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Twisted Illusion - 'I Have Music, I Have Life' Live Album Review


1. Intimate Me Part 1

2. Hatred'

3. Moment Of Lucidity

4. Online & Inline

5. Nobody's Child

6. Apocalypse #LOL

Twisted Illusion is a band who have a special place in my relatively short music writing history, their sophomore album was my first review for this site. They are also a group of musicians whose work ethic and musical skills I have a great respect for, so the opportunity to review this, their first official live recording came as an easy thing to say "Yes" to (I also saw it as an opportunity to get an interview with Matt Jones, something I have been working towards for 11 months). Which you can read here.

"I Have Music, I Have Life" (named for a lyric in live favourite "Hatred Is A Virtue") was recorded live in Norwich earlier this year during the band's first tour and features the current core of the band: Matt Jones: Guitar & Vocals, Mark Wagstaff: Bass & Vocals, Matt McDade: Drums, along with their lead guitarist at the time Steve Revier.

The stage can do strange things to a band (I know from experience) some struggle for coherent representation of their material due to technical constraints, others thrive in providing a stripped back bare bones experience in which you ride white-knuckled through the set with the band, still others will see the technical constraints, feel the flush of adrenaline and bounce through an incredibly well-honed (and doubtless oft practiced) selection from their repertoire. Twisted Illusion relish live performance, they are more than capable musicians and Matt Jones has an occasionally somewhat foul-mouthed gift of the gab, witty (and only occasionally pointing out the availability of band merchandise), with a keen eye on pacing the performance, it's more important for the audience to hear the songs, so they are always the priority at a Twisted Illusion show.

Opening at breakneck speed the band come out of the traps with an opening salvo of 'Imitate Me Part 1' and 'Hatred Is A Virtue', "Imitate Me Part 1" is a Progressive epic in the best ways moving through a range of sections which the band navigate perfectly while "Hatred" has become an anthem for the band's fans, with audiences joining in to chant back the chorus line, Matt then addresses some sound issues before the band begin playing "Moment Of Lucidity" which showcases some fine lead guitar work from Steve Revier, this is followed by a magnificent version of "Online & Inline" showing off to great effect the amazing vocal blend of Matt & Mark.

The band then play what may to many be their finest song (it's certainly emotive) the epic and emotionally charged "Nobody's Child" which is an amazingly complicated as well as stunningly beautiful piece of music. The band, after some audience cajoling and a time check to determine which song they can play, "how long do we have? one song is a bit random for us, is it 14 minutes, 28 minutes, how long?" Matt enquires, Follow the emotional high water mark of "Nobody's Child" with their set closer, the brilliant "Apocalypse #LOL" an occasionally slightly tongue in cheek, but at the same time apt and of the times, tune in which the audience are encouraged enthusiastically to join in, and that is how the band closed the show with a big bang and of course, shortly after an acapella rendition of a snippet of a Queen classic.

Review - Mike McLaughlin

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