Wednesday, December 1, 2021

On tour and in Norwich tonight - Tigercub


Hot off a tour with Royal Blood and riding on top reviews from their release As Blue As Indigo earlier this year, Tigercub have just begun their first headlining tour in four years - including a date in Norwich, at the Waterfront, tonight and culminating on December 14th at the Lafayette in London. There may still be a ticket available - check them out - it's going to be a fun show!

Here's their latest single, “I.W.G.F.U.”:

... and an example of Tigercub's live show:

Tigercub tour dates this December:

01: Norwich, England -  The Waterfront
02: Leeds, England - Brudenell
03: Sheffield, England - The Leadmill
04: Glasgow, Scotland - King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
05: Newcastle, England - The Think Tank
06: Birmingham, England - Dead Wax
07: Nottingham, England - Bodega Social Club
08: Manchester, England - The Deaf Institute
10: Cardiff, Wales - Clwb Ifor Bach
11: Southampton, England - The Joiners 
12: Exeter, Devon, England - The Cavern 
14: London, England - Lafayette

Monday, November 22, 2021

Marillion, Cambridge Corn Exchange: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel tour 2021

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Marillion, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2021

Another wonderful show on the Marillion "Light At The End Of The Tunnel" tour. Beautiful lighting too!

Full photo gallery here: Marillion in Cambridge, 2021
More Marillion dates from this tour: Marillion Light At The End Of The Tunnel UK Tour 2021 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

There is light at the end of the tunnel! Marillion at Hull City Hall, 14 November

Marillion, Hull, UK
Marillion, Hull City Hall, 14 November 2021

Marillion opened their Light At The End Of The Tunnel tour on Sunday night at Hull City Hall. The happiness in performing live after more than 700 days was palpable - both from the band, and from the fans who had travelled from near and far for this first event of the tour - and for the first live playing of the new song, Be Hard on Yourself, from the upcoming studio album An Hour Before It's Dark.

Energetic, beautiful, inspiring performance from the band. A joyful event; people together in music after so very long in the dark.

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Marillion

Without sharing the setlist here - many who follow the band want to be surprised as the tour unfolds - it's a journey of memorable, favourite songs from the band's extensive catalog. All met by standing ovations, again and again.  

Steve Rothery, guitar, Marillion
Steve Rothery, Marillion

The tour - underwritten by fans through the Lightsavers campaign, a groundbreaking replacement for impossible-to-obtain tour insurance - continues until 27th November. There are a very few tickets left: catch one of these shows if you can, it's a wonderful experience and there are fans around the world who have contributed to making it happen, even knowing they cannot be here in the UK themselves.

Mark Kelly, keyboards, Marillion
Mark Kelly, Marillion

Ian Mosley, drums, Marillion
Ian Mosley and Mark Kelly, Marillion

Happy and moving music. A celebration of the return to live performance. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel that we've all been struggling through for the past two years. 

Be Hard on Yourself's debut performance met by great appreciation from the audience; huge new song and now the anticipation for the new album grows. An Hour Before It's Dark will be released early in 2022: look out for updates here. And if you haven't already, place a pre-order to receive the album as soon as it's released. There are some cool bundles!

Pete Trewavas, bass, Marillion
Pete Trewavas, Marillion

It's a new day for us all - a couple of very small bloopers during the show made the event so very human.  People in the audience not knowing quite how to greet longtime friends, hugs or no hugs? Elbow bumps, fist bumps, waves and cheers and smiles; photographer-me no longer used to the weight of the kit when moving around the venue and rusty at just-about everything. 

(Just to be silly, I clocked my activity on my sports watch: over a mile inside the venue, up and down, and that was taking it easy - yes, wearing a mask after climbing from the stalls to the top of the gallery felt tough, but it's part of the photo-ninja kit these days - and part of our responsibility, surely, to keeping everyone as safe as possible.) 

Marillion, Hull, UK
Audience celebrating Marillion's return to live shows, Hull

Full photo gallery from the show in Hull here: Marillion Hull 2021 

More Marillion photos: Marillion photo galleries

Further shows from the Light At The End Of The Tunnel Tour will appear here

Friday, October 8, 2021

The Covid Effect: How do you insure your tour/festival? Marillion solved it.

Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra, Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Marillion and Friends from the Orchestra, Southend, UK, 2019

If you've experienced the frustration of paying for a ticket to a concert or festival since the pandemic began - and then had it cancelled, or postponed, you've probably lost money. Unrefundable tickets aside, there's hotel bookings, travel plans, days off work that you weren't able to readjust, etc. etc. etc. From a fan's perspective it's upsetting - especially if it's for a band you've hoped to see live for years, and have no clue if you'll get the chance again. But it isn't likely to bankrupt you.

Imagine the costs involved for the musicians and their management. Upfront costs booking/reserving venues, lighting equipment and sound engineers, and everything involved in the logistics. It all costs a fortune to set up - with a lot of expenses that must be paid before the performers sell a single ticket or play a single concert. And if a show is cancelled, it's not just refunded tickets and logistical costs that must still be paid, but also loss of the all-important merch sales that make up so much of musician's income since streaming decimated the value of their music revenue. 

In the past, touring bands and festivals have been able to arrange insurance just-in-case something happens - it was a low risk for insurance companies to underwrite. Then COVID. And now, with the world gradually starting to open up again, it's difficult, unimaginabley expensive, or even totally impossible, to obtain this essential insurance.

Bands are touring; bands are taking all precautions - full vaccination, "bubbles" for the band, no meet-and-greets - but we're seeing tours affected by the virus on a daily basis. Musicians or their touring team testing positive and having to miss a few dates (Korn, Corey Taylor, From Ashes to New, Genesis - the list goes on) before returning to their scheduled dates. Festivals have been rewriting their lineups with great flexibility (Aftershock, Louder Than Life). Entire tours cancelled or delayed due to other health reasons where the pandemic has played a part, or simply because the time doesn't feel right or the risk of cancellation is too great (My Chemical Romance, Ministry, Faith No More). How can musicans survive financially if they must take on the entire burden of the cost of touring without insurance?

Marillion - crowdsourcing pioneers - and their manager Lucy Jordache came up with a solution. Their Light as the End of the Tunnel tour kicks off in November, but was impossible to insure. This week, they launched the aptly-named Lightsavers campaign: fans pledge money and act as a crowd-insurance fund, indemnifying the losses if the concerts are affected by COVID. The money is going into escrow: if all goes as expected and the tour rocks around the UK without a problem, then the fans receive their pledges back. If the money is needed to pay unavoidable costs due to a COVID issue, then Marillion uses the pledge account to pay.

All pledgers receive something in return (in addition to feeling good about helping the band out and making sure the tour goes ahead). Depending on the pledge amount there are gifts ranging from seeing your name in a tour program to a personal meeting with the band through Zoom. 

Guess what? The highest-price pledges sold out within hours. And within 24 hours, the band were well on their way to raising their target amount. It seems to be working, incredibly well.

Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London
Marillion at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 2019

Is this the tour insurance model for the future? Marillion have an incredibly loyal and global fan base, some of whom have pledged to the Lightsavers fund without a hope of travelling to the UK for this tour. It is going to work for this band. Whether it's a sustainable long-term model, and one that can be adopted by other musicians or festival organizers - or rather, if it really should be how bands must procure insurance from now on - has yet to be seen.

Maybe it's time to displace the New Kings of banking and insurance. Maybe this is one step in the right direction.

Full details of the Lightsavers campaign - and how to participate: Marillion Lightsavers

Marillion tour dates: Marillion Light at the End of the Tunnel tour

Marillion photo galleries:

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Cromer Pier Show is back - and it rocks!!!

Cromer Pier Show summer 2021
Les Miserables, Cromer Pier Show

 Now open and performing throughout the summer until the beginning of October, Cromer's famous and unique end-of-the-pier variety show is back! New cast, new acts, new production, and a lovely new lighting rig and large screen too - the show opens with a video montage look back over the past eighteen months and the return to the stage. It's been a long time coming.

Phil Butler and Max Fulham, Cromer Pier Show
Host Phil Butler and ventriloquist Max Fulham

Compere and host Phil Butler brings comedy, magic, and artistry to his fifth season on the pier. Rubik's cubes, playing-card-mind-reading, and painting with sand plus making us laugh? Yes, you have to see it!

Max Fulham, ventriloquist, Cromer Pier Show
Max Fulham and Grandad

In a slight change to previous years' summer shows, this time there's a new special guest each week - so if you're in Cromer for a two week holiday go to the show twice to see the different acts! Last night's special guest - ventriloquist Max Fulham and his monkey, grandad (fully clothed and cover-my-eyes, in a red Speedo), pedal bin, and fly were exceptional. Funny, clever, and so talented. Look out for Max (and all his friends) - they will be going far.

Duo Fusion UK, cirque, aerial and acrobatic, Cromer Pier Show
Duo Fusion UK

For the first time at Cromer Pier, Duo Fusion UK: an aerial and acrobatic show of flexibility, strength, agility, beauty, and - ultimately - trust. Suspended above the stage performing moves that would have graced the Olympics gymnastics floor, with no net, Connor and Tiffany made us all hold our breaths. Incredible!

Reiss Thomson, dancer, Cromer Pier Show

Cromer Pier Show summer 2021
Cromer Pier Show dancers

The dance that's a big part of the Cromer Pier Show is beautifully choreographed throughout. Such a big show fits onto the end of a pier in the North Sea is always intriguing to me. The Irish dance set was stunning; nothing like any other Irish dance I've ever seen, this was dark with a touch of menace and totally brilliant. 

Rob McVeigh, lead vocalist, Cromer Pier Show
Marina Lawrence-Mahrra and Rob McVeigh in a scene from Mary Poppins

This season's lead vocalists are Marina Lawrence-Mahrra and Rob McVeigh who together with the show's dancers Chris, Emily, Georgie, Luke, and Reiss and the rest of the cast take us on a musical adventure, with the first half of the show being scenes and songs from Mary Poppins and the finale, after two hours of wonderful family entertainment, from Les Miserables.

Rob McVeigh, lead vocalist, Cromer Pier Show
Rob McVeigh and the ensemble, Les Miserables

Marina Lawrence-Mahrra, lead vocalist, with Emily Hardy and Georgie Cox, Cromer Pier Show

Each part of the show is a gem. As a whole, it's the crown jewels - and what shines throughout is the comeraderie and friendship and hard work of the performers. Performing arts - perhaps more than any other profession - have had to overcome enormous challenges since the beginning of the pandemic, just to be able to come back now that the world has started to open up again. We as the audience have missed them - now's the chance to take back the theatre, take back the concerts, support the performers - and just get out and have fun. That's exactly what you'll do at Cromer Pier Show!

Cromer Pier Show summer 2021

All Alison Toon Photographer photos from this summer's show: Cromer Pier Show summer 2021

Previous Cromer Pier Shows: Cromer Pier Shows

Book your tickets here:


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

Union Jack Typhoon diving
Typhoon, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

 This past weekend, July 31st and August 1st, saw the return of the Old Buckenham Airshow. Pilots making their planes dance against a background of spectacular clouds and breakthrough blue skies. Click on the links for the full photogalleries or go here to see them all.

Little and Large Extra Duo
Little and Large, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

A wonderful, family-friendly sold-out-in-advance event, close to Norwich, England. With acts ranging from the huge Sally-B Flying Fortress - the only 'Fortress regularly seen in Europe - and a zooming, Union Jack Typhoon jet to stunt aerobatics from the Matadors (the guys who fly through hangars), Fireflies with lovely synchro, to a reenactment of the last dogfight of WWII (it involved spotter planes and a service pistol).

The Red Sparrows
The Red Sparrows, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

Matadors Aerobatic Team
Matadors, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

There were the Turbulent Team planes chasing balloons and limbo-dancing a few feet from the ground, and a stunning display of synchronised flying by Little and Large - a full-sized plane flown by the human pilot, and a scale model flown remotely.

Beechcraft Staggerwing
Staggerwing, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

 Spitfires and a Hurricane and a lovely, plum-coloured Staggerwing. A here-comes-the-baddie Messerschmitt. An American AT-6. Even the Red Sparrows!!! (Yes, you heard that right.) Many more... brilliant day out!

Boeing B-17
Sally-B Flying Fortress, Old Buckenham Airshow 2021

Old Buckenham airfield was built as the wartime home of the US Airforce 453rd Bombardment Group and there's a museum on site (which I must go back to explore). Today it operates as an airfield and training school and an event venue for just about anything you need space for

As always, any errors in naming these planes are mine - please send any corrections!

Many more photos from this, and other, airshows here on the airshow gallery page

California Capital Airshow stories here and here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Live music is back!!! The Legends Festival, Cromer

CROMER, UK: 17 and 18 July 2021, people having fun at the Legends Festival, Cromer Hall, Norfolk, England.
People having fun at the Legends Festival, Cromer, 2021

 The return of live music - after many, many months without it - is something to celebrate. My last festival was Aftershock 2019, last concert Insomnium in January 2020 and I know everyone has similar stories to tell. So this weekend's Legends Festival at Cromer Hall, Cromer, Norfolk was a delight. Well organized, lots of space, a natural festival setting with a gentle slope allowing everyone to see the stage. Everyone brought seats, picnic blankets, even tables laden with food for all the family. Some of the photos taken with the long zoom look like everyone was close together - not so, we sat, stood, and danced in groups with lots of room between. So happy for people to be together again, enjoying the music, and having loads of fun - that's really the point of festivals, right? 

Birthday parties, hen parties, and general happiness. People of all ages from tiny kids suitably equipped with ear protectors right through to seniors rocking out to the music of Queen, the Beatles, and ABBA. The festival is all tribute bands; singalong, dance-along music.

Day one began with Cloneplay, a Coldplay tribute - one of those bands where, unless you're a major fan, you don't always remember all the many hits that they had, until you hear them again - at least, that's how it is for me. Of course! Yellow! and then of course! the next and the next and the next.


Then Wildboys were scheduled to play but had to drop out due to someone testing positive for Covid - that's going to happen these days - but the festival organizers brought in the Amazing 80's at short notice, and they really, really shone. Non-stop high energy hits from all of the 80s, from synthpop and new age to two-tone and hairbands. 

Amazing 80s

And the icing on the cake: UK Queen, with vocals and sound so very reminiscent of the real thing. Made me want to hear UK Queen and Queen Nation play a tribute show together. 

Alexander Koronka, vocals, UK Queen

Day two kicked off with Jimmy Love as Elton John. He really looked like Elton while making the songs his own. 

Jimmy Love as Elton John

Next: The Upbeat Beatles - so very cool. Paul McCartney with those eyebrows and playing Hofner bass left-handed? Check. George looking occasionally morose but playing beautiful guitar? Yep! John over on stage left with his famous glasses and sound? Right! And Ringo rocking the drums? Of course! Complete with a video history of Beatlemania they took us through the days of the Beatles, from rock'n'roll in the Cavern, the Sergeant Pepper days, through to the band's breakup. I'd absolutely go see Upbeat Beatles again.

The Upbeat Beatles

Final act of this year's festival: ABBA Mania. All the ABBA hits, all the moves, all the on-stage relationships between the band members.

ABBA Mania

It was a very memorable weekend and I'm already looking forward to next year's. The grounds at Cromer Hall are such a natural place for all sorts of festivals - not just tribute bands - I wonder if we can persuade them to hold more. A local Danny Wimmer Presents festival would be a joy! Cromer has lots of holiday accomondation, there's local camping, and the access to parking was easy - at least with this past weekend's dry and sunny weather. We couldn't have ordered a better two days of sunshine - it was just right. 

Live music is back, and it's so good.

Photo galleries:

CROMER, UK: 17 and 18 July 2021, people having fun at the Legends Festival, Cromer Hall, Norfolk, England.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Pop Evil: Versatile, out now (21st May 2021)

Pop Evil
Pop Evil, O2 Islington, London, UK - 2019

If you pre-ordered Pop Evil's new album, Versatile, today is the day - for a real treat. If you didn't pre-order: today's the day to buy your copy.


 Available from all the usual outlets.Today!

There is always such an energy, a power, with Pop Evil's music - moving you onwards, forwards, through and through. A driving force, drums and bass behind everything. This is so strong beginning with the opening track, "Let the Chaos Reign" and even greater in "Work" - if you're looking for a new workout song, this is it. Then it moves into something more gentle; "Inferno" is rather beautiful... there's a distant quality to the song, almost underwater, "slowly sinking in sand".

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil

Leigh Kakaty and Hayley Cramer, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty and Hayley Cramer, Pop Evil

Several of these songs were released online before today... hearing them within the context of the entire album brings them even more to light.

I apologise... I intended to write a much more in-depth review. Instead, I just want to listen to this music. On repeat. You should try it too.

Upcoming tour dates: I really, really hope to be at Aftershock Festival. Fingers crossed, vaccinated, tested... everything crossed that international travel is allowed by then! (As my family is spread across several countries and continents, so is Pop Evil: I'm wondering how the band-family is handling this (drummer Hayley Cramer is based in the UK; rest of the band in the USA). 

More Pop Evil:

Concert at the O2, Islington, London UK

Ace of Spades, Sacramento, California

Chicago Open Air festival

All the Pop Evil photo galleries

Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil
Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil

Thursday, May 20, 2021

What I've been listening to lately

 Suddenly. So many new album releases - and so much that I'd just missed. So much good music. Here are just a few that I've been listening to recently.

Chaoseum: it was this song that grabbed my attention - sounds so much like Korn - but listen to the entire album Second Life, and their music is their own. The band hails from Switzerland and are very much worth a listen.

Paul Weller: his latest album, Fat Pop, has been on repeat. It's something special and it's very alive. (If like me you have a ticket to his much-moved tour, the latest dates are here.) To go with the release, the Modfather and friends made this live video:

Myles Kennedy: also released last week, Myles' second solo album, The Ides of March. This one is to listen to over and over again - you discover something new on each listening (and this is exactly how I listen to it - you can't beat vinyl at home). Great voice.:

And something a little different: Gleb Kolyadin's solo album, Water Movements. It's liquid and it's calm and it's beautiful. You may know Gleb Kolyadin from the duo/band Iamthemorning. Listen to Water Movements here:

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 - The Best Bits. One show, a Couch Convention, and some other nuggets

Markus Vanhala, guitar, Insomnium
Markus Vanhala, Insomnium

 18th January, 2020, at the Waterfront in Norwich, UK. Starting the photographic year with an evening of Finnish metal; loved the show and you can find the review here. Little did I know that it would be the one and only concert that I would photograph this year. Apart from the odd phone snap of a video stream on the TV... and that's where all our live music was, on screens. At least once people began to realise that the pandemic wouldn't just disappear within a few weeks.

Two online events that were wonderful: first, Marillion's Couch Convention in September, a three-day event with not only streamed concerts but support acts, interactive sessions, merch... and confetti: I kid you not, I'm still digging bits of confetti out from under the rug and behind the TV.  Sheer genius... it really helps that the worldwide fans are like one huge family and it was a chance to catch up with people that, in a normal year, we might have bumped into at a show. But 2020 was never going to be normal - the Couch Convention showed just how some planning and ingenuity and some wonderful music can make so many people happy. (Through this, and other things like this prize draw, the band has been raising funds to help all the road and stage crew that have been badly affected by the halt in performances and touring.)

The second of my favouite online events: Steve H's wonderful H Natural live stream from St John's in Oxford. Just beautiful. (To find out more, and to listen to his podcasts, go here:

My favourite new album of the year? This... Mother from In This Moment. I've listened to it - a lot - throughout the year. 

Just a few best bits... next year will have more. Happy new year to you all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Lost Year, and the Found Photos

Eric Vanlerberghe, vocals, I Prevail
Eric Vanlerberghe, vocals, I Prevail

 Not been writing much: who wants to read about lockdowns and misery and lack of live music? Instead, we keep busy (or not) with other things; tending the garden, walking for miles, working at jobs - those of us lucky-enough to have work that we can do from home, or essential jobs (thank you, all of you) - finding other creative outlets (I spent much time stripping wallpaper and organizing a full refurb of a Victorian property in a seaside town, much less time than usual listening to my usual escape, music, because the lyrics were playing again and again in my head at 3am rather like too-much Tetris, though that seems to have passed, thank you Universe).

Chris "Motionless" Cerulli, Motionless In White

We may look back on 2020 and reminisce, how many concerts did you miss? How many tickets bought, yet still held for next year, or the year after? How many books did you read or TV shows did you binge? How much weight did you drop, or gain? 

Joe Cotela, DED

How many people did you lose? (That's going to be the hardest. As a world, a country, a community, a family, as a human being and a humanity.)


No, I didn't want to write about 2020. So I took a look through the photo archive, and found a few that I had missed editing at the back end of 2019. A little editing burnout; a lot of work to catch up on; some close-to-the-pandemic business trips and heck, just plain forgetfulness. So now here they are; a reminder of festivals past (they are from Aftershock 2019 - this year's festivals were, of course, postponed to 2021).

Joe Duplantier, vocals and guitar, Gojira
Joe Duplantier, Gojira

Here's to the new year; may it bring hope, health, happiness, and music. I hope to see you in the crowd and in the photo pit many more times yet!


Photo galleries:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Lamb of God - Memento Mori (Official Music Video) out now!

Lamb Of God
Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
New single from Lamb of God, taken from their upcoming new album. Lamb Of God, planned for release May 9th via Epic Records and available for pre-order now. Memento Mori has a gentle start... but take a listen... watch... wait for it....

“There is a vast amount of indisputably real and depressingly negative occurrences happening across the globe,” vocalist D. Randall Blythe explains. “Currently, at the forefront of everyone’s mind is the global COVID-19 pandemic. This is a very real concern, and proper precautions need to be taken by EVERYONE in order to protect those most at risk - the elderly, infirm, and immunocompromised. It is indeed a scary time, but in this hyper-connected age with its 24/7 never-ending news cycle of atrocity, outrage and lurid click-bait headlines (not to mention ill-informed lunatics running amok and spreading misinformation and panic on social media), it is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that life is still carrying on, and good things do in fact still happen.”

Lamb of God are D. Randall Blythe (vocals), Mark Morton (guitar), Willie Adler (guitar), John Campbell (bass) and Art Cruz (drums).

Lamb Of God
Lamb of God, Aftershock 2019
Assuming the world returns to some sort of normal, Lamb of God have a vast North America tour planned for later this year. Not to be missed!

Also take a listen to guitarist Mark Morton's recently released solo album, Anaesthetic: it's a keeper!

Review and photos from Lamb of God at Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California:
Photo gallery:

Randy Blythe, vocals, Lamb Of God
D. Randall Blythe, Lamb of God