Review: Marmozets at The Empire, Middlesbrough

Alex Michaels ventures down to Middlesbrough to catch Marmozets' headline gig...

Alex Michaels
27th October 2017
Credit: Steve Gullick

Last week I was fortunate enough to head down to Middlesbrough to witness a magnificent performance from the almighty Marmozets. After two long years off the road, prior to their small UK run this summer, the alt-rock innovators are back in the run-up to releasing their second LP, Knowing What You Know Now. The set was littered with classics from the astonishingly brilliant debut album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, as well as songs off the new record. Recently released singles, ‘Habits’ and ‘Play’, went down an absolute storm with the vibrant crowd and it was the latter that got the set underway.

The opening scream of, “1, 2, 3, play!” from Becca Macintyre immediately fired the set to into life. One really cool aspect that struck me was that they kept the fuzzed-up sample of Becca screaming ‘Play’ over and over which features on the single. It added another interesting texture to the overall mix in that introductory passage and I would love to see them experiment with more electronic features in the future, especially so in the live set. Immediately as the song fully kicks in to gear it’s clear they’re on cracking form, everything sounding super tight and the stage presence from everyone is in abundance.

Second song up was an oldie, the first single to be released after the band signed to Roadrunner records back in 2013, ‘Move, Shake, Hide’. That was followed by another older favourite, ‘Is It Horrible’. Little more to say about these two songs other than that they’re just absolute belters and were duly received as such.

At the chorus, the song thins out and that leaves Becca’s tremendous vocal work to shine through as she powers up this devilishly difficult, and initially somewhat jarring sounding, rising line...

Along with the newly released singles, we also got a handful of brand new, unreleased tracks as a little taster for what to expect in January (when the album drops). The first of which, ‘Suffocation’, starts in typical Marmozets fashion with the huge sounding riffs supplied by guitarists, Sam Macintyre and Jack Bottomley. Then at the chorus, the song thins out and that leaves Becca’s tremendous vocal work to shine through as she powers up this devilishly difficult, and initially somewhat jarring sounding, rising line. I think the awkward nature of the melody is accentuated by the fact that the guitars double while the bass and drums play the accents around the figure. While admittedly a little awkward sounding at first, by the end once it had come around a good two or three times I was fully in to it and it really works well. Very excited to hear this song in particular on the album! The two other new songs passed me by somewhat, hopefully it’s just because I’m not that familiar with them just yet. I desperately want them to be good, but fear they may end up falling under the immense bar that they’ve set themselves. We’ll obviously have to check out the album though to make a proper judgement.

Despite all this, the best song of the night, was ‘Hit the Wave’. The way they went into it with Becca singing the pre-chorus section acapella and then when the chorus hits, the whole band come in, and this creates such a powerful and awesome sounding effect… that chorus is just undeniable. This band, or any band, for that matter, will struggle to write many bigger sounding and more anthemic songs than this.

The overall experience of seeing these guys live is special. You can’t take your eyes off them - the energy is infectious and the songs back this up no end. The small details as well, like making personal interactions with individuals amongst the crowd every now and again during the set, make these shows even more special. You should really go and see this band, they won’t be playing these smaller rooms for much longer.

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