The Borderline, London
29 April 2012
It had been raining solid for 24 hours. The streets of London were filled with a babbling brook of water that the sodden masses had to navigate to stop them from getting drenched further and all the while more fell from the sky to dampen peoples Saturday night.
As I entered The Borderline the place was already beginning to fill out early. The word was out that Purson were hot and people gathered to see what the fuss was about. I had already heard them as I had managed to find a copy of their limited single on Rise Above and was looking forward to finally seeing the band live, and they didn’t disappoint.
From the opening chords of “Wool” you could already tell you were about to witness something special, the guitars sang melodically while flute sounds played from the keyboard – it was like suddenly being transported back to 1971 and being on the set of Simon, King of the Witches. By the time the band hit “Spiderwood Farm” they are really happening, Rosalie Cunningham’s vocals and lead guitar playing soaring as the audience stand transfixed, like a high priestess at a sabat she held court over the crowd watching. The single “Rocking Horse” plied deep pagan depths as the organ sound now began to rise and the bass and drums pounded out to the damp, dark night. “Twos and Ones” carried on this momentum and sounded like a stroll through darkened trees on an autumnal evening. By the time the band hit their final song, “Sapphire Ward,” you were already wanting them to stay and play another song or two, to transport you back to that late Sixties, early Seventies occult rock vibe that meant mystery and musicality, that was danced to by satyrs in the wild wood. Catch them they the next time they bring their prog/doom/pagan rock close to you, they are a must.
The Fusion Orchestra 2 hit the stage with a bang and from the start of their first track you could see already what fantastic musicians they are. Their sound – a mixture of Seventies progressive rock and jazz – made your ears jump up and listen to their complex melodies. Colin Dawson’s guitar was as fluid as a stream over some masterful Hammond organ playing. The bass and drums tackled the different time signatures with ease and all the while Elsie Lovelock’s vocals sang heavenward crisp and clearly as if calling to the thunderous clouds outside to part. At times I found the sound similar to that of the first two Yes albums and then again similarly to Magma they could transport you to another time and place.a shout to ancient deities and revelries of things past. New songs, like “The Sacrifice,” sat amongst the older numbers with a beautiful ease and prove that Comus still have a lot to say musically and can still take you on a musical journey into a mystical landscape (must get a copy of the new album). Then comes the track I’ve been waiting years to see performed live, “The Herald” – the song has you trapped like being caught in brambles and briars and you have to let take over your soul. The beautiful acoustic guitar solo in the middle section was nothing short of magical, like a call from spirits of the trees, it felt like a siren’s song to my ears as its notes drifted like autumn leaves. Every song was performed majestically by the band and yet again I felt like I wanted them to play for longer.
As I strolled out of the venue I realised I had been to very special kind of evening with three bands that perfectly complemented each other and took your imagination somewhere special. The rain still hammered down and the brook had now turned into a river but now I was crossing it with the music of the ages ringing in my ears.