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General Category => Live Reviews - with spoilers => Topic started by: Jules on September 09, 2018, 01:01:12 PM

Title: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 09, 2018, 01:01:12 PM
I travelled more in hope than expectation. I'm so pleased that I did.

With so many traumas over recent years to contend with, Man's ability as a musical entity to ride the punches and still weave away from the ropes was going to be sorely tested on this tour.

The tradition of both forced and unforced line-up changes continues. The loss of Phil Ryan left a huge gap, and with René Robrahn not on this trip, 2/5ths of tonight's personnel would be playing catch-up. For a 50th anniversary tour, how would the choice of material reflect and respect the legacy, remaining true to the past, present and future? Note regarding the future: new album, working title "Anachronism Tango", expected early next year.

With dates in Swansea being chased around the calendar after various local tribal squabbles, and the Evesham show lost when the venue closed down, the potential to do a "Tap" was very real.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Within minutes of our arrival, around 5pm, the banner above the entrance to the performance room at the Half Moon needed a slight adjustment. The words "Sold Out" were added at the bottom. I breathed a relieved sigh that I'd bought my tickets earlier (I travelled with my guitarist buddy Gordon Ayre, a Man virgin, for this trip) and wouldn't be left standing at the platform when the train pulled out. I'll admit, I wasn't sure I believed that "Sold Out" sign at first. I've been to several Man gigs over the years where the audience outnumbered the performers, along with many where there would still be comfortably enough room to swing a cat. This time though it was true, 250 capacity sold out, packed to the rafters, little room to breathe, but at least a reduced likelihood that anyone would be falling over. We were there, a few other friends were not, turned away at the door.

Worrying signs of organisation were present. Last but one time here was the album launch for Reanimated Memories, which went really well except for the minor detail of the album not actually turning up. This time, the merch stand was well-stocked, with the new DVD "Faith" live in Stuttgart, the new tour edition EP "Mojo Train" and 50th Anniversary Tour T-shirts prominent alongside Malcom's "Cry" vinyl EP, and a healthy supply of back-catalogue CDs to inspect. The stand had an added touch of glamour too, in the shape of Jennifer Jones (Josh's partner) and Lauren Ace (Martin's daughter [now an author in her own right]) to tempt us to part with more cash than planned.


The band kicked-off on time, straight into "And In The Beginning", followed by "Sudden Life". Obvious from the first moments that tonight was going to be special, as everyone was completely spot on. One of the more welcome sights was the presence of Malcolm Morley at the left of stage. Malcolm is looking ridiculously young and happy. Mostly playing the keyboard (Rob M it was a Korg Kronus) with a little acoustic guitar on at least one select number, this was the first time Malcolm has been back in the band since 1974.

What else did we get? We got a toe in the water from almost every album. As well as those mentioned already, we got "Would The Christians Please Wait", "Romain", "Spunk Rock", "C'mon", "Manillo". From the new album we got "Manor Farm" which owes a substantial debt to Spunk Rock, and two others which I didn't hear as I was out of the room to cool down. We got "Blown Away", with Malcolm on acoustic guitar. We got "The Chimes At Midnight", "Mad On Her" and, to close, "Bananas".  For encores we got a superb "Many Are Called and we got an ecstatic "Hard Way To Live".

All through, the band were ridiculously tight, well rehearsed and determined to deliver the goods. Malcolm seemed to have a great time, so much so that he's agreed to do the rest of the tour. He played several strong synth solos to the accompanying role he played on piano and organ through the evening and he added that extra dimension to the guitars that would otherwise have dominated. Drummer Shane Dixon very quickly showed himself to have a powerful engine, rehearsals paying off well as there was just an occasional look for cues during the entire show on this his first night. Man's songs over the years have generally been a little more complex that your average pub-rock fare. I've run out of superlatives to describe James Beck's contribution to the band since he joined. James gets it. He is both Micky and Deke combined, taking Micky's willingness to step beyond the routine and Deke's ability to craft a killer riff. Added to that his own lyrical take on the newer songs, and you have the real deal. Josh has lifted his playing up another level this year (sorry Josh, I know that sounds like a school report!), you can see and feel the difference in confidence across the whole set, but particularly in the sections when he and James are playing twin leads. Martin was very much in his element. Looking very well and pleased with the performance overall, an occasional nod to cue in Malcolm or Shane, or the guitar boys, were the only clues that tonight was a step into the unknown future as well as a commemoration of the celebrated past.


Since the great split, in some areas sides have been chosen, positions taken and attitudes hardened. I would encourage everyone to try to rise above that this year. It seems rather self-defeating to criticise a band for being something they are not and never could be. For those thinking of staying away, from the bottom of my heart I implore you not to deny yourselves the privilege of being able to see the current Man.

Oh, and Gordon's view? He hadn't understood my devotion to Man before, but he does now. He's been there, done that and tonight also bought the T-shirt. 

For those who were to see Son Of Man at the Resonate festival the day after, I hope that went well too. It would be great to see a review.

Shout outs to Allan and Eileen, Dave B, Dave Mc, Pete 'Rhino' C, Ollie G, Steve J, 'Boogie' John S, Pete M (and Kim, who I didn't get to say hello to, so here's a late wave :) ), Mike G, Michael and Helen (plus the other 237 people who I also didn't get to say hello to). Next time at Borderline for the London crowd. I'll be catching another date on this tour at The Band On The Wall in Manchester on Friday.

From a first listen to the Mojo Train EP, we're being taken back in the general direction of 1971. Two mostly complete new songs, paired with a couple of demo's, don't be expecting your average 3 minutes 50  pop songs.

I haven't yet summoned up the courage to watch the Stuttgart DVD. I've no doubts about the quality on offer, but it was Phil's last gig. 



   


 
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Dave Bardsley on September 09, 2018, 08:59:07 PM
Jules:  Beautifully summed up.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Michael Heatley on September 09, 2018, 11:04:24 PM
Good work... You'll put me out of a job!
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Olly Goodwin on September 10, 2018, 12:31:12 PM
Beautifully written, Jules, and I thoroughly endorse  ( almost* ) every word. It was an amazing night.
I will, however be contacting the Forum moderator - why can't these newbies post the gig reviews in the "gig review"section?
Actually, this one was so big that it does deserve a section all of its own.


[* I didn't spot any part of "Christians", and its not on the set list I borrowed at the end of the gig (on which C'mon is spelt " Come on"]
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Nick Nation on September 10, 2018, 12:49:50 PM
Nice one, Jules!
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: bedeck12 on September 10, 2018, 12:59:49 PM
It was a great, I think Jules you missed "Too Much Too Soon" which had Josh on keys and Malcolm on acoustic with Josh lead vocals, I believe this came after "Blown Away".
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Allan Heron on September 10, 2018, 02:13:07 PM
Agree with Olly about Christians. Was going to listen more intently in Glasgow in case I had missed it, but I couldn't recall hearing it on Friday.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: peterclarkson on September 10, 2018, 04:06:52 PM
Very nicely done Jules. Grat to see you btw
Pete Rhino - havent been called that in a while
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: joan on September 10, 2018, 05:12:02 PM
Thanks, interesting set -list!
"The Chimes At Midnight" from The Twang Dynasty? They could have rescued another one.
No popemobiles, walruses or kangaroos? what an improvement  8)

I haven't listened to this 2018 C'mon but now without Micky, Phil and Deke I think it shouldn't be played anymore, I always find it boring, too slow and too loooong. Almost 20 minutes where they could play three or four songs instead. Some fresh ideas: Blind man, Country girl, Never say Nups to Nepalese, Back into the future, Kerosene, Grasshopper, Rock and roll you out, California silks and satins, The Thunder And Lightning Kid, Four day Louise and a big etc... It's my opinion of course.

video of "Bananas" from Putney 2018:
https://www.facebook.com/len.thomas.1804/videos/721924308144094/

Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Michael Heatley on September 10, 2018, 05:50:34 PM
It's clear with a new album in the can that Man are going to continue releasing new music (Launch party 25 January 2019 at the Borderline was mentioned by Martin).

I think therefore we can assume that the back-catalogue mining is specifically for this tour. Incredibly, they played nothing from Reanimated Memories (and I didn't hear any complaints). The double punch of And In the Beginning/Sudden Life was sublime.

They did once tour without playing C'Mon and Bananas but were forced to re-instate them due to public demand.

As for the new music, can anyone tell me how the two Martin-sung songs sound on the EP as compared with their live performances? As for Josh's new song, it wasn't Man...was it?
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: peterclarkson on September 10, 2018, 07:18:34 PM
It may be me, but i did find some of the vocal harmonies on the e.p. somewhat "atonal" i.e. somewhere between major and minor. Enjoyed the tracks upon first hearing though.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Barry Island on September 10, 2018, 09:50:26 PM
Great Review. Many many thanks. Very excited about Cardiff now!!!
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 10, 2018, 09:52:50 PM
why can't these newbies post the gig reviews in the "gig review"section?

It is, Live Reviews - with spoilers.

Touche, with an invisible accent.

 ;D
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 10, 2018, 09:55:29 PM
I didn't spot any part of "Christians"

You could well be right. It wasn't mentioned, and I can't swear that that's what it was, but that's what it sounded like to me at the time. I'll be listening intently on Friday.

Infallibility is not guaranteed.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 10, 2018, 10:00:09 PM
It was a great, I think Jules you missed "Too Much Too Soon" which had Josh on keys and Malcolm on acoustic with Josh lead vocals, I believe this came after "Blown Away".

Thanks. I heard Too Much Too Soon, but had forgotten the title by the time I got home.

There may have been one or two others between 'Manor Farm' and 'Blown Away' which I missed while nipping outside to cool down. Equally possible that there weren't.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Michael Heatley on September 11, 2018, 09:35:06 AM
Yes there was one other with a deliberately preposterous title Martin laughed at. On the EP? Dunno, I did not buy one.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jon M on September 11, 2018, 06:11:46 PM
Pleased to hear it was great evening; more pleased that there were no wild life songs (kangaroos and walruses).
Had I known that I would have gone. 
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Allan Heron on September 12, 2018, 09:52:52 AM
I didn't spot any part of "Christians"

You could well be right. It wasn't mentioned, and I can't swear that that's what it was, but that's what it sounded like to me at the time. I'll be listening intently on Friday.

Infallibility is not guaranteed.

No Christians were spotted last night. But then it was Glasgow.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Olly Goodwin on September 12, 2018, 10:33:52 AM
" No Christians in Glasgow" - Good to meet you at Putney, Allan, how was the Glasgow gig ? ( Re. Jon's " no wildlife" comment - there was of course a Herron...) :)
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Allan Heron on September 12, 2018, 12:14:14 PM
Good to meet you too, Olly.

Last night was very good indeed. Same setlist as Putney but some of the songs are already feeling more lived in.

I thought the sound was better last night than it had been at Putney - the guitars meshed better together and the keys were more obvious when they were just providing colour. Malc's playing seemed more expansive too.

The crowd was somewhere between 60 and 70 (numbers, not age!) but they were enthusiastic and reacted very positively. There was some very serious Dad-dancing going on.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Olly Goodwin on September 12, 2018, 12:55:33 PM
What ?! musically even better ? That's fantastic - my one wish was that Malcolm's keyboards were higher in the mix, glad that has been sorted.
So, Man has fans so devoted they will travel a 600+ mile round trip to see them, when they can also see the same gig at home the following week. That is above and beyond the call of duty ! Big kudos to you !
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Allan Heron on September 12, 2018, 03:34:40 PM
Me and my better half did turn it into a long weekend break. It was actually rather lucky that when other dates were announced that I was able to fit in the Glasgow - our train got back at 1700.

Trying hard not to get the urge to head over to Kinross tonight!!
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 14, 2018, 01:11:57 PM
As for the new music, can anyone tell me how the two Martin-sung songs sound on the EP as compared with their live performances? As for Josh's new song, it wasn't Man...was it?

It's going to be fun watching people wriggling their way around reasons why they couldn't possibly like the EP.

Three songs absolutely in the classic Man style from the early seventies (pre-Phil), with a fourth from Josh and James more in line with recent releases. The two unfinished tracks do sound unfinished (unpolished perhaps, the structure's there but a little more shine is due), but one of these, Mojo Yattaken - presumably a working title as Take Me Back To The Garden Of Eden is the key line - would be my pick of the four. This shows every prospect of exploding into something spectacular live once James has played around with his solo a little more.

The two songs from this played at Putney, Manor Farm and The Flames Of Freedom feature Martin's familiar vocal style, which you either accept or don't. Perhaps a couple of fluffs that could do with fixing, but Man have always been about the occasional rough edge as well as drive and elegance. Manor Farm is very much Spunk Rock part two.

I've listened a few times and the songs are still growing on me. Encouraged. It's a bit of an elephant trap for the anti-Martin brigade.  ;D 
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Michael Heatley on September 14, 2018, 01:17:08 PM
Thanks Jules.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: HSamuel on September 14, 2018, 04:24:48 PM
It's a bit of an elephant trap for the anti-Martin brigade.  ;D

I don't think there is an "anti-Martin brigade" per se - more of an "anti-Martin continuing to use the Man name".
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 14, 2018, 04:33:56 PM
QED
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: happytrails on September 15, 2018, 12:03:21 PM
We all had a great time. It was so grand to meet up with new faces for the first time and faces I have known for quite sometime. Still can't believe I have seen Blown Away Live now...all these years ...last time I saw Man perform a track I'd never seen live before was Daughter of the Fireplace when they played The Worcester Park Tavern.
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Olly Goodwin on September 28, 2018, 12:43:05 AM
Late, and after seeing Son of Man at the Dagenham Roundhouse, my thoughts on Man's 50th at the Half Moon, Putney. I agree with all that Jules wrote in his excellent review, so I'll just try to add a bit of additional colour. The band pulled out an ace for the album launch in 2015 by having BJ Cole on board, a legend and last seen with the Man family with Deke and the Helps at the Patti in 72. They have done it again by bringing Malcolm Morley back into the fold. For how long I wished that would happen, but had no realistic hope that would happen, given that he hadn't been playing with Ken and Richard for years. Opening with the first track on the first album, then moving into Sudden Life, was, as Deke might have said, as poignant as fuck. There seemed a real sense of occasion, they were as tight as anything, and no long fiddling about between numbers, a hallmark of the Manband. Josh on more lead vocal duties than on previous tours, all good. Josh stage left, Rob stage right ; one has a white tele with black scratch plate, the other a black tele with white scratch plate. I like to think that this is a very subtle nod to Deke. I hope so. James seemed to be having a lot of tuning issues with his, and after the switch to the jazzmaster ( I think) early on, he never switched back. Two new songs, Manor Farm ( because they rehearsed/ recorded at Manor House) and Holy Flame of Freedom. Then Malcolm took centre stage with his acoustic for Blown Away, which Man played when Malcolm was with them, and available in a great version on You Tube only, I think. Rob played it like the You Tube Man version, not the original Helps. Rob somehow managed to play Deke's constant wah wah rhythm and Micky's solos. Rob was working flat out all night long, seemingly playing Micky's AND Deke's parts, as Jules noted, I think. Then Josh moved onto keys to sing a new one of his; "too much too soon ". You know, there were years in the 80s when Man didn't play any new songs from one year to the next, they were atrophying - this is all good. For the encore of Many are called, Josh and James came out first and built up the song on their guitars - that was a really nice touch. It was a fabulous gig, the band had a real sense of occasion. The audience loved it.  Negatives? Malcolm's keys could have been higher in the mix, but I see from Allan Heron's review of Glasgow that this was fixed. I think there was an opportunity missed; No songs from Reanimated Memories, but if they had played Martin's  "Ballad of Billy Lee" it linked straight back to Help Yourself who recorded it in 1973 but which wasn't released until the "5" album in the noughties. I would have dropped Chimes of Midnight for that. We had the " Big 5 ", also played by Son of Man last Saturday. Martin payed a fitting tribute to his ( almost lifelong) friend Deke, before playing Hard Way to Live as the last encore, which I don't think has featured in Man sets very often since the 76 tour. Interestingly, Son of Man played this too. It just shows you can't keep a good Leonard tune down...
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Jules on September 30, 2018, 11:41:17 AM
Good to see Rob getting some credit at last. He's often overlooked  ;D
Title: Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - The Half Moon, Putney, 7th September
Post by: Rob W on September 30, 2018, 12:45:35 PM
Good to see Rob getting some credit at last. He's often overlooked  ;D

I echo that.  ;D