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Mostly Autumn - Live at High Voltage 2011 CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.09 | 13 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Mostly Autumn's "Live at High Voltage 2011" was recorded 24th July at 2011 at Victoria Park, London to a packed crowd. They were one of a huge swag of bands that came in and entertained the eager audiences. Research on this event is interesting and I discovered there were 3 sections spanning the weekend; a Classic Rock Stage with some prog including Dream Theater, Queensryche, and Michael Schenker; and a Metal Hammer Stage with lots of thrash and extreme bands. The Prog Stage was of considerable interest to progheads and began on the Saturday with John Barclay Harvest, Neal Morse, Anathema, Caravan, Amplifier, and The Von Hertzen Brothers. Not a bad lineup but the bands who played on the Sunday were more popular with worldwide class acts Jethro Tull, and Spock's Beard, followed by thhe lesser known Mostly Autumn at 4:45 to 5:30, then they were followed by cult favourites Curved Air, The Enid, and finally, Neo proggers, Pallas. Admittedly, this is a great lineup of artists, as good if not better than the 2010 festival that included prog bands ELP, Opeth, Transatlantic, Asia, Dweezil Zappa, Bigelf, Focus, Pendragon, Touchstone, Marillion, Argent, Uriah Heep, Magnum, Wishbone Ash with Martin Turner, Steve Hackett and The Reasoning. These festivals are really only slices of bands because they are only permitted to play an hour or less of material unless headlining the event. I think Mostly Autumn felt this pressure as they have a relatively short set and it did not have enough for me to really recommend this live album, despite the interview disc that comes with it. It is great though that High Voltage are releasing these albums, as they have done in the case of the concerts of ELP, Marilion, Spock's Beard, and Barclay James Harvest, among others incuding DVD compilations of the live performances.

Enough research, so onto this album of Mostly Autumn. The band members are all comparable including Bryan Josh, who has become essential to the group on lead vocals, lead and backing guitars, and acoustic guitars, and of course the newly appointed Olivia Sparnenn on lead vocals, and tambourine. The other musicians are made up of the likes of virtuosos Iain Jennings on keyboards, piano, Hammond organ and Anne-Marie Helder on vocals, flute, keyboards, and acoustic guitar. The performance occurred during the much hailed massive festival High Voltage in 2011. Mostly Autumn was an afternoon concert and the set only consisted of only 6 songs. All of the songs are fan favourites in particular the performances of 'Evergreen' and 'Heroes Never Die' that have appeared on countless setlists over the years. It is good to hear live versions of 'Distant Train', 'Answer the Question', and the rocking 'Deep in Borrowdale'. During this Olivia says to the crowd "come on High Voltage, let's see you!" as the crowd needed a bit of waking up. After all they had just heard about 6 bands prior over the weekend, and perhaps were waiting theur favourite bannd to follow. It is a difficult task to appease a crowd that may be there for a different band but I believe Mostly Autumn are capable of better when given a full set. Olivia does invite the crowd to have signings and say hello at a venue after the show, and of course this is terrific PR for a prog band.

The set ends with the dreamy ambience of 'Questioning Eyes' at 11 minutes, with extended keyboard and lead guitar solo, and the ever reliable classic closes the set, 'Heroes Never Die' at almost 10 minutes in length. At least the crowd got to hear these classics and hopefully it might lead to new fans as this is a criminally underrated band both here on the progarchives and elsewhere on the net. They basically have an underground cult status, yet Mostly Autumn are realy incredible artists and rarely disappoint, and I have heard everything on studio and would rate all at least 3 stars as it is excellent consistent quality prog. This is a snippet of their greatness but is worth a listen if you want to hear the more modern live sound. I would highly recommend the masterful performance on "Still Beautiful" which features everything on this album setlist but way more with 19 songs. With 13 live albums to choose this may be the last Mostly Autumn live CD you should put on your list, but it is a taster of how great this band can be.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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