The Watch at the Robin, Bilston, 15 November 2015. Review and photos by Dave Kennedy.
I had heard of The Watch – Italian; play some of their own material alongside Genesis songs; and the drummer wears a kilt. This latter point had been mentioned by more than one female Genesis fan of my acquaintance, for reasons unknown. However, I had never seen them before and some correspondence with the erstwhile editor of this august publication the day before the gig, caused me to count up and realise this would be my ninth Genesis tribute band. So, onwards to the familiar (to me) midlands venue of the Robin....
Inside there were a goodly number of familiar faces in the audience and we stood in anticipation as the Watch came on stage. Their show was billed as ‘The Watch plays Genesis and Gabriel’ and we were straight into ‘Not One Of Us’. I was immediately struck by how similar Simone Rossetti’s vocal qualities were to Peter Gabriel’s, as the band ran through a number of Peter’s tracks. Perhaps wisely they left out the biggest chart hits, but instead covered tracks such as I Don’t Remember, Shock the Monkey, Family Snapshot, D.I.Y, Here Comes the Flood and Mother of Violence. Sandwiched in the middle of these was their own composition ‘Shining Bald Heads’, a song which did seem to nestle well within the other prog material.
The second set started with ‘Behind The Lines’, heralding the start of a mini Duke Suite. This is where, for me, Simone’s passion for the music really shone through as the band seemed to shift up a gear, playing with skill and enthusiasm.
Next up was Duchess and Guide Vocal, which I enjoyed immensely as I am not sure if I’ve ever heard these songs played live – two of my favourite 3 man era songs. To finish the mini Duke Suite, Duke’s Travels.
Next up was Firth of Fifth and Valerio De Vittorio on keyboards tackled the introduction with confidence and skill, earning a well deserved round of applause. As a veteran audience member of many a trib band and many a FoF intro, in my view Valerio’s playing was right up there with the best.
No less skilful was Giorgio Gabriel on lead guitar, giving us a great guitar solo, again doing every justice to the material.
The penultimate song in the set was In The Cage, and to end what else but The Cinema Show. Mattia Rossetti on bass and double neck played the intro beautifully, setting us up well for one of the fan’s favourite songs. By the time we got to the ‘Na na na na’, you couldn’t hear Simone any more. The audience (perhaps 150) were singing along and drowning out his vocals.
And so ended the main set, and as is typical with this venue and Genesis fans, we launched into a lusty rendition of the Stagnation chant. This went on for some time as the band came back on stage for their encore, and seemed genuinely surprised by the length and volume of their reception.
For the first song of the encore, the band played Devil’s / Ivory, a composition which will appear on their new album in 2016 - another song which fits very well into the contemporary prog catalogue.
After this, Simone asked us “What was that song you were singing as we came back on stage? We don’t recognise it” (the tease!) before launching into Stagnation, thus giving us another chance to exercise our vocal chords.
And to end, Supper’s Ready, sadly not the whole song, although we’d already been treated to a lot of Gabriel / Genesis material, so we couldn’t complain. Instead Simone launched into the flute part preceding Apocalypse in 9/8. The song ended with us all still singing along, enjoying every moment.
At some point towards the end of the gig, Marco Fabbri, the kilted drummer, had parted company with his shirt and so, gentle reader, I leave you with this picture of the band enjoying their well deserved applause at the end of the show. The audience wasn’t the largest I’d ever seen at the Robin (and this was the fourth Genesis trib I’d seen at the Robin alone) but they were certainly one of the most enthusiastic, and the band deserved every moment of the appreciative applause.