Grey Lady Down – Rotherham

The Wesley centre in Rotherham-Maltby, a new venue for Hector. The Friday night drive South enabled Curry and Ale with Ricky. The plan for this afternoon was for me to accompany Ricky to the Rotherham v Bradford Football match, alas it was a sell out. Ricky was then to accompany me to the Gig, Ricky likes Prog, but the Bradford Bulls Rugby match was rescheduled for this evening and so we did our own thing today. An extra body at the Wesley Centre would have been appreciated, the crowd was fewer than 100.

The Support

The small audience were mostly sat on the raised seats watching Sean Filkins. And the five Musicians accompanying him. There was something not quite right. The band were certainly competent and were playing some Good Prog, it was Mr Filkins himself…I doubted that he was capable of holding a tune in his head. A couple of times the excellent young Lead Guitarist’s solos were off key too, he must have been listening to the vocals. This was cringe-worthy, atonal, yet the band were at times great. The instrumental breaks in the War and Peace epic were indeed, Epic. An off night? Others must have felt the pain too.

Grey Lady Down

I have a ticket for GLD at the Herringthorpe Leisure Centre dated 26 October, 1996.  This is in the cover of my copy of the CD Forces.  I believe the last time I saw GLD was in Ashton under Lyne the day Princess Diana was buried, they were playing two nights. This was Mark Westworth’s (who recently left the wonderful IQ) first outing on keyboards with GLD. By this time the third album – Fear – was the featured music. Steve Anderson was also in the Lead Guitar role, Julian Hunt being sadly missed. Louis David (keys) and Julian Hunt were the main writers on the first two albums The Crime and Forces, two absolutely stonkingly good albums. Fear was different, it was only in the drive South that I realised I still knew much of the music form the third album, but I was note perfect with the first two. Ricky had unearthed a fourth album – if there was, I never bought it.

At the interval I spoke to Mark Robotham the Drummer, we corresponded at length in what would be the early days of T’Internet. I was always asking for longer tracks, when he joined Thieves Kitchen the wish came true. Mark told me they would have both Lead Guitarists on stage tonight, the best of both worlds. On Keyboards would be a chap from G2 a Genesis Tribute Band – Piers de Lavison . There would be new – aggressive sounding – compositions with view to recording a new album by Easter 2013. They still have more to write. With Julian back on board things could work out well.

And Finally (Fear) opened the set, it worked. It was also great to see both Guitarists complementing each other, there would be few gaps in the sound with the extra set of hands on offer. Without a Trace (Forces) was next up, ah good, how many of the classics would we hear? The first of the three new compositions – 24 – followed on. This had grab you by the throat moments, it could be wonderful.

The Perfect Dream (Best Years of Your Lives – Live Album) was also new to me. If the memory is correct it was here where the Band missed their cue, the Keyboards went on and on and nobody joined in – they stopped and stared again. Strange to see this happen on stage, everyone was amused. Another new composition – Cold Black Heart was next up, again this impressed.

The Battlefields of Counterpane (Forces) is a show stopper, composed by Louis David this must be The GLD song. In at the Deep End, another new one came next. This sounded more technical than musical at times, more work required. Paper Chains (Fear) brought us back to familiar territory before The Flyer (Forces) brought the set to its conclusion. I love The Flyer but never got to hear it often. Back in the days of a C90, this song did not fit into the allotted 45 minutes for one side of a cassette. Three songs from Forces, excellent. The encore was 12.02 (The Crime) the opening song on the very first album, great to hear it live once again.

This was a well balanced set, two of the new compositions grabbed this commentator. The Fear material turned out to make more sense live. I recall how I used to skip through The Cold Stage (Forces) until I saw Martin Wilson sing it live – there is not a weak moment on Forces.

So, GLD are back, I wish them every success, they were a favourite band a decade or so back. Hopefully more people will get to hear about them this time around.

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