Prog is often thought of as a serious music genre full of dedicated musicians being very solemn and totally focused on technical excellence. Anyone of that frame of mind would have been very confused by tonight's show as while prog veterans Frost have the technical skills and epic music in their repertoire they seem just as dedicated to having some fun at the same time.
As a starter mainman Jem Godfrey and guitarist John Mitchell supported themselves tonight as a duo they named Twats. Essentially supposed to be doing eighties pop songs they only managed three songs in half an hour while laughing and joking with the sold out crowd. Personally I liked the jokes better than the songs but an enjoyable and suitably irreverent start to the evening.
When they return to the stage with the full Frost line-up the music goes up in quality by a large degree but the vibe and attitude remain largely the same. When Jem Godfrey makes a mistake during a fiendishly complex keyboard part he has no problem stopping the band and going back to do it again until he gets it right. Such is the connection their light hearted tone generates with the audience that no one even thinks of it as an issue.
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Godfrey is a hugely accomplished keyboard player and John Mitchell easily matches him with some deft touches and fiery playing but you could argue tonight that it's the rhythm section that stands out.
Drummer Craig Blundell is recovering from surgery but is still a total monster behind the kit (in a musical sense only!). A fascinating combination of dexterity and power he does some of the fastest fills I have ever seen yet also plays some really technical stuff with real power; no lightweight jazz-rock doodling here! He adds to the humour too pretending to be confused when the rest of the band look to him for a cue and making them wait with a smile before carrying on.
Bassist Nathan King keeps up with all that effortlessly and when the band are introduced one by one it was he who received the biggest cheer and longest ovation. Not something most bass players can say.
The set list tonight covered material from all three Frost albums and songs like 'Black Light Machine' were greeted like old friends and played superbly. My favourite part of the set was however the 'Sunlight' suite from latest album 'Falling Satellites', a solid thirty one minutes of prog variety moving seamlessly through the composition's various stages. It didn't seem like it was half an hour long which is a sign of the quality of song and musicianship on offer.
Despite Jem Godfrey having some health problems with his voice and being unable to hit all those high notes this was still a commanding performance. The band were superb throughout and they have some really good although very much genre specific tunes. This is definitely a full on modern progressive rock outfit. The sense of fun is contagious too and makes for a really good gig going experience.
Highly recommended. In fact you could say Frost, they're grrrrrreat.