later material in ‘Sacred Blood’ and current favourites ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’, ‘Crazy Old Mothers’ and ‘Your Dreams Won’t Die’ which are fast becoming classic Magnum in their own right.
Tony Clarkin, songwriter extraordinaire behind sunglasses and motionless in any facial expressions of enjoyment, content to leave the flamboyance to Bob.
This was my first time seeing Magnum with their latest members Rick Benton and Lee Morris on keys and drums respectively. I couldn’t be more impressed with the performance they delivered, the band seems refreshed and better than I have seen them in years. Bob’s voice is in fine fettle and reaffirms that there is only one guy who could and should sing these songs.
With 8 of the 13 strong set being pulled from the ‘classic’ era, I don’t need to tell you that the biggest cheers were for the likes of ‘How Far Jerusalem’, with Bob and Al Barrow bouncing through the chorus egging on the crowd to follow suit, through the imagery and storytelling of ‘Les Morts Dansant’.
‘All Englands Eyes’ and ‘Vigilante’ would be more than worthy set closers , but instead they just set us up for a full ten minute version of ‘Don’t Wake The Lion’ before the band leave for a well earned encore call of ‘The Spirit’ and ‘Sacred Hour’.
A truly mag(num)ificent evening accompanied with a great sound and lighting, Magnum rolled back the years proving that there is a lot of life left in these Crazy Old Mothers.
Review and photos by Darren Griffiths
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BAD DREEMS Double Dreeming (indie)
TAKE TODAY Lifeline (indie)
CRAZY LIXX Silent Thunder (Frontiers)
HAZY DAYS New Beginnings (indie)
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12:00-13:00 CRAZY LIXX Forever Wild (Frontiers)
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