Morpheus Rising – Fibbers, 09/12/11

There was a bit of a theme running through the gigs I attended this week. Previous headliners, Amplifier and The Pineapple Thief are both bands that, until this week, I hadn’t heard anything by but that I had read about in Prog magazine. The same is true of tonight’s support act – Also Eden.

Many years ago, when I was young(er) and (even more) musically naive, I dismissed Marillion as Genesis wannabes. I suspect that, if Also Eden had been around then, I may have dismissed them as Marillion wannabes. Thankfully, my tastes have matured since then and I can appreciate both bands for what they are. Also Eden play a more eighties orientated style of prog, but with enough modern influence to allow them to to pick a somewhat rocky but still atmospheric set for tonight’s gig, to fit in a bit more with the headliners. Rich Harding, still on crutches off-stage and barely mobile on-stage after what I believe was a near-fatal motorbike accident, has more than a passing vocal resemblance to Fish and the band, as a whole, have a more traditional line-up (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and vocalist) than the others mentioned above. From what I remember, most of the set came from this year’s superb (I can say that now that I’ve had a chance to listen to it) release – Think Of The Children – with the title track providing an excellent opener with powerful lyrics. Oversight contains some great guitar work and showed that, in some ways, prog can defined as “heavy metal with added keyboards while 1949 used those keyboards to eerie effect. Distortion Field, released as a free download and with vocals recorded by Rich whilst sitting on a bed on in his living room (recovering from the crash, presumably) showed influences from another of my favourite bands, Rush. The set ended with the epic, three-part Reality Cheque, taken from the Differences As Light E.P. The track started out a lot slower, but no less powerfully, than the rest of the set before building to a stunning climax and convincing me (not a fan of the format at all) to add the E.P. to my purchases that night. I have liked all the prog bands I have seen this week, but I have to say that Also Eden, based on this performance are my favourite of the three.

Also Eden were in York in a reverse line-up of their album launch gigs, which saw them supported by Morpheus Rising. I have been a fan of the Morphs (as Also Eden referred to them) since I first saw them two and a half years ago and they have gone from strength to strength since then, even overcoming the departure of original vocalist Graeme Tennick earlier this year. His replacement is, in some opinions (even, apparently, Graeme’s), even better and he seems to be growing in the role with each performance. I have made no secret of the fact that I have been looking forward to tonight’s gig for some time, as it is the launch of the band’s long-awaited debut album – Let The Sleeper Awake. What can I say about tonight’s performance that I haven’t said about previous ones? Not much, being honest, as I’ve gushed about them a lot in the past. The truth is that their brand of heavy metal is what I originally started listening to when I first properly got into music back in my teens. My one Thin Lizzy and handful of Iron Maiden CDs may not be played as much as some from my collection and the likes of Saxon may not be represented at all but Morpheus Rising could well have single-handedly rekindled my interest in that particular style of music. If anything, tonight’s performance was the most relaxed I have seen them play, almost as if a weight had been lifted from them. One fellow member of the audience commented that it was the best he had seen from them. The only complaint I would have is that the songs, as good as they are, are getting a bit familiar now. Time to start work on some new material, maybe? Having said that, I (obviously) bought the album and I have barely stopped playing it since. Familiar, perhaps, but still very, very good.

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About Ian

Regular gig-goer in York, both to see local and touring bands. Huge music fan, with more CDs than my wife thinks any one person should own. I also collect American comics, read a lot of SF and fantasy and am a season-ticket holder at Leeds United.
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