Review & photos by David Waterfield
Friday evening at the Robin 2 saw the welcome return of Mostly Autumn to the Midlands. Their mix of powerful and evocative prog has always found an appreciative audience at the Bilston venue – and tonight there was a very good turnout. There is genuine warmth between the band and the audience and it always makes for a cracking evening. Tonight was no exception.
Mostly Autumn have shaken up the set list since they were last in these parts and the band spring the first of several musical surprises by opening with a boisterous ‘Winter Mountain’ which gets the night off to a flying start.
The band gave a relaxed yet energetic performance and a special mention has to go to the powerhouse drumming of Heather Findlay Band’s Alex Cromarty, deputising for the in-demand Gavin Griffiths. Bryan Josh later indicated that Alex would be playing with Mostly Autumn for the remainder of the year, if so then the Mostly Autumn rhythm section is in more than capable hands.
Three songs from the band’s last album ‘The Ghost Moon Orchestra’ all blended superbly into a varied set with ‘Wild Eyed Skies’, featuring a soaring vocal from Olivia Sparnenn, a particular standout. ‘Changing Fast’ (which originally featured on the bonus CD ‘A Weather For Poets’) was another welcome inclusion. The song has evolved into an excellent live number and is an altogether richer, gutsier and more rewarding experience than its studio counterpart.
A beautiful rendition of ‘The Rain Song’, sung tenderly by Olivia Sparnenn and performed as a three piece with Iain Jennings and Anne-Marie Helder, appeared mid-way through the evening whilst two Josh & Co Ltd tracks ‘Slow Down’ and ‘The Appian Way’ were further surprise inclusions. The spiritual ‘Passengers’ was another highlight of the evening before the emotional tour de force of ‘Questioning Eyes’ brought Mostly Autumn’s set to a close.
The band returned for an encore of ‘Heroes Never Die’ – an excellent and moving song, though I miss the guitar and flute introduction that it used to have – and ‘Tonight’ which also allowed for the band members to be introduced, sometimes humorously, one by one.
It was another hugely enjoyable evening in the company of one of my favourite bands. Mostly Autumn return to the Robin 2 in December for their ever-popular Christmas shows which should be another memorable occasion. I’ve got my ticket. See you there maybe?
Set List: Winter Mountain, Never The Rainbow, Unquiet Tears, Simple Ways, Changing Fast, Evergreen, Rain Song, Slow Down, Deep In Borrowdale, Drops Of The Sun, The Appian Way, Nowhere To Hide, Wild Eyed Skies, Passengers, Dark Before The Dawn, Questioning Eyes.
Encore: Heroes Never Die, Tonight.