The Boardwalk - Sheffield, England - 18 October 2002
Review and HTML © Russell W Elliot 2002
all photos © Chris Walkden 2002
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Last updated: 30 October 2002
After a very successful pair of performances in New York City and Trenton, New Jersey (review) that opened up America for the Yorkshire-based progressive Celtic rock band Mostly Autumn, they have embarked on their final UK tour for 2002. The band will tour continental Europe in early 2003 and are everso keen to go back to America as soon as tour plans can be established.
Designed to promote their new two-CD compilation Catch The Spirit, the tour includes almost six weeks of dates in small, medium and larger venues. With a Newcastle pub gig the night before, we caught the band at The Boardwalk, an intimate venue in Sheffield City Centre, only six miles from the epicentre of the Classic Rock Society. Despite Mostly Autumn being based in south Yorkshire, it was Mostly Autumn's first ever performance in Sheffield. They are certain to be drawn back.
The gig was quite well attended with many keen fans gathering right up at the stage for the best view. Lights and sound were superb for a smallish venue with production exceeding the Trenton gig amongst others. The band were in extremely fine form, sounding great and with excellent stagecraft, comfortable with the running order and performing without printed setlists. The show was comprised of two segments with a brief intermission between sets.
Fronted by the stunning Heather Findlay (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, penny whistle, recorder, percussion) and Bryan Josh (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), the lineup also includes Angela Goldthorpe (flute, whistle, recorder, keyboard, backing vocals), Ian Jennings (keyboards), Liam Davison (acoustic and electric guitar), Andy Smith (bass) and Jonathan Blacmore (drums). The band's power was effectively transferred into the venue through an in-place PA and solid engineering by the band's own road crew. Vocals, flute and whistles could have been more pronounced in the mix.
The Sheffield audience was obviously not new to Mostly Autumn's music with many of the keenest fans working hard to stay right up at the front where they could dance and rock along with the tunes. Many either sang along or mouthed words of even the least well-known tracks. Certain highlights of the first set included the emotive "Evergreen" and multi-instrumental "The Dark Before The Dawn." Additional rockers included "Winter Mountain," the instrumental "The Last Climb" and widely varying tune "Half The Mountain."
In the second set, the audience were treated to stunning live renditions of "Noise From My Head," favourite "Never The Rainbow" featuring Iain Jennings' elaborate keyboard work and Heather's own "Shrinking Voilet." The audience was especially delighted with the Angela and Heather recorder duet within the track voted best song by CRS at the BOTY 2001.
The second set--principally comprised of epic length tracks with vast instrumental excursions by each of the individual artists--concluded with the Bryan Josh classic "Heroes Never Die." Mostly Autumn were warmly welcomed back for an encore performance of the further epic "Mother Nature." An ecstatic audience rewarded the band with significant applause following each number and an ovation of clapping at the conclusion of their encore.
The so-called definitive and very best collection of Mostly Autumn's material is a two CD compilation entitled Catch The Sprit. Comprised of a total of 23 tracks, it includes the new arrangements on their former compilation Heroes Never Die and a collection of further new arrangements on a disc within the set called Mother Nature. The running order of the new set differs from the earlier anthology. Visit the band's website for further details.
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