Magpie Salute Bristol at an Old Goal The Fiddlers

Maker opening for Magpie Salute Tonight In Bristol 

December festivities began early this year with Magpie Salute arriving in Bristol to share the music we love to hear and they are born to play on the first (non-festival) night of the tour.    But before the main event the opening band, Maker, have the task of warming up The Fiddlers tonight! The foursome from Kent entertained with their Black Crowesinfused Rock n’ Roll set. With Alessandro Marinelli up front on vocals and on guitar, Andrew Donaldson whilst his brother Gavin is on drums and completing the Rhythm section is John Austin on Bass. Maker is definitely a good solid rock n’ roll band, old school as the scarves indicated. They certainly delighted the audience tonight we loved the cowbell and the title-track of their current album, Dead Ends and Avenues, was want we wanted music that rocked.  Nothing unique but they entertained and the sound was good boding well for Magpie Salute, the reason the sellout crowd was jammed in hot and sweaty Fiddlers tonight.

Magpie Salute, not on salute Captain Jack,they nod their heads back towards Black Crowes, with three former members, Rich Robinson, Marc Ford Guitars, and bassist Sven Pipen are joined at the back byMatt Slocum on keys and drummer Joe Majistro and upfront full of cheeky charisma John Hogg on vocals and acoustic guitar always seen but often unheard.  The stage was set we want to hear the music from their debut album High Water 1, and much more in a set where they played for over two hours. The crowds were delighted and whooped and cheered. The evening was amazing, I had been looking forward to tonight. But, why does there always have to be a fly in the ointment? Tonight it was the sound. I am no expert in sound and what needed to be done but it was loud and lacked balance making the music have a muddy feel. The subtleties of the melodies were lost in the mish-mash of sound levels that rendered Hogg’s acoustic guitar to near silence.


Opening the evening with the album’s title track we were instantly immersed into the music, this was music being played at the highest level of rock, with the full force of the three guitars on stage.  A joy to behold especially the interplay wewere going to see all night between the guitars of Rich and Marc.  The opening numbers bought the album aliveout of the studio and onto the stage. Into this section, they added two songsthat the Magpie was going to salute tonight Velvet Underground’s Oh! Sweet Nuthin was given light of day under the stage lights, spellbinding!  The inclusion of Smoke Signals taken fromMarc Ford’s solo album Weary and Wired, fitted in neatly to the smooth rock nroll vibe being created tonight. The guitarists rang in the changes of texturesand tones across the numbers with different guitars. These changes were nevercosmetic nor to state, ‘look I have another guitar back stage’. Every guitar had its place within the lexicon of songs being delivered tonight. 

Magpie Salute playing in The Fiddlers a new place for Bluesdoodles this earthy venue in a former Eighteenth Century prison. We were all captive for the few hours the music played. There were no corvid croaks of disdain as the band played on keeping up the tempo rock with the distillation of organic spicing from R&B, Western Grooves, and a healthy pinch of Black Crowes vibe.  Without pausing to divide the show up the ambience changed with the rhythm section& keys leaving the stage and a new mic appearing. Sister Moon was announced to loud heartfelt cheers as Rich, and Marc join John with an acoustic vibe. Followed by a Crosby Stills and Nash number that felt slightly one-dimensional as they delivered You Don’t Have To Cry; rock goes folk until the band storms back in on Lay It All On Me. Delighted, united an audience hearing the Crowes for the first time on this Saturday night in December.  This reset the mood as Matt ‘s keys came back loud and clear, there were only a few occasions when his wonderful keys were heard and sparkled, this was one of them. No we are not going to have a medley of Crowe’s numbers back to the album with Open Up. The resonance and tone changes were great, this is the sound of a band saluting the magpie, slightly trippy touching on psychedelia, the four vocals harmonizing. We get a time check from Rich at 23.39 we are stepping into encore time as the band closes out with Send Me An Omen as good live as it is on the album. With that they leave the stage and people start to wander out.

The sound issues may have taken the edge off the night, but that said it was two hours of music that entertained, charmed and delighted in equal measures. The evening was divided into two halves. The first section was High Water 1 plus tunes that fitted perfectly in with theselection chosen from the debut album. Second Segway was acoustic and Crowes and more.

Those that stayed were rewarded as we had a wonderful extra moment with Magpie Salute playing Wiser Time. A gorgeous ending to an evening full of so many highlights despite the interference not from an ‘elf on a shelf’ but gremlins in the speaker. Then we had to go back out into the real world the dark, drizzling streets of Bristol.

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