RoSfest (CRS version) Saturday

So we are back on Saturday morning for another band who are new to me, Osada Vida from Poland.  I have a feeling these guys were on the flight over from London with me, they were certainly on my flight back from the States, and what a very pleasant and friendly bunch they proved to be.  Their set also proved to be a great way to start the day.  There is a definite hard edge to their sound, some wonderful basslines running through the tracks, pushing against the interplay between guitar and keyboards, while the drums keep it tight.  They are clearly suffering from some nerves as they start their set, but they grow into it well, keeping a good tempo to their set, mixing in some discordant parts, some distinctly jazzy sounds – the variety is good and certainly holds my interest.  They build it up as they relax, rattling along and enjoying themselves as much as the audience are enjoying them, their sound tight now, full of energy and driving to a crashing finish to a promising set which left me wanting to get the back catalogue without delay.

Last year at RoSfest one of the first things I did was buy the Phideaux back catalogue after becoming hooked on Number Seven.  I thought they were the best band at last year’s Summer’s End, and so I was really looking forward to seeing them again, and had very high expectations.  I was not to be disappointed.  They start with a selection from the opening section of their new album, Snowtorch, a wonderfully melodic beginning rolling along, gradually developing into a huge, sprawling, controlled sound which fills the venue as it holds a very appreciative audience enthralled.  It then moves seemlessly into an excerpt from Number Seven and I am obviously not alone in having been looking forward to this set.  The full, rich, rounded sound continues with Thank You For The Evil from Doomsday Afternoon, which flows and swirls easily, such a tight sound featuring so many different sounds coming together, sometimes I just have to wonder how they manage it.  To my great pleasure there is more from Number Seven before they go into a stunning medley from Doomsday Afternoon, everything sounding so sharp, precise within the massive sound as it rolls along with a very English feel to it at times.  The musicianship is of the highest order and the various vocal contributions are right up there as well, and as with everything else within their sound, they combine and work together so well.  This is not simple music – the lyrics are beyond complicated, the music is complex and varied, moving through different moods and tempos, always inspiring interest, all of which is encompassed in the epic Chupacabras.  They finish with a recent single, Tempest Of Mutiny, which gradually grows until it bounces us along to a driving finish to a very enjoyable set.

The evening session promises two sets which will very much be keyboard orientated and starts with Erik Norlander and The Galactic Collective, a band and a person who are unknown to me.  There is a long introduction which explains how his six Moog modules came about and why they are known as the Wall Of Doom – they certainly look very impressive and imposing as they take up half the stage !  A large part of the set is made up of the instrumental tracks from The Galactic Collective and clearly demonstrates Erik’s outstanding technique, as there is an elegant flow to the music, which is rich and rounded, with real depth, and a strong focus on the melody.  It is very easy to listen to.  Things are livened up with the introduction of some vocals, courtesy of Lana Lane, who not only has a very powerful and impressive voice, but also has a real presence on the stage, adding another dimension to the tracks she is involved in.  The set proved to be a great introduction to Erik’s work for me, and I came away looking forward to listening to The Galactic Collective album a lot more.

The headliners for Saturday were Daemonia, another band I knew nothing about before they were announced for the festival, and I knew very little about Goblin, either, so the fact that they featured the same keyboard player, Claudio Simonetti, was somewhat lost on me.  A little research revealed that their stock in trade was film soundtracks, and to be honest I was none the wiser as to what to expect.  They opened with Toccata & Fucia, which I recognised, but it just sounded too much like a ‘hooked on classics’ number for me to really get into it.  The set progressed into Halloween/Tubular Bells, and so sounded very familiar, but the whole movie soundtrack style was not working for me, and the guitar, bass and drum sound almost seemed at odds to that anyway.  I like music like that as the soundtrack to a film, but not in itself, and so the performance left me unmoved, despite the fact that the keyboard performance could hardly be faulted, and that when vocals were introduced we experienced yet another excellent female vocalist.  I did appear to be in a minority within the audience, but it would be a more boring world if we all liked the same things.

There was a stage set up back at the hotel for an unofficial after-show party, and as it turned out we were presented with a real treat.  First up, Phideaux played something a little more acoustic than their earlier set, very relaxed and laid back, everyone having fun – both the band and the audience – and still at the excellent level of their previous performance.  Then Mike Visaggio of Kinetic Element took over on keyboards and entertained us all with some virtuoso playing, before being joined by Leon Camfield of Tinyfish on drums and percussion, which led into the rest of Tinyfish coming on to the stage with Andy Ditchfield of DeeExpus to perform The June Jar – the first time Tinyfish have performed with a keyboard player.  They then continued with Motorville and Driving All Night, before a solo slot from Andy Ditchfield, performing a cover of Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good.

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