Kingdom of Madness at Academy 3: Live Review
Tribute bands are funny things, you either love them or hate them and most of the time they are pale imitations of the original. Will Kingdom of Madness, being a legacy band, break the mold ?
Words: Anthony Firmin
Tonight is a bit different as many of Kingdom of Madness are ex-members of Magnum, a band put together by recently-ish departed keyboard player Mark Stanway, so are really a legacy band. The show was originally advertised as being from the first four albums, material often missing from the sets of the main band so this is likely to be right up my street having been a massive Magnum fan, especially of their early years. But then it changed to material from 78-94, hmmm.
“You wouldn't believe your eyes
You wouldn't believe your ears
Out of the dawning skies
Suddenly it appeared
I wonder why they're here, do they understand?
Seems they will destroy someone's master plan”
The set starts well with a trio of classics – Changes, Back To Earth and Just Like an Arrow, enough to make us salivate for more.
However, things start to get mushy with Top of the Pops material in the shape of Start Talking Love along with another song long missing from the main bands set, Wild Swan. Whilst Chris Ousey’s voice is quite different to Bob “arm waver” Catley, it also has similarities and he handles it all well although cracks are starting to show early on.
Having two keyboard players is an interesting touch and fills out the sound well, the other being the bands original player, Richard Bailey. Percussionist Mo Birch takes the lead singing The Lights Burned Out, her soulful voice working the song perfectly.
The Vigilante album is visited with Need A Lot Of Love where Ousey’s voice oozes passion singing about troubles in times past in Belfast, Saigon and Berlin, allowing us to reflect on how far the the world has moved forward and how we could easily slip back to those times.
The Russ Ballard co-write Rocking Chair is different enough to be interesting, guitarist Lawrence Archer making it his own, there is even some added cowbell - Blue Öyster Cult eat your heart out!
The Tall Ships from the Rock Art album is also covered, it’s fine, the album not being a favourite of mine, Only in America keeping the AOR style flowing before the inevitable drum solo from Mickey Barker kicks in, why oh why? I need to start CODS… the Campaign Against Drum Solos!
Days Of No Trust boosts the crowd again in contrast to The Last Dance, which closed the On A Storytellers Night album, softens the mood although Mo Birch does a fantastic job of singing it.
Things seem to be ending on a high note, well, lots of flutey notes, as Richard Bailey performs the original intro to Kingdom Of Madness which then got blungened in an indulgent guitar mess before the song finally burst into life and it lost me.
The encore is Sacred Hour although again the intro was far too long, it would have been nice to have just the songs played instead of egos shining through, by this point Chris Ousey’s voice is clearly struggling.
On the way out of the building I bump into several people I know who, like me, were under the same impression that this was to be material from the first four albums and were likewise disappointed. I would have loved to hear so much more from those early days, potentially an opportunity missed, especially with Mr Bailey in the band. There was too mush slushy ballady songs too, more raw harder rockers would have helped. Maybe next time, maybe not.
“Kingdom of Madness, your day this not to be”
Back To Earth
Just Like An Arrow
Love’s A Stranger
Start Talking Love
The Light’s Burned Out
Need A Lot Of Love
The Tall Ships
Only In America
Midnight (You Won’t Be Sleeping)
Days Of No Trust
The Last Dance
Kingdom Of Madness