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ConcertsFrost* - Edinburgh Queen’s Hall, Monday 28th Nov 2022

Posted on Sunday, December 04 2022 @ 00:52:58 CST by Steven Reid
Concert Reviews

Their most recent album may well have been released a year ago but Frost* have clearly arrived at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall with one thing on their mind - namely to promote 2021’s excellent Day And Age. Well, I say that they only had one thought to the fore, but in truth there were another two itches the four-piece were desperate to scratch, those being to thoroughly entertain the near sell out crowd and to have a great time while doing so. Sea of Tranquility’s Steven Reid was only too pleased to get his prog thoroughly rocked.

First up, however, was a short, fun, acoustic-prog (yes, really!) set from Quantum Pig. With some well worked humour interlinking all of the songs, this stripped down duo’s performance was hugely enjoyable, even if the results didn’t really reflect the scope or sound of the band’s debut album much at all. Initially unsure, the Edinburgh audience clearly took the thought provoking music to their hearts, making it all the more frustrating that when I tried to buy a CD copy of the band’s one and only (to date) album at the end of the night, the two-some had already cleared off with their merch in search of something to eat…

For Day And Age, the core trio that make up Frost* - bassist and singer Nathan King, guitarist and main singer John Mitchell and the band’s ever-present fulcrum, Jem Godfrey on keys and vocals - were joined by three drummers, but as they brought five of that album’s songs to life tonight, it was Craig Blundell who was tasked with recreating all of that work behind the kit, even if the percussionist extraordinaire wasn’t one of the original trio of drum punishers. Blundell was, as you’d expect, meticulous throughout and alongside Godfrey, Mitchell and King reminded everyone why this configuration of Frost* has previously formed one of the strongest versions of the band.

The night opened with the Day And Age title track, the three musicians at the front of the stage each proudly wearing long sleeved baseball style t-shirts bearing their surname and date of birth (I’m guessing Blundell must use this info as his internet passwords, because he was dressed in all black!). As stage outfits go, I’ll admit this was a first! And the tongue in cheek feel was maintained in spirit throughout, with some hilarious stage banter between band members keeping the mood light, even when the music was intensely dense.

Unusually for a keyboard player, not only is Jem Godfrey as much of a frontman as guitarist and singer (although he and King can often lay claim to that latter title as well) John Mitchell, but during the short occasions when he wasn’t required to tinkle the ivories, he actually wandered about the stage. From memory I can’t really remember any other keyboard player suddenly standing next to the other band members to greet the crowd while the song is still being played!

“Terrestrial” quickly followed, the live versions of these new songs, if anything, even more exciting than the studio recordings, before a slightly rearranged “Black Light Machine” took the first of only five delves into the back catalogue. With a smart and well thought out light show matching the music, the visual spectacle ensured that all eyes kept darting around the stage, even if there was clearly a couple of fan boys who had come purely to salivate at every drum lick Blundell fired out - and there were many.

However, what really came across as “Dear Dead Days” set the scene for “Skywards” and “Island Life” was the equal billing and lack of ego between all four musicians. Smiles and whoops of laughter being shared as Godfrey mouthed the notes to yet another scintillating Mitchell guitar solo, or as King’s fingers just about burrowed their way clean through the fretboard of his bass.

With “Hyperventilate” almost having the audience living up to its name, Godfrey then announced the band “Only had one song left..” going on to counter the audible audience groans by laughing “…but it’s a long one!” Cue the near legendary “Milliontown” from the debut of the same name and some 26 minutes and a stage front Casio keyboard solo later the audience were on their feet howling for more.

Reward for the adulation arrived in the shape of “Heartstrings” and the final new track of the night “Repeat To Fade”, and with that the first Frost* Scottish show for some five years was brought to a close. Four albums in and this band are finally being viewed as one of the best current progressive rock acts not just here in the UK but anywhere you care mention. Masterful displays like this merely confirm the point.

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