Concert Review Archive


The Watch
John Hackett and Nick Magnus

Saturday, 13th February 2010
Wesley Centre in Maltby, Rotherham, The UK

Article and Live Photos By Brian Watson

Welcome, everyone, to a gig put on by The Classic Rock Society at what is for them a relatively new venue. A compact but beautifully proportioned hall, with tiered seating at the back, standing room and a little bar it’s got everything that the discerning prog fan could want.
For £12 on the door a fantastic night’s entertainment was had in convivial surroundings. CRS members got tickets for a tenner. Needless to say I renewed my membership, after a two year lapse. Called Isobel. When a certain guest performer took to the stage then those ticket prices would take on the mantle of bargain of the century.

John Hackett and Nick Magnus

First up, playing a half hour acoustic set, were John Hackett and Nick Magnus. On leaving university John joined his brother Steve on recordings and on tours of Europe and the U.S.A playing flute, guitar and bass pedals. He released Checking out of London in 2006. He is, for the trivia buffs among you, one of the few players in the world to use a vertically held concert flute, which was well received tonight. Nick Magnus’ 1999 album Inhaling Green has been reviewed on the DPRP, and more recently he released Hexameron, in 2004, to critical acclaim. He started out in early 1976 with The Enid and is perhaps best known for his work with Steve Hackett. He played on the Please Don't Touch tour in 1978 and appeared on, as well as contributed some of the material for Spectral Mornings. Defector and Cured also form part of his musical CV, as well as other recordings with Steve. He has also played with China Crisis and Renaissance, but it wasn’t until 1993 that his solo career began, with Straight on Until Morning.
He has a new album, Children of Another God, planned for a March 2010 release. It is available for pre-order from his website.

So, have you worked out who the special guest was yet?

The set was a haunting, acoustic scene-setter for the ‘tron-tastic excesses ahead and when John’s brother took the stage you don’t need me to tell you the reception he got. The duo played a mixture of material, encompassing John and Nick’s previously recorded work, as well as a taster from Nick’s new album and a wonderful Hands of the Priestess from Voyage of the Acolyte which featured Steve Hackett on acoustic guitar. The watch’s Giorgio Gabriel joined Steve on stage for Twenty Summers, from Nick’s forthcoming album, and Jacuzzi from Defector.

John Hackett and Nick Magnus setlist
Jazz On A Summer’s Night
Le Chat NoirThe Hallway & The Pram
Nippy Tune
Hammer In The Sand
Dream Town
Double Helix
Hands Of The Priestess (with special guest Steve Hackett on acoustic)
Twenty Summers (joined by Steve Hackett and Giorgio Gabriel of The Watch)
Jacuzzi (joined by Steve Hackett and Giorgio Gabriel of The Watch)

The Watch

The Watch

This was the last of two UK dates on the Watch’s current ‘Blue Show’ tour. It's a show based on the Foxtrot album. They perform the whole album, plus other Genesis and original material. They are next in the UK, playing the Blue Show, on 13th June 2010, at the Robin 2 in Bilston. They were in Glasgow the night before – this band certainly put some miles on their trusty van which, members of the band advise, is not as reliable as it could be, given it’s ‘classic status’. Like the sounds The Watch make, their transport is very much rooted in analogue times.

Now, before I go off on a “jumpers for goalposts” tangent, it should be noted that they are very much a band in the now, making 21st century progressive rock music that makes people smile. Those of us of a certain age whoop and holler and whistle like we were 16 again but refreshingly the audience has a few young ‘uns and (for a prog gig) a large number of female rock fans. This is music that makes you tap your feet and which makes you smile.

Yes, the Genesis stuff is amazing but the Watch are much more than that. I’ve penned a review of their new album, planet earth?, which should hopefully be appearing on this site sometime soon.

The Watch

They do, though, unerringly recreate that vintage Genesis sound that their performances have grown men weeping. Hairs, on necks, stand up. A lot. Tonight was no exception. I never got to see the ‘classic’ Genesis line-up. I was 9 in 1973. A fact I blame my parents for. Timing is everything. I was getting into prog just as people started wearing bin liners and spitting at each other. Could never understand that.

The Watch have a small but incredibly loyal (and growing) group of fans who are rewarded with symphonic music of soaring beauty, passion and drama. Played by people who love progressive music. Constant gigging has seen them develop an amazingly accomplished, incredibly tight sound.

Having a mellotron on stage, and not a bank of samples on a laptop indicates the lengths the band will go to recreate note perfect renditions of the genesis material. The instrument also helps to make the original compositions – New Normal and Damage Mode – incredibly powerful tunes in their own right.

You all know the Genesis stuff. My review is that it must have been just like attending a Genesis show in the early ‘70s. With better sound, I’m guessing. Special mention has to be given to a full unexpurgated airing of Supper’s Ready. Can-Utility and the Coastliners is a particular favourite of mine, and a live version of this and other tracks can be downloaded on the band’s website if you give them your email details.

New Normal sees John Hackett getting up on stage with the band – as he does on record. This, and the other new track from planet earth? - Damage Mode - are well received and hopefully, as word spreads and numbers attending gigs can be guaranteed by promoters (the Genesis stuff does put bums on seats in these difficult times) then more prominence will be given to original work from the band’s previous albums.

For Anne Watson.

The Watch setlist
New Normal (with John Hackett)
Shepherd (with John Hackett)
White Mountain
Can-Utility and the Coastliners
Get ‘Em Out by Friday
Time Table
The Musical Box
In the Cage
Suppers Ready
Damage Mode
Watcher of the Skies


Nick Magnus Official Website

John Hackett Offical Website

The Watch Offical Website
The Watch Myspace

Wesley Centre


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