11.04.2012 - Manchester Ruby Lounge Live Review

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Marion, Ruby Lounge, Manchester
Saturday 7th April 2012
by Romilly Roberts

The bar is packed out, larger pumps flowing, jaegers bombs slamming and the harmonic tunes of a band could seem like any Saturday night in Manchester, but this night is special as the crowd waits in anticipation of this great brit pop reunion! For we are in The Ruby Lounge in Manchester which is a fitting venue for Marion to start their comeback tour, with a mix of familiar faces, dedicated fans and of course the usual enthusatic Manchester gigers, the atmosphere was right for Marion to return to the stage.

They burst on to stage playing Fallen Through which is really adpt considering the opening lines from the song are 'All my work has fallen through, now that's me again'. That's really what this gig is all about - the reformation of Marion after over a decade in the wilderness, combining their past with the present. Everyone is older, wiser and sounds better than ever after all these years. Which is a relief as you sometimes wonder whether they can do justice to these songs and not ruin your nostalgia, but fear not, there was not a disappointed person in sight!

The band are well refreshed and rehearsed with Anthony Grantham's powerful Gretsch guitar, Julian Philips on bass, Jake Mitchell on drums, Jaime Harding on vocals and Phil Cunningham on guitar, who all come together to bring a unique sound that promises greatness. Phil's journey from Marion has seen him flourish, joining New Order and recently Bad Lieuteant his maturity and guitar playing really compliment the new Marion. Jaime's voice is still powerful and unique, he sang each song with the passion they were written with. The band's sense of humour and new found reformation shows strong bonds with jokes and jibes on stage. Jaime is on stage with a glass of red wine, a can of coke and a bottle of Amaretto which he shares with fans and the rest of the band. Jaime says that he has always wanted to do an Elvis impersonation and kiss a fan, you can tell he enjoys being back onstage and proceeds to sing Sparkle to the dedicated fan!

They play a mix of old and new tunes, including Vanessa, Time, Lets All Go Together and they even played a b-side from their Sleep EP called Violent Men. Their new stuff - Hurricane, Oh Lord, I Won't Pretend, The Biggest Painkiller Of All and Vines is full of swishing guitars riffs, tight playing and good harmonies, though I feel Jaime could do with a new harmonica. This is a band with lots of crowd interaction, that aren't there just to bang out old tunes, but play because they want to put on a show and make their fans happy and they still enjoy doing it!

They finished the set with Sleep, their well known indie anthem of the 90's. Unfortunately Phil's guitar stopped working half way through and he had to air guitar most of the song, though for me it added something special to the show! This was a fantastic gig with a good atmosphere that does justice to such an influential indie band. They have other dates left to play and I recommend to go and watch Marion. At the end I even got to meet one of my music idols Phil Cunningham, but strangely for once I couldn't say much, I should have offered to buy him a drink, maybe I will next time.

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