Fireworks

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Inglorious, Mercutio

Added by ant-rocks     September 24, 2021    
 
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It's an odd feeling going to my first live gig since the plague shut everything down

INGLORIOUS, MERCUTIO
Bristol: Fleece & Firkin – 21 September 2021

Blimey, it's an odd feeling going to my first live gig since the plague shut everything down. In fact, the last time I saw a band was in 2020, when Stiff Little Fingers just scraped in under the steel shutters of lockdown. To further illustrate my confusion, I actually got lost trying to find The Fleece & Firkin, one of the UK's best small venues.

The benches outside hold a few punters, but the vast majority are inside, giving support Mercutio a decent crowd to play with. They are, I have to admit, a new one on me, and I wasn't buzzed by the few tracks I heard online, but I'll be damned if they don't rock like bastards when given the chance. Tracks like 'Chaos Is King' and 'The C Word' really hit hard, and the band's young, infectious energy remind me a little of early Manic Street Preachers, with frontman Ross Wild a very commanding presence. 'Alex' is a great, slower track with deep lyrics, and provides a nice balance to the heavier tracks that permeate the thirty minute set. If you get the chance, check them out.

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Inglorious, of course, are pretty much settled now, with five albums under their belt and two hopefully stable guitarists in the shape of Danny Dela Cruz and Dan Stevens. The crowd has plenty of band shirts scattered throughout, and there's a great feeling of expectation as they kick off with 'She Won't Let You Go', with vocalist Nathan James rocking a dodgy Hawaiian style shirt and apparently suffering a bit from a bug, though NOT "that" one, he assures us later. As they plough through 'Breakaway' after, I can't help wonder why I can't hear him that well, and move to the back of the venue (near the sound desk) figuring it will be clearer. It isn't. James is there, that's for sure, but where he should be soaring above the loud as feck guitars and drums he's just sort of mixed in with them and it really doesn't work too well. The best part of the set for me is in the middle, when they get all acoustic with Alanis Morissette's 'Uninvited', a frankly astounding version of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' (both on their recent 'Heroines' album) and their own 'Glory Days'. After this, the vocals seem to come up a bit for one of my favourites, 'Medusa' and the powerful 'Holy Water', but by the time the close with 'Eye Of The Storm' and 'We Will Ride' it's dropped back in the mix again. Worried I might simply have too much wax in my ears, I chat with a few fans after, and it's not just me that walks away with a sense of frustration. I hate to say it, but what should have been a glorious return to live music was, well, inglorious.

Alan Holloway

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