Mostly Autumn

March 22, 2024 - De Pul, Uden (NL)

Already five years passed since I saw Mostly Autumn performing their music on a stage in the Netherlands. The last time was at the De Bosuil in Weert (see review). After that the pandemic came and concerts were not allowed any more. After the Covid 19 was defeated the band returned to our country to present their music. But always playing at venues not nearby or the dates were not available for me. Finally Spring this year the time was right to see them again. This time at De Pul in Uden, a venue I haven't been to for seven years. But not as long as the band themselves. They climbed the stage at this great concert hall back in 2009. Fifteen years ago. Their
Brian Josh (►more pics)
last gig in De Pul in Uden certainly was a very special one, because not Heather Findlay but Olivia Sparnenn sang all the female lead vocals. At the time Heather was the leading woman of the band but had to go back to England for personal reasons. At the start of this short tour, she did the first concert. For the remaining dates she was not in the company of the band anymore. The following day at the Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen Olivia, who was the backing vocalist at the time, stood in the spotlights for the first time. How she performed in Heerlen I don't know, but in Uden, she did an outstanding job as you can read in my review at the time (see review).

But now again the circumstances are different compared to 15 years ago. From that line up only a few stayed in the band all those years. Of course bassist Andy Smith, who might have been there from day one. Not to forget band leader, guitarist and vocalist Bryan Josh. And the earlier mentioned Olivia, who changed her last name into Sparnenn-Josh because she is nowadays married to Bryan. Drummer Gavin John Griffiths is replaced by Henry Rogers. Anne-Marie Helder who took over from Angela Gordon is no longer in the band and replaced by Angela again, who is back in the band to assist on backing vocals, keyboards and flute. Good old extra guitar player Liam Davison left the band in 2014 and sadly died unexpectedly 3 years later. Since his absence his parts have been taken over by Chris Johnson. Well of course keyboard player Iain Jennings is also still in the band, however because of other activities he could not join his fellow band members for this concert weekend in the Netherlands and Germany. Therefore his large stack of keyboards were not on stage this time around. Now only two keyboards were put on one side of the stage. Occasionally Chris and Angela sat behind them to come up with some keyboard parts when they were needed. It was mostly Angela who played.

Of course I was rather curious how the band would sound after five years not seeing them. Would they again create on stage the same sound we can hear on their albums throughout the years? A prog-folk sound with Celtic influences combined with symphonic, melodic passages and heavy elements. Would the voice and guitar of Bryan again sound
Olivia ('Livvy') Sparnenn-Josh (►more pics)
like David Gilmour and moving them sound wise into the direction of Pink Floyd? Would they bring more energy into their songs compared to the more clean studio versions? Well I guess I can answer all those questions with a positive answer.

At first when they started their set, the sound of the band was rather heavy compared with earlier live performances I had seen of them. The band was searching for the right sound that's for sure. Rather obvious if they are missing one important key member on stage. But also the songs they chose to do had more heavy guitar parts and moved less into the musical direction I mentioned earlier. Also if you start with In For The Bite, taken from Transylvania (Part 1 - The Count Demands It) (2016, see review) Bryan's more heavy side project Josh & Co. Limited. Then you hear a band playing a rather unknown song. But also the next two pieces Into The Stars and Drops Of The Sun got a more heavy approach it seemed. Even a kind of country song could be enjoyed when they started playing Skin Of Mankind. A track taken from the band's latest studio album Graveyard Star (2021, see review). After this piece of music it was for me a feast of recognition. For what I was waiting for right from the start. With songs such as Passengers, Silver Glass, The Night Sky, The Last Climb and Nowhere To Hide (Close My Eyes) I couldn't be more happy I guess. The band was now on top of their game and in full gear. More strong songs followed and finally finishing off their
Angela Gordon (►more pics)
set with three ultimate strong renditions of This Endless War but also Heart, Body And Soul and White Rainbow. After that the band went off stage for a short moment and waiting to be called back by their fans.

Of course there were people in front of the stage who had not seen enough of this band and therefore the band decided to return to the stage for the final moments. Bryan made clear that only two more songs could be enjoyed. Of course the ultimate encore Heroes Never Die was included. This time around with Livvy on the flute because Angela had to do the keyboard parts. The other encore Tonight had been an encore before and was as much appreciated as the other encore track.

Once again a rather enjoyable Mostly Autumn performance could be enjoyed. Even if it was without Mr. Jennings on keyboards. Without Iain but with Angela and Chris on keyboards there was still a strong concert for sure. They did an amazing job! Just fabulous! Most of all a big compliment goes out to Angela. The way she presented herself behind the keys and filling in all the important keyboard parts was just out of the ordinary. I guess she managed to save the show for the band. Because without her role on stage there probably wouldn't have been a show at all!!!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Setlist Mostly Autumn:

Hope (Stefan song) (From tape)
In For The Bite
      (Josh & Co. Limited cover)

Into The Stars
Drops Of The Sun
Skin Of Mankind
Silver Glass
The Night Sky
The Last Climb
Nowhere To Hide (Close My Eyes)
Changing Lives
The House On The Hill
Dressed In Voices
This Endless War
Heart, Body And Soul
White Rainbow
Heroes Never Die
The Appian Way (from tape)
      (Josh & Co. Limited song)

Pictures Mostly Autumn by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Mostly Autumn:

(left to right)
Bryan Josh:
electric guitar, lead and backing vocals
Andy Smith:
Olivia Sparnenn:
percussion, recorder, flute, lead and backing vocals
Angela Gordon:
flute, whistle, backing vocals and keyboard
Chris Johnson:
guitars, keyboard, lead and backing vocals
Henry Rogers:

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