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The Peel, Kingston 14 August 2010
personally, this was certainly a case of then and now. I first saw
Twelfth Night back in 1984 at Mid-Kent college in Chatham ,the original
home of the Chav. I was a fresh faced schoolboy back then,
grateful for a gig in my home town.
success and excess of ELP, Yes and Genesis, punk destroyed all in it's
path, but there was a new generation of post-punk rock fans who were
discovering music after raiding their older brothers album collections.
Marillion, Pallas and IQ, Twelfth Night were at the forefront of the new
wave of British progressive rock (NWOBPR, now, why didn't anyone think
of coining that acronym at the time?).
When I first
saw the band, they had just released 'Live And Let Live', a live album
recorded at The Marquee Club with Geoff Mann on vocals who had left the
band by the time of it's release.
was the new boy and the band gave a most memorable gig that has stayed
with me forever. Big things were planned for Twelfth Night, who soon
after signed a deal with Virgin Records who were hoping to match the
success of Marillion. However things didn't quite work out and the
band disbanded a few years later.
later it feels as if I am travelling in a time machine. Singer
Andy Sears looks almost the same, as does drummer Brain Devoil whose
hair has now turned to grey, but it took me a while to work out which
one was Clive Mitten. Back in the eighties Mitten was the cool dude in
thumping bass, he was the envy of us teenage fans with his dreadlock
waist length blond locks. It was easy to confuse him with the guy
from Kajagoogoo. Now with glasses, a plain shirt and a receding
hair line, he looks like the kind of guy who would bore you into
submission taking out a life savings plan in your local bank.
were soon wiped back as they opened with 'The Ceiling Speaks', exactly
as they did 26 years ago, a song that is pure prog rock nirvana,
the perfect opener. Memories came flooding back for me. The Peter
Gabriel Genesis era storytelling sound of 'We Are Sane' was the first of
the lengthy numbers which saw Sears acting the part complete in bowler
founding member and guitarist Andy Revell is not part of the current
touring band although he did partake when they first reformed three
years ago and I'm sure he will be back at same stage when time permits,
however new boys Mark Spencer and also Roy Keyworth and Dean Baker both
borrowed from Galahad play a predominant role in the new line up.
Instrumentals such as 'Fur Helene' and 'The Poet Sniffs A Flower' are
enjoyable arrangements and are by no means self indulgent. Most of
the set is made up from songs of 'Fact And Fiction' album with only
'Human Being' amiss, but a song good enough, that should be included in
is the ring leader of the band these days often introducing the songs
himself with a little story behind the music. Mitten also shows
off his credentials by swapping his bass for acoustic guitar or the
Collector' was segued into world war one themed 'Sequences', but I wish
this number was played in it's full twenty minute glory as it was such a
highlight when I first saw the band those many moons ago, here's hoping
for my next visit.
encore Andy Sears was joined by former Pallas singer Alan Reed in a
fitting embrace to sing the charming 'Love Song'. The loyal fan
base here tonight, many who travelled from afar, lapped up every joyous
Twelfth Night will play on for a long time yet, and this is one band I
would love to see at a festival like the High Voltage Festival because
they really do deserve much more worthy recognition.
Set list: The Ceiling Speaks/ We Are Sane/ Last Song/ Fur Helene/ The
Craft/ Take A Look/ A New Day/ Creepshow/ This City/ World Without End /Blondon
Fair / Fact And Fiction /C.R.A.B /The Poet Sniffs A Flower / The
Collector/ Sequences ... Encore: Love Song
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