By Russell Elliot
The British progressive band IOEarth’s one hour and twenty minute set at the 2012 RoSFest has been captured on a richly produced full length album entitled IOEarth Live In The USA (IOEarth Music (UK) 0 632963 465185, 2013. With tracks that span the band’s two studio recordings, the arrangements have been tweaked ever-so-slightly for the concert line-up. Those that follow IOEarth know that since RoSFest, female vocalist Claire Malin has been replaced by Linda Odinsen who has performed with the band on stage since January 2013.
The Rights of Spring Festival–RoSFest–has a longstanding reputation as one of the premier progressive rock events in the USA, and with the conclusion of NearFest, is now the only one held on the east coast. Members of our editorial staff attended an earlier festival when Magenta was on the bill. Held in Gettysburg, PA for the past eleven years, IOEarth performed at the tenth festival on 6 May 2012. The IOEarth RoSFest lineup included: Dave Cureton (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals); Adam Gough (keyboards, rhythm guitar, theremin); Richard Cureton (drums); Claire Malin (vocals); Christian Nokes (bass); and Luke Shingler (soprano sax, flute). The production quality of the live performance on this album is incredible.
The recording begins with a stunning rendition of the title track from the band’s second album “Moments.” The band is everso tight. Dave’s and Claire’s vocal work are excellent and are very well placed in the mix. IOEarth’s tracks are long, and following the over eight minute opener, the band launch into “Drifting,” with a similar running time. The song, also from Moments which has thematic elements similar to passages from Cirque shows appears to have worked very well in the live setting as well.
Then, continuing in the same order as the studio album, IOEarth launch into the incredibly powerful “Cinta Indah,” drawing from backing tracks on other-world meditative themes. The complex and dynamic percussive arrangement is performed flawlessly on stage. The instrumentals are superb. See a more recent performance of this standout track fronted by Linda Odinsen at YouTube. “EEEE,” one of the most stunning, and certainly one of the dramatic, tracks from the band’s self-titled debut appears to have been re-arranged to accommodate the live setting, Claire’s vocal lines, and an enthusiastic audience.
The live set continues with another track from IOEarth’s stunning debut album entitled “The Creation,” an eight-minute progressive instrumental, with its amazingly performed electric guitar excursions and soaring soprano saxophone. The centerpiece of the band’s show is the 14-minute two-part suite “Live Your Life” that begins with a stunning solo performance of the first ballad-style passage by Claire Malin sung atop lone electric piano. The flute part that has been captured extremely well provides the transition into the much more robust second movement. In addition to her excellent delivery, the engineer has done a great job with the mix, putting the vocals in front of the powerful guitar- and keyboard-laced arrangements.
Clearly one of the standouts on this live recording is the dynamically arranged instrumental “Storyteller,” featuring Dave Cureton’s rapid-fire electric guitar work. IOEarth then move into the rhythmic piece “Home” laced with Claire’s soaring lyrical and vocalise deliveries. Listen for Luke Shingler’s outstanding flute passage and the light percussion during the instrumental break. The crescendo illustrates Claire and the band in a full power rocking splendour.
Open with a rousing electric guitar and keyboard, the last song performed in the band’s main set is a dramatic and rocking instrumental entitled “Light & Shade.” Listen for Dave Cureton’s vast guitar solos opposing other band members’ contributions. A wild round of applause from the RoSFest audience follows.
The album concludes the band’s encore, “Harmonix,” a powerhouse from the band’s debut album that opens with a melodic guitar solo and adds further instruments to the mix before Claire contributes vocals to the mix. The duel between electric guitar and keyboards is outstandingly performed. We especially appreciated the addition of Claire’s powerful vocalize to the arrangement.
IOEarth have developed their live act significantly since the release of their self-titled debut album. They have performed at many of progressive rock’s most prestigious festival and have been booked into Baja Prog for 2014.
The IOEarth Live In The USA album captures the band’s well-honed style, excellent musicianship and fantastic sound at RoSFest in 2012. Bravo!
By Russell Elliot