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An Evening With Strangefish, The Royal Arms, Cadishead, Manchester 5th March 2005

An Evening With Strangefish, The Royal Arms, Cadishead, Manchester 5th March 2005

This evening with Strangefish was a special evening to  a preview performance of the yet-to-be-recorded album Fortune Telling. After some hard work rehearsing for tonight's performance, the scene was all set in The Royal Arms, the bands equipment on stage, and a buffet to go too! The samosas were very tasty I might add too!

Before things kicked off, I was informed that Strangefish played their first ever gig in this very venue, and from the line-up, frontman Steve Taylor was the only surviving member of the original crew. So at around eight thirty, Steve took to the mic and said hello and told us all about the evening's entertainment.

Julian Gregory got things underway on the violin at the front of the stage, and done three pieces of music which everyone applauded. On the third piece, Bob joined him on guitar before the whole band went on the stage and performed The Devil Went Down To Georgia, and multi-instrumentalist Steve Taylor was on the bass for this one. The band then went into Shifting Sands And Turning Tides before taking a break for ten minutes to get changed for the showcase.

Now, Fortune Telling is a story, and so yes, a concept album. Nine parts make up the story, and opening with Happy As I Am which has been played at many gigs in previous years, the band were soon on their way. Bob and keyboardist Paul O'Neill shone on this one with their playing, and then the mood changed for It Could Be Me.

From first hearing these new songs, I just know that this album will be a stunner. The jigsaw pieces that glide through the whole opus, fit together nicely. Memories came flooding back of the feeling I had on first hearing Marillion's Misplaced Childhood in similar circumstances back in eighty four.

After Random and You're A Winner!, another live favourite Keep The Exits Clear was next, and by then the crowd were mesmerised by the whole affair. A bit of a stage show had Steve sitting down and reading a newspaper before tearing it up to put a bit of light to the story. The remaining tracks Have You Seen The Light?, Ignorance Of Bliss, Reflections and final track This Is Me put the icing on the cake for me, and thus ended the story. It has been a long time since some new songs have had a impact on me such as this. The summer of 2005 will be a good one, I have visions of driving along a coast road with this on the CD player, believe you me, it will be worth waiting for!

After a little break, on came the band again for the encores. The Lighthouse Jig was the first one, and a large portion of the crowd got up for a dance. Keeping up with things, Take A Holiday was next, and the sea of bodies with hankies, beach-balls, flying fish, you name it, it was there! Other songs were played, such as Ladders, Riverflow, Touch Sensitive and Pigeon Hole and nearly everyone was dancing along to the band.

This was a amazing evening. Me personally, I can't wait for the new album.

Danny Mayo



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