quality performances on the Robin 2 stage this Sunday evening,
headliners Touchstone playing the final leg of their UK launch tour for
new album The City Sleeps with very special guest Heather Findlay
opening the show with a one hour acoustic set accompanied by fellow ex
Mostly Autumn band member Chris Johnson.
set was a well selected mix of material from her debut solo EP, Mostly
Autumn numbers, a gem from the Odin Dragonfly album and tracks from two
of Chris Johnson's projects and began with a brace from her debut solo
release The Phoenix Suite EP, 'Cellophane' and a stunning 'Phoenix'
(destined to be a classic). Later in the set from the same EP they also
performed a powerful 'Mona Lisa', all of the new material worked very
well in the acoustic format as did the set as a whole.
be hard to think of anyone better Heather could have chosen to play
alongside her for this gig (and the other shows on this short tour) than
Chris, outstandingly talented on both guitar, vocal harmonies and lead
vocal at times, also of course someone she has performed alongside many
Autumn fans were kept happy with beautiful renditions of 'Gaze', 'Blue
Light', 'Silver Glass', 'Yellow Time' the soft gentle version rather
than the equally good "bonkers" (Heathers own words) rendition performed
with her full band line up, and a majestic 'Evergreen'.
Chris's other bands we had a lively 'Out of Season' recorded by the
Evernauts and secondly introduced by Chris as "a mean song" the powerful
indie rock style 'The Dogs' one of the standout tracks on the excellent
Parade album The Fabric. We were also treated to a spirited performance
of 'Magpie' a gem from one of Heather's other musical projects Odin
Dragonfly which consisted of herself and good friend (also for a long
time also fellow Mostly Autumn band member) Angela Gordon.
This was a
first class performance in every way, Heather's voice seems to be
improving all the time and she and Chris worked so well together on what
was a really well chosen set list.
released in my opinion one of the strongest rock albums of recent years
in 2009's Wintercoast I have been looking forward to Touchstone's follow
up, titled The City Sleeps the band are performing most of the release
live on this tour along with a few selections from their quality back
humorous intro tape of the Laurel and Hardy theme tune (always elements
of fun somewhere with this band) it was straight to business with a
bouncing 'Shadow' from the 'Discordant Dreams' album, followed by the
first taste of the new material with 'Good Boy Pscycho' (fabulous riff)
and 'Horizons', which has a top draw chorus; first thoughts on the new
album, very positive.
highlights from the new album performed were the epic title track 'The
City Sleeps' which just about matched the grandeur and splendour of
Wintercoast's title track and is in fact the second part of a
Wintercoast trilogy and 'When Shadows Fall' the latter full of Rob
Cottingham's trademark keyboard skills.
personally I would have loved a few more tracks from the Wintercoast
album to have made the set (especially that albums spectacular title
track) but quite understandably being an album launch tour they wanted
to perform as much of their new baby as possible.
Wintercoast tracks that made it to the set were the catchy pop/rock
masterpiece 'Joker in the Pack', the equally catchy and full of energy 'Zinomorph'
and saved for the encore a pumped up performance of live favourite
'Strange Days' during which Heather, Chris and a few of the crew joined
the band on stage.
also paid a visit to the Mad Hatters EP with the lively assassin themed
strength of this gig and the excellent new material the future looks
bright for Touchstone a leading light of the British prog rock scene
(with the emphasis on rock) well crafted numbers with intelligent
lyrics, plenty of light and shade, great melodies and also a band that
gel perfectly together and enjoy every minute up on stage.
Seviour is a superb vocalist who can deliver both the raw power needed
for the rockier numbers and the emotion required at other times as well
as being able to charm the crowd with her funny stories (this show
included tales of Spinal Tap like problems on the tour and zany props
they would like to add to the next tours stage show - budget allowing
Hodgson is up their with the best of them on guitar and really rocks out
out times with bass player supreme Paul 'Moo' Moorghen', while young
drummer Henry Rogers keeps things steady in the engine room, and last
but not least Rob Cottingham as always giving a masterclass on the
evening of quality music by both acts and a special mention to
Touchstone as well for the excellent idea of the special 'available at
the launch shows only' tour edition of The City Sleeps with plenty of
goodies, signed artwork, tour laminate and much more.