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REVIEW – MARSEILLE

Posted by simon On October - 1 - 2010

@ Newcastle Hyem, September 30 2010

Naming an album Unfinished Business and touring it after 20 years of inactivity was always going to ring alarm bells.  Marseille may have called it quits back in 1984 but here they stand in 2010.

What better place to see their major comeback than on the stage, in the flesh? But had the phoenix really risen from the ashes or should the urn have been kept tight shut? Sadly, the latter is probably the answer.

Nevertheless, the night wasn’t all negative with Lancashire natives Exit State giving an impressive showing.  They aren’t afraid to blend different styles of music including hard rock, pop and even a rare taste of nu-metal.  It’s carried off especially well with the vivacity of frontman Roy Bright, who knows how to titillate an audience.

What makes Exit State seem perfectly viable to tap into the extra fan potential is the fact that while they pour out their emotions on stage, they’re still a band with a well measured balance of catchy energy and intelligent rhythm.

After a long time waiting, Marseille got down to it and officially opened the first date of their full comeback tour.

Wanna Get High began the set.  The adolescent hit sent cringes down the spine – perhaps the guitar work of Neil Buchanan could have pulled them from the mire if it weren’t for the ridiculous title.

You tread on very unstable ground when you resort to writing songs about a musical genre, especially with heavy metal or rock ‘n’ roll.  If clichés were a virus then Rock Radio would be seriously ill.  It wasn’t only this, but also the unbearable lyrics Nigel Roberts reinstates, ardently affirming he doesn’t want to hear rubbish music on the radio when, in fact, the ultimate irony is that the precise rubbish he speaks of is coming out of his mouth.

Constantly repetitive chorus’ and dreadful lyrics plagued the set to make this a fascinating musical journey – but for all of the wrong reasons.

Buchanan’s solo work on guitar was nothing short of phenomenal but reliance on this was too much and even the former Art Attack presenter couldn’t paint a good overall picture of the night.  It must be said that despite his shred-tastic guitar work, his songwriting leaves something to be desired.

The French Way was introduced by Buchanan with the guitar hero laying claim to its spawning.  With the grating repetitions of ‘Do it the French Way’, it becomes a mystery why anyone would write a song like this in the first place, let alone acknowledge it as their own piece of music.

Unfortunately for Marseille, out-dated and generic doesn’t quite hack it as ‘unfinished business’.  While they may generate jovial interest and get their die-hard minority going, ultimately their time ended long ago. And with good reason, too.

Calum Robson

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5 Responses

  1. Rick Says:

    Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has got one!!! I was there and thoroughly enjoyed the show. You are trying to read too deep into it and you are simply not getting the point regarding a Marseille show which always has and always will be about being an evening of none pretentious rock n roll. Yes the choruses are repetitive and yet they stick in your head, it is exactly how they were intended to be.

    This isn’t classic Rush, Opeth or Dream Theater!!!!

    If you are a fan of bands like KISS or AC/DC then you will get this without me having to explain further….It isn’t for everyone but this is still very valid music for 2010 and whilst there’s still room for feel good music that stops taking itself so seriously then there’s a place for Marseille.

    Posted on October 9th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

  2. Rick Says:

    On another note this is what a leading UK rock writer (Dave Ling) of Classic Rock Magazine had to say! Go compare!!!!

    http://www.daveling.co.uk/diary.htm

    Monday 4th October
    A combination of tube strikes and planned engineering works wasn’t going to keep me away from last night’s gig at the Camden Underworld. Save for a ‘behind closed doors’ appearance of their original line-up at London’s Rock Garden two years ago (see Diary, 2nd September 2008) that lead to a full blown reunion, NWOBHM outfit Marseille hadn’t played London since supporting Whitesnake at the Hammersmith Odeon on the ‘Lovehunter’ tour in the winter of 1979 – one of the very first gigs witnessed by yours truly. Arriving after a lengthy bus ride I caught a rousing warm-up set from Exit State. Although just 19 people were watching them (I know, I counted!), the East Lancashire band gave it plenty of welly, singer Roy Bright proving a bit of character, and there were also a couple of decent tunes in their set.
    This was my first encounter with the ‘new-look’ Marseille, still based around guitarists Neil Buchanan and Andy Charters but featuring Nige Roberts on vocals instead of Paul Dale. If Buchanan’s name sounds familiar, yes… it’s the same geezer from the Art Attack TV programme. There were mitigating factors but if the band were gutted by the size of the crowd – around 100 at best – they didn’t let it show. Intriguingly, as Buchanan has claimed, the audience contained its fair share of Art Attack groupies; decidedly non-rock ‘n’ roll individuals who slowly but surely got into what was going on and, in the case of one young lady who clambered onstage and frolicked with them during its latter stages, really began to get into the spirit of things.
    As an original fan I’d like to have heard more than just four old songs (‘Rock You Tonight’, ‘Live Now, Pay Later’, ‘You’re A Woman’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’) among the 13 that were aired, though it was interesting the band would delve into ‘Touch The Night’, the Buchanan-less album from 1984. The rest – ‘Wanna Get High’, ‘Raise Hell’, ‘The Game’, ‘Rock Radio’, ‘In The Kill’, ‘Lost’, ‘I Believe’, ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Everyone Dies Young’ – were culled from a comeback disc called ‘Unfinished Business’ that recently received a dreadful panning in Classic Rock, a fact that must also have taken its toll attendance-wise. Although ‘Lost’ whisked the band wa-a-a-a-a-y too far into Def Leppard territory, I liked the bulk of what I heard… especially the anthemic title cut. Indeed when it comes to offering a kick-ass, unpretentious, good time experience, Marseille remain right up there with the very best.

    Posted on October 11th, 2010 at 10:04 am

  3. Calum Says:

    Thanks Rick. It’s nice to get another opinion on the matter.

    I understand your point, but I can’t agree. This is a show that shouldn’t be taken seriously, and £5 in for a daft laugh sounds great. Call me narrow, but I just can’t see past what I feel are just dire songs. They were truly awful, and if that’s meant to be fun then I’m obviously missing something. But hey, like you said it’s all opinion.

    The repetition just annoyed me more than anything, exactly like hearing something you hate on the radio, but it constantly swims in your head and eventully gives you a headache. For me, they could definitely be used against me in torture.

    I do like a laugh when it comes to music, believe it or not, I like to think I’m not a complete misery! Take for example, Jaldaboath’s debut album. I think it’s great humour, absolutely hilarious, while others would just give me a really funny look while I’m on the floor in stitches. It obviously depends on what value people subjectively take from it. I guess we can both agree on that.

    As far as being an unpretentious show goes, I agree. It was undoubtedly, but I think it perhaps tries a little too hard to avoid this. At both edges of the extreme, it’s a tough one – Would you rather hear the straight forward japery of Marseille or some pretentious progster battering on. I know that’s a very, very general way of putting it, but I think both are just as bad as each other.

    I think it’s great that Marseille are doing what they want to do and have an audience for it. But whilst fans are an obvious essential for a gig, music doesn’t work democratically for me, and it never will. That doesn’t mean I’m in some rage against all things popular, far from it, but it means that regardless of the opinions of others I’m my own dictator when it comes to what I do and don’t enjoy, which is (in my opinion of course) a fantastic thing.

    If I did look at it on popularity, then I could see a way of justifying some kind of timelessness in their music. The fact remains that people do enjoy their shows and I admit I cannot avoid that.

    The fault may be with me, that my perception is clouded by my own bias and opinion. But then again I don’t claim to be an objective journalist.

    Opinions are a beautiful affliction! I’m glad you enjoyed the show mate. I like to hear a diverse mentality, it’s kinda refreshing to hear!

    -Calum

    Posted on October 11th, 2010 at 11:09 am

  4. David C. Says:

    I was at the Marseille gig with a couple of friends and we all thought they were excellent! Judging by the audience reaction so did everyone else ….except you.

    Maybe rushonrock should have had the review done by someone more in tune with this genre of music. Square peg in a round hole and all that stuff. Nuff said.

    Posted on October 14th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

  5. stevirox Says:

    Glad you liked Exit State, they are a fave local band of wifi n me ! we went to JBs n Manchester to see em & at the 2nd gig really enjoyed Marseille… ES are a beautiful mix of all the best in rock n metal, i can imagine them moving quite easily into the bigger “arena’s”

    Posted on October 19th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

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