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Leamington Assembly, 26 October 2011

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Such a good idea, two bands playing full length sets and taking turns to close the show, titled the "I'll Meet You In the Autumn" tour it paired the magnificent Mostly Autumn with 80's progressive rock/pop giants It Bites, although both bands touch on classic/progressive rock their styles are different enough that for a number of Mostly Autumn fans this may well be their first look at It Bites and of course vice-versa.

At Leamington it was Mostly Autumn who started proceedings with the band taking the stage and opening with the dramatic instrumental 'Distant Train', followed by all out rocker 'Answer the Question'.
If my maths is right this is the bands 6th show in Leamington Spa and the second at The Assembly, being a large band (7 piece) the spacious stage at the venue really suits them and the dramatic lighting set up used at this show really enhanced the performance.

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

The band's set was heavily weighted with Autumn classics including the mighty 'Evergreen', the beautiful 'The Last Climb' (delightful flute work by Anne-Marie), headbangers delight 'The Dark Before the Dawn' and the gentle spiritual 'Passengers'.

Two numbers made the set from their latest album 'Go Well Diamond Heart', charging rocker 'Deep in Borrowdale' which included a spectacular, high pitch vocal performance from Olivia Sparnenn towards it's close, and a magnificent 'Ice'.

Another triumphant Mostly Autumn set closed as always with Bryan Josh's tribute to his father, the show stopping 'Heroes Never Die', full to the brim with Bryan's explosive lead guitar work.

It Bites, photo by Andrew Lock

It Bites - a band on the pop side of progressive rock - played a set mixing tracks from their 1980's output with more recent and at times bang up to date material.

The keyboard sound of John Beck and the harmony vocals of the whole band play a large part in their sound (full of the 80's vibe) while on lead vocals and guitar the talented and very busy (also plays guitar for many bands including Arena and Frost as well as producing music for many other acts) John Mitchell, the band also includes in it's line-up founder member of the band Bob Dalton on drums.

It Bites, photo by Andrew Lock

My favourite numbers of the set (all new to me) were the two epics 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' and 'Old Man and the Angel' excellent new track 'Map of the Past' one half of the current double A side single and title track of the band's next album due for release early next year, and closing the main set the catchy pop rock of 'Kiss Like Judas'.

Of course the band performed the famous 1980's hit single, after John asked the crowd if they wanted to hear "the hit" and after a more than positive response they played as, Mr Mitchell eloquently put it "the f***ing hit" the bouncy 'Calling all the Heroes', the audience joining in with arms aloft and voices raised helped to finish the set in style.

A great night, I like the idea of band double headline tours and hopefully they will become more popular, they certainly offer great value for money.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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