Marseille – Review

@ 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.

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