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The Assembly, Leamington 30 November 2009

Marillion, photo by Andrew Lock

Great to have one of my favourite bands play in my hometown and at our great new venue The Assembly.

Marillion are touring in support of their latest album Less is More an album of acoustic and reworked versions of songs chosen by the band members from their back catalogue.

The gig was seated but as all seats sold out quickly the venue then sold standing tickets at the back so there was a good sized crowd on the evening.

The band split the show into two sets the first being all of the new album and the second a collection of other oldies given the same treatment.

This was a very chilled performance with the band seated under impressive but subdued lighting and looking very relaxed with plenty of funny stories especially from vocalist H.

Opening track set the tone for the evening, the delicate 'Go!' from followed by the complex, lyrically clever and rarely performed 'Interior Lulu' from the same album.

The moving 'Out of This World', the story of Donald Campbell's tragic water speed record attempt next and then right up to date with 'Wrapped Up In Time' from Happiness is the Road, for me a story of life's journey and loss.

Next a visit to the first Steve Hogarth Marillion album Seasons End with 'The Space', this one bringing back memories of the convention in Holland earlier this year.

Marillion, photo by Andrew Lock

The rest of the first set was made up of the Brave track Hard as Love, the uplifting Memory of Water and three tracks from Anoraknophobia 'Quartz', (outstanding guitar solo by Mr Rothery), the quirky 'If My Heart Were a Ball' and the epic 'This is the 21st Century' and the impressive new track on Less is More 'It's Not Your Fault'.

After a short break the 2nd set began with the catchy 'Cover my Eyes' followed by the Afraid of Sunlight classic 'Beautiful', 'Estonia' from This Strange Engine and a strange choice for an acoustic set but one that worked really well, the eccentric delight that is 'Drilling Holes' from Marbles.

Next from the Holidays in Eden album 'The Party' followed by the strange tale of obsession that is 'A Collection', then one of my personal favourites 'Gazpacho' from Afraid of Sunlight.

Two real crowd pleasers up next the awesome 'Easter' and the closing masterpiece from Brave 'Made Again'.

To end the evening the atmospheric real life ocean faring story 'Ocean Cloud' from Marbles and then to see us off into the night on a high the sing-a-long fun of 'Three Minute Boy'.

The new song treatments worked very well and as usual with this band the musicianship and performance was just about perfect, also great to see a few unusual instruments on show including a glockenspiel and xylophone.

I personally would love to see a Less is More vol. 2 album release, and tour in the future.  I also hope the band liked the venue and will return soon.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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