Author Archives: Tim Hall

Alt-Fest – The collapse of a Kickstarted festival?

We’ve already seen kickstarter-funded board games fail to deliver. Now it looks like the same has happened to a festival.

As reported by Metal Hammer:

The inaugural event in Kettering, Northampton, was to take place in just over two weeks – on the weekend of August 15-17. Headliners included Fields Of The Nephilim, Marilyn Manson and The Cult. Also lined up were Gary Numan, Killing Joke and over 170 others.

Manson tonight updated the gig listings on his official website and on Facebook, with Alt-Fest now marked as “cancelled”. Other acts due to play, including Cradle Of Filth, have also reported that they have been told the event is off.

While there has been no confirmation by the organisers, this slow-motion collapse seems very reminiscent of Memories of Woodstock back in 2009, when an over-ambitious promoter bit off more than he could chew, booked a lot of big-name bands and then failed to sell enough tickets to cover their fees.

With the way news is leaking out via the bands while the organisers have merely promised some sort of announcement on Monday, I’m seeing a lot of recriminations flying online. It’s very difficult to imagine the festival actually taking place.

In retrospect, the whole thing looks ridiculously over-ambitious, with 170 bands across seven stages in an already saturated UK festival scene.

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Georgia leaves Maschine

Maschine at the 2011 Cambridge Rock Festival

Maschine have announced the departure of keyboard player Georgia Lewis

The rising-star prog outfit say Lewis wants to concentrate more fully on her folk music career, and describe their new member as an “elegant” addition to their lineup.

Luke Maschin’s outfit say: “Georgia has been a major asset and has played an important part in all of our achievements to date. Unfortunately, her energy cannot stretch as far as the role currently requires, as her true identity and full attention lies within her folk music.

The band’s new keyboard player will be Marie-Eve de Gaultier.

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Mostly Autumn, Bath Komedia

Angela GordonThis was a rather special gig. When multi-instrumentalist Anne-Marie Helder rejoined the touring band at the beginning of the year the band stated that there were a handful of shows she would not be able to do because of prior commitments. Then a few days before the show the band announced that former member Angela Gordon, who Anne-Marie replaced back in 2008 would be standing in for her for the two shows in Cardiff and Bath.

It was lovely to see Angela on stage with the band again. She just handled just backing vocals and flute, with rhythm guitarist Chris Johnson covering additional keyboard parts on the handful of songs where two keyboard players were needed to avoid holes in the sound. Angela’s distinctive voice gave the harmonies a different feel, something noticeable on “Evergreen”, a song that Olivia Sparnenn has long since taken and made her own.

Olivia SparnennThe setlist was the same as at Crewe a couple of weeks before. The first half was a mix of highlights from recent albums and standards from the early years. The flute showcase “The Last Climb” was naturally a highlight, with a very different solo from the one we’ve been used to. The first set ended with what has long been Olivia’s signature song, “Questioning Eyes”.

For the second half of the show the band played the new album “Dressed in Voices”. It’s one of the most musically ambitious records the band have ever made, the sort of album where the whole is far more than the sum of the parts, and benefits from being performed in its entirety. Which is precisely what they did. As at Crewe the songs come over very powerfully live. The whole thing packed a strong punch, but if I had to pick one standout it would be “Skin on Skin” with Alex Cromarty making his mark with some remarkable percussive pyrotechnics. It’s not often you can say that a drum solo was the high point of a set, and it’s certainly not the sort of thing you would have expected from a band like Mostly Autumn.

Alex Cromarty

This is a band currently at the top of their game, coming back very strongly after last year’s occasional wobbles. Mostly Autumn now play a couple of festival dates before returning for a further series of gigs in the Autumn.

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Dream Theater T-shirts in the news

It has not been a good day for Dream Theater t-shirts. First there is this story of dodgy vet struck off for knowing animals in the (ahem) Biblical sense, with the BBC News story showing the guy wearing a Dream Theater shirt. (And if you click on that link, don’t say I ddn’t warn you).

Then there is this ridiculous story about Mike Portnoy.

You know how it’s a faux pas to wear a band’s shirt to see them live? It seems like it’s an even bigger faux pas to wear a Dream Theater shirt that was printed in the last four years to a Mike Portnoy signing.

Portnoy is of course the former drummer for DT, and left with a bit of drama behind it. So, when a fan showed up to a signing this weekend wearing a Dream Theater shirt with the artwork for Dramatic Turn Of Events on it, Portnoy was none too pleased.

Rather than letting it go, he decided to hop onto social media and rant…

Now, knowing a few members or former members of bands that went through acrimonous splits or worse, and I own quite a few t-shirts that I would never wear to some other band’s gigs, especially if I’m going to be anywhere near the front.

But I’d still expect musicians to behave professionally should they meet any fan wearing the “wrong” shirt at a gig.

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So a bunch of gamers are celebrating the release of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons by burning their 4th Edition books. It seems the D&D Edition Warriors now make Yes lineup purists look like rank amateurs. Accusing me of being the president of their record company for writing a three-star review of their new album just can’t compete.

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Mostly Autumn return to Crewe

Olivia Sparnenn at The Box in Crewe

Some photos of Mostly Autumn at The Box at Crewe. It’s a long time since Mostly Autumn have played in Crewe. The gigs at the long-closed Limelight Club always had a very special atmosphere, and The Box feels like that venue’s spiritual successor, a proper rock club rather than a nightclub that also hosts live music.

The band were on top form too, with the new album “Dressed in Voices” played in full and coming over powerfully live. The 2014 lineup with Anne-Marie Helder back in the band (for most gigs at least) and Chris Johnson replacing Liam Davison seems to have gelled well, and the band are firing on all cylinders again.

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Stage times for the Resonance Rock Festival

Resonance Festival

The Resonance Rock Festival have published the stage times on the festival Facebook page.

Here are the final, definitive running times for Resonance. PLEASE NOTE: We now have an Acoustic Stage on Saturday 2nd August, as well as the Prog and Synergy stages. Luna Rossa are now playing on Saturday on that stage, NOT on Sunday 3rd/ Synergy stage. Due to unforeseen circumstances outside their control, both Parallax Faction and Mothers Ruin will no longer be playing. We wish them well, and they return the blessing!

Thursday 31st July – Prog Stage (only)
Doors @ 6pm

Kalamus – 7pm / 7.45pm
Robert Webb Masterclass – 8.15pm / 9pm
Mostly Autumn – 9.30pm / 11pm

Friday 1st August – All 3 Stages
Doors @ 6pm (All Stages)

Prog Stage (Globe)

John Mitchell – 6.45pm / 7.30pm
Lifesigns – 8pm / 9pm
Nosound – 9.30pm / 11pm

Synergy Stage (BallRoom)

Moheir – 7pm / 8pm
Fuzzy Nautilus – 8.30pm / 9.30pm
Thumpermonkey – 10pm / 11pm+

Jack Daniels Stage (Tavistock)

Stella+ – 7pm / 8pm
Red Letters – 8.30pm / 9.30pm
Also Eden – 10pm / 11pm +

Saturday 2nd August – 3 Stages (Prog, Synergy and Acoustic)

Acoustic Stage (Globe) – Doors @ Noon

Matt Stevens – 12.30pm / 1.00pm (Unplugged set)
Jack Arthurs – 1.15pm / 1.45pm (Unplugged set)
Guy Manning – 2.00pm / 2.45pm (Unplugged set)
Luna Rossa – 3.00pm / 3.45pm +

Prog Stage (BallRoom)– Doors @ 1pm

Halo Tora – 2.00pm / 2.45pm
The Tirith – 3.15pm / 4.00pm
Anna Phoebe – 4.30pm / 5.45pm

Break

Henry Fool – 7.45pm / 9pm
The Enid – 9-30 pm / 11pm

Synergy Stage(Tavistock) – Doors @ 1pm

The Far Meadow –1.30pm / 2.15pm
Triage – 2-45pm/ 3.30pm
Unto Us – 4pm / 5pm

Break

Trojan Horse – 7.00pm / 8.00pm
The Fierce And The Dead – 8.30pm / 9.30pm

Sunday 3rd August

Prog Stage (Globe) -Doors @ Noon

Maschine – 12.30pm /1.30pm
Synaesthesia – 2pm/ 3pm
The Gift – 3.30pm / 4.30pm

Break

Angalagard – 6.30pm / 8.00pm
Big Elf – 9pm / 10.30pm

Synergy Stage (Ball Room)– Doors @ Noon

Rat Face Lewey –12.30pm / 1.15pm
Kingbathmat – 1.45pm /3pm

Break

A Formal Horse – 4pm / 4.45pm
Francis Lickerish – 5.15pm / 6.15pm

Break

I Am Your Autopilot – 8pm /8.45pm
X Ray Quartet – 9.15pm

Jack Daniels Stage (Tavistock)– Doors @ Noon

HekZ – 1pm / 1.45pm
Babajack – 2.15pm / 3 pm
Mr So & So – 3.30pm / 4.30pm

Break

Jupiter Falls – 6 pm / 7pm
Aeon Zen – 7.30pm / 9pm

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Morpheus Rising and Fahran at Bilston

Si Wright of Morpeus Rising at Bilston Robin 2 on 13th July 2014Morpheus Rising played a headline gig at Bilston Robin 2, with support from Fahran. Because the gig was more than week ago, I didn’t take proper notes, I’ve reviewed Morpheus Rising many times before and it was a few days after Stabcon, I’m going to write this up as if it was a session of Umläut: The Game of Metal.

Fahran at Bilston Robin 2In Umläut terms, Fahrah’s strongest performance trait was Stagecraft, and their set consisted largely of Face-Melters. They did well enough to win at least one Impression Check, and won themselves some Glory. They’re a very young band, and on the strength of performances like this they’re going places.

Pete Harwood and Damien Sweeting of Morpheus Rising at Bilston

The level of musicianship and especially their strength of songcraft suggest that Morpheus Rising’s best performance trait is Technique, though their Stagecraft and Power were hardly lacking. In the absense of drummer Nigel Durham who’d suffered a shoulder injury, former drummer Paul “Gibbo” Gibbons stood in on drums having hurredly learned the band’s new songs, and the band were still as tight as ever. Despite only two albums I heard the set described as sounding like a greatest hits set, with the bulk of the new album “Eximius Humanus” alongside highlights from the debut. Morpheus Rising too came away from the gig with plenty of Glory.

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Porthmadog Again

Ffestiniog Railway's double-Fairlie A few more photos from norh Wales, starting with 1979-built double Fairlie “David Lloyd George” at Blaenau Ffestiniog, having just arrived on the morning train from Porthmadog. It’s still running in grey livery following an overhaul. Despite being one of the “new” locomotives build since preservation, it’s now 35 years old.
Continue reading

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Angela Gordon to guest with Mostly Autumn

Odin Dragonfly at Bilston Robin 2

Mostly Autumn have announced that Angela Gordon (seen here with Odin Dragonfly at Bilston) will be guesting for two shows this weekend as a stand-in for Anne-Marie Helder, who is unavailable due to prior commitments this weekend.

We’re really looking forward to this weekends gigs (details here) in Tavistock, Cardiff and Bath,  and are delighted to announce that our friend and former member Angela Gordon will be joining the band on stage at Cardiff and Bath – so good to see her back for a couple of shows.

As long-term fans will know, Angela played flute, keys and backing vocals with the band from 1997 throught to 2007, and appears on the first six albums.

The band go on to play the Resonance Festival in Balham on Thursday 31st July and then the Cambridge Rock Festival on Sunday August 10th.

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