Sunday, 14th November 2010
The Globe, Cardiff, The UK
Article and photos by Jez Rowden and photos by Mel Allen
Mostly Autumn have appeared to be on a downward trajectory in recent years but I am happy to report that things have changed.
After discovering them at the turn of the millennium and seeing a couple of very impressive shows the albums started to get less interesting and
the last time I got to see them towards the end of 2005 I was, frankly, disappointed and havenít bothered with them since.
Initially the 100 mile round trip this time seemed a step too far but with my regular gig compadre keen to go I decided to give them another chance.
Iím glad I did.
The departure of long-time singer and focal point Heather Findlay earlier this year could have been terminal but with ex-backing vocalist Olivia Sparnenn
stepping forward the band feels truly rejuvenated.
Leader/guitarist/singer Bryan Josh together with the rest of the band (Iain Jennings (keys), Liam Davison (guitar), Andy Smith (bass), Gavin Griffiths (drums),
Anne-Marie Helder (flute/keys/backing vocals)) look comfortable and energised and tonight they put on a quite excellent two and a half hour show packed with great songs and performances.
Early nerves on Oliviaís part quickly dissipated her vocals and presence easily filling the void left by Heather and with a new album to promote the set was focused on material from Go Well,
Diamond Heart with almost the whole album being played plus most of the tracks from the Special Edition bonus disc including The Sound of the World, Anything At All, Ice and Forever Young.
This meant that to most of the audience the majority of the set was previously unheard but, no matter, at first listen this seems to be a collection of songs worth investigating.
It is not unusual for a band to concentrate on their latest album but for it to comprise this much of the set is less common but the result was a well balanced and received show with many highpoints.
The new album is also significant as it sees the return of Iain Jennings and Liam Davison to the Mostly Autumn fold after an absence of several years each.
After the break in the middle of the long set Davison got a chance to shine with a solo spot that showed just what a classy player he is, totally different in style to Josh.
It often appears that his role in the band is quite small but his influence on the sound should never be underestimated.
Likewise Jennings is understated but pivotal and having both of them back has clearly made a difference.
There is more of a band feel than of late where it seemed to have been more of a case of Josh, Findlay and supporting musicians.
The always excellent Anne-Marie Helder adds quality to the line-up and despite having her broken wrist in a cast performed valiantly Ė it canít be the best way to play the flute!
Her emotional backing vocals gave real depth to the performance.
Bryan Joshís playing was fluid and accomplished but it was not a case of him or Olivia hogging the limelight as the whole band performed well as a unit.
Familiar songs came and went covering Passengers, The Spirit of Autumn Past and The Last Bright Light,
the set closing as usual with an emotional version of their best known track,
Heroes Never Die from debut album For All We Shared but it was noticeable that only one track was included from the three later studio albums in the form of Fading Colours from Heart Full of Sky.
The inclusion of a track from Bryanís solo album and Questioning Eyes from Olivia and Ianís other band, Breathing Space,
also tipped the focus from old to new and showed a band re-emerging with a new outlook.
Sound quality was very good from where I was standing and the audience enthusiastic and supportive throughout, the band responding well.
At the end of the three song encore Bryan promised that they would return in the near future which resulted in another storm of applause.
A very enjoyable performance from a band that has turned itself round and may not yet be at the top of its game.
Deep in Borrowdale
Sound of the World
Anything at All
Answer the Question
The Spirit of autumn Past Pt.2
Fading Colours / Close My Eyes
Go Well, Diamond Heart
Back To Life
Hold the Sun
For All We Shared
When the War is Over
Last Bright Light
Heroes Never Die
Mostly Autumn Official Website
Mostly Autumn Myspace