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MOSTLY AUTUMN Cambridge Rock Festival
8 August 2010

Photos by Andrew Lock

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Last band of the festival and a band I truly adore, and with long standing vocalist Heather departing, Mostly Autumn now have a new leading lady with the talented Olivia Sparnenn stepping up from backing vocals to lead singer.

This was not Olivia's first performance up front as she had already played a few dates in this role and the reports I had read were very positive. While she has a completely different singing style to Heather, Olivia is a fantastic singer and performer as she has proven countless times in her backing singer duties with Mostly Autumn, as lead vocalist with Breathing Space and with her work on the Josh and Co album and tour.

As usual the powerful stirring intro tape to 'Fading Colours' heralded the arrival of the band to the stage with Olivia looking surprisingly cool and relaxed.

As with Breathing Space earlier in the day the set was on the rocking, up-tempo side and the opening number was followed by 'Caught in a Fold', old favourite 'Nowhere to Hide', 'The Dark Before the Dawn' and 'Answer the Question'.

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

The band were obviously loving the freedom of the large stage and making full use of it, with lead guitarist Bryan Josh and Andy Smith on bass rocking out on the left hand side sometimes in tandem, Olivia commanding centre stage in front of 2nd guitarist Liam and Gavin on drums (but often sweeping all over the stage) with the keyboard set ups of Anne-Marie and Iian to the right.

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Next track in the set and not played all that often the powerful title track from 'The Last Bright Light' album followed by fan favourite and set constant 'Spirit of Autumn Past' (part II) complete with Liam's impressive lead guitar intro which always adds a new dimension to the number.

A great addition to the Mostly Autumn live set followed with Olivia's Breathing Space show piece and award winning 'Questioning Eyes' from Olivia's final album with the band the awesome 'Below the Radar'. A literally stunning number and a complete showcase for Olivia's powerful vocals, just a breathtaking piece of music .

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Another very welcome addition to the set followed with the track that in my opinion is the standout cut on Bryan's solo (Josh and Co) album 'Through These Eyes', the brooding blues work out that is 'Slow Down' with its massive riff, and as with the previous track a showcase but this time for the guitar prowess of Mr Josh.

A track missing from the MA set for what seems like ages up next the haunting and lyrically strong 'Dreaming' from the 'Heart Full of Sky' album based on the tragic events of 9/11, another out and out rocker and a very welcome return to the set.

Last track of the main set and I am sure one of the tracks first put down on paper when the touring set is put together, 'Evergreen', as I have mentioned before surely the bands Stairway to Heaven.

A very moving interlude before the encore with seriously injured soldier Ben Parkinson introduced on stage with his girlfriend who made a presentation of gifts to the band including teddy bears in battalion colours to the girls (the band have helped raise money for the Help For Heroes Fund) Bryan then dedicated the last number of the evening 'Heroes Never Die' to Ben and his comrades that had fallen in Afghanistan.

I had to run for my taxi just before 'Heroes' finished and as I opened the cab door the last note of the number faded away into the night sky followed by tremendous applause and cheers closing my third Cambridge Rock Festival in style.

Hats off to Olivia for a fabulous performance in front of a large crowd with only a few shows as lead vocalist behind her and hats off also to the rest of Mostly Autumn, outstanding musicians one and all and as always one of the best rock bands out there.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

Cambridge Rock Festival


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