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HMV Forum, London 13 December 2010

Photos by Noel Buckley

Curved Air, photo by Noel Buckley

A three band bill for the class of '71 brought about a few warm feelings of deja vu and occasional moments of spark and inspiration to remind us all just why we loved this music in the first place.

Curved Air, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash and Argent filled the Forum with the ghost of Psychedelic, Prog and Classic Rock, with the latter holding the ascendancy on a night where long songs and meandering solo's had to be clipped to fit into a limited time schedule.

To that end, Curved Air suffered most, particularly with 'Back Street Luv' being perfunctorily curtailed. Worst still, the startlingly well preserved Sonja Kristina final arm waving flourish to the front ranks was lost in the all too sudden stage blackout.

Curved Air, photo by Noel Buckley
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No matter, her voice was in fine shape, and with her excellent band led by the virtuoso electric violinist Paul Sax, she raked over the coals with the enduring synth led, spacey 'Young Mother', the enduringly superb 'Back Street Luv' and Sax's exciting reading of Darryl Way's show stopper 'Vivaldi'. Sonya finished with a startling banshee wail on the climax of 'Properties'. They surely deserved more time.

Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash, photo by Noel Buckley

The crowd visibly swelled for MT's Wishbone Ash, who took the stage to a fine reception. And while a drum and bass heavy mix made for a muddied rather than exhilarating reprise of their fine back catalogue, Martin's rock solid bass lines and melodic voice provided the perfect foil for the twin guitar attack of Ray Hatfield and Danny Wilson.

Both 'Warrior' and 'Throw Down the Sword' enjoyed weighty reprises and by the time of the spiky 'Living Proof' and the punchy 'Jailbait' they really hit their stride. MTWA got a great deserved reception for their razor sharp set.

And so to Argent who with a palpable sense of anticipation - make that a 35 year hiatus- hit the stage with the hard riffing 'Its Only Money'. 

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