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Mostly Autumn - Live at the Grand Opera House CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn

Prog Folk

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4 stars Great show, full of emotions. Quite good sound quality, although not so great filmmaking. Seeing this band live is quite an experience, even through the television. Forget the extras, the tracklist is what counts here. Although mostly filled with titles from their not so great album "Passengers", you get great renditions of other MA classics. You also get a "The gap is too wide", which is always nice... Good covers of "Smoke on the Water" and "Comfortably Numb"(my favorite version of the song, apart from the one on Delicate Sound of Thunder).
Report this review (#54079)
Posted Monday, October 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
5 stars This review is not of the DVD, but of the CD which covers disc one; this is not listed separately.

Like the Old Testament Israelis waiting for their Messiah to come, prog fans from the 70s have been waiting for a band to emerge as successor to the greats of that era. This is unquestionably that band. Ironic that they come from the city I live in and that I had never heard of them until I started visiting this site. The press ignore them almost completely; their hometown gigs attract little publicity but mysteriously sell out without fail. Listening to this CD, recorded live in York, it's easy to see why. They have a female vocalist in Heather Findlay who compares to the best, Iain Jennings is an accomplished keyboards player and Bryan Josh is a fine guitarist in the mould of Gilmour and Latimer; melodic first and foremost. Add a fine flute player in Angela Goldthorpe and a very good rhythm section and second guitarist and you have a band that lacks nothing but on this CD they are augmented by Troy Donockley, who contributes pipes, whistles and some searing electric guitar. Musically they are like a cross between Pink Floyd, Camel and Renaissance with Celtic elements thrown in; they are influenced by these bands but not clones and have their own character. They are not afraid to perform 15 minute epics, either.

The songs on this album have been criticised by some for veering from their earlier, more folky material. Since I haven't heard that yet, I must judge as I find and I find this album to be excellent; one of the best live albums I've ever heard. The interplay between the instruments is excellent, especially on Caught in a Fold, Dark Before Dawn and Bitterness Burnt. If the Passengers album was disappointing to some, I love all the songs off it on this album. In fact I love this whole album - every note, every word. Criticisms? Bryan Josh's singing isn't quite spot on at the start, though he warms up, and one or two vocal harmonies go a bit wrong but that's it. To put the material in perspective, the worst track on here is a cover of Comfortably Numb (which they perform better than Pink Floyd do). The hype says that they may be the new Pink Floyd; I don't know if that's true but they are the first Mostly Autumn and that's a pretty good thing to be. 5* and if you haven't got this, you're a loser with a capital L.

Report this review (#57966)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

Pink Floyd with Folk Touch? It might well be!

Oh yeah .!!! As usual during weekend I listen to variety of music that are not necessarily prog ones. For this morning I started my day with two albums of Lucky Peterson and one one album of Johny "Guitar" Watson. Were you there in the 70s? If so, you might hear an R&B song that was popular at that time by Johny "Guitar" Watson called "Real Mother Ya"? Then I watched the Opeth "Lamentations" DVD and spun Jamiroquai "Emergency on Planet Earth". Ha? Jamiroquai? What's wrong with it? I love this first album of the R&B band. Progger is human being who needs to refresh his mind with any kind of music that can cheer the day. Well, that was a bit of background about what I was doing this morning. And now, I'm watching the DVD that I have purchased long long time ago but never got a proper time to enjoy it .Mostly Autumn "at The Grand Opera House". I think this is my third viewing since I bought it. The previous two viewings were not done in a proper way and by that time I was just so engaged in heavier side of prog: progressive metal.

To my surprise this DVD gives me a full pleasant viewing. First off, I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the band and the reason I purchased this DVD from Amazon at that time was due to efficient shipping charges if I ordered about three titles. So this DVD was just a leftover, sorry.! I only got one album of the band from "For All We Shared" album which I already reviewed at this site sometime in 2004. So, practically all songs performed right here from their studio work were not that I'm familiar with already. But the band give me a very good impression about their music as well as their performance here at this DVD.

The performance was held at The Grand Opera House, New York, in front off sold-out crowd who waited to acclaim the returning heroes on a magical evening which featured the full majesty of an extended Mostly Autumn augmented by a string quartet, choir and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley. The original band members include Heather Findlay (vocals), Bryan Josh (guitar, vocals), Liam Davison (guitar), Iain Jennings (keyboards), Jonathon Blackmore (drums), Andy Smith (bass) and Angela Goldthorpe (flute, keyboards).

The first three tracks: "Caught In A Fold", "The Dark Before The Dawn", and "Answer The Question" flow beautifully with excellent performance by the band members. Key attraction for these was the performance of Heather Findlay and the excellent flute player Angela Goldthorpe. Her maneuvers of flute work on top of Mostly Autumn dynamic arrangements are very significant in contributing to the overall live performance. Her style is not categorized under Thijs van Leer or even Ian Anderson. She is a class of her own. Bryan Josh whom by physical look is similar to your David Gilmour provides his stunning guitar solo in Floydian style. The next tracks also excellent ones.

One track that really blows me away is track no. 6 "Distant Train" - an instrumental one. The composition is very strong: stunning Bryan Josh Floydian guitar solo work with totally symphonic orchestra background music. Wow! It's so elevating and it makes your adrenalin runs faster than usual pace. I can see now that this band is one of excellent ones in prog movement. Not only that, the following track "The Gap is Too Wide" includes the choir performance that makes the song so grandiose. What I also like about the band is that they use acoustic instruments like mandolin, and acoustic guitar quite a lot. The music is somewhat floating like Pink Floyd with additional touch on acoustic plus string quartet.

The performance also includes a cover of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". The Pink Floyd's cover has been extended at the last part that makes the song quite long.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. For those who are longing for Pink Floyd concert might compare with this DVD even though this was set much simpler with lesser crowd. This DVD leads me to explore other studio albums from the band. Keep on proggin' ..!

"Losers let life happen to them - winners make it happen."

Report this review (#100301)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This DVD captures Mostly Autumn at their most prestigious gig to date, selling out the Grand Opera House in their home city of York. For the occasion they also brought on stage at different times Troy Donockley (who has of course recorded with the band), a string quartet and a choir. Lots of lights, back projection films (which can also be viewed separately), and the impression is certainly given that this is a band that are ready to breakthrough to the big time. They have been likened many times to Pink Floyd, but that is unfair both to them and the Floyd. Yes, they incorporate many prog elements in their music, but there is also room for folk and by having two very different lead vocalists it means that they can move the sound around. This is a seven-piece outfit, but with strong singers and instrumentalists they come across as far more than that during the course of a gig.

Bryan Josh takes stage left and has quite a commanding presence, but when she is singing lead then it is definitely Heather Findlay who is the star, and knows it (when she is wearing her hat there is a very striking image). Songs such as "Answer The Question" show why this band is a force to be reckoned with, it is dark and brooding in the verse with riffing guitars and Bryan almost growling out the vocals, but when Heather joins in and then with Angela Goldthorpe takes over the music stays heavy (there are two electric guitars after all) but moves to a new plane. This is a song that builds and builds, with a piano somehow managing to stay on top of all of the power that is the pressure cooker just waiting to explode. Then just when it can't go any further it just gently drifts away, and the piano introduction to "Goodbye Alone" heralds yet another style.

When the band comes back for encores, there is a sense of relief, and they are going to have a good time. With Troy onstage, the three guitarists start the riff to "Smoke On The Water" and it is smiles all round. That and the next encore, "Comfortably Numb", are the only covers and the audience are left satiated, as was I. 90 minutes somehow doesn't seem long enough. I loved this band when I first heard them (what seems like) many years ago when they were signed to Cyclops, they have just kept getting better.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

Report this review (#1106903)
Posted Saturday, January 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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