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Ars Nova, Anthony Clayton And Siemy Di Group, Herringthorpe, Rotherham UK, 27th March 2004

Making their first visit to Rotherham, Ars Nova all the way from Japan, performed a stunning set with their bombastic keyboard sounds and clever constructive pieces of music. First onto the stage was Anthony Clayton & Siemy Di Group who was very entertaining in their style of playing and musicianship.

Now, one thing to point out here, both bands were instrumental, and the instruments did the singing in a clever creative way. You had seven musicians all individuals in their own right, enjoying every minute from the small but appreciative crowd.

Back to AC & SD, the style of jazz and blues sprung to mind, a progressive fusion sort of sound mixed with Jeff Healey and this is the result.  Siemy Di is an excellent percussionist, and his style with three bass drums made a nice warming sound.  The main bass drum just pounded away, and the other two were a sort of a thinner version (i.e. single headed open sound bass drums), which made a pleasing thud.  Anthony Clayton’s guitar just glided away, as Gonzalo Carrera on keys made a nice feel to the whole sound.  On six string bass, Dan Swain held the whole thing together, and this is a band to watch and enjoy, as they are all talented indeed.  A fine set of songs in their allotted time soon elapsed and, standouts for me were I Would Love You To, and 6:00 am Flight To London.  A great performance all round.

Ars Nova hit the stage after a little pause as they got familiar with the previous bands equipment (to have brought keyboards and drums from Japan would have cost a fortune), and they soon blasted into TransiThe 42 Gods was next, the Emerson, Lake and Palmer influence shining through on this one.  The slim long blonde haired figure of keys player Keiko Kumagai took to the mic and reading from a note-pad said hello to the crowd.  She said it was great to be here to perform for us.  The other members of the band were introduced as they went into Fata Morgana and the following number Metamorphoses.

On drums, Masuhiro Goto, former member of fellow Japanese progsters Gerrard, was all over the kit, pulling many faces as he stormed through the set. Bassist Shinko Shibata, just stood in the same place and played her Fender Precision bass with precision.  It looked to cover her slender frame, but her finger span was quite ample enough to play.

Closing the set was Nova, and the band went off stage only to be back for the encore Succubus.  That was the end of the night, and many of the punters went over to the merchandise and purchased many items, which were on sale.

I hope Ars Nova return to our shores again in the near future.  What we saw tonight was a great example of modern prog played to perfection.

Danny Mayo

Ars Nova

Anthony Clayton and Siemy Di Group


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