AAA: MGT & Friends – Proud Camden, London – 05/16/2017
It was roughly this time last year when we here at Pure Rawk got our grubby paws on MGT’s Volumes, where it went on to earn high praise. One of the things that it lacked though was a promotional tour, for obvious logistical reasons with so many different collaborative voices on the album. So when Mark announced he was arriving on European turf for dates at Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany and then a stop off at London’s Proud Camden, narrowly missing Camden Rocks festival, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
Mark’s band mates for these shows are no strangers, bringing along as he does Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) to handle vocal duties, Belle Star (Maleficent) on drums, and Rich Vernon (The Mission / Ricky Warwick & The Fighting Hearts) on bass for a show that promises to deliver classics from not only Volumes, but also from The Mission where he spent good chunk of his time from 1992-2002, and again from 2005-2008.
One of the more interesting things about Proud Camden today is that it’s also hosting a photography exhibition during business hours, which means that anyone that pops along to check that out gets access to the soundcheck, which isn’t something you see every day. This does a good job of setting the tone for the evening; it’s not a conventional soundcheck, and it’s certainly not going to be a conventional gig by any stretch of the imagination.
The show kicks off with Ashton Nyte’s contributions to Volumes, Jesamine and The Reaping, with a performance that almost makes the album versions sound tame by comparison. But if you’re familiar with the works of The Awakening, you’re probably already aware that there’s no amount of mixing that can compare to Nyte’s live vocal when it’s let loose. Mark’s guitar is sounding a bit grittier than usual, and again this isn’t a bad thing, as live shows are meant to have something special, otherwise you may as well stay home and listen to the CD.
The album’s tracks are handled quite well with Ashton on vocals too. While it would be one thing to get the likes of Saffron, Carlo Van Putten, Miles Hunt and Ville Valo on the stage, logistically, it’s impossible. But Seconds, Sweet Valentine, You Can’t Go Back, and Knowing Me, Knowing You are performed well and go down a storm with this audience. Mission fans in attendance are also treated to the likes of Belladonna and Butterfly On A Wheel, although for the former track, half the current band were The Mission between 2005-2008, so they’re no strangers to the songs. An unexpected cover of Soft Cell’s Say Hello, Wave Goodbye also goes down well.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like to see veteran musicians getting back into the underground scene after spending years on large stages, this was the show to witness such a phenomenon. It was all about accentuating the positives (having a strong album and back catalogue to perform) and hiding the negatives (attendance, low production), and this show pulled it off without a hitch. It’s the band’s second ever show, and if tonight is any indication, especially with a second album in the works before the year ends, there is a ton of potential. If you missed it, it’s worth catching them the next time around.
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