Summer’s End 2013 (Saturday afternoon) : Overhead, Jump and Silhouette

You can read my review of the Friday from Summer’s End here.

I had done a tabata in the morning, which you can read about here, so I was feeling wide awake and alive as we were driving down from Whitemead to get to the Saturday of the Summer’s End progressive rock festival, and on the way we saw James Hendry going into the porn pawn shop.  That joke works a lot better in sound.  Anyway, you can must read his review of the Saturday here.  When we arrive at the venue and are finally allowed in, I find that Brian Watson has set up his art and it is attracting a lot of attention – and very rightly so !

Brian Watson and his excellent art

Brian Watson and his excellent art

There is a very good chance you already own a cd which features some of it…

Nellie says the Musical Magic is not today.  Little did she know…

Silhouette

I am not sure how Silhouette have managed to escape my attention before now, so I am looking forward to hearing what they sound like, and having seen the setlist I am more than a little intrigued by one of the song titles.  I will not spoil that surprise by mentioning it at the beginning of this review, though.  Well, no more than I have already mentioned it.  They have a pretty good sense of humour, with Brian de Grave, their lead singer and guitarist, saying “Stephen has been here, hasn’t he,” as he changes the height of the mic stand to make it taller.  Their first track, Breathe, opens hard and heavy, driving behind the drums of Rob Nieuwenhuijzen (playing his first gig with the band) and the bass guitar of Gerrit-Jan Bloemink, and a bit space rocky before it develops into something more mainstream in the prog genre.  Keyboard player Erik Laan sings as it settles.  It becomes a big melodic sound with first keyboards and then Daniel van der Weijde’s guitar cutting through and it all sounds very Neo-Prog with a bit more of an edge.  So maybe I should not be surprised that it turns out the band first became aware of Daniel when he played Spintering Heart at the Marillion Weekend in March of this year.

Most of Silhouette

Most of Silhouette

Brian switches to 12-string acoustic guitar for Far Away which also rocks in hard.  It drives away with the keyboards dominating the sound then settles before the guitar slices through.  It is back to electric guitar for Brian for Anybody as deep keyboards surge into a circling guitar sound.  It grows and rocks hard and heavy, moving in phases as it develops into a big and intense sound.  Brian holds up a paper banner which says 15-15-11 so that Rob can see it.  It is an in-joke which is not explained to us.  They continue with Grendel Memories which really does turn out to be a song about a Marillion song.  It blasts away and continues the neo-prog theme of their set.  Moods is an instrumental with a hard edge which you can see and hear for yourself here.  Brian says, “Sometimes playing in a band is like being in a movie, a very nice movie, and I will tell you Don’t Ever Stop This Movie,” and they go into the song of that name.  “Summer’s End, winter’s coming,” says Erik before they go into When Snow’s Falling Down, and Brian introduces the band as the epic sound drives along.  “Don’t forget to buy our cds and tshirts or we can’t get home.”  On the strength of this performance I expect they got home with some cash to spare.

You can see more of my photographs from their set here.

Jump

I knew Jump were going to be good, because they always are, even if they are playing in a beer garden.  “We’re no more a Prog rock band than I’m a cat,” purrs lead singer John Dexter Jones as they come on to the stage, just in case the crowd at a progressive rock festival were expecting something Prog.  Instead they get a set filled with excellent songs performed by a band who very clearly know what they are doing and who are led by a frontman who knows how to work this audience.  He is not Morrissey, by the way.  They open with Down Three Times and it sounds really good.  The tune is catchy and so well constructed, with some lovely guitar parts from Steve ‘Ronnie’ Rundle.  I still remember hearing the song for the first time at a gig at the Limelight in Crewe in December 2008, and the instant effect the lyrics had on me is one which is not diminished by numerous listens since.

It's stuck

It’s stuck

On Bended Knee keeps us rocking along behind Andy Barker’s drums and the bass of another new bass player.  John does not really introduce the new bass player, Mark Pittam, (and it seems that bass players are to Jump what drummers are to Spinal Tap) but he does comment on his dress sense, making reference to the trainers and a suit combination, and we also found out that all Mark wanted to avoid was the crowd finding out that he wanted a gin and tonic.  Next up is a song called Bethesda.  Bethesda is a real place and not something out of Narnia.  I know this because I went there in August when I took my children for a walk to the top of Snowdon.

Bethesda

Bethesda

This is another song based around one of John’s relatives and it is stuffed full of passion and emotion.  It is certainly among my favourite Jump songs, and it was a delight to see it on the setlist today.  They perform it so well and it is a lighter one which allows us to appreciate Mo’s contribution on the keyboards.  “We’ve called these next three songs The Trilogy,” says John, because he knows that will appeal to the Prog fans out there in the crowd, and it begins with Old Gods, the guitar sound strumming in and circling before it rocks away hard and direct.  This is some of the new material they have ready for a follow up to The Black Pilgrim album, and by the sounds of this track it is taking a more rocky approach.  There is a lovely guitar solo from Steve Hayes which I will look forward to hearing again.  “So it’s time for revenge.  This is The End Of Days,” and it kicks away sharp, rocking some more.

Jump

Jump

John reminds us of some of the bands who have shared stages with Jump in the past, “We know the innermost secrets of Mark Kelly, we have seen Peter Nichols go like this…” before he takes us on to the third part of The Trilogy.  “U2 had a song called Forty we’ve got one called Fifty,” which really bites as it comes in.  It flows with a great sound, very solid into a guitar solo which gradually builds and soars, before it fades into applause and they continue straight on into Used To The Taste which bounces edgily and goes into a typically humourous and scathing medley part.  We get an anecdote from a tour around the time of the death of Diana, the Princess of Hearts (and of Wales) when John chose to mention that Mother Teresa had also died.  Have you noticed the Welsh dragon tattoo on his arm ?  “We’re being reviewed in Prog Mag,” he says, wryly.  They continue with Staring At The Rain so, according to the setlist we miss out The Sniper.  I’m gutted about that.  Anyway, it shuffles hard and it always good fun.  They carry straight on into Free At Last, “and so we bid you good afternoon.”  The crowd sing along and John introduces the band, before the end is met with huge applause.  They come back on for an encore and play The Sniper, which makes another trilogy in the set for me.  I am no longer gutted.

You can catch Jump live at The Corporation in Sheffield this Saturday, 19th October 2013.

You can see more of my photographs from their set here.

Overhead

I must say that I found Overhead to be very interesting and utterly confusing.  They certainly mixed it up in the musical stakes with some heavy pounding sounds which had a touch of Hawkwind to the rhythms, and  showed that the use of flute does not have to make you sound like Jethro Tull.

Overhead

Overhead

They opened their set to the sound of an air raid siren and seemed to be developing a story from that, with lead singer and flautist, , talking to us at times, and consulting his Tricorder at others.  Star Trek at a Prog gig ?  OK, silly question.  I had seen some of their videos on YouTube so I knew that they played a cover of King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man, but a Prog curry beckoned and I needed to eat, so I had to make an early exit during their set, for which I apologise.  However, I make no apologies for having a curry with an omelette on top of it.  Some things are just there to be tried.

You can see more of my photographs from their set here.

And so the afternoon session of the Saturday of Summer’s End had come to an…end.  And there had been some Musical Magic !  Would there be more in the evening ?  Find out, in my next blog…

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