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Magnum @ Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton (31/10/09)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 13:47 by Paul Woodward
There was an early curfew for tonight’s gig, with early doors; although this didn’t affect attendance, as per usual for Magnum in Wolverhampton.  It was a near capacity crowd, and the Wolvo faithful always bring their voices and dancing shoes...

Support act tonight is very young Black Country Modern classic Rockers Liberty Lies.  I had seen the band earlier this year supporting Gun and was quite impressed with their performance.  They haven’t been together long and have obviously been working hard writing and practicing since June given tonight’s performance.  My one previous complaint was they had too many similar sounding songs, that is no longer the case and some of the new songs are absolutely fantastic and perfect for the live arena, with memorable choruses and head-banging guitar riffs.  The band has obviously hit their stride writing newer material.

“Burning Ashes” was one of tonight’s stand outs again, but not as obvious a stand out as before, given the strength of the band's set list. They again impressed me with their lively and enthusiastic performance and threw everything at the audience whilst still keeping the music tight.  Tonight was probably the biggest audience these guys have played to and it was really an important night for the future of the band.  The reaction from the crowd was amazing, obviously there were one or two local fans littering the crowd but the chorus of cheers and applause was universal around the hall.  One of the best reactions I’ve ever seen for a totally unknown band. I ’m expecting big things from these guys, they have a great 70’s classic rock sound but with a heavier vibe to keep today’s newer generation of rockers happy…oh and they also have a few big fook off melodic choruses to keep me happy!

I highly advise checking this band out at their upcoming gigs at The Little Civic in Wolverhampton on the 20th November and the Wharf Bar in Walsall on the 11th December!

Magnum took to the stage to an outstanding rapture of applause and chants, as they kick into a surprising set opener “Cry to Yourself” from the new album - Into the Valley of the Moon King.  You always see a lot of familiar faces at Magnum gigs, so much more so than many other bands, over the years Magnum have built up a loyal fan base.  Obviously a lot of this is due to their immense body of work stretching back to 1978 and their amazing reputation as one of the UK’s finest live acts.  I also think the band's very humble attitude warms their fans to them even more so - they are not your typical rock stars, nor do they seem to want to be.  They appreciate their loyal following and always try to provide an entertaining performance and a varied set list whilst still to retaining the classics.

Tonight’s set list I thought was a brave one, concentrating mostly on their albums post the reformation in 2002.  It could have gone down like a lead balloon, but looking around myself I saw people singing along with their hands in the air as if they were hearing all the classics from the 80s.  The atmosphere in Wolverhampton for Magnum is always exceptionally good, with lots of cheering, chanting and singing.  Judging by all the smiles from the band members they were obviously enjoying soaking up the appreciation from the crowd.  I’m sure it pleased them that their newer material is so well liked, and I have to say the Moon King songs went down really well in the live environment.

They continued the set with “Take Me to the Edge”, “Brand New Morning” & “The Moon King”. Although not one Magnum standard had been played so far, the crowd seemed unbothered and excited to be hearing so much new material. “When We Were Younger” from the Princess Alice album was up next, whilst not my favourite song on CD, the song has so much power and energy live it has become a personal live favourite.  It has been played at every single Magnum gig I’ve seen since Princess Alice was released, and judging by the crowd's reaction its easy to see why the band have made it a firm fixture in their set.

“No One Knows His Name” went down extremely well with the crowd before the band kicked into “Dragons are Real” another song that takes life live, and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance of it.  Now it was the next two songs that provided my highlight of the evening, “A Face In The Crowd” with Bob Catley giving a stunning performance (typical Bob) and “We All Run” from the Brand New Morning album, with its highly melodic sensibilities, infectious guitar riff and big-ass keyboards provided by Mark Stanway, keyboardist extraordinaire.  You can’t help but sing along to it!  Definitely one of Magnum’s finest songs.

The band decided to finish the set with a few classics, and “Les Morts Dansant” got a big response from the crowd.  They slipped “All My Bridges” from Moon King in next, I think to see how it would go down with the crowd amongst their high energy classics the fans love so much before bursting straight into “All England’s Eyes” and “Vigilante”.  I think judging by reactions “All My Bridges” would be a welcome regular to the Magnum set list.

The band came back for the encore after much shouting & chanting (that familiar Magnum! Magnum! Magnum! In that Black Country twang!) to do “Don’t Wake The Lion” which I’m so glad has become a regular fixture in the set since the 20th anniversary of “Wings Of Heaven” tour, as it is pure genius and could quite possibly be Tony Clarkin’s finest moment in songwriting. I know most Magnum fans love this song and judging by the level of singing during this one every one was enjoying it!  Cause we're all “To Old to Die Young!”.  They finished with “Kingdom Of Madness” from their debut album and it was a great round off to the night with its huge chorus and infectious guitar riff sending everyone home with big smiles!

Magnum are ALWAYS good, the guys have obviously got playing and performing down to a fine art over the past 31 years. Hopefully they’ll keep going for many years to come!

for Midlands Rocks