Fish plus Stone Sole River @ Telford

Went along to see Fish (with support Stone Sole River) last night at the Oakengates Theatre in Telford.  It was a seated venue, with tiered seating behind the mixing desk, so not the best of set ups for a rock gig…more suited for pantomime, as Fish pointed out.  Fish was out front for a while before the gig, cunningly disguised in a pair of glasses…yeah, like it’s worth trying to disguise the big man !  He was approached by an obviously excited fan, who told him he had three heroes in his life – Captain Kirk, Kevin Keegan and Fish – exalted company indeed !

Stone Sole River were excellent – guitar based rock which would be the musical equivalent of comfort food, and you just cannot help but ease back and enjoy it.  As they themselves say, encompassing 70s hard rock, progressive blues, acoustic folk and psychedelia, they have created a sound which is like no other.  They played a very strong set, including some new numbers, and you should check out Tapestries on their MySpace page.  Great stage presence, easy rapport with an audience they could not see, and very pleasant to chat with after the gig – I will definitely be looking to see them again in the future.  And kudos to Fish for having them as support – on this extended tour I have now seen Glyder, The Reasoning and Stone Sole River as supports – all excellent bands who I want to see again.

Fish was his brilliant self, as usual.  This has been a long tour, but it is still a shame to hear him saying he is going to take a break from the music side of things.  The set was a mix of tracks from 13th Star, Marillion days, and So Bellini and Faith Healer.  Not a weak track in sight – which says a lot for the 13th Star album, which for me is his best work since Raingods With Zippos.  I am used to the setlist being variable, depending on how much chatter goes on with the audience !  This was another of those gigs which lent itself to audience interaction, but it was still a shame not to have got Dark Star, though – I am sure I am in a minority of 1 in saying I would very willingly have missed hearing Kayleigh and Lavender again, instead.  A very different atmosphere to the Shepherds Bush Empire last week, but it is always a pleasure to see the big man on stage, and he always knows how to handle the different venues.  I appreciate it takes its toll, but I hope he gets back to his music and touring sooner rather than later.

I got home to find that TMF were showing the Never Mind The Buzzcocks which featured Fish talking about a man from the future and crisp flavours.  Strange days, indeed.

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