FOUR PLAY Prog Rock Festival Review

The Four Play Festival held at the Acoustic Couch In Bracknell was a female fronted feast. A celebration of beautifully hand-crafted talent.

We traveled in from Staines to attend this dedicated one-day festival on April 10th. It was held in a concrete basement unit in the centre of the (still restructuring) town.

The wonderful fun began with a band from Surrey — the adorably smooth and sensually aromatic duo QUIET WISH (we were told it rhymes with night-wish) which is the creation of Carola Baer with David J Lambert. We really enjoyed the folds & layers of synth and guitar that coexisted so fluently with the gently wavering motion of Carola’s voice.

Slightly trip-hoppy, this band from Woking played a wonderful set of delicately crafted and organic numbers. Each long note seemed to have its own ethical reasons for existence… Each song had a deeply moral sense of duty. Yet these political undertones did not interfere with the serene quality of the vibrations. The elongated guitar notes — often stretched beyond recognition by David — adorned the hauntingly beautiful yet strong hearted voice. The jammed songs — the ones that had never before been played to an audience — with guest guitarist Dave Salisbury were the best.
Prayerful and meditative.

The Far Meadow - finely crafted and invigorating...
The Far Meadow – finely crafted and invigorating…

The London five- piece THE FAR MEADOW were on next. This group was slightly more forceful, slightly less fragile… though they were no less talented.

There’s was an extremely enjoyable set marred — perhaps just a little — by the lead vocals from singer Marguirita. She seemed to be experiencing some technical difficulties throughout the performance, unable to match her pitch to the instrumentals. However, the band’s output was finely crafted and invigorating.

We were very much looking forwards to seeing SPRIGGAN MIST again, and they didn’t let us down. We love the folk traditions that swirl within their songs. And we could also hear calypso and even ska rhythms in some of their numbers.

These sounds, helped along by a squirt of sax from Max, or some bravely slapping bass-notes from Baz, reminded us that Kate Bush experimented with exotic rhythms just like these on her album “The Kick Inside”.

Spriggan Mist - swirling folk traditions...
Spriggan Mist – swirling folk traditions…

Our favourite song was the sexily bubbling tune about Mermaids titled “Secrets” – this was a slinky vortex. Dangerously hypnotic!

We were not sure if the stylish and fun dancers — they uncoiled directly in front of the band during some of the numbers — were a distraction rather than an attraction …

Headlining the festival was KINDRED SPIRIT. We thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Phoenix’ from their most recent album ‘Phoenix Rising’ but we still preferred their older masterpiece Metamorphosis .

We were entertained by the high-spirited mischief from prog-god in-the-making Martin Ash on violin. (His first appearance with the band.)

Drummer Chris Goode was also on top form. And we loved Catherine Dimmock’s cheerful vocals and soothing flute. Elaine’s lead vocals were, as usual, nectar-sweet and filled with personality.

Their phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well …

This song captured the mystical atmosphere and the psychedelic magic of the event.

What a jubilant occasion!

Thanks to all involved… but especially to the talented co-hosts of Kindred Spirit and Spriggan Mist . And praise must also go to the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell whose warm hosting made this such a special night.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2016 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/

Kindred Spirit - whose phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well ...
Kindred Spirit – whose phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well …
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