Tag Archives: Baz Cilia


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 ©


Great Progressive Folk Rock by SPRIGGAN MIST — Live in Reading

The hypnotic, spell-binding fourth album from Spriggan Mist — ‘Myths and Legends’ — has been released.

It took 18 months to create and “Spriggs” say they are very happy with the result.  And so they should be, it’s a wondrous thing.

The album tour finale was held in the bijou but convivial Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading.

The voice of Ann-Mari Thomas - tension, unleashed
The voice of Ann-Mari Thomas – tension, unleashed

We had a front-row seat to enjoy the atmospheric spectacle.

Amid the sensual, free-flowing & much loved prog-folk numbers were several new gem-like songs (from the album) such as the splendid Brighid. This was poetic and haunting.

There were also many high-spirited jigs, mysterious twinklings, Gothic conjurations and a lot of hard-rock moments too.

The voice of Ann-Mari Thomas tended to slip, slide and ripple through the wonderfully crafted musicianship. The strength of her voice is in the tension, unleashed. Often it feels weightless, before coming down to rest in some dangerously low places. It constantly surprises the listener with so many nuances and unexpectedly sublime touches .

The guitar-work was excellently embroidered by Max and Spike
enhanced by the complicated rhythms set in motion by Colin Garratt on drums. Musical ideas tended to spark off from the main melodic axis — yet never disrupted the ambient nature of each song.

We loved the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme [by Ramin Djawadi] which demonstrated the multiple skills of the band. Max played various wind instruments… Whilst Ann-Mari differed from keys to bass-guitar from time-to-time, and the super-talented rhythm-king Baz Cilia played bouzouki on some of the songs.

The combined talent of Spriggan Mist is simply breath-taking!

Movement, shape, rhythm and feeling – all provided for our delight on one magical evening.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spriggan-Mist

Grab their new album here: www.sprigganmist.co.uk/