Tag Archives: Touchstone

Touchstone announce Christmas Dates

Moo Bass of Touchstone

Touchstone have announced two Christmas shows, at The Borderline in London on Friday December 12th, and at Bilston Robin 2 on Sunday December 14th, and have put together very interesting bills for both shows.

On Friday they will be supported by the violin-driven goth-metal of Symphony of Pain, who made a very strong impression at the Cambridge Rock Festival back in August. Sunday’s gig is a co-headliner, featuring IOEarth, who have been absent from the UK’s stages for far too long.

This years’ prog Christmas season will seem a little strange, with no Mostly Autumn Grand Opera House show due to the venue being booked up with pantomimes, and no Panic Room shows because of Gavin Griffiths’ commitments with Fish. But with Mostly Autumn, Marillion, Fish and now Touchstone all touring there’s not going to be any shorage of Christmas shows this year.

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Touchstone Promo for new DVD

Touchstone have released a promo for their DVD “Live Inside Outside”, containng the full set from their show at Bilston Robin 2 in September 2013, and their set opening the High Voltage festival in Victoria Park in London back in 2010.

The DVD is availible for pre-order from the Touchstone Shop.

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First bands for HRH Prog 3 announced

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugHRH Prog 3 have announced the first bands, including The Enid, Steeleye Span, Mostly Autumn, The Enid, The Reasoning and Touchstone.

Not totally convinced by the SF and fantasy actors as part of the event, and wonder what message that sends and what stereotypes it reinforces.

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Trinity Live

Christina Booth of Magenta at Trinity LiveChristina Booth

Trinity Live was originally intended to have been a triple-headlining tour by The Reasoning, Touchstone and Magenta. But the tour had to be cancelled when Magenta’s vocalist Christina Booth was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

The bands decided to keep one date from the proposed tour, at The Assembly in Leamington Spa, and repurpose it as a charity show in aid of three cancer charities. The Reasoning and Touchstone would still appear, along with Rob Reed of Magenta performing as “Rob Reed and Friends”. The show expanded to a day-long event with a number of prominent additional names from the prog world added to the bill, including the mighty Arena as headliners. Then, only a few days before the show came the announcement that Christina Booth’s cancer treatment was going sufficiently well that she would be well enough to perform a short set, so Rob Reed and Friends became Magenta.
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Touchstone – Contact

Touchstone’s first ever promo video, for a song taken from their fourth album “Oceans of Time”

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Happy Birthday, Heather & Kim

The Heather Findlay Band at Bilston Robin 2. 19 Nov 2012Touchstone at The Garage in Islington

Many happy returns to two of the ladies whose music has featured a lot on this blog over many years, both of whom share a birthday, Heather Findlay and Kim Seviour.

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Touchstone announce DVD and UK tour.

Touchstone at the 2013 UK Marillion Weekend in Wolverhampton

Announced on the Touchstone Facebook page:

Touchstone have great pleasure in announcing exclusive launch shows for the upcoming live DVD release “Live Inside Outside”.

It is the first official DVD release by Touchstone and features a full concert from the Oceans Of Time launch tour – recorded, edited and mixed by Rob Reed (Magenta) – and the full set from the High Voltage Festival performed in Victoria Park in July 2010, plus extras to be advised.

These exclusive DVD launch shows will take place this year as follows:

Friday, 20th June: London – The Borderline
Saturday, 21st June: Classic Rock Society – Chesterfield – Real Time Live
Sunday, 22nd June: Bilston – The Robin

These will be full headline shows with support band to be confirmed, and will be the first opportunity for general purchase this exciting new DVD release, details of a limited edition pre-order and DVD details will be released soon.

Please get it in your planner and ticket links will be circulated shortly.

As a teaser, here’s the encore from that 2010 High Voltage performance, which has been online for a while, featuring It Bites’ John Mitchell as a guest.

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Trinity Live

Trinity Live 2014

A reminder of the Trinity Live cancer charity show at The Assembly in Leamington Spa on May 18th.

The show was originally part of a triple-headline tour featuring The Reasoning, Touchstone and Magenta, postponed because of Magenta’s Christina Booth’s treatment for breast cancer.

Touchstone and The Reasoning decided to go ahead with a charity show on the original date, and have since added acoustic sets from Alan Reed, Heather Findlay and Matt Stevens to the bill.

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2013 Albums of the Year – Part Two

Continuing the end-of-year albums-of-the-year contdown with the the first six from the top ten. Like the first part from 21 to 11, I have listed them in alphabetical order rather than attempting to rank them, but if I had, they’d be #10 up to #5.


[Redacted] Also Eden have significantly raised their game with this, their second album since Rich Harding took over as lead vocalist. Despite occasional echoes of Tangerine Dream, Porcupine Tree and even Trespass-era Genesis in the album’s quieter moments, this is a harder-edged and more rock-orientated record than their previous work. The result is powerful yet richly layered record, with Simon Rogers’ inventive guitar playing at the centre of the sound, and Rich Harding’s lyrics moving from the political to the personal.

HakenThe Mountain

Haken The Mountain Haken are another band to step up to the next level with their third album. Previous albums had displayed some obvious influences, most notably Dream Theater and Zappa. But here, aside from a couple of nods to Gentle Giant, most noticeably on the completely bonkers “Cockroach King”, they develop a sound that’s all their own. There are metal riffs, church-like vocal harmonies, deep and complex arrangements and recurring motifs, resulting in a record that both progressive in every sense of the word, and very contemporary sounding at the same time.

Iain JenningsMy Dark Surprise

My Dark Surprise It was indeed a surprise when Mostly Autumn’s keyboard player released a solo album with very little fanfare early in the year. It’s a concept album with lyrics by vocalist Mark Chatterton, and guest appearances from Mostly Autumn’s Liam Davison amongst others. With its mix of hard rock and atmospheric ballads with touches of electronica it has many familiar ingredients, but it’s all put together in a different way and avoids sounding anything like a repeat of Iain’s earlier work. The way it seamlessly blends a lot of different styles demonstrates his skills as a composer and arranger. A dark surprise indeed, but a very pleasant one.

IhsahnDas Seelenbrechen

Ihsahn Das Seelenbrechen Ihsahn’s last couple of albums have been ideal for anyone missing Opeth from the time before Mikael Akerfeldt abandoned the cookie monster. But this album sees Ihsahn leave Black Metal behind, setting course for far stranger waters. There are still moments of ambitious prog-metal especially on the first half of the record, but this album also takes in avant garde noise, with storms of clattering percussion and passages of spooky atmospherics. It’s by no means an easy listen, but it does show how the more experimental end of metal can be far more progressive than many an act labelled as “prog”.

Magenta The Twenty-Seven Club

Magenta -  The 27 Club When it comes to old-school neo-prog, Magenta are still one of the best bands in the business. They’ve never denied their strong Yes influence. There are some very Steve Howe like phrases from guitarist Chris Fry, and Christina Booth often sings in similar register to Jon Anderson. although her performances have a lot more emotional depth. Their sixth album takes a position midway between the dark intensity of “Metamorphosis” and the commercial Magenta-lite of “Chameleon”. As a distillation of a lot of what’s good about Magenta’s music it makes a very good starting point for new listeners.

Touchstone – Oceans of Time

Touchstone_OceansOfTime SMALL Touchstone’s fourth album sees something of a change of direction, with vocalist Kim Seviour and guitarist Adam Hodgson taking on a bigger share of the writing. The result is an album with a greater emphasis on songwriting rather than prog-metal instrumental workouts, and a rawer stripped-down sound with a lot more light and shade that gives Kim’s vocals space to breathe without being swamped by the instrumentation. With their most mature album to date they deserve to win themselves a much larger audience with this release.

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Touchstone & Von Hertzen Brothers, The Garage

Touchstone at The Garage in Islington

Touchstone came to The Garage in London on their co-headline tour with Finland’s Von Hertzen Brothers.

As this gig, Touchstone were on stage first, and proceeded to put on the sort of impressive show we’ve come to expect from them. Almost the whole set came from the new album “Oceans of Time”, and the new harder-edged material works extremely well live, with Adam Hodgson’s guitar much more dominant in the sound. Kim Seviour has been very dynamic frontwoman and visual focus of the band for a long time now. But now she’s really coming in to her own as a vocalist with material she had a greater hand in writing.

It’s great to see a band like Touchstone playing larger venues and drawing the sorts of crowds they’ve been deserving for a long time. It will be very interesting to see where they go next.

Von Hertzen Brothers at The Garage in Islington

As for Von Herzern Brothers, it took a few songs before what they were doing really made sense. Their sound is a quirky and sometimes rather bonkers mix including polished harmony-driven AOR and off-the wall psychedelia. They have some very retro 70s sounds, their keyboard rig including vintage Moogs and a real Mellotron. Their music shows influences as diverse as King Crimson and Styx withough sounding remotely like a pastiche of anything else. It’s all highly melodic, and they put on a very entertaining show.

The size and enthusiasm of the crowd and the reception given to both bands is a good advertisement for the idea of co-headline tours. Yes, it can be great to see a band play an extended two-hour set digging deep into the back catalogue. But there’s something to be said for a tight focussed set where the band doesn’t have to worry about pacing themselves. And with two great acts, you get two bands for the price of one.

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