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Monday, 28 July 2014

The View From The Back Of The Room: Mostly Autumn

Mostly Autumn, The Globe

Mostly Autumn are one of the most anthemic, emotive live bands on the UK circuit. Tonight was my 15(?) time seeing them and I brought two very good friends who had never seen them to witness the live power of the British prog/folk rockers. Coming on to no intro music the band immediately opened with what is now their signature opening track Deep In Borrowdale which gets everything rocking at a great pace as the beckon us to "Come On Up" and with the fast instrumental finale had front woman Olivia Josh spinning and bashing the tambourine like Ms Nicks. As is the norm with Mostly Autumn the touring line up changed again with the only band leader/singer/guitarist Bryan Josh, Singer Olivia, Keyboardist Iain Jennings and bassist Andy Smith the only members retained from the last tour, new drummer (former stand in drummer) Alex Cromarty showing he is perfect for the role playing with some serious drums on Gaze. The two other members on this tour are former members Chris Johnson on guitars and in a real treat for long term fans Angela Gordon on flutes and backing vocals. These two added a new dynamic to things with Johnson's rhythm playing being a particular highlight (as it always is). the set was drawn from the newer albums with Olivia on vocals. Second song in was Drops Of The Sun which is still one of my favourites, Changing Fast and Never The Rainbow came next and then we went into Rain Song which was a track Jennings, Johnson and Olivia used to play in Breathing Space and as is the norm with Breathing Space the track was led by Jennings' huge keyboard riffs that are a key to MA's sound. After Rain Song the band played the classic Evergreen which is so full of emotion it always gets the crowd going with it's raw emotion and explosive latter half. As the first set drew to a close we got more rock until the first set ended with the jarring and hugely emotive Questioning Eyes which builds up the drama as it progresses and shows off Olivia's amazing vocals before climaxing in a wave of joy at the end finishing the main set.

Here we got  a break before which Bryan announced that the second set would be the entire new album Dressed In Voices which piqued my interest as I think it is one of the best albums they have made. So without further ado they launched into Saturday Night before the piano led Not Yours To Take started to build the darkness that goes throughout this album, through the ballad Running and onto the very dark Home as the story of a man who is murdered and grabs the murder to show him what life would have been like if he had lived. The haunting First Day At School followed and changed the nature of the set totally with all the couples holding each other tightly as they had done on Evergreen and Questioning Eyes. This is the power of Mostly Autumn's music they can move you to tears or rock your head off shown on Down By The River this then moved into the folk of Skin On Skin and The House On The Hill. The penultimate track ended the album brilliantly with the Gilmour-like guitar of The Library showing off Bryan's guitar prowess and leading to the end of the album play through. The encore of classic epic Heroes Never Die exploded to life as always with Bryan playing his searing solo at the end before the acoustic folk of Tonight finished things off with power. Yet another great gig by Mostly Autumn and one that brought smiles to the faces of my compatriots, Mostly Autumn are a live band that should be witnessed live as they truly are one of the best live bands around!! I encourage people to see them whenever possible and if you have seen them take someone else as a joyous experience is better shared!! 9/10        

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