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Magnum Tour Montage

Monday 28th March - Wednesday 30th March 2022

Junction Cambridge + The Waterfront Norwich + Islington Assembly Hall London

British Hard Rock icons Magnum kicked off their 'A Monster Roars' European tour, supported by Vega and Theia, and our montage below is of their UK gigs so far, including photos from Wednesday's show at London's Islington Assembly Hall, courtesy of Mr. Rockrpix, John Bull, a guest review from Paul Monkhouse at Cambridge's Junction 48 hours earlier, plus a video of their Norwich The Waterfront gig, sandwiched in between!

"Is there anything in the world as reliable as Magnum? The rock veterans still very much producing the goods five decades after they first formed, all revolving around the enduring partnership of guitarist and writer Tony Clarkin and vocalist Bob Catley.

It was with a hint of extra relish that the quintet kicked off their latest UK jaunt in the university town, the band visibly happy to be back on the road again after the enforced hiatus caused by global events and with a much-lauded new album to promote.

Before them though, was the matter of sets by long-time friends of the Birmingham legends: Theia and Vega. With both bands hitting the stage with new line-ups, it was a chance for them to reintroduce themselves to the faithful in Cambridge and both brought their own style and firepower.

Having lost bass player Paul Edwards last year, brothers Kyle and Ash Lamley hit the stage as a two piece and showed that Theia are just as much full of youthful fire and fun as they always have been.

With the aid of a laptop depping for the low end, singer guitarist Kyle made the most of the stage, constantly running from one side to the other and standing on the drum riser with his sibling.

In a blur of colour and a powerful wash of sound, the duo tore through their six-song set mixing monster riffs and shimmering melodies, grins plastered to their faces.

The stuttering ‘Blue Heart’, Tony Clarkin penned single ‘Eyes Like Fire’ and the sugar rush of ‘The Day’ all point to a bright future for the Lamleys, their stripped-down form not detracting one iota from their ability to rock the house.

Vega were out to make a point too and were on ferocious form, their star rising after a string of every more successful albums. With the recent additions of former Inglorius six stringer Billy Taylor and heavy hitting sticksman Pete Newdeck, there was a feral energy that practically crackled, both men adding an extra vocal punch to the layered sound.

Front and centre as always, Nick Workman is the consummate performer, constantly working the audience and singing like his life depends on it. By his side, Marcus
Thurston throws shapes as he peels out riff after riff and some truly scorching solos, his face a study in concentration that contrasts the beaming frontman.

Kicking off with the anthemic ‘Rise Up’, it’s a masterclass of melodic hard rock that truly brings a steel fist inside the silk glove, the band showing the heavier and tougher side of the more recent material. The intensity of a Vega show has certainly gone up a few notches and ‘Every Little Monster’ and ‘Kneel To You’ hit very hard.

There’s plenty of light and shade though, ‘Live For Me’ and ‘White Flag’ sound huge and use the keys of James Martin to great effect as brother Tom holds his bass aloft, pumping out filling loosening rhythms alongside Newdeck.

Closing the set with their recently released cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Animal’ was a potentially risky move but they stamp their own identity on the ‘Hysteria’ classic and, whilst memorable and instantly engendering a mass singalong, it didn’t throw shade on all that had gone before.

Bring Me Back to Life’ and ‘Sooner or Later’ show that Vega are more than capable of writing riotous party anthems and it’s this skill, along with their blistering live shows, that shows that the sextet are genuine contenders for the big leagues.

Arguably one of the most underrated bands in UK rock history, despite their consistently sold-out tours and perpetually gold standard albums, Magnum are still as focussed and hungry as ever.

With nothing to prove to anyone but themselves, there is a confidence displayed here born of five decades as a band who have been through more twists and turns in the industry than seen in the infamous Spaghetti Junction of their hometown.

Anchored in the song writing and guitar mastery of Tony Clarkin and the vocals of Bob Catley, the quintet have weathered the storms and only come out stronger, tonight a career spanning dip into a catalogue that’s the envy of all.

Opening with fan favourite ‘Days of No Trust’, the familiar power and pomp brings even more impact with the lyrics of this thirty-four-year-old classic managing to capture the zeitgeist in no uncertain terms. Catley sounds as good as ever, his always expressive interpretation part of his craft and Clarkin both tasteful and forceful in his playing.

Hidden at the rear of the stage, Rick Benton adds a kaleidoscope of colours that sees his keys nicely up in the mix and a joyful Lee Morris adding his own firepower and groove to the drums. Following the evening’s trend of new faces, this was the first outing with bass player Dennis Ward, the seasoned musician bringing his rock-solid playing and vocals that are equally packed with feel.

A grand ‘Lost on the Road to Eternity’ and spiky ‘The Monster Roars’ highlight just how much Magnum have finessed their sound over the years, the title tracks to both of their latest long players slotting in perfectly with the rest of the set.

‘Dance of the Black Tattoo’ thunders, showing that Magnum can turn up the wrecking ball heaviness when they want to and provides a stark contrast to the beauty of the evergreen ‘Les Morts Dansants’, both filled with their own drama.

From deeper cuts like ‘Wild Swan’ and ‘The Flood’ to new rocker ‘The Day After the Night Before’ there was more than enough to keep both the committed and newer fans happy, the mix of ages in the crowd showing that good music is built to last.

With a closing run of sure-fire winners from ‘Rockin’ Chair’ through to the still potent ‘All England’s Eyes’ and the twin riff monsters that are ‘Vigilante’ and ‘Kingdom of Madness’ it was enough to leave everyone

The inevitable encore came with two further classics, including ‘Sacred Hour’, but it was the short coda of a stripped back ‘Days of No Trust’ that once again provided a poignant and perfect end to the night.

Magnum, still telling stories the only way they know how and proving that few come even close to touching them."

Paul Monkhouse

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