Tag Archives: Twelfth Night

Neo-Prog Three Decades On

Joe Banks writing in The Quietus has a grear piece in Neo-Prog Three Decades On, covering the likes of IQ, Pendragon and Pallas.

He’s spot on when it comes to Twelfth Night. His description of “Fact and Fiction” as the Unnown Pleasures of prog reminds me of how some aspects of their sound reminded me of Joy Division at the time. Perhaps what JD might have sounded with Dave Gilmour style guitar solos?  As for their eventual disolution when they “couldn’t make up their mind whether they wanted to be Pink Floyd or Duran Duran“, is Joe Banks certain he didn’t steal that line from me?

He’s good on Mairllion too, pointing out how they started out wearing the influence of Gabriel-era Genesis on their sleeves, but soon evolved towards evoking Pink Floyd at their most song-orientated. Not quite so sure about present-day Mairllion as “credible-if-a-bit-bland nu-prog, somewhere between Talk Talk and Muse“, though. At least he didn’t compare them to Coldplay….

It’s also good to see the late Tommy Vance mentioned. John Peel’s hagiographers tend to dismiss him for playing the music too uncool for The Peel Show, but the two were actually highly complementary. Certainly Tommy Vance was as much loved by his listeners as Peel was to his.

The whole piece is well worth a read.

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2012 – A few more records of note

I decided to restrict my best-of-2012 list to full-length studio albums of new material with a 2012 retail release date. But there are a few great records that fall outside that definition, and would be difficult to place in any kind of ranking. But they’re all too good not to give a mention, so here they are.

The Heather Findlay BandSongs From The Old Kitchen

A delightful album of acoustic reworkings of Heather’s songs from Mostly Autumn, Odin Dragonfly and more recent solo work, with the band featuring the now-departed Dave Kilminster and Steve Vantsis. The organic chilled-out arrangements are a very good match for the natural warmth of her voice, making this perhaps the best record she’s made since going solo.

KarnatakaNew Light, Live in Concert

Live album (also an excellent DVD) capturing the band on their first tour with new vocalist Hayley Griffiths, fronting the short-lived six-piece lineup with multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold, whose violin playing enhanced the Celtic side of their music. Aside from Hayley’s imaginative re-interpretation of old favourites, this record is also a showcase for Enrico Pinna’s phenomenal guitar playing.

Crimson Sky - DawnCrimson SkyDawn

Excellent four-track EP from the new lineup of Crimson Sky with Jane Setter and Moray McDonald, with two brand new songs and two reworked older numbers. As with their previous work, it’s an intriguing blend of progressive rock and 80s-style new-wave, and benefits from a far more polished production than earlier recordings.

Twelfth Night Live and Let Live - Album CoverTwelfth NightLive and Let Live

The classic and long out-of-print single LP-length album from the seminal 80s neo-proggers, reissued and expanded into a two-hour double-CD capturing the entire two-hour show, which must have been a painstaking labour-of-love to put together.

Rob CottinghamCaptain Blue

One of those records where the pre-orders shipped in December, although the retail release isn’t until the new year There will be a full review of this forthcoming, but let’s just say this is a good one. Will it make the 2013 end-of-year list? Time will tell on that…

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All Change!

A lot of lineup changes in the prog world in the pasf few days:

First, bassist Steve Dunn is leaving Also Eden.

Steve says, “It’s time for me to do something different. That’s it. No animosity, post-gig punch-ups or doing the dirty with band WAGs! My thanks and best wishes for the future to Lee, Si, Ian and Rich, (as well as Huw, Dave, Tim, Steve B and Ralvin) and I wish future rumblers the very best. My thanks also to all the wonderful folk who have bought our music, come to see us play, sung our praises on internet radio/podcasts/forums or just passed on kind words, advice and support. It’s been fun! I’m sure the band will build on the wonderful reviews and live performances we’ve had of late as they move further forwards and I’m proud to have been a part of the history.”

Also Marc Atkinson is bowing out of Nine Stones Close because of other commitments.

Nine Stones Close is busy planning a new album and a possible tour for 2013, and Marc was unable to mesh this with his demanding solo schedule.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Marc for his contributions to Nine Stones Close, and wish him all the very best with his solo work and future projects. The search will now begin for a new singer for Nine Stones Close, so watch this space for more details in the coming weeks.

And last, but not least, Andy Sears is leaving Twelfth Night:

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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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Twelfth Night – The Peel, 17th May 2008

After their triumphant return to the live stage last year, 80s neo-prog veterans Twelfth Night are back for more.

(Photo © Jane Vincent, used with permission)

I caught the second of their two UK dates, at The Peel in Kingston. Not completely sold out, but the place seemed pretty packed. If this gig didn’t quite match the incredible atmosphere of the comeback at Deptford gig last year, the performance from the band themselves was on another level entirely. Gone was the hesitant start in the first half; this time the whole band were firing on all cylinders right from the very beginning. They didn’t look like a band who were playing only their fourth gig in twenty years. It was clear the band were really enjoying themselves on stage, Andy Sears prowling the stage like a demented uncle, showing incredible depth and range as a vocalist, both with his own later material, and his interpretations of the older songs by the late Geoff Mann. Andy Revell reeled off some incredible solos, and multi-instumentalists Clive Mitten tripled up on guitar, keys and prog-style lead bass. And yes, there was more than one bass solo.

The setlist was much the same as last year, with the bulk of the set coming from the Geoff Mann years. It’s difficult to point out the high spots from their two-hour set. The “Ceiling Speaks” makes for a dynamic opener, “Blondon Fair” never sounded more sinister and menacing, Andy Sears’ solo piano version of “First New Day” was spine-tingling and the epic “Sequences” was flawless. As last year, the second half of the show was taken up with the Fact and Fiction album played right through in it’s entirety. As Clive Mitten said at the beginning, this is prog-rock, and playing a concept album right the way through without any breaks or announcements is a very prog thing to do, right from the choirboy singing the falsetto parts of “We are Sane” to the Gilmouresque guitar wig-out at the end of “Creepshow”. They ended, of course, with the final encore of “Love Song”.

Easily in my top three or four gigs of the year, and unquestionably the best which didn’t feature female lead vocals. Whether this short run of dates is a one-off, or whether we’ll get to see them again is still an open question.

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