Mostly Autumn: Still Beautiful Live 2011

Double live set from prog-inclined journeymen.

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On the final page of the booklet of this two-CD live set is a dedication to Brian Smith, uncle and guitar teacher of Mostly Autumn’s Bryan Josh, who passed away the day after this gig was recorded. “This performance was very much influenced by the great sadness of the situation,” Josh writes.

Thus it doesn’t do for an outsider to be overly harsh, as a double-live set is likely to appeal to devotees only. But this is not a starting point for the curious.

Mostly Autumn have an extensive live catalogue to sit alongside their nine studio albums, so Still Beautiful’s selling point is that it is the first concert recording to feature Olivia Sparnenn on lead vocals. As with her predecessor Heather Findlay, she needs sharp elbows to keep Josh away from the microphone – a mystifying urge on his part, given that his monotone makes Dave Gilmour sound like Pavarotti.

The early part of the set is based around the last studio record, Go Well Diamond Heart, but things gradually become more expansive, and benefit from the light and shade of flute and some Floydian stylings.

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.