Anubis were originally supposed to be here tonight. We had been looking forward to seeing them, given that their guitarist Simon Lees supported Magnum a couple of months back. To be fair, though, them dropping out means we get to have our first look at Against The Wheel and very impressive they are too.
On a prog themed bill they might be a trifle out of place, but no matter because the quality of their musicianship shines through. “Wolves” possesses a fine chorus, while “One Of These Days You Will Wake Up” has a heavy bass opening which always gets bonus points around here. They apparently have a new record coming out, and play a new track called “Gravity” which is excellent, before playing perhaps their most metal affair called “Bones.” Anubis are not missed and Against The Wheel are certainly ones we will look out for again.
Walsall’s Eligh Toadd are an odd proposition, in all sorts of ways. First, you look at them and think, “how the hell do these people know each other?” and one of them is wearing a cape. Aesthetics aside the music too is strange. Not bad at all, just strange. They sing songs about their native Black Country, “The Palmer Rope Case” is heavy and interesting, to our mind “Scenery In A Lucid Dream” spends a long time going nowhere and its overt Floyd-isms rather disrupt the flow, but “Up The Wooden Hill” redeems things. A very interesting band, which you would be well advised to check out.
Jade Vine (thanks Google) is not a girl’s name. Rather it is a type of plant that grows in the Philippines. It’s full name is Strongylodon macrobotrys – which if you think about it, would be a fantastic name for a prog rock band in its own right.
No matter, it is Jade Vine we are here to see and since their formation in 2012, the band (made up predominantly of brothers Marios and Costis Magdalinos) have become hotly tipped in certain circles. This is largely because Anathema main man Danny Cavanagh co-produced their debut album “Nothing Can Hide From Light.”
It is easy to see the influence of the Liverpool prog heroes all over the tracks that JV play in their 45 minute set. The title track of their new album, particularly, borrows heavily from Cavanagh’s latter day output.
That does not mean Jade Vine are mere copyists, however. Instead, they take elements of things like Steven Wilson, Sound of Contact and of course Floyd, to meld their own sound. Tracks like “Lose Control” and “Lost It All” are real growers, and you suspect would sound phenomenal when played late at night on your record player with the lights off (unless it’s just us that does that….?)
This is chilled out, lilting prog with much to commend it, swirling keyboards and intricate guitar lines are the order of the here and it’s easy to see why the band have such confidence in their own abilities. This really is excellent stuff.