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Midnight Sun at The Bedford, London - live review

Three great bands - Midnight Sun, Introitus and Jade Vine - but where was the audience?

the crowd at a prog gig
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

Originally from Greece but based in London, Jade Vine inhabit the same branch of the prog spectrum as Muse and Anathema, offering a very contemporary take on the genre and a knack for crafting moments of grand scale.

Frontman Constantine Magdalinos has a high, clear voice that’s full of yearning in Lose Control, which also features excellent, melodic drumming from Babis Margaritidis, who is armed with a set of mallets. The quartet’s gift for writing catchy hooks is on full display in Corpus Callosum, and the set closer Would You? is loaded with drama. Jade Vine are definitely a band to watch out for.

From Sweden, Introitus are a family affair, led by husband and wife Mats and Anna Bender. From the outset, Anna’s voice demands attention with her impressive range and projection. The group blend folk elements, courtesy of Henrik Björlind’s skill on the flute and recorder, with moments of sheer neo prog power.

Anima and Slipping Away are bookended by Anna’s vocals, while the midsections boast huge workouts for Mats Bender on keys and Pär Helje on guitar as they rise, soar and dive down again.

Soulprint, which Anna wrote for her dying mother, is the highlight of their set, delivered with unrestrained passion and ending with a melody traditionally sung by Swedish milkmaids to call the cows home at sunset. Just beautiful.

Midnight Sun, not to be confused with the 70s Dutch group of the same name, is a new project from singer Huw Lloyd-Jones of Unto Us and Also Eden. “This is really intimidating, playing to a roomful of musicians,” he jokes at the start.

They’re the heaviest act on the bill, with Tom Ennis, another Unto Us connection, shredding away on his seven-string guitar, and drummer Sam Slater letting rip with his double kick pedal in Early Warning and Broken Angels. Tomfoolery is a showcase for Ennis’ fretboard skills, with Lloyd-Jones observing that the track was originally called Tom’s Prog Wankery.

The arrangements are densely busy, lacking the dynamics of the other two bands, but there’s power and energy aplenty. If only there was an audience!