Live: Inglorious / Mercutio

Inglorious, Waterfront, September 2021

Waterfront, Norwich, September 27, 2021

by Adam Aiken

Any disappointment there’s no local band to open things up is quickly forgotten when Mercutio come out all guns blazing.

Where the Pain Lives and a funky Slap Bang get things under way, underpinned with a catchy groove.

Ross William Wild – whose diverse CV includes a brief spell fronting Spandau Ballet alongside a number of leading stage roles – is a bundle of energy, and the kick-boxing fan spends much of the time successfully performing high kicks on what isn’t the world’s biggest stage.

By the time we get to closer The Ghost That Is You, with its time changes giving a bit of a prog feel, it’s a job well done from a band whose future looks bright with their new major label deal.

Mercutio at the Waterfront, Norwich, September 2021

There’ve been many ways musicians have dealt with things during the last 18 months. Some have put everything on hold during the downtime while others have gone the other way and increased their output.

Inglorious, led by the larger-than-life Nathan James, fall into the latter of these two extremes and have given us two new albums since they were last out and about.

Tonight’s set is dominated by the new stuff right from the get-go, and it’s superb. Standout moments from February’s We Will Ride include Messiah, with its great opening riff, and the heavy My Misery.

Guitarist Danny Dela Cruz, who shines in songs such as Where Are You Now?, oozes cool, like a male Nancy Wilson – which is apt given that one of the trio of songs we get from recent covers album Heroine is Heart’s Barracuda.

It’s a tricky one to pull off, as we’re told beforehand (nothing like getting your excuses in early), but they achieve it.

The tribute they fully make their own, however, is Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited. James’s powerful vocals suit this brooding song perfectly, and this is right up there with Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence and In This Moment’s In The Air Tonight.

What’s even more uninvited than the Morissette song, though, is the fire alarm that sees everyone being ushered outside. It’s a surreal few minutes that includes Wild – still in make-up and stage gear – having a wander through the crowd while a ginger tomcat sees the opportunity to amble over and have some fuss.

Given all the kicks in the teeth that live music has suffered over the past couple of years, there’s initially a general resignation that that’s it for the night, but we’re eventually allowed back in for the conclusion of the abbreviated set.

Some folk have cut their losses and headed home early, which means the already moderate turnout has been reduced further. James seems philosophical about this, realising that not everyone is yet comfortable in getting up close and personal in crowds, and it’s something that’s on his own mind, too.

Nathan James on his contactless trip into the audience

He announces he’s going to head into the audience for the first time this tour, but on the condition that no one gets too close to him, grabs him or coughs near him.

James gets his wish, and the crowd parts the way for him in a Moses-style moment.

So it’s not quite God-like, but it’s a triumphant night nonetheless.

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