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Assembly 7 October 2011
On show at
this gig two bands that play on the fun and folk side of the progressive
rock spectrum and who both at times include jazz elements to their
proceedings the elegant and uplifting Solstice with a flowing set
based around the soaring guitar work of Andy Glass. For me the band were
one of the highlights of last years Progeny 3 Festival also held at The
Assembly and here again they had the audience spellbound with their
all departments Solstice make you happy just watching them perform,
playing with such smiles on their face's that you cannot help but get
into the spirit (pun intended) of the set.
included atmospheric opening number 'Morning Light' and 'Oberon's Folly'
the latter a number from their latest studio album Spirit started with a
hauntingly beautiful Celtic style (would have been perfect for The Lord
of the Rings soundtrack) vocal section by the outstanding Emma Brown,
before layers of fiddle and guitar added to the mix.
highlight of the set for me and again from the Spirit album the majestic
'Flight', for half its length a light and breezy feel good number which
then broke into heavy rock territory with Ritchie Blackmore style
Eastern guitar supplied by Andy Glass, a guitarist of the very highest
quality, a gem of a number.
Just about a
faultless set by a superb outfit with the outstanding fiddle work of
Jenny Newman and keyboard flourishes of Steve McDaniel all adding to the
bands magical sound.
Caravan have a rich musical heritage, formed in 1968 they have
had several periods of inactivity over the years but are back
entertaining audiences and this year sees the 40th anniversary of the
famous 'In the Land of Grey and Pink' album.
As with the
openers Solstice this was an uplifting display and I was very impressed
with how upbeat a set the band performed, only managed to catch a little
of the bands performance at the Cambridge Rock Festival this year (loved
what I heard though) so it was a real treat to catch their complete
element of their performance I really enjoyed was the often humorous,
clever, and very British lyrics (including plenty of references to tea).
founder member Pye Hastings on vocals and guitar, (first class on both)
and multi instrumentalist/multi talented Geoffrey Richardson (viola,
flute, guitar and spoons) had the audience in the palm of their hands.
40th anniversary most of the 'In the Land of Grey and Pink' was
performed including the fun quirky 'Golf Girl', the surreal title track
(the audience encouraged to help on baby bubble blowing noises!), and
the album's epic number 'Nine Feet Underground' a 20 minute plus
masterpiece with numerous sections incorporating many musical styles.
highlights 'Smoking Gun (Right For Me)' with its opening rocking guitar
and powerful drum work from Mark Walker (also played a mean washboard
elsewhere in the set) which turned into a foot tapping, catchy pop/rock
number and a stunning 'Nightmare' which included beautiful viola work
from Mr Richardson.
performance closed with another visit to the the Grey and Pink with the
cheerful 'Love to Love You (And Tonight Pigs Will Fly)', ending a first
class performance, musicianship of the highest order from a band that
also has an outstanding rapport with their audience.
show, two superb bands who produced an evening of pure musical delight.
photos by Andrew Lock
London review 8 October 2011
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