Mostly Autumn - Citadel, St. Helens (UK) - 26 November 2016
I am fortunate to live just a couple of miles away from the Citadel venue in St. Helens. Mostly Autumn make the journey over from Yorkshire on an annual basis now, always just a month or two before Christmas, but this is the largest turnout I have witnessed since they began to play here. I have seen the band possibly fourteen or fifteen times now and this is one of the rare occasions that the line-up has remained unchanged from my previous viewing. Though they never play a bad show, tonight seemed significantly charged and full of energy. Seven people on a not overly large stage is always a squeeze and the fact downstairs was cosy to say the least meant that my viewing position provided limited opportunities to see everyone.
Bryan Josh (lead guitar/vocals) and Olivia Sparnenn Josh (lead vocals) will always be the focal points of a Mostly Autumn show, but it is of the utmost importance that they are surrounded by musicians who can help bring the musical visions to life. Iain Jennings (keyboards), Andy Smith (bass), Alex Cromerty (drums), Angela Gordon (keyboards/flute) and Chris Johnson (guitar) are all vital to the sound and each gets chance to shine during the two hour plus performance. Shows during the last two years have concentrated on the 'Dressed In Voices' album, but now it is time to delve into the back catalogue for some tried and tested favourites and some songs that have not had an airing for quite some time.
The set has a nice balance and the more up-tempo 'In For The Bite', 'Drops Of The Sun', 'Deep In Borrowdale' and 'Skin On Skin' sit comfortably next to the more subtle and passionate numbers, including 'Wild Eyed Skies', 'Silhouettes Of Stolen Ghosts' and 'House On The Hill'. A lengthy 'Mother Nature' builds from its humble intro to a climactic crescendo and is quite draining for all involved. Johnson gets to sample the spotlight for 'Silver Glass' and highlights how much depth and quality there is in the band. Livvy Sparnenn Josh's vocal delivery is spellbinding throughout and 'Questioning Eyes' is simply mesmerising and filled with emotion. The encore gives Johnson a solo opportunity as well as giving Smith and Cromerty a chance to grab some much needed fresh air before everyone returns for 'The Last Climb'. A Mostly Autumn show always ends with 'Heroes Never Die' and Bryan Josh solos as if his life depends on it. I don't think anyone in the crowd wanted the proceedings to end but Mostly Autumn took their bows and gave their thanks.
The relaxed atmosphere of the bar, following the show, proved to be the perfect end to the evening and everyone I spoke to seemed to agree that it had been a fantastic performance. Stepping out into the freezing cold night air was a complete contrast to the toasty Citadel but it seemed to lose its impact due to the warm feelings generated by what had gone before. A new album, 'Sight Of Day', is due very early in 2017 and should form the basis for the shows during next year's tour... I'll be there.