Tag Archives: Crimson Sky

Crimson Sky – Dawn

Crimson Sky - DawnBristol-based rock band Crimson Sky established a reputation with the 2009′s album “Misunderstood” and some well-received gigs including a strong performance at the 2010 Cambridge Rock Festival. Unfortunately that lineup of the band imploded soon after, and for a while the continued existence of the band was in doubt.

After a lengthy hiatus the band regrouped earlier this year with a brand new lineup featuring Jane Setter on vocals and Moray McDonald on keys. Following some successful gigs that proved the new-look band had what it takes, the band went into the studio to record a four-track EP; two brand new songs, and two reworkings of songs from “Misunderstood”.

The EP opens with an atmospheric keyboard drone accompanied by bells, which leads into the eastern-flavoured guitar figure that forms the intro to “Crimson Sky”, the first of two new numbers. By the time the full band kick in one thing that’s very apparent is the quality of the production; the sound is both polished and powerful. This is prog-rock with the emphasis on Rock.

Next comes the re-recording of lengthy ballad “The Sea”, featuring an extended guitar workout. The second new number “The Park” has the feel of slightly punky Uriah Heep with it’s organ riff and energetic vocal. The EP closes with “After the Rain” with something of an indie vibe with it’s jangling guitar, at least until we get to the solo.

Changing a vocalist always has a big impact on a band’s sound. In Crimson Sky’s case, Jane Setter neither copies the previous singer’s style nor completely changes the sound of the band. She’s got greater range, but although her background is more ‘classic rock’ there’s still a touch of 80s new-wave about her vocal style. She makes her mark on the old songs without radically reinterpreting them, and then goes on to show just what she can do on the new ones.

The dominant instrumental sound is still Martin Leamon’s fluid lead guitar. There are moments, especially on “The Sea” that remind me of Twelfth Night’s Andy Revell. The other thing that strongly impresses is Moray McDonald’s keyboard playing. Much is his playing is understated, adding colour rather than playing lead, but he shines on “The Park” with that great organ riff and some lovely piano later in the song. There’s more than a touch of Marillion’s Mark Kelly about his playing, especially his solo on “Crimson Sky”.

The end result is an impressive progressive rock record that manages to avoid most of the obvious clichés of the genre. Let’s hope it isn’t too long before the band follow it up with a full-length album.

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Crimson Sky announce new EP “Dawn”

Crimson Sky - DawnThe long-awaited new EP by Crimson Sky is finally on its way. This will be the first release from the lineup of the band that made their live debut in March this year, with Jane Setter on lead vocals and Moray McDonald on keyboards.

As posted by Martin Leamon on Facebook earlier today

Our new EP is called Dawn and it will be uploaded to our distributor for iTunes, emusic, etc, on Monday, as soon as I have a date for the “digital” release I will post it here.

The CD version will be sent for duplication next week as well.
We might have to wait for a couple of weeks for these to be ready.

The track listing is as follows;
1. Crimson Sky
2. The Sea (2012 Version)
3. The Park
4. After The Rain (2012 Version)

Tracks 1 and 3 are new songs and 2 and 4 are totally new and reworked versions of our old songs recorded by the current CS line up.

The recording was done at Outhouse Studios earlier this year and was produced by Ben Humphreys and James Billinge, and mixed by John Mitchell.

Artwork by Sara Fincham-Majumdar
Crimson Sky Logo by Lesley Lee
Photography by Neil Palfreyman

A big thank you to all our fans and friends, for sticking with us and being so patience :-)

There will be an official launch gig for the EP on Sunday 4th November 2012 at South Street Arts Centre, Reading. Details for both the gig and ordering the EP will be on www.crimsonsky.me.uk/.

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Crimson Sky, Reading, 31st March 2012

Saturday 31st of March saw Reading’s Prog event of the year; a showcase gig featuring Crimson Sky marking the début of their new vocalist Jane Setter, co-headlining with Grey Lady Down, with support from John Mitchell of It Bites/Arena/*Frost fame. It took place in South Street Arts Centre, a lovely little venue five minutes from the centre of Reading.

Despite the competition the same night from Touchstone at the Peel and (because prog fans travel) Magenta up in Wath in South Yorkshire, there was still an appreciable-sized crowd. To emphasise that this was an event, not just a regular gig, we had a Master of Ceremonies in the form of Tinyfish’s Rob Ramsey, who certainly dressed for the occasion.

John Mitchell was originally billed to appear solo, but a couple of days before the gig it turned into a duo of him and keyboard player John Beck, making it half of It Bites. The pair of them put in an impressive performance combining recent It Bites tunes with some well-chosen covers; their take on Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes The Flood” was spine-tingling.

Grey Lady Down were a 1990s band, one of the acts on the independent Cyclops label. Recently reformed after a ten year hiatus, and expanded to a six-piece with twin guitars, they played a tight, powerful and quite heavy set. Highlights were the hard-rocking opener “And Finally”, and the intense “Paper Chains (the Crime Part 3)”, both from their 1997 album “Fear”. Even if their brand of 80s-style neo-prog wasn’t stunning original, they did deliver a passionate performance with some strong material. It’s nice to see them back.

Crimson Sky’s appearance was their first since a very poorly-attended gig in Swindon more than a year ago. That was the one and only live appearance of the short-lived lineup with Janey Summer on vocals, replacement for Holly Thody who’d appeared on their one album to date, “Misunderstood”. Tonight was the first live appearance by an all-new incarnation of the band, with Jane Setter taking up the microphone as their third lead singer.

Crimson Sky fall within the broad spectrum of progressive rock, but while they have the traditional 5-piece prog lineup of vocals-guitar-keys-bass-drums they’re not a generic neo-prog band. They’re not averse to the occasional classically-derived flourish or widdly keyboard solo but there’s also something of a spiky 80s new-wave edge on quite a few songs, and their sound has a lot more space in the mix compared with GLD’s wall-of-sound approach. The dominant instrumental sound is Martin Leamon’s guitar playing, whether it’s indie-style jangle, metallic riffage or fluid jazz-flavoured solos. Much of the time he’s soloing throughout the song behind the vocal rather than playing straightforward chord progressions.

I’d seen Jane Setter fronting a local prog covers band (yes, there are such things!) a few times in the Reading area, and this gig is clearly a significant step up to a bigger stage. She not only has a great voice, but combines it with a strong stage presence. With much of the set taken from “Misunderstood” she rose to the challenge of taking another singer’s material and making it hers without changing the songs out of all recognition, something that’s easier said that done. Her style is a little more classic rock than Holly’s somewhat punky approach, which suits some songs better than others. But if one or two songs didn’t quite come off, there were many more that she completely owned.

They ended their enthusiastic performance with an encore of the epic “Misunderstood III”. It’s clear that Crimson Sky are back. The smiles of the faces of all the band throughout the gig really said it all.

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