Fifty Gigs In A Day: BILL BAILEY

Comedian and talented musician Bill Bailey will be sending a social media message for Fifty Gigs In A Day. Great bit of coincidence as he appears at the Victoria Hall, Hanley on February 8 – a venue where I watched many bands and comedians during the late 80’s.

Larks In Transit tour dates –

  • Jan 29 2018  Coventry Warwick Arts Centre  SOLD OUT
  • Jan 30 2018 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
  • Jan 31 2018 York Barbican
  • Feb 1 2018 York York Barbican
  • Feb 2/3 2018 Newcastle City Hall
  • Feb 5/6 2018 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion
  • Feb 7/8 2018 Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall
  • Feb 9/10 2018 Sheffield Memorial & City Hall
  • Feb 12/13 2018 London New Wimbledon Theatre
  • Feb 14/15 2018 Llandudno Venue Cymru
  • Feb 16 2018 Carlisle The Sands Centre
  • Feb 17 2018 Glasgow SECC
  • Feb 19-22 2018 Truro Hall For Cornwall
  • Feb 23/24 2018 Plymouth Plymouth Pavilions
  • Feb 26/27 2018 Leicester De Montfort Hall
  • Feb 28 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 1 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 2/3 2018 O2 Apollo Manchester
  • Mar 5 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall SOLD OUT
  • Mar 6 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Mar 7/8 2018 Basingstoke Anvil Arts
  • Mar 9 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Mar 10 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Mar 12-14 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • Mar 15-17 2018 Watford Colosseum
  • Mar 19/20 2018 Blackburn King George’s Hall
  • Mar 21 2018 Preston Guildhall
  • Apr 18/19 2018 Northampton Derngate Theatre
  • Apr 20 2018 Brighton Centre
  • Apr 21 2018 Margate Winter Gardens
  • Apr 22 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • Apr 24 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Apr 25/26 2018 Hull City Hall
  • Apr 27/28 2018 Southport Theatre & Convention Centre
  • May 1 2018 Chatham Central Theatre SOLD OUT
  • May 2 2018 Chatham Central Theatre
  • May 3/4 2018 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
  • May 5 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • May 6 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • May 8-10 2018 Swansea Grand Theatre and Arts Wing
  • May 11 2018 Bristol Hippodrome SOLD OUT
  • May 12 2018 Bristol Hippodrome
  • May 14/15 2018 Hastings The White Rock Theatre
  • May 16/17 2018 Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
  • May 18/19 2018 New Theatre Oxford
  • May 21-23 2018 Guildford G Live
  • May 24/25 2018 Portsmouth Guildhall
  • May 26 2018 Bournemouth The BIC
  • May 28/29 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • May 30/31 2018 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
  • Jun 1 2018 Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
  • Jun 2 2018 Birmingham Arena
  • Jun 4/5 2018 Ipswich Regent Theatre
  • Jun 6 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • Jun 8 2018 Leeds First Direct Arena
  • Jun 9 2018 Peterborough East of England Arena & Events Centre
  • Jun 12 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Jun 13/14 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Jun 15/16 2018 High Wycombe Swan Theatre

MAGNUM announce new album Lost On The Road To Eternity

Magnum have confirmed the release of their absolutely enthralling new studio album ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’, as a digipack CD (with bonus 4 track live CD), double gatefold 180 gram purple vinyl LP (+ CD in paper sleeve), download and stream on Steamhammer/SPV on January 19th 2018.

‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’, which marks the major 20th studio album milestone on this illustrious group’s 40 year musical path, is one of Magnum’s most inspired, diverse, exhilarating and alluring albums ever. Reflecting on the reason for this new creative zenith, guitarist/songwriter Tony Clarkin recalls “As I had started to write the songs even before we embarked on our most recent tour, I subsequently had time to let my initial ideas sink in for a few weeks, which helped me realise that I was on the right path,” he says, looking back with satisfaction. “That was a good feeling which inspired me to write more powerful numbers. Apart from that, the usual Magnum formula applied: I go to the studio, try out ideas on the guitar or on the keyboards and do my damnedest to write the best Magnum song of all time.” As a result, ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ contains eleven of arguably the best Magnum songs of all time, all additionally sparkling with the fresh inspiration brought to the table by consummate new band members Rick Benton (keyboards) and Lee Morris (drums).


‘Without Love’, the first single, a strident, relentlessly driving groove-laden song with a subtly irresistible melody, glorious guitar riffs and catchy chorus, will totally tantalize the fans’ musical appetite when released on December 8th. After their headline appearance at the Giants Of Rock Festival in Minehead on January 26th 2018, Magnum will set off on a two month European headline tour in February, commencing with the following UK concerts:-

20th February         Bristol – Trinity
21st February          Cardiff – Tramshed
22nd February        Holmfirth – Picturedome
24th February          Manchester – Academy 2
25th February          Hull – Welly
26th February          Aberdeen – Garage
27th February          Glasgow – Garage
1stMarch                  Belfast – Limelight
2ndMarch                 Birmingham – Town Hall
3rdMarch                 Preston – Guildhall
4thMarch                  Nottingham – Rock City
7thMarch                  Leamington – Assembly
8thMarch                  Cambridge – Junction
9thMarch                  London – Islington Assembly Hall
10thMarch               Southampton – Engine Room
12thMarch               Brighton – Old Market

The album’s mighty title track features a duet between vocalist Bob Catley and Tobias Sammet, a kind of artistic thank-you by the Edguy/Avantasia front man in appreciation of Catley’s guest stint on various of Sammet’s releases. ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ was also additionally enhanced by atmospheric arrangements courtesy of the Wolf Kerschek orchestra.

While much kudos must be attributed to original band members Tony Clarkin and Bob Catley for most of the musical prowess on ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’, a fair amount should be attributed to bassist Al Barrow, (who has been in the group since 2001), along with new keyboardist Rick Benton and drummer Lee Morris. Benton joined the Magnum camp in December 2016 to replace long-standing member Mark Stanway, while Morris took over from Harry James in the summer.

“Harry has two other bands, Thunder and Snakecharmer, and it became more and more difficult to coordinate our schedules,” Clarkin explains and confesses; “I must admit that I was reluctant to let him go, but after Lee had drummed for us for the first time and we realised that he adds even more rhythmic complexity to our songs, I’m more than happy with the line-up change.”

Clarkin feels just as positive about his new keyboardist Rick Benton; “Rick has brought a breath of fresh air and interesting ideas into the band. His style is carefully considered and he seems to know intuitively what enhances our material. You just have to give him a rough idea of the arrangement and he immediately comes up with a perfect solution. All you have to do is listen to and enjoy the atmospheric middle part of ‘Welcome To The Cosmic Cabaret’ to appreciate what a positive addition Benton is to the Magnum fold.”

The digipack CD version of ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ will include a bonus live Cd containing 4 songs recorded at Magnum’s 2017 performance at the Leyendas Del Rock Festival in Alicante, Spain.

Albums of the Year 2017

1  CATS IN SPACE Scarecrow
Their debut was pretty damn fine, so high expectations and they delivered! A marvellous mix of 70s’ rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

2  THRESHOLD Legends of the Shires
Returning vocalist Glynn Morgan helps the band to make one of the finest albums to date. A real return to form.

3  LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream
Part two of the trilogy and another fine set of musical adventures. No name guests this time as John Mitchell does it all bar the drums and some backing vocals.

Finally we get a new album from Boulevard. Fantastic tunes and production, deserves a place in every melodic rock/AOR fans collection.

5  THE YOUNG ‘UNS Strangers
Folk acapella from this talented three piece. Each song is based on a true story and the songs are all positive and uplifting.

6 STEVE WALSH Black Butterfly former Kansas vocalist returns with an album chock full of melodic rock treats.

7 SONS OF APOLLO supergroup featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinan and Billy Sheenhan. Fantastic joining of music talents and the music lives up to expectations.

8 LIONHEART only 20 odd years since their last album…with Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena) on vocals, Lionheart deserve a place in any melodic rock fans collection.

9 IT Home thought provoking and timely progressive rock backed by oodles of melody.

10= H.E.A.T. Into The Great Unknown they have changed their sound a bit which may upset some fans, but for me they are heading onwards and upwards.

10= PUGWASH Silverlake the power pop album of the year. If you like ELO, Duckworth Lewis grab a copy of this.

10= BARENAKED LADIES Fake Nudes another set of memorable melodies and lyrics that don’t always take themselves too seriously…

Honorable mentions…

HAREM SCAREM United they keep on churning out classy melodic hard rock and long may that continue.

THE BITERS plenty of retro on this one, with the T Rex sounding songs

JEFF SCOTT SOTO Retribution not as instant but stick with it

BIGFOOT one of the debuts of the year. Modern hard rock and the singer doesn’t half sound like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn at times!

THE NIGHTS more classy Scandi melodic rock with hook filled choruses big enough to land a whale.

THE NEW ROSES One More For The Road good time hard rock, no frills and plenty of riffs.

NIGHT RANGER Don’t Let Up they show no sign of letting up quality wise, another ‘must have’ for fans.

DANKO JONES Wild Cat if you like 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy and foot tapping tunes look no further.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Amber Galactic like Brother Firetribe their ‘day bands’ are heavy yet here they show their love of 80’s melodic rock and AOR.

Fellow GRTR! reviewers choices can be found here

Fifty Gigs In A Day: IT

Delighted that progressive band IT will be involved. Do check out their debut album released earlier this year, well worth a listen and they are currently lining-up gigs for the end of February. Also IT’s record label Progressive Gears are kindly donating some signed items for eBay auction to raise funds for the Nordoff Robbins charity.

The Darker My Horizon – Acoustic Couch, Bracknell

Second time seeing the Darker My Horizon this year and like February’s gig, again at the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell. Joining the core duo of Paul Stead and guitarist Mark Stephenson are drummer Steve Hauxwell (ex-Marshall Law/Winter In Eden) and bass player Paul Hamilton, who was in a previous line-up of Sacred Heart with Paul and Mark.

A nice, up-tempo and hard rocking set for a Saturday night, with a little acoustic interlude from Paul Stead as the support band never materialised. Plenty of riffs to be had in ‘Perfect’, ‘No Superhero Part 1’ and ‘Closure’, and it is always good to hear ‘Dear Olivia’ played live.

The new boys slotted nicely into the band’s sound, a steady bass from Paul Hamilton and as for drummer Steve Hauxwell, he had the flash and style more associated with American drummers like Eric Singer and Tommy Aldridge. Impressive to watch and a great addition to TDMH.

Two new songs were aired from the band’s new album ‘Seize The Day’ due next year – ‘Carpe Diem’ in acoustic mode and ‘Sleaze’, a nice and loud hard rocking tune. Bryan Adams’s ‘Summer Of 69’ was given an enthusiastic run through and the other cover as Bob Dylan’s ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’ (popularised by Guns ‘N’ Roses), which will form part of an EP ‘Phoenix’ due out in January. The other songs on the EP are re-workings of Sacred Herat songs with this new line-up.

Fifty Gigs In A Day: Y&T

Honoured to have legendary hard rockers Y&T involved and they are kindly donating some signed items for an eBay auction to raise funds for the Nordoff Robbins charity.

You can find out more about Y&T here

Jan 06, 2018 Grand Theatre Center for the Arts Tracy, CA
Jan 19, 2018 Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts Fresno, CA
Jan 20, 2018 The Catalyst Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 26, 2018 Vamp’d Las Vegas, NV
Jan 27, 2018 Club Red Mesa, AZ
Jan 28, 2018 Club XS Tucson, AZ
Feb 01, 2018 Proof Rooftop Lounge Houston, TX
Feb 02, 2018 3Ten @ ACL Live Austin, TX
Feb 03, 2018 Gas Monkey Dallas, TX
Feb 06, 2018 New Daisy Theatre Memphis, TN
Feb 07, 2018 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN
Feb 11, 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise Miami, FL
Feb 18, 2018 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC
Feb 20, 2018 Sellersville Theater Sellersville, PA
Feb 21, 2018 BB King Blues Club New York, NY
Feb 23, 2018 The Chance Theater Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 24, 2018 Tupelo Music Hall Derry, NH
Feb 27, 2018 Jergel’s Rhythm Grille Warrendale, PA
Mar 01, 2018 Agora Ballroom Cleveland, OH
Mar 02, 2018 The Machine Shop Flint, MI
Mar 03, 2018 Arcada Theatre Saint Charles, IL
Mar 06, 2018 Shank Hall Milwaukee, WI
Mar 08, 2018 VooDoo Lounge @ Harrah’s Kansas City, MO
Mar 10, 2018 The Black Sheep Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 13, 2018 Liquid joe’s Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 16, 2018 Aladdin Theater Portland, OR
Mar 17, 2018 Rogue Theatre Grants Pass, OR
Apr 13, 2018 Cargo Concert Hall Reno, NV
Apr 14, 2018 Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, CA
Apr 19, 2018 The Rose Pasadena, CA
Apr 20, 2018 The Canyon Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, CA
Apr 21, 2018 THE COACH HOUSE San Juan Capistrano, CA
Apr 22, 2018 The Canyon Agoura Hills, CA

Fifty Gigs In A Day: WILL LAWTON

Delighted to add pianist/singer Will Lawton who is kindly supporting Fifty Gigs In A Day and plays in Norwich on February 8 next year. Do check out his music, the Led Zeppelin classic below is rather good.

Jan 20 Sat Will Lawton & Weasel Howlett LIVE @ Bristol Acoustic Music Festival

Jan 27 Sat Fossils Of The Mind Album Release @ Pound Arts Centre, Corsham

Feb 8 Thu Will Lawton & Weasel Howlett LIVE @ Grapevine, Norwich Guildhall

Mar 2 Fri Will Lawton & Weasel Howlett LIVE @ St James Wine Vaults, Bath