Mostly Autumn

The Springhead, Hull

29 April 2004

That was probably the best Mostly Autumn performance I have ever seen. The set was very similar to the one I saw in Newcastle a few weeks ago. The only difference (I could remember) was the addition of Half the Mountain — a very welcome addition. And played brilliantly, of course.

Another highlight was The Last Bright Light — already a great treat in Newcastle, it appears that they have been refining it as the tour goes on. Tonight's version felt longer, much more powerful, and more... how can I put it?... more majestic than before. For a song I was sure would never work live, it now easily surpasses the album version. (But don't they all?)

Heather apologised for her "Dutch cold", but honestly I never noticed the slightest drop in the quality of her voice. I think she held back at a couple of points (the end of Never The Rainbow for one) but if she hadn't forewarned us I wouldn't have even remarked on it.

And I need to make a special mention of Liam Davison, who got some well-deserved time in the spotlight. He should come forwards more often and show people what he can do.

The show ran from 8.55 to 11.20, with only a ten minute break in the middle. The last 20 minutes were reserved for the inevitable encore — Mother Nature, of course, and I don't think I've ever heard it performed better.

Negative points? Yes. First of all, I spent the whole show kicking myself for bringing up the matter of cameras on the band's forum. After being told they weren't welcome, I left mine at home. Only to find myself standing front and centre with one of the best views I've ever had, a perfect stage layout (and really pretty lights, did I mention that?), and some great photographable moments. I probably wouldn't have minded if I hadn't seen several other people in the audience snapping away...

The second negative — and this is a serious one — is that it was too loud! Rarely a complaint I make about a rock concert, but Mostly Autumn's music is subtle and intricate enough that a little lower volume serves it better. My friend, who isn't very familiar with the music, mentioned that he couldn't decipher any of the lyrics because the sound was loud enough to distort them. And for a band whose beautiful lyrics are arguably their greatest strength, that's a big problem. I was still able to follow the words — but that's only because I know them already. I did notice the distortion, which seemed to get worse as the set went on and was almost painful on the last couple of songs. Less is more sometimes, guys.