Mr. Punch

October 20, 2019 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

Mr. Punch @ 't Blok (►more pics)
In March 2016 I visited one of the concerts that was organised by the amazing ProgFrog team. It was the first concert the Italian Marillion tribute band Mr. Punch did at the cosy venue in the Netherlands-namely 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel. It was a musical moment which I will never forget the rest of my life. Because the band impressed me so much with their covers of the well known Marillion songs when Fish was still their lead singer. At the time I ended my concert review (see review) with the words; "Hopefully the band will come more often to our country to copy more of the original Marillion tours done at the start of their career because I certainly liked what they did during their first tour in the Netherlands with their faithful rendition of the Fugazi tour of 1984". Well they came back several times and I witnessed four more concerts from them in our country. The last one was March this year at the De Bosuil in Weert (see review). It was the first time with their brand-new lead singer Marco Vincini on a Dutch stage. And now after three years, they returned with the same line-up to the venue which introduced me to this excellent tribute band. So welcome back my friends!

During the bands two hours long performance it was of course again a celebration of recognition. The crowd was singing-a-long with the classic songs many times. What else do you do when a band copies the early period of Marillion so strongly, therefore the audience can't stand still or keep their mouth shut.

Marco Vincini (►more pics)
The first set of course opened with the classic intro of La Gazza Ladra, which gave the musicians time to get behind their instruments or strap on their (bass) guitars. What followed next was pure bliss. Like the first time I saw this amazing tribute band they opened with Assassing. Singer Vincini acted like a real hired killer and acted as if he was cutting off the heads of his fellow band members. The next piece Cinderella Search was played three years ago at the start of the opening set and even done with different musicians behind the keyboards and microphone which was a feast for my ears. Right from the start it became very clear to me that the band was in great shape. Everybody played their parts the best possible way. All with big smiles on their faces, because they love what they do. Entertaining with fantastic progressive rock songs played from the heart. It seemed every musician had a great time on stage. Drummer Roberto Leoni was sometimes hitting his instrument subtle or sometimes more aggressive. Guglielmo Mariotti sometimes made a short dance while playing his bass.
Marcella Arganese (►more pics)
Other moments he touched the bass pedals with his feet and sang backing vocals. With only one keyboard in front of him, Daniele Fuligni managed to sound like he had a whole battery of keyboards to choose from. While wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt he occasionally smiled to his band members and to the people in front of him who came to see him play. As usual Marcella Arganese was jumping up and down while playing her melodic guitar parts as if they aren't that difficult to do. Which is of course not the case. But it was most of all the bands lead singer who impressed me the most. He has grown even more as a front man since I saw him a couple of months earlier. Impersonating Derek W. Dick very strongly with all of his gestures. Most of all his emotional way of singing the vocal lines impressed me the most.

But back to the songs they performed. Three songs of the Fugazi (1984) album were next to enjoy. During the intro of She Chameleon Marcella went off stage to join her fans who were watching the band. She could do this because the first part didn't need any guitar. It is Daniele's keyboard parts (church organ) which dominates this composition. After that a perfect rendition of Incubus. Before the title track of the earlier mentioned second studio album was played, Marco told the audience that it was a song about war and that their drummer Roberto used to be a soldier. Of course, the audience didn't like it when the final song of the first set was introduced. But Vincini told them not to worry because it's a long piece of music. Which Grendel certainly is. It was by all means the visual highlight of the first set. Seeing Marco putting his helmet on his head and
Grendel (►more pics)
turning into a creature that kills his fellow musicians with so much ease, is always a pleasure to watch! Also, this time around he made it a spectacular show to witness. It was the perfect ending of a perfectly performed first set.

The second set opened with three songs taken from Marillion's final album with Fish.
Hotel Hobbies, That Time Of The Night and Warm Wet Circles sounded amazing and will all again be done during the Racing The Clouds Home Tour 2020. A tour during which they will probably play the entire Clutching At Straws (1987) album. Songs from Marillion's debut album Script For A Jester Tear (1983) could be enjoyed as well. Script For A Jester Tear is as always the song which is sung whole hearted by the fans. Chelsea Monday is the song on which Arganese always shines by playing that awesome guitar solo. He Knows You Know is the song on which the bands lead singer acts as if he is a drug addict, so also this time. The final three songs performed during the second set came from Marillion's most successful album with Fish behind the microphone. Titled Misplaced Childhood (1985). Kayleigh, Lavender and Heart Of Lothian were done as one big piece of music and dedicated to Anthony. One of the many friendly staff members of the Prog Frog team who temporarily quit the team because he once again becomes a dad. Again, the crowd went totally crazy while the band performed this three piece unit flawless. Again, everybody was jumping around and singing along. What a way to end the regular set I asked myself. Is there a better way? I guess not.

The Progfrog team (with Anthony in front)
Before the musicians came back on stage to do their well deserved encore, the spotlight was on the earlier mentioned Anthony. It was time to say farewell to one of the people who made of the ProgFrog team such a big success. After a final word from Anthony Mr. Punch was asked to finish their concert with a blast! The bands performance was a real party for everybody so it wasn't that strange that Garden Party could be enjoyed. And if you do this encore you can't go off stage without doing Market Square Heroes. So our own Market Square Heroes played this track as well and turning the crowd even more crazy. Both songs done during the encore are of course real show-stoppers if you ask me. Again, a great way to end a spectacular performance. See you all in 2020 at the Bosuil in Weert! I can hardly wait for it!

Thanks again to the amazing ProgFrog team for bringing the best Marillion tribute band to the place where it all began for me personally and many other die-heart fans of the Fish era.

Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)

Live video recordings

Henri & Roel Strik

X Cinderella Search
X Hotel Hobbies/Warm Wet Circles/That Time Of The Night (13:34) X Script For a Jester's Tear
X Kayleigh/Lavender/Heart Of Lothian

Setlist Mr. Punch:

Set 1
La Gazza Ladra
Cinderella Search
She Chameleon

Set 2
Hotel Hobbies
That Time Of The Night
Warm Wet Circles
Script For A Jester Tear
Chelsea Monday
He Knows You Know
Heart Of Lothian

Garden Party
Market Square Heroes

Pictures Mr. Punch by Arthur Haggenburg

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Click on the picture to enlarge.


Line up Mr. Punch:

(left to right)
Roberto Leoni:
Marco Vincini:
lead vocals
Daniele Fuligni:
Marcella Arganese:
Guglielmo Mariotti:
bass, bass pedals and backing vocals

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