Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
WINTER'S END FESTIVAL, Stroud, Gloucestershire
13/14 March 2010
Saturday 13 March
GRTR! I found myself on Leamington Spa railway station at 7.00am on a
crisp Saturday morning on my way to the inaugural Winters End Festival
in the Cotswold town of Stroud.
was co-organised by The Classic Rock Society and the team behind the
Summers End festival. The event was also supported by the Stroud town
Council particularly "Rocking Mayor" Andy Read who approached festival
organiser Stephen Lambe with the idea of a mini Summers End festival.
in sunny Stroud (apt for a festival marking the end of winter) at around
10.30am and after quickly finding my hotel made my way to the venue in
plenty of time for the 12.00 doors.
is part of The Art Centre, an impressive looking building next door to
an equally impressive church, and the festival took place in an upstairs
room which looked easily big enough to cope with a hopefully capacity
was well laid out with a good sized stage at the far end, bar and
catering towards the rear, a very impressive collection of CD's and
DVD's on sale by the progressive rock specialists progrock.co.uk on one
side and the CRS stand and tables for band merchandise on the other.
all an ideal set up for what should be 2 days of great progressive rock,
so on to the acts. One thing that impressed me above all others was the
varied styles on display, progressive rock really does cover a wide
range these days.
piece which I would describe as pop/punk/prog kicked off proceedings,
Eliza Tale played a set consisting mainly of up-tempo fairly short rock
numbers with a touch of the Ramones including (think I got this title
right) Get Away For the Weekend and Watch Your Corner. Being a trekkie
the stand out track in their set for me was Captain Kirk with Shatner
Star Trek original series dialogue as an introduction and a very catchy
number it was, enjoyed the first set of the festival band they were very
tight and also rather fun.
LEE ABRAHAM AND BAND
Abraham and his band were playing their first ever gig and performing
Lee's latest album Black & White in its entirety and in album order -
quite an ask for gig number 1!
had an epic prog feel and as the album title suggests plenty of light
and shade in the music, with scorching guitar solos and a
strong vocal performance by Sean Filkins.
restrained opener And Speaking of Which... we had the powerful Face the
Crowd and my personal favourite of the set The Mirror starting with
gentle keyboards, vocals and distant guitar and then building to full
blown prog rock then returning to the gentle style and ending with a
stunning guitar solo.
Status next up had a light and breezy sound contrasting well with the
rest of the material and to close the set the 2 title tracks Black and
White, epic in every sense of the word including powerhouse drumming,
swirling keyboards, great guitar and intelligent thoughtful lyrics.
first show and speaking with Lee and Sean after they seemed really
pleased with how it all went.
change of style next with the dreamy, folk prog of Mermaid Kiss with a
truly haunting chilled out set, the beautiful rich vocals of Evelyn
Downing a real delight, for me a little bit of Kate Bush in the sound
but with a folk rock edge.
of the wind instruments played by Wendy Marks on stage to add more
layers to the material and two of the stand out tracks for me, the
number described as their Cowboy song Ghost Rider and the beautiful
Walking With Ghosts one of the best tracks from the Etarlis album.
clever suite of songs based around American cities was also impressive
with LA, Seattle (which was a real show case for Evelyn as a solo vocal
performance) and New York (with fabulous guitar picking).
enjoyed the vibe of this band and not for the first or last time over
the weekend made a dash for the merchandise tables at the end of the
another change of style next with James a solo singer/guitarist full of
charisma and star quality singing his folky/rock numbers in for me the
manner of Cat Stevens who I am sure would have been proud to have
written some of the material on display. Really enjoyed the up-tempo Way
Down South and the very atmospheric Still Lights Up the Rain complete
with the story behind the song, both from his 2007 CD Coming Home to
combined rich vocals, excellent guitar and great humour between numbers,
he played a strong set set finishing with 2 real gems Faster Than Light
and the epic Mothership.
one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend the first UK performance
by the Swedish band Moon Safari with possibly the best harmony singing I
have ever heard with all of the band involved.
started with Moonwalk, a multi layered, beautiful, full of joy
instrumental from current album [blomljud] this was followed by Yasgur's
Farm from the same album, a tribute to the famous home of Woodstock and
another bright and breezy track.
mentioned the vocals were amazing and in Pontus Akesson they also have a
lead guitar player of real talent and this really showed on the 31minute
Other Half of the Sky.
sounded great and looked stylish, interacted well with the crowd and the
acappella encore was breathtaking, hope they visit these shores again
Saturday's headline act and as I expected they blew me away, had heard a
few impressive tracks of theirs recently and they play my favourite kind
of prog with the emphasis on rock. Tonight was a very special if sad
show for the band as bass player Dan Fry's last gig and from his
performance tonight he will be greatly missed, he is easily the most
animated bass player I have ever seen bouncing over the stage like
rocking opening number Speechless a catchy single released in 2007 the
band unfortunately had an equipment problem so while being sorted it was
over to vocalist Christina to entertain us with her great wit.
sorted and back to the music, next up the first of several of the deadly
sins from the Seven album in the set, Gluttony a track with delicate
keyboards vocal harmonies and plenty of tempo changes.
sins on stage tonight were Lust, Pride and the exquisite Anger which
began with Christina accompanied on acoustic guitar by the bands
incredible lead guitarist Chris Fry sitting on the edge of the stage
with the rest of the band joining in later in the track.
stand out tracks in the set were the delicate and powerful Demons,
edited versions of the epic numbers from latest album Metamorphosis, The
Ballad of Samuel Layne and the title track and what in a perfect world
would have been a huge hit single the rock anthem that is I'm Alive.
time and all tracks from the 2001 album Revolutions Man the Machine, The
Warning and the superb The White Witch.
this set and how I have missed seeing them live before I have no idea
(shame they are having a small break now) Christina Booth is a
sensational singer and front person, rhythm section tight as you would
like and what an explosive talent they have with Chris Fry on lead
guitar, showing all the tricks in the book.
set and by now I seriously need a new bag to hold my CD's.
What a day 6 very different bands, one bands first gig another bands
first appearance in the UK and the headliners last show with their bass
player, Sunday has got something to live up to!
photos by Andrew Lock
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page