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Robin 2, Bilston, 10 December 2011

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

After being unable to attend the bands home town seasonal gig at The Grand Opera House in York I was really pleased to make it to their midlands Xmas show at The Robin 2 in Bilston, I am sure that anyone who regularly reads my reviews will realise how much I adore this band and could accuse me of bias towards them if not for the fact they really are that great a band.

Against the norm for headline Autumn gigs this was one long set rather than split into two halves and ran for over 2 1/2 hours (never a band to skimp on value for money these guys) and as expected it climaxed in seasonal style.

Mostly Autumn always have that great knack of knowing how much material from their latest offering to include in a set along with the much loved classic material and this gig was no exception with a good half a dozen from the latest masterpiece Go Well Diamond Heart mixed with highlights from the bands high quality back catalogue.

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock
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Highlights from the latest album included the emotion packed 'Hold the Sun', it's oh so gentle keyboard intro merging into one of the bands rockiest riffs before the exquisite chorus full of the most gorgeous vocal harmonies takes over, next from one knockout guitar riff to another with 'Something Better' a real classic rock style number with it's topical lyrics relating to certain present world issues and last but not least a stunning version of 'Go Well Diamond Heart' itself' a fitting tribute to our Armed Forces.

Each and every track in the set well deserved it's place but of the oldies a special mention to guitarist extraordinaire Liam Davison for his stunning solo introduction to (and also making a very happy return to the set I must say) 'The Spirit of Autumn Past (part 2)', other highlights among the many classics performed included the haunting 'The Last Bright Light' and a subtle but powerful 'Half the Mountain'.

The main set finished in true Autumn tradition with the very special 'Heroes Never Die' during which Bryan Josh proves what many of us already know, that he is one of the country's finest rock lead guitarists.

Mostly Autumn, photo by Andrew Lock

Of course one of the things that makes them such a special band is there is not a weak link in the line-up, Olivia is a true star on vocals and she can make you smile or cry depending on the number being performed, I have already mentioned the prowess of both band leader Bryan (also of course an excellent lead vocalist) and Liam on guitar duties, Anne-Marie Helder is sensational on keyboard/flute/backing vocals etc, etc, Iain Jennings the complete keyboard wizard, the rock star himself Andy Smith always superb on bass (and of course classic rock poses!) and last but not least one of the best sticks men around Gavin Griffiths.

Apart from the bands musical abilities their song writing really stands out, jam packed with emotion, lyrically often far away from the regular rock song subject matters and all the better for it.

Well this was a Xmas show after all and with the band all dressed in festive apparel they encored with a selection of seasonal favourites, Olivia with the help of Anne- Marie and Iain on keyboards started the festive fun with a heart wrenching 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' followed by a rocked up version of Greg Lake's 'I Believe in Father Christmas' a great fun 'Fairytale of New York' and finally with Liam in Chefs-get-up taking the vocals, a manic 'Merry Xmas Everybody' with band friend and tireless behind the scenes worker Roger Newport standing in for him on guitar.

Biased me !! - guilty as charged - and with shows like this always will be.

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

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