Mostly Autumn (2019) Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     July 12, 2019    
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Mostly Autumn - Citadel, St. Helens (UK) - 28 June 2019

Being the warmest day of the year so far meant an enjoyable, though slightly uncomfortable, night was in store at the compact Citadel venue. It was also a night of high emotion. Partly due to the fact the Citadel would be closing for good on the following night and also because the subject matter of the recent Mostly Autumn album, 'White Rainbow', is very personal to the band. Liam Davison was a former member and close friend of MA, who passed away in 2017, just 49 years old. Bryan Josh took Liam's idea of being buried in the old Viking tradition and used it as the catalyst for the writing and creation process for a new set of songs, some of which would feature in the live set. The Citadel in St. Helens has become a regular fixture on the MA touring itinerary since they played there for the first time several years ago. It has proved to be a popular venue for band and fans alike, due to its intimate atmosphere and perfect acoustics. It is just a five-minute taxi ride away from my home and a no-brainer once the date came around.

Mostly Autumn 2019 Live 1

Speaking to Bryan earlier in the day it was obvious how much the new material meant to him and though the album was not being played in its entirety (it is a possibility sometime in the future) the songs that would be performed still packed an emotional punch. Breathing room was something of a premium as the seven members of MA made an unassuming entrance to the stage. It was close to a sell-out (as usual), but you could still hear a pin drop before the opening notes of the 'Sight Of Day' album title-track from Iain Jennings' keyboards punctured the silence. The epic nature of the song (fifteen minutes) was powerful and spellbinding and when it finally came to a close, leaving everyone drained, it was hard to imagine how it could be followed.

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In fact, though the first set featured just six songs it was still sixty minutes worth of top quality Rock music with a Progressive edge. 'Simple Ways', 'Evergreen', 'Silver Glass', 'The Last Climb' and 'Mother Nature' are all well-served favourites and everyone gave their all. Olivia Sparnenn-Josh's vocals were breath-taking and hypnotic when solo and also worked perfectly in conjunction with those of Bryan. Rhythm guitarist Chris Johnson's 'Silver Glass' went down really well and the harmonies with those of flautist/keyboardist player Angela Gordon added depth to the sound. Bass player Andy Smith and drummer Henry Rogers are the backbone of the band and laid the foundation for the sweeping musical passages without being overly showy.

Mostly Autumn 2019 Live 3

The second set concentrated on the 'White Rainbow' material and it was difficult not to get caught up in the drama and be swept along on the musical tide. When Olivia sang "forceful smiles as we melt inside" (from the track 'Burn') it really impacted and was quite moving. Bringing to mind loved ones who have passed and the sense of loss that imbues such empty feelings all came to mind as the set moved on, but any sorrow was short-lived as it became apparent this was, in effect, a dedication and a celebration of life. The second set highlights were Chris Johnson's 'Changing Lives' (from 'Sight Of Day') and the 'White Rainbow' title track. Though twenty minutes long it never outstayed its welcome and the reception it received at its conclusion would seem to suggest it could have gone on for twenty minutes more. 'Heroes Never Die' is another ode to a loved one departed and when the emotional roller-coaster finally came to an end I'm sure the darkness hid a few tear-stained faces.

Mostly Autumn 2019 Live 2

A Mostly Autumn show is always a special occasion and tonight was no exception. The band have a dedicated fan-base and it is a shame that the Citadel venue in St.Helens will never host them again. Sniff...

Review and photos by Dave Bott

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