Fish – Sub89, Reading – 15th December 2014

FishTonight was my first time visiting Sub89 in Reading, and I have to say I was impressed. It’s right in the city centre, just a couple of minutes walk from the railway station.  The best part was when I get inside – the sound quality.  The volume was loud but not excessively so, and the sound quality was excellent.

Tonight’s gig started with Voodoo room, a band that plays cover versions of songs from Cream and Jimi Hendrix.  They do a good job, and with such classic songs it’s no surprise that they go down well with the crowd, but I have to say I was disappointed to see a covers band supporting an artist like Fish, rather than a band that writes and plays their own songs.

Next up was Fish.  Before he came on, you’re struck by how high his microphone stand is, and when he takes to the stage you see why – he’s a very tall guy and towers over everyone.
He kicked the set off with “Perfume river”, the opening track from his current album, “A feast of consequences” – it’s the first of seven songs from the album to be given an airing tonight.

A Fish concert is unlike one from most other artists – in between songs he sometimes laughs and jokes and exchanges banter with members of the audience, but at other times he talks to the crowd in a very intimate, personal way and that gives the gig a far more intimate feeling than you normally get at a gig.

The time just flies by – the songs are superb and are sung with such passion, and the talking between songs is far more interesting and enjoyable than with almost any other band.  At one point while talking to the crowd he commented on the Christmas decorations around the stage and tried to wiggle them and instead managed to pull them down.  Luckily the venue staff saw the funny side of it and after removing the bits that were hanging down and handing them to the security guy, Fish carried on with the show.

Fish differs from most singers who found fame with a band before leaving in that while most are tied to their old band as fans expect the hits of that band to be played at the solo shows, with Fish his solo material is so good that there’s no feeling that fans demand Marillion songs.  In fact we do get a couple of them tonight, but they feel like a pleasant bonus rather than something he feels pressured into playing. Tonight we get “Heart of Lothian” to end the set, then “Incubus” as an encore.

Tonight really was a superb night – Fish is an extremely talented songwriter and singer and makes his shows feel special.

Fish setlist:

Perfume river
Feast of consequences
Arc of the curve
High wood
Crucifix corner
The gathering
Thistle alley
The leaving
Big wedge
Heart of Lothian

Blind to the beautiful
The company

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.