Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
The Assembly, Leamington
27 November 2011
A prog rock
feast was the order of the day at the Assembly this Sunday evening
headlined by the return of progressive rock supergroup Arena on the eve
of the release of their long awaited new album 'The Seventh Degree of
Separation', this was also the bands only UK gig this year after a stint
evening started were Haken a young progressive rock band from
London who blend their prog with shades of jazz, technically excellent
they are a six piece band who are not afraid to experiment musically.
Next up one
of the most impressive of all British progressive rock bands
Touchstone, only a short set this evening but oh so sweet,
thankfully the band's masterpiece 'Wintercoast' is restored to its
rightful place as set opener, a superb piece of music, dramatic,
powerful, and it's atmospheric spoken intro (with a little help from Mr
Irons) make it a perfect first number.
Touchstone set also included 'The City Sleeps' the title track of their
breathtaking new album (also a companion piece to Wintercoast and
destined to be part of an epic trilogy) and, with band and crowd
bouncing as one, the high octane 'Strange Days'.
with these guys, band on top form and having a ball, Kim Seviour one of
the best rock vocalists around seems to get better every time I see them
live and they are fast becoming one of my favourite bands.
have a dedicated following amongst the progressive rock fraternity and
on the strength of this performance it is easy to see why.
For me the
band play heavy, melodic, progressive rock/metal of the very highest
quality and with the pedigree of the band members that is no surprise.
the line-up includes original Marillion drummer Mick Pointer, It Bites
front man John Mitchell and Pendragon keyboard wizard Clive Nolan, the
line up is completed by returning bass player John Jowitt and new
vocalist Paul Manzi.
With the new
album in the shops the day after this gig the band performed a selection
of choice material from the release including opening number 'The Great
Escape' a grandiose piece of music, with rocking soaring guitar, 'What
If?', the unbelievably catchy (dare I see single material in a perfect
world), 'One Last Au Revoir', and the heavy rock feel of 'Rapture'.
back catalogue was heavily delved into and standouts included 'A Crack
in the Ice' the majestic 'Valley of the Kings' a complex epic piece of
music for me at times with a touch of Rush to the sound, the almost
folk/prog rock combination of 'The Eyes of Lara Moon', and the final
track of the night a superb 'The Visitor'.
style for me combines touches of early Marillion and Genesis, but with
the rock/metal touch of bands like Iron Maiden and Rush, for me it makes
an excellent combination.
This was a
real show, supporting the top quality music, the band used a spectacular
lighting set up and impressive stage props based on the new album's art
work, the band has strength and depth everywhere and John Mitchell was
simply stunning all set on lead guitar,
managed to produce magic on the keys while headbanging with his blond
locks flying, add Mick Pointer's solid drum work, the throbbing bass
work of John Jowitt and a confident display by powerful charismatic new
vocalist Paul Manzi and you have a very special band and a cracking gig.
photos by Andrew Lock
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page