Mr. Punch
A Flower? For A Jester

March 5, 2023 - 't Blok, Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel (NL)

Since March 2016 the Dutch progressive rock audience is no longer a stranger to the Marillion tribute band Mr. Punch. Their first performance on a stage in the Netherlands was at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel (see review). This was the start of an impressive list of tribute shows. During those shows they brought us back to the Fish era of Marillion, complete with make-up and theatrics as the original band used to do. Everyone who adores the neo progressive rock of the 80s could relive the fantastic music the band released on their first four albums.
Marco Vincini (►more pics)
Therefore it wasn't that strange that (now for the fourth time already) the band climbed the stage again at the same cosy venue where they started their successful tribute shows. Again they entertained all the 'freaks' out there in the best possible way.

As always they gave their concert tour a special name. For this occasion they named their show "...a Flower? for a Jester" to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Marillion's debut album Script For A Jester's Tear. But this time around they had included some special musical surprises as well. Anybody who is familiar with the music of Genesis from the seventies knows what to expect when they come up with a title such as "...a Flower? for a Jester". Indeed progressive rock from one of the bands that ruled during the progressive rock waves of the 70s. Therefore it came as no surprise that songs from that era were included on the setlist. Also it is probably not so strange that a Marillion tribute band performs the music from this band. After all Marillion copied in many ways the musical style and theatrics of this band at the start of their career. They relived the magical years of Genesis so to speak. Complete with make-up and costumes as well.

Marco Fabbri with kilt (►more pics)
As usual the band split the songs performed over two sets. The first set started with the songs that gave Marillion their first hit records during the Fish period. Namely the three compositions taken from their successful Misplaced Childhood album; Kayleigh, Lavender and Heart Of Lothian. During those songs it was also for the first time that the Dutch audience could welcome the latest addition to the band. Well I guess the name of Marco Fabbri hardly needs any introductions. For many years he was together with Mr. Punch bassist Guglielmo Mariotti the rhythm section of The Watch. Wearing a Scottish kilt while playing the drums is well known to many progheads as well. It was probably only a matter of time before he would join the band and replace original Mr. Punch drummer Roberto Leoni. He has been friends with some of the other band members for many years already. It has to be said that he succeeded very well doing the early Marillion stuff. Bringing a little bit more groove to the songs that's for sure. Of course the crowd was desperately waiting to hear the song taken from the anniversary album. However before that was going to happen they first enjoyed two other great songs. It is always nice to hear them doing one of the famous Marilion B-side tracks. The first song Cinderella Search is a fantastic composition which is too good to be on the flip side of a single. Therefore I am always glad when it is on the setlist. The other song Sugar Mice was introduced as one of the heaviest songs Marillion ever recorded. It got a rather fast introduction when they started the song. Of course it was a joke because as we all know it is a ballad that does not really feature heavy guitar parts. However we must not forget to mention the excellent guitar solo done by Marcella Arganese.

Marco Vincini as drugs addict(►more pics)
Finally the moment arrived and they paid tribute to the album that changed the lives of many lovers of progressive rock, including myself. Script For A Jester's Tear, He Knows You Know and Chelsea Monday brought me forty years back in time and almost made me cry. Lead singer Marco Vincini not only copied the vocals of Fish perfectly, but also his gestures reminded me of the tall Scottish singer. A good example was the way he played the drug addict during He Knows You Know. The band was at the top of their game during those songs and therefore almost forgot that a short intermission was planned. Guglielmo had to remind his fellow musicians that it was time for a break to charge the batteries.

The second set continued with another two tracks taken from Script For A Jester's Tear. Namely The Web and Forgotten Sons. The first title of course featured the great guitar and synthesizer solos. Only too bad that the soldier act was not included during the second title. Instead they came with the first musical surprise at the end of this piece of music. It was the start of a kind of early Genesis medley. First the amazing ending of Supper's Ready. Included was the amazing organ solo done by Daniele Fuligni during Apocalypse In 9/8 and the majestic ending performance of Vincini during As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs. To make it even better strong versions of Watcher Of The Skies and The Return Of The Giant Hogweed could be enjoyed as well. I guess the icing on the cake came when it was followed by Grendel. Probably the ultimate Genesis tribute from Fish and co. The helmet act was of course included and as always great to watch. A strong version of Fugazi finally ended the second set. Of course the crowd wanted more. Much more!


They got it during the encore. An encore which can be described as a real party encore. The usual songs could be enjoyed again. Garden Party and Market Square Heroes were massively anticipated by the audience. Someone managed to climb on stage during Market Square Heroes and danced with the bands lead singer. Officially another encore was written on the paper that was in front of the musicians. Unfortunately Assassing could not be enjoyed. Why? Probably two reasons. The music at the venue started too early and the people in front of the stage didnīt make enough noise to bring the musicians back on stage. But I think it was OK to end it this way.

Looking back at this great performance, I can only conclude that the mix of early Marillion and early Genesis compositions worked perfectly. Therefore the idea of combining the music of both bands is worth repeating if you should ask me. I had the time of my life thatīs for sure. And I think I wasnīt the only one. Thanks again Mr. Punch for the wonderful music and the amazing ProgFrog team for giving them a chance to play in the Netherlands again. Probably not the last time...

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Live video

Henri, Eden & Roel Strik

Forgotten Sons/ Apocalypse In 9/8 / As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (16:52)
The Web (9:20)
Garden Party/Market Square Heroes (12:09)
Chelsea Monday (8:14)

Setlist Mr.Punch:

Set 1
Heart Of Lothian
Cinderella Search
Sugar Mice
Script For A Jester Tear
He Knows You Know
Chelsea Monday
Set 2
The Web
Forgotten Sons/ Apocalypse In 9/8 / As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs
Watcher Of The Skies
The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
Garden Party
Market Square Heroes

Pictures Mr.Punch by Arthur Haggenburg

>>> Click here to view all pics on one page.

Click on the picture to enlarge.


Line up Mr.Punch:

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

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