Humanist @ The Foundry, Sheffield, UK, October 22, 2021 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 30th, 2021  

Rob Marshall (Humanist)

Humanist

Humanist @ The Foundry, Sheffield, UK, October 22, 2021,

Oct 27, 2021 Web Exclusive Photography by Stephanie Webb Bookmark and Share


Rob Marshall’s eagerly anticipated return to the live stage with his latest project Humanist might be long overdue. But if tonight’s performance in front of a near sold out and hugely enthusiastic audience at Sheffield’s Foundry was anything to go by, it more than met expectations. Originally scheduled to take place last March to coincide with the release of Humanist’s self-titled debut album, this evening’s show - along with the rest of the tour - may have been rearranged three times, much to the frustration of Marshall and his bandmates. But as far as those out front were concerned, it was merely a case of third time lucky.

Previously the guitarist with shoegaze outfits Exit Calm and Lyca Sleep, Marshall’s stock has risen considerably in recent years thanks to his contributions as a co-writer on Mark Lanegan’s Gargoyle and Somebody’s Knocking long players and now with latest project, Humanist. Assembling a band featuring fellow former Exit Calm member Scott Pemberton on drums, multi-instrumentalist Delphinius Vargas on bass and the inimitable presence of ex-Puressence frontman James Mudriczki on vocals alongside Marshall on guitar. Their sole purpose and intention not so much to replicate the songs from the album, but give them a new lease of life instead. While the record itself saw Marshall team up with a number of vocalists including Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, South’s Joel Cadbury, Ride’s Mark Gardener, punk legend and Membranes frontman John Robb and former Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan among an impressive guest list, Mudriczki took on sole vocal responsibilities and pulled it off impeccably.

Humanist's James Mudriczki
Humanist’s James Mudriczki

With an hour to play with and a plethora of songs to choose from, it’s understandable that some personal favourites would be missing from tonight’s eight-songs setlist. Nevertheless, the inclusion of “Beehive”, a song Marshall co-wrote with Mark Lanegan for the latter’s acclaimed 2017 long player Gargoyle was a pleasant surprise. Its placing as the penultimate number of the set decidedly apt before a euphoric rendition of “Gospel”, a song Lanegan lends his vocals to on the album, closes the set. Mudriczki in fine voice throughout, not to mention vigorously animated to boot.

Indeed, if one thing stands out tonight besides the delivery of the songs themselves, its the sheer feeling of gratitude emitting from the stage. A band clearly enjoying themselves up there, no doubt relieved to finally get the opportunity to play these songs to a live audience. But also in no mood to take anything for granted either. “Ring Of Truth” and “When The Lights Go Out” soar before giving way to “English Ghosts” and “Shock Collar”. Both arguably the most well known tracks on the record due to Robb and Gahan’s respective contributions. Yet once again Mudricki’s vocals are flawless. Masterfully executed while receiving a deserved cavalcade of applause at the end of each number.

What can only be described as a triumphant performance is more than summed up by the queue around the merch stand afterwards, where a large proportion of the audience purchase vinyl and t-shirts galore while waiting patiently for photographs and signatures off Marshall and band. It may have taken 18 months longer than first scheduled, but Humanist’s first live show in Sheffield was well worth the wait.




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