Gig review: IAMTHEMORNING, Tim Bowness – Bush Hall, London, 14 November 2016

IAMTHEMORNING, Tim Bowness - Bush Hall, London, 14 November 2016

On a unique collaborative evening broken into two halves, Tim Bowness was first to take the stage with his merry band of musicians. Bowness, one half of No-Man (the other being prog legend Steven Wilson) was tonight showcasing his work across solo albums and No-Man material.

Immediately I noticed the band’s robust percussion section, which to my delight held solid and subtle throughout. This was a true reflection of Bowness’ music, which seems rarely to break into true ‘song’, preferring to sit in the moments just before the eclipse of a crescendo, and whilst I would compare his music to Floyd in many regards, there are few moments of true pay off where the song morphs into something with a memorable melody line.

The band pleased fans further by the great work between the guitarist and violin player. Both melodic instruments traditionally sit quite close in the mix, however the clever, well-rehearsed players traded fills, rarely spilling over to each other’s musical territory.

IAMTHEMORNING, Tim Bowness - Bush Hall, London, 14 November 2016

When iamthemorning’s Gleb and Marjana appeared on stage for the first half of the night’s collaborations, it seemed more of a ‘guest appearance’ than a fully fleshed out selection of songs specifically chosen for the two acts to play together.

To compound this, Bowness’ band did not account for the subtlety of Glebs piano playing, which was almost completely drowned out by the bands traditional prog-rock sound. Tim and Marjana’s vocals on the other hand were perfectly matched, both possessing the breathy quality of an easy breeze rather than a competing gale force cross wind.

IAMTHEMORNING, Tim Bowness - Bush Hall, London, 14 November 2016

After the interval, tonight’s award-winning highlight act took the stage. In contrast to Bowness rock-laden-prog sound, iamthemorning have only one electric instrument, the impact of which hits you on a much deeper emotional level andcloser to the feeling of watching a classical concert. It is something I could only describe as a fusion of classical, prog, baroque pop, jazz and even metal.

Opening with the song ‘Inside’, they showcase the versatility of what can be achieved with a few supremely talented musicians. Each musical transition and interval change had the ease of turning a page in a book, with more of the musical story being revealed to an eager reader.

IAMTHEMORNING, Tim Bowness - Bush Hall, London, 14 November 2016

The dynamic range of the band was formidable, the violin making use of double stops in coordination with the cello player at times added another string to the chorus. In addition to this, Gleb played as if he was a man possessed by a multi-armed Hindu god, his almost supernatural skill confounding this humbled reviewer.

Marjana was nothing short of charming. You would be hard pressed to find someone in the audience who wasn’t tickled pink by her dry wit, a perfect match for British audiences. Vocally, she absolutely nailed it too. Where she could have chosen in many parts to sing an underlying melody and left the piano and strings to carry the tune, she instead chose to forge her own syncopated melodies, darting around her vocal range faultlessly.

My only criticism of the latter half was the mix. The bass guitar was often competing for the lower register with the grand piano, giving that flubby sound I so hate. There are multiple reasons this could have happened, but without laying blame on either musician or sound tech, it’s something I have actually encountered at Bush Hall previously.

Review by Sylvester Segal
Photos by Anne-Marie Forker( )

Album review (iamthemorning)
Album review
(Tim Bowness)

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