Mostly Autumn 2021 Hot

Written by ant-rocks     September 30, 2021    
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Mostly Autumn never disappoint and they have become a well-oiled machine

Buckley : The Tivoli - 25th September 2021

When I saw Mostly Autumn in my hometown back in July 2019 I never dreamed it would be over two years before I saw them again, having seen them pretty much every year for the last twenty. The band have created and recorded another great piece of work, with bandleader Bryan John (guitar/vocals) being responsible for writing the bulk of the material. 'Graveyard Star' chronicles events during lockdown (March 2020 – July 2021) from his own perspective with the official release day for the album actually being the day before this show.

This is my first time seeing a band play live at The Tivoli and, lack of parking aside, it is the perfect venue for an artist who plays generally to an audience of around hundred and fifty. Plenty of vantage points, seating and a bar area just next to the main stage area, accessible very easily.

As is usually the case MA play two sets. The first focuses mainly on older material and from the start the sound is excellent. 'Tomorrow Dies' gets things under way with Olivia handling lead vocals. Her delivery throughout is faultless and there are many "goose-bump" moments when all you can do is stand and admire, letting the music wash over you. Despite the complexity of some of the arrangements everything just clicks, with every band member having an essential role. Iain Jennings (keyboards) helps underpin everything with atmospheric riffs and subtle nuances, and whether it be the more epic sounding songs or those built on a simple refrain the music is constantly atmospheric and uplifting. Older songs such as 'Nowhere To Hide' and 'Spirit Of Autumn Past' are complimented nicely by songs that are only a few years old, such as 'Western Skies' and 'House On The Hill'. Second guitarist Chris Johnson takes lead vocals for a great run through 'Changing Lives' and then the lengthy set staple 'Mother Nature' brings the first hour to an epic end.

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I also like shows such as this as there is no photo-pit. Provided flashes are not used it is possible to take shots throughout. It means that the three song click-click-click mentality can be replaced by something more comfortable. I am always aware of my surroundings when taking photos and never get in anyone's way or let it spoil or detract from my enjoyment of the actual show itself. Retreating to the bar for a twenty-minute break it is clear that the mature audience is grateful for the extensive seating and also means the ever-increasing temperature levels in the room can be escaped briefly.

Bryan promised everyone during the first half that the second set would focus heavily on 'Graveyard Star' material. I don't think he needed to be apprehensive about how the new songs would go down as most people in the room were probably MA die-hards and familiar with them, having purchased the "Limited Edition" version which was made available a couple of weeks earlier.

I have had the "Limited" version at home and played it constantly for several days to allow me to provide a review. This means when the songs are played they are not really "new" but more like old friends. Rehearsal time must have been minimal but they are all played to perfection. Olivia and Bryan swap lead vocals and Bryan also pulls off some extended solos with ease. The power of the music has a big impact and for a smallish room the acoustics are very impressive. 'Heroes Never Die' is another epic old favourite that brings things to a close in grand fashion, but they return with 'Forever And Beyond' and then it is time to retreat to the fresh North Wales air.
My second gig in five days was all I was expecting it to be. MA never disappoint and they have become a well-oiled machine, despite most of them not being full-time professional musicians. Another step on the road back to "normal".

Dave Bott

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