Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton, 18 December 2021
A High Calibre performance from the ex-Magnum stars!
The band Magnum should be no strangers to any self-respecting rock fan. Formed
in the 70s and still going strong, they have seen quite a few quality musicians
come and go and produced some outstanding music.
Kingdom of Madness is made up of Magnum alumni, pooling together their incredible
musical talent to play those classic Magnum songs again, with their own style.
Heading the band is keyboard player extraordinaire, Mark Stanway who is joined by
Micky BARKER drums
Richard BAILEY keyboards, flute
Mo BIRCH vocals, percussion
Mark PASCALL vocals
Brian BADHAMS bass, vocals
Alan BELL guitar
The band work so well as a unit that for all intense and purposes, this IS Magnum, just another
variant if you will. They are just as capable (if not more!) and of course these guys (and girl) have the
Magnum so fully "get" each song and now how to perform it to its best.
The Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton paid host to Kingdom of Madness tonight (the only show in 2021) to a loyal, excitable crowd who welcomed the band onstage with the kind of roar you get in Wolverhampton!
The set was split in two but any concerns of a loss of momentum were quickly dismissed. The band held the audience's attention throughout. They were rockin' this joint with a heady mix of prog and rock.
All the classics were played from the best eras of Magnum from Kingdom of Madness itself through to Rockin' Chair with the likes of On A Storyteller's Night, Midnight (a personal fave) and Changes in between. Each song was performed impeccably and with an enthusiasm not often seen in Magnum itself. These people are enjoying playing their classic songs and attacking them with renewed musical ideas and style. The slower songs were warm and flowing; the harder songs were fast, punchy and tight. The vocals were shared by newcomer Mark Pascall (who was awesome!) and Mo Birch. They have their own vocal range and style which works well and together they have a depth and range that Bob
Catley would struggle with to be frank.
Playing only his second gig with the band, Alan Bell played a blinding show on guitar. He attacked each song with a force and musicianship that puts any Magnum guitarist to shame. He was having a ball tonight and was on fire, especially on "Kingdom of Madness" itself. He nailed it! It was so refreshing to hear these songs played with a higher level of musicality and technique. Bell rings like a bell!
Of course, we have to talk about Mark Stanway. This guy is a maestro on keyboards and piano. He was a technique and musical ability that Magnum are nowadays sorely missing. He is every bit as good, if not better, than he has ever been. Note-perfect and creative throughout, Mark is a pleasure to watch AND hear. His sound and keyboard parts are so integral to these songs and his didn't miss a trick.
The rhythm section was also incredible. Drummer Micky Barker (who treated us to an awesome drum solo) and bassist Brian Badhams were tight and focused throughout. Never dull and always driving, these guys gave a tighter, heavier "thump" to the classic Magnum songs we know and love.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable trip down Magnum memory land, courtesy of Kingdom of Madness. Do yourself a big favour and see these live. You will NOT regret it. They're playing some more shows in 2022 so go see them!