Mr Punch Celebrate Marillion And Fugazi At The Underworld

An album that cost nearly half a million pounds to make in today’s money, Fugazi was seen by many Marillion fans as an instant classic when it was released just over 40 years ago. Mr Punch travelled over from Italy to provide that time machine moment for those at The Underworld in Camden. The venue was pretty much full of smiling and dancing fans ready to experience the album played live and in full. MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie was there and enjoyed every single moment.

Mr Punch

The Underworld – 22 March 2024

Words And Photography: Steve Ritchie

Tribute bands can be a contentious issue. The rise of several venues that only put on events with bands of this style blocks out the chance of up-and-coming original bands getting shows.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

As for Mr Punch, it’s a bit different. This is the closest you can get to early ’80s Marillion. We might all be older and greyer and wiser, but make no mistake, the smiles on people’s faces were wide tonight. The band and the fans were transported back to a time when times were simpler.

This was a show. This was a marriage of minds. And, boy, do Mr Punch know how to construct a setlist.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

From the opening keyboards of Assassing, which Daniele Fuligni executes, to excitement, everyone is on board. The run-through of Punch & Judy and Cinderella Search is immense.

Jigsaw is welcome like a long-lost friend. The crowd joins in with singer Marco Vincini, and the break just before the guitar solo brings goosebumps. The Marcella Arganese solo is great. When she finished the solo, the crowd started clapping. That is how on board everyone is tonight. We reached ignition point.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The song finished with massive applause. This is real. One punter calls for Grendel to smiles all around. “Fugazi, we may play the whole album,” Marco says. “Who knows,” he asks. “We know.”

Cinderella Search is a complex song that Mr Punch plays with style. It swings in beautifully, and in the quieter moments, the crowd are quiet, listening and not talking. Emerald Lies has a great snarl from Marco, and Marcella is super.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

She Chameleon, a track the band were never happy with and was never played live after the release of Fugazi, followed. Marcella sat and watched. The mix of words, the drums of kilt-wearing Marco Fabbri and bassist Andrea Grumelli, standing in for Luca Cristofaro, was magic.

This is all about magic and atmosphere, which is all held together by Fuligni. “Was it just a fuck?” You’ve not heard that live by Marillion since October 1983.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Incubus follows. Vincini spits the hate and soft spots in the vocals wonderfully. The crowd join in singing, “Nursing an erection.” Vincini jumps and bobs with the “Ooo Wah.” Both he and the crowd moved as one.

Marcella throws in an immense solo. “A snake in the grass,” and we run to the end of the Fugazi set, the band wisely choosing to leave the closing song for later in the evening.

This part of the set works really well. The cheers are massive.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Sugar Mice is followed by Grendel. “People ask for Grendel even after we have just played it,” Marco says. Fuligni takes an inspired solo opening to Script For A Jesters Tear. “The fool escaped from paradise… Can you still say you love me?” The Underworld is throbbing.

Chelsea Monday runs into Fugazi. The closing of this is a celebration, band and crowd as one. It is a triumph. Kayleigh, with more audience participation and gruff men in the crowd singing about loving on the floor in Belsize Park, runs into Forgotten Sons. Here, Marcella pushed her strings in a cool solo.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

There is a real warmth in the room when Mr Punch returns for the close with Garden Party and Market Square Heroes.

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

This was a perfect set for Marillion fans and a fantastic evening. As a celebration of 40 years of Fugazi, Mr Punch did Fish and Marillion proud. As I said earlier, this is the closest you can get to a time machine. You will never see the five who made the album in sight, in sound or in concert any more as a group.

Thank You, Underworld, Oh! What a crowd. Yeah…

Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk
Mr Punch - The Underworld - 22 March 2024
Mr Punch – The Underworld – 22 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

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