Review by Rob Billingham, photos by Lisa Billingham
We have watched Marc Malone spend many years pushing out his celtic rock music and messages to the crowds on a regular basis – all self penned and full of guts and determination. His music simmered nicely without ever coming to the boil, Marc knew what he wanted but it appeared that the formula was never quite right …. until now!
Having been away for the best part of a year to re-assess the whys and wherefores, Marc wrote more music and had various meetings in London about his future. Despite label offers Marc decided against signing at this point and having spent the summer writing and recording again, Torous was formed. Tonight is their first gig at the Flapper & Firkin in Birmingham to showcase themselves and their new single ‘Crow Road’.
It was not a massive turnout, it has to be said, but the crowd were enthusiastic. I’m sure Marc and the guys will be the first to admit that things could have gone a little smoother given the technical issues with GMT’s bass that caused a few uneasy moments between songs.
Opening with the single ‘Crow Road’, I was struck by how much heavier and fuller Marc has developed his sound. There is certainly a Celtic feel which soon gives way to raw heavy metal and then the two mix it up and get married for a fun time. A good opening number which moved on to their interpretation of the Jacksons’ ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ one of only two covers played in the set tonight. A strange sort of song for Marc to cover and it didn’t quite do it for me, but that is how he works – always putting a different slant on things. ‘Feed The Fire’ had the band hitting us with some meaty heavy metal before hiccupping again with a few more blips before pushing their way into a fine cover of The Misfits’ ‘Die Die My Darling’; short, punchy, aggressive and to the point. Just an observation, but how much Red Bull [other fine energy drinks are also available!] does drummer, Tom Fenn consume before a gig? I have never seen such relentless and unforgiving stick work. I was starting to feel sorry for his kit.
This 31 minute set was brought to a close with ‘Don’t Slip’ – a moody dark offering full of heavy bass, those relentless drums and Marc’s virtuoso guitar licks.
For sure, this debut performance was far from perfect and the tech issues need to be sorted. But hey, that’s live music as Marc himself pointed out and to quote him “shit happens”.
This band is certainly one to watch. Next gigs include Actress & Bishop, Birmingham on 9th May and The Roadhouse, Birmingham on 21st May.