Friday, 4 July 2008

Frost*: Live in Manchester

There was a looming sense of chaos on the way to this evening’s Frost* gig. My train was diverted and took some weird route, my friend was stuck in traffic (as were, apparently, half the band) and a huge queue of people had built up by the time I arrived at the venue. On my mission to find the end of that extensive queue, a car pulled up in the street and out hopped Andy Edwards; late, and with only a minute to spare before the set. I was amazed at how remarkably chilled out he seemed to be under the circumstances. I directed him to the entrance and ran back to take my place in line, which wended its (disconcertingly long) way along Oxford Road’s most trendy, studenty district. By the time I got to the back of the queue, I could already hear the set starting, with the unmistakable pulsing bass of ‘Experiments in Mass Appeal’ rattling through the walls. I arrived halfway through the song, and, with little time to stand still, got the call from my friend, who’d just shown up. When I got back up from meeting him, and the band launched into fantastically Muse-like new track ‘Pocket Sun’, it suddenly dawned on me that someone was missing: John Mitchell.

If any other band were missing such a key part, I would have expected their performance to be weak, but this is Frost*. True praise must go to recent addition Declan Burke, who put in a blinding performance with his improvised guitar solos. I was also blown away by Jem’s solo rendition of the beautiful ‘Raining in My Heart’. One thing that also stood out to me in the live setting was John Jowitt’s incredible bass work, which could have rivalled Tony Levin. JJ really comes into his own, and I was as impressed with his skill and prowess as I was by Andy’s mind blowing percussive skills. Aside from the great music, and incredible technical skill, something that sets Frost* apart from so many of their contemporaries is their obvious warmth, sense of humour and banter with the crowds. I would have expected the band to show the strain, playing the entire set without their lead guitarist, but they were light-hearted and enthusiastic as ever, still managing to remain professional and putting in a great set. They played as though they were the headline act, and, in my opinion, far surpassed ‘Spock’s Beard’. The new CD, on sale at the merchandise stall and featuring brand new tracks, promises great things. If these samples from new album ‘Experiments in Mass Appeal’ are anything to go by, the band should be headlining their own tour very soon.

…let’s just hope that John Mitchell doesn’t get gridlocked on the M6 next time!

Set List:
Experiments in Mass Appeal
Pocket Sun
Raining in My Heart
The Other Me

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