You know you’re at a prog gig when the singer in the support band is wearing a t-shirt with Carl Sagan on. Work into ET’s might help decipher Quantum Pig too. Ian Faragher has a background in experimental music, and that singer is futurist and author Mark Stevenson. All a bit highbrow for me, and I won’t pretend I haven’t had to Google what a futurist is: if you are as thick as me here’s help. They are people whose specialty or interest is [the] attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present.

There was a reason for telling you all that and it is this: if that makes Quantum Pig seem like they might not be your usual band, then they really aren’t. Stevenson points out – more than once – that they know the formula, its just where’s the fun in formulaic? So second song in they play an acoustic and happy tune “One World”, then follow it up with “Monsters”- a section from a new epic and the last track from their yet to be released second album, “Final Track”, which takes on lockdown’s effects head on.

They also find time for “Keep The Nation Warm”. The favourite of John Mitchell – their label boss as well as part of the headline act – which segues into “And You And I” from Yes (“have you read the lyrics here?” enquires Stevenson, “they are an unmitigated nonsense”! What is Jon Anderson on!!”) before ending as most gigs do, with a song about the industrial revolution in “Dirty Old Engine”. Ok, no other gig has ever ended with a song about the industrial revolution. It was perfect that this one did, though.

Frost* have been onstage for about an hour when Jem Godfrey – the band’s leader for 18 years – announces it’s time for the last song. “Don’t worry, though, it’s a long song, I hope you have all been to the toilet” he says to the audience. Before turning to John Mitchell and asking “have you been for a wee? Mitchell deadpans back “yes, Jem. I’ve been for a wee”.

Prog gigs are not supposed to be like this. They are supposed to be po-faced affairs where everything is clinical and perfect. No one told this to Frost* and for that we can – no, indeed we must – all be grateful.

What followed this exchange was “Milliontown”. The stunning title track of their debut record. All 27 minutes of it. It is wonderful and its equally wonderfully played, but not without it’s fun. Godfrey deliberately draws attention to a mistake he makes in the piano section, and he plays a replica of the first Casio  keyboard he had at one point too.

But if they don’t take it quite as seriously as some, then make no mistake about this, there aren’t many bands as good as Frost*.

This is their first live show in the UK for five years and there’s a brand new record since those last gigs. Five of the “Day And Age” album are played too, perhaps underlining the bands confidence in it.

That faith is well placed, given the quality of the epic title track. Heavier than you might imagine too, after they follow it up with “Terrestrial”, it begins to look like there might be an “album” show in the offing. As it is that doesn’t happen, but a slightly different version of “Black Light Machine” replete with an incredible Mitchell solo is perfect anyway.

“Dear Dead Days” (the only thing from their second album) gives way to two more from “…..Age” and listening to both “Island Life” and “Skywards” is to get a window into the world they came from. The windswept Cornish coast seems to be a muse for so many artists and it’s worked it’s magic again here too.

While much of the show is focussed on Mitchell and Godfrey as the two focal points and frontmen, then “Hyperventilate” is a vehicle for them all. Nathan King on bass and returning drummer Craig Blundell are as good as it gets (I suppose you have to be to be in a band like this?)

The encore of “Heartstrings” – on record one of their more immediate songs – is still a highlight here, before “Repeat To Fade” gives a rather nihilistic ending to the show, certainly there’s no light at the end of its tunnel in these words, yet the concert as a whole felt like a celebration of Frost* and their magnificent music throughout.

A performance that had clearly been planned meticulously, the light show, the size of the production alone underlined that, but one that was fun. Both for the audience, but also for the band too from the knowing glances to the t-shirts with their names and dates of birth on.

A first show for five years this might have been, but nothing was rusty here (as they’re all in other, high level, bands this was always unlikely to have teething problems). It merely proved what has always been evident. Frost* are one of the finest prog bands we have. Even better, they do it entirely on their own terms.

More From Author


Popular Posts

Latest Gig Reviews

Latest Music Reviews


Band Of The Day