Tag Archives: Mike Hislop

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/

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Kindred Spirit Album Launch Show — Whitton

If you live in the North Surrey or West London areas and you like to come out and support live music once-in-a-while, then it is almost certain that you will have seen Elaine Samuels and her band Kindred Spirit playing live. Elaine is simply the hardest working music-maker on our local scene — playing regular concerts throughout the area. A real asset to the community.

And last Saturday night — 18th April — was Elaine’s special night. Because it was the launch show for Kindred Spirit’s new album “Phoenix Rising”.  Held at St. Augustine’s Church, Whitton — with money raised from the concert going to the wonderful local charity “Homelink”.

The show started with a Fleetwood Mac cover to loosen things up… then right away we went into the first track of the album titled ‘Kindred Spirit.’

This had mellow beginnings that grew magnificently into vibrant reflections. It was a clever composition and, right away, we knew we were in for a great evening.

Gavin Jones - impressively talented
Gavin Jones – impressively talented

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second track ‘Life is a Circus’ was one of our favourites. It was poppy and totally clap-along enjoyable.

The acoustics of the church were not entirely favourable for the acute and often smooth-rolling voice of Elaine. But the instrumental accompaniments always hit-the-spot. With sparkling violin (and even creative pizzicato on at least one song from the impressively talented Gavin Jones) and astonishing flute and sax play (from the multi-talented Catherine Dimmock) plus reliable and poetic bass-play from Mike Hislop (he also provided smooth and efficient backing vox. )

Les Binks (best known as the drummer from Judas Priest) provided the artistic and well-balanced percussion.

At one point there were at least eight musicians on stage (many of the musicians who had worked on the recording had made special journeys to be able to join Elaine for this special night) and the pews were packed with delighted music lovers. It was a celebration of all the best things in life… Good company, wonderful sounds and a peaceful, sacred place to meditate on those things that we sometimes take for granted.

Elaine with the multi-talented Catherine Dimmock
Elaine with the multi-talented Catherine Dimmock

 

 

 

 

 

 

A high-point of the evening was “A Horse with No Name” (written, oddly enough, by a man from England named Dewey Bunnell) but made famous by ‘America’ for ‘America’. This song can also be found on the new album by Kindred Spirit.

Other covers included a lively and bouncy version of “Lola” (Kinks), which we appreciated, but mostly this was a night of self-written compositions. And creative excellence.

And so by the time we reached the rise of The Phoenix’ we felt proud and lucky to be witnessing this first ever public performance of the album in full. This song is an impressive number — complicated enough to be considered ‘Prog’ — but not intimidating in any way. It is easy to get into… And at St. Augustine’s Church it was a beautiful and harmonious piece.

Congratulations to Elaine and all of the band at Kindred Spirit — thanks for putting on such an excellent evening of musical entertainment.

And we wish you every success with this rather special new album.

Words and Images: @neilmach 2015 ©

Link: http://www.elainesamuels.co.uk/
Homelink: http://www.homelinkdaycare.co.uk

 

Evolution of a Phoenix

There is a certain regal oak named ‘Kindred Spirit’ … but for us
Kindred Spirit” means only one thing … the locally based five-piece, electric folk rock band that features the radiant and deeply moving voice of Elaine Samuels.

The band line up also includes Gavin Jones (electric violin) Catherine Dimmock (flute and sax) Mike Hislop (bass) and Les Binks (former drummer for Judas Priest.)

The band are about to release their stunning new album Phoenix Rising – and we have been watching the project unfold and develop.

Elaine Samuels - Voice is radiant and deeply moving...
Elaine Samuels – Voice is radiant and deeply moving…

We’ve been having a sneaky listen to some of their (yet unreleased) tracks currently being recorded @SkylineStudios by @JezLarder:

Opening song “Kindred Spirits” certainly contains the ethereal quality you might find in early Moody Blues.

It has that dramatic “Threshold of a Dream…” feel about it.

This has a soulful flute and intricate acoustic guitars that embroider the surface.

The finest crystal bell clear voice ripples seamlessly through the
vision … creating a sort of divine salvation.

Album Launch show - St Augustine's Church Whitton 18 April 2015
Album Launch show – St Augustine’s Church Whitton 18 April 2015

We also heard the jaunty number “The Phoenix” with its trotting pace and pizzicato strings.

The violin animates the piece (although it maintains a shaded heart.)

This song seems to be about facing all that is left … (in other words, the “Ashes” ) trying to make sense of them … before you can even hope to fly again.

Finality and sadness has to be visited upon us before we can hope of being re-born.

This song reminded us of Renaissance (the rock band) around their ‘Novella’ period.

It immediately draws the listener into enormous depths – the pay-off is complex, exciting and invaluable.

Book a ticket to the Album Launch Concert April 18th Here>> http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kindred-spirit-album-launch-tickets-15087938430

@neilmach 2015 ©

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand