Concert Reviews

Mostly Autumn (St. Helens) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 22, 2017    
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Mostly Autumn - Citadel, St. Helens (UK) - 04 November 2017

It's a cold wet night in St. Helens, but I'm warmed by a certain football result before heading into the Citadel venue for Mostly Autumn's annual visit. I have a tremendous fondness for the guys and gals from Yorkshire, and have lost count of the number of times I have seen them during the last fifteen years. The ever-changing line-up has stabilised somewhat, and I think it has been the same for the last three years, since the tour to support the 'Dressed In Voices' concept began. The 'Sight Of Day' album, released during the summer months of 2017, is one of their finest and an easy entry in my Top Five for the year. I was attending the show in eager anticipation of hearing some of those songs played live and on speaking to Suzie (PR, merchandise and graphics) before the show, was pleased to hear that they would be including a considerable number of them in the set.

The show is split into two, and after an unassuming entry to the stage and a small technical hitch, they begin. As is usually the case in the intimate room, the sound is excellent. This is no mean feat when you consider there are seven people on the compact stage, all using a multitude of instruments. Every single person is integral to the sound, and though Bryan Josh (guitar/vocals) and Livvy Sparnenn-Josh (vocals) remain the core of Mostly Autumn in terms of writing, no-one's role can be underestimated when the band perform live. Iain Jennings' keyboards underpin much of the music and during the more personal and intimate songs, he and Sparnenn-Josh share the spotlight, with 'The Man Without A Name' from 'Sight....' and 'Silhouettes Of Stolen Ghosts', a bonus track from 'Dressed...', being perfect examples. Andy Smith (bass) and Alex Cromerty (drums) are almost lost in the shadows to the rear of the stage, but there is no doubting the impact the rhythm section makes, and we even get a brief drum solo as 'Skin On Skin' reaches its conclusion. Angela Gordon (keyboards/flute) adds some great backing vocals and compliments Sparnenn-Josh really well during some of the harmonies. Chris Johnson's Mostly Autumn role has grown slightly in recent years and as well as guitar and song-writing contributions, he also takes lead vocals during 'Silver Glass' and 'Changing Lives' to great effect.

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There is a twenty-five minute break between the different sets, but we get a show well in excess of two hours. This creates the opportunity to include several epic songs, none more so than that of 'Sight Of Day' which lasts the best part of fifteen minutes and is essentially three songs in one. 'Evergreen', 'Mother Nature', 'Heroes Never Die' and 'Native Spirit' are the perfect blend of power and passion. You could hear a pin drop during the more subtle moments whilst being pinned to the wall moments later amidst a barrage riffs. Sparnenn-Josh's vocals still give me goose-bumps. 'Questioning Eyes' brings the first set to a close and I think everyone is ready for a breather after being floored by her impassioned delivery. Bryan Josh seems content to concentrate on his guitar during the first half but steps up to the microphone more often in the second.

When things come to a close with 'Raindown' and 'Forever And Beyond', it is hard to believe the night is already at an end. T-shirts and CDs seem to be selling really well during a quiet post-show pint and it was also good to pick up quite a number of non-St. Helens accents throughout the evening. It was still cold and raining on leaving the venue, but thankfully Autumn prevailed.

Dave Bott

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