Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Magnum & Neonfly - Leamington Spa

Seeing Magnum is like catching up with an old friend over a pint of beer. Someone you feel completely at ease with and you know exactly what to expect and it never disappoints. If it is possible they are actually getting better with age and the release of their 19th album 'Escape from the Shadow Garden' is no exception. However before Magnum it was good to see Neonfly once again having seen them supporting Sonata Arctica previously. This time The London-based five-piece delivered an extended set and looked look like they’ve been doing this for years! Frontman Willy Norton has a touch of the theatricals about him and doesn't waste any opportunity to leave the stage and be at one with the crowd, in fact he did it twice. They got a good reception and seem destined for better things which is why it was such a shame to hear that the following night they had their van broken into and all their gear stolen. To their credit they vowed to continue the tour with borrowed instruments.

 Neonfly Setlist
  •  Ship with no Sails 
  • The Enemy
  • A Gift to Remember
  • Better Angels
  • The Revenant
  • The Ornament
  • Spitting Blood
  • Heart of the Sun
  • Morning Star 
  • Outro
The Assembly in Leamington is fast becoming my venue of choice , especially as I discovered a Weatherspoons pub just around the corner that came in very handy afterwards. Formed in 1972, Magnum have undergone several changes in personnel over the years, however the core of vocalist Bob Catley and guitarist/songwriter Tony Clarkin remain today. Bob is 66 now but the voice is still going as strong as ever even if he is starting to look a little frail. As I expected and hoped the set kicked off with 'Live ‘Til You Die' from the new album. In fact pretty much all of my favourites featured including, The Spirit , Kingdom of Madness, Vigilante , Les Morts Dansant, Sacred Hour and How Far Jerusalem. The first part was loaded with new stuff and the odd track or two from the previous album 'On the 13th Day'. The rest was a really good mixture from across their history with only one or two favourites missing from tonight’s set, including On A Storyteller’s and 'Just Like an Arrow but the crowd care not. As the veteran rockers prepare to leave the stage, Catley holds up his bottled water to cheers and rapturous applause. Now time to find that Weatherspoons pub and maybe a burger to finish the night off?

Magnum Setlist 
  •  Live'til You Die
  • Black Skies 
  • Freedom Day
  • Dance of the Black Tattoo
  • Blood Red Laughter
  • Unwritten Sacrifice
  • How Far Jerusalem
  • Les Morts Dansant
  • Falling For the Big Plan
  • The Spirit
  • All My Bridges
  • All England's Eyes
  • Vigilante
  • Kingdom of Madness
  • Sacred Hour
  • Too Many Clowns

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Bournemouth - Westbourne Arcade

Westbourne has become a fashionable area of Bournemouth, but it is the Victorian covered shopping arcade that I really like. Built in 1884 by Henry Joy, who lived in Seamoor House it is full of interesting shops as well as The 'Bournemouth Colosseum' a classic 19 seat cinema including a Royal Box, it is the smallest in the UK. The most dramatic incident in the Arcade’s history occurred during World War 2, when a bomb landed in nearby R L Stevenson Avenue. The explosion destroyed virtually all the glass in the Arcade roof, although the main structure fortunately suffered little damage. Certain other original features remain, however, including the fantastic and charming gargoyles at the heads of drainpipes, said to represent water gods.

Bournemouth 2014 - Robert Louis Stevenson

Back in Bournemouth again and sunny blue skies and a sea view from our hotel.
Lots of walking along the promenade as far as Boscombe and then further into Southbourne.
It was almost by accident that we stumbled upon 'Skerryvore' once the site of the home of that wonderful author Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson settled in a Bournemouth villa called 'Skerryvore'in 1885. It was here that the Scottish writer wrote the classic 'Kidnapped', the 'boys' adventure'. He also went on before the year was out to create his chilling psychological thriller 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'? Stevenson named the villa Skerryvore after the lighthouse put up by his family's engineering firm off the west coast of Scotland. His landlocked Skerryvore is perched at the edge of a chalky ravine, or chine, not far from the English Channel.