Monday, June 1, 2009

Mostly Autumn - Gloucester 31/05/09

So, Sunday late afternoon, a lovely hot sunny day as we set off up the M5 to Gloucester to see Mostly Autumn at the Guildhall.

A good venue, I think, with a nice bar and a reasonable size. Not a massive audience but clearly a lot of long term followers of the band.

I was a bit unsure what to expect, to be honest. I like the band a lot, based on owning the Glass Shadows album and also from seeing a few vids on YouTube (wildly varying sound and visual quality!).

I wasn't disaapointed though, incredibly polished and professional performance and a really great sound quality.

Lots of people on stage, perhaps they could have benefitted from a bit more room? Certainly Olivia Sparnenn, the backing singer, was hidden away at the back for most of the time. A shame really, because when she stepped into the limelight and let rip she was amazing; what a fantastic voice and bags of stage presence. She is a real rock singer and gorgeous too. Mind you she is in good company, both Heather Findlay, the lead singer, and Anne-Marie Helder, the keyboards/flute/acoustic guitarist/backing vocalist, are also lovely looking and with bags of stage presence too. Just as well really, because the male members of the band aren't really visually exciting; good players but not really a focal point. The women make up for them though; loads of movement, great, eye catching stage clothes and lots of long hair getting tossed around in the spotlights.

The sound was thick and rich, probably down to having two guitarists, two keyboards, bass, drums and two singers on stage, with plenty of instrumental talent on show. I knew that the band was big and with a lot of instruments, that was one reason I was unsure of what they would be like live; in the wrong venue and with a poor sound balance that many players can sound muddy but last night the sound balance and clarity was excellent.

They did a long set with a short interval halfway, a chance to get to the bar for some excellent local dry cider!

Musically, Mostly Autumn are are the melodic end of prog, with a folky kind of thing going on, especially in their older songs. Bryan Josh, the lead guitarist and male lead voice, is clearly a huge David Gilmour fan; his voice is similar to Gilmour's and his guitar style is very influenced by him too, which is a good thing to my way of thinking. He shows Gilmour's influences but he isn't derivative or just a copyist.

Heather Findlay is a real star though. She looks great and she can really sing. She is massively confident as a front person for the band too. When she and Olivia did their big duo song they really set the stage alight, the band ought to have the pair of them doing more twin vocal numbers. Really exciting and two great singers too. That was a real highlight for me.

So, yeah, a good evening. I'd definitely go and see them again. I bought two more of their CDs too, Heart Full Of Sky and Storms Over Still Water.

I've played them both through already and I think I'd go so far as to say that I think that Heart Full Of Sky might be a better album than Glass Shadows on a first hearing.

Finally, it was nice to bump into Kalyr after the gig. Sorry if I seemed a bit distracted, I was getting a bit tired, but it was nice to meet a fellow 'Spiller and seeing as it was via him that I discovered Mostly Autumn, a big thanks.


saneshane said...

Read through a lovingly posted review of Mostly Autumn live.. the style of writing seems a bit different.. bumped into Kalyr - he's flipped..
WHAT? oh few! it's by CaroleB.. thought K might have found a portal and discovered himself at a M.A gig.. it'll happen one day, no doubt.

Good post CB.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Carole!

Rumour has it that the reason they don't play in Cardiff just round the corner from Torchwood's base any more is because that Rift was causing strange things to happen.

Seriously though, that was a great gig - I've seen them several times this year, and they've been on top form all tour. But they seemed to take things to another level on Sunday.

Will be uploading some of the pictures I took with my new SLR - thanks to the band for letting me take it in despite those signs saying 'no professional type cameras'. Even had an discussion about stage photography during the interval with the guy doing the lighting.