The multi-headed folk-rock collective Sons of Noel and Adrian didn’t seem a particularly well suited support for the horror-themed prog headliners at first glance but it turned out a closer match than expected. There were nine of them on stage – including two “daughters” – and whilst they are labeled folk they have shadows of a number of bands both historical and contemporary. A bit of These New Puritans‘ neo-classical found on Field of Reeds and some Beefheartian considered chaos. They were helped by a room-shaking bass sound – this would continue to be the case for the headliners – and drumming that laid a booming, solid foundation. They maintained interest via excellent vocal harmonies courtesy of the two ladies in sparkling brown capes, some occasionally virtuosic fretwork and some unusual instrumentation including clarinet, multi-percussion and trumpet. Their final song in particular seemed in tune with the night, containing a green light-bathed, Transylvanian mid-section followed by a strobe-filled, bassy, distorted synth conclusion.
Brighton had been waiting 42 years for a show from the cinematic prog-rock maestros Goblin and after this showing will be hoping it wasn’t a one off. Sole 70’s Goblin surivor and keyboard maestro Claudio Simonetti’s coy “Hope to see you soon” closing offered the decent-sized crowd the hope of a return. Just as well because the devotees in attendance were treated to a 90 minute set covering most of their career, with particular focus on 1975’s Profondo Rosso, 1976’s Roller and the two 1977 albums Zombi and Supiria. A fan of the band couldn’t have left disappointed.
From the off the Italians were outrageously tight and faithful to their recorded output; Simonetti’s synth work was economically brilliant, never particularly showy but pretty much perfect. However, that would be to overlook the outstanding contribution of the backing band from his own non-Goblin project Daemonia. Bruno Previtali is a guitar hero; there were no less than five mentions of his complex, melodic-but-compact soloing in our notes post gig. He also managed to recreate the more atmospheric parts of the soundtracks with no apparent difficultly. The engine room of the band is wonderfully accomplished; the immense Silvio Assaiante on bass laid down dominating, often complex complex patterns whilst badass drummer Tittia Tani was relentless and flawlessly managed the differing styles needed for full on metal workouts such as ‘E Suano Rock’ or the metronomic disco strut of ‘Tenebre.’ The positive reception to his (thankfully short) drum solo was testament to his abilities.
The killer moment came during fourth track ‘Dawn of The Dead,’ where the projector finally sprung into life and for the rest of the evening provided a gorgeous, rich, Technicolor visual accompaniment of the many horror films the evening’s material came from. Immediately the show made more sense and this was undoubtedly appreciated by the less fanatical elements of the audience. A fan club-like atmosphere of reverence reached it’s apex at the conclusion of the set. ‘School at Night’s’ bizarre and creepy audience participation opening increased audience engagement before the main set closing ‘Profondo Rosso’s’ zombie-Can-isms appeared to have sent the crowd home happy. The band returned for an encore of the power metal workout ‘Zaratozom’, which was clearly the highlight of the night for much of the crowd.