Summer in Manchester yet there is Frost* in St. Helens...
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
It is coming up to 11 months since Falling Satellites came out so it is nice to see Frost* still doing the occasional series of gigs, even better that the gig is at a venue located relatively close to Manchester.
Support for this evenings show is provided by TWATS which is actually Jem Godfrey and John Mitchell performing as a duo. There is also a stuffed cat onstage too so technically they could be a trio but its contribution is, at this stage, negligible. They look remarkably like the Pet Shop Boys too, especially when the TWAT baseball cap is worn. Their performance includes a ridiculously funny game of hide and seek where Godfrey becomes a lampshade but, remarkably, amongst the hilarity and mayhem there is some great music played; The Tall Ships from It Bites, Lights Out from Frost* and Losers Day Parade from Kino, are amongst the songs chosen to be performed as a duo.
Frost* are probably my favourite band and have been since I discovered Milliontown 10 years ago so the level of bias here will be massive. HUGE. And Falling Satellites was, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite album last year too. It is a real progressive masterpiece, fusing together the musical styles of various genres, along with well written songs, thereby creating a solid prog album from beginning to end.
The band open with a pair of tracks from Milliontown including the three part workout that is Black Light Machine where John Mitchell’s guitar playing is particularly fluid.
Godfrey’s concern for our bladder welfare is heart warming yet understandable as the next song is 30 minutes long, which can only mean it is Milliontown in all it’s proggy glory. For everyone present this is total prog heaven. Even using word epic to describe this is unsuitable, it is far more than that.
More bladder holding as the next one is equally long as we are presented with a suite of songs from the latest album and I am loving every moment of it. Interestingly this comes across far heavier than on the album and gives Mitchell the opportunity to put the Slash poses he has been practicing in the bedroom mirror to good use. It also see’s Nathan King swap his bass for a synth at one point – who knew he played? Heartstrings and Closer To The Sun were simply stellar.
Back to Milliontown for the encore and The Other Me features a sterling drum solo by Craig Blundell. During this solo Godfrey and Mitchell lie down and play dead on stage, and then play with the dead cat… best not to ask what the cat thought about all of this. Wisely King leaves the stage, his dignity intact. And that is the end of the show… but there was nothing in the set from the Experiments album and that was a surprise.
A Frost* show is always a fun and entertaining evening and tonight has been no exception. It still amazes me that the band are not more successful as their music has such commercial potential.