Tag Archives: Trebuchet Magazine

2013 – A Year In Music

Marillion at the 2013 UK Convention in Wolverhampton

As my end-of-year album list ought to show, 2013 has been a great year for music in this little corner of the world.

My own year in live music started out with Blue Coupe in Banbury and ended with Mostly Autumn in Bilston. In between those were so many gigs I lost count somewhere mid year. It’s gone from Swallow playing covers in Reading pubs to Iron Maiden playing the O2 Academy. As usual, it all went bonkers towards the end of the year, with a mad half-week in November that saw four gigs in four days separated by a lot of miles, taking in Fish, Mr So and So & Also Eden, Marillion and Crimson Sky. Sometimes I think the prog world should be sponsored by Arriva Cross-Country Trains.

Writing for Trebuchet has seen me get press and photo passes for some high profile gigs, including UFO in Oxford and most significantly Steve Hackett’s sold-out show at Hammersmith Apollo, with Anne-Marie Helder as support. It’s also meant seeing a few things outside my normal comfort zone, including old-school blues rock and flamenco-flavoured alternative metal.

I passed on The Cambridge Rock Festival this year because I just couldn’t get excited about the bill, and sadly some prog-specific festivals collapsed due to lack of ticket sales. One of those was Y-Prog in Sheffield in March, which ended up leaving me seriously out-of-pocket due to non-refundable hotel reservations. Definitely not one of 2013′s personal high points.

So the two big events for me were The Marillion convention at Wolverhampton in April which saw one of my all-time favourite albums “Brave” played in it’s entirety, and Celebr8.2 in Kingston in May. The latter featured a whole slew of great bands I’ve never seen live before, including the mighty Threshold, and one of the year’s discoveries, the Spanish/Dutch band Harvest.

2013 has been a bit of an Annus Horribilis when it comes to band lineups, with many of the bands that feature regularly on this blog losing key members, or in the case of Stolen Earth, splitting up entirely. And there are a few acts who have been missing in action for much of 2013; hopefully we’ll see them all bounce back strongly in 2014 with new music and a revitalised live performances.

Sadly every year sees some goodbyes, something which happens more frequently as the heroes of your youth get older. This year we lost Blue Öyster Cult multi-instrumentalist Allen Lanier and Uriah Heep bassist Trevor Bolder.

What 2014 has in store is anyone’s guess, but I think there are plenty of good things in store. We’ve got new albums by Morpheus Rising and Panic Room to look forward to early in the new year, and Heidi Widdop’s new project Cloud Atlas is sounding very promising. Not forgetting Mostly Autumn and Karnataka, both of whom are also working on new albums.

There are bound to be some exciting new developments in the prog world,, but one of my personal musical resolutions for 2014 is to expand my horizons beyond prog, metal and classic rock and explore the world of contemporary jazz.

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Stabbing A Dead Horse

Kavus Torabi of Knifeworld

Another review of mine for Trebuchet Magazine, this time of Stabbing A Dead Horse, the tour sponsored by Prog magazine, featuring Trojan Horse, The Fierce and the Dead, and Knifeworld. There were bassoons. There should be more bassoons in Prog.

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Twelfth Night – Live and Let Live

Twelfth Night Live and Let Live - Album CoverI’ve written a review of Twelfth Night’s “Live and Let Live” for Trebuchet Magazine. This album always was one of the high points of their all-too-brief original career, and the former single LP is now expanded to double CD containing the full two-hour set. It now includes the epic “The Collector” as well as some rare songs never released as studio versions.

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Sankara – Guided By Degrees

Sankara Guided By Degrees CD ArtworkSankara, the rock band formed from former members of The Reasoning and The Bluehorses are about to release the debut full-length album. They’re having an official launch on 17th November at The Buffalo Bar in Cardiff. I’ve reviewed the album, titled “Guided by Degrees” over on Trebuchet Magazine.  As I say in the review, it’s a solid piece of work, which ought to establish Sankara as a band who mean business.

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Heather Findlay – Songs From The Old Kitchen

Heather Findlay has a new album out. I’ve reviewed the album in a lot more detail for Trebuchet Magazine, but I haven’t mentioned it here.

I was initially disappointed when I learned that it was “only” an acoustic record with no new songs, but rapidly changed my mind on listening to the album. Although the instrumentation is completely different, it’s got that same warm, intimate vibe as Odin Dragonfly’s beautiful “Offerings”. I even find I much prefer the re-recorded versions of the three songs that first appeared on “The Phoenix Suite” to the originals, with “Seven” a particular highlight.

Discussing the album with fellow Mostly Autumn fans in Belgium and Holland last weekend, there’s a widespread feeling that this is the best record she’s made since going solo. Indeed, quite a few people who never really warmed to “The Phoenix Suite” love this new album.

It’s available for order from heatherfindlay.co.uk

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Mostly Autumn – The Ghost Moon Orchestra

I’ve reviewed Mostly Autumn’s “The Ghost Moon Orchestra” over at Trebuchet Magazine.

Here’s a taster, “Wild Eyed Skies”, one of the songs co-written by Olivia Sparnenn, both showcasing her remarkable voice, and a great example of how the band have integrated more modern influences into their classic sound.

Since the band haven’t made any official promos for the album, this is an unofficial fan upload. I do have permission from a representative of the band to use it.

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More Reviews

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There haven’t been as many reviews on this site lately, because I’ve been writing instead for Trebuchet Magazine, which has a much higher profile that this blog.

My most recent live reviews over there have been The Esoteric Antenna showcase at The Borderline featuring The Reasoning, Sanguine Hum, Panic Room and headliners Tin Spirits, and before that, Touchstone supported by Heather Findlay & Chris Johnson at The Duchess in York.

I’m also reviewing albums that Trebuchet have received for review from record labels; the last of mine is of “Oro: Opus Primum” by doom-sludge merchants Ufomammut.

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