Mostly Autumn & Lesoir

June 28, 2013, DRU Cultuurfabriek, Ulft (NL)

Recently Mostly Autumn's (MA) leading man and guitarist Bryan Josh married singer Olivia Sparnenn after a six year relationship. However, they didn't have much time to spend their honeymoon together, because a week later two Dutch concerts were already on the agenda. So, as a manner of speaking, they had a kind of Dutch Honeymoon Tour. The first of these two gigs was held at the DRU Cultuurfabriek in Ulft and the other one the next day at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer. To me it was obvious that I would attend the first gig because this venue is closest to my home town. Going to Ulft also meant that a second band could be enjoyed, because the venue booked the Dutch support act Lesoir as well.


Lesoir hail from the city of Maastricht in the very southern part of the Netherlands. They already released two albums and did two tours in China (!). A UK tour is in the pipeline for 2013 as well.
Maartje Meessen
Before I saw them on stage I hadn't actually heard any of their music. While watching their performance it became clear to me that they weren't the right band to open for MA, since their music with influences from acts as Skunk Anansie, Karnivool, The Gathering and A Perfect Circle, had very little in common with the headliners. Their music was mostly heavy although there was some room for mellow, dynamic and atmospheric parts. Their lead singer Maartje Meessen has a wonderful voice that often reminded me of the British singer-actress Toyah Wilcox. However, after the performance she told me that she didn't know Toyah, something I already expected. Besides doing the lead vocals she also did some piano parts on her keyboard and she played the flute a couple of times.

Her boyfriend and guitarist Ingo Dassen was, together with Dachuan Lu (bass) and Ruben Israel (drums), responsible for the hypnotic rhythms that dominated most of the songs that unfortunately didn't
EleŽn Bartholomeus
contain much variety according to my ears. During the band's live performances they got an additional musician on stage. I guess it was a wise decision to ask EleŽn Bartholomeus, because this multi-instrumentalist is rather talented. She not only did the backing vocals, but she also played the electric and acoustic guitar quite strongly. Furthermore she did some additional keyboard parts. Especially her contributions on the electric percussion appealed to many people in the audience. She hit her instruments like a real Japanese Taiko musician. Lesoir's compositions weren't always my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean that it was a bad performance. The band delivered a rather solid set that was enjoyed by most visitors.

Mostly Autumn

Apart from the fact that Bryan Josh and Olivia Sparnenn are nowadays Mr and Mrs Josh, more things happened to the band lately. They not only released the amazing live DVD Live At The Boerderij (see review), but also some band members quit the band, namely drummer Gavin John Griffiths and multi-instrumentalist
Mrs Josh
Anne-Marie Helder. In a recent press statement Josh mentioned that in order to progress and move forward freely, he had to take the decision to choose a line-up based on the tour. Band members quite rightly sometimes have their own commitments. So for the remaining concerts this year Alex Cromerty (Heather Findlay Band) will be the drummer instead of Griffiths. Hannah Hird, who most recently could be seen on tour with Ellie Golding, will do the harmony vocals and play the keyboards instead of Anne-Marie Helder. Fortunately these changes in the band's line-up didn't have any effect on the sound or the music during the concerts MA gave in the Netherlands. Cromerty sat rather steady behind his drum kit as if he had been in the band for many years. Towards the end of the set he even tried to continue drumming although his snare drum needed to be replaced just before the performance of Dark Before The Dawn. Hird did a fine job as well strongly singing the additional vocals barefooted from behind her
Hannah Hird
keyboard. Furthermore she perfectly assisted keyboard player Iain Jennings by doing some extra string and bass synthesizer parts whenever it was needed.

Of course the audience was mostly focussed on the just married couple during this great show. One could many times enjoy their strong vocal performances and of course the fine guitar playing of Josh. The interaction between the two was in a way you may expect from people who are in love with each other. This time the set list deviated a bit from the last gig I saw at the W2 venue in Den Bosch during last year's Christmas show (see review). They added for instance Appian Way and Slow Down, two tracks from Bryan Josh's first solo album Through These Eyes (2008, see review). I don't expect these songs during a MA concert, because they differ from the rest of the band's material. Both songs have more blues influences instead of a progressive rock kind of style. Another
Alex Cromerty
track that had returned in the live repertoire was Rain Song, which has everything to become a true MA classic, although it was recorded by Breathing Space for their Coming Up For Air (2008) album, just like Questioning Eyes from the same band's album Below The Radar (2009, see review). However, this time the band performed Rain Song more acoustically, just like on the bonus disc of the limited edition of The Ghost Moon Orchestra (2012, see review). This song was wonderfully performed by Olivia Sparnenn,  Iain Jennings and Hannah Hird only! It goes without saying that they also played some classic pieces like Never The Rainbow, Evergreen, Nowhere To Hide and the first encore Heroes Never Die.

Bryan Josh already announced the next Dutch shows, which are of course the famous annual Christmas shows in December. Well, I guess you've already read some reviews of these shows on this website, because for me there's no Christmas without a gig by MA. It's always lots of fun and good music just like I heard during this excellent concert!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Mostly Autumn:

Winter Mountain
Never The Rainbow
Unquiet Tears
Simple Ways
Changing Fast
Rain Song
Slow Down
Deep In Borrowdale
Drops Of The Sun
Appian Way
Nowhere To Hide
Wild Eyed Skies
Dark Before The Dawn
Questioning Eyes

Heroes Never Die

Pictures Mostly Autumn by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Mostly Autumn:

(left to right)
Bryan Josh:
electric guitar, lead and backing vocals
Andy Smith:
Olivia Sparnenn:
percussion, lead and backing vocals
Hannah Hird:
keyboard & backing vocals
Alex Cromerty:
Liam Davison:
backing vocals, acoustic & electric guitar
Iain Jennings:

Setlist Lesoir:

Big Talk
Feet On The Ground
She's Lost
Walk You Out
What I Long For
Thick Skin
Tables Turned
True Story

Pictures Lesoir by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Lesoir:

(left to right)
EleŽn Bartholomeus:
backing vocals, electric percussion, keyboard, electric & acoustic guitar
Dachuan Lu:
Maartje Meessen:
lead vocals, keyboard, acoustic guitar & flute
Ingo Dassen:
electric guitar
Ruben Israel:

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