As regular readers of Raw Ramp will know, we’re big fans of The Enid — the British progressive rock band who play smart, powerful and romantic music.
They were founded in 1973 by former Barclay James Harvest collaborator Robert John Godfrey.
The band has now created a stunning and ambitious visual realization for their new album “Dust ” — with the ten live performances already underway in the UK.
The shows are running from October 2015 to April 2016. [Check 2016 dates below.]
We were lucky enough to witness the grand production at the Old Market, Brighton.
Dust has been directed by TV illusionist Simon Drake [ Kate Bush’s Tour Of Life].
The sounds (on the new album and also the accompanying pieces) feel like an extension of the ideas generated in Invicta.
The show seems to focus on the limitations of human existence. And with issues connected with creation/evolution. Our human body is simply a bag of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen…
Yet, even though we may be little more than a sprinkling of tiny particles…
This fantastic/curious stardust machine carries our spiritual-selves through time and space. It is a notion so baffling that most of us do not even bother to stop for a moment and think about it!
The show starts with a buzz of bees… Or is it motors? Or is it groans? Thus, the questions about existence formulate, almost at once. After some strongly felt guitar work by Jason Ducker we are introduced to some back-screen magic.
This is used, extremely effectively, to decorate, illuminate and dramatize the Enid sounds. A drizzle of soft keys oozes out here-and-there, with the yearning voice of Joe comfortably building up and shining through the layers.
The hi-tech ‘backcloth ’ is used so convincingly that it is difficult to know where reality ends and imagination begins.
Maybe that’s the point…This is, after all, an inquiry into existence and substance… So Joe’s shape gradually dissolves into thin air. And his physical existence is no-more.
Sometimes there is doubt mixed with momentum and boldness. The ‘Who Created Me?’ number (from Invicta) is followed by sounds that are reminiscent of Russian folk then, skillfully and confusingly, these becomes manipulated onto a flawless a cappella gem.
This gleaming lips (on the screen) are perfectly synchronized with the voices of Joe and Max Read.
There are shades of musical theatre in some of the corners of this show, too. But these are handled well, with dark angles and bitter curves to negotiate.
As an audience, you are never quite sure where you should be.
And, even if Joe does not play E.W.I. in this production (and he is stripped of his donut hairbun)— magic & strength are still present.
Especially when he strives to march against the sun and looks directly into the light. Then, the agony (and ecstasy) of whole life is acted out for us. We are transient creatures straining against rhythms that will — in the end — take hold of us. And, it’s no use fighting against them.
Occasionally, we noticed Robert John Godfrey conducting. But he is doing less keyboard work now. And, probably, that’s because this is a show by the ‘young ones’ of the band. (It was Dom Tofield’s last show, incidentally. Nick Willes will take over on bass and percussion for next year’s shows.)
But the old masters, including the original drummer of the band — Dave Storey — are leaving behind something valuable and resilient in their collective (musical) genes… So the ‘new’ generation can strengthen resolve and, eventually, take-over.
Although the second half of the show was a complete run-through of the new “Dust” album — we were left with the transcendent and thoroughly congruous ‘One And The Many’ as a finale. It’s an exceptionally emotional piece of work. And left many audience members in Brighton in a state of tears!
Dust is an intelligent prog rock show.
Filled with beautiful classic moments (but enough rock to delight and entertain a prog audience.)
It has the lightness of the psychedelic, and is expertly played, credibly layered and very enthusiastically performed.
As a piece of advanced performance art — it is certain that you will experience nothing better in the next few months…
Remember, if you join Enidi you can save 10% on tickets for all Dust shows. Learn more here at www.enidi.org.
DUST 2016 Dates
Newcastle, Northern Stage 2
Saturday 23rd January 2016
Crescent Mainhouse Birmingham,
The Crescent Theatre
Saturday 30th January 2016
ApexBury St. Edmunds,
Friday 5th February 2016
Citadel 2St. Helens,
Saturday 13th February 2016
Friday 26th February 2016
Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)
Saturday 5th March 2016
Bristol, The Redgrave Theatre
Friday 18th March 2016
Cadogan Hall London,
Saturday 2nd April 2016