Marseille And Company Shake Swindon To The Ground
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal created dozens of fantastic bands, many of whom got lost in the shuffle, leading to them being overlooked and eventually causing their demise. A good example of this would be Marseille, who broke grounds for young British bands during their first run, but were overshadowed by bigger British bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. However, the band is back now, with a sense of celebrity about them somewhat, owing to guitarist Neil Buchanan’s time as the presenter of the smash hit television show Art Attack, and I had the pleasure to witness them at Riffs Bar in Swindon.
Kicking off the night was local act, Vivaxi. The band possess a quality about them which tends to focus more on their musicianship than on an entertaining performance, with each member looking thoroughly concentrated on their respective instrument, which each member plays with undeniable skill. The songs themselves are drawn out to a degree but contain a catchy quality to them, thus ensuring an enjoyable listening experience. While a good band, their focus on music over performance would make for a more boring tenure were it not for lead singer Chris Hawkins, who brings barrels of energy on stage as well as an impressive voice, mixing the screams of Rob Halford with the American party attitude of David Lee Roth. All in all, a solid performance and a good start to the evening.
Next up were Lancashire outfit Exit State, who will be supporting Marseille on every date of the tour. Exit State may be less focused on heavy metal than Vivaxi but they put on an outstanding display of rock and roll, with the excitement of Rose Tattoo combined with the charisma of a thousand Will Smiths. Of particular note was frontman Roy Bright, who seems to be born to rock out, and look more than comfortable doing it. The group helped to kick the night up a notch and gained their fair share of new supporters with their demonstration of everything that makes rock so good.
As one might expect, the headlining act capped off the evening, enter Marseille. The band stormed the stage, carrying with them the energy that many bands half their age don’t have, and proceeded to shake Riffs to it’s very foundations with an electrified sonic assault that meets somewhere in between hard rock and heavy metal. While it may be safe to say that most of the younger crowd came out so they could see Mr. Buchanan in the flesh, every one of them left stunned by the performance that the band put on. Buchanan probably surprised everyone by displaying his perfect lead guitar skills, unleashing some fantastic solos and excellent riffs that help to create some of the most finely crafted songs of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement. The rest of the band deserves plenty of credit too, as they all bring plenty of meat to the table. Make no mistake, this is a talented bunch of rockers. Lead singer Nige Roberts was also very impressive, belting out the songs with the appearance of making it look too easy and using his spot on stage to a demanding effect. The banter between the crowd and the band was extremely fun and made the show all the more enjoyable, made all the more special by Marseille bringing members of the crowd on stage with them for a sing-along at the end. To end the evening perfectly, the band hung around with the audience afterwards, posing for pictures and signing copies of their new album, “Unfinished Business,” along with anything else thrust their way. It’s a shame there weren’t more people at the show because any and all absentees missed out on what will probably the best rock concert in Swindon in 2010.
Photos courtesy of The Swindon Photo Scamp
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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