To support the release of their eighteenth studio album – F.E.A.R (Fuck Everyone And Run) – Marillion are back on the road. I caught the band at their recent Toronto show at The Danforth Music Hall. Words and pictures by Tim Darbyshire………….
In front of an enthusiastic near sell out crowd, Marillion delivered an eclectic two hours of music culled from all eras of their 35 year history. As well as focussing not surprisingly on material from the new album – F.E.A.R – Marillion wowed the crowd with favourites such as ‘The Invisible Man’, ‘King’ and ‘Neverland’ with the surprise final encore of ‘Kayleigh’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘Heart Of Lothian’ topping off a great evening.
‘The New Kings’ from ‘F.E.A.R’ certainly seemed to strike a chord with the majority of those in attendance. The message is clear, corporate greed pervades society and human empathy seems to be dwindling.
Explaining the album’s title, Hogarth elaborates: “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”
Marillion have always done things differently of course. They are recognised as one of the first major bands to turn their backs on traditional record company involvement and have funded new releases by advance fan orders since 2001’s ‘Anoraknophopia’, including ‘F.E.A.R’. They have recognised the power of the internet, crowd funding and keeping everything in house to minimise costs. In exchange, fans are treated to signed limited editions, and ‘Marillion Weekends’ (fan conventions), and of course a band who can produce albums with no outside pressure from record company executives.
Hogarth naturally dominates proceeding throughout the evening – singing every word as if his life depends on it. Ably backed by almost ever-presents Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly, Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley, he remains the centre of attention, and controls the stage by acting out the lyrics. The new material is greeted as enthusiastically as the earlier songs – I don’t know of many bands who would play a 16 minute new song – ‘El Dorado’ – as an encore. Clearly the band are relaxed on stage, enjoying effortlessly playing complicated music live to devoted audiences.
It’s been four years since their last studio outing (‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’), let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long for the next one.
Steve ‘H’ Hogarth – vocals, keyboards, guitar
Steve Rothery – guitars
Mark Kelly – keyboards
Pete Trewavas – bass
Ian Mosley – drums
The Invisible Man
Living in F E A R
Afraid of Sunlight
The New Kings: I. Fuck Everyone and Run
The New Kings: II. Russia’s Locked Doors
The New Kings: III. A Scary Sky
The New Kings: IV. Why Is Nothing Ever True?
El Dorado: I. Long-Shadowed Sun
El Dorado: II. The Gold
El Dorado: III. Demolished Lives
El Dorado: IV. F E A R
El Dorado: V. The Grandchildren of Apes
Heart Of Lothian