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Mostly Autumn and Strangefish, Oakwood Centre, Rotherham, 29th May 2004

StrangefishStrangefishFresh from their outstanding ‘V’ shows, Mostly Autumn returned to Rotherham and support was from the impressive Strangefish.

Strangefish got the evening underway, and performed forty-five minutes of comedy and clever musical changes. It is clear that the band are growing in confidence and style, and from tonight’s outing they even got members from Mostly Autumn jigging away behind the stage!  Happy As I Am was the first song, a long StrangefishStrangefishinstrumental intro before front man Steve Taylor took to the mic.  At this time the crowd was a little small owing to the early start, but by the end of their set the numbers had swelled.  Keep The Exits Clear was next, and featured a fine piano sound from Paul O’Neill, but in fact the whole band were very together on this one. The ‘comedy’ part complete with beach ball, glass and ice cubes followed in Take A Holiday.  This one got the crowd united with the band, knotted handkerchiefs on heads and dancing away.  This will continue to be a favourite in years to come.  At the end of the song, Steve Taylor got the wheelie suitcase out and walked across the stage to a big cheer.

StrangefishNext, Julian Gregory downed his bass in favour of violin for The Lighthouse Jig.  Another fun moment for band and crowd to again be united, complete with Steve jumping off the stage and arm dancing with the crowd.  Guitarist ‘Bob’ played solidly throughout the set.  Closing number was what has to be Strangefish’s anthem, Shifting Sands And Turning Tides and for me the highlight of their set.

2004 could be a big year for Strangefish, opening Progeny on Sunday 21st November 2004 at London’s Astoria, which together with the new album currently being worked on, should be a nice platform for bigger things.

Mostly AutumnMostly Autumn entered the stage to a large cheer, and opened with The Last Climb from their debut album For All We Shared…… and Angela Goldthorpe played a mind-blowing flute solo to again a big cheer.  From Passengers, Caught In A Fold was next, and again featured Angela’s precise flute playing. From the same album, Something In Between followed, and by this time the crowd was singing along, word for word.

Mostly AutumnSpirit Of Autumn Past and, the highlight in my opinion, Evergreen was next.  I have to say both Heather Findlay and Brian Josh as vocalists work very well together as a unit, and Heather’s voice just gets better every time I see her.

Shrinking Violet ended the first set and again the playing was faultless, all of the band were tight in all aspects, keys player Iain Jennings and bass player Andy Smith deserve a nice mention all throughout the sets.

Mostly AutumnDark Before Dawn opened the second set, Heather, dressed all in white like Galadriel, eased her way through this one, and Answer The Question again got the crowd jumping around.  Heather’s voice on Passengers shone through the mix, and credit has to go to the sound engineer, who ensured Mostly Autumn had a great sound during the two-hour-plus show.

Last Bright Light, Simple Ways and Never The Rainbow, three songs that go very well in any set followed.  Closing the second set was a nice crowd pleaser, Heroes Never Die. The band exited the stage to a loud generous applause only to appear for the encore Mother Nature. This was a nice gentle number, building up to the big climax, and again the crowd wanted more.

Mostly AutumnNow, a special bonus for the next encore, Afterglow was next, and was sung again very well by Heather, and the ‘ahh ahhs’ (you had to be there) were from Angela.

Well, that was it; another Mostly Autumn show, and a trip to the south of France for the following nights performance, and summer festivals await them.

Two excellent bands from the UK, playing very well, loads of ideas - the future looks good for PROG from where I stand!

Danny Mayo

 

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