The Railway Hotel, Southend -  14 July 2018

"Immediacy, sweat, passion and performance"

When, a few days before, I heard that Rob Marlow was playing his first gig for four years (as part of Southend Pride 2018), I knew I had to be there.

You see, I started photographing Rob 37 years ago in 1981 in the old Depeche days. What I didn't know was that Rob had hitched up with his former collaborator Gary Durant to reform the band Marlow.

The Railway is a historical venue to many, and I would have got chills up my spine if it hadn't been so damn sweltering. Before they went on Rob confessed that after four years he was suffering from an acute bout of nerves. But no one would have guessed that, when he took to the stage with his exuberant stage presence.

Marlow Railway Southend 2018
     Marlow Railway Southend 2018     Marlow Railway Southend 2018

Rob Marlow and Gary Durant displayed such great enthusiasm and good humour that it was infectious, making for a great atmosphere and equal response from the crowd.

Their set contained a varied selection of the duo's output. Obviously songs from Rob's solo album The Peter Pan Effect and an array from their joint albums as Marlow.

It really was a night for fun and games, as Rob teased the crowd with a story about the origin of his song The Face of Dorian Gray. According to Rob, this song was based on the name of his driving instructor when he was a teenager. She was 'Doreen' and he wrote a song about her, the record company didn't like the words so he changed them - so we get the dear Oscar reality.

We also laughed at their mid-set popcorn break by the band; they were really being showmen!

Marlow The Railway Southend 2018    Marlow The Railway Southend 2018    Marlow The Railway Southend 2018

There were a couple of surprise cover versions towards the end of the set. Firstly, a song by Rob's friend Vince Clarke from his Depeche Mode days - New Life. This great evening's finale was dedicated to everyone present and taking part in Southend Pride 2018 and the rest of us who give a damn - Bowie's Rebel, Rebel.

I say it's about immediacy, sweat, passion and performance - and that's what this gig and audience provided. 10/10

Setlist: Smile, Face of Dorian Gray , Inside/Outside , The Kiss, Stars, Peter Pan Effect, Rebel Rebel (David Bowie), New Life (Depeche Mode), My Teenage Dream, Home

Review + Photos: Tim Michael W