Theia certainly lit up Cambridge Junction on the first night of the Magnum tour. Having toured before with Magnum, Theia, as a three-piece, were making waves before the Covid-19 halt hit us all hard. MetalTalk’s Steve Ritchie spoke with Kyle and Ash Lamley after the triumphant Cambridge show.
Performing as a duo, Theia’s six-song set was well-received thanks to their energetic performance, with the aid of a laptop and the Tony Clarkin penned single Eyes Like Fire.
Bass player Paul Edwards quit the band last year, leaving Theia to perform as a duo. “Paul has settled down,” Kyle says. “He’s happy. He’s got a son now, but I don’t know what he’s watching on TV tonight.”
I first came across Theia at Hatfield’s Rock Den and was blown away by their songs and energetic performance style. The band continued to thrive, releasing the album The Ghost Light in 2018 and were invited to tour with Magnum in 2019.
Covid-19 must have been an absolute bitch. “It was a double-edged sword,” the Lamley brothers said. “It was obviously the most difficult time we’ve experienced, but it led us to be a two-piece. It gave us the time to sit down and reflect on the music and go forward. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.”
A lot happened at once. “I had to leave my day job to do the [Covid-19 postponed] Magnum tour,” Kyle says. “Then that was kind of cancelled and postponed at the same time, and my job wouldn’t have me back because of the furlough scheme.
“So I was jobless and bass-less, but my little brother Ash kept me sane. Thankfully we were locked down together and able to write some new music, and as we did it, we found it worked as a two-piece. You know, if it works live well, we’ll do it. Tonight has been a trial by fire.”
Cambridge was not the first time they had played as a pair, “but it is the first gig of this magnitude and a crowd like that. So for us, it’s been a huge night, and it’s gone really well.”
The first night of the tour saw the Cambridge crowd warming to Theia and being very receptive early on, suggesting the brothers should feel ‘minted’. “Absolutely,” they say. “We came out, and we put some Björk on [It’s Oh So Quiet]. We didn’t tell anyone else what we were going to do. We came out, had some fun with everyone, got the ice broken, and that was a weird start.”
During the Magnum tour of 2019, Tony Clarkin called the band into his dressing room. “I thought, oh God, what have I done,” Kyle says. Clarkin offered the band the song Eyes Like Fire, telling Theia that he was really impressed with seeing them live. “He played us Eyes Like Fire,” Kyle says, “and he thought we could really turn this into something great and give it a new lease of life. I was obviously gobsmacked and really grateful and honoured.”
There is pressure performing live, but as a two-piece, has that been intensified? ” I felt it before,” Kyle says, “and I definitely feel it now, but having my little brother here helps. We’re like two peas in a pod anyway, but I feel more at home on stage.”
But the reception the band had from the Cambridge audience shows that there is something special going on. “I sheepishly wandered through the crowd after our show, but people stopped us. We’ve been getting lots of handshakes. It’s just been such a relief, definitely a relief.”
The chance to work with Vega and Magnum on tour is a fitting reward, and the social media post where the brothers first arrive at the Symphony Hall and walk onto the stage, shedding a tear, shows how passionate they are about what they do.
“It’s a huge opportunity just to be in front of these crowds,” Kyle and Ash say. “But we’re also using it as a springboard, and we’re going to keep that momentum going.”