Tag Archives: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas, Bilston Robin 2

Martin Ledger of Cloud Atlas at Bilston Robin 2

Cloud Atlas don’t play live that often, especially outside of York, so it’s well worth catching them when they do. On Sunday 16th August they came to one of the temples of the grassroots rock scene, Bilston Ronin 2

Howard Sinclair at Bilston Robin 2

Support was singer-songwriter Howard Sinclair. He normally performs as a solo acoustic artist, but this gig was a rare opportunity to see him with a full band, which included Morpheus Rising’s Paul “Gibbo” Gibbons on drums.  The result was a highly entertaining set, the songs fleshed out with the addition of a rhythm section and some bluesy lead guitar but still retaining a stripped-back singer-songwriter flavour.  One highlight was “Bedsheets & Bad Luck” with Howard on piano and a great guest vocal performance from Wednesday S on the song sung by Touchstone’s Kim Seviour on record.

Heidi Widdop

Cloud Atlas began with by playing live what many other bands would have run as an intro tape, a long intro of low whistle and e-bowed guitar before Martin Ledger lauuched into the riff of “Searchlight”, the rock epic that defines Cloud Atlas’ sound; a huge guitar sound, soulful vocals, a strong rhythm section and great use of atmospherics. There were many moments where Martin Ledger’s melodic and fluid effects-laden guitar recalled the playing of Marillion’s Steve Rothery.

Heidi and Martin of Cloud Atlas

The set consisted of the album “Boyond the Vale” in it’s entirety plus the Stolen Earth oldie “Soul in a Jar” and a remarkable solo acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” so radically reworked that it wasn’t instantly recognised. The material comes over powerfully live, played with fire and passion, and benefitted from the sort of clear sound we’ve come to expect from this venue.

Martin Ledger,  Rock God

They finished with an impressive “Stars” with its guitar-shredding climax, after which the crowd weren’t willing to leave without hearing more. But the band had no more songs, so Martin Ledger put it to an audence vote on what song we wanted to hear again. The choice was “Soul in a Jar”.

So finished a great gig by a band who really deserve a wider audience. They’ve probably reached the stage when they need more material if they’re to play headline-length shows. At some point there will be a follow-up to “Beyond the Vale” and there will be new songs in the set. In the meantime, perhaps the band should consider rehearsing an interesting cover or two to play as encores?

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Cloud Atlas + Howard Sinclair at Bilston!

Cloud Atlas and Howard Sinclair at Bilston Robin 2 on Sunday August 16

The splendid Cloud Atlas headline Bilston Robin 2 on Sunday 16th August. It’s also a rare chance to see Howard Sinclair with a full band as support.

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Cloud Atlas to play York in November

Heifi Widdop of  Cloud Atlas at Fibbers, York

Cloud Atlas will be playing a home town headlining gig at The Post Office Social Club in York on Saturday 14th November. The support act will be Chris Helme of Seahorses fame.

This is the day after Mostly Autumn’s showcase gig at The Grand Opera house, which is all the more reason for travelling fans to make a weekend of it.

If you can’t wait until then to see them, they’re also playing an acoustic show supporting the always excellent Jump at the Wesley Centre in Maltby on 25th April, and headline shows in Norwich and Bilston Robin 2 in July and August. Full details of these on the Cloud Atlas gigs page.

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Cloud Atlas on Bandcamp

Cloud Atlas are now on Bandcamp, and you can download their excellent album “Beyond the Vale” for the very reasonable price of £7

Here’s “Stars”, one of the standout songs from the album.

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2014 Albums of the Year – Part Three

Part three of the end-of-year album countdown, and we’re into the top ten. These are from 10 to 6, again sorted alphabetically because I can’t sort these into any sort of order. They’re all equally good.

Cloud AtlasBeyond the Vale

Cloud Atlas - Beyond The Vale newYet another York-based band (Is there something in the water?), Cloud Atlas is the band put together by Heidi Widdop following the dissolution of Stolen Earth. Their impressive début album is big widescreen rock with an epic scope, with Heidi’s distinctive bluesy vocals setting them apart from many of their obvious peers. But this album’s sound is as much about Martin Ledger’s soaring melodic lead guitar, with strong echoes of Marillion’s Steve Rothery.

Gazpacho Demon

Gazpacho - DemonNorway’s Gazpacho have come up with one of the darkest and most sinister-sounding records of 2014. It’s what Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden might have sounded like if Mark Hollis had spent a lot of time listening to Black Sabbath. Sinister violin-led pastoral soundscapes with are intercut with bursts of hard rock, motifs recur across the album, and there’s even an irruption of accordion-led central European folk at one point. An ambitious album which is by no means an easy listen, but one where you can keep finding new layers after many listens.

Knifeworld The Unravelling

The UnravellingA major step forward for Kavus Torabi’s eight-piece band, and reflects their current live sound far more than any of their previous recordings. It’s a record that takes psychedelia, jazz, hard rock and all kinds of other things, and puts them in a blender to produce something that sounds quite unlike anyone else. Fans of the late, great Frank Zappa should find a lot to like about this record, as should anyone who thinks there should be more bassoons in rock.

Luna RossaSecrets and Lies

Luna Rossa Secrets & LiesLuna Rossa started out as a side-project from Panic Room emphasising the acoustic side of Anne-Marie Helder’s and Jon Edwards’ music, but seems to have taken on a life of it’s own. Their second album is a logical progression from the first; perhaps not quite as eclectic, but with a slightly clearer musical identity. Luna Rossa still defy easy genre pigeonholing, though the album does show occasional hints of artists as varied as Goldfrapp and Renaissance. There’s some very raw heart-on-sleeve emotion, with the music revolving around and complementing Anne-Marie’s always remarkable vocals.

Steve RotheryThe Ghosts of Pripyat

Steve Rothery - The Ghosts of PripyatThis Kickstarter-funded project is Steve Rothery’s first proper solo album in more than three decades as lead guitarist of Marillion. It’s an instrumental album with a band including Panic Room’s Yatim Halimi and Mr So and So’s Dave Foster, Rothery’s lyrical and emotional playing both soars and rocks, the numbers building in intensity from slow-burning beginnings. The whole thing shows just why Rothery is one of the best guitarists of his generation, one of the few players good enough to pull this sort of thing off without descending into self-indulgence.

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Cloud Atlas – Stars

“Stars”, one of the standouts from Cloud Atlas’ debut album “Beyond the Vale”.

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Cambridge Rock Festival 2014 – Part Two

Olivia Sparnenn of Mostly Autumn at the 2014 Cambridge Rock Festival

For those who’s tastes run towards progressive rock and metal, Sunday was always going to be the day to be looked forward to the most. Continue reading

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Cloud Atlas – Searchlight

The song “Searchlight” from Cloud Atlas’ “Beyond the Vale” illustrated with photos from their launch gig in York last month.

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Cloud Atlas Album Launch

Cloud Atlas album launch at Tokyos in York

A few photos from Cloud Atlas’ album launch in Tokyo’s in York, moved at short notice from the original scheduled venue, Fibbers.

Cloud Atlas album launch at Tokyos in York

The songs from the album “Beyond the Vale” come over well live, which given the raw, live feel of the album shouldn’t really have been a suprise. Heidi Widdop has a voice that goes from Alison Goldfrapp to Janis Joplin, and lead guitarist Martin Ledger made a strong impression with his melodic and powerfully atmospheric style.

Cloud Atlas album launch at Tokyos in York

Cloud Atlas have quite a few more gigs in the pipeline, including an appearance at the Cambridge Rock Festival at the beginning of August. They are going to be a band to watch.

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Cloud Atlas album launch – New Venue

Cloud Atlas have moved their launch gig on Saturday 28th June to a different venue. The gig is now at Tokyos on Toft Green, York.

The original venue, Fibbers, is temporarily closed because of a dispute between the venue and the landlord.  As it says on the Fibbers Facebook page:

Due to a longstanding dispute with the landlord, Fibbers is TEMPORARILY closed but we expect this to be resolved AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Since “as soon as possible” may well not include “by Saturday night“, moving the gig does sound like the only possible option.

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