Tag Archives: acoustic couch

FESTIVAL REVIEW — FOUR PLAY

The FOUR PLAY FESTIVAL is a low profile affair held at the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell and organized by local progressive rock band SPRIGGAN MIST.

Jade Vine at FOUR PLAY… a celebration of folk-prog talent…

It is a celebration of folk-prog talent and attracts an unprecedented array of  free-spirited individuals, including [but not limited to] steampunks, pagans, hippies, fair folk and people of peace.

The unhurried schedule means that bands have enough time on stage to deploy their longest songs and tackle their most extravagant numbers.

The Acoustic Couch is a community project built in the concrete heart of Bracknell town and offers locals a pleasant and welcoming place to come and enjoy live music.

Mila Verney_of Jade Vine – mind-blowing musical content…

First on stage at FOUR PLAY were the five-piece JADE VINE based in London. This band was formed by the brothers Constantine (guitars, vocals) & Marios Magdalinos (guitars, vocals) in 2006.

Constantine & Marios wrote the first songs and gigged extensively as a duet before bringing the band together. At Bracknell we saw Mila Verney (piano & keyboards) and Yannis Paloyannidis (bass) with Babis Margaritidis (drums.)

We enjoyed songs like “Lost it All” that had a shimmering murkiness to them. We loved the repetitive guitar motifs and the slightly off-kilter drum-work. We also appreciated the vocals that we thought were reminiscent of Fish. Their neo-prog achievements soared with mind-blowing musical content, astounding lyrics and expert musicianship. Their 2016 album “MIND OF A MAN” is out now.

Kindred Spirit – tranquilizing yet sinister textures…

We’ve written about Elaine Samuels and her band KINDRED SPIRIT many times before.

It was great to see them onstage at Bracknell bringing their extraordinarily beautiful prog-folk songs to life and creating a series of imaginatively elaborate musical ideas.

Wolves at the Door” had a fretful sax [Catherine Dimmock] and lamenting violin [Martin Ash ]and created ever-developing sensations of enhanced anxiety.

The song formed part of what Elaine described as the “Beast” cycle — consisting of three songs . The cycle was completed by “Run Red.” This had tranquilizing yet sinister textures — peacemaker flute with violin flares.

The bass-play on this song was excellent too [Mike Hislop] as was Catherine’s backing vocals. The remarkable thing about Kindred Spirit was that the band soldiered on without their drummer [he was taken ill at short notice] yet they managed to deliver a very polished and surprisingly tight performance.

Multi Story- dramatic vocal performance…

Cult Welsh prog band MULTI STORY was formed in the 1980s.

Around the dramatic vocal performance of Paul Ford and Rob Wilsher’s wizard keyboards and superlative programming.

At that time [1984] the band was invited to the BBC Maida Vale studio to record a session for Radio One Rock Show with Tommy Vance. The band was signed to Heavy Metal Records [FM label] and recorded a debut album in 1985 at Rockfield Studios.

Paul Ford was replaced by Grant Nicholas [who went on to be the Feeder front-man] and Grant worked on an album with the band in 1986 :Through Your Eyes — though the project broke up shortly afterwards.

The members of Multi Story went on to have successful careers in production and film projects and more recently, the original writing partners Rob Wilsher and Paul Ford starting working again. A new band began playing shows during 2015 in support of their project “Crimson Stone.”

Paul’s delivery at Bracknell was dramatically poignant — bordering on theatrical at times — and included some superior guitar-play. Rob’s keyboards were, as expected, sheer quality of class. A series of oscillations, waves and huge columns of sound. The song-melodies were catchy — with instant appeal. And often reminded us of 1969 era The Who.

Spriggan Mist’s Max Cilia – intoxicating musical layers…

If this event is to become something more ambitious in the future then the organizers will have to watch their ticket sales. [Fifteen pounds is good for a “full day of music” but too much for locals who might want to drop-in to catch just one or two bands.] They should also look at the possibility of wider promotion. It looked as if most of the audience consisted of “Sprigg” fan-club members or supporting musicians.

FOUR PLAY was a completely enjoyable way to spend a day. With hugely talented performers, friendly hosts and good (cheap) beer. What’s not to like?

Thanks to all involved… especially the co-hosts Spriggan Mist & Kindred Spirit and their fantastic crew. Also thanks to the staff at Acoustic Couch who made this special day so friendly.

Words & Pictures : @neilmach 2017 ©
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/www.sprigganmist.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand/
https://www.facebook.com/multistoryband/
https://www.facebook.com/TheJadeVineUK/

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 …