In the heart of the valleys of South Wales is a small town, with a venue that has welcomed many bands over the years. The Coliseum in Aberdare is a historic venue, all seated, with theatrical quality sound and lighting. The warm air of early summer encouraged early arrivals to stand outside the venue waiting for the auditorium doors to open. One advantage of an all seated gig is the relaxed pre-gig atmosphere. There is no need to rush to the barrier – there is more need to have a pre-gig drink with friends, and peruse the march stands for the new tee-shirt or CD.
This was the second date in the ‘Lost on the Road to Eternity’ tour of 8 European dates – both gigs and festivals. Local support, Hand of Dimes, opened up and judging by the number of their tee-shirts, their fan base was out in force. Their 45 minute set was filled with tracks from their album ‘Raise’ as well as one or two from tprevious bands that the have played in, such as Skin and Kooga.
The five guys, as always, look relaxed and seem to have a great time on stage. It is quite normal for one or two people in a HoD audience to ‘have a chat’ with Nev MacDonald (Vocals, Guitar) and tonight was no exception, as he chats to fans as he would chat to best friends. Finishing their set with ‘Sail On’, they have gained new fans as they receive a standing ovation. they have a few gigs lined up for the rest of the year, and I can thoroughly recommend going to see them if you can. You will not be disappointed.
Hand of Dimes are:
Neville MacDonald (Guitar, Vocals)
Neil Garland (Keyboard, harmonical),
Colin Edwards (Guitar)
Mark Maybry (Bass),
David Stephenson (Drums).
The few empty seats filled up as the stage was reset and magnum took their places to thunderous applause. Picked out in the spotlight, Bob Catley (Vocals) starts off the set with ‘Wild Swan’. Expressive as always, he acts out each and every song – conducting the audience as his orchestra. Magnum has a huge number of tracks to pick from and they manage to bring in old favourites as well as tracks from more recent albums. As the strike up with ‘Sacred Blood, Divine Lies’, he can see the audience itching in their seats and invites them to stand. There is no need for a second invitation, as the entire audience rises to their feet to sing along. As they start ‘How Far Jerusalem’ there is a huge applause echoing Catleys vocals. Tony Clarkin (Guitar) delights the audience as he takes centre stage for an extended solo.
As the set comes to an end, ’Don’t Wake the Lion’ has the audience soaking up the song with reverence and reflection, given the proximity to the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings. Respectfully and quietly enjoying the track, the atmosphere is broken as the band leave the stage. Returning shortly after, in response to the 600 fans who have not yet heard enough. They return to play ‘The Spirit’ for an encore, with Rick Benton (keyboards) showing us his talent with a solo that is lapped up by the audience. Sacred Hour ends the night in magnificent style. As the crowd spills out into the quiet streets, the general chatter is how great a night to has been in this quiet little welsh town. This may have been Magnums first visit to Aberdare, we hope they make it back to South Wales soon.
Tony Clarkin – Guitars
Bob Catley – Vocals
Al Barrow – Bass
Rick Benton – Keyboards
Lee Morris Drums