Tag Archives: Marillion

Marillion – The New Kings

The first section of the 17-minute epic “The New Kings” from the forthcoming album “F*** Everyone And Run”.

It’s only a short taster, but it’s sounding like powerful stuff. With the events over the past few weeks and revelations of what happened in the recent past, this album is sounding disturbingly prescient.

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Marillion announce F E A R

F E A R

Marillion announce the name of their new album, “F*** Everyone And Run”. As lead singer Steve Hogarth describe it:

What’s in a name?……

All worthwhile human impulses come from love. And all negative and destructive human impulses come from fear.

This album is called Fuck Everyone and Run or F.E.A.R.

This title is adopted not in anger or with any intention to shock. It is adopted and sung (in the song “New Kings”) tenderly, in sadness and resignation inspired by an England, and a world, which increasingly functions on an “Every man for himself” philosophy. I won’t bore you with examples, they’re all over the newspapers every day.

There’s a sense of foreboding that permeates much of this record. I have a feeling that we’re approaching some kind of sea-change in the world – an irreversible political, financial, humanitarian and environmental storm. I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that my FEAR of what “seems” to be approaching is just that, and not FEAR of what “is” actually about to happen.

The album will be released on September 9th 2016, and the final date for pre-orders is 17th June. You can pre-order now on Pledge Music. You know you want to!

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Or you can love….

Because Marillion put my thoughts on the atrocity in Brussels far better than I can in the song “A Few Words For The Dead

Can you make it on your own
Can you take it by the throat
Make your own luck – learn the skills
Get in early
For the kill

It carries on

Pick up the weapon
Marry it. Give it your name
Define yourself by it
Take it down the disco

It carries on

Trigger happy
Pulling power
LadyKiller
Take em out

It carries on

See the weirdos
On the hill
Come to get you
If you stand still

Somewhere in history
You were wronged
Raise your children
To bang the drum

It carries on
Tell all the family
Tell all your friends
Teach your brothers
To avenge

It carries on

Or you could LOVE…
You could LOVE

Lie down in the flowers
In the blue of the air
Open your eyes. Why use up your life for anything else?
No need to fight for what everyone has
What do you need?
It’s already there
It’s already there

You could LOVE

So he carried the stars in his pocket
He drank the sunrise till was drunk
He embraced the angels
They swam like little minnows in his blood
Ghosts in his eyes
Out walking beside him
Laughing like children in his mind

They chanted his mantra together
“You could love”

They were happy.

Steve Hogarth, 1998

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Steve Rothery Band announce two UK shows

Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery has announced the final two Steve Rothery Band shows of 2016 before Marlllion begin their world tour in April.

The dates are Montgomery Hall in Wath on Saturday March 5, and The Junction in Cambridge on Sunday 6th. Titled “The Ghosts and Garden Parties”, they’ll be playing his instrumental solo album “The Ghosts of Pripyat” and Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood”, which he has previously played in full with Martin Jakubsk from the tribute band Stillmarillion on vocals.

With former Marillion frontman Fish also touring Misplaced Childhood, finishing at Islington Assembly on 20th April, the coming months will see a classic album peformed by two different bands, both of which contain one original member of the band that originally recorded it. Has that ever happened before?

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2015 in Live Music – Ten of the Best

Touchstone Farewell Gig

It’s harder to rank gigs in any kind of order than it is for records, since you can’t relive a one-off experience. These ten are those which have particularly stuck in the mind, and there is probably a bias towards the end of the year since those are freshest in the memory.

The Marillion Convention

There is nothing else quite like the fan conventions Marillion hold every other year. They see the band perform seven hours of music over three nights including a lot of rarely-played material, all before an audience of fanatical hardcore fans. This year’s was no exception, the highlight of which was the double album “Marbles” played in full on the Saturday night.

The Session at The Swansea Jazz Festival

One cannot live on prog alone, so The Swansea Jazz festival is always a good opportunity to explore something outside of the usual comfort zone. Some sets had far too many bass solos, but this New Orleans-based quintet were the undoubted highlight, with a frontline of sax and trumpet. The first solo from trumpeter Steven Lande was like hearing a really good blues or metal guitarist cutting loose.

Ramblin Man Fair

My first open air festival since High Voltage in London a few years back took place in leafy Maidstone. Saturday saw great sets in the sunshine from Touchstone, Blue Öyster Cult and the legendary Camel, the only disappointment being the lacklustre phoned-in set from Dream Theater. But the musical highlight was much of Sunday, with a bill beginning in the rain with Anna Phoebe, Knifeworld (“Excuse me while I towel down my guitar”), The Pineapple Thief and Riverside, and ending in a mesmerising set from headliners Marillion after the clouds cleared and the moon came out.

King Crimson at Hackney Empire

The unexpected emergence of a new incarnation of King Crimson didn’t disappoint in the slightest, and the seven-piece lineup with three drummers went from intense improvised jazz-metal workouts to fresh interpretations of the stately magnificence of their 70s classics. Some too-cool-for-school mainstream critics just didn’t get it at all, but it was their loss; the set included superb performances of some of the greatest music of the 20th Century, and that’s not something you say lightly.

Steven Wilson at The Royal Albert Hall

In terms of profile, Steven Wilson stands head and shoulders above any other contemporary progressive rock act, able to sell out venues that are otherwise the preserve of the 70s legends of the genre. I made the mistake of booking for just one of the two nights rather than both, for the sets were completely different. So I didn’t get to see the bulk of “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” played live, but did see Porcupine Tree classics and an intense “Raider II”. It was still an amazing experience.

Gazpacho & Iamthemorning at Islington Academy

I got wind of this gig via a fan of Iamthemorning who was wondering aloud if headliners Gazpacho were worth seeing live. Both bands turned out to be mesmerising; the way you could have heard a pin drop during the acoustic support act really says it all, and the headliner’s absolute mastery of atmospherics managed to outdo even Marillion. Progressive rock needs more violins.

Gloryhammer at Islington Academy

One support band of 2015 deserve a mention. Scotland’s heroes were special guests to Finnish power-metallers Stratovarious, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen a support act so completely outclass the headliners. They has better songs, better stagecraft, and a level of fire & passion that the headliners completely lacked.

Public Image Limited at Reading Sub89

The artist formerly known as Johnny Rotten has still got it, and his singing style is totally unique. The other three quarters of PiL are tremendous musicians; a tight rhythm section and always inventive guitarist in Lu Edmonds meant that you spent as much time listening to the bass grooves or the guitar lines as the vocals. It’s a long way from classic rock, but it’s got more in common with the avant-garde end of progressive rock than you might think.

Touchstone & Magenta at Leamington Assembly

The farewell show for Kim Seviour and Rob Cottingham pulled a packed crowd to the magnificent central England venue. Because Kim had suffered a throat infection days before they gig, they added former Mostly Autumn singer Heather Findlay to the band as cover, and the band turned into a kind of heavy metal ABBA. It certainly brought a triumphal close to one chapter in the Touchstone story. And that’s before any mention of special guests Magenta, with a performance strong enough have been in this list in its own right.

Mostly Autumn at Leamington Assembly

Rather than their customary multi-date Christmas tour, Mostly Autumn decided to end 2015 with a single showcase gig in a central venue, what an event it turned out to be. Five hours of music included remarkably varied acoustic set that featured Angela Gordon singing lead at one point, a mesmerising but all-too-short set from violinist Anna Phoebe, what was probably the last full performance of “Dressed in Voices”, a Mostly Floyd set that was far, far better than any sceptics expected, and those traditional Christmas covers. And stunning versions of the rarely-played “The Night Sky” and “The Gap Is Too Wide”.

Those were just some of the many highlights of a great year of live music. Honourable mentions to Panic Room, Karnataka, Chantel McGregor and Luna Rossa, which have featured in this blog a lot, and to New Model Army and Lazuli, both “new” to me in terms of seeing live.

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BBC News asks “Where are all the climate change songs?” They have presumably never heard of Marillion’s “Season’s End”.

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Neo-Prog Three Decades On

Joe Banks writing in The Quietus has a grear piece in Neo-Prog Three Decades On, covering the likes of IQ, Pendragon and Pallas.

He’s spot on when it comes to Twelfth Night. His description of “Fact and Fiction” as the Unnown Pleasures of prog reminds me of how some aspects of their sound reminded me of Joy Division at the time. Perhaps what JD might have sounded with Dave Gilmour style guitar solos?  As for their eventual disolution when they “couldn’t make up their mind whether they wanted to be Pink Floyd or Duran Duran“, is Joe Banks certain he didn’t steal that line from me?

He’s good on Mairllion too, pointing out how they started out wearing the influence of Gabriel-era Genesis on their sleeves, but soon evolved towards evoking Pink Floyd at their most song-orientated. Not quite so sure about present-day Mairllion as “credible-if-a-bit-bland nu-prog, somewhere between Talk Talk and Muse“, though. At least he didn’t compare them to Coldplay….

It’s also good to see the late Tommy Vance mentioned. John Peel’s hagiographers tend to dismiss him for playing the music too uncool for The Peel Show, but the two were actually highly complementary. Certainly Tommy Vance was as much loved by his listeners as Peel was to his.

The whole piece is well worth a read.

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Reading Festival Nostalgia

Reading Festival 1983

It’s Reafing Festival weekend. The streets of the town are full of people in wellies and the supermarkets contain stacks of cheap lager the size of Canary Wharf. It all reminds me of the last Reading Festivals I went to back in the early 1980s, when I was the same age as the people going now. Reading has always been a teenage rite of passage.

It’s a reminder of the fact I’ve been a Marillion fan for 33 years this weekend, after seeing them half-way ip the bill in 1982. They were back the following year as special guests on the Saturday night, opened with Grendel. They blew Black Sabbath and their fibreglass Stonehenge off stage. Little did I imagine their music would still be a big part of my life more than three decades laer.

It’s remarkable how many of the bands from the 1983 bill above are still around. I saw Marillion a few weeks back, headlining the Prog stage at Ramblin Man. Pendragon played the same festival. The Enid were at HRH Prog. Magnum, Pallas, Big Country, The Stranglers and even Man are still on the circuit.

This year’s Reading Festival bill includes Metallica, who have been around for 30 years. Can you imagine 1980s festivals having 1940s crooners and big band jazz on the bill?

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The 2015 UK Marillion Convention

Steve Hogarth at the 2015 Marillion Convention

This isn’t really a review as such. Because by the end of each of the three nights there’s not much more you can say beyond “Wibble”. A total of seven hours of some of the most emotially moving and life-affirming music in rock, including the albums “Anoraknophobia” and “Marbles” played in full, and a remarkable greatest hits set on the last night.
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Marillion’s big hit single “Kayleigh” was released 30 years ago today. Where has all the time gone?

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